Boston Red Sox Rumors

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

Angels, A’s Talked Reddick, Zobrist Before Dipoto Resignation

10:16pm: The A’s gave the Halos “a flat ‘no'” when Reddick was brought up, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports adds. Notably, per the report, Los Angeles also inquired about Ben Zobrist, adding to the laundry list of teams with at least some interest in the useful veteran.

5:44pm: The Angels have been on the lookout for corner outfield help, and MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports that the team had discussions with the Athletics regarding Josh Reddick prior to the resignation of now-former Angels GM Jerry Dipoto (all links to Twitter). According to Gonzalez, the Angels tried to get the Red Sox involved to act as a liaison — acting in a similar fashion to the Dodgers in the team’s essential three-team Howie Kendrick trade this winter — but Boston wasn’t interested.

Specific names that were discussed haven’t been revealed, but Gonzalez reports that talks never got too far off the ground. However, the report is interesting in light of Reddick’s more recent comments regarding the Athletics’ front office and his playing time (or lack thereof) against left-handed pitching. Via CSN Bay Area’s Joe Stiglich, Reddick expressed frustration recently that he’s been held out of the lineup against left-handed pitching. In a radio appearance with Ray Fosse on 95.7 The Game in Oakland, Reddick was not shy about voicing some displeasure:

“It doesn’t come from anywhere in this clubhouse. Everybody knows what situations our general manager puts up there. … There’s probably so many numbers they could dig into their computers with and try to find one just to keep me out of the lineup. … I know [manager] Bob [Melvin]’s in there fighting for me. The other day I was supposed to play against De La Rosa, and Bob texts me at around 1:30 and told me he had been ‘trumped,’ was the word he used. I understood right away. … It still frustrates me beyond belief when I don’t play.”

Melvin told Stiglich that he is the one responsible for the lineup card, not the front office, and that he “got ahead of himself” in telling Reddick he’d be playing that day. “…I backtracked and told him you’re not playing now. And maybe to an extent he thought I was so-called trumped.”

Reddick did walk his comments back slightly, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports, though he did not waver from his feelings on playing time. “Bottom line, I want to be out there every day, no matter who’s on the mound,” said Reddick. “That was the message. How it came out may not have been how I wanted it to come out. Some miscommunication between me and Bob. I probably just assumed too much. … Who knows at this point how things are worked out? But I talked to Bob and we got a handle on it between the two of us.”

Platoons have long been commonplace in Oakland, and it seems that players there generally buy into the idea of part-time roles, though it’s not surprising to hear that any player would want to be in the lineup on a more regular basis. Reddick’s struggles against left-handed pitching, though, have been extensive. He’s batting .329/.384/.527 against righties this year but just .159/.227/.232 in 75 plate appearances against lefties. While a 75-PA sample is far too small to make a full assessment, Reddick’s lifetime slash line against same-handed pitching is .220/.283/.379, and the vast majority of that production came back in 2011-12. It’s certainly possible that fewer reps and more limited exposure to left-handed pitching have caused his skills in that regard to diminish, of course, but dating back to 2013, Reddick is hitting .198/.276/.296 in 328 turns at bat vs. lefties.

To what extent the Angels will remain interested following the abrupt departure of Dipoto isn’t known. The team still has a need to acquire left-handed bats and has received only a collective .220/.279/.319 batting line from its left fielders in 2015. Reddick is primarily a right fielder — and a good one at that, though defensive marks are a bit down on him in 2015 — so perhaps Kole Calhoun could slide to left field in the event that the division rivals match up down the road.

As for the A’s, it remains to be seen how interested the club will be in dealing away Reddick if it comes time to sell. The 28-year-old is controllable for another season through arbitration after earning a rather reasonable $4.1MM this year. Players like Ben Zobrist and Scott Kazmir have received more attention as possible trade pieces, in large part because they will become free agents after the season. But Oakland will surely at least entertain the possibility of a move involving Reddick, who could be in fairly high demand.


Minor MLB Transactions: 7/6/15

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Mariners have released utilityman Willie Bloomquist, the club announced (via MLB.com’s Greg Johns, on Twitter). Bloomquist was designated for assignment recently after a tough .159/.194/.174 start to the season. Seattle will owe the versatile defender the rest of his $3MM salary for the year.
  • The Red Sox outrighted right-hander Zeke Spruill after recently designating him, per a club announcement (h/t to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, via Twitter). As he’s never before been outrighted and has little service time, Spruill did not have the opportunity to elect free agency after clearing waivers. The 25-year-old will continue working at Triple-A, where he’s worked 53 1/3 innings with a 5.40 ERA with 3.9 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9 over 53 1/3 innings for Pawtucket.

