Why Chris Woodward didn't make the Red Sox' postseason roster

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Last fall, when postseason rosters were being finalized, the only real discussion in Boston was about a utility guy, with Nick Green, Jed Lowrie and Chris Woodward all in the mix.  Green was hurt, and Terry Francona said that they needed to limit Lowrie as well.  So you figured Chris Woodward — who was away from the team because of the birth of his son — would be the guy, what with guys usually only missing a day or too for paternity leave. 

But Woodward didn’t make the cut and Lowrie did.  The hardcore fans probably knew what was going on, but those of us who don’t spend all day thinking about the Sox didn’t give it a second thought.  Today, however, the story of Chris Woodward and the postseason roster is one of the more interesting things going:

“It went so smoothly, everything was perfect,” Woodward said. “My
mother-in-law was at our house with our other two kids, Sophie and
Mason. I was going to be able to spend a day or two with them all and
go back for the playoffs.”

It stopped going smoothly the next
morning, went Erin’s mother called from the Woodward home. Two-year-old
Mason had a fever, running a temperature of 104 degrees.

“I drove
home and took him to the pediatrician, who took tests and said it was
swine flu,” Woodward said. “They told me he couldn’t be near my wife or
the baby for two weeks. They told me we had to be careful with Mason,
and we all started taking Tamiflu that day.

And it only got worse after that as everyone in the family ended up getting the flu.

Not to diminish his talent too much, but the fact is that Woodward is a guy who could be in or out of the big leagues depending on some fifth level functionary’s mood on any given morning. I know we’d all say that we’d choose family over baseball if we were in his shoes, but the fact that he had the Red Sox calling him, asking whether he could make the postseason roster and was able to tell them “no, no, no, I have to stay home with my family,” despite the risk such a move posed to his baseball career says something pretty good about Woodward.

Report: Cardinals are scouting Cuban outfielder Luis Robert

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Baseballs sit in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
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According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.

There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.

Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.

Cubs extend Pedro Strop through 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  Pedro Strop #46 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game One of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.

Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.

The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.

Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.