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Earlier today we heard that the Padres haven't settled on a long-term strategy for third baseman Chase Headley. They'll hold onto him for now, but could trade or extend him later in 2013. Here are more notes from the Padres' division…
- Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reports that the Dodgers' pursuit of trades for Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez began as early as last April. The new ownership looked ahead to the free agent market for first basemen and shortstops and knew the upgrades they sought wouldn't be available.
- Yorvit Torrealba could force the Rockies into a decision regarding their catching situation, writes MLB.com's Thomas Harding. The team loves his veteran leadership and handling of young pitchers, and could look to trade Ramon Hernandez before the end of Spring Training.
- The Rockies are scouting out of options pitchers who could appear on waivers later on this month, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. The Rockies' rotation features lots of uncertainty and some optimism at this stage, Renck writes. Here's MLBTR's list of out of options players.
- Buster Posey and the Giants are not close on an extension, but if it happens, the best comparable for a deal would be Joey Votto's 12-year pact and not a three-year one, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- Prized offseason acquisition Zack Greinke left his Dodgers teammates this morning to have his right elbow examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, but the club insists that it's strictly a precautionary move, writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. The Dodgers are reportedly prepared to sit on their pitching surplus for now in part because of minor health issues that Greinke and Chad Billingsley are dealing with.
Zach Links and Steve Adams contributed to this post.
Manager Dale Sveum is prepared for the possibility that the Cubs could be sellers again at the July 31st trade deadline, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. Sveum said he hopes to be in contention but will understand if the team needs to re-focus on 2014. "If your team is out of it, to start building and getting a healthier organization, unfortunately or fortunately, that's part of the business," he said. Here are some more notes from around the National League…
- Tom Singer of MLB.com explains that the Pirates would probably like to lock up core players such as Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez. While Walker would presumably like to stay with the Pirates, his hometown team, retaining him will be expensive, as Singer outlines. Alvarez, a New York native, might like the idea of playing for the Yankees in Singer's view.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com hears that Kip Wells looked good throwing for Phillies people yesterday (Twitter link). Wells, who started seven games for the Padres last year, had good off-speed pitches, Heyman writes.
- Adrian Gonzalez said that he couldn't be happier to be playing for the Dodgers, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. "I'm really really happy and excited to be here and really excited about where the team is heading and what we have an opportunity to do here," Gonzalez said. The Dodgers acquired Gonzalez from the Red Sox in a blockbuster trade last August.
The Nationals and Cardinals began their NLDS today, 79 years to the day of the last playoff game for a Washington franchise. The series will also feature the largest age gap between two managers facing off in the post-season (27 years and 235 days between 69-year-old Davey Johnson of the Nationals and 42-year-old Mike Matheny of the Cardinals), according to the Elias Sports Bureau via a tweet by ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. Other notes and nuggets from the Senior Circuit:
- It is highly unlikely the Braves will attempt to sign Josh Hamilton because they typically don't pursue top-of-payscale free agents who come with questions, tweets the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien.
- Adrian Gonzalez told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he felt he struggled this season because he was "trying too hard." Gonzalez was even disappointed by his career-high 47 doubles. Also in the profile, the Dodger first baseman discussed the responsibility he feels as a Mexican-American athlete in a heavily Latino city.
- The Dodgers will continue to strengthen their starting rotation which could lead them to target Zack Greinke, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.
- The Cubs will need to acquire two or three starting pitchers merely to put a representative team on the field, opines Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Wittenmyer adds don't look for the Cubs to sign Greinke or Jake Peavy, as Shaun Marcum and Anibal Sanchez are more in line with the current front-office thinking.
- Jake Westbrook, rehabbing from discomfort in his right oblique, threw a bullpen session this morning and hopes to be available for bullpen duty if the Cardinals advance to the NLCS, reports MLB.com's Jennifer Langosch. The throwing schedule for Westbrook is fluid because he will be leaving the team after Game 2 to be with his wife, who is scheduled to be induced into labor for the birth of their fourth child on Thursday.
