East Notes: Price, Lester, Howard, Papelbon, Mets, Braves

All eyes were on Tampa, where David Price of the Rays and Jon Lester of the Red Sox are squared off in a match-up of top starting pitchers — and top potential trade pieces. And that includes many top scouts around the game, as several reports suggest. At least 17 clubs had eyes in the stands, tweets Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. That includes two each for the Royals, Giants, and Pirates. A scout from the Phillies was also on hand — according to a tweet from Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, he is the club’s top evaluator — though presumably not for the two starters. Other teams with “top evaluators” watching, presumably with a variety of possible motives, included the Braves, Orioles, Mariners, Cubs, and Nationals, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Of course, it remains to be seen whether either of the two lefties is shopped, but the ramifications of the decisions of their respective clubs will obviously be widespread.

Here’s more from the game’s eastern divisions:

  • In comments after the game, Lester said that he is “aware of what’s coming next week,” referring to the possibility of deals, reports Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com (via Twitter). If he does end up being shipped out, Lester said that he would still be open to re-signing with the team as a free agent.
  • The Red Sox-Lester situation remains a complicated one, as Rob Bradford of WEEI.com explains. Boston’s decision-makers have clearly put out the word through the press that the club wanted to re-start extension negotiations, but were told that was not Lester’s preference. Meanwhile, sources tell Bradford that Lester’s camp would be willing to talk if the Sox came in with a realistic starting point. The underlying tension appears to be the basis for the notion that the fading club could consider dealing its best arm. If that does not happen, Bradford suggests that the team may intend to pursue a strategy it has employed in the past: make a larger offer after evaluating things in the offseason that falls shy of other open-market bids, banking on the player desiring to continue playing in Boston.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. expanded on his comments regarding first baseman Ryan Howard, as Todd Zolecki of MLBcom reports on Twitter“I fully expect him to be our first baseman next year,” said Amaro.
  • Meanwhile, the Phillies have told teams that they are willing to hold on to some of the $18MM still owed to closer Jonathan Papelbon, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. While there is still some market for Papelbon, Heyman says it does not look strong. His $13MM vesting clause for 2016, in particular, is a looming threat that would seem to complicate any deal.
  • The Mets are not engaged in any “substantive talks” at present, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (via Twitter). Of course, as Rubin notes, that does not mean that chatter won’t pick up in the coming days.
  • There were two injury updates today for the Braves, both via Joe Morgan of MLB.com. Southpaw Jonny Venters is making progress and is expected to begin throwing bullpen sessions soon. It still seems that he is a ways off, however, and manager Fredi Gonzalez made clear that the club is not yet counting on a return this season. Meanwhile, starter Gavin Floyd is also moving forward in his recovery from a fracture in his elbow, but Gonzalez says he will not even be evaluated again for a month. Needless to say, Atlanta does not seem destined to receive a surprise, late-season comeback from Floyd, who will be a free agent after the season.


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38 Comments on "East Notes: Price, Lester, Howard, Papelbon, Mets, Braves"


Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
1 year 1 month ago

On Howard: “I fully expect him to be our first baseman next year,” said Amaro
Wait, what? Then why play Ruf this year then, if Howard is coming back?
I am so confused by all this.
Also, did the Braves really believe Floyd would be back this year?
Plus, if Jonathon R. Papelbon wants to be traded, he might have to renegotiate that contract of his with the new team.

Gersh
Gersh
1 year 1 month ago

I am confused on the Howard situation as well, as a Phillies fan i was happy about the rumor about potentially releasing him. Now that Amaro is saying hes going to be our starting first baseman next year is sad.

Jeff Miller
1 year 1 month ago

About the only thing to negotiate on that deal is perhaps removing the vesting option or making it harder to reach. Instead of 55 GF in 2015 or 100 GF over 2014-’15 maybe make it 60/120. Maybe they could change it to a mutual option at $13M with a $5M buyout. I don’t think they’d be able to renegotiate what’s guaranteed.

Robert Tyson
1 year 1 month ago

Ruf is not an everyday Major League player. I’m not defending Howard’s play as of late, but Darin Ruf is certainly not the answer.

sflomenb
1 year 1 month ago

How can you say that? What chance has he had to prove himself?

Robert Tyson
1 year 1 month ago

Have you watched him play? He’s a great guy and a good bench piece/occasional starter, but if he’s the starting 1B we are in for a world of hurt. The next logical guy take over for Howard is Franco.

sflomenb
1 year 1 month ago

He’s hardly played. Give him a chance. Even if he does struggle, if rather watch him struggle than Howard.

Phillyfan425
1 year 1 month ago

RAJ seems to be looking at everything (contracts and long term future – well, not long term, but longer than the next game ahead). Sandberg is looking at each game and trying to win each one. That’s the problem right now. Same reason that Sandberg starts Grady Sizemore every night in LF or CF instead of running out Revere and Brown. Grady won’t help the team next year (no matter what). Revere and Brown could – but you have to see what you actually have in them and if there is a chance for them to improve, it’s by playing.

Robert Tyson
1 year 1 month ago

Sizemore will be here next year. He has more value than Revere (but I agree with you on Brown).

Aircool
1 year 1 month ago

The way I see it… He fully expects him to be the First Baseman next year because he knows there is no way that contract gets traded…. Unfortunately for Amaro that doesn’t mean he isn’t trying to trade it… meaning the rumours shall CONTINUE!!!! GO FORTH RUMOURS AND SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE!!! Mwahahahahahahaha…. I’m in a really silly mood right now…. Can you tell?

