Thoughts on Yanks-Sox: Slide Jorge!

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090806_posada_collision.jpgSome thoughts from the Yankees-Red Sox game Thursday night:

— The game was nearly four hours long, coming in at 3:52. About an hour of it was interesting. Basically, the Chamberlain-Smoltz matchup/disaster, plus the Pedroia plunking in the 8th. (You think Josh Beckett will have something to say about that on Friday?)

— The game was so long, I was hearing calls for umpire Derryl Cousins to widen his strike zone to actually encompass the entire plate. With a strike zone like that, even Yuniesky Betancourt could have drawn a walk.

— *The game was so long, John Smoltz had surgery, underwent rehab and returned to watch the final three innings.

*This is not true, but might be something to consider.

— Speaking of Smoltz, it may be time to pull the plug, and he knows it. “I’m not doing it right now. I’m a big enough man to stand up here and say I’m not doing it. Time may not be on my side if this continues. I’ve been here before, but not like this.”

— I know Jorge Posada was one of the heroes and all (3-for-5, one mammoth 3-run homer), but how could he not slide on that play at the plate in the second inning? He was tagged out easily while sort of gently bumping Victor Martinez. If you remember, Posada was the guy who helped create the Derek Jeter legend by tagging out a non-sliding Jeremy Giambi in the 2001 playoffs. Talk about not learning from history.

— Not sure if he was praising the Yankees, ripping Yankee Stadium, or a little bit of both, but Terry Francona said: “That’s an unforgiving lineup in an unforgiving ballpark.”

— In going 0-for-5, David Ortiz played as if Saturday’s press conference is weighing on his mind.

— Lost in the shuffle: Casey Kotchman hit a two-run home run in his first start for Boston, and Kevin Youkilis played passably well in left field.

— If you Twitter, you can often find me there at @bharks.

Danny Espinosa reportedly skipped Nationals Winterfest because of Adam Eaton

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Danny Espinosa #8 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after teammate Chris Heisey #14 (not pictured) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.

A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.

Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.

Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.

Nick Cafardo: Red Sox should deal Pomeranz, not Buchholz

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.

The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.

Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.

Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.