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Boston Red Sox: From Pretender To Contender?

By Michael Burgner

Last year, the Boston Red Sox came into the 2015 regular season as one of the hot teams to watch, giving lots of hope to their fans. They had signed on Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval to create an offensive powerhouse, and on the pitching side they added Rick Porcello who had been improving and seemed to be poised for his best season to date. That plan fell to shambles. They ended up finishing dead last in the AL East (78-84) and their big signings ended up being some of their worst performers. Hanley Ramirez finished with a .249 Batting Average, playing in only 105 games due to a shoulder injury. “The Kung-Fu Panda,” Pablo Sandoval, seemed to have lost his chi and batted only .245 with a slugging percentage below .400 (.336). Rick Porcello was no help either, posting his only non 10 win season. Red Sox fans could not have been happy.

This year however it seems to be a different story, the Red Sox are tied for first place and 10 games over .500 (34-24). They seem to be doing everything right, being the only team in the AL East that is over .500 both on the road and at home. Their pitching staff is doing better with the addition of Craig Kimbrel and David Price. David Price has been solid for the team posting a 7-2 record in 12 starts. Rick Porcello has also stepped it up returning to a solid pitcher with a 7-2 record. Craig Kimbrel was one of the top relievers in the game before signing with the Red Sox for 4 years/$42 million and he has continued his success.

The real key to their turn around this year though has been their offense. After getting over his shoulder injury, Hanley Ramirez is now batting .277, but the most impressive player is Xavier Bogaerts. The 23-year-old seems to have finally come into his own and is batting an AL leading .346 average. The team has the highest batting average in the MLB(.292) which is .15 higher than the next team Pittsburgh. David Ortiz does not show signs of slowing down at his age, leading the MLB in RBI’s. But the question becomes: can he keep it up? Can the whole team keep up this pace of leading in Batting Average and RBI’s? Even if they do, they’d have to be wary of their team’s overall ERA 4.35 if they want to continue the success throughout the season.

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2015 MLB Hot Stove Preview: Boston Red Sox

By Brett Malamud

MLB free agency is upon us. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll preview teams around the Major Leagues, and give you a look at what to expect. We started off with the New York Yankees, so it makes sense that our next team is the Boston Red Sox.

Losses

The Red Sox only lose Craig Breslow and Rich Hill this offseason.

Infield

The infield is basically set. Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval are lined up across the diamond. Blake Swihart will be behind the plate next season after he made a nice impact during his rookie season. If Hanley Ramirez plays first base, as is being reported by multiple outlets, it’ll block 25-year old Travis Shaw who finished off a stellar rookie season. There is the possibility that the Sox trade Ramirez and/or Sandoval, but right now, neither player’s value is high so I’m not sure that dealing either right now is best for the team. I’d look to sign some backups to accompany Brock Holt. David Ortiz will enter what should be his final season, so maybe the Sox sign a player that will eventually fill that role.

Outfield

There aren’t many holes in the outfield either. Jackie Bradley Jr., Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts will be in the outfield this upcoming season, with appearances by Brock Holt. So now what? Well the Red Sox do have room to back these players up, and have been linked to former Yankees outfielder Chris Young. Signing Young would be a good move for the Sox, and would bring them added depth.

Pitching

This is where the focus of the offseason should be for Boston. They will be in the market for the top arms out there. That is no secret. Other than their 2013 World Series title, Boston has experienced three last-place finishes in the last four seasons. It all starts with the pitching. Dave Dombrowski acquired David Price back when he was with the Detroit Tigers. What makes you think he wouldn’t want to get him again? They won’t have to surrender a draft pick to get him, which makes Price the most likely offseason free agent to turn contract talks into a bidding war. Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmerman and Johnny Cueto are other candidates to sign with Boston, and would turn the Red Sox from zeros to heroes. There are always trade opportunities too. The Sox talked to the Cleveland Indians over the summer regarding Carlos Carrasco, and so there could be an avenue there. There is also the possibility that was raised in my Yankees preview, that the Washington Nationals could look to deal Stephen Strasburg. The Red Sox have six prospects in the MLB.com Top 100 Minor Leaguers list, and a group of starters that could be dealt for better arms. In the bullpen, I’m looking for the Red Sox to do what they do best, and race the Yankees in gaining assets. They’ve already done that in trading for closer Craig Kimbrel, and may have overpaid for him. My feeling is that he’s only going to be in there when the team is up by three or less, and they haven’t been in that situation lately. But while I would’ve tried to build up the rest of the team first, Kimbrel is a great addition to Boston. Now the Sox need to build up the rest of their pitching staff this offseason.

