Smoltz refuses assignment to minors

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Designated for assignment by the Red Sox last week, John Smoltz has refused a demotion to the minors. That basically ends his career in Boston, as the Red Sox now must either trade or release the 42-year-old veteran, who reportedly passed through waivers unclaimed yesterday.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com notes that a trade could prove difficult because of the incentives in Smoltz’s contract, so interested teams such as the Cardinals or Dodgers may wait to pursue him until the Red Sox cut him loose. Smoltz posted an ugly 8.32 ERA in eight starts with the Red Sox, but I’m still convinced that he can get big-league hitters out and for now at least it sounds like he wants to continue pitching.
Everyone teed off on his fastball, but the pitch still clocked in at an average of 91.3 miles per hour and Smoltz’s slider remained extremely tough to hit. He also had a solid 33/9 K/BB ratio in 40 innings and held right-handed batters to .232/.259/.390 in 85 plate appearances, all of which suggests that he still has a little gas left in the tank. A move back to the bullpen might be best for Smoltz, who seemed to fall apart after the first couple innings.
Incidentally, you can watch a 24-year-old Smoltz pitch against Jack Morris in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series right now on MLB Network. I have a feeling it’ll be a decent game.

Rafael Devers won’t visit White House with Red Sox

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The World Series champion Red Sox are scheduled to visit President Trump in the White House on February 15. Some have speculated that manager Álex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico and has been critical of Trump and has been a big factor in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, might not go as a form of protest. Thus far, nothing concrete has been reported on that front.

However, third baseman Rafael Devers says he isn’t going to join the Red Sox on their visit to the White House, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. Devers would prefer to focus on baseball, as the Red Sox open spring training on February 13 and position players have to report on February 17. Per Chris Mason, Devers also said via a translator, “The opportunity was presented and I just wasn’t compelled to go.”

Devers hails from the Dominican Republic and he, like many of Major League Baseball’s foreign-born player base, might not be happy about Trump’s immigration policies. Understandably, he is being tight-lipped about his motivation, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Devers is making a silent protest by choosing not to attend. He is thus far the only member of the team to bow out.

Devers, 22, hit .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs, 66 RBI, and 59 runs scored in 490 plate appearances last season.

Last year, when the Astros visited Trump at the White House, they did so without Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltrán. Both are from Puerto Rico. It is certainly not unprecedented for individual players to opt out of the White House visit.

No word yet on what food will be served during Boston’s trip to the nation’s capital, but the smart money is on hamberders.