Tag:Red Sox
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:15 pm
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Madson on walk-in music: 'I don't want any'

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With closers playing musical chairs this winter, the biggest question of the spring became . . . music?

Sure.

Jonathan Papelbon moved from the Red Sox to the Phillies, so the Dropkick Murphys say he can't use "Shipping Up To Boston" as his walk-in music. Andrew Bailey moved from the A's to the Red Sox, and the music question is big enough that Bailey opened a Twitter chat Wednesday night by saying, "FYI, no walk out song yet."

And what about Ryan Madson, who moved from the Phillies to the Reds?

Last year, Madson entered games to "Don't Stop Believing'." Theoretically, he could do the same this year, since the song isn't exactly tied to Philadelphia.

But Madson said he doesn't want it. In fact, when the Reds asked him what song he wanted, he said he told them he didn't want anything.

"I just want to go out there and get three outs," Madson said Thursday morning.

Madson is in good spirits, despite some elbow soreness that has kept him out of early Cactus League games, and despite a winter that saw him leave the Phillies after talks about a multiyear contract strangely fell through.

"I'm a simple guy from California," he said.

He signed a one-year deal with the Reds for $8.5 million, a little apprehensive about changing teams for the first time in his career.

"I didn't really know what to expect, but it's been great," he said. "I like all the guys. They're very cool."

And about what happened at the end in Philadelphia, when he was offered at least a three-year deal and then seemed close to signing a four-year deal?

"I don't even care anymore," Madson said.
Posted on: March 4, 2012 1:30 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2012 2:00 pm
 

Amaro: Phillies weren't best team in 2008

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Were the Phillies the best team in baseball the last two years, despite not winning the World Series?

Perhaps, but what about in 2008, when they did win it?

"The team in 2008 that won the World Series was not the best team in baseball," a National League general manager said this week.

Not just any NL general manager, either. It was Phillies GM Ruben Amaro.

"Things fell right, and we were fortunate that Tampa Bay beat Boston. Frankly, I didn't like the matchup of the Phillies and Boston."

The 2008 Phillies won 92 games, fifth in the majors behind the Angels, Rays, Cubs and Red Sox.



Category: MLB
Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:52 pm
 

Expanded playoffs, and what might have been

The other day, Terry Francona was saying that if the new double-wild-card playoff system had been in effect last year, he'd still be managing the Red Sox.

That may well be true. Not only that, but if the new system had been in effect the last two years, Francona's Red Sox would be on a five-year streak of making the playoffs, and would have missed out on October just once in his eight seasons in charge.

A few other what-might-have-beens:

-- The team that would have benefited the most if baseball had gone to two wild cards instead of one in 1995: The Giants. They would have made it to the play-in game in 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2009, which means they would have been in the postseason nine of the last 15 years, rather than just five.

-- The play-in game would have featured two teams from the same division a little less than a third of the time, but it would have given us an all-AL East matchup three times in the last four years. It would have been Yankees-Red Sox in both 2008 and 2010. Had that happened, would anyone have been claiming that the rivalry needed rejuvenating?

-- The second wild card wouldn't have saved the collapsing 2007 Mets, but the 2008 team would have had at least one more game.

-- The Phillies' string of consecutive postseason appearances would now be at seven years, rather than five. The Phillies would have been in the play-in game in both 2005 (against the Astros) and 2006 (against the Dodgers).

-- The Blue Jays, who haven't been to the postseason since their back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993, would have made it in 1998. And the Expos, who didn't make it to the postseason after 1981, would have been there in 1996. But even expanded playoffs wouldn't have helped the Pirates (still no playoff appearances since 1992) or the Royals (none since 1985).


Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:52 pm
 

Expanded playoffs, and what might have been

The other day, Terry Francona was saying that if the new double-wild-card playoff system had been in effect last year, he'd still be managing the Red Sox.

That may well be true. Not only that, but if the new system had been in effect the last two years, Francona's Red Sox would be on a five-year streak of making the playoffs, and would have missed out on October just once in his eight seasons in charge.

A few other what-might-have-beens:

-- The team that would have benefited the most if baseball had gone to two wild cards instead of one in 1995: The Giants. They would have made it to the play-in game in 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2009, which means they would have been in the postseason nine of the last 15 years, rather than just five.

