“Red Sox-Yankees, that’s as crazy as it gets.”
— Dodgers manager Joe Torre, doing whatever he can to support the thesis of L.A. Time writer Kevin Baxter that the Dodgers-Giants rivalry ain’t what it used to be.
Torre is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t here. West coasters probably aren’t happy with him claiming that an east coast rivalry is the better one, but just imagine what east coasters would say if he didn’t give Red-Sox-Yankees the props they believe it deserves.
Overall, though, I don’t think that any modern rivalry can compare in tone and intensity to the rivalries of the pre-free agency period simply because the players come and go. Back in the day, most of the intensity was driven by the participants in the rivalry. These days, it’s almost completely a media-driven thing.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.
Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.
The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.