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Boston Red Sox Rumors
“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.
Jason Lane‘s improbable comeback story will add another chapter today when the outfielder-turned-pitcher will receive his first Major League start, getting a spot appearance in place of Padres ace Ian Kennedy (who’s battling a sore oblique). Lane began making regular mound appearances in 2012 in the minors in an attempt to revive his career, and the decision paid off earlier this season when he was called up by San Diego and threw 4 1/3 scoreless relief innings. That cup of coffee marked Lane’s first big league action since playing as an outfielder with the Astros and Padres from 2002-07. At age 37, Lane will be the oldest first-time starter since 38-year-old Troy Percival started a game for St. Louis in 2007.
Here’s some hot stove buzz from around the NL West…
- Despite already trading two of their better prospects in the Jake Peavy deal, the Giants have maintained an interest in Ben Zobrist and had two scouts watching the Rays this weekend, FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi reports (Twitter links). San Francisco is one of “multiple teams” who are “ready to act” if Tampa indeed makes Zobrist available, sources tell Morosi and Ken Rosenthal.
- Multiple teams have shown interest in Diamondbacks right-hander Brad Ziegler, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports, though the Snakes aren’t likely to move him. Earlier this month, we heard the Tigers were known to be one of the clubs who asked about Ziegler. Gilbert’s piece also summarizes some of the trade rumors circulating about what Arizona may do at the deadline.
- Troy Tulowitzki would welcome a trade to the Red Sox, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe hears from a source (Twitter link). Given Tulowitzki’s controversial appearance in the stands at Sunday’s Blue Jays/Yankees game, expect more trade buzz than ever about the Rockies‘ star shortstop both over the next several weeks and through the offseason.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said over the weekend that his club “may not do anything” at the trade deadline, and Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles thinks this might not necessarily be a concern given how the current roster performed in sweeping the Giants.
The trade of Jake Peavy might just be the tip of the iceberg for the Red Sox. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal lists ten more players the Sox could potentially deal at this week’s deadline. Among them are four relievers (Burke Badenhop, Craig Breslow, Andrew Miller and Koji Uehara), plus starter/reliever Felix Doubront. MacPherson notes that Doubront, like 1B/OF Mike Carp (who recently asked for a trade), is eager to get out of Boston.
Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com explains that Doubront sees himself as a starter and wants the Red Sox to put him in the rotation if they’re going to keep him. “I just want to be a starter and stay there,” Doubront says. “If I stay (with the Red Sox), they have to know I have to be a starter. If I go, the other team is going to give me this chance to be a starter.” The addition of player discontent to a disappointing roster full of highly tradeable players could make the deadline a very eventful one in Boston. Here’s more from the AL East.
- The Blue Jays have a number of needs to balance at the deadline, MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm writes. “I think we have enough resources to do what we want to do,” GM Alex Anthopoulos has said, although Chisholm notes that the Jays probably don’t have a lot of money to spend and doesn’t have a ton of nearly-ready young talent to trade, particularly given that the team is unlikely to deal Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez.
- The Orioles probably won’t acquire a top starting pitcher, but they might acquire depth in that area, writes MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli. They could look for a lefty relief pitcher, as well as a catcher (they’ve recently been linked to Kurt Suzuki) or second baseman. Orioles executive Dan Duquette seems disinclined to trade top young pitchers, including Kevin Gausman.
6:51pm: A source from the Dodgers indicates there are no significant discussions between the Dodgers and Red Sox involving Kemp or Lester, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo tweets.
4:00pm: The Red Sox are considering a trade with the Dodgers involving Matt Kemp and Jon Lester as the principals, a club source tells Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. The Dodgers’ interest in Lester was reported yesterday by Edes.
Kemp’s name is being floated since the Dodgers are unwilling to part with top outfield prospect Joc Pederson, according to Edes. Centering a deal around Kemp, however, is problematic from the Red Sox’s perspective because of the $107MM remaining on his contract. For the deal to make any sense for Boston, Edes reports the Dodgers would have to be willing to eat a considerable amount of money, but they might be willing to do so for a pitcher of Lester’s caliber despite him being no more than a two-month rental. The Red Sox preference, however, is a package centered around Pederson.
Edes also notes Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels is not available and the Red Sox have not inquired about Cliff Lee. For more on the 2014 trade market, check out MLBTR’s position-by-position breakdown.
Here’s the latest on Jon Lester and the Red Sox:
- Lester says he would not be inclined to consider a contract extension if a team traded for him, WEEI.com’s Alex Speier writes. “[M]y ultimate goal would be to come back here. That would be, like I said the other day, I know that’s hard to do,” Lester says. “Money doesn’t buy you happiness.” Speier notes that if Lester would be willing to agree to a deal with his new team as a condition of a trade, that might be a way for the Red Sox to get additional value from the deal.
- Speier also writes that there has been “no meaningful dialogue” on a possible trade of Lester to the Dodgers.
- The Red Sox want a “huge” return if they’re going to trade Lester, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.
- The Dodgers have a good group of outfielders with which to do a Lester trade, including Joc Pederson and Matt Kemp, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes. (A recent report from Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston indicated the Dodgers and Red Sox were considering a Lester/Kemp deal.)
- Any Lester/Kemp trade would need to include other pieces and/or money, Rosenthal tweets. He quotes another team’s GM who says, “He doesn’t add much value to any deal for us even at half his salary.” Kemp is owed $107MM from 2015 through 2019. Rosenthal also adds that trading Pederson for Lester would not make sense for the Dodgers unless they received other young talent in return.