-- The play-in game would have featured two teams from the same division a little less than a third of the time, but it would have given us an all-AL East matchup three times in the last four years. It would have been Yankees-Red Sox in both 2008 and 2010. Had that happened, would anyone have been claiming that the rivalry needed rejuvenating?

-- The second wild card wouldn't have saved the collapsing 2007 Mets, but the 2008 team would have had at least one more game.

-- The Phillies' string of consecutive postseason appearances would now be at seven years, rather than five. The Phillies would have been in the play-in game in both 2005 (against the Astros) and 2006 (against the Dodgers).

-- The Blue Jays, who haven't been to the postseason since their back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993, would have made it in 1998. And the Expos, who didn't make it to the postseason after 1981, would have been there in 1996. But even expanded playoffs wouldn't have helped the Pirates (still no playoff appearances since 1992) or the Royals (none since 1985).


Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:51 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 12:14 pm
 

Wakefield to announce retirement

Tim Wakefield's knuckleball got him 17 years with the Red Sox and two World Series rings.

He decided not to try for one more.

The 45-year-old Wakefield will announce his retirement Friday afternoon, the team announced. He'll leave with 200 career wins, 186 of them with Boston.

The Red Sox had offered Wakefield a chance to come to spring training to win a job, but the right-hander decided against it. He leaves just six wins shy of the franchise record, which is shared by Cy Young and Roger Clemens. Wakefield does hold the Red Sox record for most games started with 430, 48 ahead of Clemens, who is second. He is also the first Red Sox to pitch 3,000 innings for the team.

And the only three players to play more seasons for the Red Sox than Wakefield? Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams and Dwight Evans.

Wakefield's Red Sox career is quite a success story. Signed originally by the Pirates as a first baseman, he turned to pitching when his career stalled, and learned the knuckleball. He made it to the big leagues with the Pirates, but they released him in spring training 1995. He signed with the Red Sox, won 16 games that year, and has been a big part of their team ever since.

Wakefield leaves with the most career wins of any active pitcher (Roy Halladay is the new leader, with 188).

Category: MLB
Posted on: February 2, 2012 2:37 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 10:57 am
 

With Jackson, Nationals are trying to win now

The Nationals were already going to be one of the more interesting teams to watch this year.

Now it's time to wonder if they could actually win.

They think so, and it's why they committed money to sign Edwin Jackson to a one-year, $11 million contract, as CBSSports.com colleague Jon Heyman first reported Thursday afternoon.

Jackson joins a Nationals rotation that already featured young stars Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann, and already added Gio Gonzalez this winter. The Nationals also have John Lannan, Chien-Ming Wang and Ross Detwiler, although they could now look to trade one of them this spring.

It's not Halladay-Lee-Hamels, but it is huge progress for a team that as recently as 2009 had the fourth highest rotation ERA in baseball.

But is it good enough, especially in a division that could be the most competitive in baseball?

The Phillies are still the National League's elite team, even though they haven't been to the World Series the last two years. The Braves are still very strong, even though they collapsed last September.

And the Marlins are still the team that dominated the first part of this offseason, adding Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell.

Still, Nationals people are quietly -- and sometimes not so quietly -- optimistic, to the point of believing that they could make a charge for the playoffs this year.

"If the two middle infielders (Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa) get better, and if the catcher (Wilson Ramos) gets better, we could have a heck of a team," one Nats person said to me this week.

And if Bryce Harper is ready?

Obviously, the Nationals think Harper could be a difference-maker, if he's ready for the big leagues at age 19. Even if he isn't completely ready, one Nationals person said, "He can help you win even while he's still learning."

If Harper does make it to the opening day roster, the Nationals would move Jayson Werth to center field, a position he played some in Philadelphia and also for 19 games last year in Washington. The long-term plan, then, would be to add a true center fielder next winter, move Werth to left field and move Mike Morse to first base (where Adam LaRoche will play this year).

The Nationals didn't get everything they wanted this winter. Their top pitching target was Buehrle, who chose the Marlins instead. They were in on the Prince Fielder bidding, although it appears now that they were behind the Tigers, Dodgers and perhaps another team.

But they beat out a crowded field to get Gonzalez from the A's, and now they have Jackson, a hard-throwing 28-year-old who has made an All-Star team and pitched in a World Series.

