July 2013

Red Sox Close To Acquiring Jake Peavy

Jake Peavy was scheduled to start for the White Sox in Cleveland tonight at 6:05pm central time, but the Sox will instead make history by promoting the Majors' first Brazilian native pitcher, Andre Rienzo, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.  Meanwhile,  GM Rick Hahn will be entertaining offers for Peavy, according to Gonzales.  Gonzales notes that even if Peavy is not traded, the Sox will "get a chance to evaluate Rienzo on the major league stage."  Peavy is definitely not starting for the White Sox tonight, confirms Scott Miller of CBS Sports.  The latest:

Earlier Updates

  • The Diamondbacks don't necessarily have to unload multiple contracts to fit Peavy into the payroll, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. However, they're still looking at moving Ian Kennedy, who could draw interest from the Angels, given the fact that Angels GM Jerry Dipoto is a former D'Backs executive.
  • Despite interest from the Red Sox, A's, D'Backs, and Cardinals, the sense is the White Sox are coming down on their asking price for Peavy, tweets Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.
  • Arizona would be a comfortable destination for Peavy, the righty told reporters including Mark Gonzales today.
  • If the A's are to make a deal for Peavy, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle sees outfielder Michael Choice as the potential centerpiece.  Otherwise, they could add a reliever.  GM Billy Beane says this is the "lowest trade inventory I've seen in years."
  • The D'Backs have emerged as the front runner for Peavy, tweets Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.
  • The Diamondbacks could make a deal for Peavy if they get a cash adjustment, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, who notes the strong history with Peavy and GM Kevin Towers.
  • The D'Backs may kick the tires again on Peavy, hears Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The White Sox are now listing Peavy for tomorrow's start against the Indians, for what it's worth.
  • The price for Peavy remains a top 50 prospect in a three or four-player package, hears Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Sherman does believe Peavy will be traded, ranking the most likely landing spots as the Cardinals, Red Sox, and A's.
  • There are no current discussions between the Cardinals and White Sox on Peavy, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  And the D'Backs say they no longer have interest in Peavy with Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Cahill soon returning, adds Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
  • Yesterday, we heard the White Sox were trying to move Peavy prior to tonight's start.  However, the market for the righty's services became muddled as the Athletics seemingly moved on and the Sox started telling teams they plan to keep Peavy.  Their decision not to start him tonight seems to indicate otherwise.

Cubs Notes: Schierholtz, Russell, Gregg, Villanueva

The Cubs have plenty of trade chips remaining, but time is running out to deal them as tomorrow's 4pm ET deadline looms. Here's the latest…

  • The Pirates remain interested in Nate Schierholtz, writes Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. Concerns surrounding his shoulder cause the Bucs to switch gears to Alex Rios a few weeks back, but Schierholtz has demonstrated his health with strong play of late. Earlier today, Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted that Schierholtz is likely to be traded.
  • Levine also reports that James Russell was nearly acquired by the Braves last week, and he's now drawing interest from the Reds. The Braves have since acquired Scott Downs to fill the left-handed void in their bullpen.  Russell had a rough outing in the first game of today's doubleheader, allowing a three-run home run to Khris Davis plus two other hits and a free pass.
  • Schierholtz and Kevin Gregg are the two Cubs most likely to be dealt prior to tomorrow's deadline, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Time reports. The Pirates and Tigers are scouting the Cubs' series with the Brewers, with the Bucs looking for outfield help and the Tigers on the hunt for bullpen help.
  • The Blue Jays have also been scouting the Cubs for the past week, according to Wittenmyer, but that's likely because they're looking to add pieces for 2014.
  • Wittenmyer adds that Carlos Villanueva isn't likely to be traded, as the Cubs value his versatility and cheap contract as they look to shuffle the roster again in 2014.

The Latest On Alex Rios

9:05pm: The White Sox announced that Rios has a contusion on his left foot and will receive cautionary x-rays, but the injury doesn't sound to be serious.

8:19pm: Rios left tonight's game after fouling a ball off his foot. He received medical attention and was able to walk off the field slowly under his own power.

6:16pm: ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Yankees aren't interested in Rios having already acquired Alfonso Soriano with Curtis Granderson on the mend.

6:11pm: The Pirates' interest in Rios is losing steam, tweets MLB.com's Scott Merkin.

3:27pm: The Yankees have renewed interest in Rios, tweets MLB.com's Scott Merkin, though he'd have to approve a trade.  On Friday, Rios bristled at the suggestion he'd rejected potential a deal to the Yanks.

1:54pm: A deal with the Pirates is not close at this time, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review hears the same.

