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Jim Furtado
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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Baseball Reliquary: 2020 Hilda Award Recipient: Jeff Boujoukos

Jeff began by collecting the players he knew and, after finding those, he decided to set a goal of collecting a game-used bat of each Red Sox non-pitcher who had an at-bat for the Sox from 1960 to the present. Why 1960? Because that was the last year for Ted Williams, and 1961 would be the first year for Carl Yastrzemski, his favorite player. “It was an undertaking that I frankly never thought I would complete and as of today amounts to over 525 different players,” Jeff remarked. “With the advent of eBay and networking with a number of fantastic collectors, and with the support of players, I have been able to collect a bat from every player except one, Ken Poulsen.” The bats can be viewed on Jeff’s Boston Game Used Web site.

Collecting things of one sort or another never appealed to me, but the commitment necessary and the ancillary benefits are often, like here, fun and admirable.

Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: May 27, 2020 at 10:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: collecting, red sox

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Worth It? Does MLB’s reaction to Astros, Red Sox tainted titles mean cheaters can prosper?

And now, some commentary on the major baseball news of the day:

The 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros are cheaters. We already knew that.

The 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox cheated a bit too. Less than the Astros, but enough that MLB on Wednesday docked them a draft pick and suspended one of their staffers for the year.

And for the second time, no players were suspended.

So much for the sanctity of the game, right?


QLE Posted: April 23, 2020 at 12:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dirty rotten cheaters, red sox

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

MLB Pins Red Sox Violations on Staffer (sub. required)

Major League Baseball’s ruling on the Boston Red Sox’s illegal sign stealing in 2018 determined the primary culprit was not the front office, manager Alex Cora or the players, but the team’s video replay system operator.
The league, in findings that will be released Wednesday afternoon, suspended the operator, J.T. Watkins, and docked the Red Sox a second-round pick in the 2020 draft. It also suspended Cora through the conclusion of the 2020 postseason, but only for his conduct as Astros bench coach in 2017, not as Red Sox manager in ’18, when the team won 108 games and the World Series.
Following a January report from The Athletic on the Red Sox’s conduct, Commissioner Rob Manfred found that Watkins, on at least some occasions during the 2018 regular season, illegally utilized game feeds in the replay room to help players during games — an undertaking less egregious than the Astros’ famed 2017 sign-stealing scheme.
The league did not find that Boston’s impermissible conduct continued during the 2018 postseason or 2019 regular season.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Ranking the Red Sox Interviewees In The Past 15 Years

So, if there wasn’t this pandemic going on a typical day at the ballpark would start at 3 p.m., when the clubhouse usually opened to the media. That lasts for about one hour, with players and media milling about before the access ended, sending reporters up to get de-briefed by the manager.

The second wave of opportunity for the media when it came to accessing the players is on the field, just before or just after batting practice. And finally, there is after the game, although that availability and willingness to converse can get a bit dicey considering how just transpired on the diamond or how much of a pull there is from the players’ families to get home…

1. Mike Lowell: Yes, I did a book with Lowell so suggestions of my bias are in play, but going through that process is a big reason I am confident in this selection. Nobody was better at giving you the exact quote you needed to drop in a story (or a chapter) than the former third baseman. He was a machine. Eighty-percent of our 70,000-word project was done in two, four-hour interview sessions in his former high school guidance counselor’s office because he knew exactly what it was going to take to fill the pages with good stuff.

Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: April 14, 2020 at 11:06 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: media, red sox

Friday, March 27, 2020

Rob Manfred says MLB is finished investigating Red Sox for alleged sign-stealing in 2018

Major League Baseball was supposed to kick off the 2020 season on Thursday, March 26. Unfortunately, the spread of the novel coronavirus has delayed Opening Day until later in the year, depending on the effectiveness of various containment measures imposed across the country. It is unknown at this point if there will be a season or what it will entail.

Given how much uncertainty commissioner Rob Manfred is dealing with, it’s understandable that he hasn’t found time to address some lingering business from the time before COVID-19, such as authoring the league’s report on the Boston Red Sox’s alleged technological misconduct during their championship 2018 season. Basically, the Red Sox are accused of stealing signs by using their replay room in a violation of the league rules.

Manfred addressed that topic (among others) with Scott Van Pelt on “SportsCenter.” “We are done with the investigation,” he said. “There’s been a delay in terms of producing a written report, just because I, frankly, have not had time to turn to it with the other issues. But we will get a Boston report out before we resume play.”

What do we make of this explanation?


