Lackey done, Red Sox work to get Cameron

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Update: Rosenthal reports that a two-year contract worth $15.5 million is nearly done.
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According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox, who have already come to terms with John Lackey today, are working on a two-year deal with Mike Cameron.
It’d be nice to see the perpetually underrated Cameron finally get a chance to work in a true hitter’s park for the first time in his career. He’s still a strong defensive center fielder, and he’s been completely healthy the last three years after missing time each of the previous three seasons.
Still, he’s not a perfect fit for a Red Sox team in need of a Jason Bay replacement. Jacoby Ellsbury’s defensive statistics were well down last year, but it was probably more a fluke than anything. Besides a poor throwing arm, his only flaw is that he takes some bad routes to balls and that’s something he’ll continue to improve at with experience. The Red Sox would likely push him to left with Cameron in the fold. Considering that Cameron has the significantly better arm, it’d make no sense to stash him in front of the Green Monster and leave Ellsbury in center.
The Red Sox also have Jeremy Hermida in the fold. Now, Cameron has about 70 points of OPS on Hermida these last two years, but if the Red Sox really believed that Hermida was going to post another 740 OPS, they never would have acquired him in the first place. I’d say the two project pretty similarly as hitters next year, which means the Red Sox would be mostly paying Cameron for his defense, and that might not be the right strategy given that Boston’s left fielders have little ground to cover 81 times per season.
Cameron had previously been linked most frequently with the Cubs, under the assumption that they’d sign him once they traded Milton Bradley. It looks like they’ll miss out now, which might force them to turn to Marlon Byrd or Coco Crisp in center.

There was another miscommunication between the Phillies and Pat Neshek

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Back in June 2017, then-manager of the Phillies Pete Mackanin and reliever Pat Neshek had some miscommunication. In a series against the Cardinals, Neshek worked a five-pitch eighth inning and it was believed he would come back out for the ninth inning, but he never did. Mackanin said Neshek said he didn’t want to pitch another inning. Neshek said he was never asked. There was also some miscommunication the game prior. Neshek thought he had the day off; Mackanin said Neshek said he wasn’t available to pitch.

Mackanin is no longer the Phillies’ manager, but the miscommunication between Neshek and the team apparently persist. Neshek was notably absent during the Phillies’ hard-fought 5-4 win over the Cubs on Monday night. The game featured a struggling Seranthony Domínguez pitching two innings, yielding three crucial runs in his second inning of work.

Manager Gabe Kapler called the bullpen and instructed Neshek to begin warming up to prepare to face Albert Almora, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Kapler rang the bullpen after Domínguez walked Jason Heyward, who batted ahead of Almora. Neshek wasn’t warmed up yet. Domínguez was able to retire Almora on a sacrifice bunt, which was reviewed and gave Neshek some extra time to get ready. He was ready for the next batter, Daniel Descalso, but at this point Kapler no longer wanted to bring Neshek into the game. Descalso lined a triple to left-center field, scoring two runs and came home himself when shortstop Jean Segura‘s throw caromed off of his foot out of play.

Recounting the situation, Neshek said, “I got on the mound and threw two pitches. [Kapler] said, ‘Is he ready?’ And I said, ‘No. I’m not ready yet. I’ve thrown two pitches.” Neshek was asked how long it takes him to get ready. The veteran said, “A minute. Not 20 seconds. I’m, like, the best in the league at getting ready. My whole career has been coming in like that.”

The Phillies were able to eke out a 5-4 win. Had they lost the game, Kapler and Neshek would likely have been under the microscope for the awkward situation leading to a crushing defeat. Kapler drew plenty of criticism over his bullpen management last year in his rookie managerial season. That included bringing in lefty reliever Hoby Milner into a game in which he hadn’t yet warmed up.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the manager who struggled with bullpen management last year nearly mucked up a win last night, and maybe it’s just a coincidence that a reliever who’s had prior issues with communication had another communication mix-up. Maybe it’s not. It’s worth noting that the Phillies needed three innings from the bullpen to protect a 2-1 lead over the Cubs on Tuesday. Kapler called on rookie Edgar Garcia for two outs, lefty José Álvarez for four, and then brought in Juan Nicasio to close things out in the ninth. No Neshek, even as Nicasio got into trouble. Nicasio would surrender the tying and go-ahead runs, resulting in a deflating 3-2 loss.