Boston Red Sox Rumors

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

Latest On Troy Tulowitzki

Rockies GM Jeff Bridich is in a tight spot regarding Troy Tulowitzki, opines Bill Shaikin of the LA Times. While Tulowitzki did not specifically ask to be traded, he did not categorically state that he wants to remain in Colorado. For his part, Bridich did not deny the possibility of a trade.

There is no doubt that Tulowitzki is highly coveted around the league despite a minimum of six years and $113MM remaining on his contract. The star shortstop is off to a strange start to the season for Colorado. One has to wonder if the rumors are getting to him. He’s hitting .284/.292/.448 through 120 plate appearances. His plate discipline has disappeared. He’s swinging at more pitches outside of the strike zone, whiffing more frequently, and he’s drawn just two walks against 29 strikeouts. His power output is also well below his career norms.

Last week, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs identified nine possible destinations for Tulowitzki. He referred to the Mets, Red Sox, and Yankees as the most likely bidders. The long standing connection with the Mets is challenged by their complex financial situation. Cameron suggests the Red Sox could include Xander Bogaerts as part of a trade. If that was the case, I suspect they might be in the best position to secure a deal. The Yankees certainly have the necessary money, but they’ve worked hard to reduce the amount of payroll committed to aging players.

Shaikin adds that the Dodgers would love to slot Tulo at shortstop with top prospect Corey Seager sliding over to third base. While they have the financial wherewithal and enough talented prospects to participate in a trade, it’s unlikely the Rockies would deal directly with their rich rivals. Instead, Los Angeles could attempt to play financial facilitator as part of a three-team trade. The Dodgers attempted to mediate the Josh Hamilton trade by including money for a prospect.

Cameron also explored a hypothetical trade package for the nine teams he identified. Tulowitzki’s contract probably has $50MM to $60MM of surplus value per Cameron, so he should elicit a sizable return. However, the $63MM signing of Yoan Moncada – not a top 10 prospect per all major outlets – indicates that the upper crust of prospects are probably off the table. In other words, no Mookie Betts, no Carlos Correa, and no Seager (among others).

Tulowitzki could return multiple second tier prospects. Cameron names Luis Severino and Aaron Judge as a possible package from the Yankees. The Mets could bundle Noah Syndergaard, Amed Rosario, and Steven Matz. Of course, these are just some hypothetical ideas. The Rockies could try to eat some money in exchange for a true elite prospect, or they might prefer a deep five or six player package.

 


Red Sox Nearing Minors Deal With Cuban Second Baseman Yoilan Cerse

The Red Sox are nearing a minor league deal with Cuban second baseman Yoilan Cerse, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter). Sanchez reported back in February that the former Cuban All-Star was seeking a deal with a big league club.

The 28-year-old Cerse has nine years of professional experience playing in Cuba, so given his age and experience, he’s exempt from international signing pools. It’s unclear at this time what type of signing bonus the Red Sox and Cerse are discussing. While the lack of media attention he’s received thus far would, at first glance, appear to indicate that he’s in line for a minimal bonus, that may not be the case. The Dodgers signed right-hander Pablo Fernandez to a minor league deal in March, and, despite having received little fanfare in the U.S. media, Fernandez landed a hefty $8MM bonus.

Cerse, a 5’9″, 172-pound right-handed hitter is a career .325/.395/.468 hitter in Cuba’s Serie Nacional. He never posted particularly gaudy home run or stolen base totals in his Cuban career, topping out at 14 and 10, respectively. However, he showed an excellent knack for making contact, as evidenced by the fact that he walked exactly as many times as he struck out (242) over the life of 3187 plate appearances with los Indios de Guantanamo.

Middle infield depth isn’t exactly an area of need for the Red Sox, as they have Dustin Pedroia locked up long-term and Xander Bogaerts penciled in as the shortstop of the future. The presence of that duo, as well as third baseman Pablo Sandoval (five years, $95MM) did not deter the club from giving Cuban infield phenom Yoan Moncada a record-setting $31.5MM signing bonus, however. Boston appears intent on stockpiling talent throughout the organization — even in areas that aren’t an obvious need — which could benefit them down the line in future trade scenarios.


Cherington Denies Bradley/Furbush Rumor

MAY 15: Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says there’s no truth to that trade proposal, Edes tweets. He adds that a member of one of the involved clubs was the source on his info.

MAY 14: The Mariners turned down a trade offer from the Red Sox in the spring that would’ve seen outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. go to Seattle in exchange for left-handed reliever Charlie Furbush, ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reports (Twitter link).

