- Orioles Acquire Kelly Johnson
- Orioles Acquire Alejandro De Aza
- Orioles Outright Suk-Min Yoon
- Yankees Acquire Josh Outman
- Dodgers, Phillies Complete Roberto Hernandez Trade
- Morneau Claimed By Brewers, Pulled Back By Rockies
- Astros Pull Chad Qualls Off Waivers
- Feldman, Colon Clear Revocable Waivers
- Athletics Acquire Geovany Soto
- Indians Acquire Chris Gimenez
- Red Sox Sign Rusney Castillo
- Angels Acquire Gordon Beckham
- Garrett Richards Out 6-9 Months
- Indians Extend Scott Atchison
- Rob Manfred Elected As Next Commissioner
- Pirates Acquire John Axford
- Royals Acquire Josh Willingham
- Tyler Skaggs Requires Tommy John Surgery
- Dodgers Acquire Kevin Correia
- Cubs Acquire Jacob Turner
- Angels Acquire Vinnie Pestano
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- Orioles Acquire Kelly Johnson
- Orioles Acquire Alejandro De Aza
- NL Notes: Pirates, Phillies, Marlins
- Angels Not Expecting To Make Deal For Pitching
- NL Notes: Reds, Bryant, Spangenberg
- Rosenthal’s Latest: Cubs, Cabrera, Angels, Lindgren
- Minor Moves: Aaron Thompson, Chris Bassitt
- Rangers Designate Mike Carp For Assignment
- Orioles Outright Suk-Min Yoon, Cord Phelps
- West Notes: Angels, Burnett, Tulowitzki, Astros
- Astros Claim Sam Deduno From Twins
- Yankees & Red Sox Notes: Tanaka, Lindgren, Shields
- Tigers Designate Justin Miller For Assignment
- East Notes: Castillo, Herrera, Gillick
- Week In Review: 8/23/14 – 8/29/14
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Boston Red Sox Rumors
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington chatted with reporters just minutes ago and it’s no surprise to hear his admission that the club was not expecting Xander Bogaerts to struggle to this extent in 2014 (via Tim Britton of The Providence Journal on Twitter). Still just 21, Bogaerts has slashed .226/.293/.339 in 472 plate appearances this season. Earlier this week, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote that the struggles of Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. have left many around the game wondering how good each player truly is. Here’s more out of Boston..
- Peter Gammons (Twitter links) cautions not to read much into waiver trade bites on Bogaerts, Clay Buchholz, Brock Holt, Joe Kelly, Yoenis Cespedes, Christian Vazquez, Burke Badenhop, Mike Napoli, Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava, Junichi Tazawa, and Koji Uehara.
- Cherington said that he won’t be resistant to trade prospects this off-season, “for the right guy,” tweets Jason Mastrodonato of The Springfield Republican. He added that the club has never been opposed to dealing prospects, but such decisions are “contextual,” tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- The GM wouldn’t give much on the team’s interest in Rusney Castillo. “We are one of many teams interested. That’s all I’ll say,” the GM said, according to Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com (on Twitter).
Yankees farmhand Pat Venditte is hoping to have a chance to be the first major leaguer to regularly employ a switch-pitching approach, as Newsday’s Jim Baumbach writes. Just like a switch-hitter, Venditte chooses which arm he’ll use to achieve the platoon advantage. (A rule crafted with him in mind requires the pitcher to choose which side he will throw from, with switch-hitting batters then permitted to pick a side of the box.) Venditte has been quite effective; he owns a 2.49 career ERA in the minors. This year, he dominated at Double-A before getting bumped to Triple-A, where he has a 3.75 ERA over 48 frames with 8.6 K/9 against just 2.8 BB/9. Across both levels, he has held righties to a .668 OPS, with lefties posting a meager .512 mark against his sidearm offerings (a mid-80s heater and a slider, one from each side).
Here’s more from the American League East:
- While Blue Jays watchers tend to have focused on the standing of GM Alex Anthopoulos, who reportedly will stay on past the present season, an even more important situation to watch is that of CEO Paul Beeston, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Beeston’s contract is said to be expiring this year, says Davidi, and other organizational changes signal that change could be afoot.
