Red Sox, Tigers, and Cardinals interested in Jonathan Papelbon?

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Just a few days ago general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. insisted that the Phillies have no plans to trade any significant pieces, including closer Jonathan Papelbon.

And yet today Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that “the Phillies believe there are at least three teams–Red Sox, Tigers, and Cardinals–that may have some interest in Papelbon at the trade deadline.”

“Believe” and “may have” in that sentence make it something less than a juicy rumor, but Cafardo adds that “it’s no secret the Phillies are scouting those teams with Papelbon in mind.”

Papelbon has been fantastic this season with a 1.46 ERA and 23/3 K/BB ratio in 25 innings,, although given that he’s under contract for $13 million in 2014 and $13 million in 2015–with a $13 million vesting option for 2016 that could easily be achieved–it’s hard to imagine teams lining up to acquire him, let alone offering any sort of significant prospects in return.

Astros greeted with boos in first spring training game

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The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.

Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.

There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.

That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.

The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.

One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.

Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.

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