12:25pm: It sounds like the White Sox and Pirates are getting close on a deal for right fielder Alex Rios, tweets David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com.  He notes that the cash is being worked on, and he's not sure if the two clubs can find middle ground.  Rios will be owed over $18MM through 2014 if traded.  If the White Sox cover a substantial part of that, Rios could be coming to the Pirates, tweets MLB.com's Tom Singer.

Cardinals Interested In Erick Aybar

7:59pm: The Angels appear to be seeking top pitching prospects in return for Aybar, but the Cardinals have no interest whatsoever in including Michael Wacha or Carlos Martinez in a possible deal, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio (Twitter links).

6:27pm: After their interest in Alexei Ramirez and Jimmy Rollins failed to produce anything meaningful, the Cardinals have reached out to the Angels regarding Erick Aybar, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.

The Cardinals have deployed Pete Kozma as their primary shortstop in 2013, and while he's provided solid defense, Kozma is batting just .241/.283/.301 through 339 plate appearances. Aybar, on the other hand, is hitting .283/.320/.410 dating back to the beginning of the 2011 season. He signed a four-year, $35MM extension prior to the 2012 season that took effect beginning this season. As such, he's under contract through 2016 at $8.5MM per season.

Knobler points out that the Cardinals are rich in pitching prospects that would be of interest to the Angels, though to this point, St. Louis GM John Mozeliak has been highly reluctant to deal from that surplus.

White Sox, D’Backs, Angels Discussing Three-Team Trade

The White Sox, Angels and Diamondbacks are discussing a three-team trade that would send Jake Peavy to Arizona and Ian Kennedy to Anaheim, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). The Diamondbacks reportedly emerged as the front-runners for Peavy earlier today, and the Angels have been connected to Kennedy as well. Crasnick notes that it's not clear what Chicago would receive in the trade at this time.

Peavy is earning $14.5MM in 2013 and 2014, while Kennedy has about $1.4MM remaining on this year's $4.27MM salary and is controllable through 2015 via arbitration. The D'Backs have been prioritizing pitching help, reportedly kicking the tires on Bud Norris in addition to Peavy. The Angels, meanwhile, view Kennedy as a buy-low candidate that they can control for multiple years, according to reports from earlier today. The White Sox scratched Peavy from his scheduled start tonight earlier today in order to eliminate the risk of an injury that would take a trade off the table.

Yankees, Angels Have Discussed Alberto Callaspo

6:09pm: The Yankees have indeed called about Callaspo, but they think of him merely as one option at third base, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post, who adds that the Yankees don't currently have Callaspo on the front burner.

5:47pm: The Yankees have contacted the Angels about third baseman Alberto Callaspo, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Knobler's colleague, Jon Heyman, tweeted earlier today that Callaspo figures to be available as well. Knobler adds that the Angels "have made nearly everyone available" in trades.

Knobler reports that multiple teams have expressed interest in Callaspo, who is hitting .253/.323/.348 with five homers. The switch-hitting 30-year-old is earning $4.1MM in 2013 and is guaranteed a $4.875MM salary in 2014, after which he will be eligible for free agency for the first time.

Yankees third basemen are hitting just .215/.275/.285 this season, and while the Yankees will theoretically have Alex Rodriguez rejoining the team soon, the looming Biogenesis suspensions could take him out of action for the 2013 season and possibly 2014 as well.

Angels, Padres Eyeing Ian Kennedy

5:53pm: Arizona's main motivation in moving Kennedy would be to free up some cash to accommodate Jake Peavy's contract, writes Danny Knobler of CBS Sports (which meshes with reports from earlier today). Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona was told by an Angels source that there's no match for Kennedy a few days ago, though he notes how quickly that line of thinking can change (Twitter link).

MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez spoke with a scout from an NL West team who said that Kennedy's stuff is still good. The Halos like Kennedy as a buy-low candidate, according to Gonzalez.

It seems odd that the Diamondbacks would be motivated to move Kennedy's remaining $1.4MM, though they could be focusing more on ways to fit Peavy's 2014 salary into the payroll. Despite his poor season, Kennedy would earn a raise on his $4.27MM salary next year, so clearing him from the books would be a more significant benefit in that sense. Arizona is also reportedly shopping Jason Kubel, who is owed roughly $2.7MM for the remainder of the season.

4:49pm: Earlier today, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports wrote that the Angels could be interested in landing D'Backs right-hander Ian Kennedy, as Halos GM Jerry Dipoto is a former Diamondbacks executive who is very familiar with Kennedy. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports now tweets that the Angels are "hopeful" of landing Kennedy, whom the D'Backs have been shopping recently. Steve Gilbert of MLB.com adds that the Padres are also interested in Kennedy (Twitter link), and Buster Olney of ESPN lists the Cubs as a potential landing place as well (on Twitter).

