AL East Notes: Matsui, Jones, Encarnacion

The Rays announced that they added Hideki Matsui to their active roster today, optioning Stephen Vogt to Triple-A and transferring Brandon Guyer to the 60-day disabled list in corresponding moves. Here are some items of interest from the AL East…

  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports explains that Adam Jones’ new extension is about Jones the person, not just Jones the center fielder. The Orioles signed Jones to a six-year, $85.5MM deal last week.
  • The Blue Jays aren’t currently discussing an extension with the representatives for Edwin Encarnacion, Morosi reports (on Twitter). The Wasserman Media Group client is on track to hit free agency after the season.
  • The Blue Jays announced that they optioned Eric Thames to Triple-A. Thames, the Opening Day left fielder, returns to the minors and infielder Mike McCoy takes his place on Toronto’s active roster.
  • Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal suggests it wouldn't be surprising if the Red Sox moved to extend Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the next few months. The hot-hitting catcher will be arbitration eligible for the third and final time this coming offseason and can expect a raise from his current $2.5MM salary.
  • Here's a look at the 2013 contract issues facing the AL East teams: Red Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Rays, Blue Jays.


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28 Comments on "AL East Notes: Matsui, Jones, Encarnacion"


johnsilver
3 years 1 month ago

Think the odds of Salty getting moved this season, or over the winter are higher than of him getting an extension from Boston. Thank goodness they have someone with the potential already at Pawtucket with the going rate for catchers blown way out of proportion now, thanks to the Molina deal and the Cardinals.

If Boston *could* get him to ink a 3-4y deal at *just* an 8-10mAAV, then fine and dandy, only it ain’t going to happen.. He is probably a short timer at Boston and a good thing his replacement is ready.

Devern Hansack
3 years 1 month ago

I’d be wary of giving Saltalamacchia even 3/$24MM. While he does project to be a three win catcher this season, his power numbers are massively inflated thanks to an unsustainable 21.4% HR/FB rate. Moreover, his defense rates poorly and, though his career .268/.330/.461 line against RHP is palatable, his .205/.261/.345 line against LHP virtually requires a platoon-mate. If that drives his value down to $5-6MM per season, then I’d love to keep him aboard.

johnsilver
3 years 1 month ago

 5-6m a year and he’s a goner. you know? He even repeats what he did in 2011 and he gets 4/48m the lousy shape catching market is sitting.. Just look.. Martin managed to get 10m from NY for having a super April and hitting like Kevin Cash from May-September.. Salty might get Montero money even.

It wouldn’t bother me at all and even like to see what kind of prospect package he would bring, then let Lavarnway have his chance.

Devern Hansack
3 years 1 month ago

I’m not so certain. After 2009, A.J. Pierzynski signed for 2/$8MM. I really love the idea of platooning Saltalamacchia with Lavarnway. Versus lefties, we could have Lavarnway catch and a free agent lefty masher DH, while Salty could catch and Lavarnway could DH against righties. It’s maximize the effectiveness of both players’ bats, add flexibility to the bench, and keep both of them rested.

hawkny1
3 years 1 month ago

Few, if any catchers, come ready made, to the major leagues.  Salty, for instance, was a catcher with many defensive weaknesses, including an inability to throw balls back to the pitcher, for a while, but he has made great strides over the past 18 months.  Lets not forget he had to catch Wakefield last year, but not again this year.  His throws to the bases are aggressive and he is a brute behind the batter when they stand in the box. I wouldn’t want to mess with him if I were a runner on the base paths.

As for his hitting….  I predicted .280-20/24 hrs-80rbi’s preseason.  but I may be low at the rate he is now hitting.  If he slows down it is because he is tired, not because he has lost power or lost his swing.  Natural power hitter, IMHO, who may lead the club offensively and lead the league among catchers,  before the season is over.  

A steal if they sign him for, say, $40M /4yrs…   

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

“Natural power hitter, IMHO, who may lead the club offensively and lead the league among catchers,  before the season is over.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down a little.  Salty is a good hitter (for a catcher), but he’s not that good.  He’s got good power, but he’s a mediocre hitter for average, and he doesn’t walk much, so his OBP is always going to be really low; he’d be a fine #7-8 hitter on a good offensive team, but if he’s hitting any higher than 6th your offense likely needs help.

