Gammons On Zobrist, Uehara, Miller, Lester

Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons appeared on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Show (audio link) to discuss a host of Red Sox topics earlier today, and in doing so he touched on quite a few Red Sox issues, as well as some issues pertaining to other teams around the AL. Here are some highlights from the interview, and readers can check out full quotes from Gammons in the transcription provided by WEEI’s Ryan Conor

  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington is torn as to whether or not he should buy or sell at this year’s trade deadline. He’s had scouts looking at top prospects around the league, but the upcoming road trip will do a lot to determine their course of action. Gammons notes that he may even have to consider dealing Jon Lester if the team truly isn’t going to work out a new deal with him.
  • The Rays’ recent surge in the standings has them holding off on selling pieces, Mariners sources told Gammons. Seattle thought they were closing in on a deal for Ben Zobrist, but they’ve since been told that the Rays plan to wait until the final 48 hours prior to the deadline before determining a course of action.
  • One GM who contacted the Red Sox about Koji Uehara told Gammons that Cherington seems disinclined to even discuss the possibility of trading his closer. The Sox want to bring Uehara back in 2015 and have him close.
  • Uehara hasn’t even been generating the most interest, Gammons hears. That distinction goes to Andrew Miller, who has “by far” been the subject of the most inquiries in Boston’s bullpen.
  • Gammons hears that Lester told teammates that he’d have signed in Spring Training if the team had offered even one dollar more than Homer Bailey‘s six-year, $105MM contract. The Red Sox maintain that their four-year, $70MM offer was merely a starting point, not a final offer, as they didn’t want to start at $110MM and end up in “Max Scherzer” territory (referring to the six-year, $144MM which Scherzer rejected).
  • That Scherzer offer, however, may be what Lester ultimately secures as a free agent, Gammons said. Two general managers have told Gammons that they expect Lester to sign for at least that much on the open market. “There’s a lot of money out there,” said one GM.
  • Gammons can see the Sox pursuing James Shields on the free agent market, but he notes that it’s more important for the team to cast a wide net rather than have just one contingency plan for Lester. He lists Cole Hamels as another alternative, though he points out how difficult it would be to acquire Hamels, as Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr. would need to hit a home run on the deal after failing to acquire useful pieces from the Cliff Lee-to-Seattle deal and some other missteps.
  • Gammons feels that Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart, Mookie Betts, Rubby De La Rosa and Henry Owens are probably all untouchable in trades at this point.


35 Responses to Gammons On Zobrist, Uehara, Miller, Lester Leave a Reply

  1. CT Yank 12 months ago

    How can someone who writes about baseball make the mistake of saying that Gammons is in the Hall of Fame? Spink and Frick Award winners are NOT in the Hall of Fame. Only one sportswriter is in the HOF, Henry Chadwick.

    • basemonkey 12 months ago

      I noticed that too. Yes, ultimately it’s just semantics? But then again, Isn’t it like mistaking a silver slugger award for the Triple Crown? They’re both high honors in a similar area, but they mean different things, and one is uncommonly rare and more special.

  2. dc21892 12 months ago

    I see Boston making a real charge this second half. They’re getting healthy and some of these young guys are settling in a little. I think they need to add a proven player on the offensive side, but it might cost a lot.

    • stl_cards16 12 months ago

      I agree. Even if they don’t make a run to the playoffs, is there anyone they are going to trade that will bring back a big enough return to make it worth not taking the chance to make the playoffs? Lester is the only one and I just can’t see that happening. I see the Red Sox standing pat, maybe trade Peavy since they have options in-house to easily replace him.

      • dc21892 12 months ago

        I would welcome a Peavy trade. They have more than enough arms that are performing better than him too. If they could get anything for him at all it would be a positive.

    • basemonkey 12 months ago

      I’m not saying you’re wrong. I’d love to see them make a big push. I believe every self-respecting team has a hot streak or two in them per season.

      That said, strictly mathematically speaking, they’ve got 63 games left. So that means to make a strong run, they need to start winning at a .650-.700 pace. Or, phrased another way, they need to win 3-4 games for every 5 they play. It’s not crazy, but they gotta get it going now.

