While all five AL East teams have clear roster needs, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe observes that the division is so closely-packed (and overall mediocre) through two months that one team could break away from the pack simply by getting healthy and playing up to expectations, rather than by making a big trade or two. Here are some hot stove items from Cafardo’s latest Sunday Notes column…
- “I don’t see us making a major acquisition for a pitcher [at this time] but I’m not going to say I wouldn’t do it,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. As Cafardo notes, the returns of Masahiro Tanaka and Ivan Nova could bolster the rotation, and prospect Luis Severino could also provide some late-season help.
- Reds right-hander Mike Leake is considered by one AL scout to be able to “pitch in either league with no problem” and at the trade deadline, “there might be more action on him than any pitcher out there.” The Reds could be looking to deal the free agent-to-be since they didn’t discuss an extension with him during the offseason.
- Leake’s trade value may be improved by the fact that teammate Johnny Cueto and the Athletics’ Scott Kazmir (two more pending free agents) have recently been dealing with elbow and shoulder problems, respectively. Teams will need to see a few healthy outings from both pitchers before their trade interest can be rejuvenated.
- The Dodgers were scouting the Red Sox during their series with the Twins last week. Cafardo notes that L.A. is looking for relief help.
- With Matt Adams gone for possibly the entire season and the Cardinals in need of first base help, Cafardo opines that Allen Craig could be a possible trade fit. Craig’s contract, of course, is a major obstacle, not to mention the fact that St. Louis felt comfortable dealing Craig away last summer. Craig is hitting well at Triple-A but Cafardo writes that it might take “another two weeks of good hitting” for Craig to earn a call-up back to the Red Sox.
- With Trevor Plouffe playing well as the Twins’ regular third baseman, Cafardo wonders if Minnesota would consider a position change for star prospect Miguel Sano. There has already been a lot of speculation that Sano might be not be able to handle playing third over the long term, though Plouffe is also not a great defensive option. Of greater concern for the Twins right now is Sano’s recovery from Tommy John surgery, and the early results are pretty good, as Sano is hitting .247/.346/.488 over 191 Double-A plate appearances.