Boston Red Sox Rumors

Boston Red Sox trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Red Sox Claim Jean Machi From Giants

The Red Sox announced that they have claimed right-handed reliever Jean Machi off waivers from the Giants. In order to clear room on the 40-man roster, right-hander Clay Buchholz has been transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL, meaning he can’t be activated until at least Sept. 9 (h/t: Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, on Twitter).

The 33-year-old Machi had a somewhat surprising breakout season in San Francisco’s bullpen in 2013, and over the ’13-’14 seasons he totaled a 2.49 ERA with 7.7 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9 in 119 1/3 innings of relief. However, he’s struggled a good deal in 2015, with an ERA of 5.14 in addition to K/9 and BB/9 rates that have taken significant steps backwards. He’s also missed about three weeks due to a groin strain.

On the plus side for Machi, his velocity (92.6 mph) is still about the same as it was in previous seasons. His ground-ball rate, while down a bit, is still an above-average 49.6 percent. The Red Sox will hope that the strong 119 1/3 innings he displayed from 2013-14 are more indicative of his talent level than the 35 poor innings he’s delivered in 2015. Machi figures to be a Super Two player this winter, as he’ll finish the year with two years, 154 days of big league service if he remains on Boston’s big league roster all year. The Sox will have the ability to control him through the 2019 season if he can rediscover the successful form he showed in recent seasons.


Ben Cherington On Shane Victorino, Rusney Castillo

Earlier this evening, the Red Sox and the Angels reached agreement on a deal to send Shane Victorino and cash considerations out west in exchange for infielder Josh Rutledge.  In a conference call with reporters, Red Sox Executive Vice President/GM Ben Cherington explained that the talks started only in the last few days.

The deal kind of came together over the weekend,” Cherington said. “I talked to Shane this afternoon during batting practice about it…He’s been a part of a lot of great moments, not just for the Red Sox, but throughout his career.”

The deal was not an easy one for Cherington to make and it has brought about some mixed emotions for the Flyin’ Hawaiian.  Victorino expressed to Cherington that he’s happy to have an opportunity to join up with a contender and play meaningful games down the stretch.  On the other hand, the veteran feels that his time in Boston marked a very important part of his career and he is sad to leave his Red Sox teammates behind.

Baseball-wise, the deal opens up space on the Red Sox’s roster, allowing them to get a good look at international signee Rusney Castillo.  While Cherington wouldn’t quantify how much that played a role in the Victorino trade, he said that it was “certainly” a consideration.  However, there aren’t any immediate plans to make a similar move to accommodate Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie is doing well. There’s merit and consideration in trying to get some opportunities for him too, but today it’s Castillo.  We’ll see where it goes after that,” said the GM.

As for Rutledge, Cherington confessed that he has had interest in the infielder “going back to his Colorado days.”  With Dustin Pedroia on the DL, the 26-year-old figures to see a good amount of playing time the rest of the way.  If he does well, Cherington says he can envision him “being a part of the team going forward.”

Outside of today’s transaction, Cherington kept mum about other possible dealings this week.  When asked about the level of interest he’s received in Mike Napoli, he effectively gave a no comment.  When another reporter inquired on what’s next, Cherington tersely replied, “[There’s] nothing to announce and nothing is particularly close.”


Angels Acquire Shane Victorino

5:20pm: Los Angeles will be responsible for $1.1MM of the $4.9MM or so left on the contract, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports on Twitter.

5:00pm: The Angels have acquired veteran outfielder Shane Victorino from the Red Sox, Boston announced (as first reported by Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reports on Twitter). Infielder Josh Rutledge will head to the Red Sox in the deal, while Boston will also send an unidentified amount of cash to Los Angeles.

May 15, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino (18) gets a high-five in the dugout after scoring a run against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Victorino, 34, is a switch-hitting corner outfielder who has done much more damage from the right side of the plate in recent years. That makes him a reasonable platoon candidate to pair with Matt Joyce, the left-handed-hitting corner outfielder who has historically been quite good against right-handed pitching.

