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Boston’s Dombrowski Finally Chimes In On Shocking Release Of Hanley Ramirez

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Red Sox Nation had to scrape its collective jaw off the floor after the team made a shocking announcement last Friday.  With franchise cornerstone Dustin Pedroia set to come off the DL and make his season debut, the team designated fan favorite DH/1B Hanley Ramirez for assignment.

Fans and media alike believed that the overwhelming favorite to be the odd man out was C/LF Blake Swihart. Boston’s former top prospect has ran into a modicum of injuries since his debut in 2015 and has become nothing close to what the team was hoping for. With the 26-year-old out of options on his contract, it seemed to be a sure thing, especially given that Swihart’s agent requested a trade due to his client’s considerable lack of playing time. But, Red Sox fans should know more than anyone else that nothing is for sure in baseball. On Friday, Boston did indeed announce the designation of a player, but, in a stunning twist, the unlucky sap was Ramirez.

After remaining fairly quiet about it over the holiday weekend, Red Sox PBO Dave Dombrowski broke his silence yesterday in an interview with New England Sports Network’s Tom Carron. According to Dombrowski, manager Alex Cora was the architect of the decision, a puzzling revelation given that Cora named Ramirez Boston’s Opening Day first baseman.

Click here to watch the full clip from NESN.

The move is shock and a half for multiple reasons. Ramirez had been enigmatic in 2018 to that point, hitting .330 in April but just .163, albeit with 29 RBI. May was not good to the team’s once-top prospect, but there appeared to be no reason to panic. Ramirez’ contract is still owned by the Red Sox and the team has until Friday to either release or deal him.

To Hanley’s credit, he handled the situation very well and thanked Boston fans in a classy farewell tweet.

His departure breaks the logjam that the team created when Mitch Moreland was resigned this offseason. Moreland had been very solid off the bench and his hot hitting gradually won Cora over. Speaking both impartially and as a fan of the Sox at the same time, my issue this; Moreland is without question a better defensive first baseman than Hanley, but his offense is very inconsistent and he has never proved himself to be a guy who can carry a team. When healthy, Ramirez is just that. A shoulder injury derailed him last season after a career year in 2016, and while that was certainly frustrating, I’m very shocked that the team decided to just cut its losses out of nowhere.

Blake Swihart, on the other hand, I think is safe to be declared a lost cause at this point. I have nothing against him, but Boston doesn’t need his catching with the platoon of Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon, and his offense has been nowhere near good enough to suggest he could be moved to a different position. The only reason Boston transitioned him to an outfielder in the first place was a 2016 injury to Brock Holt that kept him out for more than half the year. I don’t see him factoring into the team’s long term plans at all.

As for Hanley, I hope he goes somewhere and has success. The vindictive part of me really hopes that the move will come back and bite Boston on the rear, but I’d like more to see him go and prove his worth elsewhere. As alluded to earlier, the team has yet to say sayonara and it will be interesting to see what it attempts to do to salvage the situation. Even at 34, Ramirez is too good a player to be allowed to walk for free, Boston should at least attempt to deal him.

American League

Red Sox Steven Wright Undergoes Knee Surgery

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Boston Red Sox right hander Steven Wright has undergone surgery on his left knee, receiving an arthroscopy and debridement on the joint, according to an official team announcement on Tuesday.

Wright “will continue to rehab and prepare for a return to pitching in the 2019 season”, and will address issues that Wright had reportedly long been dealing with.

Wright posted a  2.68 ERA with 42 strikeouts and 26 walks for Boston this season.

 

 

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American League

Red Sox David Price Will Not Opt Out of Contract

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Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price is still celebrating the team’s 2018 World Series championship, but has already made a decision regarding his future with the team announcing that he will not opt out of his contract, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

By deciding to stay in the contract Price will earn $31 million during the 2019 season and will earn $32 million each of the following three seasons remaining on his deal.

Price, 33, pitched to the tune of a 3.58 ERA this past season.

