The Red Sox bandwagon has a few empty seats in it this year according to Sports Business Journal:
The Boston Red
Sox’s six-year reign atop MLB’s local television ratings is about to
end, as the team’s local numbers have plummeted from first to fifth this
Entering the All-Star break, ratings for Red Sox games on
NESN have dropped nearly 36 percent from last year, for a 6.25 average
The last time the Red Sox finished out of the top spot was
in 2003, when the Mariners posted an 11.53 rating on FSN Northwest. The
Sox averaged a 7.86 rating that year on NESN. This year, Red Sox
ratings trail the Cardinals (9.70 on FS Midwest), Twins (7.85 on FS
North), Phillies (7.20 on CSN Philadelphia) and Reds (6.52 on FS Ohio).
Obviously they still reach a ton more households than just about any team, and some of this drop also probably reflects the Celtics and Bruins’ long postseason runs, though at least the Celtics’ success is not new.
It would seem that the most likely explanation here is just a general decline in enthusiasm about the Bosox. Check out this fan quote from the article:
“People expected a
bigger splash in the offseason. There’s a general
feeling that the ownership took a pass on this season, and I think
you’re seeing fans question why they should invest in it.”
If that’s true it speaks of a pretty damn big sense of entitlement on the part of Sox fans, doesn’t it? They brought in two of the most sought-after free agents in all of baseball in John Lackey and Adrian Beltre and returned the rest of a team that just won 95 games last year. Has it really gotten to the point that unless a $100 million free agent comes in that fans consider ownership “taking a pass?”
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.