There had been indications that Los Angeles was looking into a more impactful addition at the corner outfield — perhaps one that would put an everyday player into the spot. The team seemingly preferred a left-handed bat, per reports. That could still come to pass, of course, if the Angels are willing to cut Joyce loose and use Victorino as a pure fourth outfielder. Indeed, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets that the club still has interest in another outfield addition.

There’s around $4.5MM left on Victorino’s contract, which expires after the present season. It’s unclear exactly how much will remain the responsibility of the Red Sox.

For Boston, the deal was all about saving some cash and clearing roster space for a lengthy audition of major recent international signee Rusney Castillo. The 28-year-old has been recalled to take Victorino’s place on the active roster.

Rutledge, after all, has not even seen time yet at the big league level this year after joining the Angels in a winter trade. His star has dimmed considerably since a nice rookie campaign with the Rockies back in 2012, though he continues to put up solid numbers at Triple-A (.286/.336/.432) and could certainly find his way back to the majors in Boston.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Stark’s Latest: Giants, Hamels, Price, Orioles, Gallardo, Alvarez

The latest deadline rumblings from Jayson Stark of ESPN.com

  • The Giants are still searching for starting pitching, but they’re only looking at top-of-the-rotation arms to pair with Madison Bumgarner in a playoff rotation, Stark hears. San Francisco has checked in on both David Price and Cole Hamels, but they’re not considered a favorite to land Hamels from the Phillies, and there’s still no definitive sense that Price has been made available by the Tigers. Yesterday, Stark reported that the Dodgers and Rangers were emerging as the favorites in the Hamels market.
  • The Orioles are speaking with other clubs to get a feel for what kind of return they could get if they market Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, Wei-Yin Chen, Tommy Hunter and Bud Norris, Stark hears. However, rival clubs feel the O’s will only sell if they slide to six or more games back in the Wild Card race — and they’re 3.5 games out with four to play before the deadline at this time. If they make up a bit of ground, they could add a bat, but Stark says it’d likely be a bench piece as opposed to a bigger name. Baltimore GM Dan Duquette said last week he would be a buyer regardless of the team’s play, though others have suggested that the Orioles could still end up selling if they struggle enough.
  • Adding help that can be controlled beyond 2015 is the priority for the Rangers, which is why they’re targeting Hamels, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner while also listening to offers on Yovani Gallardo. However, according to Stark, those moves aren’t linked, and Texas could acquire a rotation piece for 2016 but also hang onto Gallardo. Personally, I think Gallardo’s pitched well enough to warrant a qualifying offer. A draft pick and improved odds of making a late run (especially if they do add another rotation arm) present enough value that the Rangers shouldn’t feel obligated to simply take the best offer for Gallardo if the proposed packages aren’t all that impressive.
  • The Pirates are now likely to hang onto Pedro Alvarez after shopping him without success for several weeks. They’ve asked the Brewers, White Sox and Rays about Adam Lind, Adam LaRoche and James Loney, respectively, but with Alvarez in the fold, they’re not likely to make a move at first. Stark adds that multiple sources downplayed the recent reports connecting Pittsburgh to the Red SoxMike Napoli.

Pirates Interested In Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino

The Pirates have considered acquiring Mike Napoli and/or Shane Victorino, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Twitter). Napoli hasn’t been successful at the plate lately but he has been decent defensively, Biertempfel notes.

The Bucs’ interest in Napoli might be a brand new development.  Late last week, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the Red Sox weren’t getting any interest in the struggling first baseman.  Napoli has hit just .205/.301/.372 in 335 plate appearances this season, well off the .818 OPS mark he carried through his first two seasons in Boston. If he can rebound, though, he might help the Pirates against lefties while also easing their dependence on Pedro Alvarez, who has struggled defensively in his first season at first base.