- Blue Jays righty Chad Jenkins has been one of several Toronto players to shuttle constantly between the majors and Triple-A this year, writes Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star. The Jays have been the most active team in the league this year in optioning and recalling players, but Anthopoulos says that has resulted from an effort to avoid straining players on the major league roster. “We definitely haven’t used the waiver wire much this year,” Anthopoulos explained, “but we have consciously optioned players back and forth to avoid DL placements. That has absolutely been by design. … All players, especially relievers, realize that when the pen has been used a lot, those with options get sent out to protect the entire group, including the player being optioned.”
- Red Sox utilityman Jonathan Herrera will undergo season-ending surgery to deal with bone chips in his elbow, tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The 29-year-old, who came over from the Rockies in an offseason deal, struggled to a .233/.307/.289 slash over 104 plate appearances on the year. He played on a $1.3MM salary this year, his second season of arbitration eligibility. Though his price tag will remain manageable, Herrera would appear to be a non-tender candidate.
Here’s the latest on Cuban free agent Rusney Castillo, who has drawn plenty of attention from teams looking to add a bat this year and into the future …
- Several competitors believe that the Phillies are the favorites to land Castillo, George A. King III of the New York Post reports, though that is not a universally shared belief. While Castillo is actively considering offers, there is presently no known timetable for him to choose a team and finalize a contract, King adds. Sources tell King that the contractual guarantee will likely fall in the $40MM to $55MM range.
- Castillo is “moving quickly” toward choosing a club, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports on Twitter. As Lauber notes, the Red Sox are one club that appears to be strongly pursuing the 27-year-old outfielder/infielder. Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reported early this morning that Boston was intrigued by Castillo’s skillset and was continuing to pursue him despite the recent additions of Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig.
- The Phillies appear to be a “longshot” to add Castillo, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, who also notes that a decision seems to be close. Though Philadelphia GM Ruben Amero Jr. is in contact with Castillo’s representatives, Salisbury cites sources who question just how interested the club is in beating the market for Castillo.
- Responding to a poll this morning, MLBTR readers say that the Yankees and Red Sox are the leading candidates to land Castillo, with “mystery team” and the Tigers the next most likely destinations.
Brown, 28, saw action in three games and made just one plate appearance in this year’s stint with the Red Sox. Brown has spent the bulk of the year in Triple-A Pawtucket, where he posted a slash line of .226/.294/.452. Over parts of five seasons at Triple-A, the outfielder has hit .249/.326/.459.
In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at some of the recently suggestions put forth by Red Sox chairman Tom Werner to help make the game more marketable to young people.
“Too many people are leaving games in the sixth and seventh innings because they can’t watch 3½-hour games, so they’re leaving the game at the point where the game should be getting exciting,” Werner said. “You wouldn’t make a 3½-hour movie. The NFL makes changes almost on an annual basis. They’re considering making the extra point from 35 yards rather than from the 8-yard line… I respect tradition, but I don’t revere it.”
Among Werner’s ideas: instituting a pitch clock, limiting the number of times a batter can step out of the box, and putting a cap on the number of catcher and pitching coach visits to the mound. More from today’s column..
- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson could be on the hot seat and there has been a lot of speculation about Joe McEwing, a third base coach with the White Sox, or Mike Aldrete, the bench coach for the Cardinals. If Gibson is canned it would mark Tony La Russa‘s first big decision but GM Kevin Towers would also likely to have a say.
- In a chat with Cafardo, David Ross spoke glowingly of the amenities or “little things” that the Red Sox do for their players and Cafardo wonders if that could keep Jon Lester in Boston beyond this season. Lester’s family was always taken care of the team’s traveling secretary and while other teams can offer similar services, the consensus among players who have been multiple places is that Red Sox and Yankees are the teams that offer more to their players.
- Ross tells Cafardo that even though there have been no contract talks with the Red Sox yet, he would like to return. Boston would certainly love for him to keep working with Christian Vazquez, but Ross’s recent bout with plantar fasciitis has slowed him. Ross is finishing up a two-year, 6.2MM deal.
- Daniel Nava drew interest from the Tigers and had interest from the Royals before they traded for Josh Willingham, but he has yet to be put on waivers. It’s not a certainty that he’ll clear and but the Red Sox will likely put him on revocable waivers later in the month to see what type of interest he’ll get. The Sox’ outfield looks crowded next season with Allen Craig, Jackie Bradley Jr., Shane Victorino, Yoenis Cespedes, Mookie Betts, and Brock Holt all in the mix so it makes sense to see what can be had for Nava.