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American League

Game 4 Uncertain For Boston After Previous Night’s Marathon

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Can E-Rod, Cora and the Sox bounce back after a crushing Game 3 loss? (NESN)

Anyone who attended Game 3 of the 2018 World Series on Friday night certainly got their money’s worth. The Dodgers and visiting Red Sox took the field at Dodger Stadium at 5:10 PM PT and didn’t return to their respective clubhouses until almost eight hours later. The Chavez Ravine Marathon (as it will surely become known) ended at 12:30 on Saturday morning when Dodgers’ 1B Max Muncy hit a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 18th off Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi, who was working his sixth inning of relief.

Click here for the highlights. 

The longest game in MLB postseason history in terms of time at 7:20 couldn’t have ended better for Los Angeles, who risked falling in the hole 3-0, and it couldn’t have ended worse for Boston. The Red Sox had the game won in the 13th when they clawed their way to a 2-1 lead thanks to Brock Holt’s hustle and some poor defensive positioning by LA. Eovaldi forced Yasiel Puig to ground to Ian Kinsler at second for the final out, but Kinsler lost his footing and his throw was about four feet to left of 1B Steve Pearce, allowing Muncy to score to knot it at 2-2.

Kinsler struggled mightily in the game, as he was also thrown out at the plate by Cody Bellinger on a sacrifice fly attempt in the 10th and was nearly picked off twice that same inning on top of going 0-3.  He blamed himself for the loss multiple times after the game ended, but he was hardly the only one at fault on Boston’s side. Boston’s MLB.com reporter Ian Browne reminded us after the game that the top four of the Red Sox order, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland and JD Martinez, went a combined 0-28 with nine strikeouts and nine runners left on. Boston’s MVP of the night was unquestionably Eovaldi, who hurled six gallant relief innings despite pitching in Game 2 and received only one run of support. His performance was acclaimed by the baseball community on Twitter after the game.

 

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Muncy’s walk-off shot tagged Eovaldi with the loss despite his brilliant effort. (Boston Herald)

As one could expect, Game 4 has already created a plethora of intrigue and the first pitch isn’t for another three hours still. Neither manager has named their starter for tonight yet as both teams had to use nine pitchers in Game 3. It was more extreme on Boston’s side as Alex Cora had used every available pitcher on his World Series roster except for Drew Pomeranz by the time it was over. Eovaldi was slated for the Game 4 start, but after 97 pitches in relief, he likely won’t be available again until Game 6 if there even is one.

Browne quotes Cora as saying that a southpaw will be on the hill for Boston tonight, and this was correct. The Red Sox announced that Eduardo Rodriguez will make the first World Series start of his career, and it’s safe to assume that Boston is praying that the Venezuelan can give his team a quality start and eat as many innings as he can. E-Rod did appear in Game 3 but threw only six pitches.

If not, Pomeranz is Cora’s only other option, and that may scare many fans as the big man struggled all year after an elbow injury and hasn’t appeared at all since September 30. Because he called on so many last night, including Game 2 starter David Price for two-thirds of an inning, Cora may have no choice but to call on Pomeranz at some point unless he wants to risk using ace Chris Sale on short rest and eliminate him from Game 5. Expect to see Big Smooth in the action tonight.

The most likely starter for Dave Roberts’ Dodgers is also a lefty, 38-year-old LHP Rich Hill, who hasn’t appeared yet in the Fall Classic. This would make for another decision for Cora. Right-handed hitting 3B Eduardo Nunez has struggled with knee issues all year long but has played very well this postseason despite it. However, Nunez was in obvious pain last night and appeared to be struggling  mightily at points. Putting 22-year-old Rafael Devers at third tonight would give Nunez a chance to recover but would also put another lefty batter in the lineup, which could work to LA’s advantage.

It was rumored in the buildup to the series that Boston was considering putting Betts at his natural position of second base in order to keep Martinez in the lineup without sending Jackie Bradley Jr or Andrew Benintendi to the dugout. The latter got the night off in Game 3 and Kinsler’s train wreck of a game made it easy to say that the decision backfired.  It appears as if the 36-year-old will be in the lineup tonight, but Nunez and Holt could fill in if his struggles continue.

The action starts at 8:10 ET once again on Fox, don’t miss what is sure to be a pivotal contest!

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