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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Curtis Granderson is close to making history

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22:  Curtis Granderson #3 of the New York Mets connects on a three-run home run in the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on September 22, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.

There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.

Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.

Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer homers in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.

MLB teams pay tribute to José Fernández’s memory

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Following the announcement of the 24-year-old’s death, Major League Baseball observed a moment of silence for José Fernández before each of today’s games. While this afternoon’s Marlins-Braves game was cancelled out of respect for the organization, Miami painted Fernández’s jersey number on the mound in honor of their former pitcher.

Other teams, like the Mets, Mariners, and Dodgers, chose to honor Fernández by hanging his No. 16 jersey in their dugout:

Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that David Ortiz‘s pregame retirement ceremony at Tropicana Field was canceled at the player’s request:

The Astros and Diamondbacks each displayed a personal tribute to Fernández, writing the number 16 on their caps and etching his number and initials in the bullpen:

Rest in peace, Fernández.