- In a separate tweet, Cafardo reports Nava, Mike Napoli, Koji Uehara, and Will Middlebrooks have been placed on revocable waivers.
FRIDAY, 8:22pm: One factor in Castillo’s possible impact on the current season is his visa situation, Sherman notes (Twitter links). He has yet to obtain a work visa, which he will need by the end of the month in order to achieve postseason eligibility.
3:50pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Castillo and his reps at Roc Nation began looking over offers today. He points out that interested contenders will be urgent to sign him in order to get him on a pro roster in advance of Aug. 31 (players acquired after that date are ineligible for the postseason). However, Sherman notes that several non-contenders are interested in Castillo as well due to his status as a 27-year-old that won’t require draft pick compensation. Sherman lists the Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers as “major players” for Castillo (all links to Twitter).
7:59am: A source with knowledge of the situation told George A. King III of the New York Post earlier this week that Castillo has already received offers from some clubs and will sift through all of his offers this weekend, with a goal of making a decision next week. As King notes, if Castillo is to play in the Majors this season, he will need to sign quickly, as he’ll likely require at least a brief tour through the minors before joining a Major League club.
WEDNESDAY: 7:41pm: The Red Sox are “expected to be aggressive” on Castillo, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, who also hears that Castillo will begin narrowing the field to the highest bidders in the coming days.
5:00pm: Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo is said to be wrapping up his one-on-one workouts with interested teams and will narrow the field of interested teams in the coming days, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (on Twitter). Not surprisingly, Sanchez notes that the field will be narrowed to the highest bidders.
Castillo, 27, held a showcase last month that drew scouts from 28 of the 30 Major League teams, and attendees left with generally favorable impressions. Reports from the showcase explained that Castillo showed surprising power, speed that was perceived as anywhere from “very good” to “outstanding” (depending on the scout) and an average throwing arm that some felt was his worst tool.
The Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Mariners, Orioles and Cubs were all said to have private workouts scheduled for Castillo, and the Astros were said to be trying to schedule one as well. Sanchez tweets that the Tigers have shown interest as well, though it’s not certain to what degree Detroit is interested. The White Sox, Giants, Blue Jays and Braves have all been listed as potential suitors since Castillo’s showcase as well, while the Twins are said to find his price tag too high. At this time, Sanchez tweets that there’s no favorite, as the field is “wide open,” but that will likely change in the days ahead as Castillo and his representatives at Roc Nation Sports weigh their offers. (Speaking of Roc Nation, fans interested in Castillo can check out a new highlight video of his showcase that was produced by Roc Nation and set to music by – who else? — Jay-Z.)
In an appearance on WAAF’s Hill-Man Morning Show, Jon Lester explained recent comments that he wouldn’t necessarily go to the highest bidder this offseason (via WEEI’s Rob Bradford). “…I don’t need to go to the highest bidder if that isn’t going to make me happy,” said Lester. “I’m not going to just take the highest bid, the money, the most years just because it’s in front of you. … I make decisions based on me and my family and is this place — whether it’s Boston or one of the other 29 teams – is this place going to be good for me and my family?” Lester did note that he could still end up signing the highest bidder, of course, but the happiness of his family will be the top priority. Lester also repeated that he doesn’t have any hard feelings toward the Red Sox, and he discussed his farewell to owner John Henry as well.
Here’s more from the AL East…
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos appeared on Sportsnet 590 The Fan with Mike Wilner and Ben Ennis today, and Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith provides some of the highlights. Of particular note was the fact that Anthopoulos said top prospect Daniel Norris could be a factor out of the team’s bullpen in September if he continues to pitch well. The 21-year-old Norris has skyrocketed up prospect rankings this year on the heels of a 2.25 ERA with 11.2 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 108 innings across Class-A Advanced, Double-A and Triple-A.
- Nicholson-Smith also writes that the Blue Jays have made several waiver claims this month, but none have resulted in the acquisition of a new player. The team isn’t expected to make a trade today, but it will need to clear a roster spot for the returning Edwin Encarnacion. Nicholson-Smith notes that the Jays are willing to cut ties with out-of-options players, and Anthopoulos has expressed some frustration with Juan Francisco‘s strikeout tendencies. However, he adds that the Blue Jays do value Francisco’s left-handed power.
- Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner isn’t committing to bringing back longtime general manager Brian Cashman in 2015, but the Yankee GM tells George A. King III of the New York Post that he’s not bothered by the situation. “That’s the process,” said Cashman, whose contract expires after the 2014 season. “There isn’t much to say at this point. That’s for another day.” Steinbrenner’s comments to King were of a similar nature, as he chose to focus on the season at hand rather than the future of his GM.
- Steinbrenner also says he’s had no recent conversations with Alex Rodriguez, writes MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, but the Yankees are expecting A-Rod to return in 2015 following his 162-game suspension. The 39-year-old former MVP has three years and $61MM remaining on his contract.
AUG. 13: Major League Baseball owners are confident that they will emerge from tomorrow’s vote with a new commissioner, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
However, in a full-length column earlier this morning, Nightengale explained the divide between frontrunners Manfred and Werner, with some Manfred supporters telling Nightengale they feel they have at least 20 owners committed to Manfred. Sources in the Werner camp tell Nightengale that there will be at least 11 votes for Werner, and another eight were undecided.
Brosnan, too, has his supporters, according to Nightengale, but they fear that he doesn’t have a realistic chance at winning the vote. If Brosnan doesn’t receive enough votes on the first ballot, he could bow out and throw his support to Werner. In that scenario, Brosnan could end up serving as deputy commissioner to Werner.
In the video atop his article, Nightengale speculated that no consensus would be reached. All of this speculation, of course, came prior to each finalist giving a one-hour presentation to MLB owners today at their quarterly meetings, so things may have changed.
Sources have also told Nightengale that there was to be a fourth candidate among the finalists — former Yale University president Richard C. Levin. However, Levin withdrew his name late in the process. Nightengale wonders if MLB will try to convince Levin to reconsider in the event that the owners aren’t able to reach a vote tomorrow.
AUG. 5: The search committee formed to identify a successor for Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has narrowed the candidates down to a list of three finalists, reports USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred, MLB vice president of business Tim Bronson and Red Sox chairman Tom Werner are the candidates, according to Nightengale.
MLB owners will vote on the trio at next week’s quarterly owners meetings, and if 23 or more owners can agree on a candidate, that candidate will be named as Selig’s successor. Of course, Selig is set to remain in office through the end of his term — January 24, 2015. He is expected to remain involved in baseball in a limited capacity, Nightengale writes.
Shortly after the committee formed back in May, reports indicated that White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf — a longtime Selig backer — was surprisingly resistant to the idea of Manfred succeeding Selig as commissioner. Manfred has long been thought to be Selig’s preferred choice as a successor.
Giants president Larry Baer, Disney chief executive Bob Iger, Braves chairman Terry McGuirk, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski and MLB Advanced Media CEO Bob Bowman have all been thought to be candidates at various points since the committee has formed.
In an interesting discussion with Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, Red Sox reliever Burke Badenhop discussed his use of the Pitch F/X tool at BrooksBaseball.net. Velocity, vertical movement, strike zone plots, and release point are among the pieces of information that Badenhop utilizes to evaluate his outings.
Here’s more from the AL East:
- Jon Lester may be playing in Oakland, but he knows his time there will almost certainly be short, as John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports. Looking ahead to the free agent market, the lefty said that the Red Sox made clear that they intend to pursue a return. “At the end of the season, [the trade is] not going to change my mind about going back there if they are aggressive and competitive and do the things they say they’re going to do,” Lester said in reference to his long-time club. “They told me, ‘We’re going to be aggressive. You’re going to get blown out of the water by some of these [other] offers,’” said Lester, who maintains that the sticker shock will not be the most important factor for him. “I’m not going to the highest bidder. I’m going to the place that makes me and my family happy. If that’s Boston, it’s Boston.”
- Of course, Lester should have no shortage of suitors, in large part due to the fact that he has been outstanding this year. Indeed, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes, Lester has set himself up for free agency with as good a walk year (thus far) as any recent starter.
