Red Sox fans have to root for the Yankees, right?

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We’ve talked about the strange rooting interests that crop up late in the season. The unbalanced schedule means that the odds are great that fans of one team will have to root for fans of a division rival.

But not everyone feels that way. This AP report set out to find some Boston fans and to ask them whether they’re doing what logic suggests is wise: root for the Yankees over the Rays this week. The answer is not a unanimous one:

“Absolutely not. Anybody that’s going to beat the Yankees, I don’t care,” said Pat Smith, a plumber from Cambridge who watched the Red Sox lose to the Orioles on Monday afternoon — their 12th loss in 15 games. “Even if it hurts the Sox. You never root for the Yankees. I’m sorry. I don’t care” … “You’ve got to root for the Rays,” said Ted Sellars, a grocery manager from the Boston area. “You can’t root for the Yankees. Ever! Ever! Ever!”

I suppose rooting for a rival is hard. And it can make you ashamed of yourself if things don’t work out (see, me last night, rooting for Roy Halladay to beat the Cardinals and then feeling dirty about it when he lost).  But man, how do you not hope against hope that the Rays lose this week?  Even if you’re a plumber from Cambridge?

Phillies, RHP Taijuan Walker reportedly agree to 4-year deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – The active Philadelphia Phillies added Taijuan Walker to their rotation on Tuesday, agreeing to a $72 million, four-year contract with the right-hander.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

It was the second major free-agent score for the Phillies at the winter meetings after they reeled in shortstop Trea Turner on Monday with a $300 million, 11-year deal. Walker and Turner join a Phillies team that made it to the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros.

The 30-year-old Walker went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts this season for the New York Mets, one of Philadelphia’s biggest NL East rivals. He slots into a rotation fronted by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

The Phillies recently lost pitcher Zach Eflin in free agency to Tampa Bay.

Asked about the market for Walker earlier in the day, agent Scott Boras said it was robust.

“As you can see in the marketplace, there’s a whole number of pitchers that are throwing 60 and 70 innings that have been pursued, probably with the exception of (Jacob) deGrom, at the lower end of threshold around $13-15 million a year because the demand for quality pitching is so great,” Boras said.

“So, Tai … is one of the younger ones, one of the more durable ones and we expect him to be pursued greatly as his market unfolds.”

Walker was selected by Seattle with the No. 43 pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2013.

Walker signed with New York as a free agent in February 2021. He turned down a $7.5 million player option last month in favor of a $3 million buyout, making his deal worth $17 million over two seasons.

The 6-foot-4 Walker made the All-Star team for the first time in 2021, putting together a fast start before fading to a 7-11 record with a 4.47 ERA in 30 games, 29 starts.