Sox open to trading Papelbon this spring and this summer

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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.

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with back soreness

Ben Zobrist
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Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.

Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.

With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.