It’s great for Major League Baseball that Netflix wanted to do a documentary series on one of its teams with behind-the-scenes access.
The Red Sox were certainly enthused, avidly pursuing the project going back to last season. A better team would make more sense, but executive producer and director Greg Whiteley has shown a deft hand with underdog stories “Cheer” and “Last Chance U.”
The Sox certainly fit that mold given the state of the franchise. Whiteley met with some players last season to gain their support and was successful. As an organization, the Sox have embraced the idea.
But there is a potential downside. Alex Cora is in the final year of his contract and Craig Breslow is in his first as chief baseball officer. The Sox also have a lot of players who aren’t established big leaguers.
Tossing a seasonlong documentary on their plate doesn’t seem ideal. But that tension will probably generate good television. It will be interesting to what degree the show touches on the dissatisfaction of the fan base with ownership.
Prediction: Triston Casas becomes a big deal. He’s a character waiting for a show.
A few other observations on the Red Sox:
▪ Garrett Whitlock has yet to become the pitcher the Sox hoped he would when they signed him to an extension before the 2022 season. He’s just over league average since and had five stints on the injured list.
But when you see the righthander face hitters on Field 1 at Fenway South on Friday morning, five days before camp officially opens, you know the work ethic is there. That’s driven home when Whitlock is the last player on the field because he wants to run another series of sprints.
It’s a results business, but the work comes first and he does the work.
▪ Ángel Padrón, a lefthander who was a Red Sox minor leaguer from 2014-19, threw a no-hitter for Venezuela against Nicaragua in the Caribbean World Series on Wednesday in Miami.
It was only the second no-hitter in the 75-year history of the tournament. The first was in 1952.
Padrón topped out at Single A Greenville in 2019, where he was teammates with Brayan Bello. He was one of the many players who lost their spots because of the pandemic and baseball’s decision to contract the minor leagues.
Padrón has since played professionally in Venezuela and for an independent team in Mexico.
Righthander Jonathan Aro, who had a brief stay with the Red Sox in 2015, pitched for the Dominican Republic in the Series.
▪ Baseball Prospectus revealed its PECOTA statistical projections for the season. It has the Sox with 79.8 victories. In the American League, only the Tigers (75.6), Angels (74.3), Royals (69.9), White Sox (65.7), and Athletics (64.0) were lower.
▪ Old friend Rich Hill told Buster Olney’s podcast that he plans to remain a free agent through the end of the Milton Little League season so he can watch his son Bryce play his final year and help coach the team. He’s open to pitching after that by taking the Roger Clemens route of choosing a team in June or July and ramping up from there.
Hill turns 44 in March and could still help a team. It also would be nice to carve his 4.01 career earned run average down a bit.
▪ The University of Northwestern Ohio retired the No. 40 worn by John Schreiber from 2014-16. Schreiber is the only big leaguer to come from the NAIA program. UNOH offers six men’s sports, seven for women, and co-ed teams for stock car racing and drag racing.