I’ve written on a number of occasions that no one really knows anyone; at least not that well. The idea is that there is often more than meets the eye when it comes to people who we know primarily via their athletic exploits. They have entire lives away from the field, and we only see the little parts of that they want us to see. Or, in the case of those not blessed with good P.R. skills and good judgment, those parts of it they don’t want us to see. In no event, however, can we as fans know an athlete too well.
But then I read stuff like this story from John Tomase in today’s Boston Herald and I think: “Really? Jonathan Papelbon is a complex character? There’s more to him than meets the eye?”
He makes the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World look like a monk. He strikes equal fear in opponents and teammates. He combines the terror of Jaws with the mystery of Nessie. He is Cinco Ocho. And he is the Sphinx, the pyramids, a column on Easter Island — an enigma that is oft seen, but little understood.
OK. I don’t know Jonathan Papelbon. Never met the guy. I can’t say at all that there’s not more depth to this guy than the fist-pumping, jig-dancing dude we see closing Red Sox games. I’ll take Tomase’s word for it.
But I am skeptical. It’s OK to be skeptical, right?
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.
The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.
Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.
The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.