QLE Posted: March 27, 2020 at 12:46 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: coverups, investigations, manfred is thinking about it, red sox

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Red Sox minor leaguer tests positive for virus, complex shut

BOSTON (AP) — A minor league player for the Boston Red Sox has tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the team to close down its training complex in Fort Myers, Florida.

The Red Sox made the announcement Tuesday, a day after the positive diagnosis. The team didn’t identify the player, but said he was doing well.

Earlier this month, the New York Yankees said two of its minor leaguers had the virus. Those were the first two players affiliated with a big league organization known to test positive.

Major League Baseball has postponed opening day until at least mid-May because of the virus outbreak.


QLE Posted: March 25, 2020 at 12:57 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, minor leaguers, red sox, spring training

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Red Sox may be aware of sign-stealing investigation findings

A report from The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan says that the Red Sox might have seen the findings of the unreleased report on MLB’s inquiry into possible sign-stealing in 2018. A lawyer for the Red Sox, Lauren Moskowitz, referred to MLB’s findings during a legal hearing that was held to determine whether or not fantasy sports players have the legal standing to bring lawsuits against baseball and teams accused of sign-stealing for holding illegitimate competitions.

Moskowitz was asked by the Judge Jed Rakoff whether or not the Sox admit that they violated the rules in 2018. Moskowitz said that the team refuses to do so. She elaborated when further pressed by Rakoff:

“Your Honor, I think that there are distinctions between what the Red Sox believe occurred and what the commissioner found. And I think that certainly they’re entitled to disagree that that activity happened at the club level. Certainly, we did find on certain occasions in 2017, that this electronic device was used to communicate sign information.”

Legal representation for MLB and the Astros also took part in the hearing, which according to Kaplan was done over the phone (likely due to concerns about COVID-19).

Arte Johnson would have had something to say about this…..


QLE Posted: March 21, 2020 at 01:03 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: coverups, dirty rotten cheaters, red sox

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

For evangelist of the analytics department, right words make the numbers work – The Athletic

“One of the things we decided, sort of collectively,” Rybarczyk said, “is that we were doing probably a better job of creating tools that would help us figure out the answers to questions, and not as good of a job communicating (those answers) throughout the organization.”

Whatever the new title might be, Rybarczyk’s basically the evangelist of the analytic department. He’s the messenger. He’ll still run numbers and help with strategy, but he’s also going to be in the major-league clubhouse more often, and he’ll visit minor-league affiliates for the first time in his career. He’s already been in spring training for four weeks, far longer than he’s used to.

Rybarczyk, 50, has been a Red Sox analyst since 2014, but he has a LinkedIn page for the ages. He attended the Navy’s Surface Warfare Officers School, then he served as navigator and damage control officer and held several other titles aboard the USS South Carolina. He’s been a physics instructor for the Navy, a design engineer for General Electric and a senior reliability engineer for Xerox. He’s a certified master black belt of Six Sigma, and he knows more about nuclear power plants than any baseball executive should.

Rybarczyk is a smart man, an accomplished man, but he got into baseball largely through his ability to communicate complex data.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2020 at 07:13 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: pay site, red sox

Hidden blessings: A manager and bench coach reunite to steer the Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. — When the baseball turned against them, which wasn’t wholly unexpected because it turns against everyone here and there, that’s when Jerry Narron would turn his head toward Ron Roenicke, and Roenicke would know what Narron was about to say.

He’d want to hear it anyway. Almost needed to hear it.

Roenicke was manager of the Milwaukee Brewers for four seasons and 25 games starting in 2011. Narron was his bench coach for every inch of 684 games. They’d lived this thing from every angle for so long — as prospects and players and released players and coaches and managers (and, one day, as fired managers) — they bore all the same riches and scars.

They believed in the same God and believed there was one way to play the game and believed those religions were not entirely separate. They also believed in each other.

This wasn’t exactly what Frank Loesser meant with “I Believe In You”, is it?


QLE Posted: March 11, 2020 at 01:10 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jerry narron, red sox, ron roenicke

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Why The Red Sox Don’t Give Radar Readings at Spring Training

But if you’re headed to JetBlue Park for any games in the next week or so don’t expect to get a read-out on velocity. The Red Sox are purposely trying to make their pitchers forget such things exist.

“We don’t,” said Roenicke when asked about the Red Sox not publicizing radar gun readings at home games. “You guys all see what pitchers do later on. They throw a pitch, then it’s rub here and the eye is right on the radar. Right now that’s not a good thing. So I think as much as we can stay, and I realize the fans want that radar up there, we’ll get it up there when Bushy feels like, ok, they’re beyond the point, we can start putting it up there. But yeah, it’s there. It’s real. You see it in every big league game. A pitcher comes into the game, he throws that first pitch, and those eyes are right up on the radar. When they don’t see what they are used to seeing, maybe if a guy is 95 and all of a sudden he looks up there and sees 92, he’s like, ‘Whoa.’ Whether he’s going to throw harder on that next pitch or what, it makes a difference.”