- After failing to extend Lester last offseason, the Red Sox will soon face a similar situation with regard to the man he was traded for, Yoenis Cespedes. As Alex Speier of WEEI.com writes in discussing the possible parameters of an extension for Cespedes, it seems somewhat curious that Boston would have chosen him as the return if it did not have at least some hope of locking him up past 2015 (especially since Cespedes will not be eligible to receive a qualifying offer). Though his power is undeniable, the 28-year-old’s overall value has lagged his visibility to an extent. Regardless, he seems quite likely to draw plenty of attention in free agency, and Speier suggests that comparables could include B.J. Upton (five-year, $75MM free agent deal) and Hunter Pence (five-year, $90MM late-season extension). Of course, as Speier notes, a full season in Fenway could provide Cespedes the opportunity to post some outlandish numbers and boost his value.
- Orioles third baseman Manny Machado seems destined for a DL stint but, more importantly, appears to have avoided another major knee injury. The club announced yesterday that a MRI revealed a right knee ligament sprain, saying that further update would be forthcoming today. Executive VP Dan Duquette said that the club had not yet decided whether it would shop around for additional options at the hot corner, but will make that assessment when more is known on Machado’s timetable, Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports on Twitter.
- The Blue Jays announced yesterday that righty Neil Wagner will undergo Tommy John surgery. Wagner, 30, has been hit hard in ten games with Toronto on the year, though he was playing at the Triple-A level at the time of the injury. He has not matched his successful 2013, when he worked 38 frames of 3.79 ERA ball in the majors and dominated at Triple-A (2 earned runs in 23 2/3 innings).
Though Daniel Nava has yet to be placed on waivers, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, he’s already begun to draw trade interest from the Royals and Tigers as the AL Central frontrunners each search for a bat to add to their lineup (Twitter link).
The 31-year-old Nava is hitting just .248/.327/.310 this season, but he carries a significant platoon split and would likely see his overall numbers improve were he to face only right-handed pitching. Nava is a switch-hitter by trade, but his lifetime .207/.287/.300 batting line as a right-handed hitter is unimpressive, to say the least. However, he boasts a .289/.384/.422 triple-slash in his career as a left-handed hitter and is slashing .276/.360/.346 from that side of the dish in 2014. Beyond that, Defensive Runs Saved is a fan of his career work at both outfield corners. Ultimate Zone Rating doesn’t like his glove in left field but has been positive regarding his work as a right fielder.
The Royals could look at Nava as a upgrade (both offensively and defensively) over veteran Raul Ibanez, who has batted a paltry .193/.233/.386 in 60 plate appearances since returning to the team. While Nava’s struggles from the right side make it seem counterintuitive to suggest that he could form a platoon with Nori Aoki, Kansas City could make such an alignment work. Nava could receive the bulk of playing time against right-handed pitching because Aoki, despite being a lefty swinger, has much better career numbers versus southpaws. He’s hit lefties at a .337/.410/.404 clip in 2014 and a .311/.363/.396 clip since jumping from Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball to the Major Leagues.
Detroit’s interest in Nava isn’t entirely surprising, given the fact that Andy Dirks sustained a setback in his rehab from back surgery last week (as reported by MLB.com’s Jason Beck). Dirks reportedly strained his left hamstring, and the Tigers aren’t sure when exactly he will be able to get back into games. As such, Nava presents a solid option against right-handed hitters with solid corner outfield defense — a skill-set not dissimilar to that of Dirks. He could pick up some of Torii Hunter‘s at-bats against right-handed pitching, as the veteran outfielder has seen his numbers against right-handers decline (along with his once highly regarded defense). Hunter is hitting just .257 with a .294 OBP against righties this year, though his .438 slugging percentage and 181 isolated power mark against them are both plenty respectable.
As it stands, the Royals would have first crack at Nava on waivers, as they’re a half-game behind the Tigers in what has become a surprisingly tight AL Central race. Of course, there’s no guarantee that Nava would make it to either club, as he would first need to go unclaimed by the Rangers, Astros, Red Sox, Twins, White Sox, Rays, Indians, Yankees, Blue Jays and Mariners — in that order — to reach either AL Central contender. Nava will be arbitration eligible for just the first time this winter and is under control through the 2017 season, so it’s certainly possible that a different AL club would have interest in claiming him. The Indians, for example, who are just five and a half games back in the division, could claim Nava simply to block their rivals from acquiring him. There’d be little risk for Cleveland, given Nava’s modest $557K salary in 2014.