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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.
Jon Lester has emerged as perhaps the most sought after name on the trade market, and there will be plenty of buzz about him in the next three days. We’ll track all of today’s Lester updates in this post…
- The Red Sox are open to trading both Lester and Lackey for the right returns, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Multiple major league sources tell Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that it looks as though the Red Sox’s decision to trade Lester will most likely be made close to the 3pm CT deadline on July 31st, with the likelihood of a deal gaining steam. One source says the Red Sox are unlikely to re-engage in talks with Lester’s representatives prior to the deadline.
- The Red Sox, major league sources tell Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe, have been informed what kind of contract Lester is seeking and that has coincided with the team putting its ace on the trade market.
- The Red Sox are getting “hit hard” on both Lester and John Lackey, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link), and teams within the AL East are among those showing interest. Lackey’s contract contains a club option for the league minimum in 2015 that triggered after he missed a year of his current contract due to Tommy John surgery.
- Indeed, Rosenthal’s colleague Jon Paul Morosi tweets that the Orioles have reached out to Boston to express interest in Lester. Baltimore certainly has the pitching depth to make a push for Lester, although they’ve shown a past reluctance to part with any of Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Hunter Harvey or Eduardo Rodriguez.
- Rosenthal also tweets that the Mariners have inquired on Lester, who is a native of Tacoma. The M’s have been connected to David Price since the offseason, but Lester would come with a slightly lower cost of acquisition given his proximity to free agency. Seattle has plenty of minor league talent as well, though top pitching prospects Taijuan Walker and James Paxton have both dealt with injuries in 2014.
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has exasperated many trade partners with his negotiating style, executives tell Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Those execs say the M’s frequently inquire on a number of players, only to shift direction when a deal appears within reach. That’s not unusual for teams to do, but rival officials say Jack Z has become one of the most difficult GMs in the sport with whom to do business. In a lengthy email to FOX Sports, the Mariners GM responded by saying that the in-and-out nature of his trade conversations are typical of those that occur throughout the industry. Meanwhile, other teams are confused by the club’s recent acquisition of Kendrys Morales given the way Zduriencik has intimated that the club has limited financial breathing room. Here’s more out of the AL and NL West..
- If the Angels do add a starting pitcher, a rental probably makes more sense for them, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. The Mike Trout extension counts towards their competitive balance tax payroll next season, so they won’t have much wiggle room. Meanwhile, one industry source sees the Angels as more of a player for a starter in August when they take take advantage of available money without dealing prospects (link). The Angels have $15MM in breathing room before they surpass the tax threshold, but they are hesitant to deal more prospects after dealing six to land Joe Thatcher and Huston Street (link).
- Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego looks at Padres GM candidates A.J. Preller and Billy Eppler. Preller, an assistant GM with the Rangers, isn’t afraid to go against the grain with one exec referring to him as “eccentric.” Preller also has a rep as a grinder though his aggressiveness in signing talent from Latin America has rankled some competitors.
- The Dodgers shouldn’t trade for David Price or Jon Lester, argues Dave Cameron of Fangraphs. The Dodgers already have a strong mathematical likelihood of making the postseason and it doesn’t appear that the cost to land either of the star pitchers would be worth it for them, in Cameron’s view.
- The Giants‘ interest in Ben Zobrist of the Rays could be deepening, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com. The Giants’ pickup of Dan Uggla hasn’t moved the needle so far and Marco Scutaro is unable to play everyday due to his lingering back issues.
8:29pm: Ben Badler of Baseball America writes that the Yankees indeed have a private workout scheduled with Castillo.
7:33pm: General Manager Jeff Luhnow says the Astros may schedule a one-on-one workout with Castillo, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
7:24pm: A source tells Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com (on Twitter) that only the Phillies (on Tuesday) and the Red Sox (Friday) have private workouts set up with Castillo. However, private workouts are in the works for the Yankees and other clubs.
Unsurprisingly, the Twins are not among the teams looking to line up a workout with Castillo, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Minnesota likes Castillo, but the expected asking price is too rich for their blood.
3:11pm: Reports indicated that 28 of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams were represented at Rusney Castillo‘s showcase over the weekend, and Ben Badler of Baseball America has the latest on the 27-year-old Cuban free agent. Castillo will have private workouts with the Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies this coming week, and Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that the Orioles are also arranging a private workout.
Badler lists the White Sox, Mariners, Giants, Blue Jays, Cubs and Braves as other potential suitors. Because multiple teams have interest in getting a deal worked out quickly, however, there aren’t likely to be any further private workouts before a deal gets done, Badler writes. Additionally, Badler has posted some video footage from Castillo’s weekend showcase.