I think this is a good idea.  Frankly I’d do it at my minor league affiliates too.

Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: February 29, 2020 at 07:43 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, spring training, velocity

What did Joe Torre know and when did he know it?

Earlier this afternoon a reader named Sean James pointed me to this morning’s Buster Olney podcast at ESPN, where Buster and ESPN’s Karl Ravech were talking about the potential penalties the Red Sox might be facing when MLB’s report on their sign-stealing operation finally comes out. One part in particular stuck out.

At the 10:50 mark, Ravech tells Buster a story about something that happened in the 2018 ALCS between the Sox and the Astros. Buster said afterward that he had not heard this. I do not believe I have heard this. If it has been reported out before, I don’t recall it, but there has been so much flying around over the past couple of months that it might’ve just gotten lost. Anyway, here’s Ravech:

““I don’t know if I told you this, but there was a meeting before the LCS between the Astros and the Red Sox that involved A.J. Hinch, it involved [Jeff] Luhnow, it involved [Dave] Dombrowski, it involved [Alex] Cora, and Joe Torre was in that meeting and Torre basically said to the teams, both of them, to all those people and anyone else who was in the room, ‘Look: if you are inclined, or have gotten away with, or are doing anything that would violate the rules that you are all aware of or should be aware of, um, you’re gonna have to understand, at some point there’s gonna be a player or players or front office person that’s going to leave your team, go to another team, and basically rat you guys out. Basically tell, you know, the dirty secrets.’

“So whether Joe Torre was aware, at that point, what was coming from Mike Fiers, and there’s no evidence to believe that, but I was told that that message and that meeting basically scared the heck out of those guys in that room. To the point where they acknowledged ‘we’re in trouble, we’re dead, so we cannot continue this particular behavior.’””

The sort of thing that makes you wonder if the folk from that poll who suspect an MLB cover-up have a point…..



QLE Posted: February 29, 2020 at 12:46 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, joe torre, red sox

Monday, February 24, 2020

MLBTR: A’s place their Betts on Semien

[block]So, even as the Red Sox determined they couldn’t “sit on [their] hands and lose” Betts without adequate compensation after the coming season, the Athletics decided to keep Semien in roughly analogous circumstances. Well, analogous from a roster talent and postseason odds perspective. The low-budget A’s are the sort of team that’s typically forced to take its Betts-type players off the table on the rationale set forth by Henry, even if it stings, in order to preserve a long-term flow of talent and keep up with deeper-pocketed rivals. Instead, they’re letting their version of Betts ride.

It’s quite the juxtaposition. Perhaps the A’s still have designs on a Semien extension, but it’s far from inevitable and we haven’t heard indication that a deal is particularly likely. And if one is to be struck, it’ll require convincing him to forego free agency … which will assuredly require the kind of price that makes the A’s squirm (even if they can now finally see a new ballpark on the horizon). A mid-summer trade fall-back is available but isn’t exactly plan A. All things considered, in relative terms, the situation is quite similar to that which would’ve faced the Red Sox on Betts.[/block]

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Red Sox Name Jerry Narron As Bench Coach After Three Seasons With Diamondbacks

When the Boston Red Sox named Ron Roenicke the interim manager, they needed to fill the void of bench coach that was left behind.

And now the team has its guy.

The Red Sox on Saturday announced they have named Jerry Narron as the bench coach. Narron previously was with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a part of their coaching staff. Narron also served as Boston’s bench coach in 2003.


QLE Posted: February 23, 2020 at 12:35 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bench coaches, jerry narron, red sox

Monday, February 17, 2020

Buckley: The few hits — and many misses — of Red Sox ownership’s day in front of the media – The Athletic

They should have stood home with their shovels.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:21 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox

How will the Red Sox market a Mookie-less team? - The Boston Globe

A lot of bullshit coming out of Fenway.

The demand for tickets is a lot softer than the following suggests. The secondary market was extremely soft last year. I got a lot of tickets far under the marked price. This fact wasn’t lost on a lot of my friends and the people I sat near at games who have season tickets. Ushers I talked to shared that a lot of season ticket holders weren’t too happy to be paying full price and then having people sit next to them at half the cost.