Victorino has been injured for much of the past two seasons and has more than $5MM remaining on his 2015 salary.  For his part, the 34-year-old says that he hopes to stay in Boston through the end of his contract. The right-handed Victorino would complement Gregory Polanco in right field, although Polanco has played better lately. Victorino could also potentially help the Pirates’ bench, although he hasn’t hit well in either of the last two seasons and has struggled since returning from a calf injury earlier this month. He’s making $13MM this season, after which he’ll be a free agent.


NL East Notes: Dietrich, Upton, Hamels, Papelbon

Cole Hamels fired a no-hitter against the Cubs in what could have been his final start for the Phillies. Cubs manager Joe Maddon thinks the studly performance will help the Phillies to land a top prospect, tweets Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Meanwhile, the Nationals welcomed back Anthony Rendon, and the Braves activated Freddie Freeman. Washington also expects Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman to return soon.

Here’s more from the NL East:

  • The Marlins have drawn trade interest in utility fielder Derek Dietrich, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Miami would move him for the right return. Rosenthal adds that some teams view him as a potential starter at second or third base. Dietrich is hitting .301/.378/.548 in 82 plate appearances at the top level this season. The Marlins have used him as a platoon bat against right-handed pitchers while Dee Gordon recovers.
  • The Mets were rumored to be in pursuit of Padres outfielder Justin Upton, but nothing is imminent, writes Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Upton is currently sidelined with a mild oblique strain. Lin lists Upton and Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes as the top hitters on the market. The Mets have the worst offense of any contender, although tonight’s outburst should help the season numbers. They’re currently third to last in team wRC+. The Phillies and White Sox are the only teams trailing New York. The acquisition of Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe will help, but only so much.
  • The market for Hamels includes the Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, and Rangers, writes Jayson Stark of ESPN. He mentions the Red Sox as non-traditional buyers with a desperate need to succeed in 2016. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald tweets that some Phillies talent evaluators are “very high” on prospect Manuel Margot.
  • Earlier today, we learned the Nationals were interested in Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. Add the Cubs and Blue Jays to the list of engaged clubs, writes Zolecki. Both Chicago and Toronto are practical fits for Papelbon who has said he won’t accept a trade to serve as a setup man. The Nationals would either need to change his mind or demote Drew Storen despite excellent performance.

Indians “Not Motivated” To Deal Starter; Dodgers, Red Sox Have Inquired

The Dodgers and Red Sox have expressed interest in the Indians group of controllable, high-quality starters, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. But Cleveland is “not motivated” to move an arm unless a “very compelling deal” is presented, per the report (and as GM Chris Antonetti recently said himself).

We heard yesterday that the Blue Jays were looking hard at Carlos Carrasco, with the Indians willing at least to listen. But it seems that Toronto’s efforts have fallen short, at least for the present.

It’s not surprising to hear that Cleveland is getting hits on its starters, which include Carrasco, reigning Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, and younger arms such as Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer. (Which particular pitchers are receiving the interest has not been reported.) With lengthy and affordable control over all of those pitchers, it would surely take a very significant offer to get something done.

While the Dodgers are an obvious buyer, the Red Sox are not — at least in the traditional sense. But we’ve heard that Boston is considering future-oriented buy-side moves, and that makes Cleveland an interesting potential trade partner.

While both of those clubs are obviously among the larger-budget teams in the sport, that doesn’t make productive, cost-controlled pitching any less valuable to them. Of course, Los Angeles and Boston are also among the organizations best-equipped to take on other salary commitments from the Indians in order to facilitate a trade.


Heyman On Padres, Tigers, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Sox, Reds, Marlins, Yankees

The real question facing the Padres at present is not whether to buy or sell, but how far to go in moving pieces, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. At least one rival GM expects the club to “sell big,” and Heyman says that San Diego is “offering around” closer Craig Kimbrel and starter James Shields, both of whom are under long-term control. While the former would figure to have a wide market, potentially including the Blue Jays, Nationals, and Dodgers, another GM says that he believes the club would have to chip in cash to move Shields. That may indicate that he could become an August trade piece, Heyman suggests, because he could well clear waivers. San Diego is interested in adding a young shortstop, he goes on to note, and has looked at several of the Brewers options (Jean Segura, Luis Sardinas, and top prospect Orlando Arcia).

