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Cafardo on Tanaka, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Phillies

Through a quarter of the season, the Indians have emerged as last offseason's biggest winners, while the Blue Jays rank as the biggest losers, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Other teams (such as the Yankees, Red Sox, Braves, and Royals) received "thumbs up", but the Indians' additions of Mark ReynoldsJason GiambiMichael BournNick Swisher, Rich HillYan Gomes and Mike Aviles have been enough for the club to stay on top of both Cafardo's list and the AL Central.  Here's more from today's column..

  • The Red Sox are one of a few teams closely watching Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. The RangersYankees, and A’s also appear to have some level of interest in the 24-year-old phenom, who pitches for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.
  • Cafardo speculates that Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion may become available at the trade deadline if the Blue Jays fall out of contention.  The two sluggers would be very highly sought after in his opinion.
  • The Red Sox will face a difficult decision on free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia this offseason. "He’ll get signed somewhere because of his power,” according to a scout. “He’s improved defensively, but by how much? At this point, is he what he is?
  • One National League GM believes a Jonathan Papelbon-Red Sox reunion is "not far-fetched." Cafardo notes that the Phillies may be unwilling to part with Papelbon, who is off to an impressive start.
  • The Phillies meanwhile will have a tough call on second baseman Chase Utley, who may be dealt before he even reaches free agency. While the Phillies have stated their desire to compete, and not dismantle their roster, they could have some major trade chips in Utley, Cliff Lee, and Michael Young.

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