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Boston Red Sox Rumors
The relief market is in full swing this morning. Sergio Romo is arguably the best bullpen piece left on the market. The 31-year-old righty had a down year last year, but had been lights out for some time before and regained his former dominance over the season’s second half.
Here’s the latest:
- The Dodgers, Yankees, and Red Sox all have interest in Romo, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports on Twitter. All said, it would appear that Romo has quite a wealthy group of suitors, which bodes well for his ability to max out his market.
- Romo is in talks with the incumbent Giants, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The Tigers have actually not inquired on Romo, Rosenthal tweets in correction of his prior report. San Francisco is in, though it has other priorities, he adds.
We already took a look at one round of reactions to Jon Lester‘s deal with the Cubs, but the big lefty’s much-anticipated decision has drawn plenty of thoughts from around the game. Here are some more:
- Cubs manager Joe Maddon found it impossible to hide his excitement for the still-unannounced addition of Lester, as ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark writes. The reason is clear, says Stark: the move steps up the organization’s image and its timetable for competing.
- Don’t expect the Cubs to push for contention next year, cautions Rob Neyer of FOX Sports, who writes that the real target probably still remains 2016 and beyond.
- With the Lester signing, the Cubs are officially ready to try and go to the playoffs, opines Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs. Sullivan, who feels that the Cubs are a good fit for Lester, looks at how the rest of the offseason might play out now that the left-hander is off the market.
- The Red Sox simply “blew it” with regard to Lester, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney opines in an Insider piece.
- As the Red Sox look to alternatives, Alex Speier of WEEI.com breaks down the top replacement options for Lester.
Now that David Robertson has agreed to terms with the White Sox, the Yankees should forget about traditional closer usage and instead use their best relievers situationally, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes. Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances don’t have significant track records as closers, but established free agent closers like Jason Grilli and Sergio Romo aren’t better pitchers than Miller or Betances. So if the Yankees sign someone like Grilli or Romo, they should treat them only as potential options to pitch in save situations, not as closers in the usual sense. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- Marlon Byrd is a good fit for the Orioles, but the Phillies shouldn’t give him up freely, Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com writes. Byrd is a quality hitter on a reasonable and relatively short-term contract, so his age (37) should not be a major detriment. If the Phillies can’t get the right return for Byrd, they shouldn’t trade him, Seidman suggests. The two teams met to discuss Byrd yesterday.
- Orioles manager Buck Showalter marvels at this offseason’s spending by Baltimore’s fellow AL East teams, Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com writes. “They run out of money yet? God bless them, that’s the system. If we were in their shoes, we’d do the same thing,” says Showalter. “We just have to be good at some things that allow us to compete with them.” The Orioles have been relatively quiet this offseason while the Red Sox have spent heavily on Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, the Blue Jays on Russell Martin, and the Yankees on Andrew Miller.
- Adding Lester is huge for the Cubs, but they’re at least one more good starter away from contention, ESPN’s Keith Law writes (Insider-only). Brandon McCarthy would be a good fit, Law suggests, or they could trade young hitting for another starter. Even if the Cubs’ core of young hitting needs another year to develop before the team can contend, though, Lester figures to age well and should still be pitching at a high level in 2016.
- The Lester deal gives the Cubs more credibility, new manager Joe Maddon told reporters, including MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. “It definitely makes it more believable to everybody else in that [clubhouse],” Maddon said. “I’ll stand up and make the same speech regardless, but when you have it backed up by that particular kind of presence, it adds to it. … Having people like that in the room definitely helps other guys believe this is possible.”
- The deal is an awkward one for the Red Sox, tweets Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan. They could have offered Lester far less last spring than their losing bid this time around, and he would have accepted.
- The Red Sox still have to upgrade their rotation, and their missing out on Lester by $20MM is a bad sign, ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes writes. It will be hard, Edes writes, for the Red Sox to have a rotation without Lester as good as the one they could have had if they had signed him.
- Lester becoming a Cub shifts the balance of power in the NL Central, and the New York Post’s Joel Sherman wonders (via Twitter) if it will be what causes the Reds to begin rebuilding.
