As New England prepares to get whacked with snow this week, reading about baseball should serve as a sweet release from the bitter cold….

  • Major League Baseball lost an icon over the weekend, as Ernie Banks passed away at the 83. Banks spent his entire 19-year career as a shortstop and first baseman for the Chicago Cubs, and subsequently earned the mantra Mr. Cub. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977, the Texas native held two National League Most Valuable Player Awards, was selected to 14 All-Star games, and lead the league in home runs in 1958 and 1960. (Ernie Banks, one of baseball’s greatest ambassadors has died at age 83)
  • The offseason is usually a time for players to relax and recollect themselves after a gruling 162 game season, but for Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli, this winter has been anything but tranquil. After a long battle with sleep apnea, the 32-year old first baseman finally decided to sidestep CPAP machines and mouth pieces to undergo a gruesome corrective surgery. In turn, Napoli spent the offseason recovering from the procedure which required his jaw to be broken and realigned. Although Napoli won’t be ready for the start of Spring Training, the slugger has been enjoying the benefits of a good nights rest. (Red Sox notebook: Following surgery, Mike Napoli feels refreshed and ready)
  • Perhaps the only silver lining to come out of the Red Sox 2014 season was the emergence of Brock Holt from fringe major league backstop, into a bona-fide super-utility player. With Holt now a lock for this season’s bench, Boston will be on the lookout for another player ready to make a positive contribution in the majors. Whether it’s guys with some MLB time under their belts like Quintin Berry or Steven Wright, or minor leaguers with no experience like Sean Coyle or Noe Ramirez, Boston has a plethora of candidates to emerge as this seasons Brock Holt. (Finding 2015’s Brock Holt)
  • released their annual ZiPS projections for the Red Sox this season. As always, it’s advised that you take these projections, or any projections, with a grain of salt. While player comparisons are sometimes a misleading representation of a player, Mookie Betts’ being likened to Andrew McCutchen should put a big grin on your face. (2015 ZiPS projections – Boston Red Sox)
  • Tweet of the day: Important things went down at the “Red Sox Winter Weekend” event…