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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Phillies sign Henderson Alvarez to a minor league deal

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Phillies signed pitcher Henderson Alvarez to a minor league deal. If he is added to the major league roster, he’ll earn $750,000 prorated.

Alvarez is still only 27 years old but hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2015 due to shoulder issues. He signed with the Long Island Ducks last month, making seven starts and posting a 3.94 ERA with a 13/14 K/BB ratio in 32 innings.

The Phillies learned that Vince Velasquez will undergo season-ending surgery and also placed Zach Eflin on the 10-day disabled list, so the club is just looking for pitching depth to help take them through the end of the season. Any innings that Alvarez is able to handle will be considered a bonus.

David Wright is going to play in a real game tonight

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Mets third baseman David Wright will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with High-A St. Lucie. He’ll be the DH.

Wright has been sidelined since May of 2016, first with a cervical disc herniation and, more recently, a shoulder impingement. He has appeared in just 75 games since his last full season in 2014. Wright is under contract through 2020 and is owed $47 million after this year. For now insurance is picking up a large portion of that.

It’s possible he’ll make a return to the Mets before the season out as the competitive portion of their year is basically over and giving him a chance to see big league pitching before he begins what one hopes is a normal offseason might be a good confidence boost. What meaningful role he ever plays in the big leagues again, however, is decidedly up in the air.