The Red Sox acquired infielder Brock Holt, along with closer Joel Hanrahan, in the six-player deal with the Pirates on Wednesday.Holt, 24, a ninth-round pick of the Pirates in 2009 out of Rice University, made his big league debut for Pittsburgh in September. In 24 games, the left-handed batter hit .292, going 19-for-65 with three extra-base hits -- two doubles and a triple -- six runs scored, and three RBI. He had four walks with 14 strikeouts.Were also excited to acquire Brock Holt in this trade, said Red Sox assistant general manager Brian OHalloran on a conference call, filling in for GM Ben Cherington ,who was traveling. Hes a 24-year-old infielder, left-handed hitter that will really complement the mix of middle infielders that we bring into camp and I think hes going to be a good player for us going forward. Hes a very hard-nosed player type of guy that, hes had a lot of success in the minor leagues and in a brief call-up in September for Pittsburgh. Were excited to have him and the energy that he brings to the table. Hes got a line-drive stroke and we think hell be a good addition to our middle infield corps.In four minor league seasons, Holt has hit .317 with a .381 on-base percentage and .427 slugging percentage. Making his first appearance at Triple-A in 2012, hit .432 in 24 games, going 41-for-95, with a .476 OBP and .537 SLG.Brock Holt is a nice little hitter, said one scout. He can hit. Hes not going to hit for a ton of power, but he can hit.Overall, Holt has posted a.961 fielding percentage in the minors, .949 at shortstop and .980 at second base. With Triple-A Indianapolis last season, he had a .973 mark at second, .944 at short. But in 14 starts with the Pirates, all at second base filling in for injured veteran Neil Walker, he committed four errors in 64 chances for a .938 fielding percentage.Defensively he was pretty darn good in the minor leagues at second base and shortstop, more so second base, kind of average range, said the scout. But when he got to the big leagues it was almost as if he panicked and the game really sped up on him, and he was awful defensively, like really slow with feeds on double plays. Compared to Neil Walker you really could tell the difference defensively. But he can really hit.But those are the kinds of shortcomings that can be overcome with more experience and familiarity.Yes, I think hell get better defensively with that comfort level, because if you had watched him at all in the minor leagues youd never think he had a deficiency defensively, said the scout. You might say Oh, OK, hes not great but he catches everything he gets to. Hes got sure hands. The whole nine yards. But then when he got to the big leagues, youd say, Wait a minute. I didnt see this guy in the minors. He really looked rigid, stiff, he looked out of his element defensively.But at the plate, they got to pitch him really in tight to get him out. With balls out on the outer half he would drill the ball to left field or back through the middle. Hes a good hitter. He can handle lefties OK. The breaking ball doesnt give him fits. And hes a hard-nosed player. He can play some shortstop if need be. I think they might want to move him around in spring training, move him to third, short, second. Dustin Pedroia's not going anywhere and if thats Holts best position, see if he can play somewhere else, maybe even left field. His arms average. Its not above or below, but its average. But he seems like a hard-nosed player and he comes to play every day.Holt was added to the 40-man roster. Barring anything unforeseen, he is likely to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
On the heels of buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, the Bruins and defenseman Torey Krug have agreed to a four-year contract worth an average of $5.25 million a year, TSN’s Aaron Ward reported.
Boston Bruins and Torey Krug agreeing to a 4 year/ $5.25M AAV deal. #confirmed— Aaron Ward (@NHL_AaronWard) June 30, 2016
Krug, 25, joins Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller, and Adam McQuaid as defensemen currently under contract for the B’s. So, they’ll likely continue to be on the lookout for others as free agency begins Friday.
Krug scored a career-low four goal last season but had a career-high with 44 points.
More to come...
Not long ago, the final homestand of the first half of the 2016 season looked like an opportunity for the Red Sox.
Now, however, it looks more like a survival test.
Are they contenders or pretenders?
Is this a month-long downturn or a preview of coming attractions?
The Red Sox still possess a winning record and are tied for one of the wild-card spots in the American League. The season isn't shot. Yet.
But it could be soon if the Red Sox don't execute a turnaround and thrust themselves back into the divisional race. At the precise moment the Red Sox are in freefall, the Baltimore Orioles are streaking, and doing what the Red Sox have failed to do: take advantage of some breaks in the schedule.