Here are more highlights from the column:

  • Heyman hears that the Tigers are still weighing their options, too, and have not decided to sell. The club could even add an arm, he says, and is likely to see how its next two series play out before reaching a final conclusion.
  • While the Cubs are indeed willing to consider including Starlin Castro or Javier Baez in a deal for Cole Hamels of the Phillies, a source tells Heyman that the team would not be interested in moving both to add the lefty. Philadelphia’s plans for Hamels remain something of a mystery, but per the report the club may be backing down from its previous high-end demands from clubs like the Dodgers (Corey Seager or Julio Urias) and Red Sox (Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart).
  • There is now virtually no chance that Phillies lefty Cliff Lee will try to make it back this year, and he appears likely to retire over the winter.
  • As they approach the deadline and look ahead to free agency, the Cubs have some limitations on their spending capacity but will nevertheless try to add David Price (at least once he hits the open market). Meanwhile, the team has at least some interest in Reds starter Mike Leake as a trade piece but are somewhat hesitant to pursue rental options. While the Giants have plenty of rotation options, they too have considered Leake.
  • While we’ve just heard a suggestion that the Orioles could reverse course, Heyman says that they are still weighing outfield additions. The team has considered rental pieces like Marlon Byrd, Gerardo Parra, and Justin Upton. And he suggests that Carl Crawford or Shane Victorino could make sense as well; presumably, Baltimore would only be interested in either if their current clubs paid down a good bit of salary.
  • The Orioles intend to make qualifying offers after the season not only to Matt Wieters and Chris Davis, but also to lefty Wei-Yin Chen. The 30-year-old never seemed like a qualifying offer-level player, but was strong last year and has put up even better results in 2015 (while significantly outperforming his peripherals, it should be noted).
  • The Red Sox have received no trade interest in struggling first baseman Mike Napoli, says Heyman, but has gotten hits on Victorino as well as bullpen arms Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa.
  • The White Sox are looking to add some volume if they deal righty Jeff Samardzija, says Heyman. Chicago would like to pick up four young pieces in any trade.
  • While the Marlins have fielded interest in righty Tom Koehler and super utilityman Martin Prado, the club is not interested in dealing either player at present. Meanwhile, Miami is open to dealing veteran Dan Haren, but has rebuffed at least one club that asked for money to be sent along with him.
  • The Yankees are looking at both second base and top rotation candidates, says Heyman, but don’t feel a pressing need to add in either area. New York has no interest in veteran Diamondbacks infielder Aaron Hill, he adds.
  • Be sure to check out the rest of the piece for more notes on many of the teams around the league.

Red Sox Notes: Buchholz, Cherington, Rotation

A second opinion for Clay Buchholz from Dr. James Andrews confirmed that the right-hander does not need surgery, but he’ll received a platelet-rich plasma injection and won’t throw for five to six weeks, writes Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. As Mastrodonato points out, the Red Sox have a $13MM club option on Buchholz, so avoiding a serious injury is key for the right-hander. Buchholz hopes the option will be exercised — “I’ve definitely been here my whole career,” he said. “I don’t really want to go anywhere.” — and barring a significant injury, that seems like a foregone conclusion, Mastrodonato writes. Buchholz’s injury is a flexor strain, and the right-hander pointed to Royals lefty Jason Vargas as a reason to exercise caution: “I think it’s the exact same thing that [Royals starter Jason Vargas] got hurt the other day. That’s what he went on the DL for was flexor. Seeing that, that’s definitely not what I want to do. I’m going to take the time I need to take off for it to be better.” Vargas, of course, did originally hit the DL with a flexor strain, and he returned quickly, only he end up re-injuring his arm and requiring Tommy John surgery.

