Talkin Sox with Dan

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Archive for the tag “ryan sweeney”

Ryan Kalish is Needed in Boston

Ryan Kalish should be in the next available Lincoln Town Car that takes him from McCoy Stadium to T.F. Green Airport and on a plane that heads for either South Beach or the North Side.

Either way, he needs to be up with the big boys. Now.

Since being deemed healthy enough to participate in games, Kalish has shined. In a small 13-game sample that spans from High-A ball to Triple-A, the 24-year old outfielder has hit at a .367/.475/.673 clip with an eye-popping OPS of 1.148. He’s launched four home runs, swiped two bags, and drawn nine walks.

This isn’t just some sort of aberration by a minor league standout. Kalish is a guy who has already showcased his talents on the major league level.

In 2010, the left handed hitter was called to Boston during the latter half of the season. The Red Sox were in need. In 53 games, he slugged four home runs, drove in 24 runs, and stole 10 bases. He navigated center field like a veteran (e.g., diving, tumbling catch in Tampa). Kalish looked like a kid that belonged.

Injuries derailed Kalish’s ability to immediately solidify himself as a fixture in the Red Sox outfield. Nevertheless, the Red Sox front office held enough confidence in Kalish to deal Josh Reddick to the Athletics. That’s the same Reddick who has 14 home runs this season in a cavernous home ballpark.

The point is that Kalish possesses both the pedigree and the production that warrants a promotion. More importantly, like in 2010, there is a need.

Offensively, the Red Sox have been potent this season. They’re second in the American League in runs scored and fifth in slugging percentage. Batting average? They’re third.  As of late, however, they have been stagnant to say the least.  In their past five games, the Red Sox have scored 12 runs. That’s an average of 2.4 runs per game. Good luck winning ballgames at that rate.

Over the course of those five games, the Red Sox have faced quality pitching courtesy of both the Nationals and the Marlins. Whether it is Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, or Josh Johnson toeing the rubber, scoring runs is not going to be easy, even if you have a lineup that consists of guys who flat out mash. And the Red Sox lineup certainly does not possess the thump that’s needed to combat quality starting pitching.

Right now, who are you confident in to get a hit, let alone a big hit? David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are the only acceptable answers. Adrian Gonzalez is mired in a prolonged slump that forces followers of the team to count the number of walks, rather than home runs. Dustin Pedroia‘s thumb is not right, and, as a result, neither is he. Kevin Youkilis is either too busy grounding out to the left side or yelling at an umpire to actually care that he has been miserable at the dish since returning from the disabled list.

Have there been honorable contributions from Ryan Sweeney, Daniel Nava, and Mike Aviles? Absolutely. And they should be damn proud of themselves. At some point, however, good pitching beats mediocre hitting. And when the hitting isn’t very good to begin with, the good pitching makes said hitting look even worse.

Kalish is a polished, young hitter who can make an immediate impact on a team that is starving for a spark. The Red Sox have been lackluster against right handed pitching. Kalish would help. Their bench lacks any sort of substance. The broad shouldered kid from Jersey would help create roster depth.

If the Red Sox were ten games over .500, it would make sense for Kalish to remain in Triple-A Pawtucket in order to get back into baseball shape. But they’re not. They’re 30-32 and have exactly 100 games left to turn their season season around.

Reinforcements are needed. There is one less than sixty minutes away from Boston. Kalish should be playing with the Red Sox.

Some, if not many, will disagree. And their reasons are valid.

I recently had an exchange with the Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson–who does an excellent job covering the Red Sox. MacPherson indirectly raised a fair point: Who do the Sox part with in order to make room for Kalish? MacPherson believes it would have to be Scott Podsednik, who has been better than good since getting called up. Here is a portion of our conversation via Twitter:

MacPherson’s point is well-taken. Nevertheless, whether it is a Podsednik decline, a Nava DL stint, or a different roster move all together, Kalish will impact the 2012 Red Sox at some point this season.

Eventually, no matter what, the cream will rise to the top.

Things to Watch For This Weekend

Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals rolled into Fenway Park on Friday night and won the first game of a three game set against the Red Sox. Strasburg was electric, using all of his pitches effectively. The guy looked good. Harper went bridge to most cavernous area of Fenway–the apex of the triangle in center field. He also made an above average catch as he tracked down a hooking liner off Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s bat. He is a concoction of both Five Hour Energy and Red Bull. I was impressed. Let’s examine some other points of interest as the series continues on Saturday.

