Olney On Red Sox, Mariners, Smith, Rangers

Most of the top available starting pitchers currently play in the National League, but there’s still lots of trade talk in the AL this summer. Buster Olney provides updates on the junior circuit trade market in today’s column at ESPN.com. Here are some highlights:

  • The Mariners won’t trade Felix Hernandez, but Kevin Millwood, Chone Figgins, Jason Vargas and Brandon League could be dealt.
  • The Red Sox have focused on adding starting pitching. Some executives believe the Rangers will make a big play for the best starting pitchers available.
  • Meanwhile, the White Sox have been asking around about relievers.
  • Teams have called about Seth Smith, but the Athletics will keep him. However, Kurt Suzuki could be available and the A’s will listen to offers for Brandon McCarthy, Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour.
  • The Indians figure to pursue right-handed bats and Carlos Quentin could be an option in Cleveland, Olney writes.
  • The Blue Jays plan to assess their chances at the All-Star break, and some rival officials expect Toronto to sell.
  • The Orioles need pitching, but Olney doesn’t expect the team to make a major addition. Similarly, the Twins figure to seek pitching in any midseason trades they consider.
  • Here’s MLBTR’s recap of Olney’s look at the NL trade market.

91 Responses to Olney On Red Sox, Mariners, Smith, Rangers Leave a Reply

  1. mrsjohnmiltonrocks 3 years ago

    Where, may I ask, were the Indians when Youkilis hit the market?  If their owner is so limited with funds that he can’t take on one salary, well, why does he even own a team?

    The Indians don’t draw, so they can’t spend; they don’t spend, so there’s not too many special players to make you want to go to the park.  It’s like Groundhog Day!

    And then they make their big signing-Johnny Damon-another left handed bat to go with the 312 left handed bats they have in their system. 

    Youkilis would have been a great fit for them at 1b/DH/3rd-take your pick.

    • What are you crying about? The Indians handled the Orioles and now they are taking care of the Angels without Youk’s help. The Indians probable could use another SP, but other than that, aren’t they fine?

      • the indians seem to have that crap-the-pants mentality in divisional play that the white sox suffered through against minnesota over most of the past 5 or 6 years.  they play well outside the division but can’t beat the teams that have their players scouted. 

    • Tony Matias 3 years ago

       Now if you were talking about the Mariners, then I’d agree with you.

    • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

      I fail to see how Kevin Youkilis is going to draw fans to the park .

      • SuperSession 3 years ago

        Apparently you missed the highlights from yesterday’s White Sox-Rangers game. I make a point of seeing him play.  Someone who leaves it out on the field every game and is clutch.

        • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

          I have been a huge Youk fan for years now, I made no reference to his skill set or his commitment to his job, he just isn’t the type of player that will attract fans to a ballpark, there is very few players like that out there to begin with

          • SuperSession 3 years ago

            Hey, if guys like us show up to see a player of his style, that’s two more in the ballpark! Fans who are Saber-nerds and like old school grinders count in the gate, too… enjoy his resurgence!

    • melonis_rex 3 years ago

      where were a LOT of teams when Youk hit the market?

      Even ones that weren’t contending in 2012, since Youk’s got an option for 2013 and cost no top prospects/things almost every team’s got in AAA.

    • HARRISON ROSE 3 years ago

      Cleveland was most likely not willing to give up anything/make a payroll addition almost a month and a half before the trade dealine…especially for a guy who seemed to have nothing left. Where as if they waited to see how the market shapes up they could get a more dependable and better bat/player that could potentially be locked up. The 1st base/DH market is going to have plenty of available guys at potentially better values (2 Seasons of Soriano for 2-3 million?)

      • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 3 years ago

         If that’s what they’re doing, okay.  I just get frustrated watching them bring in the exact same type of players over and over again and expect different results.  The Central is a very winnable division, they play tough, but they need someone, preferably a couple players that can swing it from the right side.

