Is it too early for some winter hot stove? Nah, never too early.
Ken Rosenthal has a new column up, and it’s got all kinds of random things in it. The thing that caught my eye was his discussion of the Angels’ potential moves this summer, which might include going after a first baseman. They want a rental, though, not a guy under contract for next year, because Kendry Morales will be back. Why not just shift Morales or the new guy to DH? Because Bobby Abreu will be there. Well wait, why won’t Abreu still be in the outfield?
Because the Angels “intend to pursue Carl Crawford as a free agent,” Rosenthal reports.
All of which makes sense. And despite the fact that the Yankees have been assumed to be Crawford’s ultimate landing spot, the Angels might just try harder to get him. After all, the Crawford-to-the-Yankees speculation arose before Brett Gardner decided to break out to the tune of .309/.396/.415. Not Crawford’s numbers, of course, but a pretty nice cut-market imitation that might inspire the Yankees to look for a different kind of player during their annual winter shopping spree.
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.