Papelbon being Papelbon

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s_ffix_mlbdraftrp_080318_mezzn.standard[1].jpgJonathan Papelbon has set new standards in athlete insecurity with his comments on Billy Wagner, which D.J. touched on this morning.

Papelbon, sounding as if some neighborhood bully was threatening to steal his candy, wondered aloud why the Red Sox would even think of acquiring the 38-year-old lefty.
Never mind Wagner’s 385 career saves, or his 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings, or the fact he was dealing mid-90s heat in his return to the bigs last week. Never mind that he might actually help the team.

Even when attempting to soften his stance, the Red Sox’s closer couldn’t help himself, essentially repeating his stance that Wagner might ruin the delicately crafted chemistry of the Boston bullpen. (via WEEI.com)

“It’s not that it shakes the balance it’s just that you have that little bit of time of getting used to how we’re going to use this guy? What situations will he be best in? Who’s going to leave our bullpen? It’s a multitude of things,” Papelbon said. “It’s not just one specific thing. There’s a lot of things that go into this equation.

He’s right. There are a lot of things going into the equation. Questions for much smarter people — like Terry Francona and Theo Epstein — to consider. Questions that those two also undoubtedly considered before adding Victor Martinez to a DH/C/1B mix that already included Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and Mike Lowell.

Oddly enough, Papelbon wasn’t worried about team chemistry then.

But let’s just say that Boston’s closer, as talented as he is, might not be the ummm, sharpest spike in the cleat. In fact, he has made it a habit of stuffing his foot deep down his throat, sometimes up to the tibia. Granted, the things he says sometime smack of truth, but that doesn’t mean they should be said.

Some examples …

Papelbon said he, not future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, should be the closer for the All-Star game, a contest played at Yankee Stadium.

He once said that if the money was right, he’d be happy to pitch for the Yankees. (That one sat well with the Nation).

And he once called Manny Ramirez a cancer, saying “It just takes one guy to bring an entire team down, and that’s exactly what was happening.”

Exactly. Just another case of Papelbon being Papelbon.

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2017 Preview: The American League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East

Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams.  The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.

Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:

Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.