- Cubs Acquire Fernando Rodney, Designate Brian Schlitter
- Chris Perez Retires
- Hanley Ramirez To Play First Base For Red Sox In 2016
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- Sabathia Possibly Done For Season; Yankees Re-Sign Capuano
- Astros, Dallas Keuchel Have Discussed Long-Term Deal
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- Mariners Designate Fernando Rodney For Assignment
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- Cubs Acquire Fernando Rodney, Designate Brian Schlitter
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Alfredo Aceves Rumors
Is Ike Davis on his way out of New York? Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote that a deal involving Davis appears likely while Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported yesterday that the Orioles, Astros, Rays, Rockies, and Brewers are all interested. More on the Mets..
- There is "a good possibility" the Mets will sign Alfredo Aceves, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets. We heard yesterday that the Mets were amongst the team interested in the reliever.
- Terry Collins said the club's top offseason priority is to find a middle-of-the-order bat to protect David Wright, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports. The manager expects his team to also look at adding some starting pitching and adopt "the Red Sox model" of signing multiple mid-tier free agents
- No one will take the Mets seriously until they spend money and sign a free agent, writes David Lennon of Newsday. Despite that, GM Sandy Alderson says that he doesn't feel any undue pressure. "Do I sense it? Yeah, to some extent," Alderson said. "Do I tune it out? Yes, to the largest extent possible. Because for us this is a day-to-day proposition and it's not that predictable, so I sort of have to take it out of the equation. I sense it, but work through it."
- In the face of Scott Boras' job comparing the Mets to NASA – an outfit that has big rockets but few astronauts – signing Jhonny Peralta would be a great way for them to launch their offseason, writes Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. The Mets met with the free agent shortstop yesterday.
- Alderson isn't looking to tie up big bucks in just a few players, writes Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal.
The latest from the NL East..
- The Phillies are willing to listen on Domonic Brown, but a rumored Brown-for-Jose Bautista swap isn't happening, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
- Jeff Wilpon said the Mets are close to making some sort of transaction earlier today, but GM Sandy Alderson seemed genuinely surprised when that was relayed to him by reporters, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post.
- The Mets are among the clubs with interest in former Red Sox hurler Alfredo Aceves, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro isn't eager to move young talent, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Everybody is looking for the same thing, and that's young controllable players. There is no reason for us to be moving any of them," the GM said.
- A trade to land Rays ace David Price would probably call for the Nationals to part with Anthony Rendon, Lucas Giolito, and another prospect or two from the club's top-tier, writes Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider. Because of the steep price, it's probably not worthwhile.
Yankees free agent Curtis Granderson joined Ken Rosenthal on MLB Network's Hot Stove to discuss his offseason thus far. The outfielder told Rosenthal that the number one thing he's looking for is to sign with a winner. More from the AL East..
- With uncertainty over Alex Rodriguez and the future of Robinson Cano, the Yankees have contacted free agent Kelly Johnson, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Johnson has primarily played second base over the course of his career but he also offers experience at left field and saw some time at third base in 2013.
- It's not a huge surprise, but teams are inquiring on Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter). Whether they are willing to move him is another story.
- Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran are targets 1 and 1A for the Yankees, a person familiar with their thinking tells Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Fellow outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury sits a hair behind the other two stars.
- Bryan Hoch of MLB.com (on Twitter) also hears that the Yankees are serious about their pursuit of Beltran.
- Former Red Sox pitcher Alfredo Aceves is working out in Mexico and drawing interest from multiple teams, tweets Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
- The Blue Jays' priority is improving the rotation, but they're also keeping an eye out for help at second base and catcher, writes Heyman. It's no surprise to hear that they're interested in Robinson Cano, but his price tag will probably prove to be too much since they need to direct their bucks towards starting pitching.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com explains why Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, and Stephen Drew all turned down the $14.1MM qualifying offer from the Red Sox.
Clay Buchholz hopes to throw a bullpen session on Thursday at Fenway Park and, if all goes well, the right-hander may try a simulated a game a few days afterwards, Buchholz told reporters (including Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe) during Monday's All-Star festivities in New York. Buchholz said he won't return until the stiffness in his neck has totally subsided, but “if I thought it was a do or die situation in September and we were pushing for the pennant, if it came to that, absolutely I’d be out there," he said. "There’s no risk right now, but I don’t feel comfortable doing it."
Here are some more items about the AL East-leading Red Sox…
- Scott Boras, Jacoby Ellsbury's agent, told reporters (including WEEI.com's Alex Speier) that he wasn't planning to negotiate with GM Ben Cherington about a new contract for his client until after the season. Ellsbury recently claimed the #2 spot on Tim Dierkes' free agent power rankings for the coming offseason. The center fielder is hitting .305/.368/.422 and has stolen a league-leading 36 bases for the Sox this year, a performance that Boras attributes to Ellsbury's gradual recovery from a shoulder injury.
