The Cardinals drew phone calls from at least one contending team earlier this week when right fielder Lance Berkman passed through waivers unclaimed and became eligible to be traded to any major league club. But Berkman hasn’t been dealt, and won’t be dealt, because the Redbirds are hoping to make him part of their plans for 2012 and beyond.
Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle told a St. Louis radio program on Wednesday morning that the Cardinals approached Berkman about a contract extension in July and that the 35-year-old slugger “very much wants to stay” in the Gateway City.
Berkman probably wants to head to free agency this winter to see what kind of money other teams are offering. But he’s found a kind of comfort zone in St. Louis and the Cardinals should have a spot for him next season — either in right field or at first base, depending on the end result of Albert Pujols’ own free agency.
Berkman, currently playing out a one-year, $8 million deal, has batted .286/.402/.565 with 30 home runs and 81 RBI across 478 plate appearances this season for second-place St. Louis. He hasn’t spent a single day on the disabled list and was named a National League All-Star for the sixth time back in July.
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.