The Red Sox impose plan to sucker, tax poor people

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The Red Sox and the Massachusetts State Lottery are partnering up for a new lottery game called “Monster Money.”  It’s a $10 scratch ticket game that debuted
yesterday. The game offers three $3 million instant prizes and seven prizes of $1
million. Other prizes include Red Sox gear such as jackets, pants,
warm-up jerseys and duffel bags.

In other news, lotteries are regressive taxes which provide false hopes of riches — and in this case, Red Sox logos and gear — in the eyes of a players who tend to skew poor and less-educated (certainly uneducated enough to be unable to realize the astronomical odds against them ever winning anything from them). As gambling games they are complete ripoffs inasmuch as they often retain as much as 50% of all wagers whereas casino games — which already favor the house themselves — pay out in excess of 90% of the gross.  Simply put, you’re better off wagering the paycheck on the roulette wheels at Mohegan Sun than you are playing the Red Sox scratch game.

But of course, lotteries benefit the masses, right? Sure, in their own inefficient and indirect way they do. For instance, this lottery pays millions to aid local municipalities. Of course, so too could a tax that is applied more evenly and fairly to the populace and doesn’t represent as unreliable a revenue stream as lotteries tend to be. And even if it has to be a lottery, it could certainly be one that doesn’t kick millions to the Red Sox in the form of licensing fees as this one does. Indeed, if the Red Sox really wanted to help out the good people of Massachusetts they could simply donate the use of their logo for the limited purpose of this lottery. I’ll update this post when they do so. In the meantime, know that the Sox will realize millions from gambling while any player who wanders into the sports book and puts $15 bucks on their team to win it all this season risks a lifetime ban.

Finally, let us all bookmark this post and revisit it in a few months when the first few winners are announced.  If form holds, a few working class people who were rescued from squandering their limited resources by sheer dumb luck will be held up and publicized as role models for other working class people who will thereby be encouraged to do more squandering.

My friend Jason is looking for reasons to hate the Red Sox. This one should count as one, shouldn’t it?

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.