UPDATE: Rob Bradford of WEEI.com is reporting that the Sox and Papelbon have a deal in place for $9 million for 2010.
9:55 A.M.: Or else they’re going to arbitration. I’d bet on arbitration, as the Sox don’t seem all that interested in a long term deal, and Papelbon is reported to want to “raise the bar” for closers.
How high is that bar going to get set, in arbitration or otherwise? Hard to say. Bobby Jenks just signed for $7.5 million. Brian Fuentes is making $17.5 million over the next two years. Francisco Cordero, Joe Nathan, Brad Lidge and K-Rod are on deals averaging a bit above or a bit below $12 million. Above that you’re in Mariano Rivera land ($15 million).
Of course, given Papelbon’s general obliviousness, they could probably offer him a raise to, oh, $8 million and tell him that he’s making Mariano Rivera money. He just might believe it.
The Reds announced on Thursday that the protective netting at Great American Ball Park will be extended to the end of each dugout in time for Opening Day next season. The press release notes that the current netting meets Major League Baseball’s guidelines and the new netting will go beyond those standards.
The netting “debate” came back on Wednesday when a young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have done about the bare minimum in installing protective netting, which rightly earned them criticism. Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, and Didi Gregorius each said yesterday that the netting should be extended. Other teams and Major League Baseball in general received criticism. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, for example, said the relative lack of action on MLB’s part is “morally repugnant.”
Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that the Reds had already had this idea prior to Wednesday’s incident at Yankee Stadium.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become eligible for free agency after the 2018 season and is likely to get a windfall. The club, however, isn’t expected to pursue trading their star at the hot corner this offseason, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Machado, 25, has been one of baseball’s best players since debuting in 2012. He had a slow start to the 2017 season, seeing his OPS nearly drop below .700 in early July, but a strong second half has made his overall numbers more than respectable. Machado is batting .264/.318/.484 with 32 home runs and 92 RBI in 651 plate appearances while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base.
Just because the Orioles don’t plan to move Machado this offseason doesn’t mean they won’t try to recoup some value ahead of next year’s non-waiver trade deadline. According to Heyman, a person involved with the Orioles said, “It would take us 35 years to find another player like him.”