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Red Sox Hall of Famer Frank Malzone dead at 85

12.30.15 at 6:45 am ET
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Frank Malzone, one of the inaugural members of the Red Sox Hall of Fame and a member of the organization for 68 years, died Tuesday at his home in Needham, the team announced. He was 85.

Malzone played third base for the Sox from 1955-65 and was an eight-time All-Star, two-time team MVP and three-time Gold Glover. After playing one season for the Angels in 1966, he retired with a career line of .274/.315/.399 with 133 home runs and 728 RBIs. The Bronx native then returned to Boston and served as a scout, instructor and executive for the next 57 years.

“We mourn the loss of a man we all came to know as ‘Malzie,’ who was venerated by Red Sox fans not only for his great glove at third base but for his blue-collar dedication to his craft,” Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said in a statement.

“He played 150 games or more in seven consecutive seasons, and missed just a total of two games in his first four seasons. He brought that same commitment to the many years in which he served the club as a special assistant, and always was a welcome presence at Fenway Park. He will be missed, and we extend our condolences to his family.”

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Yankees acquire closer Aroldis Chapman from Reds, build dominant bullpen

12.28.15 at 5:01 pm ET
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Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman

The Yankees just added some serious firepower to their loaded bullpen.

Already possessing two of the game’s most overpowering late-innings arms in left-hander Andrew Miller and righty Dellin Betances, the Yankees shocked baseball on Monday by acquiring embattled closer Aroldis Chapman from the Reds for a quartet of prospects.

The news, first reported by Jack Curry of the YES Network, radically alters the landscape of the American League East and gives the Yankees a bullpen unrivaled in the current game, if not ever.

Chapman, 27, owns the highest strikeout rate in history (41.7 percent, just ahead of Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel). The four-time All-Star owns a lifetime ERA of 2.17 and 146 saves, and is coming off a 4-4, 1.63 season with the Reds. He has struck out more than 100 batters in each of the last four seasons.

He’s also considered damaged goods, thanks to domestic abuse allegations that surfaced earlier this month to scuttle a trade to the Dodgers and reportedly scared the Red Sox off his trail in November.

What’s indisputable is the impact the Yankees bullpen should have on games. Chapman (46.3 percent), Miller (41.6) and Betances (39.5) owned the three highest strikeout rates in baseball last year, according to MLB.com’s Andrew Simon. They give manager Joe Girardi three overpowering options, with Chapman closing and Miller and Betances moving into setup roles.

The Yankees managed to complete the deal without surrendering any of their top prospects (Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Jorge Mateo, Greg Bird), instead acquiring the left-hander with the 100 mph fastball for right-hander Rookie Davis, third baseman Eric Jagielo, second baseman Tony Renda, and right-hander Caleb Cotham.

 

Former Red Sox postseason hero Dave Henderson passes away

12.27.15 at 12:44 pm ET
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Dave Henderson — the man who owns one of the most clutch hits in Red Sox history — has passed away at the age of 57 Sunday, according to multiple reports.

It was not immediately known the cause of death for Henderson, who most recently served as a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast. He had received a kidney transplant about a month ago.

Henderson spent 14 years in the major leagues, playing for the Mariners, Red Sox, Giants, A’s and Royals from 1981-94. While only finishing with a career .258 batting average, the former outfielder saved his best performances for the postseason, totaling a .946 OPS in 35 playoff games.

He will go down in Red Sox lore as the man chiefly responsible for allowing the team to play in the 1986 World Series.

Trailing the Angels three games to one in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series, the Red Sox found themselves down by three runs entering the ninth inning in Game 5. A Don Baylor home run brought the Sox back with a run with two outs in the frame, with Henderson representing the potential series-ending out.

But with two strikes, Henderson launched a Donnie Moore pitch over the left field wall to send the game into extra-innings. The Red Sox would ultimately with Game 5 in the 11th-inning on a Henderson sacrifice fly, propelling John McNamara’s club to wins in Game 6 and 7 at Fenway Park, and a World Series berth.

Henderson, who joined the Red Sox on Aug. 19, 1986 in a trade with Seattle that also brought over shortstop Spike Owen, went on to also excel in the World Series against the Mets. Playing center field, Henderson hit .400 with a 1.208 OPS and two homers in the seven-game series.

Henderson spent one more season with the Red Sox before being dealt on Sept. 1, 1987 to the Giants for a player to be named later (who would ultimately be utilityman Randy Kutcher). Following the ’87 season, he would sign with the A’s, playing a key role in Oakland’s ’89 world championship.

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Former Red Sox first base coach Arnie Beyeler lands as Marlins’ Triple-A manager

12.22.15 at 4:29 pm ET
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Arnie Beyeler

Arnie Beyeler

Arnie Beyeler is returning to the manager’s seat.