Kennedy, 28, is a buy-low candidate in the midst of his worst full season at the Major League level. Through 119 innings for the D'Backs, he has a 5.22 ERA with 7.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and a 36.2 percent ground-ball rate. Each of those represents the worst full-season mark of Kennedy's career. Kennedy is owed roughly $1.4MM over the remainder of the season and can be controlled through 2015 as an arbitration-eligible player.

Indians Designate Joe Martinez For Assignment

The Indians have designated right-hander Joe Martinez for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for the recently acquired Marc Rzepczynski, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian (on Twitter).

The 30-year-old Martinez allowed one run in five innings of work across two relief appearances for the Tribe this season. In 55 2/3 Major League innings between the Giants, Pirates, D'Backs and Indians, Martinez has a 5.82 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9. Martinez was one of two players the Giants sent to the Pirates in exchange for Javier Lopez at the 2010 trade deadline.

Young Would Consider Trade To Red Sox

The latest on Phillies third baseman Michael Young, who is in tonight's lineup against the Giants…

  • Young has told the Phillies that he will consider trades to other clubs if he isn't dealt to Texas, and the Red Sox are his second choice, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark (on Twitter). Stark adds that if a trade with Boston doesn't work, the Yankees would be a last-minute possibility.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Young isn't flat-out rejecting trades to other markets, he's simply trying to steer trade discussions to his preferred destinations one-by-one.
  • Young told reporters, including MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, that no trade is imminent and he's not certain if he will be a Phillie in 24 hours (Twitter links).

Earlier Updates

  • Asche's call-up does "not necessarily" mean Young will be traded, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said on MLB Network today.  Amaro described the chance of Young changing teams by the deadline as "pretty remote."
  • There are executives who believe Young would approve a trade to the Red Sox if a deal is made, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
  • Young will only approve a trade back to the Rangers, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  In contrast, Scott Miller of CBS Sports says Red Sox people believe Young would approve a trade there.  The Phillies checked in with Young over the weekend about the Rangers and Red Sox.  You have to wonder if the Asche promotion is designed to force Young into accepting a deal, asMatt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer says the rookie is up to stay and Young would likely be pushed into a bench role.
  • If Young is being traded, Yankees people say it's not to them, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
  • The Phillies plan on calling up third baseman Cody Asche, tweets Yahoo's Jeff Passan.  That points to Young being traded today, he adds.  Asche, 23, is hitting .295/.352/.485 in 446 Triple-A plate appearances.  Asche "should hit enough to have a regular big league role," wrote Baseball America before the season.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.

Lance Berkman Could Miss Season; Has Considered Retirement

TUESDAY: Berkman told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that he needs to make a decision on his future soon. Berkman is taking batting practice today and tomorrow but recognizes that if he can't be headed toward a rehab assignment soon, he may have to call it a season. Jeff Wilson of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram also spoke with Berkman, who told him that he jogged a short while ago and it was "not good, to be honest."

THURSDAY: The Rangers are already in the market for a hitter with eyes on Alex Rios, Hunter Pence and Kendrys Morales, but they may need more help than they originally thought. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that injured designated hitter Lance Berkman has considered shutting himself down for the rest of the season and possibly even retiring due to concerns over his surgically repaired right knee.

Berkman, 37, is currently on the disabled list with hip inflammation, but Grant reports that an inability to extend the right knee on which he has twice had surgery has been bothering him longer than his hip. Grant spoke to Berkman directly:

“I’ve definitely thought about it,” Berkman said of shutting down for the remainder of the season. “But I haven’t reached any final decisions on it. Hopefully I’ll do the best that I can and help the team. It could also depend on what the team’s needs are. This is an uncertain time of the year for everybody.”

Berkman was eligible to come of the disabled list on Monday but just began running on Wednesday, Grant reports. If he does sit out the remainder of the season, the two sides could work out an agreement in which Texas would only pay him a portion of the remaining $4.5MM on his contract in order to provide more payroll flexibility in trades.

Berkman signed with the Rangers this offseason on a one-year, $10MM contract that contains a $13MM vesting option for 2014. The option vests at 550 plate appearances, which Berkman will now surely not reach. In 282 trips to the plate this season, he's batted .254/.355/.377 with six homers. Injuries have limited him to just 100 games since the start of the 2012 season.

The Rangers, of course, have another veteran DH candidate in the organization after signing Manny Ramirez to a minor league deal earlier this month. Ramirez hit well overseas in Taiwain with the EDR Rhinos for the early portion of the season, but his bat has cooled after a hot start in Triple-A Round Rock. He's hitting .250/.323/.411 with three homers through 62 plate appearances entering play today.