- Alfredo Aceves is no longer represented by agent Tom O'Connell, Nick Cafardo reports (Twitter link). The right-hander is believed to be representing himself for now, according to Rob Bradford and Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Aceves was outrighted to Triple-A earlier today, the latest step in the reliever's tumultuous stint in Boston. You can keep track of who's representing who in the baseball world via MLBTR's Agency Database.
- The move from Boston to small-market Pittsburgh wasn't the reason for Mark Melancon's improvement in 2013, the reliever told media (including Tim Britton of the Providence Journal), saying that the improvement began after working on his mechanics and approach to pitching during a minor league stint last season. Melancon allowed 11 runs in his first two innings with the Red Sox in 2012 but posted a 4.19 ERA over his next 43 innings, though it wasn't enough to keep him from being dealt to the Bucs last December. With the Pirates, Melancon has posted a sterling 0.81 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 44 1/3 IP and earned his first All-Star appearance.
Evan Drellich of MassLive.com reports that Aceves and the Red Sox disagreed last week about whether Aceves was healthy, with the pitcher claiming that he had an oblique injury that might keep him out as long as the rest of the season, and the Red Sox denying Aceves had any serious injury trouble.
Aceves has a 4.86 ERA in 37 innings with Boston this season, with 5.8 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9. He has made six starts, with the last of those coming June 18. He is earning $2.65MM in his second year of arbitration eligibility.
Aceves was not eligible for free agency until after the 2014 season, so any team that claimed him on waivers would have had the option of taking him to arbitration in the fall. Also, any team that claimed Aceves would have been able to option him to the minors while keeping him on their 40-man roster. Despite Aceves' ability to start and the roster flexibility he would have offered, no one claimed him. As Britton notes, that suggests that other teams don't think particularly highly of Aceves, who has struggled with poor peripherals and reduced velocity this season and who has clashed with his managers in the past.
One month doesn't tell the entire story for a team, but clubs are trying to look at April performances and figure out what direction things are going in, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Phillies aren't getting much production out of Ryan Howard and with the Nationals and Braves likely to pick things up soon, they might sell off pieces like Cliff Lee. The Mariners have been struggling to open 2013 and so far offseason acquisitions Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse aren't helping. The 10-13 White Sox are also worth watching because there’s always talk that they would part with players such as Gavin Floyd, Jake Peavy, Alexei Ramirez, Alex Rios, and maybe even Paul Konerko. Here's more from today's column..
- Surprisingly, baseball people have an open mind about acquiring Red Sox right-hander Alfredo Aceves. Boston won't fetch much for him, but one veteran adviser to a GM said, “You’d be crazy not to take that chance with an arm like that. Change of environment can do wonders for a player who might have had a troubled past. I think you always take that risk if the player has skills, and Aceves has skills.” Cafardo wouldn't be surprised to see the Angels and Rangers show interest.
- Scouts who have watched Red Sox minor leaguer Brandon Snyder want him on their team. The first baseman is off to a hot start for Triple-A Pawtucket, hitting .328/.427/.578 with three homers. Snyder was the O's pick in the first round of the 2005 draft (13th overall), a rich draft in which Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Ricky Romero, Troy Tulowitzki, Mike Pelfrey, Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen, and Jay Bruce were taken ahead of him. One AL scout said that he can't imagine Snyder not being able to help a big league club.
- Orioles decision maker Dan Duquette is trying to make adjustments to his roster, perhaps by acquiring a power bat off the bench and another starting pitcher.
Former Red Sox GM and current Cubs president Theo Epstein discussed the closer-by-committee concept, which he tried unsuccessfully with the Sox ten years back. As Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports, Epstein recalled how the 2003 situation unfolded: "We were lowering payroll, we wanted to spread some of the remaining money around and we wanted to get draft picks. We felt like the best plan was to get a bunch of good arms and see what happened. It was bad execution because a few of the guys we got didn't perform early so it became a huge controversy. In hindsight we were a little naive how big a story it was going to become and how it was going to take on a life of its own in a detrimental fashion." Epstein still feels that utilization of late-inning matchups is, "in the absence of a clear-cut closer, … a fine strategy," but notes that "it can wreak havoc" if "the media and the public get involved."
