Cafardo On Betancourt, Lester, Vargas, Liriano

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe spoke about Florida baseball with Bud Selig and he had mixed emotions on how successful it is, as he's frustrated with the Rays' attendance figures but noted that the Marlins' numbers are up significantly after the opening of their park.  "They’ve run a great operation," the commissioner said. "They’re a very competitive organization, a very competitive team. As I study the attendance every day and looking at where they are, to see they’re No. 29 [in attendance] is inexcusable. Nobody can defend that."  Here's more from today's column..

  • The Red Sox have shown interest in Rockies right-hander Rafael Betancourt and have scouted him a few times.  Boston likely wouldn't want to give up prospects for him but could offer an outfielder.  Recently, Buster Olney of reported that Colorado would have to be overwhelmed to part with the reliever.
  • Jon Lester has been on Pirates' radar along with Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Ryan Dempster, and Matt Garza but it doesn’t appear the Sox would move him unless they got an outstanding deal.  Pittsburgh probably won't part with pitching prospect Gerrit Cole which makes a trade unlikely.
  • The Mariners' Jason Vargas has emerged as a hot name for contending teams and one American League GM told Cafardo that teams were hoping to "slip in and take him for less than full value."  Now, however, the M's know that he's in demand and won't just give him away.  The Orioles, Blue Jays, Pirates, Cardinals, and Tigers are among teams that may have interest.  
  • The Blue Jays, Yankees, and Braves have all scouted Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano, who Cafardo suggests should be traded before he falters again.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan will have to be blown away to part with outfielder Josh Willingham.

77 Responses to Cafardo On Betancourt, Lester, Vargas, Liriano Leave a Reply

  1. Kyle Hamilton 3 years ago

    Pirates don’t have enough pieces for Lester trade.

    • stl_cards16 3 years ago

      They have plenty to pull a trade for Lester. Whether it would be smart or if they would part with what it would take, is a different conversation.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

        The cost for Lester would dwarf anything required for greinke, Hamels (rentals) and even Garza. lester has the serious AL east track record as an AL East lefty..

        Teams may want to ponder that and how cheaply he is signed through 2013 (2014 option he can void if traded) before anyone even thinks they want to acquire him, or even think about it.

        lester is the best person who might even *possibly* be available and I think there is about 90% certainty he never will be this year.

    • notsureifsrs 3 years ago

      they absolutely do. the pirates are one of the few teams boston should actually listen to if they come with an offer

    • bigpat 3 years ago

       They have enough pieces to acquire just about anyone in a trade, it’s just a matter of whether they’d want to pull the trigger or not.

      As long as there is no talk of them trading Cole for Lester, I would be interested. He’s been on a little bit of a downswing in his career the past two seasons but is still a very good pitcher and he’d have the chance to become an ace again moving into the NL Central.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

         It would take top flight people to get him and *if* they can work something out with Lester? get him to ok that option for 2014 even that becomes player, rather than team if he is traded.

        Jon is not going to go for run of the mill prospects if Boston even had thoughts of moving him and remember. only 2 Boston beat writers have said anything who have little credibility to begin with..

  2. Devern Hansack 3 years ago

    So the Pirates would be getting 2.5 years of Lester, who is making $7.625 MM this year, $11.625 MM next year, and $13 MM assuming they pick up his 2014 club option. The asking price for one year of Santana at $13.25 MM in 2008 was Lester and Ellsbury plus prospects.

    I’d have to think the Pirates (or any other team) would have to part with four top 15 prospects if the Red Sox were to ship him out of town.

    • BucSox 3 years ago

      It isn’t 2008 and Santana was way better then than Lester is now. The Pirates absolutely have the pieces to make it work but I hope they don’t do it.

    • notsureifsrs 3 years ago

      it’s a reasonable comparison, but santana had a much better track record than lester. prior to 2007, santana had posted 3 consecutive 7+ WAR seasons and was arguably the best pitcher in baseball

      you also have to look at what he was traded for, not what the twins asked for. the final package was underwhelming

  3. The Tony 3 years ago

    The Pirates have the 11th ranked farm system in the game. This included Top pitching prospects Gerit Cole and Jameson Tailon.