Moving Bradley would’ve helped clear up the outfield surplus that the Sox are still dealing with, though there’s been less of a logjam for playing time than expected given some injuries and a few underperforming players.  Furbush has posted solid numbers since 2012 and you have to think he would’ve upgraded a Boston bullpen that entered today with the second-lowest fWAR of any relief corps in the game.  That said, Furbush’s 1.86 ERA this season is belied by some shaky peripherals numbers (.185 BABIP, 4.37 xFIP, 3.89 SIERA) so perhaps he might’ve struggled at Fenway Park.  Furbush is on a one-year, $1.3MM deal and still has two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Offering Bradley for a good-but-not-elite setup reliever would’ve seemed unthinkable a year ago, when the outfielder was considered one of the consensus top prospects in the game.  Over 530 MLB plate appearances in 2013-14, however, Bradley hit a measly .196/.268/.280, posting the second-lowest wRC+ (51) of any player in that stretch with at least 500 PA.  The Sox have already seemed to have moved on to Mookie Betts as their center fielder of the future and signed Rusney Castillo to a $72.5MM contract.

It’s hard to see Bradley’s hitting numbers improving with a move to the notoriously pitcher-friendly Safeco Field, and clearly the Mariners had enough concern about his bat that they weren’t willing to pull the trigger on an ex-top prospect who is controllable through 2019.  Bradley has shown himself to be a phenomenal defender, and could’ve potentially been a long-term answer in center with Austin Jackson scheduled for free agency after the season.



Heyman’s Latest: Tulo, Soriano, Correa, Garza, Segura, Mets

The latest installment of Jon Heyman’s weekly Inside Baseball column is up over at CBS Sports, and Heyman begins by addressing the Troy Tulowitzki trade talk that has once again surfaced. Heyman, like many others, feels the time has arrived for the marriage between Tulo and the Rockies to come to an end, but neither Tulowitzki or owner Dick Monfort wants to appear to be the “bad guy” in the situation. Heyman hears that Tulowitzki would prefer to play for the YankeesGiants, Dodgers or Angels if he is traded, though one person who knows the shortstop well told Heyman that he may ok with the Mets, Cardinals and Red Sox as well. Tulowitzki’s preferred destination is largely a moot point though, as his contract doesn’t have a no-trade clause. Heyman notes that in a year’s time, Tulowitzki will receive 10-and-5 rights, allowing him to veto any deal. That reality only furthers Colorado’s need to move Tulowitzki, Heyman opines. Heyman also lists 11 clubs that he could see making some degree of sense for the face of the Rockies’ franchise.

Some more highlights from a lengthy but always-informative column…

  • The Cubs “may consider” Rafael Soriano at some point as a means of lengthening their bullpen, according to Heyman. I’d note that while the team has looked a bit thin beyond Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop, the Cubs just got Justin Grimm back from the disabled list and likely won’t be without Neil Ramirez for too much longer.
  • Astros top prospect — and arguably the top prospect in all of MLB — Carlos Correa could be up to the Majors within three weeks, one Houston source estimated to Heyman. Also of note on the Astros front, he writes that a pursuit of Cole Hamels would appear to be a long shot, but Scott Kazmir (Houston native) and Clay Buchholz are names to keep an eye on for Houston, should either become available.
  • Kyle Lohse seems like a natural candidate to be traded this offseason, but the Brewers are particularly interested in shedding Matt Garza‘s contract. The right-hander is guaranteed $12.5MM in 2015 and will earn the same rate in each of the following two seasons. Neither pitcher, however, has been particularly impressive for Milwaukee.
  • Jean Segura is one of the players that the Brewers have the least interest in trading, but Heyman hears that the Padres would be interested, should Brewers GM Doug Melvin entertain offers. San Diego likes Alexi Amarista but prefers to use him in a utility role rather than as a starter.
  • Rival teams seriously doubt that the Mets would ever consider parting ways with Noah Syndergaard, but there’s “a little hope” that the team could be persuaded to part with highly touted left-hander Steven Matz in a trade. Heyman adds that the Mets are going to remain patient with Wilmer Flores as their shortstop for the time being.
  • It’s been reported that Yunel Escobar wanted no part of playing with Oakland, and Heyman hears that the reasoning was as simple as the fact that Escobar is very particular when it comes to geographical preferences and wanted to remain on the East coast. A trade to the Nationals accomplished that goal.
  • The clause in Alex Guerrero‘s contract that allows him to opt out of his deal and elect free agency at season’s end, if he is traded, hinders his trade value. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but given the presence of Guerrero and the versatile Justin Turner, Juan Uribe could end up as a summer trade candidate for the Dodgers.
  • In some agency news, Heyman reports that Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius will now be represented by Casey Close of Excel Sports Management — the agent for Gregorius’ predecessor, Derek Jeter. Gregorius had previously been repped by the Wasserman Media Group.

