AL East Notes: Shields, Cespedes, Johnson, Price

In his latest Insider-only piece for, Buster Olney reports that he’s spoken to executives around the league who assume that the Red Sox will target James Shields in free agency this offseason.  Shields would be a good fit for a Boston team that is suddenly light on veteran pitching after Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jake Peavy were all traded within the last week.  I wonder how high the Sox would be willing to bid on Shields, however, since the team’s concerns about paying big money to a pitcher throughout his 30’s kept them from working out an extension with Lester.  While Shields would come at a lower price and probably a shorter-term deal, Shields will also be 33 on Opening Day.

Here’s some more from around the AL East…

  • A clause in Yoenis Cespedes‘ contract will allow him to become a free agent after the 2015 season, and according to Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron (Twitter link), it means the Red Sox would have to non-tender their newly-acquired outfielder.  This would make Cespedes ineligible to receive a qualifying offer, and thus Boston wouldn’t get any draft pick compensation if Cespedes signed elsewhere.
  • The Athletics released Jim Johnson today, and there has been speculation that the Orioles will offer their former closer a minor league contract, Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun writes.  Manager Buck Showalter spoke highly of Johnson to reporters today, though he was careful with his words due to uncertainty about whether Johnson was free of any ties to Oakland.
  • The Rays plan to contend in 2015, which is why Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan (writing for feels the team felt comfortable trading David Price for a package highlighted by players — Drew Smyly and Nick Franklin — with Major League experience.  It’s unclear if any of the blue-chip prospects often cited in trade rumors were actually available for Price and such prospects might not pan out anyway, whereas Smyly and Franklin have already shown they can contribute at the big-league level.
  • Had the Rays waited until the offseason to trade Price, they might’ve had trouble finding a better return.  As one executive noted to ESPN’s Jayson Stark (Twitter link), Tampa would’ve been shopping Price in a crowded marketplace for ace pitchers given that Lester, Shields and Max Scherzer are all slated to be available in free agency.

28 Responses to AL East Notes: Shields, Cespedes, Johnson, Price Leave a Reply

  1. bigbadjohnny 11 months ago

    Rays missed out on cashing in on Price with his max. trade value.
    This is how GM’s lose their jobs.

    • Scott Berlin 11 months ago

      Especially for a team like the Rays when it’s sink or swim in a highly competitive division.

    • Ace2095 11 months ago

      Unless your initials are RAJ

    • Sky14 11 months ago

      I think Friedman job is safe.

      • KJ4realz 11 months ago

        Exactly. I’m pretty sure Friedman has made a lot of moves that outweigh this one. Still little value compared to what he could’ve gotten for Price, but if they did want cheap young controllable major league guys to contend, I understand the trade.

        No way Friedman even comes close to losing his job. Honestly though, I wish he would so he could come to Philly.

        • vtadave 11 months ago

          Hard to really conclude that without knowing the other offers IMO.

    • rich 11 months ago

      Unless you are a GM whose team wins 90 games a year in a brutal division with no money. Then you might have, you know…earned a little leeway.

  2. Derpy 11 months ago

    I think it is a mistake for the Rays to aim for 2015. I don’t feel their division is set up to fall in their favor next year, although the free agencies of Shields, Lester and Lackey are going to go a long way in deciding that.

    • Jim Johnson 11 months ago

      I think the division is wide open next year. Right now the Red Sox are a mystery. The Yankees have some bad contracts and some holes. The Orioles have a good core, but they also have some tough decisions to make this off-season, so they could go either way. And the Jays are always a mystery.

      • Derpy 11 months ago

        I feel the Redsox and Yankees are going to both spend loads of money on pitching, and depending on what happens with Tanaka they could both have pretty decent pitching. I wouldn’t be surprised of the Redsox buy buy buy on the pitching market, which, in addition to their totally revamped offense, could make them a big player. Plus, the Rays didn’t get enough to put them over the hump.

    • Bob Bunker 11 months ago

      Rays should aim to bounce back to the fringes of wild card contention next year and then 2016 aim for the division. The Jays will lose or watch most of their offense decline over the next year and a half and young pitching is always risky. O’s also are losing a lot of offensive pieces but also have young pitching that needs to prove themselves. Who Knows with the Yanks and the Red Sox though.

      Right now I’d take the Rays core over any of the other AL East teams for 2016.

      • Jim Johnson 11 months ago

        Depends on Myers. He could go either way still.

      • Meh Sheep 11 months ago

        Just because players hit free agency doesn’t mean the O’s or Jays will lose them. The O’s and Jays have money to spend.

        • Bob Bunker 11 months ago

          What are the biggest FA contracts either team have given? I think the O’s was Ubaldo for 4 48 and I dont know about the Jays. However, I do know to sign Ervin Santana to a 1 year 15 million deal the team was asking players to defer money so I don’t think the Jays have money to spend.

          O’s have Hardy, Davis, Cruz, Wieters, and Markakis all becoming FA.
          Jays have Melky, Rasmus, Edwin, and Bautista all becoming FA by the end of 2016.