    In order for the Pirates to land Lester they would have to trade Tailon, Locke, Owens, Dickerson should be more than enough to get the deal done

    • BucSox 3 years ago

      If I am the Pirates I do that deal. However I doubt the Sox would.

  4. ctownboy 3 years ago

    The Pirates should let Lester rot where he is at.  Instead they should go after Francisco Liriano or Wandy Rodriguez.  Are either of those two as good as Lester?  maybe, maybe not. However, they wont cost as much to acquire and are DEFINITELY better than Bedard.

    • DerekJeterDan 3 years ago

      Getting Lester to front their rotation would be huge. Jon Lester has playoff experience and when he is on, he is so much better than the two options you listed. With Lester and Burnett plus Mcdonald and Bedard the Pirates have a great shot if they make the playoffs to match up with any teams rotation. If they can find a way to get Lester, they have to do it. The fans can just see a small move like Liriano blowing up in the Pirates face. Lester in the NL is an Ace.

      • ctownboy 3 years ago

        Let’s see;

        The Pirates haven’t had a winning season in 20 years.  They have been building their Minor League system up so that if they ever become good they wont be like the Marlins and have a small window to succeed in before they have to blow the whole thing up and start over.

        Meanwhile, the Red Sox are who they are.   They can buy pretty much anything they need, the Front Office HAS to say they are in contention every year (and HAVE to make moves to keep them in contention).  Thus to trade Lester away they would have to get some huge package back so as to tell the fans they made the trade to improve the team.

        In short, they would want the Pirates to gut their farm system for Lester.

        “when he is on, he is so much better than the two options you listed.”  Sure, but what happens when he is off?  What happens if he gets injured?  How are the Pirates’ fans going to react to that?

        Look at how much the Reds gave up to get Mat Latos.  Watch what happens and how Reds’ fans are going to react when he gets injured.  They were already yelping earlier in the season when he wasn’t performing well.

        Nope, it doesn’t make any sense for the Pirates to give up the farm for ONE Pitcher who might get them over the hump this one year.

      • ctownboy 3 years ago

         In each of the past three seasons, Lester’s WHIP and ERA have gotten
        worse.  Also, wasn’t he part of the chicken and beer bunch who led the
        Red Sox September collapse last year?  His 1.61 WHIP, .282 opponents
        Batting Average and 5.40 ERA sure look like it…..

    • erm016 3 years ago

      No, they’re not as good.

    • chris_synan1 3 years ago

      the Red Sox are too desperate for pitching, they would not trade Lester….Red Sox ownership is too PR conscious 

      • Devern Hansack 3 years ago

        It’s a shame, since they could effectively reload their farm system by dealing Lester, Ellsbury, and Beckett.

        • captainjeter 3 years ago

          of course it would. But  the FO would have alot of explaining to do to the Sox fans. Talk about waving the white  flag

      • MaineSox 3 years ago

        I’m sure they would trade Lester under the right circumstances.  Everyone thought the same thing about Nomar (completely different situations, I know), but given the right circumstances (read: trade offer) they would almost certainly do it.

    • johnsilver 3 years ago

       “Francisco Liriano or Wandy Rodriguez.  Are either of those two as good as Lester?  maybe, maybe not.”

      You just blew any possible credibility possible in the future even could have earned with that ludicrous statement. 100% absolutely hilarious.

      Maybe the Reds should grab them so Baker, the arm blower out guy can add them to his collection.. No great loss. bedard is always getting hurt anyway and Wandy, well he is nothing special and never was..

      • Red_Line_9 3 years ago

        Liriano is just such a question mark.  If he could be who he I saw a few nights ago and maintain that….there’s no question he is superb.  There’s just alot of uncertainty with him.

  5. The Real D Guar 3 years ago

    Only Buster Olney could say the Rockies would have to be “overwhelmed” to part with a 37 year old Betancourt.  RB is the prototypical player traded at the deadline. Olney continues to be a shouting clown of nonsense.

    • mmiller54 3 years ago

      Well, the Rockies already have said they eon’t move Cuddy, which they should to rebuild. So, it is reasonable to think they overvalue Betancourt as well.

    • +1 for shouting clown of nonsense. don’t know how well it applies to Buster Olney, but this phrase should be used more often.

