A’s Acquire Lester, Gomes For Cespedes

8:54am: Passan tweets that Oakland is also sending a competitive balance draft pick to the Red Sox in the trade, and Boston is sending cash to Oakland. The A’s landed the second pick in Comp Round B in last week’s lottery.

8:49am: The Athletics have acquired Jon Lester from the Red Sox, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (Twitter links). In what will be a blockbuster deal, Jonny Gomes and Yoenis Cespedes will head to Boston. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported that Lester had been traded to an unknown club.

The addition of Lester will give Oakland an incredibly formidable rotation for the balance of the regular season, but perhaps more importantly, in the playoffs. Lester, who has posted a 2.52 ERA with 9.4 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and a 43.2 percent ground-ball rate, will join fellow trade acquisition Jeff Samardzija, free agent signing Scott Kazmir and homegrown star Sonny Gray atop Oakland’s rotation.


Athletics “Appear To Have Deal” For Lester

Red Sox ace Jon Lester has been traded, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports (Twitter link).   The A’s appear to have a deal for Lester, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  WEEI’s Alex Speier adds that he’s trying to confirm, but he hears Lester and Jonny Gomes might be traded for Yoenis Cespedes.


New York Notes: Yanks, Byrd, Murphy, Colon

With the trade deadline less than seven hours away, here are some notes out of the Big Apple…

  • The Yankees aren’t focusing on any major trades, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. They’re looking for an upgrade over Ichiro Suzuki in right field — Marlon Byrd is still possible, he notes — as well as some help for the bullpen.
  • The Nationals have called the Mets to express interest in Daniel Murphy, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but a trade between the division rivals is unlikely. Rosenthal noted earlier today that Washington also has interest in Asdrubal Cabrera.
  • The Orioles have checked in on Bartolo Colon, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. However, the Mets aren’t sure whether or not they’ll trade him at this time yet. The Mets have signaled a definite willingness to move Colon, though GM Sandy Alderson isn’t one to simply dump salary in trades, so based on Heyman’s writing, it seems that the O’s probably haven’t made any form of significant offer.
  • There’s no traction between the Royals and the Mets for Colon, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Martino adds that barring a change, the Mets don’t seem likely to be active today, but he’d be surprised if Colon were with the Mets in 2015.
  • Sherman also hears that the Mets are likely to stand pat today (Twitter link). The Mets feel that a better market will develop for Colon in the offseason, when he’ll have just one year and $11MM remaining on his contract.


John Lackey Rumors: Thursday

Yesterday revealed there’s a “very good chance” that the Red Sox will trade right-hander John Lackey in advance of this afternoon’s non-waiver trade deadline. The Royals, Indians, and Dodgers have been linked to the right-hander, while the Angels and Brewers are reportedly not pursuing him. The Marlins were also linked to Lackey, though reports on the likelihood of that deal vary from “zero chance” to the two sides still discussing potential deals. Here’s the latest Lackey buzz as the deadline looms…

  • The Pirates are known to have interest in Jon Lester, but today Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says the Bucs are in on Lackey as well.  Cafardo also weighed in on previous interest from San Francisco, writing, “The Giants, who acquired [Jake] Peavy last weekend, were also in the hunt for another arm, and Lackey was also mentioned.”

Blue Jays Focused On Pitching Upgrades

The Blue Jays aren’t pursuing any bats at this time, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link). Instead, the team is focused entirely on adding to its pitching staff.

Sherman doesn’t specify whether the club is looking at starters or relievers, but it stands to reason that the Blue Jays will look to both markets. Toronto’s offense will likely improve with the upcoming returns of Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind, but they’ve long been connected to upgrades in the rotation and in the bullpen. However, some reports have said that they won’t be able to add much in the way of payroll.


Four Teams Have Checked On Asdrubal Cabrera

8:18am: Rosenthal tweets that the Jays, however, aren’t expected to add a hitter. Their talks with Cabrera were earlier this week.

7:43am: The Nationals, Blue Jays and two other clubs have been in contact with the Indians about switch-hitting shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Despite the apparent interest, Cabrera isn’t a lock to be traded, they add.

Cabrera was linked to the Nats last night, and Morosi noted yesterday that the Jays and Giants had checked in as well. The Indians were said to be ready to move Cabrera and Justin Masterson as of yesterday afternoon, and they’ve since dealt Masterson to the Cardinals.

The 28-year-old Cabrera is hitting .246/.305/.386 with nine homers and seven steals on the season. While defensive metrics have never liked his glovework at shortstop, his bat is above average for the position, and some clubs could look at him as an option for second base, where he played a good amount earlier in his career.