Leonard Washington
3 years 1 month ago

I doubt he gets moved. Salty is becoming a big part of the staff and he is starting to realize some of the potential he had as a prospect. I would let Lavarnway go as part of an acquisition. 

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

Lavarnway projects to hit for at least as much power as Saltalamacchia with a considerably higher OBP, and if his defensive progress this year is any indication (and it’s admittedly a small sample still, so it might not be an indication) he should be as good defensively (he’s also younger, cheaper, and under team control longer).  I think Saltalamacchia’s future with the team depends a lot more on whether they think Lavarnway can stick behind the plate than it does on anything Salty does.

Leonard Washington
3 years 1 month ago

I agree, and though I have heard Lavarnway isn’t awful on D I haven’t heard anywhere he is being considered as a starter anywhere but DH. I think Salty is sticking around with Lavarnway easing in as the back up eventually. My opinion. 

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

Boston has maintained that they see him as a catcher, and while that can be seen as them trying to keep his value as high as possible in the event that he is traded, they are acting like it is really the way they see it.  In the past they have only given him part time play behind the plate, but this year they are playing him there essentially every day (if they were just trying to keep his value high they wouldn’t risk him being exposed back there any more than they had to), and he has answered by showing considerable improvement behind the plate.  He has also changed his stance/crouch to a more athletic one and his coaches (and Chris Hatfield from SP) have commented on how it seems to be working well for him.

He’ll almost certainly never be a good defensive catcher, but he seems to have made (or at least be making) himself into a capable defensive catcher.  His big problem was always blocking breaking stuff in the dirt because he wasn’t athletic enough to move around to get to them, but he only had 7 passed balls all year last year (for comparison McCann also had 7, Ruiz had 8, Iannetta had 8, Avila had 7, Yadier had 6, Arencibia had 12, Miguel Montero had 8, and Olivo had 11 – also, Salty had 26 but there’s no way to tell how many were with Wake pitching) and he’s only got one passed ball so far this year.  He’s also become very good at throwing out runners (37% CS last year and 36% so far this year).

Leonard Washington
3 years 1 month ago

If Lavarnway can refine things I think they will ease him into the catching role, starting him on the bench first. Then if Salty falters he will be given a shot. If Salty keeps hitting (which I think he will), I expect they will keep him until he becomes a free agent then hand over the reigns. Being as we are only 2.5 games out of first place and still very much in the hunt for the playoffs I don’t see Salty going anywhere though. Unless we are totally out of it and I mean TOTALLY out of it the Sox arn’t going to even consider moving him though. If we keep building mentum we could be in first in the next five days or less who knows. They arn’t going to risk changing a player so closely connected to the pitching staff if we are even sniffing the playoffs.

Lunchbox45
3 years 1 month ago

I bet you KJ and E5 are in different uniforms by august 

Infield Fly
3 years 1 month ago

I was kind of thinking the same about Encarnación, although these days he’s more likely to be E3.  :->

boyofsummer
3 years 1 month ago

Escobar to 2nd, Hech called up for SS? Or vice versa?

Lunchbox45
3 years 1 month ago

Hech SS for sure

Bombastic_Dave
3 years 1 month ago

Are there many high-ceiling buy-low 1B available with extended team-friendly contracts?  Do you think his production is an anomaly?  The Jays have said they want to reward production.  If they think EE can continue this production, wouldn’t a mid-year extension be value-profitable?

hawkny1
3 years 1 month ago

Much of what the Red Sox do with their personnel later this calendar year will depend upon how the team continues to progress in the W/L column, how well long term DL occupants play once healed and back on the active roster, which players currently playing perform well during the remaining 114 games,  and, finally, how well their young players play, both in Boston and at Pawtucket/Portland over the balance of the season.  

If the team continues to linger round .500 for the remainder of the season (or plays sub-.500 ball), the front office may jettison many seasoned players, including some with as little as 4-5 years of ML experience, in favor of new blood.  Even if the club plays better in the second half, but fails again to make the playoffs,  the front office could seek to change the character of the entire team.  They could do this with a wholesale revamping of the 25-man roster through contract expirations, trades or perhaps, the free agent market.  The only players having an ironclad lock on a job in 2013, it would seem, are Gonzalez, Crawford, Lackey and, perhaps, Beckett.  Each has a multiple year contract that, for all practical purposes, is almost non-transferrable.  