  6. ctownboy 3 years ago

    It totally amazes me how writers get away with writing somethings and how GM’s seem to be so dumb.

    Re, Jason Vargas.  “one American League GM told Cafardo that teams were hoping to “slip in and take him for less than full value.”

    That American League GM was probably from the Mariners.

    Jason Vargas doesn’t strike out many batters, plays in a very pitcher friendly ball park and yet, he STILL has an ERA over 4.  Worse yet, his Home and Road splits are HORRIBLE.

    In 57 Innings at Home, he has an ERA of 2.84, a WHIP of 1.04, an opponents Batting Average of .230 and has given up 6 Home Runs.

    In 69 Innings pitched on the Road, he has an ERA of 5.09, a WHIP of 1.25, an opponents Batting Average of .252 and has given up 17 Home Runs.

    The thing is, as far as his WHIP, opponents Batting Average and Home Runs allowed are concerned, Vargas has done the SAME THING every year he has been with the Mariners.  Four straight seasons where those stats are MUCH worse on the Road than they are at Home.

    With those stats, unless he is playing for a National Park team that plays its Home Games in the Grand Canyon, there shouldn’t be ANY contending team even thinking about trading for him.


    • Michael Gardiner 3 years ago

      So what you are saying is the Rockies should not get him in a trade

  7. Its seems like every G.M out there needs to be “Blown Away” or “overwhelmed” for every so so player out there this season…

    • erm016 3 years ago

      I think part of it is bc of the media scrutiny if they trade away someone who isn’t doing much for them, and then 10 years later they’re a stud. 

      • popular_mechanics_for_pitchers 3 years ago

        10 minutes later
        -Kevin youklis

    • I can understand it.  Take somebody like Felix Hernandez for example, where trade rumors never die.  If a team was willing to give up five or six top prospects for him, what’s the chance that ONE of them, let alone all of them, would come close to developing into the player he is today?  Doubtful.    It’s just so difficult to trade a player that is performing well (and signed to a long-term contract), so why not wait to be blown away?

      • Red_Line_9 3 years ago

        To truly be “blown away” you’d need to be a team with a player who you don’t have any justifiable reason to part with….no pending free agency..etc  If a team called and started offering some serious offense to the Mariners I’m guessing they’d listen on Hernandez.  Seattle is loaded with minor league arms.

    • mstrchef 3 years ago

      And every other season. Why would you admit that you’d be willing to take less than fair value for your players?

    • TyMxx 3 years ago

      It’s probably due to a somewhat weak free agent market next year. Most players that can contribute, even in the slightest, are under contract through next year. 

      I don’t get why Willingham is virtually untouchable though. He’s 33 and putting up his best offensive numbers in his career. You’re not going to win with this team now or next year because the pitching is incredibly weak up and down the system. Signing a guy in the later part of his career like Willingham, you can only hope he turns out so you can re-up for a decent prospect. Then again, this is a team that signed Jamie Carroll to a two year deal.

    • Red_Line_9 3 years ago

      I think the “blown away” or “overwhelmed” response is just a way to blow off a reporter…or it’s half hearted journalism.

  8. erm016 3 years ago

    I’d be open to the Braves making a run at Lester though. We have the depth to acquire him, I think.

    • notsureifsrs 3 years ago

      i can see lester becoming dominant again in the NL

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

         he has lost a couple of ticks this year on his fb, but don’t think he is ready for the derek lowe, booted to the NL to succeed yet. Lester’s cutter still seems to be working well and his curve have been working ok. his FB is at least as hard as beckett’s still.

        Maybe just an off season.. I’d hold off on him, too valuable IMO, unless they can really rob someone badly.

        • notsureifsrs 3 years ago

          it’s not either dominant-or-terrible. he’s very good. but he hasn’t been consistently dominant since 2010

          i’m happy to keep him, but it’s easy to imagine him tearing it up for an NL team. for the right package, i’d let him go

  9. ctownboy 3 years ago


  10. Wow, if Lester got out of the AL East and pitched in the National League, he’d be the best pitcher in baseball by far.  Anybody have some sort of “conversion” formula for pitchers who leave the AL East (or the AL in general) and move to the National League?  I think in all but a couple of cases, they’re remarkably better.