East Notes: Ramirez, KBO, Red Sox

Matt Harvey is just the latest reminder that recovery from Tommy John surgery is a process, Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com writes.  In his comeback campaign, the Mets pitcher has had flashes of brilliance but he has also struggled at times.

It’s definitely hard,” Harvey said after Saturday’s loss to the Dodgers. “It’s like one batter to the next batter, the arm slot, staying back, just trusting that my arm will stay healthy. It’s been a lot different than I thought it was going to be.

John Smoltz, who will be the first pitcher to have had the surgery to enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame, has talked with Mets skipper Terry Collins about the best way to manage a pitcher coming back from TJ.  In time, Smoltz believes that Harvey will return to his old form.  Here’s more from the East divisions..

  • The Mets tried hard to pry Manny Ramirez from the Red Sox a decade ago and at one point it seemed like there was a good chance of a deal happening, as David Lennon of Newsday writes.  “We weren’t able to match up and give them enough,” former Mets exec Jim Duquette said. “They were looking for more younger players in return. We wanted them to give more money. We weren’t going to take the full freight on that one. I don’t think they thought [Lastings] Milledge was the right guy. That’s why we were trying to bring in a third team.”
  • Ex-Blue Jays pitcher Scott Richmond has been embroiled in a nightmare legal battle with the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization League, as Shi Davidi of Sportsnet writes.  The pitcher signed a guaranteed one-year, $700K deal with the KBO team in 2013 but he has yet to receive a dime of that money.  Richmond was good to go for the start of the season after suffering a knee injury, but he was turned away without payment.  RJ Hernandez, Richmond’s representative at Legacy, believes that this situation will dissuade other players from going overseas, particularly if the pitcher is unsuccessful in his suit.
  • For months, there has been talk about the Red Sox‘s need for an ace.  Right now, Clay Buchholz looks the part and he could be a big difference maker for Boston, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes.


Cafardo’s Latest: Revere, Kennedy, Hamels, Jays

The Angels were first linked to Ben Revere in trade rumors in May but the rumors almost became a reality.  Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Phillies and Angels came close a few weeks ago on a trade that would’ve sent Revere to Anaheim for right-hander Trevor Gott.  The Phils thought the deal was done but the Halos “pulled out of the deal at the last minute and tried to redirect the Phillies toward a starting pitching prospect.”  Talks fell through after that.  Here’s some more from Cafardo’s weekly notes column, with a particular focus on news from Toronto…

  • Ian Kennedy has a 2.31 ERA over his last six starts and the Padres right-hander has begun to generate some trade interest in his services.  Kennedy had an ugly 7.15 ERA over his first eight starts and owns a 4.86 ERA for the season, though his peripherals (8.51 K/9, 3.04 K/BB rate, 3.74 xFIP, 3.70 SIERA) are are pretty solid, aside from a 22.1% homer rate that more than double his career average.  Kennedy is a free agent this winter and would be a natural trade chip for San Diego if the Friars decided to sell.
  • Cole Hamels has publicly said he’s willing to consider deals to any team but is reportedly unlikely to waive his no-trade clause if he’s dealt to the Astros or Blue Jays.  Cafardo wonders if Hamels would remain adamant against a move to Houston or Toronto, however, if those were the only deals on the table and his only avenues away from the rebuilding Phillies.
  • Attracting free agents north of the border has long been an issue for the Blue Jays, as Cafardo cites higher taxes, customs delays and the Rogers Centre’s artificial surface as factors that can sometimes make Toronto a tough sell.  (Josh Donaldson and Jose Reyes both praised their city, though Reyes admitted he isn’t a fan of the turf.)  The bigger problem for the Jays, however, is that they have barely contended since their last playoff appearance in 1993.  “It just seems GM Alex Anthopoulos has to go through corporate layers to OK big expenditures, slowing the process considerably,” Cafardo writes.  “Players always want to know that their ownership is doing all it can to produce a winner.”
  • Braves closer Jason Grilli is one of the Blue Jays‘ targets as the team looks for bullpen help.  Grilli would cost less in both salary and trade chips than Jonathan Papelbon or Francisco Rodriguez, two closers who have also been connected to the Jays this summer.  Atlanta isn’t yet looking to move Grilli, however, as the team is still in the race.
  • Other have asked the Blue Jays about several players in trade talks, including young talent like Miguel Castro, Daniel Norris, Roberto Osuna, Kevin Pillar, Dalton Pompey, Aaron Sanchez and Devon Travis.
  • “Every indication is that” R.A. Dickey is in his last year with the Blue Jays, as the team will either use their $1MM buyout of Dickey’s $12MM club option for 2016 or Dickey may just retire.  The 40-year-old knuckleballer had a tough start today against the Tigers and now owns a 5.02 ERA over 107 2/3 innings this season.
  • Jeff Samardzija “may be the first starting pitcher moved ahead of the trading deadline” since “scouts are constantly at his games,” Cafardo writes.  The White Sox aren’t ready to start selling yet, but they’ll find a strong market for Samardzija’s services that includes the Royals, Astros and Tigers.  (Cafardo cited several more teams in the Samardzija market in his column last week.
  • Nobody knows what the Red Sox are going to do because they don’t know what they’re going to do,” one NL executive said.  Boston has played modestly better as of late, winning 10 of its last 16 games, though the Sox are still just 38-45 on the season.  Koji Uehara is cited by the executive as one of “a few players teams would want” if the Red Sox decided to start selling.  The team is known to be looking for young pitching on the trade market.