- For different reasons, the current Red Sox club could see its own closer situation making headlines shortly, as WEEI.com's Victor Barbosa writes. Team president and CEO Larry Lucchino says that he "think[s] that there will be a controversy" when Joel Hanrahan returns, given the strong work of Andrew Bailey. But, he said, quite unlike the 2003 team, this one finds itself with more than one qualified closer. Lucchino praised the work of GM Ben Cherington and his staff in assembling the team's bullpen this past offseason, along with focusing on acquiring "good teammates who could perform in the crucible that is Boston and make this team likable but also good."
- Manager John Farrell says the team's decision to ship pitcher Alfredo Aceves to Triple-A is "performance-based, solely," reports the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber. Cherington echoed that sentiment, saying that Aceves "just has to pitch better," according to WEEI.com's Alex Speier. Cherington claims that, in spite of Aceves's demotion (and rumors that the team is looking to trade him), the team continues to believe that he can provide value in Boston. He called Aceves "a hard worker" that has "been a successful pitcher in the big leagues for more than one year."
- Regardless of what they do with Aceves, Boston will hold him to the requirement that he accept the assignment within 72 hours or risk his $2.65MM salary guarantee, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports on Twitter. (The club will, however, let him wait until Saturday, when Triple-A Pawtucket returns home, Heyman tweets.) Heyman further writes that, whatever Aceves's potential, the Red Sox should simply release him. Aceves not only has proven more trouble than he is worth to the team, says Heyman, but he figures to have minimal trade value at this point.
After tonight's win over the Athletics, the Red Sox informed Alfredo Aceves that he would be demoted to the club's Triple-A affiliate. The right-hander now has 72 hours to report to Pawtucket and indications are that the Red Sox will try to deal him, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).
Earlier today, Buster Olney of ESPN said in a radio interview that he spoke to one big league GM who believes that he club won't be able to get anything in return for the troubled pitcher. The Red Sox might be able to get salary relief in a deal involving Aceves, however, and Olney pointed to a club in search of bullpen help like the Angels could be a fit.
Aceves, 30, earns $2.6MM this season and isn't set to hit the open market until after the 2014 season. In parts of six big league seasons, Aceves owns a 3.82 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 176 relief appearances and 12 starts. A few teams were interested in dealing for the right-hander prior to Opening Day, but injuries to Franklin Morales and Craig Breslow coupled with Daniel Bard's issues meant that the Red Sox couldn't part with him.
Earlier today, ESPN's Buster Olney joined WEEI's Mut & Merloni to talk all things Red Sox and we have the highlights courtesy of Annie Maroon..
- One major league GM told Olney that the Red Sox would get nothing by trading pitcher Alfredo Aceves. His trade value is extremely low because of his reputation as a poor teammate, though it's conceivable that he could go elsewhere and rebound. The best Boston could do might be to get some salary relief for Aceves and a team starving for bullpen help like the Angels could be a fit.
- Rival teams were shocked that the Dodgers gave up both Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa in the blockbuster trade seeing as how they were taking so much dead money off of Boston's payroll. In fact, baseball people felt that Red Sox GM Ben Cherington pulled off one of the best trades in years, even when factoring in all of the talent he parted with.
- Olney sees Mike Napoli’s hip condition impacting the offers he’ll see as a free agent next year but he was surprised to see the catcher's deal affected so much by the hip issues this past offseason with the Red Sox. Olney expected another team to jump in while the deal was in limbo and steal him away, but that didn't happen. At the same time, it's possible that Napoli had other attractive offers on the table but decided that he liked the situation in Boston and the chance to show that he can provide value at first base.
The Marlins have an Opening Day, on-field payroll of just $36.1MM, about $58MM less than in 2012, Juan Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel notes. That the Marlins' team is dramatically less expensive than it was at this point last year is hardly news, but it's still startling to see a list of the team's players and their salaries, as Rodriguez provides here. After Ricky Nolasco at $11.5MM, the next-highest-paid Marlin is Placido Polanco, who will make $2.75MM.
- "A few teams" were interested in trading for Alfredo Aceves of the Red Sox, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes (on Twitter). But injuries to Franklin Morales and Craig Breslow, along with Daniel Bard's control problems, meant it wasn't possible for the Sox to deal Aceves.
- Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester isn't interested in discussing a contract extension during the season, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI. "If something did come up during the season I probably wouldn't listen," says Lester. "I don't want to deal with it. I think it's too much of a distraction." Lester will make $11.625MM in 2013, and the Red Sox have a $13MM option, with a $250K buyout, for Lester's services in 2014.
- The Blue Jays added plenty of talent this offseason, adding R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and others, but bold offseasons don't necessarily lead to big results, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com argues. McAdam points to the 2011 Red Sox (who did finish third, although they also won 90 games) and 2012 Marlins as examples of teams that have disappointed in the years following exciting offseasons.