Red Sox one of “four or five” teams interested in Josh Hamilton

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We heard earlier today that the Rangers have been the “most aggressive” on free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, but it appears they will have competition.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com in Boston reports that the Red Sox are among “four or five” teams interested in Hamilton. But their interest comes with a pretty big caveat, as they are only willing to consider him on a short-term deal, likely with a higher AAV (average annual value). So his market would have to be pretty weak for this to be a real possibility.

There’s been chatter that Hamilton is looking for a seven-year deal, but one source tells Bradford that teams are currently waiting to see if there is anybody willing to offer as many as four years. The Orioles, Phillies, Brewers, and Mariners have all been mentioned as possible landing spots, but there’s some hesitancy to meet his substantial asking price, which is not a big surprise when you consider his age, injury risk and history of substance abuse. But it only takes one team to blow expectations out of the water.

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”