Here’s something a little uncommon for Wrigley Field. Or anywhere, really. Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com’s CubsTalk describes the scene:
There were two runners on and two outs in the sixth inning when [Alfonso] Soriano hit a rocket line drive at Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who appeared to have secured it in his glove. Soriano stood at home plate with the bat in his hands before Middlebrooks dropped the ball and threw to first.
That set off a very loud chorus of boos from the 40,766 fans inside Wrigley Field – and an equally strong and opposite reaction from those inside the clubhouse.
“They don’t understand the game,” Soriano told reporters Saturday after the 4-3 loss to Boston. “It’s a line drive. There’s nothing you can do about it. If it’s groundball and I don’t run, they can do whatever they want. But a hard line drive, right off the glove? I don’t know what they want.”
Soriano signed an eight-year, $136 million deal with Chicago in 2006. He has a weak 110+ OPS ever since.
“Obviously, that contract comes into play sometimes with that kind of reaction,” contended first-year Cubs manager Dale Sveum. “But the fact of the matter is everybody in this clubhouse knows how hard Sori works and how hard he’s played this year. … That’s one of those things where 100 percent of every player in the history of baseball would do the same thing. You’re mad because you just crushed the ball and the guy should have caught (it) and you take your eye off it.” Sveum’s Northsiders are 22-43 this season.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.