Welcome back to Read Sox. It was a quiet week for the Red Sox; Chris Sale is a hard act to follow. The Winter Meetings hangover is real. Here’s what’s been going on.
Halfway into December and people are already calling the Red Sox baseball’s new Evil Empire. It’s interesting how there still seems to be a torn public opinion about whether the team is turning into the Yankees when that change happened the better part of a decade ago. Shaking 86 years of being the little brother wasn’t going to happen overnight, but when an underdog wins a title three times in nine years, can you really call it an underdog at that point?
The Red Sox seem to be weirdly all in on Pablo Sandoval. He certainly looks better, which is obviously great for him but that doesn’t really guarantee any improvement on a baseball field. Dave Dombrowski, John Farrell and the team have been explicit in letting everyone know that it’s his job to lose next spring. There’s been lots written about how he needs to earn the respect back, whether it’s Jen McCaffery at masslive.com, Sam Galanis at NESN, or John Tomase at WEEI. They all make fair points citing the injuries and the weight issues and the contract. And while it sure looks like Sandoval’s up to the task, it’s not like there’s going to be some neck-and-neck competition for third this spring; Travis Shaw and Yoan Moncada are gone. So do you really have to “earn” back a job when the other two options are traded?
Christopher Smith at masslive.com went into detail about Chris Sale’s new slider and his reasoning for intentionally lowering his velocity. Sale gives the standard quote that a MLB veteran gives about learning how to pitch and not to throw, etc etc. Neil Greenberg threw a wet blanket on the deal by pointing out a few reasons to be concerned. Primarily, Greenberg expressed concern over Sale’s rising fly ball rate and how pitching in one of the friendliest hitters park in baseball isn’t going to do that any favors.
Jose Bautista really wanted to be on the Red Sox, apparently. That idea was quickly snuffed out, however, as teams are avoiding the new luxury tax like the plague. Mitch Mooreland it is!
Eduardo Rodriguez is balling down in Venezuela. SoxProspects.com had that, plus some cameos from Rafael Devers, Marco Hernandez, Christian Vasquez and Rusney Castillo.
If you want to feel really smug, go ahead and give Pete Abraham’s article about how young and talented the starting outfield is a read. If we’re ranking narratives heading into next season, I’m not sure if one’s more exciting than the possibility of watching a full season of all three. There’s a Mookie Betts-Ted Williams comparison. It’s really about as indulgent as you can get, and it’s great.
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