Trade Market Notes: Zobrist, Hamels, Tulo, Orioles

We’ve already heard that the Mets and Athletics have had discussions regarding the former’s interest in utility man par excellence Ben Zobrist. And New York GM Sandy Alderson has said that he is “prepared to overpay” for the right piece to boost the club’s sagging offense. In a post today, Joel Sherman of the New York Post connected those two stories, reporting that the Mets are specifically willing to offer a premium return for Zobrist. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams explained in the above-linked piece regarding the Mets’ interest, it’s easy to see why that would be the case: he potentially offers a solution at second, third, and/or the corner outfield, all while delivering the type of on-base threat that Alderson prizes. As Sherman goes on to explain, however, in spite of New York’s apparent willingness to go past what it deems fair value for the veteran, Oakland has not made him available. With the team surging in the AL West, A’s GM Billy Beane “has tempered sell-off talks, at least for now,” per the report.

Here are some more recent trade deadline notes:

  • Despite recent public comments indicating that he’d consider a trade to any club, Cole Hamels of the Phillies has privately indicated to the team that he is not interested in going to the Blue Jays, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Hamels also appears unlikely to waive his no-trade clause for a move to the Astros, Heyman notes. But he would be amenable to being sent to the Red Sox “and possibly a few others,” per the report.
  • Even if the Rockies are otherwise willing to move franchise star Troy Tulowitzki, writes Heyman, his value is down so far that a rival GM says he’s not sure another team would take on the rest of his contract — even before considering giving up pieces in return. And a source tells Heyman that owner Dick Monfort is exceedingly unlikely to keep a significant piece of that deal in order to get more value from Tulo. Yet another general manager said that Tulowitzki has not exhibited the same “lower half explosiveness” that he did before undergoing hip surgery last year.
  • Heyman has items from much of the rest of the league, with a particular focus on possible sellers, in the column. It’s well worth a full read.
  • After entering the year with eleven free agents-to-be on the roster, the Orioles have pared that down to eight after designating Delmon Young, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com observes. The team still has little interest in moving any of those players in order to get some value back before they hit the market: as Kubatko puts it, “the Orioles are going for it again.” That makes deals involving lefty Wei-Yin Chen, slugger Chris Davis, or catcher Matt Wieters are highly unlikely, despite the fact that all are set to hit the open market. “[Chen] can help us win a championship and he’ll be here,” said manager Buck Showalter of his team’s best starter this season. “There aren’t many left-handed starters who are in the top 10 in ERA floating around and we couldn’t trade him for someone better.”

Red Sox Designate Zeke Spruill

The Red Sox have designated righty Zeke Spruill for assignment, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports on Twitter. His 40-man spot was needed for the promotion of Noe Ramirez.

The 25-year-old has worked exclusively at Triple-A this year for Boston, which acquired him from the Diamondbacks on the same day the Wade Miley deal went down. He owns a 5.40 ERA with 3.9 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9 over 53 1/3 innings for Pawtucket.

