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.


Latest On Marlins’ Starting Pitching Search

9:17pm: The Marlins and White Sox have discussed a deal that would send Danks to Miami, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. The 29-year-old lefty is owed $28.5MM over the next two seasons under an extension signed before the 2012 season.

A veteran of eight MLB campaigns, Danks owns a 4.40 ERA this year through 131 innings. He has posted 6.3 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9, with a 40.6% groundball rate. On the positive side, Danks has seemingly returned to health; on the other, his fastball velocity is down and ERA estimators suggest that he may be performing at a slightly worse clip than his earned run mark shows.

2:22pm: John Danks is another possibility for the Marlins, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford (on Twitter). He also hears that Lackey could be in play still.

2:10pm: Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald hears that there’s “zero chance” of a trade that would send Lackey to the Marlins (Twitter link).

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports hears that the Marlins aren’t in on Lackey or Jon Lester at this time, as they prefer a younger starter with more control. They may prefer someone such as Tommy Milone or Wade Miley.

1:55pm: The Marlins and Red Sox are discussing a potential John Lackey trade, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link).

Reports earlier today indicated that there’s a “very good chance” that Lackey gets traded in advance of tomorrow’s deadline, and the Marlins have long been known to be in the market for a starting pitcher. Lackey would likely be of particular appeal to the cost-conscious Marlins, given the league-minimum club option for next season his contract.

Of course, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported earlier today that Lackey would probably want to discuss an extension with a new team rather than play at the league minimum in 2015. Lackey has pitched well this season, posting a 3.60 ERA with a 116-to-32 K/BB ratio and a 46.9 percent ground-ball rate in 137 1/3 innings of work.

The Marlins have remained competitive in the NL East despite losing ace Jose Fernandez for the season due to Tommy John surgery. In his stead, the team has leaned on Henderson Alvarez, Nathan Eovaldi and Tom Koehler. Top prospect Andrew Heaney made a brief cameo but struggled before being optioned back to Triple-A.


Cubs Moving Closer To Bonifacio Trade

8:12pm: It does not appear that the Giants are going to acquire Bonifacio, according to a tweet from Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.

6:42pm: The Royals are not yet close to adding Bonifacio, tweets Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.

5:48pm: The O’s are not in on Bonifacio, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, who hears that the versatile fielder could be returning to Kansas City. Needless to say, that would be an interesting turn of events: Bonifacio finished well last year with Kansas City, was tendered a contract, agreed to a salary to avoid arbitration, and was then released before the start of the season.

5:14pm: At present, the Giants, Orioles, and Reds are all in play for Bonifacio, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

4:50pm: Bonifacio has been told to be prepared for a deal today, tweets Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

4:42pm: Bonifacio is indeed not in the lineup, with manager Rick Renteria saying it was “prudent” to hold him out, according to Rogers (Twitter link).

2:50pm: The Cubs are getting close to trading Bonifacio, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago. Levine tweets that Bonifacio is not in tonight’s lineup, which could obviously signal that a deal is nigh. Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle hears that the Giants have been scouting Bonifacio all week, but the asking price for the impending free agent is said to be high.

2:32pm: The Orioles are Giants are considering Cubs utility man Emilio Bonifacio as a trade option, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney.  Bruce Levine of 670 The Score adds the Royals, Mariners, and Reds as three more potential suitors (All Twitter links).

Bonifacio, 29, is hitting .279/.318/.373 in 298 plate appearances for the Cubs.  The switch-hitter is raking against lefties in this year’s limited sample.  He’s mainly played center field and second base for the Cubs.  Bonifacio is eligible for free agency after the season.


Quick Hits: Dodgers, Sox, Phils, Yanks, Indians, Cards

Let’s catch up on some recent news and rumors as the trade deadline nears …

  • The Dodgers have not declined to consider dealing top prospects Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, and Julio Urias except in cases of pure rentals, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Things remain “very fluid,” says Shaikin.
  • There has been no contact recently between the Red Sox and Phillies regarding either Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee, reports Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (via Twitter). Philadelphia is said to have had at least some discussions in the past with Boston regarding starting pitching.
  • The Yankees still have “more work to do” in shaping the roster before the trade deadline, GM Brian Cashman tells MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. Of course, New York seems to have a broad shopping list that could include additions to the rotation and several spots in the lineup card.
  • Indians GM Chris Antonetti says that dealing away Justin Masterson does not mean that the club is giving up on 2014, as Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer tweets“We’re looking to add big league players if we can do it,” said Antonetti. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes on Twitter, the acquisition of James Ramsey provides the club with minor league depth that could facilitate another deal if the club is indeed interested in reshuffling its roster rather than selling, per se.
  • The Cardinals were never close to dealing away top prospect Oscar Taveras, GM John Mozeliak tells Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Indeed, Mozeliak says that speculation of a deal involving Taveras was actually amusing to him. St. Louis is still open to another deal after adding Masterson, says MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch (Twitter link), but Mozeliak left her with the impression that another move was not terribly likely.

Red Sox, Orioles Discussing Jon Lester

6:58pm: The Orioles did have discussions earlier on Lester, but talks have fizzled and there no longer appears to be a match, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.

For what it’s worth, Duquette did tell reporters that he had at least some interest in adding a frontline starter, which is something of a different tone than the club had set in recent days, as Connolly reports“We’d be interested in adding pitchers that could help us at the top of our rotation,” said Duquette. “Who wouldn’t be?” But Duquette did not waver from his prior statements that Baltimore is quite hesitant to part with young arms: “I think with our young pitchers we would be conservative, and we would try and give them a prolonged trial in the big leagues before we would trade them.”

3:58pm: Told of rumors that a deal could be close, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said that would be “news to him,” as Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets.