More Red Sox notes…

  • The team’s second-half woes have halted its pursuit of short-term starting pitching acquisitions, sources tell WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. The Sox had entertained the thought of a run at Johnny Cueto to give themselves an increased chance to sign him and to make a push in 2015, but that thinking has been tabled. Boston wasn’t involved in talks for Scott Kazmir, Bradford hears, although they had previously had some interest in him.
  • In a second piece, Bradford urges Red Sox GM Ben Cherington to send a message to a team that looks to have lost direction by committing to a big-name starting pitcher to front the rotation — even if it means a painful parting of ways with top prospects. The Red Sox in recent years have focused too much on what might be (prospect value) as opposed to what presently is, Bradford opines, and that philosophy has led the team to its current predicament.
  • Cherington met with the Boston media recently, and ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes has a number of highlights from his conversation, including Cherington’s thoughts on the team’s lack of front-line pitching and the possibility of moving Hanley Ramirez out of left field and to a new position. Cherington feels that Ramirez’s defense on the road is beginning to stabilize, though he admits that Ramirez faces challenges playing left field in Boston with the Green Monster. As far as the team’s rotation goes, the quest to add front-line pitching doesn’t end July 31, Cherington says, and the team will explore multiple avenues to try to acquire such an arm. He notes that the front office believes some pitchers currently in the organization could achieve the desired lofty heights. (That quote, in particular, is one that prompted the above-linked column from Bradford.)
  • Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald opines that despite all of the questions surrounding Rusney Castillo, Pablo Sandoval, Ramirez and the team’s pitching staff, the biggest question facing the Sox is whether or not Cherington is the right man to lead Boston to a sustainable run of success. Lauber praises Cherington for being accountable and placing the organization’s struggles on his own shoulders, but he also notes that such accountability is easier when owner John Henry recently gave his GM a large vote of confidence.
  • Shane Victorino hopes to remain with the Red Sox through the end of his current contract, he tells Bradford. As Bradford notes, even if the Red Sox do sell pieces, Victorino could very well remain in Boston, as he’s been injured for much of the past two seasons and has more than $5MM remaining on his 2015 salary.

Trade Notes: A’s, Gallardo, Reds, Jays, Padres, Victorino

The sense among the industry is that the Athletics are now “open for business,” tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. The A’s, Olney notes, have pieces that figure to draw widespread interest, including free-agents-to-be Scott Kazmir and Ben Zobrist. I’d add that Tyler Clippard is another impending free agent, and right-hander Jesse Chavez is a relatively short-term asset that’s broken out over the past 18 months as well. (Chavez is controlled through 2016.) Josh Reddick has drawn inquiry from the division-rival Angels, although reports at the time indicated that Oakland had no interest in moving its right fielder.

We’re nine days from the trade deadline, so trade action should escalate rapidly in the coming week. Here’s more from around the league…

  • FOX’s Ken Rosenthal wrote last night that the Rangers aren’t motivated to trade Mitch Moreland, and ESPN’s Jayson Stark hears the same thing (Twitter link). According to Stark, the only player that the Rangers are strongly marketing is right-hander Yovani Gallardo — another player who is eligible for free agency at season’s end. Gallardo is having a nice rebound season in his first year with Texas, and Moreland’s strong season has gone somewhat unheralded; the 29-year-old is batting .287/.333/.529 with 16 homers. He’s still struggling against lefties, though a bit less so than in previous years.
  • Via MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon (Twitter link), Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has spoken with a number of clubs about trades but has yet to receive what the Cincinnati front office considers to be a compelling offer. Said the veteran GM: “We’ve been talking with a lot of different people but we haven’t been receiving offers that have us wanting to commit.”
  • Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Blue Jays and Padres have had recent discussions about pitchers — both relievers and starters. San Diego starters Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, James Shields and Ian Kennedy have all seen their names surface on the rumor mill of late, though it would seem that Shields, at least, is too expensive for Toronto from a financial standpoint. Joaquin Benoit stands out, to me, as the most obvious trade candidate for the Padres in the bullpen.
  • Though the Mets are in need of outfield help, a source tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (Twitter link) that the Red SoxShane Victorino is of no interest to them. That’s not exactly shocking to hear, given Victorino’s $13MM salary and meager .247/.333/.306 batting line in 2015.