Multiple sources indicated to Badler that the Red Sox had the largest contingent on-hand Saturday for Castillo’s showcase. He notes that Jackie Bradley has more upside at the plate, and Mookie Betts might factor in as a corner outfield option in the long-term due to the presence of Dustin Pedroia, but Boston could be intrigued by Castillo as a corner option as well. He did play right field in Cuba, Badler adds.
The Yankees, meanwhile, could weigh the possibility of trying Castillo at second base, though they could have a corner spot open alongside Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner as well. Castillo played second base (and some third base) back in 2009-10, but scouts at the showcase weren’t overly impressed with his glovework as an infielder.
Center field is Castillo’s best position, Badler writes, so it stands to reason that the Phillies could view him as an upgrade over the light-hitting Ben Revere. Playing Castillo in center field allows him to maximize his best tool — 70-grade speed.
While the White Sox are very well-versed in the Cuban market — as evidenced by the presence of Jose Abreu, Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo on their roster — the presence of countrymen on their roster won’t influence Castillo, Badler hears. His decision will come down to financial terms.
Badler adds that the Giants also had a very strong presence at Castillo’s showcase, and he makes sense for them as their system has thinned following a trade for Jake Peavy and their continued interest in Ben Zobrist. The Cubs also had “a team” of evaluators on-hand to witness Castillo, who would bolster an already enviable crop of hitting prospects.
With roughly three days until the non-waiver trade deadline, here are some highlights from the latest Rumblings & Grumblings column by ESPN’s Jayson Stark…
- The Red Sox have contacted every contending team in each league and told them that Jon Lester is available for a two- to three-prospect package fronted by at least one upper-echelon prospect. One executive, however, tells Stark that the Sox simply can’t get as much as the Rays would get if they moved David Price, which isn’t surprising, given Lester’s impending free agency and the remaining year of control that Price has.
- Lester isn’t the only player being shopped — Boston has firmly planted a “for sale” sign in the ground, and they’re willing to move any impending free agents with the exception of Koji Uehara, whom they hope to re-sign. They’re peddling Andrew Miller, Burke Badenhop, Stephen Drew, Jonny Gomes and Craig Breslow. The price for Miller is also exorbitant at this time, however, as officials from two interested clubs tell Stark that Boston has asked for one of the top prospects plus a lesser prospect.
- The Giants have asked the Phillies about Marlon Byrd, but their main priority is second base. The Reds are reassessing their stance after losing eight of nine games, and the Royals have backed off of Byrd. The Mariners appears to be the most logical option, but Byrd still wants his $8MM 2016 vesting option guaranteed to approve a trade there.
- Byrd tells Stark that he’d have to think long and hard if GM Ruben Amaro Jr. came to him and asked him to approve a trade to a team on his no-trade clause. While his hope was to retire a Phillie, he appreciates how aggressive Amaro was in signing him. “[Ruben] made it easy for me this offseason,” he said. Still, given the odds that he’d want some form of perk to approve a trade, it’s no longer certain that he gets dealt.
- While the Red Sox and Mariners have been connected to Matt Kemp, officials from other clubs tell Stark they feel an offseason trade is much more likely than an in-season deal.
- The White Sox have had scouts watching the Yankees‘ surplus of minor league catchers in recent weeks, fueling speculation that the Yanks would like to acquire John Danks.
- Some officials believe the Yankees would like to find a right-handed hitting platoon partner to pair with Ichiro in Suzuki in right field. New York wants an option that doesn’t have commitments beyond 2014, making names like Justin Ruggiano of the Cubs and Chris Denorfia of the Padres as possible targets. Earlier today it was reported that Denorfia could be moved soon.
- The Royals have decided that Alex Rios isn’t a good fit for their right field need. Because the team is unable to take on much additional salary (if any), they could wait until August to add a bat.
- While Troy Tulowitzki‘s name has had a lot of buzz around it, club officials from interested teams tell Stark there’s no indication he is available. Rather, the Rockies are open to moving bullpen arms Adam Ottavino, Rex Brothers, LaTroy Hawkins and Matt Belisle. However, the team would only move Hawkins if they’re overwhelmed. That seems a bit odd, given his age, but Hawkins does have a cheap club option and has drawn praise in Denver for his mentoring of younger talent.
- The D’Backs are telling clubs that they’d move Addison Reed, but they don’t want to move Brad Ziegler. Arizona is also willing to move Aaron Hill and Oliver Perez. They’ll listen on Martin Prado and Josh Collmenter, although they’re more hesitant to deal them.
