AL East Notes: Robertson, Rays, Escobar

Jonathan Papelbon's four-year, $50MM contract now stands as cautionary tale to all teams thinking making a significant investment in their closer.  That puts the Yankees in an interesting position with David Robertson, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Robertson's reps want him to be paid like a closer even though he is just rising to the job now and the Yanks want to treat him like a set-up man. But, because this is his walk year, the Yanks have to make a long-term decision on him in the near future.  Here's more out of the AL East..

  • Rays Executive VP Andrew Friedman knows the importance of building through trades, orchestrating 53 deals and acquiring 74 players since taking over after the 2005 season.  Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times sifted through all of them to identify the Rays' best six deals over that stretch.
  • More from Topkin, who notes that the two-year extension for shortstop Yunel Escobar isn't necessarily a sign the team has given up on prospect Hak-Ju Lee, but an opportunity to maximize value in Escobar, who could end up being traded at some point.  The Rays continue to believe that Lee has considerable upside, but last year's severe knee injury caused understandable pause.
  • The new deals for Escobar and pitcher Chris Archer will help to sustain success for the Rays organization, writes Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribune.  “The runway of talent and maintaining a good core group of players is something that’s really important,” Friedman said. “We always talk about how, first and foremost, our goal is having as good of a 2014 season as we can, but also about sustaining it, and these two moves (last) week put us in a better position to sustain it than a week ago.
  • The Yankees are looking to their new big contracts to save them while the old ones break down, writes Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News

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