Next week the Red Sox will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park and Terry Francona was invited, but the former manager won’t be in attendance because of how his tenure in Boston ended.
Here’s some of what Francona told Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe:
Somebody went out of their way to make me look pretty bad. It’s a shame. I’m sure they’ll have a great event and I was part of a lot of that stuff there, but I just can’t go back there and start hugging people and stuff without feeling a little bit hypocritical.
Until I’m more comfortable with some answers on what happened at the end of the year, I don’t want to have much to do with the organization and that’s a shame. With all the good things that were accomplished, I just feel pretty strongly about that. It was pretty raw at the end of the year. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of moving on from that. At the same time, I’m never going to forget that.
And there’s a lot more where that came from. When told of Francona’s explanation for declining the invite Red Sox chief executive officer Larry Lucchino said: “I understand how strongly he feels on this matter and I accept that.’’
However, according to Francona earlier this week Lucchino called him and “got a little perturbed at me, telling me I was being unfair to them” and “we ended up getting into an argument.”
There’s nothing wrong with the Red Sox extending the invitation, but it’s pretty easy to see why Francona would decline it and kind of sad that he’s still getting into arguments with the people who fired him and tore him apart in the local media while doing so. Who wants to have anything to do with the other person following an extremely nasty breakup?
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.