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Friday, January 18, 2019

Baseball

Alex Cora promises even more special season ahead for Red Sox

Alex Cora

The 2018 Boston Red Sox put together one of the best seasons in recent MLB history. Alex Cora is promising even bigger things for an encore.

Cora attended the Boston Baseball Writers’ Association of America dinner on Thursday night to accept the Manager of the Year Award. During his speech, he said this year will be even more special than last year.

The 2018 Red Sox won 108 regular season games, then demolished the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers in the playoffs. The former two were both 100-plus win teams, while the Dodgers were buoyed by one of the deepest payrolls and most talented rosters. Yet Boston mowed through them as part of their historic season.

What would an encore look like? 115 wins? Going through the postseason without losing a game? Topping this would not be easy.

Giants reportedly in trade mix for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray

The New York Yankees are looking to trade Sonny Gray, and a new suitor in the market has emerged.

According to FanCred’s Jon Heyman, the San Francisco Giants are interested in trading for the pitcher.

Gray, 29, agreed to a $7.5 million salary for 2019 with the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers acquired him in a trade in 2017, but he has not performed well for them. Still, plenty of teams believe he can get back to his Oakland A’s form if he finds a new team.

Gray went 44-36 with a 3.42 ERA in parts of five seasons for the A’s. He was 15-16 with a 4.51 ERA in his two seasons with the Yankees.

Tim Tebow invited to Mets’ major league spring training

Tim Tebow Mets

Tim Tebow will have a chance to show what he can do against big leaguers in spring training.

The New York Mets announced on Thursday that they have invited 13 minor leaguers to their Major League spring training. Tebow is part of that group.

Tebow is entering his third season in pro ball. He played 84 games with Double-A Binghampton last season and batted .273 with a .735 OPS. Though his numbers are more than respectable, especially for a player who hadn’t played baseball in around a decade, they’re not the kind of numbers that scream MLB prospect.

Still, Tebow is a former client of new Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen, who has said that Tebow making the MLB roster is a possibility.

Clint Frazier sends great tweets after being cleared from concussion symptoms

Clint Frazier

Clint Frazier was sidelined for the majority of the 2018 season as he dealt with concussion symptoms, and the New York Yankees outfielder announced on Thursday that doctors have finally cleared him.

Frazier expressed his excitement in a couple of funny tweets he sent, also vowing to compete for an outfield job in spring training.

While he’s only 24, Frazier has not exactly lived up to the hype surrounding him over the past two years. He’s hit just .238 in 54 total games with the Yankees since 2017, but he is obviously feeling confident about making the leap this year.

Frazier’s lengthy absence last season became a bit of a controversy when he was criticized by YES Network’s Michael Kay for not being able to get healthy, though that seemed to be a misunderstanding. Either way, he should have plenty of motivation to prove his doubters wrong this spring.

Adam Ottavino agrees to deal with Yankees

Adam Ottavino

The New York Yankees lost one of their most reliable relief pitchers this offseason when David Robertson signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, but they appear to have found a viable replacement.

Robert Murray of The Athletic reports that the Yankees have agreed to a deal with right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino. Ken Rosenthal shared some details of the contract.

The Yankees already re-signed left-hander Zach Britton to a three-year, $39 million deal earlier this month, so they appear committed to having a strong bullpen yet again in 2019.

Ottavino, 33, posted a 2.43 ERA in 75 appearances with the Rockies last season. He recorded 34 holds and emerged as one of the better setup men in baseball. He felt like he was overlooked for the All-Star Game, but a $25 million contract is a nice reward for his solid production.

Manny Machado’s agent slams ‘wrong’ and ‘reckless’ media reporting

Manny Machado

Rumors have intensified in recent days about free agent infielder Manny Machado, particularly relating to reported negotiations with the Chicago White Sox. In an unprecedented step, Machado’s agent is pushing back against some of those rumors.

Dan Lozano, who represents Machado, issued a statement Wednesday blasting two specific recent reports as “inaccurate and reckless,” adding that reports about Chicago’s negotiations with Machado are “completely wrong.” He further suggested that someone may be violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement’s prohibition of conducting negotiations through the media by leaking information to reporters, specifically USA Today’s Bob Nightengale and ESPN’s Buster Olney.

One major catalyst for this seems to be Olney’s report that the White Sox have offered Machado a seven-year, $175 million contract. Reporting from other sources has disputed that figure, and Lozano is clearly calling it inaccurate.

The fact is there are a lot of people on both sides of negotiations selectively leaking to the media for various reasons, and there are contradictory reports everywhere you look. It is unusual, however, for an agent to take the step of releasing a statement singling out some of these reports as false.

Report: Several teams may become involved in Bryce Harper sweepstakes

Bryce Harper

There remains little movement on free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, but there are supposedly a number of teams waiting on the periphery ready to get involved when the time is right.

According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, only three teams are pursuing Harper at this moment, but “several” are on the sidelines who could potentially make a move.

It’s unclear what the endgame is. There had reportedly been a frontrunner for Harper, but there seems to be little movement and no urgency to any pursuit right now. At this point, the threat of unknown teams on the periphery may be agent talk to try to spur one of the interested teams into pushing for a deal.