MLB notes: Solution to Red Sox defensive woes could be coming from within

At occasions this yr the Red Sox have been painful to observe defensively. The membership has already reached the doubtful 100-error threshold and the superior metrics don’t look any higher.

The excellent news is there may be motive for hope that subsequent yr’s protection could possibly be a lot better, and lots of the assistance could possibly be coming from inside.

This season when Trevor Story was out recovering from elbow surgical procedure, Boston’s options within the center infield didn’t encourage confidence. Kiké Hernández turned unplayable at shortstop, and for lengthy stretches the membership needed to depend on rookies like Enmanuel Valdez and David Hamilton, neither of whom possessed an enormous league caliber glove.

Getting Story again instantly helped stabilize issues within the center infield, but when Boston must faucet its depth subsequent season its choices will look a lot better.

Ceddane Rafaela, who’s already getting his huge league audition, is thought to be an elite defensive expertise who might symbolize an improve for the Red Sox at any place he performs. Next season he might see common time as a super-utility man, bouncing between shortstop, heart discipline and second base to offer Alex Cora the pliability to combine and match with out sacrificing on protection.

He, fellow rookie Wilyer Abreu and Jarren Duran might all ably fill in a wide range of outfield roles as effectively relying on whether or not or not Adam Duvall or Alex Verdugo return, or if issues shake out such that Masataka Yoshida shifts to being extra of a full-time designated hitter.

Longer time period, the Red Sox have motive to be excited concerning the present crop of infielders arising via the minor league system.

Three quarters of the Portland Sea Dogs infield — second baseman Nick Yorke, shortstop Marcelo Mayer and third baseman Chase Meidroth — have been lately voted as being the perfect defensive gamers at their place by the Eastern League’s managers, in response to Baseball America.

Sea Dogs supervisor Chad Epperson stated the trio made great progress over the course of the season and had a tangible influence on the membership’s pitching employees as effectively.

“These guys have an IQ of reading swings, seeing what pitches are coming, and they work really well together,” Epperson stated lately. “Our pitchers are reaping the benefits from it and it goes a long way when you have guys like that and we’re trying to tell our guys to throw strikes and pound the strike zone and put the ball in play and let your defense play. This backs up what we’re trying to do.”

Yorke and Mayer are former first-round picks, and Meidroth is a fast-rising fourth-rounder from final summer time, so it’s not like these are simply glove-first guys who received’t have what it takes to hit within the majors. Mayer, clearly, ranks among the many high prospects in baseball, and it’s not a stretch to think about any of the three reaching the massive leagues by late subsequent season.

“They’re a young group, a talented group, but there are so many things from April when they walked into the clubhouse to where they are now, they’re so much closer to their goals,” Epperson stated. “They all still have stuff to work on but it’s exciting for us as an organization that these guys are trending in the right direction.”

Some of Boston’s defensive points are extra intractable. Rafael Devers is locked in at third base and Triston Casas at first, so the Red Sox will hope to see enchancment from the 2 of them at their respective positions. Changes to the teaching employees are possible as effectively, however till the offseason performs out it’s exhausting to say how a lot better the Red Sox protection might truly be.

The excellent news is it’s virtually unattainable to think about issues getting worse, and with the younger gamers the Red Sox have arising the turnaround might occur sooner than most anticipate.

Rays announce stadium deal

After greater than a decade of false begins, the Tampa Bay Rays seem to have lastly secured a brand new stadium deal that may maintain the group in St. Petersburg for many years to come back.

The new deal, introduced by the crew and by native officers this week, requires the development of a 30,000-seat stadium as half of a bigger mixed-use growth on the identical website at present occupied by Tropicana Field. The stadium’s whole value is estimated at $1.3 billion, with “half or more” paid for by the Rays and the remainder by the town of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County.

Invited company look on because the Tampa Bay Rays maintain a information convention after the crew introduced plans for a brand new stadium on Tuesday in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

The new stadium, which may have a set roof but additionally home windows and operable partitions that may open to the surface, is predicted to be full in time for the 2028 season. The park will grow to be the centerpiece of 86-acre, $6.5 billion redevelopment of the town’s Gas Plant District, which officers hope might grow to be the same financial driver as The Battery surrounding Truist Park in Atlanta.

