Reports have surfaced via CBS sports that the Boston Red Sox have traded ace Jon Lester along with Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics in return for the big swinging left fielder Yoenis Cespedes and a draft pick. Continue reading
When the Boston Red Sox acquired Jake Peavy last season on their way to a World Series victory he proved a more than capable pitcher and a great competitor. Fast forward one calendar year from his arrival to Boston and Peavy is the second on a growing list of veterans who became roster casualties. With Jake Peavy traded to the Giants out in San Fransisco I have to say it is a great deal that has Boston headed in the right direction and here’s why.
Lack Of Performance – Most People in Boston enjoyed the first season Peavy was with the team as he was a hot name around the trade deadline. Finishing the season with an ERA of almost exactly four also helped stabilize a Red Sox rotation that had some uncertainty on the back end.
In 2014 however for many factors including age and team performance Peavy’s level of play dropped off with his ERA rising almost a run to 4.72 and increases in walks,home runs allowed, and hits allowed per nine innings. On a team struggling to stay near .500 and more importantly struggling to score runs Peavy’s less than average performance wasn’t cutting it in Boston.
A Rebuilding Team – The second largest concern with Peavy other than his performance in 2014 was his age as the team took a long term approach going forward. At 32 and with over 2000 major league innings pitched Peavy is not going to help the team in the future and is much better suited as a short team plug than a long team organizational piece.
With Jake Peavy traded to the Giants it frees up a spot for the Boston Red Sox to call up one of their many young pitching prospects to fill his spot in the rotation. The Red Sox already announced it will be 24 year old Allen Webster starting in his place. With Webster and De La Rosa in the rotation for the second half of the season both can gain valuable MLB experience rather than sitting in AAA while Jake Peavy pitches out his contract.
The Return – When I heard Jake Peavy had trade interest from teams any sort of major return was unexpected but Ben Cherrington made a great deal here. With Peavy on the back end of his career the Red Sox management was able to trade in the veteran for two top-10 San Fransisco pitching prospects in Edwin Escobar and Heath Embree.
Both these pitchers are still very young (22 and 24 respectively) and have bright futures with projectable spots with the Red Sox MLB roster or as trade members in the future.
Overall: A+ : I always hate to see teams let veteran players go into free agency or fall into obscurity for nothing in return so I praise the Red Sox in this deal. Not only were they able to get rid of a player who wasn’t performing and is showing wear in his old age but they were able to get legitimate value returned to the team, And you can never have too much pitching.
The Boston Red Sox exited the All-Star break with a fresh approach to the season. With AJ Pierzynski ……. gone and Jon Lester’s contract negotiations held off until the end of the season the team began to right the ship with what looked like a good old fashion Red Sox comeback in the second half of the season.
Unfortunately for Boston the illustrious comeback for the Sox lasted all of 4 games. Upon winning the initial four games after the break in convincing fashion and with a resurgence of David Ortiz the team has now lost three straight in an equally impressive fashion that has deflated fans of the team.
The first game the team lost after the All-Star break was a metaphor for the season by way of Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts A.K.A “X-Man” has been struggling in his first full season with the club, entering the break in a month long slump in which he hit well below .200.
Yet all of the sudden after the break Bogaerts has shown promise at the plate particularly against Toronto in game six after the break when he went 2-4 with the go ahead RBI mid way through the game. Sadly for Bogaerts and the Fenway Faithful Bogaerts givith and he takith away as later in the same game Bogaerts’ fielding error at third re-gave the Blue Jays a lead that they would not let slip ending with the 6-4 victory over Boston.
With that demoralizing 6-4 loss in the second of a three game series the Boston Red Sox desperately needed a bounce back in game three to regain hope for the season. Instead the team was absolutely obliterated by Toronto in game three on getting one hit while letting up 8 runs on route to the 8-0 thumping.
With less than a week until the trade deadline a Red Sox comeback now seems desperately out of reach after being swept in Toronto likely placing the team in a position to sell at the deadline hoping to rebuild for next season.
With training camp practices beginning this week, Patriots fans received great news Wednesday from coach Bill Belichick: Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to play. The all-pro tight end is coming off an ACL tear that occurred in December against the Cleveland Browns and there were some questions as to whether he’d be ready to practice in time for the start of camp.
Patriots’ fans will obviously be expecting hugw numbers from the big man this season. With the additions made on defense this off-season, the offense will need to step up and produce big numbers if the Pats are to challenge for another Super Bowl. Gronkowski will obviously be crucial to any title push.
Gronkowski is undoubtedly a special talent: he’s a big target over the middle but can also move quickly and is a key passing threat for superstar quarterback Tom Brady. Having Gronk available again should be a huge boost for an offense that struggled late in the season without him.
That being said, some are starting to question whether Gronkowski’s value to the team outweighs his proneness to injuries. In his 5 seasons in the NFL, Gronk has suffered from a number of key injuries: an ankle injury in 2011 that limited his production in Super Bowl XLVI, hip and forearm injuries in 2012, and the ACL tear this past season. He also suffered from a number of back injuries while at the University of Arizona.
If Gronkowski has yet another season ending injury this year then the Patriots may need to start looking elsewhere for receiving threats. Gronkowski’s long contract definitely hurts their ability to replace him but, with some good moves, the Patriots could bring in other receivers and tight ends to supplement the offense and take some of the pressure off Gronk to be the number one threat.