    Keith Law needs to invent this formula yesterday.

    • Since_77 3 years ago

       Anybody have some sort of “conversion” formula for pitchers who leave
      the AL East (or the AL in general) and move to the National League?

      I have always wondered about this but I don’t know of one.
      You can only go by the examples like A.J. Burnett is providing this year or Adam Kennedy did last year.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

         Someone probably does and have seen it here before.. I just have several examples.. Javy Vazquez (several times) Ted Lilly, Derek Lowe  come to mind real quick.

        It’s mostly getting to face another pitcher, rather than a veteran hitter who knows how to hit.. Like a David Ortiz.

  11. TheLastPirateFan 3 years ago

    Lester is not particularly good this year and he is getting and going to be overpaid. The Sox want to get rid of his contract to be under luxury tax so the Pirates should only give up something like Locke, Owens, and Grossman for him

    • mstrchef 3 years ago

      If they are about getting under the tax, then (1) they accomplished most of that in the Youkilis deal, and (2) they would be more likely to deal Beckett than Lester.

      IMHO, of course.

      • melonis_rex 3 years ago

        they ate most of Youk’s salary when they (inexplicably) traded him.

        • mstrchef 3 years ago

          Oh, yeah. Forgot about that. There goes that theory.

    •  if it was Locke, Owens, Grossman for Lester I would do that in a total heartbeat!

  12. Jeremiah Graves 3 years ago

    The Twins absolutely need to move Willingham if a big offer comes along. We’re talking about a defensively-challenged, 33-year-old outfielder with a history of back problems who is in the midst of a career year.

    Sure, sure…his swing is tailor-made for Target Field and he’s already won a huge following in Minnesota, but he’s never going to be more valuable than he is right now. The Twins are going nowhere right now and could use some more solid pieces in the farm system.

    I’d say moving Willingham to a contender for a prospect or two for 2014+ is more valuable than having the Hammer bash longballs for another couple of years on a last place club.

    • I agree but, as the article suggests, they shouldn’t just move him for the sake of moving him.  RH power hitters at 7m/yr will be worth something every season. 

    • TyMxx 3 years ago

      I practically stated exactly what you’re touching on above. You’re spot on with this. It’s unfortunate that the Twins are out of contention but he far exceeded anyones expectations and if they’re looking to contend in the future, they need to cash-in on this guy. The Twins have a bad history of holding onto players past their prime tho. 

      • Red_Line_9 3 years ago

        Sometimes I wonder how often non-baseball issues play a major part into whether a player gets dealt or not.  How often is the player liked in the community…and wants to keep his kids in the local schools.  It’s easy to play with names and numbers and wheel and deal them….but an actual situation with a real person is different.  There’s no sense in dealing a Willingham and uprooting his life just to uproot another guy and break even.

        • TyMxx 3 years ago

          I can definitely see that especially with an organization like the Twins. Not everyone runs their ship like Boston and New York. They seem to add the human element to their business. I just think it would be a great chance for them to try to stock their system and try to get some kind of pitching in return. 

        • Jeremiah Graves 3 years ago

          I totally get that, but baseball is a business and the players know that going into it. That’s the way the game goes. Plus Willingham is on this third team in three years, this wouldn’t exactly come as a shock, I assume.

          • Red_Line_9 3 years ago

            Sure, that’s the basic logic and what happens when teams and even certain players can benefit from a deal.  Recently, I can think of Jim Thome who seems to be calling his shots these days.

            It just needs to be stressed that MLB GMs aren’t playing a video game.  There are more moving parts and more reasons NOT to make a deal than there are just based on stats.

      • Willingham is the bat i want for the pirates. A deal built around Grossman and victor black would be good for both sides. Grossman will be major league ready in 2 season has a plus bat for CF only and does not havea future with the bucs if Marte pans out. Victor black is also in AA and will be a solid major league relieef pitcher but we have alot of pitchers like that in AAA and AA so he would not be a big loss. Give them there choice of Presely or herndenez both are Defensive wizards in Cf that can cover the loss of Span.

