According to Ken Rosenthal over at Fox Sports, Major League Baseball has decided to expand the playoffs from eight to ten teams starting this year. This runs contrary to some reports that the expanded playoff would be implemented in 2013.

The original collective-bargaining agreement said that the playoff expansion would occur no later than 2013. But Bud Selig worked with the players union to transition to a 10 team playoff system.

Under the new system, the two wild card teams will meet up in a one game playoff that will decide who goes on to play in the Divisional Series.

This system seems to place a big emphasis on winning your division, compared to before when sometimes teams would just aim for the Wild Card spot and cede the division. (The 2010 New York Yankees is a great example of this)

The most important part of this is obviously how this affects the Red Sox. Let’s look back the last 10 years and see what things would have been like for the Red Sox if the new system was in place then. Continue reading »

According to the Boston Globe Jason Varitek will announce his retirement  on Thursday in Fort Myers. Jason Varitek is expected to remain a part of the organization.

Varitek first became a member of the Red Sox in 1997 when he was traded along with Derek Lowe for struggling Red Sox closer Heathcliff Slocumb. Varitek played his first game as a Red Sox on September 24, 1997 and hit a single in his only at bat. In 1998 he split time with Scott Hatteberg, playing in 86 games while hitting seven home runs and 21 RBI.

His breakout season came in 1999 when he became the full time starter and appeared in 144 games. He hit at a .269/.330/.482 slash line with 20 home runs and hit two home runs in the playoffs.

Varitek was named to his first All Star game in 2003, although he did not participate in the game. He went on to go to 2 more All Star games in his career. He also won the Gold Glove award in 2005 along with a Silver Slugger award.

Jason Varitek played an instrumental part in the Red Sox winning their first World Series title in 86 years. In 2003 Varitek shined in the playoffs, hitting 3 home runs in 11 games and posting a steller 1.057 OPS for the Red Sox. Although the Red Sox fell short that year, Varitek’s performance was memorable and will not be forgotten. He is also credited with turning around the Red Sox season in 2004. On July 24, 2004, after Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch thrown by Bronson Arroyo, Rodriguez took offense to the pitch being thrown and Varitek famously shoved his catcher’s mit in Rodriguez’s face. The ensuing brawl is thought to have turned the Red Sox’s season around and 3 months later, the Red Sox had won their first world championship in 86 years.

In 2005 Varitek was named Red Sox captain after he re-signed with the team. He is one of the three captains in Red Sox history. The other two are Jim Rice and Carl Yastrzemski.

On July 18, 2006, Varitek started his 911st game as a catcher, surpassing Carlton Fisk’s club record.

Varitek’s retirement puts him into a small group of players who have spent 15 years or more with the Red Sox, a group that includes Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski, and Ted Williams. You can say what you want about Varitek, but he’s been a large part of the Red Sox organization for the last decade and was one of the original Red Sox players who changed the culture of the Red Sox organization and played a key role in the Red Sox two World Series titles in the last decade. Varitek was a warrior and he’ll surely be missed by Red Sox fans and players alike. BloodySox wishes the best of luck to Varitek in his post-baseball career!

For the first time since 1995, Tim Wakefield will not be pitching for the Boston Red Sox. 3rd on the Red Sox leader board for most Wins with 186, Wakefield has decided to retire. He will be holding  a press conference at 5 PM today in Fort Myers.

Wakefield, most famously known for his knuckleball, amassed 200 wins and 2,156 strikeouts with a 4.41 ERA during the course of 19 seasons.

David Ortiz signed a contract with the Red Sox today, avoiding arbitration by mere hours. The contract is for around $14.575 million over 1 year. David Ortiz

This number is a compromise in between the 2 numbers offered up by the Red Sox and Ortiz. The Red Sox offered $12.645 million while Ortiz asked for $16.5 million.

As usual the Red Sox didn’t want to go into an arbitration hearing, and apparently neither did Ortiz. Ben Cherington made a comment on the situation “It just one of those things that when we all had everyone in the room together it just made sense that we would get to the midpoint and get it done.”

While he will be paid a lot, one must remember that he has posted elite level numbers the last few years and that hitters like Ortiz are a dime a dozen. Take Ortiz out of the current Red Sox lineup and we’re looking at a very lacking offense, one that would not compete with the Yankees.

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