AL East Notes: Lester, Cespedes, Machado, Wagner

In an interesting discussion with Tim Britton of the Providence JournalRed Sox reliever Burke Badenhop discussed his use of the Pitch F/X tool at BrooksBaseball.net. Velocity, vertical movement, strike zone plots, and release point are among the pieces of information that Badenhop utilizes to evaluate his outings.

Here’s more from the AL East:

  • Jon Lester may be playing in Oakland, but he knows his time there will almost certainly be short, as John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports. Looking ahead to the free agent market, the lefty said that the Red Sox made clear that they intend to pursue a return. “At the end of the season, [the trade is] not going to change my mind about going back there if they are aggressive and competitive and do the things they say they’re going to do,” Lester said in reference to his long-time club. “They told me, ‘We’re going to be aggressive. You’re going to get blown out of the water by some of these [other] offers,'” said Lester, who maintains that the sticker shock will not be the most important factor for him. “I’m not going to the highest bidder. I’m going to the place that makes me and my family happy. If that’s Boston, it’s Boston.”
  • Of course, Lester should have no shortage of suitors, in large part due to the fact that he has been outstanding this year. Indeed, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes, Lester has set himself up for free agency with as good a walk year (thus far) as any recent starter.
  • After failing to extend Lester last offseason, the Red Sox will soon face a similar situation with regard to the man he was traded for, Yoenis Cespedes. As Alex Speier of WEEI.com writes in discussing the possible parameters of an extension for Cespedes, it seems somewhat curious that Boston would have chosen him as the return if it did not have at least some hope of locking him up past 2015 (especially since Cespedes will not be eligible to receive a qualifying offer). Though his power is undeniable, the 28-year-old’s overall value has lagged his visibility to an extent. Regardless, he seems quite likely to draw plenty of attention in free agency, and Speier suggests that comparables could include B.J. Upton (five-year, $75MM free agent deal) and Hunter Pence (five-year, $90MM late-season extension). Of course, as Speier notes, a full season in Fenway could provide Cespedes the opportunity to post some outlandish numbers and boost his value.
  • Orioles third baseman Manny Machado seems destined for a DL stint but, more importantly, appears to have avoided another major knee injury. The club announced yesterday that a MRI revealed a right knee ligament sprain, saying that further update would be forthcoming today. Executive VP Dan Duquette said that the club had not yet decided whether it would shop around for additional options at the hot corner, but will make that assessment when more is known on Machado’s timetable, Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports on Twitter.
  • The Blue Jays announced yesterday that righty Neil Wagner will undergo Tommy John surgery. Wagner, 30, has been hit hard in ten games with Toronto on the year, though he was playing at the Triple-A level at the time of the injury. He has not matched his successful 2013, when he worked 38 frames of 3.79 ERA ball in the majors and dominated at Triple-A (2 earned runs in 23 2/3 innings).


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39 Comments on "AL East Notes: Lester, Cespedes, Machado, Wagner"


bigbadjohnny
11 months 22 days ago

Sounds like Lester wants a bidding war between Boston & Chicago……look for the Angels to jump in on the Lester bidding also.

Victoria Roberts
11 months 22 days ago

The phrase “I’m not going to the highest bidder,” makes you think biding war?

Bleed_Orange
11 months 22 days ago

I think Lester is just saying all the right things right now to keep his options open. He obviously isn’t taking a discount to play anywhere, so when he says “highest bidder” we are probably talking a few million here or there (taxes included).

11 months 22 days ago

I agree. He’s basically saying this under duress, which is to be expected given his position.

Victoria Roberts
11 months 22 days ago

Or he could just be honest and straightforward and have no interest in a bidding war, just like he said. John Lester is pretty much a what you see is what you get player.

Bleed_Orange
11 months 22 days ago

Sorry that is what I meant (probably didn’t state it very well) I don’t think a million here or there will be the deciding factor, but say New York offers a substantially larger contract than Boston is willing to offer he will be a Yankee, same thing goes for the Cubbies or any other team that bids on him.

stl_cards16
11 months 22 days ago

If he had no interest in seeing what’s out there, he would already be signed for next year.

Victoria Roberts
11 months 22 days ago

There’s a home town discount and then there’s an outright insult. He’s not a sure thing to re-sign with Boston, but that’s not the same thing as auctioning yourself to the highest bidder. If they make him a reasonable offer, and he’s comfortable with the terms he’ll resign. He’s just not telling his agent he’ll go wherever the money is the most. There are other things he is considering.

Seamaholic
11 months 22 days ago

Ha! Says every free agent, ever. Right before they go to the highest bidder. “Home town discounts” don’t happen, unless you’re talking a real home town (i.e. a guy grew up and wants to end his career there).

Bob Bunker
11 months 22 days ago

I don’t see the Angels jumping in because they have never gone over the luxury tax and Lester would almost surely put them over.

YankeeFan™
11 months 22 days ago

Lester will either land with Boston, Cubs or Yankees

Bleed_Orange
11 months 22 days ago

Unless Boston ups the years they are willing to offer I just don’t see them realistically in the mix. Lester is looking at a Greinke like deal 6 years + 150 million +

Seamaholic
11 months 22 days ago

Every team in baseball, barring one or two, will be interested. You think the Giants won’t bid? Dodgers? Angels? White Sox have money and need. Nats too. He’s a healthy TOR pitcher. No way the bidding is limited to those three, and I doubt the Red Sox are even in that group (they don’t like huge contracts, especially for pitchers).

jb226
11 months 22 days ago

To be fair, he said he’ll land with one of those teams, not that the bidding is limited to them.