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Craig Kimbrel will be a big addition to the Boston Red Sox (Via BR)


Brett Malamud is an English Rhetoric Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

2015 Major League Baseball Predictions

With 40 days until Opening Day, take a look at our season predictions:

(*) = 1st Wild Card Team
(**) = 2nd Wild Card Team

American League East:

Place Brett Malamud’s Pick Alex Horowitz’s Pick
1 Boston Red Sox Boston Red Sox
2 Toronto Blue Jays Baltimore Orioles
3 New York Yankees Toronto Blue Jays
4 Tampa Bay Rays Tampa Bay Rays
5 Baltimore Orioles New York Yankees

 

American League Central:

Place Brett Malamud’s Pick Alex Horowitz’s Pick
1 Cleveland Indians Cleveland Indians
2 Detroit Tigers* Kansas City Royals**
3 Kansas City Royals Chicago White Sox
4 Chicago White Sox Detroit Tigers
5 Minnesota Twins Minnesota Twins

 

American League West:

Place Brett Malamud’s Pick Alex Horowitz’s Pick
1 Seattle Mariners Seattle Mariners
2 Oakland Athletics** Los Angeles Angels*
3 Los Angeles Angels Houston Astros
4 Houston Astros Oakland Athletics
5 Texas Rangers Texas Rangers

 

National League East:

Place Brett Malamud’s Pick Alex Horowitz’s Pick
1 Washington Nationals Washington Nationals
2 New York Mets New York Mets**
3 Miami Marlins Miami Marlins
4 Atlanta Braves Atlanta Braves
5 Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia Phillies

 

National League Central:

Place Brett Malamud’s Pick Alex Horowitz’s Pick
1 St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals
2 Pittsburgh Pirates* Pittsburgh Pirates*
3 Chicago Cubs Chicago Cubs
4 Milwaukee Brewers Cincinnati Reds
5 Cincinnati Reds Milwaukee Brewers

 

National League West:

Place Brett Malamud’s Pick Alex Horowitz’s Pick
1 San Diego Padres San Francisco Giants
2 San Francisco Giants** San Diego Padres
3 Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers
4 Arizona Diamondbacks Arizona Diamondbacks
5 Colorado Rockies Colorado Rockies
With some added big bats, the Red Sox are ready to head back to October baseball (Via WBZ-TV

With some added big bats, the Red Sox are ready to head back to October baseball (Via WBZ-TV

Playoffs:

Game Brett Malamud’s Pick Alex Horowitz’s Pick
ALCS Red Sox defeat Mariners Red Sox defeat Indians
NLCS Nationals defeat Cardinals Cardinals defeat Nationals
World Series Nationals defeat Red Sox Cardinals defeat Red Sox

 

Lester to Decide Soon

By Alex Horowitz

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, free agent starting pitcher Jon Lester has narrowed down his potential destinations to either the San Francisco Giants or Chicago Cubs. A decision is expected to be made no later than Tuesday.

 

Lester would instantly join the top of the rotation for either team, but he’d especially be a significant upgrade in the Windy City. The Cubs currently lack a true ace, so Lester would need to carry Chicago’s young pitching staff.

 

In San Francisco, Lester would most likely slide into the #2 spot in the rotation, behind reigning World Series MVP and 2014 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Madison Bumgarner. It wouldn’t be a far move for him, either, as he played across the bay in Oakland for the second half of last season.

 

Jon Lester is expected to decide his final destination within the next 48 hours

Jon Lester is expected to decide his final destination within the next 48 hours

Between Boston and Oakland in 2014, Lester compiled a 16-11 record with a very formidable 2.46 earned run average. He was the starting pitcher in Oakland’s eventual loss to Kansas City in the AL Wild Card game, and received a no decision despite allowing 6 earned runs in 7.1 innings.