          • Meh Sheep 11 months ago

            Ubaldo was the largest last year not the largest ever. Tejada $72 million, Belle $65 million. Renewals Roberts $40 million, Markakis $66.1 million, Jones 85.5 million. They could easily afford to renew 3 or 4 of those players. Also Keep in mind that Wieters and Davis have contributed very little this season. Wieters due to injury (only 26 games) and Davis due to performance. The last team to lead the MLB in payroll other than the Yankees and Dodgers. The Orioles.

            Toronto has the 10th largest media market in MLB. When you divide Chicago by 2 that puts them at number 8 only behind the 2 NY and LA teams, Dallas, Philly and Houston. So yes Toronto has money to spend.

          • Bob Bunker 11 months ago

            So 12 years ago the O’s spent money on Free agency? If Wieters is healthy next year he won’t get less then 5 75. If Davis rebounds next year he won’t get less then 5 100. Cruz is probally looking at 15 million AAV
            You really think the O’s are going to spend 75 million on 4 guys (those 3 plus Jones) when their payroll hasn’t been above 110 million in the last 14 years????

            As for the Jays everyone cites them being such a large market but then why didn’t they trade for an impact guy at the deadline or sign an impact FA last offseaon. And why would they need players to defer money if they have money to spend as you say???

          • Jim Johnson 11 months ago

            Do you really think the O’s would miss half of those FA’s? Markakis is about a 1 WAR player. Davis is a 1 War Player. Wieters isn’t playing this year.
            The Orioles might be losing a lot of its pieces, but they are pieces who haven’t contributed much to the team’s success this year. You could shake a minor league tree and have a bunch of players fall out that could give you that level of production. So even if the Orioles lost all of them, I’m not sure what impact that would have on the team next year?

          • Bob Bunker 11 months ago

            I’ll give you Markakis as he is overpaid but who replaces him?
            Lose Davis and you don’t have a true middle of the order bat outside of Adam Jones.
            Hardy has been worth 2 WAR in 2/3 of a season on pace for 3.2 WAR and if he leaves who plays SS/3B.
            Cruz has a 134 WRC+ and has been worth 2 WAR on pace for 3 as well. Who replaces him?
            Wieters is a consistent 3-5 WAR player and who is going to replace him?

            They also have a lot of guys reaching arbitration that are going to require more money then min salary. Just going to be tough for them to lose a third to a half of their lineup and still remain competitive.

          • Jim Johnson 11 months ago

            I’ll replace Markakis if need be. He’s a 1 WAR player this year, last year he was a negative WAR player.
            Davis isn’t a true middle of the order bat this year. He’s one of the worst 1B in baseball.
            Cruz was hot for two months, and now has had an OPS under .700 since then.
            And Wieters isn’t a 3 to 5 win player. Last year he was barely above replacement.
            Assuming they didn’t re-sign ANY of these guys, AND didn’t trade them for anything, the production they are getting from most of them isn’t that hard to replace.

    • Karkat 11 months ago

      Lackey’s under contract for 2015

  3. Hoosierdaddy92 11 months ago

    Boston better be prepared to pony up the dough at least one of Lester, Shields, or Scherzer. I have a feeling the Cubs may try to get all three in one foul swoop to turn the games’ worst rotation into one of the best. Getting those three plus Arrieta locked up long-term is a very powerful 1-4. With the position players on the verge, Cubs could make some noise if that happens.

    • Mike Boyer 11 months ago

      No friggin chance that happens

    • Jim Johnson 11 months ago

      By the time the position players would be ready, assuming they all pan out, you have missed the best years of those pitchers, or at least at the tail end of their prime.

      • orangeoctober 11 months ago

        This was my thought. Wouldn’t they want to do this in like 3 years?

    • dc21892 11 months ago

      Boston definitely will try to get Lester back I’m guessing at 6/120 and that’s as high as they go. As for Shields, I could certainly see the landing him on a 3 year deal.

  4. Price was dealt too cheap. Mariners never had confidence in Nick Franklin. He had a short window to have a go, too bad for him Cano was signed. Ms kept his value high by keeping him in AAA.

  5. Dustroia15 11 months ago

    Red Sox need to sign Rusney Castillo, extend Cespedes and sign 2 of Lester, Shields, Scherzer. They would have a complete lineup, remain under the “cap” and be stacked with prospects.

    3B – Holt (Middlebrooks)
    RF – Castillo (Craig, Nava)
    2B – Pedroia (Betts)
    DH – Ortiz
    1B – Napoli (Craig, Middlebrooks)
    LF – Cespedes (Betts, Nava)
    SS – Bogaerts (Betts)
    C – Vasquez/Swihart
    CF – Bradley (Betts)

    Lester, Shields, Buchholz, Kelly, Webster

    Uehara, De La Rosa, Workman, Tazawa, Layne, Breslow, Mujica

    Rebuild over.

  6. basemonkey 11 months ago

    Watch Jim Johnson get resigned by the Os, spend a month in AA, and pitch some productive innings for the majorleague club in September.

    If the Os reach postseason I’m not sure if it would be enough to warrant a playoff roster spot, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Groundballers are extremely necessary for Camden Yards, and they just sent down one due to a roster shuffle (not ineffectiveness) in Ryan Webb, so you never know.

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