Don’t underestimate the urges of a new front office and manager to want to put their stamp of approval on a roster that is of their making rather than one inherited from the previous administration.   Doing so is a facet of human nature that shows up often among decision makers in the business world.

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

“The only players having an ironclad lock on a job in 2013, it would seem, are Gonzalez, Crawford, Lackey and, perhaps, Beckett.”

There’s no way Pedroia and Lester aren’t on the team next year.  Now way.

johnsilver
3 years 1 month ago

 agree all the way with Pedey.. They just might have found the next career Sox player right there and yep.. Aviles is most likely to be moved/switched to utility role.

Leonard Washington
3 years 1 month ago

Adrian, Middlebrooks, Lester, Pedroia, Aviles, Crawford, Ellsbury, Beckett, Doubront, Bard, and Salty are going nowhere no matter what happens. The team has missed the playoffs the past couple seasons and traded almost nobody. None of them are going anywhere regardless of standings. 

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

I disagree on a few of those guys.  Aviles could be traded once they feel Iglesias is ready (they could also hang on to him as a utility guy, but if he plays well enough to have value I could see him being traded as they have other cheaper options for UT); if they decide they can’t extend Ellsbury and can come up with a reasonable replacement for him I think there is a (possibly small) chance that he could be moved since the return would almost certainly be better than the draft picks; and Salty could be traded in the offseason if they feel that Lavarnway is capable of playing catcher regularly and they don’t feel that Salty would be a good backup/semi-platoon/whatever.

Probably none of those things happen during the season, but I could see a couple of those guys being moved in the offseason.

Miguel Arias
3 years 1 month ago

Iglesias will never be ready. 

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

He’s in his second full year in AAA and still the fifth youngest player in his league, so the fact that he hasn’t hit particularly well shouldn’t be a surprise (and doesn’t tell you a lot about his actual skill).  He could come up tomorrow and immediately be the best defensive SS in the game, and scouts have said from day one that his good bat speed and quick wrists should allow him to hit for decent average, so he just needs time to turn his tools into production (which he has started to do this year).  He’s also come a long way with his plate discipline in a short amount of time as well (2010 – 3.4 BB% and 20.8 K%; 2011 – 5.4 BB% and 15.0 K%; 2012 – 6.3 BB% and 11.1 K%).

johnsilver
3 years 1 month ago

 Some would say he’s hitting pretty decent this year in what is considered the “pitcher’s AAA”. Iglesias is at .269/.317/.317 with a .634 OPS. Sure he’s only got 4XBH in 150+ AB, but he is betting hits now and like you said.. learning to be more selective and the glove was always there.

Miguel Arias
3 years 1 month ago

Love the optimism, but it’s time to face reality. He will be a decent utility guy one day because he can play defense, that’s about it. 98% of guys in the minors don’t make it and he’s one of them. Also I think Elvis Andrus would like to have a word with you about best defensive SS.

The Sox front office has moved on and pretty sure the fanbase will too, depending how Bogaerts finishes the year.  

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

That’s not anything close to the truth, if they had “moved on” and he was destined to be a “decent utility guy” like you suggest, he would have been exactly that this year (and they wouldn’t have gone and giving Punto a two year deal).  The fact that they are giving him more time in AAA suggests that the exact opposite is true.

Elvis Andrus can have words with a bunch of scouts, I’m not the one who decided that about his defense.

Bogaerts is not a SS long-term, he’s a 3B, so he’s not going to take over the mantle of “SS of the future” from Iglesias.  If he were going to stick at SS he would already have taken that over.

Leonard Washington
3 years 1 month ago

Anything is possible, Aviles being the most possible of that lot to be moved. Ells has cut his price alot with injury so his price wont be prohibitive, and it might make his extension possible. I think Lavarnway will be a back up before a starter. I really think Salty stays. 

JaysFan94
3 years 1 month ago

To this point he hasn’t shown any behavioral issues, however I see something similar to that happening. He seems like he has an ego, and a position change could spark the Yunel of old to return.