Papelbon placed on waivers, claimed by AL team

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was claimed on waivers Wednesday by an American League Team. 

It means nothing.  Let’s get that out of the way first.  As Craig pointed out Tuesday, most players are put on waivers in August.  And it’s not at all surprising that other teams are interested in Papelbon despite the $9.35 million salary that he’s earning this season. 

Some in the baseball industry think that Papelbon may be floated on the trading block this winter because he’s due a raise via salary arbitration and the Red Sox are nearly ready to install the hard-throwing Daniel Bard as their next closer.  But that won’t happen while the 2010 regular season plays out and the Red Sox are likely to pull him off waivers before negotiations even get started with the mysterious American League club that claimed the 29-year-old.  Everybody remain calm.

Report: A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.