        I don’t care how good Kotchman is defensively; you need more production from first base.  Youkilis could have helped there and Boston got virtually nothing for him.  Cleveland has marginal starters and utility infielders-they could have given Boston players like Gomez and Donald.

        I just would have liked to see them once try something different.

      • the chisox got youk for 2.5 million, a late-inning defensive replacement (lillibridge) and a pretty bad pitching prospect who has floundered at the MLB level at every opportunity (stewart).  i still have a hard time believing a team like the indians couldn’t trump that offer if they wanted to.

    • I feel the same way about the White Sox when the big markets get to add the best available, but the Sox have a bigger market than Cle & their owner does have $ if they can win but the Sox havent been drawing since tix are expensive. I know exactly how you feel though, Im from Chicago but would love to Cleveland contend again and eventually KC but that will never happen. 

      • lefty177 3 years ago

        KC will, just let their prospects get their feet wet then they’ll be there

  2. Beane would trade Smith but the cost would be a top prospect.  If Colon proves to be healthy in his next couple of starts somebody is going to trade for him.

  3. johnsilver 3 years ago

    More SP? So this deadline over pay is about to begin after they waste a roster space on Germano? Just let Morales start, move Matsuzaka to Pawtucket for good (or until he admits when he is injured or healthy) and go from there. Forget adding SP. Last year the team had a worse overall corps than this year and less of them.

    They have way too many BP pieces and need to concentrate on getting something, anything for a few of them before they end up just losing them for nothing, like Albers.

    • melonis_rex 3 years ago

      why was morales in the pen yesterday? he was nails though.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

        My thinking was so he gets a turn against the Yankees and to keep him sharp they had him throw just a little yesterday. NY is going to get at least Morales and Doubrant, hopefully lester also after beckett in the 4 game series.


        Man.. I can never recall Boston throwing 3 lefties in a series against an opponent and vaguely recall an opponent doing it long ago and it taking serious research to find it was long before that occurrence for it to have happened before then..

        3 lefties is a rarity for Fenway, but both NY and Boston are LH heavy. Not like the old RH mashers of the Sox 70’s past.

        • johnsmith4 3 years ago

          In 1973, Boston had Lefties Bill Lee, John Curtis, and Roger Moret in the starting rotation.  Good chance it happened that year.

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

             Ah yes.. Cheers for that and thanks.. Moret, the swing man might have gotten in a start in a series with Curtis and lee for sure..

            Hope we see a story written, or hear something on a broadcast during the series if the Sox have had 3 do it at Fenway before, but like you said.. Probably would have been that trio. Moret, the swing man for a couple of years would be the key.

          • johnsmith4 3 years ago

            OK, looked it up in Baseball-reference.  July 31, Aug 1 & 2 vs Yankees.  Bill Lee, John Curtis, and Roger Moret.

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

             Lot of work to do and appreciate your looking it up :-)

            Thanks again and you have the answer early that Nesn will probably be digging for over the weekend :-)

          • johnsmith4 3 years ago

            No problem.  It only took a minute to find.  It was easy to do when you know what you are trying to find.  However, it will be a lot of work if you have no idea on where to start.

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

             Nice always when someone here interested in olden Sox lore.

            Remember when Boston traded Moret for Tom House and thought Boston had made a really good deal. House *should* have been the guy out of the pen to nail it down at the end, but he never did anything really for them.

            Back then the Sox always traded away SP for hitters, relievers.. They just had little value. Like when they moved Aase for Remy.

            One of the few steals was when the stole Eckersley from Cleveland.

          • johnsmith4 3 years ago

            You must know, it was an effort to hold back mentioning Sparky Lyle for Danny Cater.  But, since you brought it up.

            On another topic.  Great outfielders.  Yaz, Conigliara, Reggie Smith, Dwight Evans, Fred Lynn, and Jim Rice.  I can’t think of another team in that era who cranked out the same number of outfielders.

            Edit – PS – BTW I do know how to spell Yastrzemski.