- On a related note, Lester’s contract sets the standard for extension talks between the Reds and Johnny Cueto, who is eligible for free agency after 2015, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Rosecrans also notes that, with Lester heading to Chicago, the Red Sox figure to be clearly in the market for starting pitching, and there might be a match between the Red Sox and Reds, who could offer Mat Latos or Mike Leake.
The Rays have received some trade inquiries about Wil Myers, but do not seem apt to deal him, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. “The guy we saw last year was injured and didn’t really have a chance to demonstrate what he has,” says Rays executive Matt Silverman. “We look at him as a rookie of the year who really missed most of the season and expect him to be back in that form as a formidable bat in the middle of the lineup who also plays a pretty good outfield.” The Rays are widely expected to deal an outfielder this offseason, but that will likely be David DeJesus or Matt Joyce; as Topkin notes, trading the 2013 ROY-winning Myers after a down season would be selling low. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond does not want to be traded, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson writes. “Do I want to be a National [beyond 2015]? Yes,” says Desmond. “Do I think, at this particular moment, I will be, I don’t know.” Desmond and the Nationals have been unable to settle on a long-term extension, and he’s now one of several key Nats who’s eligible for free agency after the 2015 season.
- The Orioles still have interest in Delmon Young as a right-handed power source but could pursue Michael Morse (to whom they’ve previously been connected) as a backup plan, ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweets. Another possible option for them could be to acquire Allen Craig in a trade with the Red Sox. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo adds (via Twitter), however, that the Orioles are not close to signing Young. Young and Morse are both poor defensive players, but they’re coming off strong offensive seasons — Young hit .302/.337/.442 in a part-time role with Baltimore in 2014, while Morse batted .279/.336/.475 in 482 at bats with the Giants. (Before that, the Orioles acquired Morse for their stretch run in 2013, and he collected 30 plate appearances for them.) With Nelson Cruz gone, the Orioles could have either player pick up at bats at DH, while occasionally playing an outfield corner. Morse would likely be the more expensive of the two, with MLBTR’s Jeff Todd predicting Morse will get a two-year, $22MM deal.
Catcher David Ross is drawing interest from the Cubs, Red Sox, Diamondbacks, Padres and Braves and could soon sign, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter links). Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart said earlier today that his team was keeping tabs on Ross, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter).
With Jon Lester in Chicago, there will likely be plenty of speculation about Ross signing with the Cubs. Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan noted earlier tonight (again on Twitter) that Lester’s decision to sign with the Cubs greatly increased the chances that Lester’s former Red Sox teammates Ross and Jonny Gomes would wind up in Chicago as well. The Cubs recently traded for Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero, but they non-tendered backup catcher John Baker are expected to consider trading Welington Castillo.
Ross, 37, hit .184/.260/.368 in 171 plate appearances in Boston last season. The 13-year veteran has also played for the Dodgers, Pirates, Padres, Reds and Braves.
The Red Sox and Marlins have interest in Diamondbacks lefty Wade Miley, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweet. (Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald noted in November that the Marlins had interest in Miley.) Rosenthal and Morosi add that the offers the Diamondbacks have received for Miley are significant, increasing the likelihood of a deal. The Blue Jays and Rangers also could have interest in Miley.
Miley, 28, posted a 4.34 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 last season, which was the third straight year in which he threw at least 194 innings. Miley also keeps the ball on the ground, with a GB% of 51.1 last season. He’s projected to make $4.3MM this offseason in his first year of arbitration eligibility. The news that the Red Sox are interested in Miley broke before news of Jon Lester‘s decision to sign with the Cubs rather than returning to Boston. It’s hard to imagine Lester’s decision hurting the Red Sox’ chances of dealing for Miley, but they’ll probably seek to replace Lester by also acquiring an obvious ace.