The Red Sox are willing to move southpaw reliever Andrew Miller in a trade, according to multiple reports. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter) says that Boston is shopping the lefty, adding that the Pirates have been scouting the club for weeks and have interest in Miller. Likewise, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution hears (Twitter link) that Miller is available and reiterates that the Braves are still on him, with Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reporting that Miller is Atlanta’s “prime bullpen target.”
Miller, 29, could well be the most impactful late-inning lefty available, as I noted yesterday in a breakdown of the left-handed relief market. He owns stellar peripherals (14.5 K/9 vs. 2.8 BB/9, 51.9% groundball rate) to go along with excellent results (2.31 ERA). Unsurprisingly, ERA estimators are also a fan: Miller sports a 1.77 FIP, 1.82 xFIP, and 1.47 SIERA.
This is undoubtedly Miller’s finest season, as he has only once sported an ERA of below three earned per nine (last year) and struggled earlier in his career, when he was use a starter. But his results have steadily improved since he shifted to the pen, and Miller has plenty of value to a contending team that does not want to take on long-term commitments. He is earning just $1.9MM this year and will hit the open market following the end of the season.
Here’s the latest out of Fenway:
- Boston has fielded interest in Jon Lester from the Dodgers, reports Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. The sides have not made much headway, however. Los Angeles has long been said to be chasing another starter, and appear to have the kind of top-end prospects that would greatly entice the Sox (if they are willing to part with them).
- The Royals have watched outfielder Jonny Gomes all week as they look for a right-handed hitting corner outfield bat, says Edes. Meanwhile, as Edes reports in another piece, the Pirates are among the clubs taking a close look at the Boston pen. As he notes, and as our trade market pieces (righties; lefties) reflect, Boston has many potentially available arms.
- The Red Sox are taking a pragmatic approach at the deadline, principal owner John Henry tells Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. “Deals are always driven by value,” said Henry. “The value of this season is quickly declining in comparison to next year and beyond.” Henry said that the club’s poor offense has been “painfully evident,” noting that, “even running the bases, as measured by external stat geeks, we’ve been the worst in the league.” Though GM Ben Cherington advised Henry before the All-Star break that the club was still likely the best in the division, in spite of its poor record, the front office began preparing then for the possibility of hitting the trade deadline without a realistic shot at contention.
- Mike Carp explained (and confirmed) his reported request for a trade, as WEEI.com’s Alex Speier reports. Though his batting line has been poor, his playing time has also been rather sporadic. “It hasn’t been a shocker. I’ve been very blatant where I stand from the get-go about it,” Carp explained. “I need the opportunity to play. I need the opportunity to get some at-bats. There really hasn’t been an attempt made here and I just feel like there would be a better situation at this point.”
- In assessing whether to deal Lester, the Red Sox should take heed of the Yankees’ decision not to trade Robinson Cano last year, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The situations bear many similarities, Sherman, explains, and it would be a mistake for Boston to let one of its homegrown core players leave with only a compensatory draft pick to show for it. Lester’s could bring back quite a nice haul, leading Sherman to suggest the club ought to deal him unless it is determined to re-sign or extend him. In a similar vein, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports opined yesterday that dealing Lester makes eminent sense if the team is not committed to bringing him back.
- Trading Lester, I would suggest, could make it somewhat more palatable to later sign him to a market-rate contract. If he could bring back a legitimate prospect haul that has some promise of near-term big league impact, it would not only increase the value of paying for a top-end arm but would offset to some extent the expected negative value of the later years of a hypothetical Lester contract. In some ways, that could be the best scenario for all involved, and Lester has said he is amenable to re-signing if he is dealt. It is certainly true that such an option sometimes appears more achievable than it may truly be, and anything can happen once a team moves a player off its roster. But perhaps that is something to keep an eye on in Lester’s case.
The Red Sox have enviable pitching depth in the minors, writes Alex Speier of WEEI. In addition to Rubby de la Rosa, who is already with the club, Brandon Workman, Steven Wright, and Anthony Ranaudo could all be viewed as viable candidates to fill Jake Peavy‘s spot in the rotation. But the Sox will turn to yet another option tomorrow against the Rays – Allen Webster.
- GM Ben Cherington told reporters, including Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, that the club “would listen to what teams are looking to do.” Said Cherington, “anything we do between now and Thursday afternoon will be with a mind toward building as quickly as possible for April of 2015.”
- Boston should take advantage of a seller’s market and deal Lester, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If the club is hesitant about extending Lester – and they appear to be – then the Sox will get a lot more back via trade than they would with a qualifying offer. As Rosenthal notes, the club may qualify for a protected pick, and Lester has left the door open for re-signing even if he’s dealt. Cherington did say they want Lester in the 2015 rotation, according to Speier (twitter link).
- The Pirates are among the clubs scouting Red Sox relievers, reports Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston. All seven Sox relievers have been mentioned as trade candidates, so it’s difficult to guess which player(s) most interest the Pirates.
1B/OF Mike Carp has requested to the Red Sox that they trade him, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe tweets. Abraham notes that Carp spoke to the Red Sox soon after the All-Star break, but the news of that discussion arrives just after the last-place Sox began trading veterans by sending Jake Peavy to the Giants.
Carp has hit poorly in limited opportunities this season, batting .215/.337/.304 in 95 plate appearances. Mike Napoli has hit well for the Sox at first base, but no one in the outfield has hit much, and the Red Sox still haven’t found much playing time for Carp. A contender could see Carp as an interesting buy-low bench candidate, but his trade value surely is limited at this point. He had a breakout season in 2013, hitting .296/.362/.523 in a part-time role.