        • TyMxx 3 years ago

          They’re pretty set on keeping him tho. It would probably take a top 5 prospect and maybe a low level guy to get it done. Once the Twins like a guy, they stick with them. 

          • Red_Line_9 3 years ago

            I was a little surprised to see Cuddyer leave.  Willingham is one of those solid not-too-often mentioned names.  Man..if you throw him inside he can flat turn on it.  Almost took two out in the 1st and then hit two later in the game the other night.  Usually a pretty solid OBP.  He’s a guy that’ll help win your fantasy league if you’re in an OBP/OPS league.

            Rap has been his back.  But when he’s healthy he can put up some offense in tears.

          • TyMxx 3 years ago

            Surprisingly, no one mentions him as being a great signing. Granted, there’s still half the season to play but the Twins have gotten their moneys worth and then some. I hope he can keep it up. Outside of Mauer, he’s the only other reason people are tuning in here in Minnesota.  

          • Red_Line_9 3 years ago

            He’s never really stayed healthy.  That might be some of the reason he goes unmentioned.  He had a somewhat similar season with Oakland in 2011….but he was oft injured.  He’s always the dark horse.

          • Jeremiah Graves 3 years ago

            Often to a fault…

            (ie: keeping Liriano/Hunter/Slowey/Cuddy/etc. beyond their peak value)

  13. hawkny1 3 years ago

    Lester is out of shape, overweight, and unable to throw his fastball and slider with the sharpness of years past.  Why any club would want to invest in him for multiple seasons right now defies common sense.  This is not to say he is finished as a top flight MLB pitcher but, right now, he is mediocre, at best.  He statistics speak for themselves. The guy needs to swear off the beer, get into the gym, and do something about his faulty mechanics, to salvage his 2012 season. Pehaps the Red Sox could help by letting Bobby V. designate a pitching coach to work with him one-on-one. 

    ps.  The same observations apply to Adrien Gonzalez, who is muddling through the current season like someone with one foot on a banana peel and the other in the grave (colloquially speaking) in so far as his baseball career in Boston is concerned.

    • Red_Line_9 3 years ago

      Most pitchers that have shown success in the AL East likely receive a boost simply by leaving the division…much the same as pitchers do going AL to NL.

    • Michael Gardiner 3 years ago

      Maybe one thing Lester could use is a change of scenary with the bad publicity that he Lackey and whoever else recieved in the offseason

      • hawkny1 3 years ago

        All Jon has to do in that regard is to stop reading the sports pages until October.

  14. Taylor Haberle 3 years ago

    Denard Span is out of the lineup today in the third game out of the All Star Break, is he gone? I’d have to think it might be true

    •  No, he’s just been playing like crap so they benched him today.

  15. Cole for Lester?
    Inter-Divisional Rivals trading with the Pirates.
    The Blue Jays have interest in Liriano, why?
    Jason Vargas is a “Hot Name?”
    Also, if Willingham is traded anywhere, it will have to be an American League team so he can DH as well.
    Betancourt is old, Rockies have wishful thinking if they think they will be overwhelmed with an offer.

    •  Frankly, you could argue that Cole is better than Lester right now and would certainly be better over the next few years.  No way do the Pirates trade him.

      Jays interest in Liriano.  I suspect that a lot of teams watch his 15k game and see his plus stuff and dream on him that they can make him consistent.  Results of the last few years not withstanding.

  16. Red_Line_9 3 years ago

    If Lester is is traded, does the Red Sox insurance on him transfer to the new club?  He’s had some serious health concerns in his past.  I’m just wondering if getting insurance on him might cause an issue with a deal.

    • mjlowe 3 years ago

      Are you talking about when he had cancer 5 years ago? Insurance is an element of every MLB deal.

      • Red_Line_9 3 years ago

        Yes.  I’m referring to his bout with cancer.  I’m not aware of how that would work.  It’s not the standard issue rotator cuff physical.  I’d assume it wouldn’t be much of a problem.  He is likely put through routine physicals….would the policy then just be transferred to the new organization?

        • mjlowe 3 years ago

          Yeah it’s an interesting question, I have no idea how that kind of thing works.

  17. mjlowe 3 years ago

    Trade Beckett or Bucholz (both if you can), not Lester.

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