White Sox acquire former top prospect Michael Taylor

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Michael Taylor has gone from top-30 prospect to footnote. The Athletics announced this afternoon that they have traded Taylor to the White Sox in exchange for minor league right-hander Jake Sanchez.

Taylor posted impressive numbers as a farmhand with the Phillies before being shipped to the Blue Jays in the Roy Halladay deal in December of 2009. He was quickly traded to the Athletics for Brett Wallace in a high-profile deal of top prospects, but both of them have proven to be flops. Taylor’s power never developed as hoped and he has hit just .135/.210/.189 with a 26/7 K/BB ratio over 81 plate appearances in the majors. Now 28 years old, he’ll likely function as outfield depth with Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte.

Sanchez owns a 2.80 ERA over 38 starts and seven relief appearances in the minors. The 24-year-old has yet to pitch above A-ball.

Red Sox to extend protective netting at Fenway Park in 2018

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The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”

Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.

After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.