AL East Notes: Blue Jays, Schoop, Gray

The recent struggles of Yankees starters C.C. Sabathia (age 33) and Hiroki Kuroda (age 39) weigh on the minds of Red Sox management in regards to a possible Jon Lester extension, Peter Gammons tweets.  While the Sox are surely interested in keeping Lester in the fold through 2018, anything beyond that could be problematic given the history of guaranteeing big money to aging pitchers.  Lester would be 35 on Opening Day 2019, which could be why Boston’s most recent offer to the southpaw was a four-year extension.

  • The Blue Jays could make up their 2.5-game deficit in the AL East by making four changes, Paul Swydan writes in an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com.  One of those moves would be an upgrade at second base, and Swydan suggests that Rickie Weeks, Luis Valbuena, Emilio Bonifacio and Danny Espinosa could all be logical trade targets.
  • Chuck LaMar, former Rays GM and current Blue Jays special assistant of amateur scouting, recently scouted high schooler Alex Verdugo, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports.  Verdugo, recently ranked as the 41st-best draft prospect by Baseball America, is both a left-handed pitcher and an outfielder “who prefers to hit anyway,” according to BA’s John Manuel.  Toronto has the ninth and eleventh overall picks in the 2014 draft, as well as the 50th overall selection.
  • Jonathan Schoop is only hitting .231/.278/.374 in 97 PA this season, but MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski believes the Orioles‘ star prospect deserves more time as a Major League regular.
  • The Athletics drafted Sonny Gray one pick ahead of the Red Sox in 2011, and WEEI.com’s Alex Speier notes that the Sox heavily evaluated the righty in the months leading up to the draft.  While Gray has already enjoyed Major League stardom, Boston still has to be pretty satisfied with its actual pick at #19 overall, as Matt Barnes is a well-regarded right-hander pitching at Triple-A this season and possibly in line for a late-season promotion to the bigs.

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