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

             HAHA The last trade between the Sox and Yanks.. What a deal for the Yanks and few of *us* remember it.

            That Yaz/Lynn/Evans OF was **The** best seen in the last 50 years and I challenge anyone to find a better.

            All GG, ALL tremendous hitters and ALL knew patience at the plate. SOLID all the way around. Rice moves to LF, Yaz to 1b and they were STILL tops last 50Y, just not as good with the glove. Something tremendous they had for sure there.

      • MaineSox 3 years ago

        I think that was the plan all along.  When he starts on Sunday against the Yankees it will have been 8 days since his last start, so I think they used him yesterday as kind of a between starts bullpen session.

    • MaineSox 3 years ago

      I hope it’s either depth that can be stashed in AAA, or a true top of the rotation pitcher (like Greinke), not a #2 (Hamels) or #3 (Garza) who will still cost top prospects to bring in (actually I really just hope that it’s depth because I don’t think adding even a top of the rotation pitcher makes enough sense right now to trade top prospects for).

    • Jim McGrath 3 years ago

      BenC. should not be thinking teams will be on his doorstep July 31 with prospects for BP pitchers. The sharks know he’s inexperienced and will wait til the last minute–BenC–people like Beane and AA and KW will eat your lunch when you have to start DFA’ing Albers, Hill, or Miller with no return.

      Move them now so you can eat their lunch 8/1. Get them before they get you.

      • MaineSox 3 years ago

        He might be in his first year as General Manager, but he’s been an assistant GM (and other things at the top of the front office) for years, he was with Boston before Theo even came along, and he was the interim GM when they pulled off the Beckett trade. He’s really not inexperienced.

        • Jim McGrath 3 years ago

          Thanks, I do know his Bio–his actions remind me of a first year, inexperienced GM. In my mind he’s more reactive than pro-active.
          In my mind he hasn’t been in control—he’s been controlled.
          He has a bullpen full of arms in addition to 6 starting pitchers.
          With a bench with 1 extra catcher, and two guys that can’t play, that should be on the DL, along with two subs both batting under the Mendoza Line.
          So have you seen JBJ play for the SeaDogs? Thoughts?

          • MaineSox 3 years ago

            I’ve been down once to see them since his promotion, so I haven’t seen a lot of him, but what I did see looked really, really good.  He didn’t have any hits the night I went down, but he had two walks (got down 0-2 at one point and worked a walk to load the bases, setting up a game tying 3 run double), and he hit one to the wall in right center field.

            The most impressive thing though was his defense; more than once a guy hit a ball that I had no doubt was an easy double, but he ended up standing there waiting for the ball, it was seriously unbelievable (he didn’t do anything that would end up on a highlight reel the night I was there, but only because he made it look so easy).  At one point he was shading a guy to pull (by several steps) and the batter shot a ball to into what would be the opposite field gap even without the outfield shifted, and he took of seemingly before contact was even made and caught the ball on a gliding trot.  I’ve seriously never seen anything like it; it’s like he knows where the ball is going from the very instant it impacts the bat.

          • Jim McGrath 3 years ago

            Thanks for the update on JBJ.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

         Try being rational for a change will you?

        • Jim McGrath 3 years ago

          Not sure who you are referring to Capt. MaineSox or MadMc44?

  4. withpower 3 years ago

    I’d like to be optimistic and say maybe Chone Figgins could help some team out, mostly because you wouldn’t really have to give up much to get him and also because he couldn’t possibly be any worse than he has been… right?

    478 plate appearances of .187/.243/.254 ball.  He’s got as many strikeouts so far this year as he did last year in a little over half the plate appearances.  Hard to believe he’s the same player.

  5. bigpat 3 years ago

    I’m sure teams would be beating down the door for Millwood, Figgins, Vargas and League. Maybe 3 years ago but not so much right now.


    • vtadave 3 years ago

      I’m sure a lot of teams would love to have Millwood or Vargas in the #4 or #5 rotation slot.