One of the most frustrating things is baseball is when a pitcher goes out and gives up runs after his offense provides him support. This was on display last night when Felix Doubront surrendered three runs in the top of the third inning after the Red Sox drew first blood in the bottom half of the second. With two outs in the bottom of the second inning, Mike Aviles smacked a clutch two-out double to left center, scoring two runs. Strasburg, at the time, seemed to look human. Doubront promptly went out and let three runs cross the plate the next half inning. So, so frustrating. Baseball is a game of momentum, and a one-two-three inning in the top of the third could have seriously changed the complexion of the game.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is back. Damn it. I’m half kidding. Dice-K will pitch Saturday afternoon for the Red Sox for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. This will undoubtedly be his final year in a Sox uniform, and maybe, just maybe, he can bring something to the table. Hope resides in the idea that Bobby Valentine may have some sort of a positive impact on him due to his ability to speak Matsuzaka’s native language. Time will tell, but if I wouldn’t place any kind of a substantial bet on the Japanese import.

Gio Gonzalez was close to becoming a member of the Red Sox, but the deal fell through. It would have included new fan-favorite Will Middlebrooks along with other prospects like Josh Reddick. The Sox would have likely landed Ryan Sweeney, Gonzalez, and Andrew Bailey. Instead, the Athletics and Nationals brokered a deal that sent the young south paw to the nation’s capital, where he has been excellent. Gonzalez will tote a 2.31 ERA to the mound on Saturday.

Baseball is all about winning two out of three. Middle games in three game sets are vital. Think about it. If your club wins the first game of the series, then, a day later, takes the second game, you’ve already won the series. The final game is gravy. If your team drops the first game but is able to snag a W in the next game, you at least put yourself in a position to win the series with a victory in the final contest. So, if you’re the Red Sox, stack your lineup full of right handed hitters and grab a win Saturday–because then you’re only one win away from having an extremely successful weekend.

It’s easy to get down on Kevin Youkilis. I mean he did go down looking on a fastball in a 3-2 count with the bases loaded against Strasburg on Friday. Youkilis argued, probably to save face, and was ejected. The ballgame was essentially decided then and there. I’m not someone who believes that just because a player helped win a championship or two he must always receive the benefit of the doubt, but Youkilis is still an asset. He’s in a tough spot on a team where there isn’t a ton of flexibility at the corners. I wish there was a way to utilize both Middlebrooks and Youkilis, but it just may not be possible. I’d be surprised if Middlebrooks wasn’t in the lineup Saturday.

As a piece of advice, try not to let your new found affinity for the young, talented Middlebrooks manifest itself into hate or disdain for Youkilis. If you had a team of 25 Youks, you’d win a lot of games.

Shopping for a Catcher

The Red Sox do not have a surplus of many of things. Wins are a good example of something they certainly do not have an excess of. Their outfield that once played host to Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury is now home to Daniel Nava and Ryan Sweeney. Alfredo Aceves was once a strong candidate to break camp as a member of the rotation. A freak thumb injury to Andrew Bailey, combined with Red Sox brass’ steadfast belief that Daniel Bard is best served as a starter, thrust Aceves into the role of closer. The minute they thought that had six viable starting pitchers, Aaron Cook’s knee was gashed by a spike, landing him on the disabled list.

The 2012 version of the Boston Red Sox is not exactly dripping with depth.

They do have catching, however. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is posting a so-so  slash line of .250/.281/.512. He has shown a knack for hitting the ball out of the ballpark on the young season. Salty’s gone bridge five times. The 27-year old was once a highly touted prospect and a former first round pick. He has the pedigree and is still developing at an extremely demanding position. Kelly Shoppach mashes lefties and seems to be vaulting into the position of personal catcher for Josh Beckett. It should not be ignored that on Monday night, Shoppach caught Jon Lester‘s complete game against the Mariners. Whether it is factual or not, pitchers seem to be more comfortable working with Shoppach. Finally, Ryan Lavarnway is biding his time at Triple-A Pawtucket. He certainly looks like the catcher of the future or at least a power bat from the right side.

