Free agent reliever Jonathan Papelbon isn’t looking to sign with a team. Rather, he’s taking time to tend to a personal family matter according to his agent Seth Levinson, per Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe.
Papelbon, 36, struggled to a 4.37 ERA in 37 appearances this past season before being released by the Nationals in mid-August. He didn’t end up latching on with a new team. While Papelbon’s age and recent performance are detriments to his baseball future, so too is his personality. Papelbon attempted to choke then-teammate Bryce Harper in the dugout of a game against the Phillies near the end of the 2015 regular season. As a member of the Phillies in 2014, Papelbon was reprimanded for making a rude gesture towards fans after a poor relief performance.
Papelbon has 368 career saves, good for ninth all-time. If he decides to continue playing, he is close to surpassing Joe Nathan (377) and Dennis Eckersley (390).
John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.
The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.
Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.
The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.
Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.