Minor Moves: Fox, Cooper, Jimenez, Swarzak

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Infielder Jake Fox has agreed to a deal with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization, Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net reports (via Twitter).  Fox was playing for the Blue Jays‘ Double-A affiliate after signing a minor league deal with Toronto during the offseason, and Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Jays released Fox to facilitate his move to KBO. Fox last played in the majors in 2011 and has since bounced around between the minors, independent leagues and Mexican leagues.
  • ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin reports (via Twitter) that the Mets have signed former Blue Jays and Indians first baseman David Cooper to a minor league deal. Cooper, a former first-round pick, was batting .273/.351/.394 in 18 games for the independent Lancaster BarnStormers when the Mets brought him on board. He’ll serve as a depth piece for the organization and has been assigned to Double-A Binghamton, according to Rubin.
  • Infielder Luis Jimenez has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A by the Red Sox, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Jimenez, 27, received just one plate appearance with Boston and has 17 on the year between the Sox and Brewers. He’s a career .217/.253/.268 batter in 168 trips to the plate but has authored an impressive .295/.327/.485 triple slash in 287 Triple-A games throughout his minor league career — all in the Angels’ system.
  • Right-hander Anthony Swarzak has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Columbus after clearing waivers, the Indians announced (on Twitter). Cleveland designated Swarzak for assignment when they needed a 40-man roster spot for Bruce Chen. The DFA was somewhat of a surprise, given that Swarzak has produced excellent results this season after signing a minor league deal this winter. The long-time Twins swingman has tossed 13 1/3 innings, yielding five earned runs for a 3.38 ERA. Swarzak did surrender 18 hits, but those knocks come as a result of a .395 BABIP. The 29-year-old punched out 13 hitters against just three unintentional walks with the Indians and averaged 92.2 mph on his heater. Swarzak’s uptick in strikeouts may be the result of his conversion to a two-pitch pitcher, as he’s thrown nothing but four-seamers and sliders in 2015, jettisoning a two-seamer, his curve and a rarely used changeup.

AL Notes: Cherington, Blanton, Lindor, Street

Explaining his presence in Oakland during a tough stretch for his club, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington offered some words of general wisdom for the sometimes overly-eager interpretation of his movement outside of Boston. As Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports, Cherington says that he flew out to join the team as part of a previously-planned, monthly effort. “If something is going I need to be there for I’€™ll go,” said Cherington, “but 99 percent of the time it’€™s just what is scheduled. As GM, I don’€™t remember ever being with the team on the road where it just hasn’€™t been part of the schedule.” The same, often, holds true of top execs being present to see amateur talent. “Somebody will make a deal of me being somewhere to see an amateur player. It’€™s almost never about seeing that player, but rather that’€™s the opportunity to go spend some time with your scouts and connect with them,” Cherington explaned. “I’€™m not sitting in the draft room and saying, ‘€˜I saw this guy on May 13 and this is what he did.’€™ I’€™m just not doing that.” Of course, the Kremlinologists among us will note that Cherington’s words provide perfect cover for more surreptitious missions.

  • Royals righty Joe Blanton has an opt-out opportunity tomorrow, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com tweets. Kansas City hopes to keep Blanton, with Flanagan writing that the expectation is the veteran will be “patient” in assessing his options. Certainly, given the state of the K.C. rotation, Blanton can reasonably expect to earn a shot at some big league innings at some point this year. The Royals staff is just one of many subjects touched upon by Steve Adams and myself in today’s AL Central-centric podcast (check back at about noon central for that).
  • The “timing isn’t now” for Francisco Lindor to reach the Indians roster, GM Chris Antonetti told reporters including MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian (Twitter links). That assessment is “not at all” due to an effort to avoid Super Two status, says Antonetti. Instead, the club believes that Lindor — who has not forced his way up with his play at Triple-A — simply needs more time. Cleveland is hurting for production at shortstop at present, though it is not clear that Lindor would be an immediate upgrade over the scuffling Jose Ramirez.
  • Last night, Huston Street inked a two-year, $18MM extension with the Angels. As MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports on Twitter, Street was motivated in part by a desire to play for a competitor. “It’s multiple years where I have a chance to really matter,” he explained. On the financial side of the ledger, my own opinion is that Street could and would have earned more on the open market — which is generally the case, of course, but is especially true given the somewhat less top-loaded relief market expected next winter. Then again, the decision to pass on some future earning opportunity to lock down a guarantee in a situation he favors is eminently understandable; such is the tradeoff that must be made to avoid the risk of a full season’s workload, especially for a low-velocity reliever.

