In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that the Red Sox spent a lot of time with Jon Lester trying to get him over his fear of throwing to bases. It’s an issue that the Cubs will have to address if it arises again and Cafardo is surprised that more opposing teams haven’t tried to pounce on that perceived weakness. That could change, however, as he hears that one team already is looking forward to testing him this season. Here’s more from today’s column..
- Orioles GM Dan Duquette twice has tried to engage in extension talks with Matt Wieters’s agent, Scott Boras, but now it doesn’t appear that the sides will get together before Wieters becomes a free agent. After missing most of 2014, Wieters will earn $8.3MM in his final year of arbitration. The 28-year-old was hitting .308/.339/.500 in 112 plate appearances before right elbow issues forced him to undergo Tommy John surgery.
- Scouts are beginning to at least discuss what the Red Sox may need to receive in order to part with Jackie Bradley in a trade. The Sox don’t appear to be in that mode right now, but there are teams who feel Bradley will turn things around at the plate because he’s hit at every level except the majors. “I think Chili Davis is going to be good for him,” said one scout of Boston’s new hitting coach. “I think he needs someone with a tough approach and Chili isn’t afraid to give someone some tough love.” There has been a great deal of trade talk around Bradley this offseason and Joel Sherman of the New York Post recently suggested that the Braves could make sense as a landing spot.
- Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans told Cafardo that the team offered James Shields a five-year, $80MM contract not long after Jon Lester agreed to join the Cubs.Evans said that Shields wanted time to explore other offers, however, and the timing wasn’t right. A previous report indicated that the Giants made Shields a four-year, $80MM pitch, which is the same length as his deal with the Padres, but worth $5MM more. Shields’ agent Page Odle said in February that his client received more than one offer with a higher AAV than the one he ultimately accepted from the Padres.
- Before Daniel Bard signed a minor league deal with the Cubs this winter, the Red Sox considered bringing him back. Now that early reports are indicating that Bard is throwing hard and possibly cured of the yips that have troubled him the last couple of years, the Cubs must be glad that they decided to give him another chance.
- While many scouts believe that the Dodgers’ offense won’t be as productive without Matt Kemp, many also believe that he will hurt the Padres’ defense. “Everyone raves about the Padres with Kemp, but they’re going to find some things they’re not going to like, and I’ll leave it at that,” said one scout. For his career, Kemp has a -13.9 UZR/150 rating in the outfield.