 

Lester’s contract will be one of the more expensive ones of this free agent class. According to several reports, a contract seems to be in the range of $140 million for 6 years, although those in Lester’s camp are quietly pushing for a deal in the $150 million / 7 year range (via MLB Trade Rumors).


Alex Horowitz is a senior at Briarcliff High School and is an aspiring sports writer. As a lifelong sports fan, he has rooted for the New York Knicks, New York Mets, and Detroit Lions. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhorowitz3

 

Sox Open Their Wallets, Sign Hanley and Panda

By Brett Malamud

The Red Sox broke the bank on Monday when multiple news outlets reported that the team came to terms with shortstop Hanley Ramirez on a four-year, $88 million deal with a fifth year option for an additional $22 million. Ramirez now heads back to the team that drafted him, before Boston traded him and four other players to the Marlins for a three player package highlighted by pitcher Josh Beckett.

The Red Sox inked a pair of left side infielders (Via AP)

The Red Sox inked a pair of left side infielders (Via AP)

Earlier in the offseason, it was reported that the 30-year-old Ramirez would be the Red Sox’s backup plan, had they failed to sign third baseman Pablo Sandoval. However, Monday afternoon brought an important announcement from Sandoval’s agent.

The man they call the Kung Fu Panda is expected to ink a deal with the Red Sox worth at least $90 million over five years. Sandoval’s agent informed the San Francisco Giants that the switch hitting slugger had chosen to play for Boston. Sandoval was believed to have been choosing between San Francisco, Boston, and the San Diego Padres.

Ramirez isn’t expected to play shortstop for Boston due to the presence of the 22-year-old Xander Bogaerts. The Red Sox wouldn’t replace Bogaerts, would they? It would be more likely to see Sandoval at third and Ramirez in the outfield. With six other potential outfielders, the signing could lead to the Red Sox dealing one of their current outfielders in a trade. Many will speculate that the odd man out will be the recently acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, simply because of his value. Cespedes will be a free agent at the end of the 2015 season, so he seems like a likely candidate. At the end of the day, the Red Sox improved and that’s what matters most to the fans of Boston. They’re sure to make some noise this season.


Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

MLB Staff Picks

The smell of peanuts and cracker jacks is in the air. After 152 days since the Red Sox walked off the field as champions, baseball is back. Our picks are in for this year’s fall classic. Here they are:

Writer

Pick

Brett Malamud

 I’m taking the Yankees over the Dodgers. Both teams have proven this offseason that they want to win now. The Yankees unloaded after missing the playoffs by opening their checkbook and spending close to $500 million. The additions of Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Masahiro Tanaka immediately make the Yankees a legitimate threat. But don’t think they’re the only team spending the big bucks. The Dodgers passed the Yankees for the MLB’s highest payroll, ending the Yankees 15 year streak, by spending $235 million this season. All and all I’d say Derek Jeter better start spreading the news that his final season will end with a ticker tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes.

Sam Breiter

 As an extremely optimistic Mets fan with nothing but the highest expectations, I’m always going to take my team. So along with my Mets, I’m taking the rival Yankees. The Mets have young talent in there rotation, and a growing lineup. They may make a huge move by the deadline, and Zach Wheeler will suprise people this year. Yankees, because they spent money this offseason and are clearly doing anything to win a year after missing the playoffs

Dan Lagnado

 In the NL I’ll take the Dodgers and in the AL I’ll take Detroit. Dodgers win a six game series behind Kershaw and Greinke who each win two games

Josh Halilej

 Tigers over Cardinals. Lots of solid pitching between the two of them. I think Justin Verlander comes back big this year and comes out as the Tigers’ #1 with Rick Porcello having an awesome year too finishing ahead of Max Scherzer in the pitching rotation. The Cards are going to need Yadier Molina to manage the pitching staff well, but they just don’t have the overall offensive firepower that Detroit does with the addition of Ian Kinsler. Watch out for the Rangers though if they can have someone aside from Yu Darvish step up in their rotation.

