Prior to today’s Red Sox-Phillies spring training game Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters that he believes Boston is “the best team in baseball.”
He added: “I think, the combo of speed, power, bullpen … they’re a helluva ball club. They don’t have a lot of holes.”
Bookmakers disagree, at least right now, as the over/under on the Red Sox’s win total is 95 and the over/under on the Phillies’ win total is 97. Of course, if Amaro thinks the NL is significantly weaker than the AL and 95 wins in the tougher league is superior to 97 wins in the easier league then maybe bookies agree.
Either way, it’s pretty clear that Boston-Philadelphia (or Philadelphia-Boston) will be the most popular World Series matchup prediction this year.
Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.
When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.
Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.