In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders what is at the root of the Red Sox's pitching woes. Some around baseball feel that the club's hurlers are missing catcher Jason Varitek. “He did a lot for that team in terms of getting the staff ready for each team,’’ said an American League GM. “They depended on him like no team depended on a catcher anywhere in baseball, with the possible exception of St. Louis, where Yadier Molina seems to have that effect.’’ Here's more from Cafardo..
- An AL GM told Cafardo that there could be a market for embattled Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, but the club would have to be willing to eat more than half of his contract. Beckett will earn $15.75MM each year through 2014.
- If Red Sox Kevin Youkilis can show he’s healthy, there’s a strong third base market out there for Boston. A National League special assignment scout told Cafardo that the Giants and Phillies are looking while the Rays could factor in, even though they say they aren't in search of an answer at third base.
- The Nationals would like to deal left-hander John Lannan but teams appear more interested in Chien Ming-Wang. The Nationals also have a good thing going and have created competition on their staff, as Wang and Lannan could push the other five.
- One American League GM doesn't see the Phillies parting with Cole Hamels via trade. "The [Blue] Jays are looking to do something big," said an American League GM. “I just don’t see the Phillies bailing out on Hamels. They can still win it."
- The Rangers probably won't let Josh Hamilton leave in free agency, but if he does look elsewhere, the Dodgers could be a fit for him with their new-found dollars. Signing Hamilton would also allow the club to let Andre Ethier head into the market.