- The Cardinals will win the World Series in six games over the Tigers, predicts Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com in his playoff prognostication column.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti confirmed that he and manager Don Mattingly will return in 2013, Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com reports. The GM also reflected on the eventful 2012 season in an extended interview with Bloom. Here are some highlights…
- Colletti explained that the team’s midseason trades should help the team in 2013 and beyond, regardless of whether the Dodgers make the playoffs this year. “When we made these trades, we thought that these players were going to be with us for a while,” Colletti said.
- The GM said he'll be pleased if Gonzalez can continue producing at this clip for the remainder of his Dodgers career. Gonzalez has a .276/.328/.431 batting line with 21 RBI in 134 plate appearances.
- There’s a chance Carl Crawford will open the 2013 season with the Dodgers, Colletti said. The left fielder’s throwing arm should be at full strength by May, but he could open the season with the club if he’s progressing well.
- Colletti said it’s been a great experience working with the Dodgers’ new ownership group, including veteran MLB executive Stan Kasten. “He's someone who understands baseball very well,” Colletti said. “He's been in the game for three decades.”
- Manager Don Mattingly succeeds for a variety of reasons, Colletti said. “He continues to learn every day. He's open-minded. He's ultra-competitive. And a very hard worker.”
With the calendar ready to turn to the final month of the regular season, there are still 15 teams in contention for a playoff spot. From the surprises (Athletics, Pirates, Orioles) to the big spenders (Dodgers, Angels, Tigers), the addition of a second Wild Card to each league has take the race for the playoffs to another level. Let's take a moment to catch up on the latest stories and news making headlines from around baseball…
- It took him awhile, but FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal finally understands why the Dodgers' trade with the Red Sox actually makes sense for Los Angeles. The addition of Adrian Gonzalez to man first base gives the Dodgers the game's biggest Mexican-American star as well as an upgrade both offensively and defensively. Even though Los Angeles paid a large sum for its package of stars, Rosenthal suggests the team wouldn't have had many desirable options to pursue this offseason.
- Another star player appears to be done in Boston – at least for this season – write Evan Drellich and Austin Laymance of MLB.com. Slugger David Ortiz, enjoying a strong season at the plate, may find himself on the disabled list come Monday as he continues to struggle with his right Achilles tendon. "We're talking about it, because I just can't really play like this," Ortiz said. "I don't want to be thinking about my foot while I'm facing the opposition, which is what happened to me after I hit that double [on Friday]."
- Prospect Dylan Bundy can't help but wonder what it would be like if the Orioles call up the right-hander to join the big league club in Baltimore this September, writes Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com. The 19-year-old isn't afraid of the bright lights of the big city as he doesn't think there's much of a difference between playing at Double-A and facing Derek Jeter amidst a playoff race. "Not any pressure at all, it's just the same game. Little bit better hitters. Someone told me the other day, it's the same distance between the rubber and home plate no matter where you are. Just little bit bigger stands, little bit better hitters in the box. More media, but it's all the same."
If there was any doubt remaining that the Dodgers' new ownership group would drastically alter the franchise, it has now been completely eliminated. The Dodgers and Red Sox have officially completed a massive nine-player blockbuster trade that sends Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto to Los Angeles for James Loney and four prospects.
The four prospects are right-hander Allen Webster, infielder Ivan De Jesus, outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands, and right-hander Rubby De La Rosa. The Red Sox will pay just $12MM of the over $270MM owed to Beckett, Crawford, Gonzalez, and Punto, so their savings are considerable. Adding the four new players represents a substantial financial commitment by the Dodgers:
- Gonzalez will earn $21MM per season through 2016 and obtain a raise to $21.5MM for 2017-18. The total exceeds $130MM when accounting for the remainder his 2012 salary.
- Crawford will earn $20MM in 2013, $20.25MM in 2014, $20.5MM in 2015, $20.75MM in 2016 and $21MM in 2017.
