It’s been a strange first day of the Winter Meetings for me. The Hilton Anatole here in Dallas is larger than some European countries, and getting from place to another is a major undertaking. There’s also stuff like this all over the place:
There’s a matching elephant just out of the frame on the left. I don’t know either. It goes with the giant atrium. Everything is bigger in Texas.
Also, this morning was on a panel for the Sports Management World Wide Career Conference. Joining me was ESPN’s Jayson Stark and Biz of Baseball’s Maury Brown. Here’s us. We’re cute. The topic: the new collective bargaining agreement and its implications.
Stark noted a couple of times that this or that issue wasn’t totally settled yet even though the agreement is done. It sort of dawned on me as he was talking that there are many, many such things and that in a lot of ways this CBA is literally half-baked. It’s almost as if the union and the league are so comfortable with each other and have such a clear mandate from their constituencies (i.e. the owners and players) that they sort of took a “don’t worry, we’ll figure it out” approach. It’s just worrisome.
There haven’t been any signings or deals since the Reyes thing last night, but much continues to go on down here. Several managers are going to walk in here in a little while and let us ask them questions. As per tradition, I plan on asking them if they would like Hideki Matsui in their lineup.
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.