Ken Rosenthal writes today that he thinks the Rangers could be bigger players on the free agent market than some of us are giving him credit for:
The defending American League champions, major-league sources say, are in strong enough financial position to add not one but two top free agents — left-hander Cliff Lee and catcher Victor Martinez.
That would be something.
But man, I’m skeptical. While that big new TV contract impressed all of us when it was announced, others have reported that it’s fairly backloaded, and that the front-end of it was going to be largely devoted to debt service connected with Chuck Greenberg’s purchase of the team. I don’t have any independent intelligence on that, but some people I talk to who know a few things about the Rangers believe that the TV deal isn’t going to launch them into a new world of payroll expenditures so quickly, even if they do bump it up a tad. And signing Lee and Victor Martinez would certainly be a new world.
Anything is possible — that’s whey we love the hot stove season — but I’m having a hard time seeing the Rangers landing Lee alone — due to the money and the competition involved — let alone getting him and another top-end free agent like Martinez.
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.