      • dc21892 12 months ago

        Well I know it’s not a big sample size, but they got a nice little streak going right now. Beating Toronto helped their cause. They don’t necessarily have to play at that high a clip in this jam packed division. No one is really pulling away.

        • basemonkey 12 months ago

          Well, I figured that into my math already.

          If there were a .600+ team in 1st place at the top of the division, it would be all but officially over. The fact that there isn’t one helps their cause. That said, to reach about 88 wins–a low number to take any division–it would need a .650 clip from here on out. It’s not crazy, in the sense that, if they are a 1st place caliber team (which a .650 clip represents), they just need to start playing like one now.

          The wild card is highly unlikely coming out of the East, so it’s 1st or nothing this year. Not to take away from it, beating Toronto isn’t really a test since they’re looking like they’re about to collapse. That said, beating teams that are down are what winning clubs do. So good for the Sox!

  3. bryce1344 12 months ago

    If those players mentioned by Gammons are truly untouchable then that pretty much rules out a Hamels or Stanton trade.

    • Christopher Velez 12 months ago

      Re: Hamels, at least, unless the Red Sox are willing to offer a disproportionately large yield of MLB-ready young talent that can be packaged as a buy low opportunity, you’re right. Something like Jackie Bradley Jr., Garin Cecchini, Allen Webster, and either Brandon Workman or Matt Barnes.

      While pretty much all of them are having question-mark years, that’s a lot of talent and a lot of high floors for a team in desperate need of both attainable upside and depth in the upper minors. I doubt Cherington makes that kind of offer, though, as it means writing off a bunch of 24 year-olds with ~400 MLB PA and ~130 MLB IP between them all.

      • bryce1344 12 months ago

        Marlins have good young outfielders, they would want Betts and one of the catchers at least in a deal. Phils GM needs some sure bets in any Hamels deal in order to sell it to the fans. That would be Betts and De La Rosa.

      • flyerzfan12 12 months ago

        And any GM would be nuts to trade a top talent like Hamels in a deal for a bunch of “buy low” guys as you put them. They’re nice to include in the package but you need one higher piece.

        • Christopher Velez 12 months ago

          JBJ, Cecchini, Webster, and Barnes were all consensus Top 100 prospects coming into 2014. As said, they’ve all had question mark seasons: JBJ’s on-going offensive issues; whether Cecchini’s power will play against advanced pitching; Barnes’s control taking a step back (due to being banged up); and Webster’s performing adequately but the command remains a concern. But, even in spite of all of that, JBJ’s been good for 1.5 bWAR with a 72 OPS+, Cecchini’s on-base continue to play, and Webster and Barnes are presently back-end starters (with a fair bit of upside on top of that).

          It’s a “buy low” package in the sense that all of their prospect/young talent stocks have taken a hit due to various concerns, but the sample sizes are insufficient to greatly revise them in a downward direction. Is there risk? Absolutely. But it’s of a very different sort than was taken with Tyson Gillies, Philippe Aumont, and J.C. Ramirez. And it makes for more interesting discussions than a never-ending chorus of “Cole Hamels should only be traded for two studs who can be slotted into the lineup/rotation tomorrow and be above-average contributors”.

          • stl_cards16 12 months ago

            Cecchini hasn’t had power against lower level pitching. He has to be an OBP machine to provide value.

          • Christopher Velez 12 months ago

            Prior to landing in AA, which is the traditional boundary between the “low” and “high” minors, Cecchini graded out with above-averaged present power and logged the following ISOs:

            A-: .202 (133 PA)
            A: .127 (526 PA)
            A+: .196 (233 PA)

            He has flashed plus power in A- and A+, though in the bulk of his PAs it was only average-ish. But I think we can both agree that what power he did have played up more than the .078 ISO he’s logged at Pawtucket.

          • basemonkey 12 months ago

            I like Cecchini as a future majorleague 3B, but I don’t buy it that he ever goes beyond average HR power. It’s just not his game. He strikes me as a professional hit tool guy, who can give you quality ABs. Maybe he has a career year here or there, but I think he’s better if he keeps the Ks low, and OBP up. Right now he’s adjusting to better quality breaking pitches in AAA so his OBP has taken a hit. He’ll bounce back.

        • basemonkey 12 months ago

          I wouldn’t call these guys “Buy Low” guys. They’re quality prospects. They’re just not having world-conquerer years. It happens.