Spruill had spent time with the D’Backs in each of the last two seasons. In total, he’s thrown 34 big league frames, posting a 4.24 ERA and striking out 23 batters while issuing nine walks.


Red Sox Prioritizing Young Arms Controlled Beyond 2015 In Trades

Rumors connecting the Red Sox and Cole Hamels have been circulating for months, with the lack of an ace atop their rotation being a common refrain. However, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Hamels and fellow established ace Johnny Cueto are unlikely candidates for the Sox, as their top priority heading into the trade deadline is to target younger arms that are under control beyond the 2015 season. Neither Cueto nor Hamels fits that mold, as Cueto is a free agent at season’s end and Hamels is 31 years of age.

The Red Sox are looking at both starters and relievers in their search for pitching, according to Bradford, which widens the array of possible trade targets even further. There’s little sense in speculating which arms will land on Boston’s wish list, though recent reports have indicated that one pitcher who meets this criteria, Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray, is off limits as the deadline nears. Assistant GM David Forst said point blank in a recent radio appearance (h/t: CSN Bay Area’s Joe Stiglich): Sonny Gray‘s not going anywhere.”

Boston has employed this approach recently, acquiring young starters Joe Kelly and Wade Miley in separate trades over the past calendar year, though the results have been mixed, at best. Miley got off to a rough start in his tenure as a member of the Red Sox, but he’s been very good since May 1, working to a 3.41 ERA in 68 2/3 innings. The results for Kelly haven’t been as promising; the former Cardinal has a 4.96 ERA in 24 starts with the Sox due to shaky control and a hittable fastball, all of which contributed to the decision to option the hard-throwing righty to Triple-A Pawtucket last month.

GM Ben Cherington and his staff will have multiple avenues to explore in an attempt to achieve this goal. As we saw last July, the Sox moved veteran righty John Lackey in order to acquire Kelly along with first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig. In the offseason, Miley was acquired for young righties Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa. Boston’s been willing to deal from its farm system and its Major League roster in order to pull in this type of pitcher, and the front office should again be able to go either route. The Sox have a rich, if somewhat depleted farm system that includes the likes of Manuel Margot, Henry Owens, Garin Cecchini, Brian Johnson and Rafael Devers, among others. Similarly, however, there are veteran pieces on the team that would figure to fetch a nice return. Clay Buchholz has been outstanding of late, and late-inning righties Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa have both performed well in 2015. Perhaps none of those names could fetch a premier young arm on their own, but any could be paired with young talent to facilitate a deal.

Boston also has the type of Major League ready talent that many clubs covet around the diamond. We’ve heard multiple times that Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Blake Swihart are each likely untouchable, but perhaps the Sox would reconsider if a tantalizing enough pitcher were to be dangled from a trade partner. Other MLB-ready pieces that may be easier to acquire could include Jackie Bradley Jr. and Deven Marrero, both of whom are appealing but likely have lower ceilings than the aforementioned young talent.

Boston is currently 36-44, placing them last in the AL East and seven behind the Orioles for the division lead. Of course, the entire AL East is essentially up for grabs, with the Orioles, Yankees, Blue Jays and Rays all separated by only a game and a half in the standings.


Red Sox Sign Andrew Benintendi, Austin Rei

10:23pm: Boston has announced the signings of both Benintendi and third-rounder Austin Rei. The catcher will receive an at-slot, $724,400 bonus, Callis tweets.

Rei is a defensive specialist; indeed, Callis calls his work behind the plate the best of all this year’s draft-eligible collegians. The questions come with the bat, though there are signs that Rei can contribute on offense. As MLB.com wrote in ranking him 87th on its board, Rei rates solidly in terms of bat speed and approach.

10:30am: The Red Sox have agreed to terms with No. 7 overall draft pick Andrew Benintendi, reports MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). The lefty-swinging outfielder out of the University of Arkansas will receive the full slot bonus of $3,590,400, per Callis, who feels that Benintendi possessed the best all-around tools of any college hitter in this year’s draft class.

Andrew Benintendi

Callis and colleague Jonathan Mayo ranked Benintendi eighth among draft prospects, while Benintendi ranked ninth per Baseball America and per Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs. ESPN’s Keith Law ranked Benintendi a bit lower at No. 21, though he noted that, “No one has improved his stock this spring more than the sophomore draft-eligible Benintendi…” which is lofty but likely deserved praise after Benintendi led the SEC in OBP, homers and slugging percentage.

Callis and Mayo praised Benintendi’s smooth swing and ability to consistently barrel up the ball. That’s complemented by plus speed, the MLB.com duo notes, giving Benintendi a chance to be a base-stealing threat and to stick in center field. BA notes that Benintendi didn’t play summer ball last year and wasn’t even on some clubs’ radars entering the season, but he quickly caused a “who’s-who of scouting directors and front-office officials” to fly in to watch his performance as the season progressed. McDaniel pegs the potential of each of Benintendi’s five tools as solid-average or better, and BA notes that the only real knocks on the 5’10” outfielder are his size and lack of a lengthier track record.

With Benintendi’s agreement in place, eight of the Top 10 picks in this year’s draft have either signed or agreed to terms, though just three have signed for the full slot value of their pick. (Minnesota’s Tyler Jay and Philadelphia’s Cornelius Randolph are the others.)

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


AL East Notes: Buchholz, Donaldson, Warren, Norris

Though Clay Buchholz figures to draw plenty of interest on this year’s trade market, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald opines that the Red Sox should be steadfast in their refusal to trade him. Lauber notes that Buchholz, earning $12MM in 2015, is slated to earn $13MM and $13.5MM via club options over the next two seasons — bargain rates for a pitcher with his talent, even if it comes with inconsistency and injury risk. Meanwhile, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal takes a different approach, opining that the Red Sox owe it to themselves to at least entertain offers for Buchholz. MacPherson looks back to last year’s return for 1.5 years of Jeff Samardzija and notes that 2.5 years of Buchholz could bring a similarly strong return. Though the team will need pitching in 2015, MacPherson writes that Buchholz’s value is unlikely to ever be higher, and a team willing to pay for the type of pitching he’s been doing over his past 10 starts (2.33 ERA) may very well make too good of an offer to refuse. MacPherson wonders if old friends Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, now with the Cubs, would be interested in parting with some premium young talent to acquire Buchholz.

A few more notes from the AL East…

  • Prior to the Red Sox‘ signing of Pablo Sandoval last year, the team inquired with the Athletics about Josh Donaldson but were told he was not available, reports Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. That would seem to line up, to some extent, with comments from A’s officials early last winter indicating that little consideration would be given to moving Donaldson. (“That would be stupid,” one official told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser last October.) Donaldson, of course, wound up with the division-rival Blue Jays and is enjoying a monster season.
  • With Ivan Nova now healthy and back in the Yankees‘ rotation, Adam Warren will shift into the team’s bullpen, the right-hander tells Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. As Feinsand notes, Warren was the likeliest candidate to do so, given his recent success in the bullpen and the fact that he’s already exceeded last year’s innings total while working as a starter.
  • Bud Norris has struggled a good deal for the Orioles this season, but there’s no current talk of removing him from Baltimore’s rotation, writes Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Some have speculated that Norris is pressing in light of his upcoming free agency, and as Connolly writes, Norris indirectly touched on that topic following another rough start Monday. “I don’t know where my future’s gonna take me,” he said. “All know is I can handle what’s in front of me right now and trying to work through this is the No. 1 priority and getting back out there and helping my team win games.” Norris said he’s not worried about the possibility of losing a starting spot to Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright or Tyler Wilson, but Connolly wonders how long the club will stick with the struggling veteran.
  • Manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli, that the Orioles are trying to get Norris on a roll. “That’s what we’re trying to do,” said Showalter. “He has some periods where he’s pitched well, but not as consistent as he did for a long period of time last year, and will again. I try to keep in mind we haven’t even played half the season yet and Bud will do some good things for us.”

Erik Kratz Elects Free Agency

Catcher Erik Kratz has elected free agency after being outrighted off the Red Sox’ 40-man roster, reports  Brian Macpherson of the Providence Journal (on Twitter). Kratz was designated for assignment by the Red Sox late last week once Blake Swihart recovered from a minor injury.

A career .217/.270/.400 hitter, the 35-year-old Kratz has proven himself capable of hitting for power but at the cost of questionable batting average and OBP marks. Defensively, Kratz’s 31 percent caught-stealing rate is above average, and he’s received plus ratings in terms of pitch framing.

Kratz and his agents at Metis Sports Management will now have the opportunity to seek a deal with any club in need of depth and/or immediate help behind the plate. The Mariners, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter), are one team that could be a possible landing spot.