      • as a white sox fan i’d certainly be interested in millwood over the humber/axelrod combo at #5. assuming danks comes back healthy he’d be a great fit. if not, getting a 5th starter is almost a necessity to save such a young bullpen from breaking down come august/september.

  6. melonis_rex 3 years ago

    Smith is a good hitter controlled through 2014. There’s no reason for the A’s to trade him.

    also, the only player I can see the A’s trading at the deadline is Colon and maybe Crisp; both because the A’s have or will have logjams at those positions. McCarthy’s trade value is super low and Balfour has an option for 2013 and is a good anchor for the rookie/scrub pen.

    The A’s have a better run differential than Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Detroit and Cleveland, and a better record than Detroit, and this is with their 2 best starters and starting 3B on the DL, and a third SP (Colon) spending time there as well. They shouldn’t be buying but they shouldn’t be selling anything that’s not a FA after 2012.

    • corey23 3 years ago

       I feel the same.  Crisp has started playing better but there is no reason to keep him with the OF we have aside from him.  Still mad we paid him $7 a year and we could have had willingham for about the same or less.  I just want Taylor to figure it out.  Taylor Cespedes Reddick with Smith filling in to spell the other 3 would be nice. 

      • melonis_rex 3 years ago

        there’s plenty of reason to keep Crisp, and the signing made sense (even if the dollar value was overpay). he was signed before the A’s got Cespedes and before the a’s knew what they had with reddick (remember the “4th OF” tag that was applied to him?)

        also: considering how there are huge questions about cespy’s defense and health (he should spend a good chunk of his playing time at DH), keeping Crisp until the offseason makes sense. 

        the A’s also have a VERY pitch-to-contact staff. defense is huge.

        also: smith/gomes and cowgill are all better than taylor and its not even close. taylor has no place on the A’s and smith is a starting outfielder against RHP on almost every team in baseball.

        • johnsilver 3 years ago

           Agree 100% on keeping Crisp. He might have never been awarded a GG for playing CF, but there are fewer in the game who play if better.

          I have heard Fosse commenting on how Cespedes looks out of place in LF when he makes mistakes on reads. He needs to learn to play the position as long as the FAR better CF is on the team and only after Crisp is traded, or later leaves as a FA move back to CF.

          A good player, who is team 1st will learn to make adjustments for the better of the team.

          I was wanting Boston to sign Crisp back before the A’s went out and paid him all of that money, but Beane really wanted him badly. Just get him up to a .320-330 OBP and he will terrorize the bases and be worth his contract.

  7. Butterflyy89 3 years ago

    Buster why would the Orioles not make a Play for Matt Garza or Francisco L. From the Twinkies? I see no justification for them not making a deal. They need 1 more really good starter, they are in 2’d place in the east within striking distance and are holding a wildcard spot as of now. Anyone got any insight?

    • No to Garza. Plus, get Colon first and then maybe Liriano.
      At least that’s how I feel about it.

      • gloryjays 3 years ago

        Why not Garza? His era isnt that great this year, but he’s a guy that knows how to handle the al east.

      • gloryjays 3 years ago

        Why not Garza? His era isnt great this year, but he is proven against the al east.  Hoping the Jays snag him though.

  8. mwxiao 3 years ago

    Brandon McCarthy’s wife is hot. 

  9. I don’t understand this “no trade Felix” thing with the Mariners. They should at the very least listen on offers. He could bring in so much, that it’s foolish to not even consider it.

    • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

      Based on what Gio and Latos brought back their teams, a package for Felix would be scary good.

      • Exactly. The Cards should look in to him. Miller, Adams, Jenkins, and Cox for Felix and Furbush and a few million dollars.

        • hurley55 3 years ago

          I’m neither a Cardinal or Mariner fan and thats not even close to enough.

