The Red Sox signed closer Jonathan Papelbon to a one-year contract last week that will grant him a $12 million salary in 2011. But there’s a chance he won’t be in Boston for the entire year.
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox are open to trade offers for the 30-year-old now, will be open to trade offers during spring training and will probably listen to trade offers during the regular season as well.
Papelbon posted a relatively pedestrian 3.90 ERA and 1.27 WHIP across 67 innings in 2010, blowing eight saves in 45 chances. The Red Sox have two internal replacements in Daniel Bard and Bobby Jenks, and they’d certainly love to get rid of Paps’ monstrous salary commitment.
A trade is going to be incredibly difficult, of course. Papelbon probably isn’t an elite reliever anymore and few teams are going to be willing to take on all of his remaining money. But Boston could eat part of it and try to force something in a kind of salary dump. They won’t get much young talent in return.
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.