3:50pm: Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun hears differently than Abraham and Ghiroli, reporting that his sources indicate there’s nothing hot between the two sides at this time (Twitter link).

2:36pm: Abraham tweets that the two sides are in advanced discussions, but the Red Sox have alternatives, should Baltimore not meet their asking price. Ghiroli adds that Baltimore isn’t likely to part with Gausman in a Lester deal, but the two sides are still in serious discussions.

2:25pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that a deal isn’t close at this time, although Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that talks are indeed heating up. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports also tweets that nothing is close to finalization at this point, though that doesn’t preclude a deal from being reached. Andy Martino of the New York Daily news also hears that a deal is possible, but not close at this time (Twitter link).

Kubatko adds that Boston has been asking for Kevin Gausman or Dylan Bundy in talks.

2:20pm: Miguel Gonzalez could be heading to Boston in the deal, Ghiroli tweets. Clearly, he wouldn’t be the centerpiece of the trade.

2:16pm: The Orioles are in advanced talks that would send a pitcher to Boston in exchange for Jon Lester, reports Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe (on Twitter). MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli tweets that the two sides are “close” to a deal.


Latest On Middle Infield Market

With starter Justin Masterson being moved today, eyes have understandably shifted to another Indians veteran who is set to hit the open market after the season: shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. While it remains uncertain whether or not he will be moved, here’s the latest on possible suitors for him and other middle infielders:

  • The Giants are still weighing second base options like Gordon Beckham, Emilio Bonifacio, and Cabrera, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
  • The Indians have discussed Cabrera with the Blue Jays and Giants “this week,” tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, who hastens to add that he does not know whether talks are still alive with those clubs. Toronto has in fact “emerged as a possibility” on Cabrera, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
  • The Blue Jays are expected to hold off on adding to their slate of position players, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Instead, Toronto will focus on pitching. (Then again, the club has reportedly shifted back and forth between those broad signposts for weeks, if not longer.)

Latest On Royals’ Pitching Search

We took a look earlier today at the Royals’ search for an outfielder. Kansas City has also been mentioned alongside several starting pitchers in recent days, including A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon, and John Lackey. (MLBTR links.) Here’s the latest:

  • The Royals are in on Ian Kennedy of the Padres, along with the Pirates and Marlins (and still others), tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Of course, as Rosenthal notes, it is not clear that San Diego will deal away Kennedy.
  • Boston is looking for power pitching in return for Lackey, but K.C. places a high value on its young arms, tweets McCullough.
  • The Royals have indeed inquired on Colon, but got the sense that New York did not intend to move him, tweets McCullough.

Earlier Updates

  • The Phillies have had recent discussions with the Royals about Burnett as well as Antonio Bastardo, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. As for Colon, his market is not developing with any clubs, let alone the Royals, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
  • As of earlier this morning, the Royals were unwilling to meet the Red Sox‘ asking price on Lackey, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Kansas City remains interested if the price comes down, adds Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter).
  • While the team is looking into adding a starter (and/or an outfielder or reliever), McCullough tweets, GM Dayton Moore says he is still counting on internal production to drive results.

AL East Notes: Yanks, Danks, O’s, Harvey, Rays

Here’s the latest from the AL East:

  • While Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com hears that the Yankees are still keeping communication open with the White Sox on starter John Danks, Joel Sherman of the New York Post says on Twitter that New York is not going after mid-level arms like Danks or Brett Anderson of the Rockies.
  • The Orioles have discussed moving starter Miguel Gonzalez as part of multiple hypothetical trades, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. That includes conversations with the Padres and the Phillies, says Cotillo.
  • Baltimore is considering Neal Cotts of the Rangers, among other lefties that can work against hitters of both sides, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (Twitter links). This meshes with an earlier report via ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. Other possibilities, per Connolly, are Tony Sipp of the Astros, Andrew Miller of the Red Sox, and Oliver Perez of the Diamondbacks. The Orioles do not view the PhilliesAntonio Bastardo as an option, says Connolly.
  • Rising Orioles pitching prospect Hunter Harvey will be shut down for the rest of the season, executive VP Dan Duquette told reports including MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli (Twitter link). The prognosis looks good, however, as he does not have ligament damage but rather a flexor mass strain, according to Connolly (via Twitter). While the club seemed unlikely to use Harvey as a trade chip anyway, this likely removes him from contention for the time being.
  • The Rays are still willing to discuss not only David Price but also Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce, according to a tweet from Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

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Cubs Acquire Felix Doubront

4:41pm: The Red Sox have announced the deal.

2:17pm: The Cubs have acquired Felix Doubront from the Red Sox, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports first reported (on Twitter) that a deal was close.

The Red Sox will receive a player to be named later in return for the 26-year-old lefty, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com reports on Twitter. That player will be determined after the Rule 5 draft, tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox-Game Two

Doubront’s tenure in Boston seemed destined to come to an end after he publicly announced his desire to return to the rotation — with another team, if necessary. After beginning the year as one of the team’s five starters, Doubront was dropped to the pen after posting a 5.19 ERA over ten starts. Things have only gone downhill since, as he has surrendered a .375/.409/.625 line and 11 earned runs to the 45 opposing hitters he has faced in seven relief appearances.

Chicago will hope that a change of scenery prompts a turnaround for a player who is said to have high-quality stuff. (Over 2012-13, Doubront compiled 323 1/3 innings of 4.59 ERA ball as a starter.) He will be arb-eligible for the first time next year, and his price tag should be manageable given his rough numbers this year. In many respects, Doubront is not unlike several of the Cubs’ other recent buy-low pitching additions (both through free agency and trade) — Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, and Scott Feldman come to mind — though he comes with the added benefit of a lower cost and extended, uncommitted control.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.