Outside of Betts and Price’s images being scrubbed from the Red Sox website’s ticketing ads, the details of a marketing plan are still fuzzy. One was in the works before the trade, given the reality of what happened in 2019 and over the offseason. Kennedy said last fall that attendance over 79 games at Fenway Park last season was down 0.7 percent, while NESN ratings dropped 23 percent.

Then they shared some baloney.

Both Henry and Kennedy wanted to alter, by almost 180 degrees, the prevailing and understandable perception that the Betts trade was made for purely financial reasons. It’s a line of reasoning that was launched last September by Henry himself when he told reporters “This year we need to be under the [competitive balance tax].”

Henry downplayed the notion that financial tailwinds steered the trade.

“You’re hung up on CBT,” Henry said. “You see this and I think the media, too, to some extent, ever since we mentioned that clubs have a tendency to get below CBT once in a while. It’s surprising that anyone would think we would outspend every other team in baseball every single year. To me, that’s a little surprising. Clubs have to make difficult decisions, and one of the biggest decisions they have to make is, ‘Do we potentially let a great player walk away for very little compensation?’ That’s one of the decisions that you have to make irrespective of CBT – it has nothing to do with CBT.”

Ownership is 100% responsible for losing Mookie. It’s all about short-term planning. Cherington shouldn’t have been sacked. Price should have never been signed. The Red Sox had an opportunity to be Dodgers East. They squandered the chance. Losing the best player since Yaz (whose personality comes nowhere near Mookie’s) is something a lot of fans are extremely angry about.

Henry said the CBT was only “an element,” and not the reason for making the Betts trade.

The notion that the top of the Red Sox corporate ladder bears responsibility for making decisions that put it in the payroll jam is one both Henry and Kennedy were willing to accept.

“In management, we’ve made a lot of bad, wrong decisions in our 19 years here,” Kennedy said.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:50 AM | 80 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox

Friday, February 14, 2020

Sparse crowds, slow ticket sales, no buzz—Red Sox facing an enthusiasm deficit

FORT MYERS, Fla.—What happens if they hold spring training and no one comes? Does it still exist?

When they weren’t pondering the existence of God or the nature of love, philosophers have wrestled with that thorny question since the dawn of Dodgertown. But they’ve never been able to test the hypothesis, because fans have always descended on even the remotest Grapefruit League outposts in droves.

Based on the first couple of days of workouts at JetBlue Park, however, the Red Sox may finally provide the answer.

The scene on Thursday was jaw-dropping. Even accepting that school vacation doesn’t start until next week, and even acknowledging that full-squad workouts don’t start until Monday, the lack of fans on the back fields while pitchers and catchers began plying their craft in advance of a 2020 season that’s still going to be played despite Mookie Betts wearing Dodger Blue was noticeable.

Gee, I can’t imagine why the fans aren’t interested…..


QLE Posted: February 14, 2020 at 01:34 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: enthusiasm, red sox

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Ringer: The Myths Behind Boston’s Mookie Betts Trade Justification

“Boston did really well,” one executive told ESPN’s Buster Olney. “The Red Sox will reset fast,” said another, adding, “they’ll have money to spend in the next offseason.”

Many of these optimistic interpretations of Boston’s side of the trade are centered more in myth than reality. So as spring training begins and Betts prepares for the first non–Red Sox camp of his career, let’s tackle some of those myths and expose the rotten underbelly of Boston’s trade.

A deep dive into the financials behind the trade.

Red Sox prospect Jeter Downs has tough name to live up to

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Carrying one of the most hated sports names in Boston is already enough of a burden, so Jeter Downs won’t also try to be the guy who replaces Mookie Betts.

The former Dodgers prospect, who was named after Hall of Famer Derek Jeter by his Yankees-loving mother, was acquired in the deal that sent Betts to Los Angeles on the eve of spring training.

And he knew the question was coming.

“Obviously, I’m going to get bombarded with this whole name thing,” he said in the Red Sox clubhouse Wednesday before the team’s first formal workout of spring training. “It’s pretty cool. And I guess my mom, she knew what she was doing when she named me Jeter.”

I seem to remember losing $5 betting on racing at Jeter Downs in the OTB parlor of a down-market racetrack once.


QLE Posted: February 13, 2020 at 01:03 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: great name, jeter downs, prospects, red sox

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Red Sox Sign-Stealing Investigation Will Stretch Into Spring

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Major League Baseball will not have a decision in the Boston Red Sox sign-stealing investigation this week, a person with knowledge of the probe told The Associated Press, meaning the team will open spring training without knowing if it will be punished.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity Tuesday because there was no formal announcement. Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week that he hoped to have the investigation wrapped before the start of spring training; Red Sox pitchers and catchers reported Tuesday and have their first workout Wednesday.

