In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at the impact that hitting coach Kevin Seitzer has had on the Blue Jays thus far in 2014. Toronto used to be a swing-for-the-fences team, but even guys like Jose Bautista are hitting to all fields. With a new, more patient approach at the plate, Toronto is leading the league in runs, homers, and extra base hits. Here’s more from today’s column..
- A Marlins official told Cafardo there’s no reason they won’t add a player through a trade. The National League East seems wide open, and they believe that they can find their way to the playoffs, even without the services of Jose Fernandez. Miami has lots of pieces to offer, so they shouldn’t have trouble finding a match over the next couple of months.
- Phillies veteran A.J. Burnett is some contending teams are looking at, but as one AL scout tells Cafardo, “if he doesn’t pitch better he’ll be another guy the Phillies are stuck with. When he’s the A.J. we saw earlier in the year or last year, he’s a guy you want out there in a tough situation. Right now, you wouldn’t touch him.” In his last six starts he has a 7.25 ERA, after posting a 2.06 ERA in his first seven.
- The Rays will have to get at least three top players for left-hander David Price and if they don’t get that offer this summer, they’ll probably pull back and wait until the offseason. Price, of course, still has great stuff, but his velocity is down, which is always a red flag. There’s also no guarantee that he’ll re-sign with the team that trades for him, which could keep the Rays from getting the haul they want.
- Rockies veteran Michael Cuddyer didn’t appear to be one of the possibly available outfielders at the deadline a month ago, but he could be if Colorado’s slide continues. The 35-year-old is a great clubhouse presence and would draw trade interest along with Drew Stubbs. Cafardo mentions the Red Sox as a club that could have interest in Stubbs as they seek an outfielder with power.
- The Yankees, Rangers, Angels, Mariners, and Tigers (if they lose Max Scherzer) are among the teams who will line up if Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester hits the open market. On their end, Boston must decide whether to go beyond a fifth year because the other teams surely will.
- The A’s nearly traded right-hander Jim Johnson to the Marlins last week, so, they’re clearly willing to move him. Cafardo mentions the Orioles, Yankees, and Tigers as clubs that could have interest, but his rocky start and onerous contract make him a gamble.