Boston Red Sox Rumors

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

Red Sox Reluctant To Move Will Middlebrooks

The Red Sox have been receiving decent trade interest in recent days in third baseman Will Middlebrooks, but Red Sox people are said to seem quite reluctant to deal him, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Middlebrooks is on injury rehab following his slow start in Boston but the Sox seem intent on keeping him past July.

Still only 25, Middlebrooks has power, and it isn’t easy to come by power bats in baseball these days. On top of that, if Middlebrooks can show something in the second half, he could be a piece if the Sox try and make a run at Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton.  It would obviously take much more than Middlebrooks to get a deal done, but Miami did have some interest in Middlebrooks last winter. Stanton would provide a huge boost for the Red Sox and Boston can build a package with some of the best prospects in baseball to entice Miami if they make Stanton available over the winter. In 21 games this season, Middlebrooks has hit just .197/.305/.324 with two homers.


Jon Lester Would Consider Mid-Season Extension

Red Sox staff ace Jon Lester would consider an in-season extension, if the team comes forward with an offer that seems likely to lead to quick finalization of a deal, reports WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.

Recent reports have fluctuated as to the plausibility of an in-season extension between the two sides. After we learned that the club intended to make a final run at a deal, a later report indicated that the lefty prefers to avoid the distraction of talks during a campaign. It now appears that he is not entirely unwilling to talk contract, so long as the side effects can be minimized.

Bradford writes that Lester might be inclined to allow a re-opening of discussions if the team ups its offer to the five-year, $120MM range. That would represent a major jump up from the last reported offer, a four-year, $70MM price that the club has since characterized as a starting point. As Bradford notes, that would land in the neighborhood of the Cole Hamels extension (six years, $144M), which was signed under somewhat similar circumstances.


Red Sox Notes: Lester, Miller, Depth

Here’s the latest from Fenway Park…

  • Jon Lester has told the Red Sox that he would like to hold off contract talks until the season is over, and it appears that both parties will wait until October to re-open negotiations, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports.  Lester has repeatedly said that he feels in-season talks are a distraction, though the Sox reportedly were open to increasing their last contract offer.
  • Both sides still have “a strong interest” in reaching an extension and continuing Lester’s tenure in Boston, though naturally many teams would be interested in Lester’s services.  Heyman notes that the Yankees would have particular interest in adding the veteran left-hander.
  • Andrew Miller wants to stay with the Sox beyond this season, but the pending free agent tells Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal that he isn’t thinking about either a new contract or the possibility of being traded before the deadline.  Miller said his representatives haven’t talked about an extension aside from some “very, very minor discussion in spring training that mostly stemmed from us not being able to agree on arbitration.”  After strong performances in 2012-13, Miller is having his best season yet in Boston, posting a 2.48 ERA, 5.5 K/BB rate and a superb 15.2 K/9 over 32 2/3 IP.
  • GM Ben Cherington made three offseason mistakes that hurt the Red Sox this year, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes.  Not making an earlier extension offer to Lester was one, in Lauber’s opinion, and the Sox also erred in counting too much on the injury-prone Shane Victorino and the unproven Will Middlebrooks to be everyday players.


AL East Notes: Drew, Yankees, McCarthy, Red Sox

In a piece for FOXSports.com, Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron writes that the struggles of Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew might give others pause about following in his footsteps in signing midseason.  While many different people have contributed to Boston’s struggles this season, Drew’s futility at the plate is one of the primary reasons for their slide, Cameron writes.  Of course, fellow Scott Boras client Kendrys Morales has also been struggling since joining the Twins.  More out of the AL East..

  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post looks at four pitching trade targets that would make sense for the Yankees.  Sherman’s suggestions include old friend Ian Kennedy and Diamondbacks hurler Wade Miley, if he’s made available.
  • Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues is scouting the trade market for the Yankees and takes a look at the pitchers the Diamondbacks have to offer.  In addition to Miley, Axisa sees right-hander Brandon McCarthy as a possibility for the Bombers.  McCarthy is a sabermetrics darling and his advanced numbers show that he’s better than his 5.11 ERA would indicate.  On the flipside, his injury history is troubling.
  • Because player development is so fickle, things haven’t worked out as planned for the Red Sox, writes Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.  Of course, the unpredictable nature of it all is the very reason why organizations stockpile so many prospects.

Latest On The Padres’ GM Search

Here’s the latest on the Padres’ search for a new GM to replace Josh Byrnes.

July 3 Updates

  • The Padres will interview MLB Senior Vice President for Baseball Operations Kim Ng for the GM job, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that the former Dodgers and Yankees assistant GM was under consideration for the role.

July 2 Updates

  • The Padres will interview Diamondbacks scouting director Ray Montgomery, sources tell Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link).

