Baseball wants the Red Sox to get back into the race

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Bob Raissman of the Daily News observes that, based on the fact that FOX is giving an unusually-large portion of the nation the Yankees-Sox game tomorrow and based on the fact that the schedule makers have put so many Yankees-Sox games late in the season, baseball was banking on those two titans to slug it out down to the wire.  If the Sox don’t get back into the race, he says, it could be a bad thing for the bottom line.

That sound you hear is the rest of the nation not caring one iota. Any business plan that relies so heavily on two teams deserves to be disrupted.  Indeed, though it would totally horrifying from a business perspective, I can imagine nothing better for baseball’s long-term health than a Rays-Padres World Series.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.