Videos posted to Instragram from Red Sox team facilities in Florida show that Pablo Sandoval appears to have lost a significant amount of weight, notes Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com (who, unfortunately, does not seem to have been at the scene to report on Sandoval’s mass live). The videos show Sandoval running and lifting, and he appears to be significantly more svelte than he was prior to the 2016 season. The Red Sox are now two mostly wasted years into Sandoval’s five-year, $95MM deal after Sandoval performed poorly in 2015 and then lost most of 2016 to a shoulder injury. Getting a good 2017 campaign from him would provide them with a significant boost, particularly with less certainty at the corner infield spots and DH than they’ve had in years past. Here’s more on the Red Sox.
- Brad Ziegler is now (or will soon be) a Marlin, but Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski’s trade for him last summer might rank as one of his best so far, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes. Many of Dombrowski’s trades so far have been risky, as the Sox have given up top prospects like Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Manuel Margot and Anderson Espinoza. While the two prospects (Jose Almonte and Luis Alejandro Basabe) with whom the Red Sox parted for Ziegler have potential, the risk was manageable. Also, the Red Sox likely wouldn’t have made the postseason had Ziegler (who posted a 1.52 ERA over 29 2/3 innings with Boston) not stabilized their bullpen, Bradford argues.
- The Red Sox’ recent trade for Tyler Thornburg looks better than it did in the short time since it was made, due to developments in the free agent market for relief pitching, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald argues. Not only have top closers like Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon cashed in big, but even secondary relief arms like Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa have gotten significant paydays. Thornburg, who’s coming off a brilliant 2.15 ERA, 12.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 season in Milwaukee, gives the Red Sox a strong bullpen option who will be controllable for three more seasons. The Red Sox’ only significant miss on the bullpen front was Koji Uehara, who signed with the Cubs for a reasonable price, Mastrodonato writes.