The venture nonetheless requires approval from the town council and county commissioners, however officers are optimistic the deal will probably be finalized by yr’s finish.

The new stadium announcement seems to mark the tip of the Rays’ 16-year saga making an attempt to safe a brand new long-term dwelling. Over the years the membership has seen a number of plans to relocate throughout the bay from St. Petersburg to Tampa fall via, and an unorthodox plan to separate time between Tampa and Montreal was additionally shot down by MLB final yr.

One of the principle advantages of relocating to Tampa would have been transferring nearer to the area’s inhabitants heart. In order to get to Tropicana Field, many followers should make a protracted drive over a bridge, which is among the many the explanation why the Rays have handled chronically low attendance all through their existence. That will stay a priority going ahead, however crew officers say altering demographics and inhabitants development in St. Petersburg, together with the brand new stadium and surrounding growth, will probably be a game-changer over the long term.

With the Rays’ future seemingly settled and the Oakland Athletics eyeing a transfer to Las Vegas, the door might quickly open for MLB growth. Commissioner Rob Manfred has steadily stated the league would discover increasing to 32 groups as soon as the A’s and Rays stadium points had been resolved, so this week’s developments are positive to boost lots of eyebrows in Nashville, Portland, Montreal and different cities reportedly in competition for a brand new franchise.

Ohtani undergoes surgical procedure

Earlier this week, two-way famous person Shohei Ohtani underwent his long-awaited elbow surgical procedure, and although the precise process stays undisclosed, he and his docs say he must be able to return to the sector subsequent yr as a full-time DH after which as a pitcher once more the next yr.

“The final decision and type of procedure was made with a heavy emphasis on the big picture,” Ohtani’s agent Nez Balelo stated. “Shohei wanted to make sure the direction taken gave him every opportunity to hit and pitch for many years to come.”

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon scores and is congratulated by designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) during an April 14 game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)
Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon scores and is congratulated by designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) throughout an April 14 recreation in opposition to the Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

“The ultimate plan after deliberation with Shohei, was to repair the issue at hand and to reinforce the healthy ligament in place while adding viable tissue for the longevity of the elbow,” stated Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the famed orthopedic surgeon who additionally lately carried out surgical procedure on quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ torn Achilles tendon. “I expect full recovery and he’ll be ready to hit without any restrictions come opening day of 2024 and do both (hit and pitch) come 2025.”

Ohtani was identified with a tear in his proper ulnar collateral ligament after leaving his begin on Aug. 23, and although he continued to hit for one more two weeks afterwards he was ultimately shut down after struggling an indirect harm and can miss the rest of the season. Ohtani continues to be a heavy favourite to win his second American League MVP award and regardless of the surgical procedure ought to nonetheless be the highest free agent out there in the marketplace this coming winter.

Greenville wins SAL title

While the Red Sox received’t be bringing the Commissioner’s Trophy dwelling this October, one among their minor league associates will deliver some {hardware} again for the group after ending its season in type.

The Greenville Drive, Boston’s High-A affiliate, captured the South Atlantic League title this week after sweeping the Hudson Valley Renegades within the league’s championship sequence. Greenville additionally swept the Hickory Crawdads within the divisional spherical and received 4 straight playoff video games total to safe its second SAL title in franchise historical past, the primary coming in 2017.

Greenville clinched the title with a 7-3 win in Game 2 on Tuesday, with current draft choose Kristian Campbell successfully placing the sport out of attain with a three-run dwelling run within the seventh inning.

The Drive completed the season 63-69 however earned a playoff spot after successful the South Division’s first half crown with a 36-30 document. Over the course of the season Greenville featured a who’s who of high Red Sox prospects, amongst them Mayer, Roman Anthony, Kyle Teel and Blaze Jordan.

In addition to the Drive, former Phillips Academy star Thomas White additionally helped lead the Jupiter Hammerheads (Miami Low-A) to the Florida State League championship. The lefty from Rowley began Game 1 in opposition to the Clearwater Threshers and allowed one run over 2.2 innings whereas putting out 5 in Jupiter’s 8-7 win. The Hammerheads would go on to win in three video games, clinching the title with a 7-4 victory in Game 3 on Wednesday.