After not having his contract renewed by the Red Sox following the 2015 season, Beyeler has signed on to manage the Miami Marlins’ Triple-A team in New Orleans, per a major league source.

The 51-year-old Beyeler had been in the Red Sox organization since 2007, managing both Double-A Portland (’07-’10) and Triple-A Pawtucket (’11-’12). He also previously spent time in the Sox system from 2000-02, serving as skipper for Single-A teams in Lowell and Augusta.

In 12 years as a minor league manager Beyeler compiled a record of 802-756.

Beyeler will be reunited with former Pawtucket Red Sox minority owner and CEO Lou Schwechheimer, who was recently announced as the new principal owner for the Triple-A Zephyrs.

Besides serving as the Red Sox’ first base coach for the past three seasons, Beyeler also acted as the team’s outfield coach.

Ruben Amaro has replaced Beyeler as the team’s first base coach for the 2016 season.

Wade Boggs on OM&F: Getting number retired ‘greatest honor an athlete can have’

12.22.15 at 1:06 pm ET
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Wade Boggs

Wade Boggs

Hall of Famer Wade Boggs joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Tuesday to talk about getting his number retired by the Red Sox and what his career was like in Boston. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

The Red Sox announced Boggs’ No. 26 would be retired on Monday afternoon, but Boggs got the call last week from Red Sox president Sam Kennedy and Red Sox chairman Tom Werner.

“I couldn’t say thank you enough,” Boggs said. “It was something that the eyes filled up with tears and just thinking back to my induction to the Hall of Fame that my dad would have really liked to look up there and see my number next to Ted [Williams]. That was the thing that ran through my mind. On May 26, him and my mom will have the best seat in the house. They will be looking down and it will be a very proud day for my family.”

Boggs’ .338 batting average with the Red Sox is second only to Williams, and no one has ever played more games at third base in team history. He was an eight-time All-Star during his 11 seasons as Boston’€™s third baseman from 1982-92. During his Red Sox career, he led all major leaguers in batting average (.338), hits (2,098), doubles (422), on-base percentage (.428), and times reaching base safely (3,124), and also topped the American League in walks (1,004) and OPS (.890).

“It was out of the blue,” Boggs said of getting the call that his number would be retired. “The thing about having your number retired, it’s not something that comes along everyday. It’s not really required, even if you make the Hall of Fame. It’s up to an organization and like I said countless times, that it’s the greatest honor an athlete can have is to have his number retired. That way you get to live on in immortality.”

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Chat Red Sox at noon on Tuesday with John Tomase

12.22.15 at 11:46 am ET
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John Tomase will take your Red Sox questions at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, so queue up in the chat, and ask anything.

 

Live Blog Red Sox chat
 

Wade Boggs on getting his number retired by Red Sox: ‘This is the best Christmas present’

12.21.15 at 8:18 pm ET
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Wade Boggs

Wade Boggs was as shocked and surprised as anyone to hear that the Red Sox would retire his No. 26 this May.

In an interview with the Boston Globe, Boggs described the call from chairman Tom Werner informing him of the honor.

“Tom told me, ‘Better late than never,'” Boggs told the Globe’s Nick Cafardo by phone. “I’m so grateful. I thought it may never happen and over the years I’ve wondered if it ever would. But I’m very appreciative of this honor. It was an honor and privilege to wear the uniform for the Red Sox and to have played as long as I did.

“I wish I could have spent my entire career there and I know that was Mrs. [Jean] Yawkey’s wish. But she passed away before my free agency and things changed.”

The story adds that Boggs could join the team in a spring training advisory role. All the 57-year-old Hall of Famer knows is that getting his number retired is a dream come true.

“This is the icing on the cake for me,” Boggs told the paper. “This was the last piece of my career that I looked forward to. The Hall of Fame was incredible, but I always wanted to be recognized by the team I loved being a part of. The Red Sox are the team that gave me my first chance and I’ll always be grateful. I can’t wait for the ceremony. It’s a nice touch they will have it on the 26th.

“This is the best Christmas present I could ever have.”

Red Sox will be retiring Wade Boggs’ No. 26

12.21.15 at 2:32 pm ET
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The Red Sox announced Monday that they will be retiring Wade Boggs’ No. 26, honoring the Hall of Fame third baseman before the team’s May 26 game against the Rockies at Fenway Park.

The third baseman’s .338 batting average with the Red Sox is second only to Ted Williams, with Boggs having played more games at third base than any player in team history.

Red Sox principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, president Sam Kennedy and Boggs were all quoted in a team-issued release:

“Wade Boggs was the best third baseman in Red Sox history and one of the best hitters of his generation,” Henry said. “Whether it was his legendary hand-eye coordination or the discipline of his highly superstitious routine, his ability to hit line drive after line drive was remarkable. We congratulate our first ballot Hall of Famer on this recognition.”

