Red Sox Winter Weekend and other anecdotal offseason notes
By Rick McNair
The Boston Red Sox off-season has not exactly been exhilarating for wishful fans. Here are a few personal high or lowlights.
It’s the Red Sox Winter Weekend, and the venue is Foxwoods Casino (I’ll leave out resort). An amazing choice considering baseball’s aversion to all things gambling – except, of course, taking lottery dollars and connections to gaming sites. At least we are protected from Pete Rose.
The apparent highlight, or certainly one of note this offseason, is a haircut. Yes, folks, Andrew Benintendi has once again shorn off his locks. Maybe he’ll be more presentable in any photo’s his decertified agent Jason Wood took?
Jackie Bradley wants to steal more bases. An admirable and worthy baseball pursuit. In the great scheme of life this may not coincide with a three-year sabbatical to give proper water delivery in Somalia, but for baseball it catches attention. But, alas, JBJ to steal bases one must be on the base and that seems to be a distinct issue with Bradley.
The Red Sox pursuit of J.D. Martinez continues to deplete local internet ink. Martinez is the person of choice to provide a jump-start for an anemic offense, but then comes the price. Like sailors haggling over prices at a house of ill repute the Red Sox and Martinez’s agent – the nefarious Scott Boras – are in an ongoing exchange of just how many millions is dumped on Martinez. Eventually it will be over $100 million for five years. Great.
The Red Sox have a resident superstar on their roster. In creating a profile for a five-tool baseball wonder the mold makers would start with Mookie Betts – for non-Boston fans make it Mike Trout. But paradise may be crumbling as Mookie and the Red Sox head to arbitration. In that process Betts’ agent presents the lad as a baseball Mother Theresa and Management dials down where Betts is Mendoza Line material. Nothing good comes of this.
Another issue on the plate for your Red Sox is the sanitization of our baseball history. Yawkey Way – named after the owner who legitimately saved the franchise – is being renamed. The entire episode is the result of owner Yawkey’s noted race prejudice so punishment – retroactive – is going to be dished out. After the blatant overreaction to the unsubstantiated claims of Adam Jones should anyone be surprised?
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Two legends for the Red Sox – David Ortiz and Pedro Martinez – have expressed a desire to have a more active role with the Red Sox. Right now, both have assumed a role (my opinion) as franchise window dressing. This is not unusual and for star players are often brought on board for name value only. Maybe both will exert enough pressure to have their expertise utilized beyond happy face autograph sessions.
New manager Alex Cora is saying all the right things. Would anyone expect less? With what he is being handed is Cora going to say he’s been given a lame pony compared to the thoroughbred that Yankees Brian Cashman has given his new manager? Maybe his tune will change down ten games?
As I went to the Red Sox web site for information up popped the name Xander Bogaerts and attached to it was .273. That was the team leading average among the qualified for 2017. That low? Out of curiosity the only average close to this in the 21st century was .278 in 2014 by Dustin Pedroia. That was enough pain, so I cut off the research.
Next: Andrew Benintendi sporting a new hair look
Brian Johnson was once a worthy prospect. Last season the former number one draft pick tossed one of the best games of the season, but injuries have dented his career. Now? Johnson is hanging on with hope and willing to start, relieve, and probably pitch batting practice. I expect Johnson to join Henry Owens.