Compared to the catching situations for the Angels and the Nationals, the Red Sox look like they have Ivan Rodriguez, Johnny Bench, and Yogi Berra.

In Washington, the backstops are dropping early and often. Wilson Ramos, a talented young catcher, is likely out for the duration of the season with a right knee injury. On Monday night, Ramos’ replacement, Sandy Leon, a rookie, fell victim to a high right ankle sprain courtesy of the Padres’ Chase Headley during a play at the plate. Out West, the Angels are suffering a similar fate. Chris Iannetta will be out for the best part of two months following wrist surgery. Their top catching prospect, Hank Conger, is currently on the shelf as well.

So this tweet from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo does not come as much of a suprise:

Conveniently enough, as I mentioned previously, Shoppach caught Lester’s masterful performance last night. He also went very deep to left field, just for good measure. He is a veteran guy, playing under a one-year deal at short money. John Heyman of sees a tremendous amount of interest brewing around baseball in Shoppach.

This is an interesting situation for GM Ben Cherington and the Red Sox. It’s not like they are openly showcasing their catchers, but other organizations are in need, and, in this situation, the Red Sox have. But what does it all mean?

Ryan Lavarnway is not going anywhere. He hasn’t hit his stride in the International League as of yet, but he is as close to a proven commodity as a prospect can get. Saltalamacchia is not your typical bridge player. The Sox have Mike Aviles keeping Jose Iglesias‘ seat warm, but I do not get the impression that Salty is strictly a placeholder. That is not to say that he is untradeable. If the right deal came along, I believe Cherington would be willing to part with Saltalamacchia. That would be the ultimate vote of confidence for Lavarnway.

Shoppach is the most interesting piece in all of this. At first glance, he is the most tradeable catching commodity the Red Sox have. But is role on this team has expanded. Valentine openly stated that he was not in favor of his pitchers having personal catchers, but it would be moronic to say that Shoppach has not evolved into Beckett’s new version of Jason Varitek. After Lester’s best performance of the year on Monday, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shoppach behind the dish for the lefty’s next turn.

It will be a curious situation to monitor over the course of the next several days. In all likelihood, the Red Sox will not make a deal. But I would be extremely surprised to hear that they did not listen.

Ross Puts Sox on Back

Damn it. Wrong Ross.

Cody Ross slugged two home runs last night, helping the Red Sox snap a five-game skid. His first long ball tied the game in the seventh inning. It was two-run shot to left field that hugged the line. It had the distance. The only question was if it was going to stay fair or not. With two outs in the top of the ninth, and the game still knotted at five runs a piece, Ross took a low, outside pitch from Twins’ closer Matt Capps to deep right field for a solo home run. It was an impressive display of power by 2010 NLCS hero who is known as a predominately pull-hitter. Alfredo Aceves somewhat reluctantly shut the door in the bottom of the ninth, securing a much-needed 6-5 win for the local nine. Ross was the man on Monday night in Minnesota.

A few other observations from a Monday in Mauer country…

  • Before the season, Jon Lester made it abundantly clear that he would like to be mentioned among the game’s elite hurlers. Throughout the spring, Lester was the most contrite out of all of the pitchers who were accused of taking their foot off of the gas in September of last season. He seemed focused, primed for a big year. It may be time to abandon the thought that Lester will ever evolve into a true ace. As a caveat, when I refer to an “ace”, I don’t mean C.J. Wilson. I don’t mean Ricky Romero. When I talk about an ace, I’m pointing to C.C. Sabathia, Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, and the small fraternity of pitchers who instill a feeling of “yeah, we’re going to win today” in their teammates. Lester is very good, but he is not Roy Halladay. He’s not Cliff Lee. He’s not even Matt Cain. Kudos on settling down and giving your team seven innings but walking four and allowing five runs to the Minnesota Twins when your team desperately needs its stopper to stp up simply does not cut it. And let’s not even get into the fact that Lester has been spotted at least a two-run lead in the early innings of his last two starts. Squandered leads are not good for business in Boston.
  • It was nice to have Daniel Bard out of the bullpen again. It felt so good, so good, so good.
  • David Ortiz is absolutely raking right now. Even the outs he makes are hit hard. Watching him give the metaphorical middle finger to the shift is fun to watch. He looks like a smart hitter who is comfortable in his own skin.
  • Someone should tell Kevin Youkilis that the left side of the infield on the opposing team usually takes grounders before the game. He does not need to provide them fungo work during it.
  • Ryan Sweeney will likely never be a superstar or even a star, but he seems content hitting line drives and doing his job. I like that. (Clearly ignoring his mishap in right field last night. He can thank Bard for that.)