AL Notes: Iwakuma, Masterson, Red Sox, Harvey

Mariners righty Hisashi Iwakuma has been shut down for ten days to two weeks after experiencing continued upper back tightness, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports“He’s going to be pushed back, so to speak,” said manager Lloyd McClendon. “His rehab has not gone as well as we thought it would have gone. He’s still experiencing some stiffness.” The longer Iwakuma is delayed, the more it begins to look like another arm might be a trade deadline consideration for Seattle.

  • Meanwhile, the Red Sox rotation woes worsened last night with a rough outing for Justin Masterson. As Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports, manager John Farrell indicated that there is cause to believe there is more to be concerned with than the poor results. “The last two times out for Justin have not been anywhere close to what he’s shown this year — set aside prior to the start of 2015,” said Farrell. “Clearly, he’s not right. Whether that’s physical, whether that’s delivery-wise, the ball is not coming out of his hand as he’s shown the better part of the year. We’ve got to gather information, we’ve got to check on him in the morning, get a full workup, get a better assessment of where things are.”
  • Of course, it’s far from clear that there is any realistic possibility of an outside addition to the Red Sox staff in the immediate future. As Alex Speier of the Boston Globe explains, utilizing the MLBTR Transaction Tracker, history teaches that starters (at least, impactful ones) are rarely dealt in the season’s first two months. Regardless, the club figures to be at or near a breaking point with its current starting five, and it would be surprising if internal replacements — Eduardo Rodriguez, most interesting among them — are not at least given a chance as the summer draws near.
  • The Orioles are holding their breath after 20-year-old prospect Hunter Harvey left an outing with elbow tightness, as Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. The rising Harvey, who is coming back from a shin fracture suffered this spring, already was shut down late last year with some elbow concerns and now is set for an MRI. His health and progress is critical to the organization, particularly with Dylan Bundy dealing with his own elbow problems and with the aforementioned Rodriguez shipped out at last year’s trade deadline.

AL Notes: Correa, Hicks, Angels, Tanaka, Red Sox, Kazmir

Promotions are always interesting to keep an eye on this time of year, as teams look to balance future control and cost with developmental prerogatives and the needs of the MLB roster. One of the most-watched players, shortstop Carlos Correa of the Astros, will make his debut today at Triple-A after destroying the Double-A level at just twenty years of age. The next stop could be Houston, where the big league club playing well but dealing with a significant injury to Jed Lowrie. Meanwhile, the Twins have decided the time is ripe to give another shot at former top prospect Aaron Hicks, still just 25, who has struggled in his time in the majors but forced his way back with a .336/.415/.561 run through the highest level of the minors this year.

Here’s more from the American League:

  • The Angels, who have fielded a somewhat surprisingly unproductive lineup thus far, look in need of a bat, as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. While GM Jerry Dipoto says that he expects at least some of the team’s group of established hitters to return to their usual contributions on offense, Fletcher says that the front office is ready and willing to pursue an acquisition over the summer. Given the team’s struggles against right-handed pitching, Fletcher opines that Brewers first baseman Adam Lind would make for a particularly sensible trade target. He ticks through a few other plausible options as the market begins to take shape.
  • Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka is set to throw his first bullpen today since suffering a forearm strain, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tweeted yesterday. At this point, it would seem to rate as a pleasant surprise if Tanaka is able to contribute more quality innings this year, though the club seems determined to give him every opportunity to return before pursuing more drastic options.
  • Indeed, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes, the Yankees rotation has plenty of issues but still rates as the most complete outfit in the division. GM Brian Cashman continues to say that he believes Tanaka can stave off a Tommy John procedure. And as Sherman rightly notes, Chris Capuano and Ivan Nova both appear on track to deliver useful arms in the relatively near future. If the club stays in position and has a need, of course, it should have no difficulty finding ways to add quality innings via trade over the summer.
  • The Red Sox staff, meanwhile, has been a source of near-constant hand-wringing and speculation for months. There are reasons to believe in improvement from the peripherals, as MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince explains, though as he notes the biggest reason for hope may lie in the club’s evident ability (and demonstrated willingness) to swing deals to add additional arms.
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington continues to emphasize the organization’s commitment to delivering better results from its internal pitching options, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports“We knew we needed good pitching coming into the year to win games, and we still know that,” says Cherington. “I believe we’ll pitch better, and I believe we have a lot of the solutions here already.” Cherington emphasized that he wants to see how things proceed with a new pitching coach (and new backstop duo) now in place. Regardless, as he notes, it would be hard to make a move now. “Not a lot of teams are in that (trade) mode,” said the Red Sox GM, “but there wouldn’t normally be this time of year anyway. We’re not really there yet. There’s not a lot of team-altering moves being discussed this early. Probably need a little bit of time on that.” In Lauber’s estimation, Cherington’s protestations notwithstanding, Boston must and will strike one or more trades and/or promote well-regarded lefty Eduardo Rodriguez for an infusion of talent.
  • One possible trade target for the Red Sox (and, of course, other teams) is Athletics lefty Scott Kazmir, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opines. Indeed, Kazmir’s strong recent track record and meager remaining commitment, to say nothing of the free-wheeling nature of Oakland GM Billy Beane, frame him as a popular source of trade speculation over the next few months. If the team decides to market him, which seems more and more plausible with each passing day for the 12-22 A’s, it will be fascinating to see what the 31-year-old returns in a trade.

