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Red Sox interested in ‘lesser names’ for bullpen

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Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Boston Red Sox are “unlikely to land Edwin Díaz, Shane Greene or Raisel Iglesias.” He says that Boston is, instead, focused on lesser bullpen names.”

This makes sense given that the Sox’ minor league system is thin and the sorts of guys they do have to trade for better relievers — infielders Triston Casas and Bobby Dalbec — might be very hard to part with.

So, who are “lesser” names?

I’m guessing Felipe Vázquez of the Pirates is not one of them, as he has often been named alongside Díaz and Greene in that top tier of available bullpen arms. If the Giants do end up selling that likewise strongly suggests that Will Smith is not a candidate for the same reasons.

Maybe Mychal Givens of the Orioles? A reclamation project like Greg Holland of the Dbacks? Craig Stammen of the Padres? David Hernandez of the Reds? None of them are super exciting and most of them are performing kinda bad right now, but all either have a track record of performance or at least some promise that a chance of scenery might result in a couple of serviceable months. I mean, any time you trade for less-than-elite bullpen arms that’s what you’re looking at, right?

No matter which “lesser names” the Sox court, however, the fact is that they need some help. It’s a Dave Dombrowski team, after all, and when has a Dave Dombrowski team not needed bullpen help?

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

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The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.

Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.

As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.

Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.

The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”