There has been speculation that the Red Sox’ signing of John Lackey was just as much about providing a hedge against the departure of Josh Beckett after next season as it was about winning next season. That’s not so according to Theo Epstein, who said this at the John Lackey press conference:
“I sent Josh a text message as we were finalizing John Lackey’s deal. I just told him, ‘Some might speculate this might mean
the end for you in Boston.’ I said ‘Don’t listen to them. You’re a huge
part of what we have going on here. We love it if it worked out if
you’re a huge part of our future, as well. The most important thing is
that we have one heck of a pitching staff right now.’ He texted back.
He was very excited about the sign[ing] . . . I don’t think it impacts Josh nearly to the degree
people are speculating.”
It’s cute that Theo thinks he’s sending text messages when he’s really sending emails on his Blackberry. I mean, really, does anyone send a text message as long as that?
OK, that aside, the Lackey signing doesn’t seem to be going down perfectly with
everyone in Red Sox Nation, but he will be much easier to take as an addition to Beckett in the rotation than he would as a replacement. Obviously things could change — Beckett could blow his elbow out next year or demand $20 million a pop — but if Theo is open to the idea of keeping Beckett, Sox fans will be much happier.
CC Sabathia‘s contract with the Yankees expires after the 2017 season but the lefty feels that he has enough left in the tank to pitch in 2018 and beyond, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports.
Sabathia said, “I just know myself. I know I feel like it’s not my time yet. Barring any crazy injuries I know I can pitch past next year. I feel like this is just the beginning of what I’m trying to do. I feel like there’s a lot more still to learn and a lot better to get. It’s exciting.”
The 36-year-old lefty currently holds a 4.02 ERA and a 144/63 K/BB ratio in 172 1/3 innings. It’s his best and healthiest season since 2012. He battled a knee injury last season and checked into rehab for alcohol addiction last October. Sabathia said that being treated for his addiction put him “in a good spot.”
Sabathia is owed $25 million through a vesting option for the 2017 season.
The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.
A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.
For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.
This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.