I do find a lot of your list unlikely though. Angels aren’t likely to saddle themselves with another contract the cost of which it would take to sign Lester. Toronto couldn’t afford Ervin Santana in the offseason so they’re clearly up against some kind of limit. The White Sox have never dabbled in the same universe as the contract Lester is going to command (Abreu at 6/$68MM is their biggest-ever contract).

Dodgers and Giants are certainly possible, assuming the Giants have any money left over or if they choose not to re-sign Sandoval. Nats I really don’t know about one way or another.

Light_tower_power
11 months 22 days ago

Not really accurate… the White Sox offered Tanaka 120 the Yankees just blew everybody away… That being said I’m not expecting them pursue Lester so ur larger point stands

Bob Bunker
11 months 22 days ago

Why would the Nats be interested? They have Strasburg, Fister, Gio, Zimmerman, and Roark plus a lot of high level minor league SP.

CharlieMurphy
11 months 22 days ago

Really doubt he ends up in NY unless there’s a HUGE difference between the Yanks and the 2nd highest bidder

Mike1L
11 months 22 days ago

The Lester situation could have an interesting impact on the future trade market. To date, there hasn’t been a high profile free-agent to be who, after being traded, returned to the team that just traded him. Should Lester return, for the same money or even a modest hometown discount, it could cause acquiring teams to adjust their offers. It’s one thing to buy a “rental” and think you have a decent chance of extending or re-signing him. It’s another entirely to buy what amount to a yo-yo player, who is going to your team for a couple of months and then returning to his old team. Although the net cost is prospects/players might be the same regardless of the return, the psychology of it is different. And you would wonder, if you were the acquiring team, if you weren’t set up a little.

Bleed_Orange
11 months 22 days ago

I don’t really see this altering the trade market at all. Now if Boston and Lester had a behind closed doors hand shake agreement and Oakland was actively trying to resign him then maybe. Oakland knew they were getting a rental and Boston and Lester weren’t even in the same universe on a new contract.

Seamaholic
11 months 22 days ago

It’s SO easy to overestimate the appeal of a “home town” deal. Fact is, Boston isn’t home for Lester, most likely. He might not even live there off-season (probably not). And who knows what his wife, if he has one, thinks. He’ll go where he gets the most money and the best situation for winning.

Karkat
11 months 22 days ago

“Most likely”? Is it really hard to look up that Lester is originally from the Tacoma, WA and that he makes his offseason home in Georgia? And that he does have a wife and two kids.

East Coast Bias
11 months 22 days ago

Maybe his “hometown discount” was a hint he’ll be playing for the Mariners next season?

Scott Berlin
11 months 22 days ago

I remember reading that when Adam LaRoche was playing with the Braves (the same year he played in Boston), Lester let LaRoche stay at his house in the Atlanta area so that makes sense. The article highlighted that LaRoche and Lester were friends and coincidentally they were on the same team after the fact.

Bob Bunker
11 months 22 days ago

Oakland wasn’t going to resign Lester at all and most teams are willing to trade for rentals so I don’t think Lester going and signing back with Boston is any different then CC Sabathia going from the Brewers after a rental and signing with the Yanks.

Melvin Mendoza, Jr.
11 months 22 days ago

The point of being a buyer at the deadline is going all in to win now. There’s no hard feelings when a rental doesn’t sign a 10 year extension with you after the half season they played with you. That’s like saying you feel cheated or set up when you return a rental car because you were under the impression they were going to let you keep it.

Mike1L
11 months 22 days ago

Just to reply to everyone. If Boston/Lester had a handshake agreement (and there’s no evidence of that that we are aware of) then that’s something most acquiring teams might have been interested in. Oakland ended up trading for him, but if the acquirer was a team with a bigger payroll, the situation might be different. A fair number of deals are made by teams with deep pockets who can afford to trade prospects off, pay the salary, and bid to keep the player after the season. Those teams would find evidence of a handshake agreement to be relevant.

tune-in for baseball
11 months 22 days ago

Cespedes is traded to Boston in 2014 and his contract goes till 2016. He will have 1 full year in Boston in 2015. Article says he will not be eligible for a QO. My question is why? What am I missing

nhsoxfan
11 months 22 days ago

everything. Read about his unique contract his agents crafted.

Bleed_Orange
11 months 22 days ago

He is not on a traditional rookie contract. His contract is written similarly to Japanese players who have professional experience in other leagues.

jb226
11 months 22 days ago

His contract calls for him to be non-tendered at its conclusion, which means the team can not offer a QO.

bigbadjohnny
11 months 22 days ago

What it comes down to with Lester is this…….
Boston – Family ties
Chicago- Friendship with Theo
Yankees – Money, money and more money
California team – money & nice weather

Bleed_Orange
11 months 22 days ago

you can add money money money to Chicago as well

cnntalkhost
11 months 22 days ago

Lets see if Ricketts wants to spend it.

East Coast Bias
11 months 22 days ago

If the money’s close, he’ll go with Boston. If it’s not, he’ll go to Chicago or New York.

Both sides have their limits. Boston won’t offer a ridiculous contract as the other two might (and will). And Lester won’t take a Boston offer way below what he’s being offered by the other two.

My prediction is that the money will not be close, and he’ll go to Chicago.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
11 months 22 days ago

I can see a lot of teams getting in on the bidding for Lester. He’s putting up a solid season and has a great postseason track record. My guess is at least 7 teams make a solid offer.

Karkat
11 months 22 days ago

I already have Chicago on my future free agent contest sheet. Even though I’m naturally cheering for Boston.

vtadave
11 months 22 days ago

Dodgers will be in on Lester. Beckett’s contract is expiring and Greinke can opt out after next season.

Daniel Morairity
11 months 22 days ago

The rangers will get in on lester in this years offseason

DippityDoo
11 months 22 days ago

I hope the Cubs stay away, I really want Theo and Jed to stick to said plan. No big money on FA’s on the wrong side of 30.