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.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.