- Beckett will earn $15.75MM per season through 2014.
- Punto earns $1.5MM per season through 2013.
With this trade as well as the previous acquisitions of Hanley Ramirez, Randy Choate, Brandon League, Shane Victorino, and Joe Blanton, the Dodgers have absorbed more than $300MM in future payroll obligations in the last month or so. As Jeff Euston of Cot's Baseball Contracts notes (on Twitter), the club now has a $193.75MM in contract obligations for next season, $133.6MM for 2014, $90MM for 2015, $88.65MM for 2015, and another $90MM for 2016. The Red Sox, on the other hand, are now on the hook for just $45.6MM in 2013, $34.4MM in 2014, $12.75MM in 2015, and $2.45MM in 2016 (Twitter link).
Both Beckett (10-and-5 rights) and Crawford (limited no-trade clause) had to approve the deal, and Buster Olney of ESPN reports (on Twitter) that neither player asked for any kind of compensation to do so. The Dodgers were not included in Gonzalez's limited no-trade clause. Los Angeles claimed both Gonzalez and Beckett off trade waivers yesterday, plus Punto and Crawford both cleared earlier this month. Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times reports (on Twitter) that the Blue Jays are believed to have claimed De La Rosa off waivers, but he was pulled back and will technically be included in the deal as a player to be named later.
The Dodgers, who currently sit three games back of the Giants in the NL West race, are adding an impact left-handed bat to pair with the right-handed Matt Kemp in Gonzalez. The Southern California native spent the first five full seasons of his career a little further south with the Padres, so he's certainly familiar with the division. Gonzalez, 30, is hitting .300/.343/.469 with 15 homers in what is generally considered to be a down year compared to his career average of .294/.372/.509 and 30 or so homers annually. Dodgers' first basemen have hit just .244/.289/.357 this season, so even down year Gonzalez represents an enormous upgrade.
Beckett, 32, has pitched to a 5.23 ERA in 21 starts and 127 1/3 innings this season while battling thumb and back issues. His strikeout rate (6.6 K/9) is a career-low and PitchFX shows that his velocity has tapered off into the low-90s. Moving into the easier league and a more pitcher-friendly ballpark should help his numbers, and Beckett gives Los Angeles a pitcher with a proven playoff track record. Current Dodgers' starters have combined for just 11 career playoff starts, six by Blanton. Beckett alone has 13 playoff starts and a World Series MVP to his credit.
Crawford, 31, had Tommy John surgery two days ago and will miss the rest of the season. He hit just .260/.292/.419 with 14 homers and 23 steals in 161 disappointing games with the Red Sox after averaging .299/.340/.448 with 13 homers and 50 steals in eight full seasons with the Rays. Crawford is expected to be able to return to action early next season, meaning Victorino is likely to be allowed to leave as a free agent.
The Dodgers recently lost Jerry Hairston Jr. to a hip injury for the remainder of the season, so the 34-year-old Punto gives them some protection and added depth on the infield. He's hit just .200/.301/.272 with five steals in 148 plate appearances for Boston this year while playing all four infield positions. He's a year removed from a .278/.388/.421 line as a part-time player with the Cardinals.
Loney, 28, has hit just .254/.302/.344 with four homers in 359 plate appearances this season and will become a free agent this winter. He figures to serve as a stopgap first baseman for the Red Sox for the next six weeks or so.
Webster, 22, has pitched to a 3.55 ERA in 121 2/3 innings for the Dodgers' Double-A affiliate this season. The 25-year-old De Jesus has been up and down between Triple-A and the big leagues in recent years, hitting .301/.354/.416 in over 1,200 minor league plate appearances since 2010. Sands, 24, has been also been up and down these last two years. He owns a career .291/.363/.557 line nearly 900 Triple-A plate appearances. De La Rosa, 23, just returned from Tommy John surgery and pitched to a 3.71 ERA in ten starts and three relief appearances for Los Angeles last season. Click here for a more in-depth look at the prospects headed to Boston later today.
