The Red Sox, Dice-K getting along again

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Last year the relationship between the Red Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka got icy. Over his conditioning, mostly, but the problem may have been exacerbated by cultural stuff and the fact that Dice-K was away for the WBC in the spring.

That’s all better now, reports Pete Abraham. Terry Francona: “We kind of put the gloves down and told him how we felt and he told us.
I think it was really good for everybody. We had probably gotten to the
point where we needed to have pretty direct conversations. And from him
to us, also. I think it was good.”  Theo Epstein: “We’re going to have a full infrastructure in place for all our Japanese
players and a full infrastructure in place for all our pitchers.
Daisuke will work with our training staff and work with our pitching
coach.”

A functioning and effective Matsuzaka will make a big difference for a Red Sox team that had a putative pitching surplus basically disappear over the summer.

Tampa Bay Rays trade Alex Colome, Denard Span to the Seattle Mariners

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The Tampa Bay Rays were reported this week to be “open for business” as far as trades go. Normally that means nothing happens until late June or something. The Rays are getting right down to it, though, as they’ve just traded closer Alex Colome and outfielder Denard Span to the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners, who have played some outstanding ball lately thanks to some outstanding starting pitching, and are looking to bolster other areas as they make a push in the AL West, will likely slot Colome into a setup role in front of closer Edwin Diaz. Span will take over center field, allowing Dee Gordon to, eventually anyway, once he recovers from a fractured toe, cover for the suspended Robinson Cano at second base. If the M’s make the playoffs he’d likely do so in the postseason too, given that Cano will be ineligible for any October play due to his suspension.

Colome has saved 11 games for the Rays, with a 4.15 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 23/8 in 21.2 innings.Span is hitting .238/.364/.385 with four homers and six stolen bases on the season.

Two players are going back to the Rays: righties Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero. Moore was the Mariners’ second round pick in 2015 and made his big league debut last season, pitching 59 innings in 2018 but back in the minors so far in 2018. Romero was a 15th rounder for Seattle in 2017 and is currently plying his trade in A-ball.

The Rays, as expected, are using the 2018 season to acquire prospects. The Mariners, who are unexpectedly strong in the early going, are trying to go for it even harder. Quite a big trade for late May.