There are several ways to interpret this delay- which one would you choose?


QLE Posted: February 12, 2020 at 12:48 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dirty rotten cheaters, red sox, sign-stealing

Roenicke named Boston’s interim skipper

FORT MYERS, Fla.—On the eve of Spring Training, which starts for the Red Sox on Wednesday morning, the club officially elevated bench coach Ron Roenicke to interim manager on Tuesday.

But that interim title should vanish quickly.

Once MLB completes the sign-stealing investigation involving the 2018 Red Sox, Roenicke is expected to be named the 48th manager in club history.

Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom all but said that at Tuesday’s press conference.

So, what do we make of the logic behind this hire?


QLE Posted: February 12, 2020 at 12:31 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: managers, red sox, ron roenicke

Red Sox Nearing Deal With Kevin Pillar

The Red Sox are closing in on a contract with free-agent outfielder Kevin Pillar, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. He’s represented by All Bases Covered Sports Management.

Pillar, 31, was non-tendered by the Giants earlier in the winter after hitting .259/.287/.432 with a career-high 21 home runs in 2019. He’d been projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $9.7MM in arbitration. Pillar also swiped 14 bags — his fifth straight season with at least that many — and struck out in just 13.8 percent of his plate appearances. However, the longtime Blue Jays center fielder also only walked at a 2.8 percent clip — a career low — and the resulting .287 on-base percentage was one of the worst marks of any qualified MLB hitter.

Defensively, he played a roughly average center field by measure of metrics like Defensive Runs Saved, Ultimate Zone Rating and Outs Above Average. That’s a step back from the days when he graded out as one of MLB’s premier defensive players, but Pillar is still at least a serviceable option in center and likely an above-average glove in the corners.

Not exactly what most of you were hoping for as a replacement for Mookie, is it?

QLE Posted: February 12, 2020 at 12:26 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: kevin pillar, red sox

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Five Losers of MLB’s Offseason

Pitchers and catchers officially begin their preseason workouts this week, ending an eventful offseason where many teams improved their rosters heading into 2020.

For all the winners of the winters, though, there are the offseason losers. These are the clubs that failed to make the necessary roster upgrades, the free agents who miscalculated their values and the aging players in the twilight of their careers whose services are no longer desired. Below are the five biggest losers this winter.

So, any losers who you’d like to add to the list?


QLE Posted: February 11, 2020 at 01:02 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jacob degrom, nolan arenado, offseason, red sox, rob manfred, winners and losers

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Mookie Betts on way to L.A.—again (source)

DODGERS GET: OF Mookie Betts, LHP David Price, cash (all from BOS); RHP Brusdar Graterol, 67th pick in 2020 Draft (both from MIN)
RED SOX GET: OF Alex Verdugo, SS Jeter Downs, C Connor Wong (all from LA)
TWINS GET: RHP Kenta Maeda, cash (both from LA)

Benintendi, Red Sox agree to $10 million, two-year deal

BOSTON (AP) — Outfielder Andrew Benintendi and the Boston Red Sox avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $10 million, two-year contract on Saturday.

He will earn $3.4 million this year and $6.6 million in 2021.

The 25-year-old hit .277 with 51 homers and 259 RBIs in his first three-plus seasons in the major leagues. In 2018, he led all players with 15 runs in the postseason while helping the Red Sox win the World Series. His game-ending catch in Game 4 of the ALCS was The Associated Press “Play of the Year.”

So, how long before their effort to trade him becomes something rather embarrassing?


QLE Posted: February 09, 2020 at 01:07 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew benintendi, contracts, red sox

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Ron Roenicke reportedly in line to become Red Sox manager

The Red Sox may soon have their next manager and it appears his name will likely be Ron Roenicke.

The Boston Globe is reporting that Roenicke would indeed be the Red Sox choice to replace Alex Cora after a ruling comes down from Major League Baseball regarding its investigation of allegations the Sox cheated in 2018. Commissioner Rob Manfred reiterated Thursday what Red Sox players had been told, which is that MLB’s plan was to have the process completed before the start of spring training (Wednesday).

The 63-year-old has been a bench coach with the Sox the last two seasons, having served as the Brewers manager from 2011-15. Just prior to joining Boston Roenicke was the third base coach for the Dodgers and then the Angels.

And now, to see if the other shoe drops…..


QLE Posted: February 08, 2020 at 01:01 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: managerial search, red sox, ron roenicke

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