Gonzalez frustrated by non-call on 'quick pitch'

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Gonzalez frustrated by non-call on 'quick pitch'

BALTIMORE It was a rather fitting turn of events in the eighth inning when Adrian Gonzalez and Bobby Valentine were both ejected for complaining about a quick pitch thrown by Orioles reliever Pedro Strop.
Gonzalez grounded out to second base to lead off the eighth frame against Strop, and then started barking at home plate umpire Mike Everitt. Gonzalez put up his arms up and cameras caught him mouthing the words I wasnt ready to the ump as he trotted back to the dugout. It begs the question as to why Gonzalez swung at the pitch when he wasnt ready to hit, but he was ejected when he continued his argument from the dugout.
It was an emergency swing. It was like what happened? I just swung. I was shocked I even put it in play when it was coming in at 97 mph, said Gonzalez.
Bobby Valentine hopped up the dugout steps to take up the running dialogue with Everett, and the Sox skipper was also bounced by the home plate ump for what must have made for some interesting clubhouse conversation over the games final inning.
Valentine said that the quick pitch is a safety issue, and too many bad things could potentially happen when a guy throwing 97 mph lets loose on a batter that isnt ready in the batters box.
At the end of the day my job is to get on base and to start a rally, and that was taken away from me, said Gonzalez, who was also ejected in 2010 as a member of the Padres when he wouldnt leave home plate following a called third strike. I wouldnt say its dangerous, but he never even joined hands until he was ready to throw. If they say thats allowed then Ill never argue that, but the fact it was called a ball on Morales earlier in the year is what I was arguing.
I know I wasnt ready to hit. Thats what Im saying. I wasnt out of the batters box. But when I set up with the bat on my shoulder, and when the pitcher comes set I get in the position to hit. I was in a position where I wasnt ready to hit. They called that same play a ball on Morales earlier in the year. It needs to be universal and it cant be different with every individual.
It was a rough day for the Sox first baseman, who was fingered as one of the main culprits among a group of Red Sox players trying to undermine their manage before making a full and complete denial.
After the game Gonzalez said it was an issue of double standards. An umpire had ruled previously this season that Franklin Morales was guilty of a quick pitch and had called that pitch a ball. So the first baseman felt like that same rule should have worked in his teams favor this time around.
The reason they dont have a quick pitch is because its dangerous. Its the first time Ive seen it overused. If a hitter isnt ready and a pitch goes at his head, then hes not going to be able to get out of the way, said Valentine. Thats why they have the rule. I guess the batter has to step out of the box or drop his bat something.
With two strikes youve got to swing the bat for survival or leave it up to the umpire to ring you up with strike three. There are about seven guys that do it and Ive seen it called a ball a few times when its a no-pitch. If the hitter isnt ready then its a ball and its automatic.
So file the quick pitch as another bizarre chapter in the 2012 book of reasons and excuses as to why the Sox ended up on the losing end of the stick.

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.

During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.

But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.

In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.

On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The newly agreed upon Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement features higher taxes and additional penalties for exceeding the competitive balance threshold -- and don't think the Red Sox haven't noticed.

The Red Sox went over the threshold in both 2015 and 2016, and should they do so again in 2017, they would face their highest tax rate yet at 50 percent. Additionally, there are provisions that could cost a team in such a situation to forfeit draft picks as well as a reduced pool of money to sign its picks.

None of which means that the Red Sox won't definitively stay under the $195 million threshold for the upcoming season. At the same time, however, it remains a consideration, acknowledged Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

"You would always like to be under the CBT (competitive balance tax) if you could,'' offered Dombrowski. "And the reason why is that are penalties attached for going over, so nobody likes to (pay) penalties.

"However, the Red Sox, if you follow history, have been up-and-down, right around that number. We were over it last year and the year before that. So I would prefer (to be under in 2017). However, a little bit more driving force in that regard is that there are stricter penalties now attached to going over. And some of them involve, for the first time, differences in draft choices and sacrificing money to sign players and that type of thing. So there's a little bit more drive (to stay under).

"But I can't tell you where we're going to end up. Eventually, does it factor (in)? Yeah. But until we really get into the winter time and see where we are, will I make an unequivocal (statement about staying under the CBT)? Maybe we won't. But there are penalties that I would rather not be in position to incur.''

Dombrowski stressed that he's not under a "mandate'' from ownership to stay under the CBT.

"But I am under an awareness of the penalties,'' he said. "Last year, I would have preferred to be under, too, but it just worked for us to be above it, because we thought that would be the best way to win a championship at the time.''

He added: "I think we're going to have a good club either way.''

But it's clear that the CBT is part of the reason the Red Sox aren't being more aggressive toward some premium free agents such as first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion, who is said to be looking for at least a four-year deal at an annual average value of more than $20 million.

Currently, the Red Sox have nearly $150 million in guaranteed contracts for 2017, plus a handful of arbitration-eligible players, some of whom (Drew Pomeranz, Jackie Bradley Jr.) will see significant raises.

Together, with insurance premiums and others costs tallied, the Sox stand at nearly $180 million, just $15 million under the 2017 tax.

"I've said all along I've wanted to stay away from long-term contracts for hitters at this point,'' Dombrowski said of the current free agent class, "(especially) with some of the guys we have in our organization coming. I just haven't felt that that's a wise thing to do.''

The Sox saw two potential DHs come off the board over the weekend, with Carlos Beltran signing a one-year $16 million deal with Houston and Matt Holliday getting $13 million from the Yankees. Either could have filled the vacancy left by David Ortiz's retirement, but Dombrowski would also be taking on another another eight-figure salary, pushing the Sox well past the CBT.

"I figured we would wait to see what ends up taking place later on,'' said Dombrowski, "and see who's out there.''