Pre-game Notes 4/11/12 — Red Sox vs. Blue Jays

Here are some quick pre-game thoughts as Daniel Bard takes the hill for the first time as a starter in the regular season. Rapid fire. Let’s go.

  • Nick Punto will fill in for Mike Aviles tonight. Aviles has a no-big-deal ankle issue. He turned it last night. Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston tweeted back to TSWD as to exactly when it occurred.

  • Ryan Sweeney was tabbed as a quality defensive outfielder who did not carry a big stick. Pfffff. So far so good from the big lefty. He has come up with big hits early this season. I like what I see, so far.
  • Expect a high scoring game tonight. Bard, like I said, is making his first start as, well…a starter. He’s been known to walk a guy or seven. He will likely be working with guys on base for the majority of the night. On the other side, Kyle Drabek is on the bump for the Jays, and the majority of the middle of the order hitters for the Sox have good numbers against him. I’ll take Sox tonight 8-6.
  • As always, it will be interesting to see how the game goes if the Sox are in a save situation. Alfredo Aceves notched a clean final frame last night. Keep an eye on how he performs in back-to-back save situations.
  • With the W last night, I hope this squad loosens up a bit. It’s important to have fun. And winning begets fun.

Remaking an Identity

Whether it was used in the context of consolation or with connotations of projected failure, one point has remained consistent since the end of the 2011 season: The 2012 version of the Boston Red Sox will look extremely similar on the field to last year’s team.

And that is largely true. Let’s give the diamond a once-over. Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be the starting backstop again. A healthy Kevin Youkilis will be stationed at third base. Shortstop has a statistical doppelganger to Marco Scutaro in the form of Mike Aviles. Dustin Pedroia is primed for another super solid season at second base. To Pedroia’s left is the ever-smooth Adrian Gonzalez. In right field, a platoon of the defensively astute Ryan Sweeney and soon-to-be fan favorite Cody Ross will make everyone really hate J.D. Drew. Jacoby Ellsbury will again roam the real estate in center field. Eventually, Carl Crawford will be back in the shadow of the Green Monster.

The starting pitching staff? Love ‘em or hate ‘em–the main pieces are still in place.

However, the bullpen, the special teams of baseball, has undergone a makeover. Every other aspect of the 2012 Red Sox looks extremely similar to the 2011 version. The guys sitting behind the fence in right field, on the other hand, are quite different.

Over the course of the past couple of years, fans had gotten used to the end-of-the-game routine. Eighth inning-straight gas from Daniel Bard-Ninth inning-a steady dose of fastballs and splitters from Jonathan Papelbon-Postgame-“I’m Shipping Up to Boston”. No matter how last season ended, no matter what you think of Papelbon in the wake of his comments about the intelligence of Red Sox fans–things were good. Really good.

Bard has traded the grittiness of being a bullpen guy for the routinized schedule of a fourth starter. Papelbon will close down games for the Phillies in the National League, and “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” will cease to play at the culmination of the ninth frame.

Instead, Mark Melancon, a former Yankee who was once deemed a potential successor to Mariano Rivera, will slot into Bard’s old role. Andrew Bailey, a two-time All-Star who was acquired from the Athletics, will be the new closer of the Red Sox. Bailey, a Jersey kid, will not have the Dropkick Murphy’s belting out lyrics for his entrance song.

Things are starkly different.

Alfredo Aceves has been downright dirty in game action this spring. Officially, he is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation. In reality, he will be in the bullpen serving as a guy who can flat get guys out. Michael Bowden is out of options and seems to have developed a nice relationship with manager Bobby Valentine as well as pitching coach Bob McClure. Oh, and he’s pitched pretty damn well. I’d expect him to earn a spot in the bullpen to begin the year. Vicente Padilla is a guy who is similar to Aceves. A bit hot headed? Sure. Tenacious? Oh yes. Versatile? You betchya. Let’s not forget about our old friends Franklin Morales, Andrew Miller, Felix Doubront, and Matt Albers.

