The Baseball Winter Meetings will wrap up tomorrow at Mandalay Bay in beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada. The only real impactful move at the talks came yesterday when the Phillies announced a deal in principle with free agent outfielder Andrew McCutchen for three years and $50M dollars. Otherwise, conversations on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado have been either quiet or contradictory. Usually in baseball offseasons, teams wait for the big shoes to drop to see how the market will shake out even if they’re not in on any of the star players. The Red Sox are a team that doesn’t really need to do to much to their roster to #continuetodamage. They re-signed World Series MVP Steve Pearce shortly after their World Series victory, and officially announced a new deal with versatile flame thrower Nathan Eovaldi earlier in the week at a formal presser. It was also reported yesterday by several sources that Rick Porcello, Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Xander Bogaerts had all drawn interest from other clubs and that the Red Sox were listening to offers on these cornerstone players. Dave Dombrowski downplayed some of the gossip, clarifying that the Sox “listen to all offers,” so without delving too much into Fake News, let’s consider some areas that the Sox should upgrade to improve an already talented and electric team.
The Red Sox solidified their starting rotation for 2019 and beyond by signing postseason hero Nathan Eovaldi to a four year, $67.5M contract. The hard throwing righty was an integral piece of Boston’s playoff run, and became a fan favorite with strong performances against the Yankees, Astros, and Dodgers. With the signing, Boston’s starting five projects to be Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Eovaldi, and some combination of Eduardo Rodriguez and/or Steven Wright, unless the Sox view Eovaldi as a possible closer if Craig Kimbrel does not resign (likely) or if Matt Barnes or another closing option is not explored during this Hot Stove season. It will be interesting to see if Eovaldi’s post-season versatility will sway the Sox into considering this move. Either way, the Sox retain a pitcher who seemed to thrive under the bright lights of Boston’s scrutinizing eye.
With the annual Winter Meetings less than two weeks away, MLB free agency is set to start heating up very soon. The Red Sox don't have much money to spend, but they've still been linked to a number of the most popular players available this offseason. One of the most polarizing players that the Red Sox could target is star reliever Andrew Miller.
To the surprise of pretty much no one, Mookie Betts has won the American League Most Valuable Player Award. Mookie finished with a 10.9 Wins Above Replacement (the most since Barry Bonds roamed right field for the Giants), a .346 batting average, 32 home runs, 30 stolen bases and 80 RBI from the leadoff spot. In the field, he had a grand total of one error in 278 chances patrolling the cavernous right field at Fenway Park. In the past 30 days, Mookie has won a World Series Ring, had his first child, and won MLB’s most coveted individual award. In the past 30 days I made it to the gym twice, raked a bunch of leaves on Saturday, and posted something on Facebook that had 100 likes.
First and foremost, I want to give a huge shoutout to Steve Pearce. Pearce connected for a few extremely clutch hits during the 2018 postseason, including RBI singles in games one and three of the ALDS vs. the Yankees, a solo homerun in game 3 of the ALCS vs. Houston, and of course his MVP performance in the Fall Classic against the Trolley Dodgers, going 4 for 8 with three homers and 7 RBI in the final two games to write the Hollywood ending the Sox were striving for since February. Pearce was undoubtedly the most productive offensive player for the Sox in the five game series, and I had no problem with him snatching the award from under David Price’s nose (although come on...co-MVPs please?). So much praise for Pearce. He helped bring home the hardware, and will never have to buy another drink in the 617 or 508 area codes for the rest of his life (does the 413 watch sports? I mean besides at UMass?). Although he has cemented his legacy with the Sox, the team should NOT give Pearce a lucrative nor long-term deal in free-agency. Re-signing a World Series MVP has bitten the Sox in the butt before, and there is no reason why they should fall into the same sentimental trap again.
A Comprehensive Red Sox Roster Management Guide: 2018 Free Agency, Why 2019 Will be the Most Important Offseason in Franchise History, and More
The Red Sox have a good number of tough decisions to make this offseason, but none of them begin to compare to what they will be facing one year from now.
I took my kids to the Wold Series Parade today, and besides getting trapped in a gas station parking lot because of a fence, things went pretty smooth (PS...Fence lasted about 15 minutes before late teen/early 20's heroes tore the thing down, freeing all of us). I was stationed right outside of Fenway Park, after having attended the season ticket holder rally, which was awesome. Mayor Marty Walsh, Governor Baker, Dr. Creepy (John Henry), Chanty McChantenstein (Tom Werner)....
THE BOSTON RED SOX ARE WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS! Damn, it feels great to write that. I spent the first twenty-four years of my life convinced that the Red Sox would never win a World Series and now here we are in 2018 and I've seen them win four of them. It's been an incredible run and this season may have been the most fun of all. Nothing can ever top the catharsis of 2004, the brilliance of 2007, or the healing power of 2013, but this 2018 team may have been the most thoroughly fun team of them all. Watching this team from spring training right through to the end of the World Series has been one of the most joyous and rewarding experiences I've ever had. Even better has been what this season has given me beyond the enjoyment of watching great baseball night in and night out. It's given me the opportunity to bond even more with my wife and children, an opportunity to take risks and hone my sports writing skills, the opportunity to write for Guy Boston Sports, and the opportunity to meet new fellow Red Sox fans and writers. This certainly won't be the last Red Sox related thing you'll read from me, but this will be the final recap of the 2018 season so let's get down to it.
The Boston Red Sox won the World Series last night, in case you hadn’t heard. When Chris Sale got Manny Machado to literally drop to his knees for strike three and the final out of the season, the Red Sox proved to many critics that the 108 win regular season was not a fluke. Having the best record in baseball going into October almost seemed like a bad omen for the Sox. They had not played meaningful or inspired baseball for the last month and a half of the season, and I for one was wondering if they could reignite the type of intensity it takes to win the whole damn thing. The offense had slowed down considerably, and the bullpen was a hot mess with Matt Barnes on the DL, Craig Kimbrel’s inability to throw strikes, and Joe Kelly being his usual unpredictable self. Starters David Price, Rick Porcello, and Chris Sale had zero postseason starting wins between them. Sale’s injury was concerning. There was a LOT of pressure to bring the trophy home. And amazingly, some of the biggest contributors were bit players and bottom of the order type guys, like Jackie Bradley bringing home the ALCS MVP. But that’s what it takes to win in October...contributions from 1-25 guys on your roster. Credit to Dave Dombrowski...for all the whining and moaning about him not getting a bullpen arm at the trade deadline, it turned out he didn’t need one. Instead, he acquired Nathan Eovaldi (a starter) and Steve Pearce (journeyman platoon player) who were arguably the most heavy contributors to this championship team. Let’s break down who chipped in when it mattered the most.
I don't know about anyone else, but I was an absolute wreck after the marathon game three. Between going to bed after 3:00am and needing to be up at 7:00am to get my oldest daughter ready for her softball tournament, I was exhausted on Saturday, enough so that I took a nap (and anyone who knows me knows that I hate napping). Still bleary-eyed and groggy, I settled down to watch game four hoping the Red Sox would get some measure of vengeance after giving the previous game away. With every pitcher in the postseason starting rotation unavailable due to game three, Eduardo Rodriguez got the spot start for Boston while the Dodgers countered with former Red Sox (and Massachusetts native) Rich Hill.