Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is widely regarded as one of the smartest and most forward-thinking front office executives in all of baseball. Things didn’t work out in 2010, when the M’s finished with a hideous 61-101 record, but the man they call “Jack Z” is again earning his reputation this winter.
According to Shannon Drayer of Seattle’s 710 ESPN, the Mariners have dealt infielder Jose Lopez to the Rockies for minor league pitcher Chaz Roe.
Roe posted an ugly 5.98 ERA and 1.67 WHIP this year at the Triple-A level and is far from a top prospect, but the M’s had planned on non-tendering Lopez before Thursday night’s deadline and it’s absolutely incredible that Jack Z was able to find a trade partner with just hours to go.
Lopez is likely to see regular action at second base next season in Colorado. He hit just .239/.270/.339 over 593 at-bats in 2010, but he does have a decent power stroke and should be able to let that shine at Coors Field. Granted, he will cut into the development of young Colorado two-bagger Eric Young Jr.
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.