Jon Lester Rumors: Thursday

As of late last night, the Pirates and the Cardinals were said to be the two teams most aggressively pursuing Jon Lester, who was scratched from Wednesday’s scheduled start. At one point yesterday, the Orioles looked close to a deal, but conflicting reports emerged on the severity of those negotiations. Regardless, Baltimore does seem to be in the mix, and a late-to-the-party mystery team was revealed to be the Athletics. We’ll keep track of the final stages of the Lester sweepstakes in this post…

Earlier Updates

  • Hall of Fame reporter Peter Gammons tells WEEI’s John Dennis and Gerry Callahan that the Dodgers aren’t in the mix to acquire Lester at this point (Twitter link).

Red Sox Feel They Can Re-Sign Miller If Traded

Jon Lester helped the Red Sox out last week by publicly stating that he’d be willing to re-sign with Boston if traded, and it appears that Boston thinks the same scenario could play out with lefty reliever Andrew Miller. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald spoke to a source (Twitter link) who told him that the Sox “believe they have built up enough good will that [Miller would] consider coming back as free agent.”

Miller has been the most talked-about left-handed relief option on the trade market, and with good reason. The impending free agent has pitched to a 2.34 ERA with dazzling secondary stats: 14.7 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 52.5 percent ground-ball rate. ERA estimators such as FIP (1.69), xFIP (1.76) and SIERA (1.42) feel that Miller has been even better than that 2.34 mark, and he’s dominated both lefties (.420 OPS) and righties (.537 OPS) this season.

Miller has drawn interest from the Braves, Royals, Dodgers and Pirates, but the asking price is said to be very high. The Sox are reportedly seeking a rival team’s top prospect and a lesser prospect in order to move their dominant setup man. Earning just $1.9MM in 2014, Miller is owed only $633K through season’s end.


Cardinals, Pirates Making Strongest Bids For Lester

Jon Lester has been scratched from his scheduled start tonight — a clear indicator that the Red Sox are looking to deal their ace. It briefly looked like the Orioles were close to a deal, but while those talks are serious, the deal isn’t close yet. Here’s the latest…

  • The Cardinals and Pirates are making the strongest bids for Lester at the moment, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports report (Twitter link). The Dodgers also remain involved.

Earlier Updates

  • In a full article, Heyman writes that the A’s are the mystery team that has stepped into the Lester bidding. Nothing is close between the two sides at the moment, however.
  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that a mystery team is becoming more involved.
  • Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio reports that the Athletics are in on Lester.
  • Via WEEI’s Alex Speier (on Twitter), manager John Farrell expects Lester to be in uniform with the Red Sox today.
  • The Cardinals‘ acquisition of Justin Masterson doesn’t necessarily take them out of the running for Lester, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The Cards could still acquire Lester, though it may cost them Shelby Miller, Morosi adds in a second tweet.
  • The Marlins aren’t entirely out of the Lester sweepstakes, an AL executive familiar with the negotiations tells Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. However, the Marlins won’t part with top prospect Andrew Heaney in a Lester deal (or a deal for any rental player).
  • The Cardinals and Dodgers are the two teams that are most aggressively competing for Lester’s services, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. They’re also the most aggressive clubs on David Price, though it’s far from a given that the Rays will move their own left-handed ace. Heyman hears similar things to yesterday’s reports regarding the Brewers and Orioles and says neither is in the mix at this point.
  • An NL GM told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that he thinks the Cardinals, Pirates, Dodgers and Mariners are the primary suitors for Lester heading into Wednesday (Twitter link).

Dan Runzler Released To Pursue Opportunity In Japan

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Giants have released lefty Dan Runzler to allow him to sign with Japan’s Orix Buffaloes, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports on Twitter. He’ll be signed through the end of the year, with a 2015 option, per a tweet from Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News. Runzler, 29, has 72 1/3 MLB innings and a 3.86 career ERA on his resume, but has pitched exclusively at the Triple-A level over the past two years. In 2014, he owns a 3.30 ERA over 46 1/3 frames.

Reds Make Ryan Ludwick Available

The Reds are telling teams that outfielder Ryan Ludwick is available in trade, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Ludwick, 36, is playing on a $7.5MM salary this year and comes with a $9MM mutual option next year (with an onerous $4.5MM buyout).

Playing in left field for Cincinnati, Ludwick owns a .261/.325/.392 line on the year, his 12th as a big leaguer. He has hit only six home runs, falling well off the pace he set in 2012, when he swatted 26 long balls and slashed a robust .275/.346/.531. An injury-riddled, disappointing 2013 intervened, and Ludwick has not returned to the form that earned him his present contract.