Red Sox Designate Luis Jimenez

The Red Sox have designated infielder Luis Jimenez for assignment, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports on Twitter. His roster spot was needed for the activation of Shane Victorino.

Jimenez received just one turn at bat after being claimed off waivers from the Brewers. With Milwaukee, he registered one hit and one walk over 16 plate appearances.

All said, the 27-year-old has not logged much time at the MLB level, this year or in the past. But over 1,236 Triple-A plate appearances, Jimenez owns a useful .295/.327/.485 slash.


AL East Notes: Pineda, Gausman, Red Sox

While Yankees GM Brian Cashman has had his fair share of misses in terms of acquiring impact starting pitching both via trades and free agency, last night’s 16-strikeout performance by Michael Pineda and the 26-year-old’s brilliant start to the season serve help to erase some of those previous whiffs from his record, writes Bill Madden of the New York Daily News. Pineda has been every bit as good as Matt Harvey this season, Madden notes — the two have identical 2.72 ERAs — but with a fraction of the hype (though the 16 punchouts will likely balance some of that out). Manager Joe Girardi cited improvement in Pineda’s changeup, consistency in throwing strikes and improved maturity as reasons for Pineda’s breakout this season. Madden recalls both Cashman and his Seattle counterpart, Jack Zduriencik, calling the Pineda-for-Jesus Montero trade one of the toughest trades they’ve ever had to make, as each was parting with a potential future star. However, Montero’s future is questionable at best, as he’s moved off catcher and has yet to establish himself in the Major Leagues.

A few more notes from the AL East…

  • Chad Jennings of the Journal News also discusses the Pineda trade, recalling that at the time the deal was made, one talent evaluator told him that the safest bet in the trade was Montero’s bat. Every Yankees person to whom Jennings spoke back in 2012 said that it’d be several years before it was clear whether or not the Yankees had “won” the trade, and Jennings notes that that does seem to be the case now. Jennings spoke with Pineda who admitted that he’s done quite a bit of growing up in the past three years.
  • Orioles righty Kevin Gausman is currently on the disabled list and could be activated as soon as May 22, but when he does come off the DL, he’ll likely head to Triple-A and work as a starter, writes Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. Orioles manager Buck Showalter worries that Gausman has been underutilized coming out of the bullpen this season. Gausman himself told Encina that the team has said they don’t want him to finish the season with 40-50 innings and then have to jump into the rotation in 2016. As Encina notes, both Wei-Yin Chen and Bud Norris are free agents at season’s end, which could pave the way for a rotation spot with Gausman’s name on it.
  • Though Red Sox manager John Farrell is still maintaining that there will not be changes made to the rotation, his stance appears to have softened a bit, notes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe“Not at the present moment,” Farrell said when asked if changes were planned. “Now, that’s always up for review. We’ll see how we continue to progress through the rotation for another turn.” Farrell was specifically asked about the possibility of moving Joe Kelly, who has yielded 21 runs over his past 21 2/3 innings, to the bullpen, but Farrell said such a change hadn’t been “closely discussed.” The Sox may want to get new pitching coach Carl Willis’ take on the rotation before making any decisions, Abraham notes.