Jon Lester opens up on beer/chicken-gate, Terry Francona

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Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe spoke with Jon Lester, who is — as far as I can tell — the first of the Red Sox Fried Chicken Posse to answer the allegations about all of that beer and chicken and those video games and stuff.  Lester was contrite to some degree, but added a healthy dose of reality too:

“There’s a perception out there that we were up there getting hammered and that wasn’t the case. Was it a bad habit? Yes. I should have been on the bench more than I was. But we just played bad baseball as a team in September. We stunk. To be honest, we were doing the same things all season when we had the best record in baseball.”

And he said that the chicken thing was overblown. Said they did it once a month. It was Popeye’s, if you care.

On a more important note, Lester had a lot of interesting things to say about Terry Francona leaving. Which, while respectful and charitable to Francona, suggest that, yeah, he lost control of the clubhouse and it was his time to go.  Click through to read his quotes on that. Pete Abe did a great job tracking Lester down and deserves the clicks.

Former Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos signs a minor league deal with the Dodgers

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Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.

OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.

Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.

It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.