The Boston Red Sox stood pat at Wednesday’s trade deadline following rumors of the team potentially looking to add a reliever.
Despite a rough stretch as of late, Boston’s bullpen ranks in the top-10 of the American League in ERA, strikeouts, opponent batting average and walks.
For more on the ‘pen’s numbers, check out the video above from “Red Sox First Pitch,” presented by Men’s Wearhouse.
Christian Vazquez has had quite the successful season, averaging .282 at the plate with 47 RBIs and 16 home runs in 2019.
But before his current hot streak, the Boston Red Sox catcher was struggling at the plate. In 2018, he batted .207 with just 16 RBIs and three home runs through the entire 182-game season.
“I think last year my swing was downhill,” he said, per the Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams. “It was a lot of ground balls there and a lot of rollovers. Just bad habits.”
So he decided it was time to take a deeper dive into the mechanics of his swing. And once he met up with Lorenzo Germania, who was recommended to Vazquez by an unidentified former Colorado Rockies outfielder, things started to click.
“I focused on the angle, launch angle and all that stuff,” Vazquez said. “Why not? Everyone is doing it.”
Red Sox assistant hitting coach Andy Barkett has noticed a marked difference in Vazquez’s approach at the place.
“His approach to the ball and the movements of his body have changed,” he said. “He used to kind of cut the ball, more of a direct path to the ball. He would be able to hit it all the time but his barrel a lot of times wouldn’t stay in the zone long enough. Now he’s really getting behind the ball early and able to stay through the ball and hit it with backspin.”
After all, Vazquez said he had “nothing to lose” by giving it a try.
“I hit .207 last year. If I hit the same (so be it),” he said. “If I hit better, it’s a plus for us.”
Carmelo Anthony might have been a New York Knick by now had Kryie Irving and Kevin Durant stuck to the team’s script.
The Knicks would have considered signing Anthony if Irving, Durant or other high-profile free agents joined them this offseason, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Wednesday, citing NBA sources. The Knicks hoped to recruit the likes of Irving and Durant, add Anthony to the mix and contend for a championship with a veteran-heavy core.
However, Durant’s and Irving’s decision to join the Nets in free agency might have cost Anthony a shot at returning to the Knicks, with whom he played parts of seven seasons.
“… Now, New York is rebuilding around a blend of young talent and accomplished players and has a full roster,” Charania wrote.
Anthony, 35, remains out of the NBA, and rumors haven’t linked him strongly with any team this offsason. Instead of enjoying a simultaneous championship shot and farewell tour with New York, he’s waiting on a potential employer to take a chance on him. Some might consider Irving and Durant at least somewhat to blame for Anthony’s current state.
To the surprise of some, Noah Syndergaard is not going anywhere.
The New York Mets pitcher has been named in rumors for weeks now, but the team elected not to move him at the trade deadline.
Syndergaard, who keeps plenty active on Twitter, decided to update his bio when it became clear that he wouldn’t be moved.
New bio for Syndergaard. #Mets pic.twitter.com/KYIhzKL2AP
— Nathalie Alonso (@NathalieMLB) July 31, 2019
Whether or not that is a good or bad “Yup, still here, in New York” is unclear.
Despite the Mets’ struggles this season, they do have a pretty nice rotation in Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Zach Wheeler and Steven Matz.
It was shaping up to be a pretty quiet Major League Baseball trade deadline.
Then, the Houston Astros decided to go nuclear.
As deadline deals trickled in just past 4 p.m. ET, the Astros floored everybody, reportedly acquiring pitcher Zack Greinke from the Arizona Diamondbacks. That’s in addition to the acquisitions of Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini from the Toronto Blue Jays.
The moves sent the baseball world into a frenzy, with Astros star Justin Verlander even shocked by the news. He seemed pretty happy about it, though.
Wow… that escalated quickly! @astros
— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) July 31, 2019
With these additions, the Astros more or less become the favorite to win the World Series now. Their rotation is without a doubt the best in the American League — if not all of baseball — and they have a tremendous lineup to boot.
So, yeah, can’t blame Verlander for being happy.
The future certainly is bright for Boston Bruins first-round pick John Beecher.
Entering Wednesday, Beecher was leading the World Junior Summer Showcase with three goals in two games and tied for second in points with four.
He continued to light it up on Wednesday against Sweden, scoring team USA’s first goal, his fourth of the tournament, to give them a 1-0 lead. This comes just days after NHL.com’s Mike Morreale called Beecher the “most impressive player at camp hands down.”
USA leads Sweden 1-0 after 1 with a goal from John Beecher (BOS). 10 saves for Spencer Knight (FLA) who always makes it look easy back there. As has been the case throughout, 2020 eligibles Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz are the most noticeable forwards shift-by-shift for SWE.
— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) July 31, 2019
Unsurprisingly, the New York native leads Team USA in goals and points. Beecher, 18, was chosen with the 30th overall selection in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Both Dave Dombrowski and Alex Cora seem content with the Boston Red Sox’s inactivity at the trade deadline, and, well, it might now be understandable why.
It was shocking, to say the least, that the Red Sox didn’t make a move, especially given some clear needs in the bullpen. Dombrowski, the team’s president of baseball operations, outright admitted the team was looking for relief pitching but that the price was too high.
According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Red Sox very much were checking in on relief pitchers, but there was a clear roadblock in front of them.
The Red Sox inquired about several relievers Wednesday but were told that teams liked prospects from other clubs more than Boston's. Only way the Red Sox were getting a deal done, a source said, was "to do something stupid."
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 31, 2019
Indeed, it would’ve been risky for the Red Sox to give away huge prospects — especially since they likely only will compete for the wild card. With that in mind, it seems Dombrowski’s assessment of risk and reward led him to bet on the current group.
Tacko Fall has had a busy summer.
The 7-foot-6 center signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Boston Celtics on July 26, which means he’ll have the chance to compete for the 15th and final roster spot at training camp. But before he attempts to make Boston’s opening night roster, he got a chance to head back home for the first time in seven years and work out with one of the Eastern Conference’s best big men.
Fall traveled to Senegal as part of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders Program and worked with African players ahead of the start of the Basketball Africa League in March 2020. Trainer Drew Hanlen took the trip as well, which allowed Fall to workout with fellow center Joel Embiid, according to The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach.
“That was really awesome, too,” Fall said, per Himmelsbach. “We worked on pretty much a lot of work on the post, and every now and then he would stop and try to show me some things and try to tell me about the game in the NBA. … So I thought that was pretty cool, especially coming from him one of the best, if not the best center in the NBA right now.”
Fall also met another dominant big man in Dikembe Mutombo while overseas. The Hall of Famer had given the UCF product advice before, but the two had never met in person until this week.
He’s previously stated that he knows he has a lot of work to do, but Fall says he knows he belongs in the NBA.
“I know that I belong and I’ve tried to prove it since college,” Fall said. “I really feel like through the help of God I’ve put myself in a good position to keep proving that I can play in the NBA and have a really good career.”
Read Himmelsbach’s full article here >>>
To the surprise of pretty much everyone, the Boston Red Sox elected not to make a move at the trade deadline.
It was expected that the Red Sox would do something, especially given the routine struggles of the bullpen throughout the season. But instead, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski put his hope on the current group of guys turning things around. To a degree it’s understandable, as pretty much all of these players were on last season’s World Series-winning squad, but to date they’ve mostly underwhelmed given the talent they possess.
So, why did they decide to stand pat? Dombrowski addressed the media for north of 20 minutes Wednesday afternoon, and he explained why the Red Sox were inactive.
“Well, we talked right to the deadline,” Dombrowski said, as seen on NESN’s trade deadline coverage. “Our primary focus was relief pitching, that was our primary focus. Not back-end-type guys, because I think the reality of back-end guys when we start getting into those conversations, I don’t know of any back-end — well, Shane Green is one guy that moved — back-end guys that any of the ones we had on our list really moved. And I think part of that was the acquisition price. … We tried to (add bullpen pieces), we just didn’t like the asking price so we went right to the very end. Some people brought up positional player stuff to us today, so again you listen to anything, I bet you I have texts from 20 general managers on my phone right now from today and more than that over the last couple days. So we tried, we just didn’t like the price at the very end.
Dombrowski admitted that the Red Sox essentially are playing for just the wild card, not the division, and that played a role in his assessment in how much risk they should take. Dombrowski’s feelings do echo that of manager Alex Cora, who also indicated that he wasn’t disappointed with the team’s inactivity.
As LeBron James takes fire over his parenting style, Kendrick Perkins wonders whether critics would receive Tom Brady for doing the same thing.
The former Boston Celtics center defended the Los Angeles Lakers superstar’s high-profile show of parental enthusiasm, saying Tuesday via Twitter James had every right to go nuts after his oldest son threw down an alley-oop in a recent game.
“I guess Bron should walk in with secret service and say no pictures and autographs and sit there with his legs crossed and just a couple of claps huh?” Perkins wrote. “That man is at His first Born Basketball game supporting his son and having fun with it!”
Perkins joins Jayson Tatum among Celtics personalities who have backed James on this matter. Tatum said he can’t wait until his son is old enough to receive his full-throated support in any activities in which he participates.
James also threw down some dunks prior to his son’s game, with the demonstration entertaining the assembled crowd and also providing more fodder for critics. Perkins asked the Twitterverse how the public would have viewed Brady if he threw some passes around before one of his son’s games.
I wonder if Tom Brady was to show up at his son football game and was throwing deep routes to the wide receivers during pregame would people have anything to say?!
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) July 30, 2019
It’s certainly something to think about just before this controversy fades away.