A trade of this magnitude had many helping hands along the way, though Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston first reported that the two sides were discussing this massive deal. Check out this post for all of the pre-completion rumors and reports. Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald and an Roche of WBZ (on Twitter) first reported completion of the trade while Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times added details (Twitter links). Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
4:22pm: The Dodgers are "very serious" about trading for Gonzalez and have lots of options, Yahoo's Jeff Passan reports (on Twitter).
2:51pm: There’s a growing possibility that the Red Sox will trade Gonzalez to the Dodgers, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports. However, Red Sox officials told Edes they “love Adrian” and are simply exploring all ways of improving their team.
2:12pm: The Red Sox are listening to the Dodgers' trade pitch for Gonzalez, but the chances of a deal being completed are slim, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter).
12:52pm: The Dodgers have erased any lingering doubts about their willingness to spend big on impact MLB players. They were awarded the waiver claim on Adrian Gonzalez, the latest in a series of aggressive moves by the team's new ownership group, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times reports (on Twitter). The Dodgers and Red Sox now have until Sunday to discuss a possible trade, but August waivers are revocable, so the Red Sox can elect to hold onto Gonzalez.
Alternatively, Boston GM Ben Cherington could work out a trade involving Gonzalez or assign the San Diego native and the $130MM-plus remaining on his contract to the Dodgers. The Dodgers couldn't have won the claiming rights unless every American League team passed on Gonzalez, as well as every National League team with a worse record than Los Angeles.
Gonzalez can’t block a move to the Dodgers, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday. However, the Red Sox would only move Gonzalez in a transformative or franchise-changing move, Ken Rosenthal reported. Boston wouldn't let him go for nothing, Jon Heyman added. Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN.com asked a Red Sox official if Boston will trade Gonzalez to Los Angeles in the next two days and the person replied 'no' (Twitter link). If the Red Sox are willing to consider trading Gonzalez, they could wait until the offseason and engage more teams.
Gonzalez, the first overall pick in the 2000 draft, will earn $21MM per season through 2016 and obtain a raise to $21.5MM for 2017-18. The total exceeds $130MM when accounting for the remainder of Gonzalez's 2012 salary. The 30-year-old has a .300/.343/.469 batting line with 15 home runs and 37 doubles in 527 plate appearances this year. He would represent a considerable upgrade over James Loney for the Dodgers.
Since taking over at the beginning of the 2012 season team president Stan Kasten and chairman Mark Walter have made it clear that they're willing to spend aggressively. The Dodgers claimed Cliff Lee on waivers earlier this month after trading for Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez, Joe Blanton and Brandon League.
SATURDAY, 7:52am: The deal is "pretty much done," reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that both Beckett and Crawford have agreed to waive their no-trade clauses while Rosenthal adds that both clubs have signed off on the medicals.
FRIDAY, 10:00pm: Crawford has the Dodgers on his partial no-trade list and the outfielder has yet to be asked to accept a trade, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). It has been previously reported that Crawford can block trades to two clubs but Heyman writes that Crawford has the ability to block trades to three teams.
9:34pm: Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine says that he still expects Beckett to make his start on Saturday, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
9:01pm: The Dodgers are expected to pick up more than $260MM of the $271.5MM in combined salary that the Red Sox are sending to them, a source tells Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.
6:45pm: The Dodgers have agreed to send Webster, De La Rosa, Loney, Sands, and De Jesus to the Red Sox, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Meanwhile, a source tells Rob Bradford of WEEI (Twitter link) not to expect a deal to be completed tonight.
6:42pm: The Red Sox have yet to secure permission from Beckett, who has 10-and-5 rights, or Crawford, who has a partial no-trade clause, a source tells Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com. However, neither player is expected to block the deal.
6:15pm: The Red Sox and Dodgers are currently reviewing medical records, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (via Twitter). The deal would include Rubby De La Rosa, James Loney, Jerry Sands, Ivan De Jesus, and a top prospect, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (Twitter link).
