Red Sox

Papelbon could create divide if he joins Red Sox as anything but a closer

Papelbon could create divide if he joins Red Sox as anything but a closer

BOSTON -- The Red Sox added both Brad Ziegler and Fernando Abad to help with the bullpen needs prior to the trade deadline, but that hasn’t quite been enough.

Koji Uehara is on the disabled list. Craig Kimbrel still has off and on issues with his knee. Ziegler’s had his tough days. And Abad has been, well, bad. The only reliever who’s been consistent of late is Matt Barnes. Before Saturday’s game, however, another option came into the fray and no one has to trade a prospect to get him.

The newest major free agent, following Alex Rodriguez (technically), to hit the market is Jonathan Papelbon, who was released by the Washington Nationals prior to Saturday’s game.

Although the former All-Star closer for the Red Sox hasn’t been a choirboy since leaving Boston -- for more money -- he’s been getting results.

The righty has averaged 30 saves a season since leaving Boston in 2012, posting a 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings rate, despite losing significant velocity on his fastball.

Although the six-time All-Star has had success in recent years and could give the Boston pen a spark, he doesn’t seem to be on the radar. Not more than any other free agent at least.

“We know he’s a free agent,” John Farrell said when asked about Papelbon prior to Saturday’s game. “We know he’s out there. And like I said, with any player that’s available, we’ll certainly talk about it, but that’s yet to be had.”

But just because the Red Sox haven't discussed Papelbon, doesn't mean he's not an option as Dave Dombrowski told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

One of the issues with Papelbon hasn’t necessarily just been performance based either. In Philadelphia, he didn’t want to play for a losing team. Somewhat understandable when you’re job becomes useless if the team’s not already winning when you enter a game. But now -- when he’s having a down year for a winning Washington ball club -- he wanted out because he’s not closing with the acquisition of Mark Melancon. And that’s definitely something to question for a team like Boston, who already has a big-time closer they’ve committed to.

“I’d have to read up on more about his decision to leave Washington and all that kind of stuff,” Kimbrel said after his pregame routine before Saturday’s game. “I really don’t know the full story of it.”

But when it came to Papelbon’s performance when he finished games off for Boston, Kimbrel knew plenty.

“Yeah he was great coming up in the Boston organization,” Kimbrel said. “He was one of the best closers in the game in Boston.”

Now with Kimbrel’s case especially, the worry doesn’t seem to be that Papelbon would take his job -- with good reason.

It’s more of the divide Papelbon could create if he did join the Red Sox as anything but a closer.

Because if anyone knows that players will sign saying they can do “X” but really want to do “Y”, it’s the Red Sox -- i.e. Hanley Ramirez playing left field.

As expected, it's Sale, Price and Porcello to start Sox season

As expected, it's Sale, Price and Porcello to start Sox season

New Red Sox manager Alex Cora has announced that, as expected, left-hander Chris Sale will be the Opening Day starter when the Red Sox begin their season nine days from now against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. David Price will pitch the second game and Rick Porcello the third. 

Cora told reporters in Fort Myers, Fla. that Eduardo Rodriguez would be in the fourth starter's spot if he's ready as he continues to recover from off-season knee surgery and left-hander Brian Johnson is preparing to be the fifth starter for now.

In Price's second Grapefruit League start on Tuesday, he pitched five innings and allowed two runs on three hits, walked one and struck out four in the Red Sox' 12-6 victory over the Pirates. Third baseman Rafael Devers, hitting .349 this spring, hit his third home run of the spring. Andrew Benintendi (.405) had a double and two RBI and first baseman Sam Travis drove in three. 

Sale had a much rougher outing Monday, giving up four runs on five hits, with three walks and six strikeouts in five innings against the Phillies. 



Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are about to go global.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy on Monday confirmed the Sox are interested to play the Yankees in London during next year's regular season. Bloomberg reported the clubs are nearing an agreement to play two games there in June 2019. Discussions are indeed taking place, but a deal is not done.

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“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make," Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.

Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics.

MLB has not played any games in Europe before. The Red Sox have made trips before, including to Japan before the 2008 season.