Cole Hamels has sat for a zillion interviews and has been asked a zillion questions about the possibility of being traded mid-season, and he has totally avoided any hint of controversy in his answers. Not an easy trick given how delicate the politics of trades and free agency and all of that is. One “Oh, I’d love to play for the Dodgers” could turn into a little arglebargle that no on ever wants, but he’s avoided it.
So of course the first time Jonathan Papelbon is asked about such a thing he says something he probably shouldn’t have said to CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury:
Papelbon was asked how the Phillies’ clubhouse would react if Hamels was traded.
“I don’t know,” he said, at first pondering the question. “That’s hard to say. I definitely don’t think we should [trade him]. I don’t think he’s trying to jump ship by any means.
“I don’t necessarily know if our clubhouse would take that too well.”
He immediately added that he knows it’s a business, but the fact that he even mentioned the clubhouse stuff isn’t going to help an already difficult season for Charlie Manule, Ruben Amaro and the Phillies any easier.
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.