Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that “the likelihood of Jonathan Papelbon joining the Red Sox, or really any other team, now seems non-existent.”
Bradford is hearing that Papelbon has no plans of signing a new deal before midnight on Wednesday, which means he won’t be on a roster by September 1 and is not going to be eligible for postseason play. Obviously if he were to pitch poorly in September he might’ve been left of a postseason roster anyway, but it’s hard to think that a contender would want to complicate their life if they didn’t at least have the option.
Papelbon, 35, was released by the Nationals a few weeks ago. Assuming he doesn’t sign anywhere, he will finish the 2016 season with a 4.37 ERA and 1.46 WHIP across 37 appearances. And he’ll spend November and beyond looking for a job for 2017.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.