The holidays are just about over—hope yours were outstanding—and we’re inching closer to the start of a new baseball year with precious little Red Sox news to date. A consensus seems to be building that the Red Sox will bolster their offense with J.D. Martinez, but as of now, there’s little more than idle speculation.
So, let’s amuse ourselves with some news and notes of interest to Red Sox Nation:
- There’ll be plenty of fresh faces on the teams opposing the Red Sox this season, perhaps most notably new Yankees slugger, Giancarlo Stanton. There’ll also be a lot of a familiar faces no longer around. Perhaps the biggest is that of Evan Longoria, who was dealt to the Giants earlier in December. No Tampa Bay player has faced the Sox more than Longoria (171 games) or had more hits (184), doubles (47), or home runs (31). Longoria’s 106 career RBI versus the Red Sox is the most of any Ray, the second-most among all active players after Robinson Canó (116). Longoria’s .498 career slugging percentage against the Sox is the best among Rays with 100 or more plate appearances against Boston. His .843 lifetime OPS at Fenway is the seventh-best of all actives there with at least 350 PA.
- I enjoyed this fun look back at August 25 when, in a game against the Orioles at Fenway, Boston designated hitter Chris Young was lifted from the game only to return back in the game. It was the only instance of illegal lineup re-entry in Major League Baseball history and it went largely unnoticed, though it seems that Orioles skipper Buck Showalter realized it and chose to let John Farrell‘s mistake slide.
- A couple notes about umpiring. In case you missed it, long-time and well-regarded umpire Dale Scott, 58, called it a career earlier this month. Scott, who worked 3,897 regular-season games and was a crew chief for 16 seasons, missed most of 2017 season after suffering a second concussion in nine months, his fourth in five years. Scott’s 32 years as a big league umpire included working as part of the crew for the 2004 World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals.
- Anonymous sources tell the Associated Press that MLB may soon mic umpires, similar to way officials use microphones to explain calls in the NFL. The first such mic’d officials might debut with the All-Star Game on July 11. The system could then be tweaked over the season’s second half before becoming permanent. MLB umpires are currently in the middle of negotiating a five-year labor deal. Former Sox reliever Brad Ziegler is quoted in the article saying “It probably would be nice to get a little more explanation,” though Marlins star Christian Yelich said the change would be meaningless. “The call’s the call,” Yelich said. “Just because they tell you what they decided isn’t going to change it.”
- The Twins, already busy this off-season signing Zach Duke, Michael Pineda, Fernando Rodney, and one-time Red Sox short-timer Ryan Lamarre, are now rumored to be interested in inking Mike Napoli to a deal, too.
- RSNStats will be heading back to the Red Sox Winter Weekend, January 19-21 at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. Last year’s event was a lot of fun with over 40 Sox players and coaches attending, including Pedro Martínez, Wade Boggs, Mookie Betts, and Chris Sale. If you’re planning to attend too, drop me a note and perhaps we can put some notes together for Dave Dombrowski over a beer.