          • Two ace caliber prospects, a great hitting first baseman prospect, and a solid hitting 3rd/2nd baseman prospect isn’t enough? Id add Trevor Rosenthal, but then those five should be plenty.

          • nictonjr 3 years ago

            You may be throwing ‘ace caliber’ around too loosely.  Mariners have the #2 and #3 minor league SPs.  They need offense.  Keep the 2 ‘ace caliber’ SP. Oscar Tavares, Wong and Adams would be a good starting point for Hernandez.  Add accordingly for Furbush and however much cash you’d like them to add…

          • St louis would probably need to throw in Craig too.  Gio almost went to the Marlins but they said no about including Morrison in the deal.  I bet they wish they could do it over.  If KingF was on the trade market he would create a trade frenzy and the M’s would get over paid.

          • hurley55 3 years ago

            Miller’s velocity has been significantly down all year and his prospect stock is down, Jenkins is a nice prospect and has a huge ceiling but theres risk as a 19 year old in Low-A, Adams is a 23 year old all bat 1b prospect, and Cox has a .699 OPS in the PCL.  To me, theres way better offers M’s could take from teams over that.

          • Robb Logan 3 years ago

            The M’s seem content to let Smoak grow at 1b nix that as Smoak is young. Ackley at second is younger still and more highly prized. The M’s probably have the best pitching prospects a year out than any team right now. I am no Mariners fan but trading Felix right now is a silly notion. When you create a fan base with buzz you dont go killing it via trade. You exploit it to make $$$$ Bottom line is baseball is a business and right now King Felix is huge business in Seattle.

      • niched 3 years ago

        Except for the fact that Felix hasn’t truly been dominant since the 2010 season.  Teams would have given up at least 2 top franchise prospects for him back then but not anymore.

        • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

          I accept that fact, but he’s still easily better than latos and gonzalez, which was the point I made

        • notsureifsrs 3 years ago

          he is top 5 in the game in adjusted FIP, adjusted ERA, and SIERA over the last 4 seasons. your definition of dominance needs tweaking

          • niched 3 years ago

            Funny you say the “last 4 seasons” when I clearly stated “since the 2010 season”. Check out his 2011 and 2012 numbers on their own and get back to us.

          • notsureifsrs 3 years ago


            last 4 years

            76 FIP- 3.28 SIERA 70 ERA-

            2011 and 2012

            79 FIP- 3.22 SIERA 87 ERA-

    • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 3 years ago

       I understand it.  Do you notice the huge fan section with their K cards in the stands when he pitches in Mariners games?  SOMEONE still has to pitch the Mariners games whether they are in contention or not. 

      Any team that is going to have a steady stream of young starting pitchers cycle through the rotation would do well do have a youngish veteran as an anchor. 

      He is the best pitcher they have produced in a long time.  He’s a fan favorite and a source of pride for the organization.

      They should only trade him for an offer they can’t refuse.  The minute they trade him, they will be spending their time trying to find someone just like him. 

  10. I don’t understand this “no trade Felix” thing with the Mariners. They should at the very least listen on offers. He could bring in so much, that it’s wrong to not even consider it.

    • MaineSox 3 years ago

      I think part of it is that they could likely get just as much for him in the off season, so why not ride it out until then?

      • I would think that someone might overpay with the stress of the trade deadline and teams desperate to make a huge move to push them over the hump.

        • MaineSox 3 years ago

          Maybe, but there would be more teams involved in the off season, so those things probably even each other out. 

  11. The Mets should definitely go after Balfour 

    • They probably won’t because the prospect cost is lower in a K-Rod or Street trade. They’re in the last year of there deals. Balfour still has one left.

      • nictonjr 3 years ago

        Mets set the bar pretty high for deadline deals last year.  Are they going to be willing to pay the price this year????

        • I think they will… Sandy and Terry both said they’re gonna be contenders this year they’re gonna make a BIG pickup

      • I wouldn’t go after K-Rod… if you watched when he pitched in NY you would know…. it seems like he’s under a lot of pressure in the Big Apple, but Street should be a target and I didn’t know Balfour still had a year left in his contract. I’d really like to see Alderson really go after Street and Quentin tho… LGM!!!