Seth Schuster

 Red Sox over Dodgers. Only a little bit of bias plays into this one…Both are great teams with amazing young talent. With the recent resurgence of John Lackey, John Lester, a healthy Clay Buchholz, and a young and very talented Xander Bogaerts, the Red Sox will be the 2014 World Series Champions. With the leadership of David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, and Mike Napoli, look for the Sox to make a push for the repeat.

Ben Ozur

 Rays vs Dodgers. There’s no explanation for why the Rays are good every year, but the undeniable fact is that they are. However nobody is on the Dodgers level in terms of overall talent. Despite multiple holes including infield depth and major league ready pitchers in the minors, their superstar talent everywhere else will cover that up.

Ryan Gillman

 Dodgers over Tigers. The Dodgers are armed with a wealth of talent and the largest payroll in history. Anything less than a championship would be a disappointment.

Sam  Iryami

 Nationals vs Tigers. Nationals win. The Nationals have the best pitching rotation in baseball with the front four being Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, and Doug Fister. Pitching wins games. Although the Tigers have a great all around team, the team is full of veterans. However, they are definitely a contender for the World Series because of their many stars such as Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, and Max Scherzer. Both teams have unbelievable pitching and hitting, but I have the Nationals taking home the trophy in this one.

Zach Pokorny

 Dodgers vs Angels, but I’d pick the Angels because Mike Trout is amazing
Derek Jeter has one last season in his hall of fame career and will make the most of it (Via Sabo News)

Derek Jeter has one last season in his hall of fame career and will make the most of it (Via Sabo News)

We hope everyone enjoys Opening Day and stays locked in to Dabuzzza here and on our twitter page this MLB season. We know we will.

Reaction to the Ellsbury Signing

By Sam Breiter

If you did not get the chance to hear yet, Jacoby Ellsbury signed a multi million-dollar contract last night. No, he won’t go for a second straight title with the Boston Red Sox, but rather he has decided to sign with their number one rival. Yes, Ellsbury is a member of the Evil Empire and will be wearing pinstripes next year, and with the money he now making, I think he will survive shaving off his beard. Ellsbury over the next seven years will be making $153-million and will be making well over $20-million per season. This was after he denied Boston’s $14.1-million qualifying offer, so he obviously made a good financial choice. So the question lies, was he worth the deal? Ellsbury, who is now 30 years old, will be playing in the Bronx most likely until he is 37. Ellsbury is known for his quickness, great fielding ability, and contact at the plate. Although, his power, and on base percentage has been inconsistent. Some people may call Ellsbury a five-tool player, but besides 2011, he has never really been known for hitting the long ball. Ellsbury, who has been playing for seven seasons, has found himself getting substantial injuries in two seasons. In 2013, Ellsbury was healthy for much of the season, and had a batting average of .298, with 52 stolen bases.

With the help of his agent Scott Boras, Jacoby Ellsbury joined the Evil Empire, and signed a seven year deal with the Yankees (Via Red Sox Nation)

With the help of his agent Scott Boras, Jacoby Ellsbury joined the Evil Empire, and signed a seven year deal with the Yankees (Via Sox Nation)

Even though he has proved to still have potential to be an MVP candidate, I don’t not believe this was a smart contract. By the middle of his contract, it’s doubtful Ellsbury will be able to steal 50 plus bases, as he does so well. Additionally, he has proven to be an injury threat, and it just isn’t worth it to pay a guy $20 million in a season who has battled injuries, and is running out of his prime. The Yankees signed Ellsbury to make a statement, they wanted to prove to the fan that we have money, and we will spend it. They already made a statement signing McCann to his overpriced deal, and it is no surprise that Ellsbury got equal treatment. Congratulations Yankees, you have achieved what you have always done best, spending money for current talent. In four years from now when Ellsbury is 34, batting .270, and stealing 15 bases at most, all were going to hear about is what a terrible deal this was. These big $100 million dollar deals for veteran stars always ends in terrible fashion especially when they come from another team. Don’t forget A.J Burnett, and Carl Pavano, and Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees have a history of these disastrous contracts, and Ellsbury will soon be added to this list.

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Sam Breiter is a high school senior at Plainview- Old Bethpage JFK High School. Sam is looking to major in sports management, with a minor in communications next year.  He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite teams are the Mets, Giants, and Knicks. You can follow him on twitter at @baseballbreiter