June 30, 2020

Playing Pepper 2020

Since I stole this logo, check out
Just realized that I didn't post this year's Playing Pepper Red Sox preview.  For those of you who don't regularly follow me, this is an annual series hosted by Cardinals blogger C70 at the bat  where he asks bloggers of all MLB teams to answer a few questions about the team they write about.  You can see all the previews here.  I wrote this back in Feburary, and, well, a few things have changed since, so he will be doing a version 2.

These are the questions I will be answering:
1) Does the shortened season work for or against your team?
2) What are you most looking forward to seeing?
3) Do you believe the season will be fully completed?  How about the playoffs?
I have some thoughts on these, but welcome any input from my readers. Comment here, or tweet at me here https://twitter.com/BaseballRuben with your thoughts.

For reference, these were the first set of questions and my answers:

1. Looking for a manager just weeks before spring training isn’t optimal.  Will the Red
Sox be able to find a suitable replacement for Alex Cora? Should he and the club have
parted ways?  What do you think will come out of MLB’s investigation of the 2018
squad? {note: by the time I answered this, Ron Roenicke had already been hired}

Having to find a manager at the last minute is never optimal. Even though the Red Sox did
interview some outside candidates, I think it was wise that they took an internal option for the
sake of continuity. Bringing in a new face is fine if they have the off-season to get up to speed,
but not when you’re thrown into it with no time to prepare. I think Ron Roenicke will be fine,
although I don’t think he will be around for the long term.
As far as the MLB investigation, I really don’t think much will come of it. Cora was implicated
from his time in Houston, but I doubt anything nearly as offensive occurred in Boston.

2. The other big story this offseason focused on the status of Mookie Betts.  Do you think
the Red Sox trade him before the end of the year and what kind of package would you
want to see them get back? {note: as above, by the time I answered this, he had already been traded}

I think it was inevitable that they were going to trade Mookie Betts. And contrary to most of
the fanbase, I actually believe that it wasn’t solely driven as a financial decision. It is always
better to get something for a player rather than have him leave as a free agent and receive no
return. Of course, in this case, Boston did give up a year of Betts for that return.
It’s impossible to predict the future, but I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if the cumulative value
of the players we received (Verdugo, Jeter Downs, and Connor Wong) during their tenure in
Boston is more than what Betts would provide in one season. I do believe throwing in David
Price was more of a financial move to get under the cap, and I think losing him will end up
hurting more than Betts.

3. Is there a prospect in the organization that will make a big impact on the major league
squad this season?

The short answer is no. Some of our best prospects are a year or two away. They may get
called up for a cup of coffee or as a short term injury replacement, but I don’t think guys like
Triston Casas or Downs, will have a big impact this season. There are other guys who may get
some playing time and fill in holes, such as Bobby Dalbec or CJ Chatam, but I don’t think any of
them will have the impact that Devers, Benintendi, or Chavis had as call ups the last few
The only players I could see that could possibly have a big impact are pitchers. And from that
list, maybe Jay Groome can finally put it together, or flame throwing Dalton Furbush (aka Durbin
Feltman) could come in as a one inning lights out guy.

4. What are your expectations for 2020?  Where do you think they’ll finish in the division?

Last year I was said I was bracing for the inevitable disappointment that 2019 would bring. That was mainly due to the unrealistically high expectations. This year I have the exact opposite feeling. It’s a stress free year. Expectations are low, nobody thinks they’ll be a contender, so we can just enjoy the season and if they’re in the race in September, it’s a bonus. Having said that, I do think they’ll be in the running for 2nd place in the division, ending up short at 3rd place with about 89 wins.

5. What’s the main topic Red Sox fans are discussing that maybe isn’t obvious to other teams?

We have some good cost-controlled young players, that could fetch a huge haul in the trade market. I could see guys like Andrew Benintendi, Michael Chavis, or even Rafael Devers being involved in trade talks. Fans may not initially be happy with it but it’s always better to sell high.

6. What are you looking forward to most about the coming season?

Eduardo Rodriguez quietly was the most valuable Red Sox player not named Mookie last year.  It seems like he’s been around forever but he’s still only 26. I’m really looking forward to see how he progresses.

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