It was quite a sight, two opponents hugging on the field in Game 1 of last year’s World Series. The Dodgers’ Mookie Betts, after stealing second base in the fifth inning, embraced Rays shortstop Willy Adames, a former division rival from Betts’ days with the Red Sox.
Four years after his major league debut, eight months after his long-term contract extension, and just days after his ride down Boylston Street in the World Series parade, Christian Vazquez decided to do something about his disappointing career. He was 28 years old, well established as a glove-first big league catcher, and the Red Sox had just proven a team could win with him behind the plate.
Over the last few months, Nido and Garmendia, the owner of Gradum Baseball in Miami, formed a game plan. They operated off this question: Once Nido starts seeing success, how will pitchers attack him? Then they adjusted Nido’s swing.
The Rays and Mariners have become fairly well acquainted for two clubs based more than 3,000 miles apart. Since Jerry Dipoto became Seattle's general manager in September 2015, the two sides have traded with each other eight times, including Thursday's five-player deal that sent outfielder Mallex Smith and Minor League outfielder Jake Fraley to the Pacific Northwest and catcher Mike Zunino, outfielder Guillermo Heredia and Minor League left-hander Michael Plassmeyer to the Sunshine State.