Author Archives: Zach Links

Cafardo On D’Backs, Red Sox, Lester, Nava

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at some of the recently suggestions put forth by Red Sox chairman Tom Werner to help make the game more marketable to young people.

Too many people are leaving games in the sixth and seventh innings because they can’t watch 3½-hour games, so they’re leaving the game at the point where the game should be getting exciting,” Werner said. “You wouldn’t make a 3½-hour movie. The NFL makes changes almost on an annual basis. They’re considering making the extra point from 35 yards rather than from the 8-yard line… I respect tradition, but I don’t revere it.”

Among Werner’s ideas: instituting a pitch clock, limiting the number of times a batter can step out of the box, and putting a cap on the number of catcher and pitching coach visits to the mound.  More from today’s column..

  • Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson could be on the hot seat and there has been a lot of speculation about Joe McEwing, a third base coach with the White Sox, or Mike Aldrete, the bench coach for the Cardinals.  If Gibson is canned it would mark Tony La Russa‘s first big decision but GM Kevin Towers would also likely to have a say.
  • In a chat with Cafardo, David Ross spoke glowingly of the amenities or “little things” that the Red Sox do for their players and Cafardo wonders if that could keep Jon Lester in Boston beyond this season.  Lester’s family was always taken care of the team’s traveling secretary and while other teams can offer similar services, the consensus among players who have been multiple places is that Red Sox and Yankees are the teams that offer more to their players.
  • Ross tells Cafardo that even though there have been no contract talks with the Red Sox yet, he would like to return.  Boston would certainly love for him to keep working with Christian Vazquez, but Ross’s recent bout with plantar fasciitis has slowed him.  Ross is finishing up a two-year, 6.2MM deal.
  • Daniel Nava drew interest from the Tigers and had interest from the Royals before they traded for Josh Willingham, but he has yet to be put on waivers.  It’s not a certainty that he’ll clear and but the Red Sox will likely put him on revocable waivers later in the month to see what type of interest he’ll get.  The Sox’ outfield looks crowded next season with Allen Craig, Jackie Bradley Jr., Shane Victorino, Yoenis Cespedes, Mookie Betts, and Brock Holt all in the mix so it makes sense to see what can be had for Nava.
  • In a separate tweet, Cafardo reports Nava, Mike Napoli, Koji Uehara, and Will Middlebrooks have been placed on revocable waivers.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Cahill, Gose, Swisher

On this date in 2008, Josh Hamilton became only the sixth major leaguer to be intentionally walked with the bases loaded.  Rays manager Joe Maddon’s decision to give the Rangers slugger a run-producing free pass in the ninth inning proved to be successful when Tampa Bay went on to win the game in Arlington, 7-4.  Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere..

Please send submissions to Zach at ZachBBWI@gmail.com.


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Orioles, D’Backs, Buchholz

On this date in 2006, Red Sox ace Curt Schilling surrendered ten extra-base hits to the Royals, tying an American League record.  The nine doubles and homer equals the dubious mark set by Dale Gear (1901 Senators) and Luis Tiant (1969 Indians).  Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere..

Please send submissions to Zach at ZachBBWI@gmail.com.



West Notes: Goldschmidt, Angels, Sizemore, Dodgers

Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt is likely out the rest of the season after being hit in the hand by Pirates reliever Ernesto Frieri, AZCentral.com’s Nick Piecoro tweets. After finishing second in NL MVP balloting in 2013, Goldschmidt was in the midst of a strong follow-up season, batting .300/.396/.542 in 479 plate appearances. Here’s more from the West divisions.

  • The Angels were counting on the returning C.J. Wilson to have the same effect as a major trade deadline pickup but that wasn’t the case in his outing last night, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
  • The A’s could be in need of infield depth after Nick Punto suffered a hamstring injury and Susan Slusser of San Francisco Chronicle hears that they were talking with Scott Sizemore‘s agent even before the injury.  Sizemore was released by the Yankees on Friday.  Sizemore has seen time in parts of four MLB seasons, with his best work coming in 2011 when he compiled a .245/.342/.399 line through 429 plate appearances with the Tigers and Athletics.
  • Despite rumors to the contrary, top Dodgers prospects Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, and Julio Urias stayed put through the trade deadline. “If we didn’t think Joc, Corey or Urias had a chance to be impact players, they’d be out of here,” Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.  The Dodgers were linked to several high-end trade candidates, including David Price.

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.


AL East Notes: Red Sox, Price, Prado, Smyly, Johnson

Joe Kelly first found out that John Lackey was traded to the Cardinals on Twitter and, 15 minutes later, learned he was part of the package heading to the Red Sox in return, writes Rob Harms of the Boston Globe.  “Hectic,” Kelly said of the deadline’s personal impact on him. “It’s something that happens in baseball, and, like I said, it could happen to anyone. When I got the news I was definitely shocked and surprised, but I found out it was Boston, and I figured it was one great baseball town to another. So definitely looking forward to it.”  More out of the AL East..

  • Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman says that if he waited until the winter to deal David Price, the return would have been somewhere between “a good bit less to dramatically less,” writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.  While some see their haul for the ace pitcher as light, Topkin says that in reality, they were pleased to get as much as they did.
  • There’s no reason for Red Sox GM Ben Cherington to stop wheeling and dealing now, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. The Red Sox already have shipped out 11 of the 25 players who were on their World Series roster only nine months ago, but Lauber is dreaming big and thinking of names like Giancarlo Stanton and Chris Sale.
  • Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal breaks down the questions the Red Sox still need to answer in the aftermath of their recent roster maneuvers.
  • The Yankees are helping Martin Prado through his “strange” transition to a new team and new position, writes Brendan Kuty of the Star-Ledger.  Prado hadn’t taken a single practice fly ball in right field this season even though that’s his new spot. The veteran mostly played third base and left field while with the Braves and Diamondbacks.
  • While he knows that he has “very big” shoes to fill, Drew Smyly is excited to be a member of the Rays, Topkin writes.
  • Jim Johnson is now free to sign with any club after his release by the A’s Friday. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes the Orioles maintain a high level of interest in signing their former closer to a minor league deal, but are not the only team pursuing the right-hander.
  • Johnson will throw a side session for the Orioles tomorrow in Sarasota in front of rehab pitching coordinator Scott McGregor, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


Cafardo On Blue Jays, Kemp, Red Sox, Stanton

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that the waiver deadline period could produce some significant deals around baseball. The Phillies probably won’t find deals for Jonathan Papelbon (contract) and Cliff Lee (health concerns plus contract) but A.J. Burnett could conceivably be moved.  Meanwhile, the Blue Jays continue to, as one executive said to Cafardo, “kick the tires on just about everything but never seem to do anything.”  More from today’s column..

  • The Red Sox may have been scouting Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, but their dialogue with the Dodgers was virtually nonexistent despite the constant rumors connecting the two.  The Dodgers, Cafardo writes, were never going to deal Kemp, who has been one of their best right-handed hitters.
  • The Dodgers were also never really in on Red Sox hurlers Jon Lester or John Lackey but really wanted Andrew Miller and came close to giving Boston one of their best pitching prospects for him.
  • It seems as if the Red Sox and other teams have finally come to the realization that Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton isn’t going anywhere and that could be a reason why the Red Sox obtained Yoenis Cespedes, who obviously isn’t as good but has the power and athleticism to improve. For now, he seems to feel that Miami is moving in the right direction and appears to be all in on staying with the Marlins.
  • The buzz around baseball is that the Cubs will be all in on Jon Lester.  Cubs president Theo Epstein, GM Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod were in Boston with Lester during his trying times.  Also, the Cubs will have to rebuild their rotation at some point and adding Lester would be a major, major step in that direction.

Yankees Notes: Robertson, Ackley, Prado

The Yankees bullpen has emerged from Mariano Rivera‘s shadow to carve out their own place, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. “Those two guys, they are amazing,” catcher Francisco Cervelli said of Dellin Betances and David Robertson. “If they’re facing, in the seventh or eighth, a guy throwing 100, and then Robertson comes in at 91 with cutters and curveballs, it’s difficult timing.”  More on the Bombers..

  • Before acquiring Martin Prado from the Diamondbacks on Thursday, the Yankees inquired about the Mariners’ Dustin Ackley, according to George A. King III of the New York Post.  However, those talks ended when the M’s asked for minor league right-hander Bryan Mitchell because the Yankees view the 23-year-old right-hander as a rotation candidate either this year or next.
  • Robertson continues to lock up saves and Yankees GM Brian Cashman should lock up the closer, writes Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.  The Yankees broke their long-standing rule of not extending players beyond their current contracts when they inked Brett Gardner to a four-year, $52MM deal during spring training and that’s looking like a smart move now.  Now that Robertson has proven himself to be a strong closer, the Bombers should make sure he’s there for the long haul.
  • The Yankees‘ acquisition of Prado means that they can be more patient in getting Carlos Beltran back from injury, writes Roger Rubin of the Daily News.

Pirates Sign Jayson Nix

The Pirates announced that they have signed outfielder Jayson Nix.  The veteran is expected to be active for today’s game against the Diamondbacks.  To make room for Nix, the Bucs designated Dean Anna for assignment.

Nix signed with Tampa Bay in January as a non-roster player before being shipped to the Phillies in March for cash.  The Phillies went on to outright Nix in May, allowing him to return to the Rays, who released him late last week from their Triple-A affiliate.  Nix, who turns 32 later this month, was originally drafted 44th overall by the Rockies in 2001 and he’s suited up for six different franchises over his seven years in the majors.

The Pirates claimed Anna, 27, off waivers from the Yankees in July after he was DFA’d.  He hasn’t set the world on fire this season but he’s only a year removed from being a Pacific Coast League All-Star and leading the PCL in batting average while producing a .331/.410/.482 line in 132 games for the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Cespedes, Price, Angels

On this date in 1987, home plate umpire Tim Tschida threw out Twins pitcher Joe Niekro after discovering an emery board in his possession (here’s footage of the incident).  The 42 year-old knuckleballer received an automatic ten-day suspension from the American League for defacing the ball.  Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere..

Please send submissions to Zach at ZachBBWI@gmail.com.


Dodgers Interested In John Lackey

The Dodgers are investigating every top available starter, including Red Sox veteran John Lackey, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  Of course, the Dodgers are also looking into the likes of Cole Hamels, David Price, and Lackey’s teammate, Jon Lester.

Lackey’s Tommy John surgery in 2012 triggered a $500K option for the 2015 season due to an injury clause in his contract, so he could provide a boost for the Dodgers beyond this season.  In 21 starts this season, Lackey owns a 3.60 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.  Meanwhile, Lackey’s xFIP of 3.35 also suggests that he’s throwing the ball well.

Rosenthal reported earlier today that Boston is getting “hit hard” on both Lester and Lackey.  Lester would likely require a hefty trade package including a top prospect but Lackey represents a more affordable option for teams chatting with the Red Sox.