  12. Red Sox should focus on adding starting HITTING. The pitching has, for the most part, simmered down. As for the bats….who ever heard of a Red Sox team that couldn’t HIT?

    • nictonjr 3 years ago

      They’ll be adding Crawford and Ellsbury in the next couple weeks.  That’s better than any trade they could make…

    • MaineSox 3 years ago

      The Red Sox have been one of the better offensive teams in the game without Ellsbury or Crawford, and with a slumping Pedroia and Gonzalez.  They don’t need bats, and they wouldn’t even have any place to play one if they wanted to add one anyway.

  13. The A’s should trade Brian Fuentes to the Marlins. Miami could use an upgrade of their closer. Yes, this is an insult.

  14. BigdogWenzloff 3 years ago

    Felix to Atl for Heyward, Terehan, Simmons/Patornicky. Starting point, might be undervaluing Heyward, but throw in another prospect or two and have the M’s throw in a Furbush type player. Thoughts?

  15. Lunchbox45 3 years ago


    seems just as fun

  16. Tony Matias 3 years ago

    I’d be thrilled if it were 2002 again for the M’s the way they’re going! The comment in general is what I was agreeing with. If you’d like to continue with the “youth movement” that the M’s have stuck with the last two years only to find themselves with a worse record than last year, then great. I, on the other hand, would rather see them go after a veteran or two to help protect these guys at the plate and to be positive mentors in the game. The only thing our veterans have shown the younger guys the last two years is how to avg .200 or less and go on the DL.

    The M’s as a team at home are hitting .194… so yes. Youk or anyone would have been better than nothing.

  17. O my gosh .194 what a joke. It’s somewhat interesting that when Z came in everyone lauded him as the best thing since sliced bread, yet his actual record has been mixed: Justin Smoak, Ackley, Montero, and Noesi have all been complete and total busts (to this point).  And some trades were pretty awful (Morrow, Carlos Silva). Not to mention his signing of Figgins.

  18. nictonjr 3 years ago

    There is nothing ‘good’ or ‘young’ about Tyler Greene.  He’s a 28 year old pinch runner at best…

  19. Robb Logan 3 years ago

    Carpenter plays the corner IF spots so he would be blocked in Seattle by Smoak and up and comers in Liddi and Seager so that move would not work. Yes they need a SS as well but Greene is basically Ryan 2.0 so no upgrade in that either.

  20. xcfan 3 years ago

    I don’t see Smoak as much of a block for anyone now.  He’s barely keeping himself above AAA.

  21. BigdogWenzloff 3 years ago

    But, if Atlanta thinks they can win now, then Felix gives them a guy who can shut down teams, combine him with Hanson, Beachy, and you got teams crapping themselves. I guess it would all depend on Atlanta’s stance on Heyward, cause I know they’re not gonna let Simmons and Terehan stop em from getting Felix

  22. Except Hanson and Beachy are nowhere to be found right now.

  23. Calling Ackley and Montero “busts” is extremely premature. Ackley did well in his first cup of tea last year, and seems to be in the process of making adjustments to pitches who have adjusted to him. Montero’s only been there for a few months. I’ve pretty much lost faith in Smoak, though. IIRC, Noesi was never expected to be much more than a 4 starter.

  24. MaineSox 3 years ago

    You obviously don’t understand the hype surrounding someone like Felix if you think teams actually need “desperation” in order to throw the farm away for him.

    Look at what teams got for recent pitchers who were dealt at the deadline compared to what teams have got in the off season.  Compare the Cliff Lee trade(s) or the Oswalt trade to the Garza or Marcum trades, they’re about equal value at best (compared to the relative talent of the pitchers involved the Rays and Jays got a lot more value in return than the Astros and the Indians/Mariners did).

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