A reunion between Max Scherzer and the Tigers is “not happening,” a club official tells Peter Gammons (via Twitter). What Detroit might do, however, is trade right-hander Rick Porcello to the Red Sox for a package of Yoenis Cespedes and Rubby De La Rosa. Rumors of a Porcello/Cespedes deal arose a few days ago but talks between the two sides were “not hot” according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Here’s some more from around the AL Central…
- The Angels are searching for middle infield help and the Twins‘ Eduardo Escobar is on their list of targets, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (also via Twitter) thinks the Halos could offer Minnesota a reliever in return, with Vinnie Pestano being “one name to watch.”
- Also from Berardino (on Twitter), the Twins haven’t yet talked to free agent starter Ervin Santana. The right-hander’s representatives are open to hearing from Minnesota, however, with a source telling Berardino that Santana “loves pitching in the cold.”
- Pat Neshek‘s agent Barry Meister tells Berardino that he had a “social discussion” with Twins GM Terry Ryan but the two sides “haven’t had any substantive discussions at all” about the reliever rejoining the club. Meister said that there has been “substantial interest“ from around the league in Neshek and another top reliever client, Sergio Romo.
- The White Sox are telling teams that Dayan Viciedo is available, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link). It’s no surprise that Viciedo is being shopped given that the Sox have been rumored to be exploring such outfield replacements as Melky Cabrera. Viciedo hit .231/.281/.405 with 21 homers in 563 PA last season, providing below-replacement level value with -0.9 rWAR.
The Red Sox and Phillies have explored a deal that would send lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo to Boston in exchange for prospect Sean Coyle, CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam reports. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reported earlier today that the two sides were talking about such a trade, though it was unclear if the discussions were still ongoing.
Bastardo has a 3.36 ERA, 2.61 K/BB rate and an 11.6 K/9 in 216 2/3 IP out of the Philadelphia bullpen over the last four seasons. He’s been almost as equally effective against right-handed batters (holding them to a career .664 OPS) as he has against left-handed batters (career .621 OPS), though control has been an issue, as evidenced by his career 4.3 BB/9.
Coyle, a third-round pick in the 2010 draft, has played mostly second base in his career but saw a bit of action at third last season. He’s shown a lot of pop in his pro career, with a .258/.344/.458 slash line over 1622 minor league PA, none above the Double-A level. Baseball America ranked Coyle as the 30th-best prospect in Boston’s system prior to the 2014 season.
9:10pm: The Dodgers aren’t in on Lester, Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times tweets. It indeed seems that the Cubs and Red Sox are the two finalists for Lester’s services.
8:36pm: Lester is still finalizing his choice between the Cubs and Red Sox, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.
8:21pm: The Giants were called by Lester earlier tonight to inform them that he was signing elsewhere, assistant GM Bobby Evans told reporters (including Alex Pavlovic of the Bay Area News Group). As Evans put it, “We did not receive a rose.”
7:36pm: CSN Chicago’s David Kaplan hears from “two very good MLB sources” who believe the Cubs are the leading contenders to sign Lester. An executive connected to at least one of the teams in the hunt, however, tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link) that he thinks Lester is leaning towards San Francisco.
5:31pm: The Lester sweepstakes “is nearing [the] finish line” and there is a “reasonable belief” that Lester could pick his new team by tonight, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets. Olney adds that Lester will soon be presented with his final offers from teams, though WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford reports that Lester’s agents are not quite ready to present those final offers to their client. There’s “still a strong possibility” that Lester make his decision until Wednesday, Bradford writes.
4:41pm: Giants GM Brian Sabean thinks his team is still “very much in” the hunt for Lester, The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo tweets.
2:58pm: Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans says that he has been led to believe that lefty Jon Lester is leaning toward signing with another club, Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM reports (links to Twitter). San Francisco is “in the back seat” in negotiations at present, Evans said.
Lester has told the Giants that he is not going to simply take the highest bid, as has previously been reported. Evans left Bowden with the impression that San Francisco believes the starter is drawn to joining the Cubs or Red Sox.
Various reports have suggested that Lester’s decision would continue to be delayed as the teams involved — up to and including their owners — make a final push to land him. With the bidding said to be at or even above the $150MM level, Lester will surely feel comfortable that he has earned a market-value deal regardless of where he ends up.