While the Red Sox dropped two of three to a Tampa Bay team which had lost 11 in a row -- four at the hands of the Orioles themselves, it should be noted -- the Orioles have steamrolled over lowly opponents to go 7-1 against a steady diet of nothing by the Rays and Padres.
That delivers some additional urgency to this upcoming homestand, which features three games each against the Los Angeles Angels, the Texas Rangers and the Rays again.
While Dave Dombrowski continues to hunt for pitching help, how the Red Sox play over the next nine games could either intensify his search or reduce it to unnecessary.
Should the Red Sox lose further ground while at home, it might result in Dombrowski refusing to mortgage any of his organization's future for a team that hasn't proven worthy of an upgrade.
Why sacrifice prospects in exchange for a starting pitcher or bullpen piece when the playoffs drift out of reach? And, yes, the Red Sox are going to need reinforcements to the rotation and the bullpen for next year either way, but if the Sox don't show signs of life soon, that effort can be put off until after the season.
Due to simple laws of supply and demand, the already exorbitant cost of pitching skyrockets before the trade deadline, since there are a handful of needy teams convinced that one additional arm could spell the difference between a trip to the World Series and missing the postseason altogether.
If a team isn't in need of immediate help, it's best to wait for November and December, when there's less of a sense of desperation to the whole exercise.
Beyond the matter of determining whether the Red Sox go all-in on 2016, there's the matter of job security for manager John Farrell.
Should the Sox continue to stumble, the All-Star break might give Dombrowski time and cause to evaluate whether it's time to make a change in the dugout.
If Dombrowski determines that the season can still be salvaged with a change of voice in the dugout, Farrell would be vulnerable. And if he decides that, regardless of playoff aspirations, he's seen enough in a half-season of observation that Farrell isn't his choice to lead the club going forward, the four-day break would be time to reflect, then act on that evaluation.
Farrell challenged his team in a postgame meeting Monday, exhorting them to play to their potential, to trust in their teammates and play hard.
If that push doesn't yield tangible results in the next 10 days, a dark uncertainty -- for himself and the team he manages -- lies ahead.
The All-Star break offers upper management and ownership a time to take stock in what they have. If they don't like what they see in the next week and a half, the consequences could be felt soon.
Ask a football fan in New England, and he or she might tell you that Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are the top two players in the NFL. A random NFL player might not be as generous, but on balance, Brady and Gronkowski's peers consider the Patriots stars to be among the top 10 talents in the league.
The NFL Network announced the final 10 players to be included in their annual Top 100 list, a list voted on by players, and both Brady and Gronkowski made the cut.
The order of the top 10 has been determined, but has not yet been announced. Brady and Gronkowski are in the running for No. 1 alongside Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Luke Kuechly, Cam Newton, Adrian Peterson, Aaron Rodgers and JJ Watt.
The weekly series, which has counted down Nos. 100-11, will end on Wednesday, July 6 with two, one-hour episodes on NFL Network at 8 and 9 p.m. Highlights of each player will be featured, as will interviews with some of their teammates and competitors.
"He plays with a chip on his shoulder he’s always had," Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins said of Brady, "that really separates him."
Of Rob Gronkowski, Texans corner Charles James II said, "He's a glitch on Madden."
The only other Patriots players included in the Top 100 were Julian Edelman (who came in at No. 87) and Chandler Jones (No. 48). Jones, now a member of the Cardinals, was the only Patriots defender involved.
Corner Malcolm Butler, linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower and safety Devin McCourty all had an argument to be included but were left off.
NFL.com contributors Gregg Rosenthal, Chris Wesseling, Maurice Jones-Drew and Ike Taylor put together their own individual Top 100 lists to supplement the one voted on by current players. Rosenthal included Collins (No. 64), McCourty (No. 73) and Butler (No. 99) in addition to Edelman (No. 84). Wesseling included Collins (No. 43), McCourty (No. 88) and Hightower (No. 91), but not Edelman. Jones-Drew included both Edelman (No. 62) and Butler (No. 95). Taylor included only Edelman (No. 89).