Red Sox get shortstop Alex Gonzalez from Reds

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General manager Theo Epstein and the Red Sox stayed busy this afternoon, sending Single-A infielder Kristopher Negron to the Reds to reacquire Alex Gonzalez three seasons after he was Boston’s starting shortstop. Gonzalez hit just .255/.299/.397 in 111 games with the Red Sox in 2006 and has been even worse this year, batting .210/.258/.296 in 68 games after missing all of last season with a knee injury.
Gonzalez has long been one of baseball’s worst hitters, as his .686 career OPS ranks seventh-lowest among all active players with at least 3,000 plate appearances. For quite a while his strong glove was enough to make him a decent enough all-around player despite the horrible bat, but now that aging and injuries have turned Gonzalez into a mediocre defender his usefulness is pretty iffy.
Boston has been starting Nick Green at shortstop since dumping Julio Lugo on the Cardinals only to watch Jed Lowrie land back on the disabled list with more wrist problems, so obviously the threshold for upgrading the position isn’t high. Gonzalez is probably better than Chris Woodward, who the Red Sox have used as a utility man since claiming him off waivers last week, but he’s unlikely to really be any better than Green.
Of course, the hope is that Lowrie will be able to come off the shelf soon and can stay healthy down the stretch, in which case Gonzalez will be nothing more than a utility man and the Red Sox will have simply dropped about a million bucks and a low-level prospect for the marginal difference between two sub par shortstops. Gonzalez also has a $6 million team option for 2010, but don’t expect Boston to pick it up.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: