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Boston Red Sox Rumors
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.
Ryan Howard will gain full no-trade rights as a 10-and-5 player in May, and that’s no small matter for the Phillies, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. The Phillies are willing to eat a significant portion of the $60MM that remains on Howard’s contract to get a deal done, but once his 20-team no-trade list turns into a full no-trade provision, it could create another roadblock for them. More from the NL East..
- A major league source told Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (on Twitter) that the Phillies haven’t been active in trying to move Cole Hamels at the winter meetings.
- Phillies skipper Ryne Sandberg said the return for Hamels “would need to have a wow factor” for the Phillies to trade him to the Red Sox, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Sandberg added that in a Hamels deal he would want pieces that could help in 2015, tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- The Mets have remained in contact with free agent reliever Craig Breslow, according to Jon Paul Morosi (Twitter link) and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, Andy Martino of the Daily News (on Twitter) gets the impression that the Mets aren’t currently in serious pursuit of him.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson has said that any shortstop upgrade would be a modest one, so we shouldn’t expect to see the likes of Troy Tulowitzki, Starlin Castro, or Elvis Andrus in Queens, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- Alderson says there are two to three options on the shortstop trade market at present, according to Matt Ehalt of The Bergen Record (via Twitter). The Mets are looking at a mix of youngsters and veterans.
- Ian Levin has been named as the new farm director of the Mets, according to Rubin (on Twitter). He previously headed the analytics department, which will now be run by T.J. Barra.
The Yankees lost a homegrown star in David Robertson yesterday and they’re also losing ground in the American League with the talent that’s flowing in, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. There have been 14 free agents to sign for $10MM or more in total, and just two of those deals were with National League teams with zero migrations from the AL to the NL. At this moment, all five AL East teams probably feel they can win the division and the wild card competition also figures to be fierce for the Bombers in 2015. More out of the AL East..
- A big part of the Yankees‘ decision to not make an offer to David Robertson was the value they put on the compensatory draft pick they would receive, according to Jack Curry of the YES Network (via Twitter). The closer agreed to join the White Sox on a four-year, $46MM deal late last night.
- The Red Sox and Reds have discussed deal that would send Yoenis Cespedes to Cincinnati, but there’s been no recent progress on that front, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- The Red Sox and Phillies have discussed a swap of Antonio Bastardo for Sean Coyle this offseason, a major league source with knowledge of the situation tells Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (via Twitter). It’s unclear if those talks are still progressing at this time, however.
- Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters yesterday that he’s confident that Boston can sign Jon Lester, but not everyone agrees. “I don’t see how the Red Sox get this done,” an official of one club who has been monitoring Lester closely told Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
10:50am: Masterson’s camp will not necessarily act on the offer immediately, tweets Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com, as it still has teams to meet with.
8:38am: The offer is actually only for one year, Cafardo tweets. Reports have not clarified whether the deal would include any option years.
With that in mind, Boston appears to be competing on more equal footing with other teams that are said to have made or weighed offers to the righty.
7:21am: The Red Sox have offered Justin Masterson a multi-year deal with the idea of using him as a starter, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported yesterday that the Red Sox had made Masterson an offer. A number of teams have shown interest in Masterson, so it’s not that surprising that he would already have at least one multi-year offer despite his disappointing 2014 season, in which he dealt with injuries and a (likely related) loss of velocity.
In October, MLBTR’s Zach Links predicted Masterson would take a one-year, $12MM deal, but that was predicated upon the idea that he would want to use that year to rebuild his value before hitting the free agent market again. Last offseason, Masterson appeared headed toward a huge contract, and he might yet be able to get one if he took a one-year deal and then had a big 2015 season.
Masterson, of course, came through the minors with the Red Sox, who sent him to Cleveland when they acquired Victor Martinez in 2009. After four straight years in which he was solid or better from the Indians (he had a poor ERA in 2012, but his peripherals that season remained reasonable), his ugly walk year resulted in a trade to St. Louis last July. For the season, he posted a 5.88 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 in 128 2/3 innings.
The Red Sox are mired in “a mess of their own making” after “lowballing” Jon Lester last spring, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes. That reported $70MM offer (which the team later characterized as merely a starting point) got negotiations off on the wrong foot, and the team wound up dealing Lester to Oakland in July. Of course, the Red Sox could still end up signing Lester, and if they don’t, there are alternatives, like Cole Hamels or Max Scherzer. But if they don’t, Silverman writes, their decisions last spring will remain in question. Here are more quick notes from around the Majors.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says the rumors surrounding club president and CEO Paul Beeston have had no impact on him, writes MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “Honestly I haven’t thought about it at all today, and I’m being dead serious,” says Anthopoulos. “No one has brought it up to me, nobody. This is the first time I’ve talked about it today. I just don’t get caught up in it.” Anthopoulos claimed Chris Colabello from the Twins on Monday, and also reportedly pursued a trade for Royals closer Greg Holland.
- Rockies GM Jeff Bridich says catcher Wilin Rosario has mostly attracted interest from AL clubs, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports. Rosario is better offensively than defensively, and AL clubs could use him at DH. The Rangers are one possible fit, Harding suggests. A report last week indicated that the Rockies were interested in trying to trade Rosario, who is projected to receive a raise to $3.6MM in 2015 through the arbitration process. Harding writes that the Rockies would look for another catcher if they traded Rosario.
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington indicates he wouldn’t hesitate to deal for a starter who is under contract for just one more year, according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com. “I think there’s actual some real value in a guy who’s not signed long-term, if they fit in the rotation, because it gives you a chance to get to know him and see if it could be a fit…I don’t think we’d necessarily need a negotiation wind-down to consider (a deal for one).” Here’s more from around the Majors.
- Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said he has received calls on every one of the M’s young relievers as well as shortstops Brad Miller and Chris Taylor, according to Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times (on Twitter).
- Dan Uggla intends to make a comeback and five teams are interested, agent Terry Bross tells Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- Padres GM A.J. Preller is hard at work at the Winter Meetings, but he’s also taking the long view of the winter, writes Corey Brock of MLB.com. “The offseason is a long offseason, and it doesn’t end with the Winter Meetings,” Preller cautioned. “In an ideal world, we get something done this week that improves the team. But, ultimately, it may not be this week or this month.“
- When asked if he’s talking trade with the Rangers, Padres GM A.J. Preller said “Honestly, we haven’t talked players yet today,” according to Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego (via Twitter).
- The Pirates are working multiple angles, as Tom Singer of MLB.com writes. “And it’s not just the top-tier free agents,” GM Neal Huntington said. “It’s also the guys who could be traded; a lot of pitchers are in their free-agent walk years, and there are various ongoing conversations in the industry. We’re engaged on a bunch of different fronts.”
- Trading Dillon Gee would give the Mets flexibility this offseason, opines Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. The Mets could still shop Jon Niese or Bartolo Colon, but GM Sandy Alderson says that he likes Niese’s left arm and team-friendly contract, and that he isn’t trying to trade Colon.
- The Marlins are trying to fill one void without creating another, writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.