Joe Kelly said he’s going to win the 2015 AL Cy Young Award

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WEEI’s Rob Bradford points out that we might have missed the strongest proclamation of the winter: Red Sox starter Joe Kelly promising to win the 2015 American League Cy Young Award. Here’s how it all went down, per Bradford:

Kelly, unannounced, strolling over to our WEEI broadcast setup during the Red Sox’ Winter Weekend at Foxwoods, grabbing one of the headsets and then letting out the words, “I want your listeners to know, I’m going to win the Cy Young this year. Just letting everyone know so when I win it you heard it here first.”

[…]

After the radio interview (which you can listen to by clicking here), Kelly went upstairs to the media room and reiterated his stance to the assembled group of writers.

“Yeah, I’m going to win this year,” the pitcher said when asked about his Cy Young prediction. “That’s what I told the radio guys. They didn’t believe me — [stinks] to be them.”

Over 17 starts last season between the Cardinals and Red Sox, Kelly finished with a 4.20 ERA and a 66/42 K/BB ratio in 96 1/3 innings. Though Kelly has posted good results before, he hasn’t started more than 17 games in a season yet. Furthermore, among the 131 starters who have accrued at least 300 innings since the start of the 2012 season, Kelly’s average of 1.8 strikeouts for every one walk ranks tied for 126th best.

Maybe the 4.20 ERA is indicative of something.

Didi Gregorius will wear a mask during games

Gregorius will wear a mask
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Didi Gregorius will wear a mask during games this year. That’s what the Phillies infielder tells the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“We are trying to go through the guidelines and trying to do everything we can do to stay safe, so, that’s why people see me walking around with a mask on and stuff. I am keeping myself safe, wearing a mask everywhere I go. So, I have to keep it on me all the time.”

Gregorius will wear a mask both while batting and out in the field, he said.

A big reason for it is that he has a chronic kidney condition which makes him “high risk” under Major League Baseball’s safety protocols. He could opt out if he wanted to but Gregorius, who signed a $14 million deal with the Phillies last winter, is a free agent again this coming offseason. He is coming off of a down year in 2019, having hit .238/.276/.441 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI across 344 plate appearances. Gregorius underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2018 and didn’t make his 2019 season debut until June 7. A big reason he took a one-year deal was to reestablish his value for next season’s go-around on the free agent market and he doesn’t want the long layoff going into what could be his last significant payday.

Major League Baseball is not requiring players or umpires to wear masks on the field during games or practices, though it is reportedly looking into clear face shields for home plate umpires to wear under their usual protective masks.

Gregorius will wear a mask to keep himself safe, he said, but he also notes in the article that “I think it adds safety for everybody, for me and people around me.” Here’s hoping, given his vulnerability, everyone around him is being as safe as he is.