5:48pm: Though the deal may not happen in its current nine-player form, something is expected to happen, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
5:06pm: The Red Sox would receive prospects and not just salary relief if the deal happens, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
4:34pm: The Red Sox and Dodgers are closing in on a trade that would send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to Los Angeles, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports (on Twitter). Hurdles remain, but the sides continue working toward a deal.
The Dodgers recently won the claiming rights to Gonzalez and Beckett. Gonzalez can't block a trade to Los Angeles, but Beckett must approve any assignment as a player with ten and five rights. Crawford and Punto cleared waivers earlier this month and can be traded without waiver-related restrictions.
The Dodgers have been willing to take on considerable salaries since their new ownership group gained control of the club at the beginning of the 2012 season. Adding the four Red Sox players would represent a substantial financial commitment:
- Gonzalez will earn $21MM per season through 2016 and obtain a raise to $21.5MM for 2017-18. The total exceeds $130MM when accounting for the remainder his 2012 salary.
- Beckett will earn $15.75MM per season through 2014. As noted above, he must approve any trade.
- Crawford will earn $20MM in 2013, $20.25MM in 2014, $20.5MM in 2015, $20.75MM in 2016 and $21MM in 2017. His contract allows him to block trades to two teams.
- Punto earns $1.5MM per season through 2013.
The Dodgers claimed Cliff Lee on waivers earlier this month after trading for Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez, Joe Blanton and Brandon League. The Dodgers would have to place MLB players on waivers before trading them to Boston, which could complicate trade talks.
Zach Links contributed to this post, which was originally published on August 24th.
The Dodgers probably won’t trade for Adrian Gonzalez this month, but there’s a remote chance of a deal, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times writes. Gonzalez, who’s now on revocable waivers, drew trade interest from the Dodgers last month. However, Hernandez hears that the Dodgers don’t expect the Red Sox to make Gonzalez available.
If the sides do discuss a trade, they won’t have to worry about Gonzalez’s limited no-trade clause, He can’t block a move to the Dodgers, according to Hernandez. The point would be moot if an American League team or a National League team with a worse record than the Dodgers were to claim the first baseman.
Gonzalez will earn $21MM per season through 2016 and obtain a raise to $21.5MM for 2017-18. The total exceeds $130MM when accounting for the remainder of Gonzalez's 2012 salary. While this sum would deter most teams, the Dodgers have been willing to spend under their new ownership group.
"We are trying to add players. That doesn't mean we will be able to," chairman Mark Walter said, speaking in general terms.
The Dodgers claimed Cliff Lee on waivers earlier this month after trading for Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez, Joe Blanton and Brandon League. They’ve also shown aggressiveness on the international market, signing Yasel Puig.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has heard that the Red Sox would only move Gonzalez in a transformative or franchise-changing move (Twitter link). A trade isn’t out of the question, but seems unlikely. Executives could see the Dodgers claiming Gonzalez, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Still, the Red Sox wouldn’t let him go for nothing.
Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times examines the possibility that the Dodgers could persuade the Red Sox to part with Gonzalez by taking on Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett as well. Beckett drew some interest from the Dodgers leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, according to Hernandez. However, this scenario sounds extremely unlikely to me given the money involved and Crawford’s elbow injury (he was scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery today).
The Red Sox have placed Adrian Gonzalez on trade waivers, a source tells Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com (via Twitter). A player being placed on trade waivers does not necessarily mean that he will be traded, but the first baseman could potentially draw interest from other clubs.
At one point this summer, the Dodgers inquired on the slugger, though its not clear how receptive the Red Sox were to the interest. Ned Colletti & Co. reportedly offered pieces that could help Boston in the future, though the Dodgers' farm system isn't tremendously deep.
Gonzalez's seven-year contract extension calls for him to make $4.82MM for the remainder of 2012 ($21MM total), $21MM annually through 2016, and $21.5MM in '17 and '18. The veteran also holds a partial no-trade clause.