“Wade Boggs took the art of hitting to an extraordinary level,” Werner said. “From 1982 to 1992, the five-time batting champion was invincible. Boggs worked at his craft relentlessly and for nearly a decade New England fans worshiped him, pitchers feared him, and young children emulated him. It is fitting that his batting average with the Red Sox is second only to the greatest hitter who ever lived. We eagerly await the spring when we can honor the extraordinary legacy of this 12-time All Star.”

“I am part of a generation that grew up watching Wade Boggs play at Fenway Park,” Kennedy said. “For those of us who came early for BP, we could count on Wade religiously signing autographs every single day, as well as launching baseballs off the Monster day in and day out. This is a long overdue acknowledgement of a player who is arguably the best pure hitter in Red Sox history. We look forward to affixing his No. 26 in its rightful place alongside the great legends on Fenway Park’€™s right field facade.”

“I am so humbled and honored to be among the greatest legends to ever put on a uniform for the amazing city of Boston,” Boggs said. “To say that your number will never be worn again is the highest honor an athlete can receive. Thank you.”

Boggs joins Bobby Doerr (No. 1), Joe Cronin (No. 4), Johnny Pesky (No. 6), Carl Yastrzemski (No. 8), Ted Williams (No. 9), Jim Rice (No. 14), Carlton Fisk (No. 27), Pedro Martinez (No. 45) and Jackie Robinson (No. 42) as other numbers retired by the organization.

Brock Holt had been wearing No. 26, but has told the Red Sox he will now don No. 12.

Since Boggs left the Red Sox organization following the 1992 season, there have been 13 players to wear No. 26, including WEEI’s Lou Merloni. (To see the complete list, click here.)

Why does everybody, including Commissioner Manfred, think opt-outs are bad thing?

12.18.15 at 12:24 pm ET
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Commissioner Rob Manfred  (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Commissioner Rob Manfred (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

It’s all the rage: opt-outs.

David Price got one after three years of his seven-year deal. Zack Greinke just took advantage of his to get a handsome raise. Jason Heyward now has one, as does Johnny Cueto.

It’s a trend Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred evidently isn’t a fan of.

“The logic of opt-out clauses for the club escapes me,: Manfred told FOX Sports. (To read the entire article, click here.) “You make an eight-year agreement with a player. He plays well, and he opts out after three. You either pay the player again or you lose him.

“Conversely, if the player performs poorly, he doesn’t opt out and gets the benefit of the eight-year agreement. That doesn’t strike me as a very good deal. Personally, I don’t see the logic of it. But clubs do what they do.”

It is a dynamic that could be surfaced when negotiating the new collective bargaining agreement, which expires on Dec. 1, 2016.

But, while opt-outs undeniably are a good thing for the players, I don’t think it’s all that bad for the team.

Tell me if Johnny Cueto opts out after two years, and he’s pretty good but not great (which, is a very real possibility) the Giants wouldn’t be doing jumping jacks that they got two pretty good Cueto years at $48 million.

In that time you can develop pitchers to take his place, potentially targeting players who you are more comfortable riding into their 30’s then the guy who is going to cost you more than $80 million over the next four years.

Even for a guy like Price it might not be a terrible thing. He could be awesome the first two years, and then have some hiccups in the third season that makes the idea of a mid-30’s pitcher stick around at $30-million-a-year-plus for four more seasons a bit uncomfortable.

And, you know what? Even if there is that sense of doubt from the team, it probably won’t reach the level where the player doesn’t take the opportunity to make more money.

Of course, the argument you’re always going to get is that the team is going to have to replace that talent. Look at what the Dodgers are going through now with trying to solve the Greinke departure.

But in some case the three or so years allows a franchise to get their stuff together, develop top talent players they might not have had at the time of the initial signings and start turning the page.

There is obvious risk for these teams, but let’s not pretend there isn’t potential reward.

So, with all due respect to the Commissioner, I do embrace the logic of these opt-outs.

Read More: David Price, johnny cueto, Rob Manfred,

Mike Napoli agrees to 1-year deal with Indians

12.16.15 at 2:02 pm ET
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Former Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli has agreed to a one-year deal with the Indians, WEEI.com confirmed Wednesday afternoon. The 34-year-old’s deal is worth $7 million, with $3 million in incentives, according to Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports.

Napoli hit .224/.324/.410 with 18 home runs in 133 games last season. He began the year in Boston and hit .207/.307/.386 with 13 home runs in 98 games. After being traded to the Rangers on Aug. 7 he had a bit of a resurgence, hitting .295/.396/.513 with five home runs in 35 games with Texas.

In 10 major league seasons with the Angels, Rangers and Red Sox, Napoli is hitting .253/.355/.482 with 204 home runs. He was an All-Star in 2012 with the Rangers, then signed as a free agent with the Red Sox and hit .259/.360/.482 with 23 home runs in 2013 and helped the Sox win the World Series.

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