- The chances of Cliff Lee being traded before August are almost nonexistent. Scouts who have seen him don’t think he looks close to healthy, and the money he’s owed is of course problematic.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Aaron Hill | Adam Ottavino | Addison Reed | Alex Rios | Andrew Miller | Arizona Diamondbacks | Boston Red Sox | Brad Ziegler | Burke Badenhop | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Chris Denorfia | Cincinnati Reds | Cliff Lee | Colorado Rockies | Craig Breslow | John Danks | Jon Lester | Jonny Gomes | Josh Collmenter | Justin Ruggiano | Kansas City Royals | Koji Uehara | LaTroy Hawkins | Marlon Byrd | Martin Prado | Matt Belisle | New York Yankees | Newsstand | Oliver Perez | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | Stephen Drew | Texas Rangers | Troy Tulowitzki
The Dodgers have been floating Carl Crawford‘s name in trade talks, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets. It isn’t known how much the Dodgers are willing to eat of the roughly $69.25MM owed to Crawford through 2017, yet needless to say, it “will need to be a lot.” L.A. was reportedly open to hearing offers for Crawford last winter, though there unsurprisingly wasn’t much interest given Crawford’s large salary, injury problems and declining performance over the last four seasons.
Here’s some more from Passan’s latest “Ten Degrees” column…
- The Cardinals and Mets are staying in touch with the Rockies about Troy Tulowitzki‘s availability, and the Mets are willing to include top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard as part of a trade package. Colorado isn’t budging, however, unless Tulowitzki actually demands a trade, which could be part of the “let him be the bad guy” strategy that Passan considers “a ludicrous way to run a franchise.”
- The Phillies are still looking for “a return of any kind” in exchange for Cliff Lee, according to two executives on teams interested in the veteran southpaw. This implies that the Phils want more than just salary relief, which could be difficult given the size of Lee’s contract.
- The four-year, $70MM extension offer the Red Sox made to Jon Lester last offseason may have made sense on paper for a team that is loath to spend big on a pitcher into his 30′s, yet Passan feels this offer was such a lowball that it has turned the Lester extension talks “into a season-long story” and cost Boston its hometown advantage in re-signing the ace. One Red Sox insider tells Passan that “the likelihood of Boston re-signing Lester lessens by the day” and trading Lester might now be the best way for the Sox to get some value for the left-hander.
- The Red Sox and Rangers had serious trade talks about Lester in the 2012-13 offseason, even to the point of exchanging some player names. This obviously doesn’t mean Texas would get in on the bidding on a Lester trade now, given that they’re far out of contention and Lester is only signed through the end of the season.
It’s difficult to tell whether the Nationals could be very busy or stand pat before the trade deadine, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes. It seems like the Nats are at least exploring a number of options, as Kilgore reports…
- The Nationals have asked the Astros about available relievers, and Houston had scouts watching the Nats’ Triple-A and Class A affiliates over the weekend. Left-hander Tony Sipp best fits the Nationals’ needs, Kilgore surmises, since Washington is thin on southpaw relief options.
- The Nationals haven’t talked to the Diamondbacks about Aaron Hill or Martin Prado. Either player could fill the hole at second base created by Ryan Zimmerman‘s injury (Anthony Rendon moved to third), or Prado could simply play third and Rendon could return to second. Kilgore isn’t sure the Nats want to pay Hill the $26MM he’s owed through 2016, however, though Hill loved playing for manager Matt Williams when Williams was a D’Backs coach. Arizona is reportedly shopping Hill but “barely listening” to inquiries about Prado.
- With Jose Iglesias possibly on the trade block in Detroit, Kilgore thinks the Nats could be interested given the team’s desire to add a young shortstop as depth if Ian Desmond can’t be extended. The Tigers had a scout watching the Nationals’ Class A team recently, Kilgore notes, though that isn’t necessarily related to Iglesias.
- Speaking of scouting assignments, the Rangers had an evaluator watching a recent game between the Nationals’ and Braves’ Triple-A teams. The two NL East rivals are both known to be looking for relief pitching.
- Washington had scouts watching two recent Red Sox series, and Kilgore figures that they were checking out relievers Koji Uehara and Andrew Miller. Earlier today, Peter Gammons reported that the Nats were interested in Miller.
Here are today’s minor league transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…
- The Dodgers have signed Barry Enright to a minor league deal, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter). Across four big league seasons, Enright has made 26 starts and five relief appearances, posting a 5.57 ERA with 4.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 for the D’Backs and Angels.
