Does Theo Epstein want to keep Papelbon around?

6 Comments

I’ve been beating the “The Red Sox will non-tender Jonathan Papelbon” drum for a while now. But when you read that kind of stuff, keep one thing in mind: I don’t, surprisingly enough, run the Boston Red Sox.  Theo Epstein does, however, and based on some things he said yesterday, Papelbon may very well be back in Boston next year:

“Having two really good
pitchers is better than one. Sometimes you don’t want to
overcomplicate things.”

Or it could simply be a platitude designed to get him and the team through the last week and a half of the season without having a big controversy erupt.

It’s also worth noting, I think, that having to pay a closer eight figures a year — which is what Papelbon will get if offered arbitration by the Sox — complicates things too. Like, really complicates things if you’re trying to add other pieces to a team that could use some new pieces.

Theo knows that too.

The Orioles seem pretty serious about moving Manny Machado

Getty Images
Leave a comment

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there has been no suggestion that the O’s and their young star have worked on a contract extension, strongly suggesting that Machado will test the open market next offseason.

While the Orioles have not said much about keeping him or trading him, yesterday considerable chatter filtered out here at the Winter Meetings suggests that they are serious about trading him now in order to get more than a draft pick in return when he eventually leaves Baltimore.

Jon Heyman reported yesterday that the Cardinals were a possible landing spot, and others have speculated that, at the moment, they’re the frontrunners for his services. Buster Olney, in a development that would make people go insane, I suspect, that the Yankees have expressed interest. It seems highly unlikely, though, that the Orioles would trade Machado within the division. Even if they did, they’d likely expect a premium from the Yankees that they would be unwilling to pay, especially given that they could easily wait Machado out until he was a free agent next year and give up nothing but cash for him. A couple of days ago we noted that the Phillies had expressed interest and the Orioles were doing their due diligence with respect to their farm system.

As far as the possible parameters of a deal, Ken Rosenthal reported that the O’s hope to acquire at least two controllable young starters in return. That’s a high price for a one-year Machado rental, but it makes sense for the Orioles to ask it. For Machado’s part, he reportedly wants to return to his original position, shortstop. He does not have no-trade protection, of course, so that may be a wish that is not fulfilled.

Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior, however, he posted OPSs of .876 and .861, and he’s still just 25. All of which is to say that the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.