A pair of head-to-head roster battles were decided in Red Sox camp this morning, with Dennys Reyes beating out fellow left-hander Hideki Okajima and Matt Albers beating out fellow right-hander Alfredo Aceves.
Reyes and Albers have made the team as relievers, while Okajima and Aceves will head to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Okajima and Aceves both have a minor-league option remaining, while Reyes and Albers do not, which likely played a big part in the decisions. This way the Red Sox can keep all four pitchers, instead of having to risk losing Reyes or Albers had they kept Okajima or Aceves.
After a disappointing 2010 season Okajima took a pay cut to re-sign with the Red Sox for $1.75 million, which he’ll be earning in the minors. Aceves signed a “split” contract when he joined the Red Sox as a free agent last month, so he’ll make $200,000 at Pawtucket. Aceves looked good in camp and the Red Sox didn’t pay $1.75 million for Okajima to face International League hitters all year, so they’ll both likely get a shot in Boston soon enough.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.