A number of potentially key players are on the injury list at the start of camp. Veterans Alfonzo Dennard, Aaron Dobson, Tommy Kelly and Matthew Slater are all on the Physically Unable to Perform list, while rookies Dominqiue Easley and Jeremy Gallon are also injured. While these players probably won’t be as crucial as Gronk this season, their recovery before the start of the season will be important for the Patriots.
With training camp hot around the corner excitement for the NFL season is beginning to heat up with the expectations for the New England Patriots are higher than ever.. That being said here’s 10 wonderful things to look forward to this Patriots season.
1. Chandler Jones Is Another Year Older – The impact defensive end and star guest in Julian Edelman’s “Burgertyme” is coming off of his best season yet but there can only be more to come.
After a rousing 11.5 Sacks last year Jones will be returning this year leaner, meaner, and with that same tenacity that makes him a great player. Look for Jones to pulverize his fair share of quarterbacks this season and force bad passes as opposing QBs scramble in fear.
2. Less Hernandez – Despite Aaron Hernandez being in prison rather than on the field last season his name continued to pop up in New England. This season however the Hernandez talk should be dampened by time and the recent discovery that the texts between him and Belichick are likely unrelated to anything worth noting.
Patriots fans will be free to cheer in peace this season, except of course all the other fans and analyst that just plain hate the “evil empire”
3. Running Backs That Give 110% – running back already is a grueling position in the NFL, with most running backs having trouble lasting in the pros for more than a few seasons. Add in that every New England Patriot running back is seemingly playing for a spot on this years and/or next years roster and it’s icing on a cake made of pressure.
Steven Ridley and Shane Vereen enter this season in the final year of their rookie deals both with massive question marks. With resurfacing fumbling issues early in his career Ridley has loads to prove this season, and barely able to stay on the field Vereen will need to show the Patriots staff he can be a consistent contributor.
Throw in Brandon Bolden fighting for reps and the rookie Houston playing for a spot on the roster and this years battle should provide great production and a solid storyline throughout the season.
4. Who if not Gronk and Edelman – Tom Brady and the Patriot offense always seem to find a way to be successful over the course of the regular season but Bill Belichick and the rest of Patriots anagement/Ownership never fail to provide a challenge for the Brady Bunch.
This season much like last the Patriots have very little security at skill positions on the offensive end leaving the big question “if Gronkowski and Edelman aren’t making plays who will?” Whether Dobson, Boyce, Lafell or “Johnny off the street” someone is going to have to step up. If not the Patriots offense will be very predictable.
The very question mark that creates worry on the offensive end also forms a sense of excitement waiting fir this seasons Julian Edelman to break out within the Patriots offense.
5. An Interior Line Change – Bill Belichick doesn’t often like to bring in a young interior O-linemen and start him but he very well may break his way this season. After a horrendous season last year by interior linemen Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell .Along with a Patriots draft that included three capable Linemen their could be one or two starting roles won halfway through the season.
From a game play perspective this is particularly exciting because fans can expect to see fewer defensive tackles simply coming right up the middle and pulverizing the franchise.by the end of the season.
6. An Excuse Just About Every Sunday – Us New England fans we like to enjoy our games in a peaceful red white and blue painted basement with surround sound and choice of beverage. With the NFL season finally returning Patriots fans will have just the excuse they need to skip out on that boring party or extra work shift that was scheduled during the game, and great “water cooler talk” the next day
7. A One Way Ticket To The Caribbean – You would be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn’t love an island resort vacation. Here in New England we had Revis Island float north this season which instead of sunshine and drinks with umbrellas will bring the Patriots a steady stream of press coverage and frustrated opposing receivers.
The biggest question with Revis has been his health but a full season removed from his knee injury and taking into account the fact that he has played all 16 games the majority of his seasons in the pros injuries shouldn’t be a factor this season.
Revis will be a factor on defense locking up receivers, look for his stats to be solid and all the players around him to reap the rewards of playing alongside a lockdown corner
8.. The Hoodies Gears Grinding – all throughout the upcoming season Bill Belichick’s head will be spinning
thinking about this teams defense. Only this time it won’t be because the defense can’t stop even the most mediocre passing offense, instead Belichick and company will be scheming all season to take advantage if the wonderful versatility this years defense has.
With a great mix of strong veterans like Mayo/McCourty and young playmakers in Collins and Logan Ryan this years team will confuse and abuse opposing offenses. Look for the Hoodie to be full throttle throwing mixed packages, Zone-Man combos and exotic blitz packages week in and week out.
9. Another Year With A Top 5 QB – Once again this season the New England Patriots will be blessed with a top five quarterback on their roster in Tom Brady. Luckily for fans and the organization Brady isn’t just a top five QB currently he is one of the all time greats and I an absolute blessing to watch.
As the days of Brady’s career dwindle to an end we can only hope that they end with the type of fireworks that leave fans with a lasting memory and boost Brady’s legacy.
10. That Shiny New Ring At The End Of The Season – Call me crazy but this team has everything necessary to bring another championship back to Mass. With the massive additions of Revis and Browner paired with the return of Wilfork/Kelly/Mayo the defense will be set for success.
Offensively the team has a solid running back core, eight legitimate lineman and the franchise still under center leaving me with no worry they will be successful.
The Patriots biggest competition in the AFC, the Denver Broncos attempted to re-tool equally as hard as the Patriots but have put too much emphasis in the always injured Demarcus Ware and Aqib Talib.WIth no doubt in my mind that Talib will tap out in the playoffs much like he did with the Patriots the Broncos defense should be hampered.
The excitement is growing in the New England area as the expectations for this season are sky high and I’m standing right on top of all the expectations predicting a long overdue championship 10 years after their last.