The reports of Mariano Rivera’s signing last night were accompanied by brief asides that he turned down other offers from other teams. So who were they? Jon Heyman is the only one I’ve seen naming names. He says the Angels and — get this — the Red Sox were involved. Heyman says they each offered three-year deals.
The Angels I could sort of see. It would have been a crazy, splashy move Arte Moreno would have gotten off on and it’s not like Fernando Rodney is so firmly ensconced in the closer’s job.
But the Red Sox? I realize that Jonathan Papelbon’s stock is at an all-time low, but the Sox did end up tendering him a contract so they believe he has some value. More to the point, though, is that they have a closer-in-waiting in Daniel Bard. Why would they want to block him for three years? And why would they want to spend $45 million or more on a relief pitcher anyway? If they were wired like that they would have extended Papelbon a few years ago rather than be content to go year-to-year with him in arbitration. If any team is aware that you don’t go long on your bullpen, it’s the Red Sox.
I have to think that the Red Sox stuff is either not true or, at the most, is one of those instances we hear about from time to time about the Yankees and Red Sox just trying to make life difficult for one another.