Austin
1 year 1 month ago

Venters will be back this year, no doubt.

chicothekid
1 year 1 month ago

As a Mets fan, that’s more than a little discouraging. Abreu, Dice K and Colon should all be in different uniforms by next week.

Brian Hudson
1 year 1 month ago

I def think Colon will…I know the Cardinals need a starting pitcher and I can’t see Tampa trading Price now…Colon would be a solid back of rotation guy

OriginalHitman
1 year 1 month ago

I got a bad feeling about Dice K with news about his elbow.

Danny Colston
1 year 1 month ago

Braves need so much help it isn’t funny. Still think there are some chemistry / philosophy issues with this team.

$115822473
1 year 1 month ago

I couldn’t agree more!!! The Braves games are dreadful to watch this last couple games have been for me anyway.

bucs_lose_again
1 year 1 month ago

Nick Kingham, Harold Ramirez, and Reese McGuire for David Price.

I’m terrible at this, but what are other’s thoughts?

Brady
1 year 1 month ago

more like Tailon, Glasnow, Bell, McGuire

bucs_lose_again
1 year 1 month ago

Maybe if it were for three years of Price. Not 1.5. I’m willing to admit my offer was light on the Pirates side, but yours is insanity.

Brady
1 year 1 month ago

Speculation of Glasnow, Bell, Meadows for Lester, Miller, Drew, Cash

Chris Vinnit
1 year 1 month ago

Three rentals and a lefty reliever for their top pitching prospect and top hitting prospect? If Huntington does that he should be run out of town. That’s beyond crazy. I’m all for them going for a big splash trade but that deal makes absolutely zero sense.

Chris Vinnit
1 year 1 month ago

Rays got the top prospect in baseball and two B+ pitchers from KC for Shields so Brady’s post isn’t that unrealistic. I’m pretty sure Rays would insist on Glasnow. So Glasnow and Kingham or Glasnow and Taillon (depending on how they felt about his TJ surgery) makes sense. And then probably one of our top 10 OFers (Bell, Meadows or Ramirez).
That sounds steep but realistically, we get 1.5 years of Price, one of the top 5 pitchers in baseball. And Bucs would still have 2 decent pitching prospects (Heredia and either Kingham or Taillon) and several toolsy OFers in the system.

SinHalo27
1 year 1 month ago

The Rays are still in striking distance!

Chris Vinnit
1 year 1 month ago

I wonder who the Pirates are scouting. I’d love to think they’d make a run at Price but I really don’t see them doing that. Lester maybe? I guess he might not be stretch run rental if the price isn’t too bad. I certainly wouldn’t give up a top 5 guy for him though.

1 year 1 month ago

possibly one of Boston’s RPs? Miller or Badenhop?

Derpy
1 year 1 month ago

The Phillies need to bite the bullet and dump Howard. They should have never extended him, this was a mistake, and they need to just get rid of him. He hasn’t played well since 2009 and he isn’t going to turn it around now.

Steve Corbett
1 year 1 month ago

The Lester thing baffles me. He publicly said he would take less from Boston. They made an offer which was, by his standards, low. It wasn’t etched in stone, though. Then Lester said he didn’t want to negotiate during the season. Now he says he does. Offer him 5/105 tops. Don’t like it? See ya.

Karl Larson
1 year 1 month ago

Funny that Amaro says this. If I were the owner of the Phillies, I would tell him not to “expect” to have anything next year, including his job.

bobbleheadguru
1 year 1 month ago

Regarding Red Sox strategy with Lester: “..make a larger offer after evaluating things in the offseason that falls shy of other open-market bids, banking on the player desiring to continue playing in Boston.”

My question is WHY?

Detroit gave fair market (really over market) offers to Cabrera, Scherzer, Sanchez and Verlander in recent years.

Why does Boston think it can get away with a “home town discount” at the same time they sell grandstand tickets with less leg room than a Spirit Air flight directly behind a pole for $70? Boston is not Tampa or Minnesota. They print money in Fenway.

MaineSox
1 year 1 month ago

Because if Lester walks they have players who can step in and fill the hole; certain other teams (particularly Detroit) haven’t really had that so they have to sign players to big contracts to compete.

bobbleheadguru
1 year 1 month ago

Good luck replacing Lester’s almost historic dominance in the Post Season.

As a Tigers fan, I hope you are right, because then the Tigers will have their choice of Lester or Scherzer as a free agent next year.

bobbleheadguru
1 year 1 month ago

Good luck replacing Lester’s almost historic dominance in the Post Season.

As a Tigers fan, I hope you are right, because then the Tigers will have their choice of Lester or Scherzer as a free agent next year.

Mike Boyer
1 year 1 month ago

Why don’t the Red Sox pull Lester aside say agree to this trade and at end of season we will resign you and bring you back, agree to an amount both can live with and Boston gets some more top talent in the trade and then resigns Lester so whomever trades for him gives up some decent talent with the hope that they can sign him but what they don’t know is Lester is going back to Sox at end of season. gentlemens agreement and it betters your ball club for next year. Collusion right? But I’m surprised more teams don’t try this behind closed doors lol

stl_cards16
1 year 1 month ago

So what if Lester tears his UCL in the next 2 months?

bobbleheadguru
1 year 1 month ago

Collusion between players and teams for future is not legal.

No doubt “the deal” would leak and the Red Sox would be in big trouble.