Sammy Sosa’s former Cubs teammate Mike Remlinger somehow got his hands on the slugger’s corked bat from 2003 and put it up for auction, but Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune reports that the item went unsold last night when the high bid of $14,407 did not meet Remlinger’s “reserve” price.
Grant DePorter, who’s the CEO of Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group, submitted the high bid, which apparently fell just short of Remlinger’s reported $15,000 asking price.
“The next step is to offer it to the highest bidder or try to sell it privately,” Ray Schulte of Schulte Auctions told Mitchell. “Usually the owner takes a couple of days to think about it.”
If the difference between high bid and reserve price is truly only $600 or so it seems like a no-brainer that the two sides can work out a side deal, although perhaps once he’s away from the auction mindset DePorter will realize that he’d be paying $15,000 for the broken barrel of a corked baseball bat and decide against it.
Update (5:16 PM ET): ESPN’s Pedro Gomez is reporting that the deal is final.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.