July 1 Updates

  • San Diego has received permission to interview Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, who also runs down some of the known and possible field.
  • The club’s current VP of baseball operations, Omar Minaya, has decided not to pursue the job but does wish to stay with the team, reports Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter).

June 30 Updates

  • The Padres announced that they have interviewed White, tweets MLB.com’s Corey Brock.
  • Cubs‘ executive Jason McLeod told reporters, including Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter links), that he has taken himself out of the running for the Padres GM role. He explained that he was “flattered” to be considered, but wants to stay in Chicago because the team has “a lot of special things going on.”

June 29 Updates

  • Red Sox Assistant GM Mike Hazen confirms he will interview for the position, tweets Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald.
  • Dodgers Vice President of Amateur Scouting Logan White will receive “big time” consideration, tweets the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
  • The Padres will interview Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller but not fellow assistant Thad Levine, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The Padres would prefer not to interview two candidates from the same organization.
  • Red Sox Assistant GM Mike Hazen has connections to Padres president Mike Dee (the former Red Sox Chief Operating Officer) and could become a strong candidate for the Padres’ GM job, Cafardo reports. Hazen has not yet interviewed, however.
  • There has been “a lot of talk” of Diamondbacks president Kevin Towers returning to San Diego, Cafardo reports.
  • Cafardo also notes that former Twins, Cubs and Orioles exec Andy MacPhail would have interest in the position if the Padres were interested in him. MacPhail, 61, served as the Orioles’ president of baseball operations from 2007 through 2011.

Edward Creech and Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


AL East Notes: Lester, Blue Jays, Hoffman, Yankees

ESPN’s Buster Olney thinks that extension talks between the Red Sox and Jon Lester are “all but over” and the left-hander will hit free agency, he said Wednesday on the WEEI radio. Olney states that if the Sox had approached Lester and offered something like $100MM over five years in Spring Training, a deal may have been reached, but that didn’t happen. The only way for a long-term deal to be reached now, in Olney’s opinion, may be to go the route the Phillies went to extend Cole Hamels in 2012 — offer top-of-the-market value ($140-150MM) on a final midseason offer.

Here’s more on Lester and the AL East…

  • Tim Britton of the Providence Journal spoke with Red Sox skipper John Farrell, who said that Lester has been a model example for how to handle a contract year. Lester has kept his contract discussions private and hasn’t created any sort of distraction or tension in the clubhouse, choosing instead to focus on the season at hand, according to Farrell.
  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos and manager John Gibbons are noncommittal when asked what areas the Jays might seek to upgrade via trade this summer, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. Anthopoulos noted that it would be very difficult for a club to acquire anyone from the Jays’ current 25-man roster unless they were acquiring an upgrade at that same position, and he also discussed Brett Lawrie‘s role with the team when he returns from the DL.
  • In the video at the top of the previous link, Anthopoulos discussed the signings of top picks Jeff Hoffman and Max Pentecost. Anthopoulos touched on the team’s previous inability to sign first-rounders Tyler Beede and Phil Bickford, but noted that he wouldn’t draft a player he didn’t think he could sign. He added that Hoffman will head to Florida to continue his rehab from Tommy John, while Pentecost will eventually head to short-season Class A Vancouver (once he gets a passport). Anthopoulos also said that the team agreed to the full-slot value with Hoffman because they felt the “discount” on signing him was already built in to the fact that he fell to the No. 9 pick. He and his staff thought Hoffman had a chance to go in the Top 3 or even Top 2 picks before tearing his UCL.
  • The Yankees have garnered a lot of attention with their international spending spree today, and Kiley McDaniel of Scout.com tweets that the team could spend as much as $30MM on international free agents, once the 100 percent overage tax is accounted for. That figure assumes that the team eventually agrees to terms with Colombian outfielder Bryan Emery, as many expect them to.

Red Sox To Sign Chris Acosta, Anderson Espinoza

2:30pm: Espinoza will receive a $200K scholarship in addition to his bonus, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (via Twitter).

2:00pm: Boston has agreed to sign top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza to a $1.8MM bonus, tweets Ben Badler of Baseball America. Espinoza was rated the best available arm by both BA and MLB.com. As expected, the Red Sox will be hit with the maximum penalty.

11:00am: The Red Sox have agreed to a $1.5MM deal with international prospect Chris Acosta, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports on Twitter. Acosta is a right-hander out of the Dominican Republic.

Baseball America rates him the 11th-best available prospect, while MLB.com had him sitting just one spot outside of the top five. Acosta is said to be advanced for his young age, with room to grow into his frame and increase his velocity. He is already sitting in the upper 80s to low 90s, with a good change and promising curve also in his arsenal.

Entering the signing period, Boston was tied to both Acosta and fellow top righty Anderson Espinoza. With just a shade over $1.88MM available in pool money, Boston is expected to incur the maximum penalties for blowing its budget by at least 15%. Should that occur, the club would pay a 100% tax and receive a two-year ban on July 2 signing bonuses of greater than $300K.


