UPDATE: Buster Olney says it’s done: Bobby Jenks has agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal with the Red Sox. This came out of left field.
Significance: once again the Red Sox have beat their AL East rivals this offseason, as both New York and Tampa Bay were obviously looking to upgrade their bullpens and each at least took at look at Jenks.
Added significance: between Jenks at $6 million this year and Papelbon at, what, $11-12 million after arbitration, there is some serious weight at the back end of the bullpen in Boston. And Daniel Bard is now the absolute best middle reliever in baseball.
2: 44 PM: Heyman is now saying that he’s hearing Jenks is close to a deal with — get this — the Red Sox. We weren’t expecting that.
11:59 AM: Jon Heyman reports that Bobby Jenks is looking or “closer money” — he thinks $8 million a year, and for that reason Bobby Jenks is not a candidate for the Yankees. Who, as you’re probably aware, have a closer who makes twice that already. I think he’d be great as a setup guy in New York, but I think a lot of things.
Last night I reported that the Rays were in negotiations with Jenks. I was a bit off on that “he could sign with the Rays as soon as tonight” thing, obviously, but my source tells me that they’re still interested in him — “deep discussion” is the way it was characterized to me — and he would presumably stand to be their closer if they signed him. Which is probably what he wants to be. In light of the $8 million demand about which Heyman speculates, however, the Rays may be hesitant.
Mostly though, I’d like to see the Rays thing work out because then Heyman would do his usual thing and tweet “Calcaterra was the first one who reported the Rays’ interest” like he does with other writers. Which I’m sure he’d do in my case, right?
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.
According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.
Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.
While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.
Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.
More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.
Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.