Dice-K's beatdown begins

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A day after Dice-K declared the Red Sox’ training methods as the reason for his injuries
(no word on whether he blamed them for his second chin and inability to
throw a pitch down the middle), the team is striking back. And, as is
the custom in Boston, they’re doing it through the media. First, Tony Massarotti hits him,
relaying that the team is “downright angry” at him, and that “the truth
is that the Red Sox were tired of Matsuzaka’s high-maintenance act a
long time ago, but they kept their mouths shut and put up with it
because Matsuzaka won games.”

Then Dan Shaughnessy,
who has long been a trusted messenger for the Sox, says “the Sox are
steamed. Matsuzaka talked out of turn, infuriated his bosses and his
teammates, and unwittingly took the focus away from Hall of Famer Jim
Rice on the night the slugger’s number was retired . . . It is
reasonable to wonder if Matsuzaka will pitch again for the Sox this
season. Or ever.”

One wonders if Dice-K fully understands the influence the Boston
media has on what happens on that team (and what influence team
management has on the media). It’s slow season in Beantown. The Bruins
and Celtics are on hiatus and Patriots’ camp is not yet at full speed.
Between that and the Sox struggling of late, there is no way in hell
that someone who talks out of turn the way Matsusaka did yesterday
isn’t going to be the subject of an epic beatdown.

Side note to all of this — offered by longtime reader MooseinOhio:
“I wonder if Scott Boras will continue comparing Stephen Strasburg’s
contract demands to Dice-K’s as the evidence that is being put forth,
and will continue to be put forth, on how Boston overpaid for his
services continues to mount.”

Good point.

Reds to extend protective netting at Great American Ball Park

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The Reds announced on Thursday that the protective netting at Great American Ball Park will be extended to the end of each dugout in time for Opening Day next season. The press release notes that the current netting meets Major League Baseball’s guidelines and the new netting will go beyond those standards.

The netting “debate” came back on Wednesday when a young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have done about the bare minimum in installing protective netting, which rightly earned them criticism. Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, and Didi Gregorius each said yesterday that the netting should be extended. Other teams and Major League Baseball in general received criticism. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, for example, said the relative lack of action on MLB’s part is “morally repugnant.”

Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that the Reds had already had this idea prior to Wednesday’s incident at Yankee Stadium.

Orioles don’t intend to trade Manny Machado this offseason

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Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become eligible for free agency after the 2018 season and is likely to get a windfall. The club, however, isn’t expected to pursue trading their star at the hot corner this offseason, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Machado, 25, has been one of baseball’s best players since debuting in 2012. He had a slow start to the 2017 season, seeing his OPS nearly drop below .700 in early July, but a strong second half has made his overall numbers more than respectable. Machado is batting .264/.318/.484 with 32 home runs and 92 RBI in 651 plate appearances while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base.

Just because the Orioles don’t plan to move Machado this offseason doesn’t mean they won’t try to recoup some value ahead of next year’s non-waiver trade deadline. According to Heyman, a person involved with the Orioles said, “It would take us 35 years to find another player like him.”