Minor Moves: Cleto, Pineiro, Janish, Resop, Peterson, Boggs, Rodriguez, O’Sullivan

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

  • UPDATE: Maikel Cleto has not, in fact, been released by the White Sox, according to MLB.com’s Scott Merkin (via Twitter). The International League transactions page indicates that the righty has been released, apparently erroneously. Cleto, 25, has seen his most extended MLB time this year after enjoying cups of coffee in each of the last three seasons. But he has not taken advantage, and owns a 5.14 ERA through 14 frames with an ugly 6.4 K/9 against 9.6 BB/9. Cleto’s 20 2/3 innings in Triple-A have not been much better, as he has worked to a 6.53 mark, though he has managed 12.2 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9.
  • Righty Joel Pineiro, recently released by the Angels, has been hit with a 50-game PED suspension, reports MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez (via Twitter). The prohibited substance at issue was heptaminol, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (tweet in Spanish). The 35-year-old, who had been attempting a comeback, owns a 5.93 ERA through 44 innings in the upper minors on the year.
  • Shortstop Paul Janish has been released by the Rockies, according to the PCL transactions page. Janish opted out of his minor league pact, according to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (via Twitter). The 31-year-old has spent the entire year at Triple-A, putting up a .234/.284/.301 slash in 226 plate appearances.
  • Righty Chris Resop has opted out of his contract with the Red Sox, tweets Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. The 31-year-old owns a 4.42 ERA through 38 2/3 frames at Triple-A. He has made MLB appearances in eight of the last nine seasons.
  • The Dodgers have acquired first baseman Brock Peterson from the Nationals in exchange for cash considerations, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Peterson, 30, owns a .250/.332/.367 line through 301 plate appearances at Triple-A this year. He has, however, shown much more power in recent seasons in the high minors with the Cardinals.
  • The White Sox have released righty Mitchell Boggs from Triple-A, reports Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com (via Twitter). The move will clear space for the addition of fellow reliever Henry Rodriguez, who signed a minor league deal recently, as Scott Merkin of MLB.com reported on Twitter. Boggs struggled to a 9.50 ERA in 36 innings with the Sox’ top affiliate this year, while Rodriguez was utterly unable to throw strikes consistently during his tenure with the Marlins.
  • The Phillies announced that right-hander Sean O’Sullivan has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The 26-year-old allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings in his lone start of the year with the Phillies and has a career 5.90 ERA with 4.3 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 224 1/3 innings of work. O’Sullivan has been outrighted in the past and has the option to reject the outright assignment in favor of free agency.

Angels Acquire Rich Hill

1:37pm: The Red Sox announced that they have received cash considerations from the Angels in exchange for Hill.

1:29pm: The Angels announced that they have acquired southpaw Rich Hill from the Red Sox and selected his contract (Twitter link). Michael Kohn has been optioned to Triple-A to create room for Hill on the Major League roster. Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish noted earlier today (on Twitter) that Hill had a July 1 opt-out in his minor league deal with Boston.

The 34-year-old Hill, signed by Boston to a minor league deal this offseason, has pitched well in his time with Boston’s Triple-A affiliate in 2014. In 39 innings for Pawtucket, Hill has posted a 3.23 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. He’s dominated opposing left-handers, holding them to a .196/.302/.196 batting line, and he’s been tough on righties as well. Opposing right-handers are batting just .211/.296/.274 against Hill this year.

Of course, Hill does come with a spotty track record, as he posted a 6.28 ERA in 38 2/3 innings with the Indians last season and has a lengthy injury history. Since a strong showing with the 2007 Cubs, Hill has had difficulty sticking in the Majors as he’s battled shoulder and elbow problems, including surgery to repair a torn labrum and Tommy John surgery.


Red Sox Release Chris Capuano

JULY 1: The Red Sox announced that Capuano has cleared waivers and been released. Boston is on the hook for the remainder of Capuano’s contract (roughly $1.18MM), and he is free to sign with any team.

JUNE 25: The Red Sox have designated left-hander Chris Capuano for assignment, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter). The move makes room for right-hander Clay Buchholz to be activated from the 15-day disabled list.

Capuano, 35, signed a one-year, $2.25MM deal with the Red Sox this offseason that included up to $2.75MM worth of incentives. The veteran southpaw pitched 31 2/3 innings for the BoSox and posted a 4.55 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and a 36.2 percent ground-ball rate. Capuano posted a bizarre reverse-platoon split in Boston, holding right-handed hitters to a .217/.337/.348 batting line but struggling against lefties to the tune of a .333/.367/.509 triple-slash.

Capuano started the year well, pitching to a 1.95 ERA through the first two months, but he’s fallen on hard times in June. He’s appeared in five games this month, totaling just four innings while serving up a total of 10 runs on 14 hits and four walks.