The bullpen will undoubtedly appear much different than it was last year. Bard and Papelbon have had their spots replaced by Melancon and Bailey. However, the construction of a bullpen remains the same. For a general manager, like Ben Cherington, building a bullpen is a lot like playing the lottery. Sure you can pick the numbers you play, but the majority of your success depends on luck. Just as with all major league bullpens, there will be moving parts. What the Sox begin with, will not be what they end with.

In the end, it will be up to the kid from Jersey who grew up rooting for the Phillies to make fans forget about the guy who is now pitching in Philadelphia. It will be up to the guy who was once looked at as the heir apparent to the Rivera Regime in the Bronx to validate the decision that moved Bard to the rotation. It will be up to the rest of the guys to contribute when asked, throw strikes, and record outs.

After all, that is what being in the bullpen is all about.

Why Bobby Valentine was the Right Choice

Photo via

Never in the aftermath of the Red Sox disaster last season did I think that Bobby Valentine would be the manager of the Boston Red Sox. Never.

Now, as we approach the middle of February, there isn’t a guy I would rather have at the helm of a team that is coming off of an epic collapse that left such a gut wrenching feeling in the pit of my stomach, I can still feel it two nights after I watched the Patriots lose another Super Bowl to the Giants.

Going 7-20 is that bad. Playing the final month of baseball, the most vital games of the regular season at a still-demoralizing .259 clip is that bad. The last time the Red Sox lost 20 games in the month of September? 1952. That was the same year Ted Williams played in six games, the last of which was April 30th of that year, because he was SERVING IN THE KOREAN WAR. Yeah, this past September was that bad.

When it became clear that the Red Sox were going to look to replace Terry Francona, I thought it was obvious that the Red Sox would pursue a relatively inexperienced manager, someone without the reputation of Valentine but with a solid baseball resume. Dale Sveum immediately came to mind. While at work, a buddy of mine had mentioned that Valentine would be a great choice to manage the Red Sox. He liked his personality, his flare. Because I apparently think I am part of the front office on Yawkey Way, I dismissed the idea as rubbish. When the Globe’s Nick Carfardo mentioned Valentine has an ideal choice, I chalked it up to a [respected] writer attempting to create an unwarranted buzz or even garner some readership.

I was wrong. On so many levels, I was wrong.

Valentine was introduced as the 45th manager of the Boston Red Sox on December 1, 2011. Since then, the former Mets and Rangers skipper has made more appearances than I care to recount. Charity events, press conferences, town hall meetings–you name it, and Valentine has done it over the course of the past two months. Although his energy will certainly serve as a asset during his inaugural season as Red Sox manager, it will ultimately be Valentine’s attitude, in-game managerial skills, and dedication to fundamentals that I believe will be the true catalysts in any success he has in Boston.

