If you think that firing Bobby Valentine is the only thing that’s gonna go down in Boston this offseason, you got another think coming, says Red Sox President Larry Lucchino:
“We do think that there are some things that need to be done besides this. This is not the only change that’s going to made this offseason. There are myriad changes that will be made. We’ve begun with the megatrade with the Dodgers, with the addition of Jason Varitek, with the supplement to our evaluation process with Eddie Bane, now with the managerial change, there’ll be some coaching changes. There will be a host of changes. And there will be some new personnel.”
He may have a habit of throwing people under the bus and he may have forced Bobby Valentine on Red Sox Nation in the first place, but you gotta love a guy who not only uses the word “myriad,” but who uses it without the superfluous “of” after it. Nice one, Larry.
As for what those changes are? Heck, who knows? The free agent market is not full of game changers and the Sox don’t appear to have the pieces already in place to seriously compete. But hey, the team president is well-spoken.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.