Angels baseball now 64 percent less annoying

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Sure, they still have the Rally Monkey and Thunderstix, but the Angels got rid of their TV duo of Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler on Tuesday, turning chores over to play-by-play man Rory Markas and color commentator Mark Gubicza.
I’m not going to pretend to know much about Markas, who had been paired with Gubicza doing radio. Gubicza, though, while rather dry at times, seems to be far more in touch with reality than Hudler, who was becoming more of a parody of himself with every passing year.
In Hudler’s defense, his enthusiasm always seemed to be genuine. There are plenty of fakes out there in broadcast booths, but the Wonder Dog was simply being himself. It’s just that his own special brand of obnoxiousness would have worked a lot better in the sideline reporter role, and the Angels might want to bring him back in that capacity down the line.
Physioc, though, brought nothing to the table. When he wasn’t inducing Hudler to repeat a spiel about Angels baseball&#0174, he was getting a play wrong or botching a fact about a player from whatever lesser team happened to be playing the Angels that night.
The amazing thing about Physioc is that there wasn’t even any nepotism involved in his placement. He somehow got his job on merit.
Now, I know it’s not nice to root for people to be fired, but Physioc still has his college basketball duties and I’m sure Hudler won’t be out of work for long. He did play for six teams, after all, and if one of them no longer exists, well, that still leaves four possibilities for future employment.

Red Sox sign Christian Vazquez to three-year, $13.55 million extension

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The Red Sox signed catcher Christian Vazquez to a three-year, $13.55 million extension, per a team announcement on Saturday. The agreement will keep Vazquez under contract through the 2021 season and covers two years of arbitration eligibility and the catcher’s first year of free agency. It comes with a $7 million club option (and $250,000 buyout) for 2022 that could get bumped up to $8 million if he reaches 502 plate appearances in both 2020 and 2021. Vazquez has also volunteered to make an annual donation to the Red Sox Foundation as part of his new arrangement with the club.

The 27-year-old backstop is entering his fourth year with the Red Sox in 2018. He’s been a steady defender behind the dish over the last three years and was ranked fifth-best in defense among all American League catchers at the end of the 2017 season. He also enjoyed a breakout performance at the plate, slashing a career-best .290/.330/.404 with five home runs and a .735 OPS in 345 plate appearances.

Come Opening Day, Vazquez is expected to be the Red Sox’ primary option behind the plate, with veteran Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart poised to start in backup roles. Swihart is out of options, but has been groomed for a utility role this spring and could take a few reps in the left field and the infield corners if need be, as it doesn’t appear the club is prepared to trade him just yet.