  • Bobby V. Answers to Bobby V.- It would have been easy for the Red Sox to bring in an individual who had never been a full-time Major League manager of team before, like Sveum. On the other hand, Sox brass could have hired a more experienced baseball guy like Gene Lamont who had not managed a squad in over a decade. Either option would have given members of the front office more of an opportunity to contribute their opinions or suggestions to the manager. In other words, Sveum and Lamont were two individuals who represented what would have been an extremely smooth transition from Francona (a guy who was always receptive to input from higher-ups). Valentine is not cut from the same cloth. Love him or hate him, Valentine possesses a strong personality. He is about to turn 62 years old in May, and it’s not like he’s going to change who he is between now and Opening Day. Carfardo, in the beginning of October, phrased it nicely: “He [Valentine] would have to know he has complete control of his team in the clubhouse and on the field. Some would say that’s not the way 21st-century baseball works, but it would be the way it would have to work.” Valentine, for better or worse, will put an identifiable stamp on this team. He is the sculptor, and I don’t anticipate anyone else having their hands on the pottery.
  • Valentine Can Coach. Period.- I need to preface this by saying that nothing I write here is designed to take anything away from Francona. I like to think that I’m quasi-objective, but Tito will always (and I mean always) be my guy. He was the right guy at the right time for the right amount of years. With that said, I believe Red Sox fans are going to see a recognizable difference in in-game managing with Valentine. I think Valentine will be a better overall better decision-maker than Francona. Everything I have read, heard, and overheard is that Valentine is a flat out, straight up gamer in the dugout. He has a little bit of Joe Maddon in him, mixed together with the attitude of an old school baseball guy. I don’t know what it is, but he just seems sneaky-good. ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian characterizes Valentine as a manager: “No manager in the game will outfox Valentine on any strategic move. In the one year I covered his team, and for the 30 years I have known him, not once have I asked him a question about a move he made in a game for which he didn’t have a legitimate answer.” Francona was not a bad in-game manager, but he truly excelled at dealing with guys who made a great deal of money and possessed a great deal of personality. It remains to be seen how Valentine manages guys like David Ortiz and Josh Beckett in the clubhouse and with the media, but I am confident, excited, and anxious to see how he pulls the strings between the first pitch and the final out of ballgames.
  • It’s Spring Training, not Spring Break- Throw some pine tar on the bats and toss some rosin on the baseballs. Looking back on Spring Training last year, it seems like this was the formula that was designed to get the Greatest Team Ever ready for a 162-game grind. Francona did not loosely supervise a frat house. It’s not like that. For the most part, he simply allowed players to manage themselves. It’s not like Valentine is going to serve as some sort of strict disciplinarian. There will be no boot camp atmosphere in Fort Myers. However, there will an aggressive focus on reinforcing fundamentals. ESPN’s Joe McDonald: “Before this offseason, [Kevin] Youkilis didn’t know Valentine on a personal level, but the Sox’s third baseman believes spring training will be different, tougher. He figures the focus will be on fundamentals of the game.” Another industry source shared a similar opinion. The Globe’s Peter Abraham: “The Red Sox will have tougher days than they did in previous springs and spend more time on fundamentals.” I like it. I like it a lot. Beckett made comments around this time of year that he was excited about the idea of pitching on a 100-win team. I had no problem with that at the time, and I still don’t. What I think Valentine will do is prepare this year’s team to do the little things that help win each pitch, each out, each inning, and each game. Eventually, by doing those things day in and day out, the Red Sox will be better prepared to strive towards the playoffs and that 100-win plateau that Beckett alluded to early last year.

Valentine will succeed as manager of the Red Sox. He is inheriting an immensely talented team, which is probably the most important reason why he will win more games than he will lose. However, Valentine comes off as a guy who is a talent sponge. I expect him to get more out of his players in 2012 than Francona was able to squeeze out of them in 2011. A tighter ship will be manned under Valentine. That is for sure. Because he possesses such a dynamic personality, I believe Valentine will be able to win over the big egos in the clubhouse and still run the team the way he would like. I am especially excited to see how some of the not-so-sexy players fare under Valentine. Guys like Mike Aviles, Cody Ross, Ryan Sweeney, and Nick Punto could be the biggest beneficiaries of Valentine’s guidance.

The most important aspect of Valentine’s job as he enters his first Spring Training as the Red Sox manager is getting the members  of the team to care about each other. It may sound stupid, but it’s true. The 2011 version of the Red Sox were good…really, really good. However, they were less of a team and more of a group of individuals, which ultimately lead to their demise. They did not have the back of one another. Valentine will have the responsibility of making that group of individuals into a team that cares deeply about one another.

No matter what the outcome is in 2012, it will be a team that is distinctly his. That is just how Valentine operates.

Avoiding Arbitration

To catch up on some housekeeping issues, the Red Sox have successfully avoided arbitration with three players.

According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, Jarrod Saltalamacchia will enter spring training as the team’s primary catcher as the formerly highly touted prospect received his first real payday. Salty will earn $2.5MM in 2012.

The newly acquired Ryan Sweeney inked a one year deal worth $1.75MM. Sweeney should be right in the thick of competition for playing time in right field this season.

Most recently, relief pitcher Franklin Morales signed on for a one year deal worth $850,000. Morales came over from the Rockies last season. He is a lefty who throws hard. When Morles is commanding his pitchers, he can be electric. If Rich Hill is able to come back and contribute at some point this season, he and Morales would make a nice tandem of southpaws in the Red Sox bullpen.

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