- Veteran outfielder Andres Torres left the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox and is looking for an opportunity with a National League team, SB Nation’s Joon Lee reports (Twitter link). Torres enacted an out clause in his minor league deal with Boston, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reports (via Twitter). Torres ended up making 95 PA in the Sox system, hitting .275/.298/.473.
- The Royals released catcher Jesus Flores, according to the Pacific Coast League website’s transactions page. Flores inked a minor league deal with K.C. in March and posted a .698 OPS over 150 PA with Triple-A Omaha this season. The 29-year-old appeared in 311 games with the Nationals from 2007-12 and spent last season in the Dodgers’ and Rays’ farm systems.
- The Angels released southpaw Justin Thomas, who has signed a $160K contract with KIA Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization (hat tip to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net). This is Thomas’ second taste of international baseball, as he made three starts last year for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan. Thomas posted a 5.99 ERA over 20 starts for Triple-A Salt Lake City after signing a minor league deal with the Angels in January.
- The Dodgers released right-hander Juan Abreu, the team announced. Abreu posted a 7.11 ERA over 6 1/3 relief innings at Triple-A this season after signing a minor league pact with L.A. during the offseason. The righty has 6 2/3 Major League innings to his name (with a 2.70 ERA and 12 strikeouts), all with the Astros in 2011.
- The Nationals released right-hander Ryan Perry, the club announced. Picked 21st overall by the Tigers in the 2008 draft, Perry posted a 4.36 ERA and 132 strikeouts (against 84 walks) over 169 1/3 relief innings with Detroit and Washington from 2009-12.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
“There’s a growing expectation from rival execs that Jon Lester is going to be traded before [the July] deadline,” ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter link), and the Dodgers are seen as the likeliest candidate to add the Red Sox left-hander. Los Angeles has shown interest in Lester, though there were conflicting reports yesterday about whether the two sides had actually seriously discussed a trade.
Here’s some more news surrounding the defending World Series champs…
- The Royals, Dodgers and Nationals are the latest known suitors for reliever Andrew Miller, according to ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes and Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com. (Edes reported the Royals’ interest while Gammons reported on the two NL teams.) Boston is known to be shopping Miller, with the Braves and Pirates also amongst the clubs checking in on the lefty. Miller has posted an outstanding 2.45 ERA, 14.5 K/9 and 5.0 K/BB ratio over 40 1/3 relief innings for the Sox this season.
- Also from Gammons, several other teams were interested in Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree, the two ex-Giants prospects obtained by the Red Sox in the Jake Peavy trade. Two different rival executives told Gammons they tried to get Hembree as a future set-up man, while Escobar’s stock was higher before he began his tough season at Triple-A.
- In a piece full of notes and observations about the Red Sox, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe is baffled that Lester and the Sox seemed so mutually interested in a contract extension yet now Lester could be a trade candidate. “Why the Sox seem almost eager to chase away one of their cornerstone players is a mystery,” Abraham writes, predicting that if Lester hits the open market, he’ll sign elsewhere since another teams will spend big for the southpaw.
- Also from Abraham, he opines that the Red Sox should extend Miller rather than trade him, stay away from Matt Kemp in any trade talks with the Dodgers and release struggling reliever Edward Mujica.
The Phillies have a number of major trade chips on their roster, but the perception around baseball is that they’re asking for too much in return, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes in his weekly notes column. Cafardo recently wrote that Philadelphia wanted three prospects in exchange for Cole Hamels, only to be told by a Phillies official that three was “too conservative” a number. The Phillies, for their part, say they’re simply looking for “a fair deal” for any of their veteran stars. Here’s some more from Cafardo’s latest piece…
- The Tigers are so impressed with Eugenio Suarez‘s play that they could look to trade Jose Iglesias, according to some scouts. It would definitely be a sell-low move on Iglesias, who seemed to be Detroit’s shortstop of the future before stress fractures in his shins cost him the entire 2014 season.
- The Red Sox were one of a few teams considering a move for Martin Prado, whose positional versatility and good clubhouse reputation would make a strong trade candidate, though the Diamondbacks have little desire to move him. The Blue Jays were another team known to be scouting Prado.
- The Red Sox are facing a 40-man roster crunch with several notable prospects in the offseason, and Cafardo wonders if the club could package some of these youngsters in a trade rather than risk losing them in the Rule 5 draft.
- One AL scout disagrees with the general belief that the Yankees lack the minor league depth to move any prospects at the deadline. “They have more in their farm system than people think. They have some arms, they have the Aaron Judge kid, [Luis] Severino, [Gary] Sanchez, [Peter] O’Brien, [Eric] Jagielo. If they wanted to make a deal, they have enough to give up,” the scout said.