NL Notes: Phillies, Dodgers, Nationals

Here are some notes out of the National League:

  • The Phillies have yet to receive an offer that the club deems acceptable for any of its players, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). Philadelphia is determined not to give players away for salary relief, and is willing to wait to deal until the offseason, Rosenthal adds. Rival executives counter that the Phils’ asking price is too high given the age and cost of the players it controls, Rosenthal adds in another tweet. (It is worth noting, of course, that several Phillies are very plausible August trade candidates.)
  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti discussed his team’s situation heading to the deadline, as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports (all links to Twitter). He made clear that he was not interested in moving any of the club’s three best prospects: “We’re not in the market to trade any of the three, period,” said Colletti. “There’s been no player discussed that warrants two of the three.” The GM also indicated that he does not expect to deal Matt Kemp, noting that “no one’s ever heard me say we’re shopping Matt Kemp … that’s all in another world.” Though the market was proving difficult to crack, Colletti said he has concentrated on adding arms.
  • Looking for infield help in the wake of Ryan Zimmerman‘s hamstring injury, the Nationals have considered Asdrubal Cabrera of the Indians and Daniel Murphy of the Mets, at least internally, tweets Rosenthal. That does not mean that a deal is close on either player (or, presumably, that discussions have even taken place).

Quick Hits: Blue Jays, Braves, Yankees, Byrd, Tigers, Padres

Here are the latest trade deadline news and rumors:

  • The Blue Jays appear unlikely to add a significant starter or position player, especially a rental, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, with the most likely acquisition being a relief pitcher that comes with some team control. It remains possible, says Davidi, that Toronto will make no further moves before tomorrow’s deadline.
  • Likewise, the Braves remain focused on left-handed relief, and Andrew Miller of the Red Sox in particular, reports MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. But with other teams also interested, Boston’s current asking price appears to be out of the Braves’ comfort zone. With Atlanta unable to add any more salary, it may need to increase the prospect return to convince a trade partner to hold onto its monetary obligations. It is possible that the club will hold out until August to add a southpaw to the pen and/or a bench piece.
  • The Yankees have discussed outfielder Marlon Byrd with the Phillies, but nothing is close, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. New York remains concerned with his $8MM salary next year, however, and appears to have some questions about how he would fit into the clubhouse.
  • Despite adding Joakim Soria, the Tigers are still scouting possible reliever additions, tweets Scott Miller of Bleacher Report. Detroit has long been rumored to be looking at multiple arms for a pen that has not lived up to expectations.
  • While the Padres seem more likely to deal reliever Joaquin Benoit than starter Ian Kennedy, it remains possible that neither will change hands, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.

Twins Unlikely To Deal Josh Willingham Before Deadline

The Twins plan to hold onto Josh Willingham through the trade deadline, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter). Minnesota could, however, deal the outfielder over the August waiver period.

Willingham, 35, had been said to be a possible acquisition target of several clubs looking for right-handed pop from the corner outfield. Though he has only a .222 batting average on the year, he has reached base at a .363 clip and slugged a respectable .422 (though that latter figure is well off his career .468 mark). The veteran is earning $7MM this season in the final leg of a three-year pact.


Giants Weighing Options With Dan Uggla, Option Tyler Colvin

9:21pm: The Giants have actually optioned Colvin to Triple-A, and have yet to formally make a move regarding Uggla, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. The club has not confirmed that Uggla has or will be released, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.

8:46pm: The Giants have released second baseman Dan Uggla and outfielder Tyler Colvin, reports MLB.com’s Chris Haft. San Francisco is expected to undertake several roster moves, possibly including new additions as well as the activation of several regulars from the DL.

While the club has been rumored to be pursuing several possible options at second base, nothing has reportedly come to fruition at this point. The Giants need roster space regardless, as Angel Pagan, Brandon Belt, and Hector Sanchez are all expected to be activated in relatively short order.

Uggla struggled mightily in his short time in San Francisco, failing to register a hit in 12 plate appearances while striking out six times (to go with three errors in the field). Of course, that is a continuation of his difficult time this year and last in Atlanta. Since the start of 2013, the 34-year-old has slashed .171/.291/.326 over 694 plate appearances, racking up 217 strikeouts along the way.

Colvin, meanwhile, owns a meager .225/.270/.384 line in 148 plate appearances on the season. He joined the Giants on a minor league deal after spending the prior two seasons with the Rockies. Once a well-regarded prospect, the 28-year-old had a strong 2012 campaign but has not produced at the MLB level since.