          • flyerzfan12 12 months ago

            I only used the term “buy low” guys since that’s what the other guy said. ’tis the life of being a prospect, they have their ups and downs. Go from hot prospect one day, to overrated the next, back to being the next great one in a week.

    • ugotrpk3113 12 months ago

      At this point, I don’t understand why Miami would trade Stanton. And I don’t get why Boston would trade for Hamels. Would be giving prospects to move sideways.

  4. stl_cards16 12 months ago

    Watching the Yankees-Rangers game and they have talked about the Red Sox more than the game being played.

  5. NOLASoxFan 12 months ago

    Still wondering why on earth the Sox didn’t offer Lester something close to his market value back in February. Still can’t figure out what they were thinking. Really won’t understand it when they let him go and then spend more money trying to replace him. Just don’t get it at all. Don’t think I ever will.

    • andrewyf 12 months ago

      It’s called outsmarting yourself. They do it a lot.

      • bobbleheadguru 12 months ago

        3 World Series in 9 years. Outsmart away.

        • ugotrpk3113 12 months ago

          Last year they bought a 1$ scratch ticket and won a million. They were a 4th place team that had everything go right.

          • Michael Lucas Jr. 12 months ago

            They were a 4th place team? Really? But they won the A.L. East & a World Series. Last season’s roster was pretty stacked. Yeah they signed some free agents who all had really good seasons but to call them a 4th place team who got lucky seems to be a comment made out of spite.

          • ugotrpk3113 12 months ago

            I guess that makes just about every analyst in the same boat as me. Since most everyone thought they were a 3rd/4th place team.

            Do you forget what happened in 2012? Did you really think Lackey would pitch that well? Nava play that well? Victorino play that much? Dubrount?

            I think you’re playing a little revision is history.

          • Ben_Cherington 12 months ago

            Just because you and other analyst thought of the 2013 team as a 4th place teams means nothing. That team was pretty much 1st place from day one until they won the World Series. In all essence of the words, they were a 1st place team.

            If you care to admit you were wrong that is fine. Games are played on the field not paper.

  6. basemonkey 12 months ago

    Sometimes, just on a practical matter, I think deciding firmly if you’re a buyer or seller as early as possible helps you make the right decision in a trade. It comes down to where you put your scouts in a limited window of time. If you’re spread thin, and having to scout several fronts in both major leagues AND minors, that’s a lot.

  7. Sky14 12 months ago

    I would say very few MLB players should be considered untouchable. Seems absurd to suggest that five prospects on a single team are untouchable.

  8. Scott Berlin 12 months ago

    $70 million is far bellow market rate for Lester, but they could have offered him 5 or 6 years and went from there. A 4 year deal is a slap in the face almost. If they wanted for 4 him years they should have did an extension a year ago not wait till he’s a season from free agency. A good starting point would have been AJ Burnett’s contract when he signed with the Yankees at 5 years $82.5 million and even that’s an old marketplace value.

    • Michael Lucas Jr. 12 months ago

      I agree that the offer was low for a top of the rotation arm but I really think Boston is scared to death about handing out 100+ million dollar deals over 5+ years. And you can’t blame them. Look at all the huge contracts around baseball & how many of them seem to be good deals. In their own experience they had Gonzalez & Crawford which were both big mistakes that they were fortunate enough to have the Dodgers bail them out from. They just saw one of their homegrown guys in Ellsbury sign a huge deal with the Yankees that already seems to be a huge overpay. But with that being said I think they need to sign Lester if they want to compete next season. If they are unwilling to guarantee 5 years then maybe they should offer him 4 years at 100 million with an option for a 5th year. That way Lester gets his huge deal with an opportunity to hit free agency again when he should still have something left in the tank. And Boston gets their wish of only committing to 4 years. Granted it’s at 25 million a year but Boston has a ton of money coming off the books over the next 2 years.

      • ugotrpk3113 12 months ago

        Every reason to pay him. He’s a proven commodity. They need to get over this issue.

        • Ben_Cherington 12 months ago

          5yrs/105MM with option. Working on it now!

          • ugotrpk3113 12 months ago

            Think it will be more like 5/ 115 + an option, but I could see that.

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