We’ve talked about the strange rooting interests that crop up late in the season. The unbalanced schedule means that the odds are great that fans of one team will have to root for fans of a division rival.
But not everyone feels that way. This AP report set out to find some Boston fans and to ask them whether they’re doing what logic suggests is wise: root for the Yankees over the Rays this week. The answer is not a unanimous one:
“Absolutely not. Anybody that’s going to beat the Yankees, I don’t care,” said Pat Smith, a plumber from Cambridge who watched the Red Sox lose to the Orioles on Monday afternoon — their 12th loss in 15 games. “Even if it hurts the Sox. You never root for the Yankees. I’m sorry. I don’t care” … “You’ve got to root for the Rays,” said Ted Sellars, a grocery manager from the Boston area. “You can’t root for the Yankees. Ever! Ever! Ever!”
I suppose rooting for a rival is hard. And it can make you ashamed of yourself if things don’t work out (see, me last night, rooting for Roy Halladay to beat the Cardinals and then feeling dirty about it when he lost). But man, how do you not hope against hope that the Rays lose this week? Even if you’re a plumber from Cambridge?
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).