When Werth signed with the Nationals 14 months ago, there was a thought he was going from the best team in the league to a team with little chance to win. Now, just a year later, the Phillies may still be the best team, but the Nationals could well have a chance to win, too.

They certainly believe they could.

Another way to think of the Jackson signing: The Red Sox arguably needed a starting pitcher more than the Nationals did, but the Nationals were apparently willing to commit more money to get one. The Boston Globe reported that the Sox offered Jackson just $5-6 million on a one-year deal; his deal with the Nationals is for twice that.

The Red Sox rotation is very strong at the top, with Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz, but very questionable at the end, with converted reliever Daniel Bard, swing man Alfredo Aceves and the questionable Vicente Padilla, Carlos Silva and Aaron Cook as the other options.

Boston badly wanted to sign another starter, but Jackson is now out of the picture, and it appears that Roy Oswalt will hold out for a chance to go to one of his two favored teams, the Cardinals or the Rangers.




Posted on: January 25, 2012 4:49 pm
 

Cespedes is a free agent, and bidding can begin

The bidding for Yoenis Cespedes can finally begin.

The 26-year-old Cuban outfielder has established residency in the Dominican Republic, and Major League Baseball told teams on Wednesday that he is now officially a free agent.

But where will he go, how much will he cost, and how fast could he make an impact?

First, the where: Cespedes himself told reporters in the Dominican that the Cubs have shown the most interest in him, with the Marlins, Tigers, White Sox and Orioles also involved. The Nationals have also shown interest in Cespedes, and the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies scouted him, although it's believed that none of the three will be among the top bidders.

The Marlins have made no secret of their interest, but according to sources, Cespedes has told other teams that he would prefer not to play in Miami. He plans to make his home in the Dominican, rather than in Florida, and may believe that the huge Cuban community in South Florida would add too much pressure and too many distractions.

The Tigers have long been interested, with general manager Dave Dombrowski making a surprising trip to the Dominican Republic to see Cespedes for himself. But Detroit's resources for signing Cespedes could be more limited after signing Prince Fielder to a nine-year, $214 million contract.

How much will Cespedes cost? No one seems to know for sure, but many teams have been in contact with agent Adam Katz, and it seems clear that he'll get more than the $30 million that the Reds paid for Aroldis Chapman.

How fast does he make an impact? Several of the teams that have scouted Cespedes heavily believe that he would be best served by beginning 2012 in the minor leagues. Given his age and the amount of money he'll likely cost, there will be pressure to move him to the big leagues fast, however.

Cespedes is described by those who like him as a Bo Jackson type, with an unusual combination of speed and power.

Cespedes may not have helped his value by playing briefly and ineffectively in the Dominican winter league, but he may have had other motives for playing for Aguilas. It's believed that people involved with the team also have ties to the Dominican government, and that Cespedes' decision to play may have sped up the process of establishing residency.

In any case, that process is complete, and Cespedes is a free agent.

And the bidding can begin.
Posted on: January 25, 2012 2:36 pm
 

Red Sox like Oswalt, but does he like them?

The Red Sox like Roy Oswalt. But is the feeling mutual?

The Sox, sources say, have made a significant offer to the free-agent right-hander. Oswalt has yet to accept, raising some doubt about his interest in going to Boston.

Oswalt already told the Tigers he wasn't interested in going to Detroit, sources said, and even a recruiting phone call from Justin Verlander didn't sway him. While he may not have given the Red Sox as definite a "no," it is thought that he would prefer teams closer to his home state of Mississippi.

Oswalt has long shown interest in going to the Cardinals, but it's unclear how interested the Cardinals are in him. The Rangers had interest in him earlier in the winter, but they have since added Yu Darvish to their rotation. The Reds were also thought to be a team that Oswalt would like, but they traded for Mat Latos.

The 34-year-old Oswalt spent most of his career with the Astros, then accepted a trade to the Phillies at midseason 2010. He went 16-11 with a 2.96 ERA in 35 starts for the Phils.

The Red Sox would like to add another starting pitcher before spring training, but the options right now seem to be limited. Edwin Jackson is the only other significant free-agent starter on the market, and the Red Sox have talked to him, too. The Red Sox have also talked to the White Sox about Gavin Floyd, but were turned off by the asking price and it seems that a deal for him is unlikely.


 
 
 
 
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