Losses bring Sox closer to protected draft pick

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Losses bring Sox closer to protected draft pick

BALTIMORE -- As the Red Sox limp to the finish line, each additional loss only adds to their embarrassment.

Following their 9-1 drubbing at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles Friday night, the Sox inched closer to the real possibility that they will record a 90-loss season for the first time since 1966.

But all is not -- you should pardon the expression -- lost. Because each loss also makes it more and more likely that the Red Sox will earn themselves a "protected'' pick in next June's amateur draft.

Under terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, a protected pick means a team doesn't have to forfeit its first-round pick should it sign a top free agent this off-season.

Ordinarily, the teams with the worst 10 records in Major League Baseball would qualify for protected pick status. But because the Pittsburgh Pirates failed to sign their first-round pick in last June's draft, they will get an extra compensation next June, knocking the team with the 10th worst record out of the protected class.

That means that the bottom nine teams will qualify. After Friday's loss, the Sox have 88 losses with five games to play. Six teams -- Cleveland, Minnesota, Miami, the Chicago Cubs, Houston, and Colorado -- all have 90 or more losses.

The teams the Sox must worry about are the Toronto Blue Jays, who have 88 losses as well, and the Kansas City Royals, who are right behind with 87 losses.

However, unless the Sox go on some completely unexpected hot streak in their final five games -- doubtful, since Friday's setback was their seventh in their last eight tries -- the Sox likely can't be caught from behind and forced out of the bottom nine finishers.

The Red Sox haven't had a Top 10 draft pick in the first-year player draft since they chose outfielder Trot Nixon seventh overall in the 1993 draft.

It's highly unlikely that the Sox will be involved for either of the top two free agents -- pitcher Zack Greinke or outfielder Josh Hamilton -- but there could be interest in other free agents who reject qualifying offers from their present teams, thus making them subject to compensation.

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis. 

Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time. 

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.

Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball. 

 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team." 

Would he be interested?

"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.