Boston Red Sox Rumors
The Red Sox have signed left-hander Rafael Perez to a minor league contract, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian heard from a source earlier today that Perez was signing with Boston though the move was "not official" yet, while Jon Morosi of FOX Sports first noted that Perez was talking to the Sox about a deal.
Perez, 31, was released by the Twins last week after appearing in four games at Triple-A Rochester. The southpaw signed a minor league deal with Minnesota this offseason after he was non-tendered by the Indians in November. Perez missed most of the 2012 season with a lat injury and pitched in only eight games last year.
Over seven seasons and 329 relief innings with the Indians, Perez posted a 3.64 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.3 K/9, though he has only averaged 5.3 K/9 over the last four seasons. He has been effective against batters on either side of the plate, holding lefty hitters to a .678 OPS and righties to a .694 OPS over his career.
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington took some time out of his schedule to talk with WEEI's Dennis & Callahan and Alex Speier has the goods. Let's take a look at some of the highlights..
- While the Red Sox reportedly haven't talked about an extension with Jacoby Ellsbury so far in 2013, they have talked about a new deal with him at various points over the years about a multi-year pact. However, each time, both sides agreed to a one-year contract to avoid arbitration instead. Cherington implied that he does not expect to start talks with the outfielder again until after the season.
- Ellsbury has struggled so far in 2013, but the GM believes that he is in line for a turnaround. Cherington believes that he has been unlucky with balls in play and the abundance of left-handed pitching that he has faced has also affected him.
- Even though Justin Masterson has been one of the top starters in the AL this season, Cherington said that he would have made the same trade that his predecessor, GM Theo Epstein, did. However, he acknowledged that the team didn’t anticipate Masterson turning out to be this good. “We thought, at the time, he would be a good major league starter or a really good reliever, and he’s probably exceeded that in a starting role,” said Cherington. “We were able to get him at a spot in the draft...but fast-forward, and if I’m in Theo’s shoes at the time, I would have done the same thing. The deal made a lot of sense at the time. We were trying to get into the playoffs, and Victor Martinez certainly helped to get us into the playoffs.”
Through a quarter of the season, the Indians have emerged as last offseason's biggest winners, while the Blue Jays rank as the biggest losers, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Other teams (such as the Yankees, Red Sox, Braves, and Royals) received "thumbs up", but the Indians' additions of Mark Reynolds, Jason Giambi, Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Rich Hill, Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles have been enough for the club to stay on top of both Cafardo's list and the AL Central. Here's more from today's column..
- The Red Sox are one of a few teams closely watching Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. The Rangers, Yankees, and A’s also appear to have some level of interest in the 24-year-old phenom, who pitches for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.
- Cafardo speculates that Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion may become available at the trade deadline if the Blue Jays fall out of contention. The two sluggers would be very highly sought after in his opinion.
- The Red Sox will face a difficult decision on free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia this offseason. "He’ll get signed somewhere because of his power,” according to a scout. “He’s improved defensively, but by how much? At this point, is he what he is?”
- One National League GM believes a Jonathan Papelbon-Red Sox reunion is "not far-fetched." Cafardo notes that the Phillies may be unwilling to part with Papelbon, who is off to an impressive start.
- The Phillies meanwhile will have a tough call on second baseman Chase Utley, who may be dealt before he even reaches free agency. While the Phillies have stated their desire to compete, and not dismantle their roster, they could have some major trade chips in Utley, Cliff Lee, and Michael Young.
Earlier today, we learned that the Red Sox and Jacoby Ellsbury have yet to discuss a new deal this season. The outfielder can land a monster deal this winter if he recaptures his 2011 form, but so far he's hitting just .242/.307/.335 in 2013. Here's more on Ellsbury and the latest out of the American League East..
- Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com tweets that Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette weighed considerations beyond service time when promoting top prospect Kevin Gausman. "It shows a commitment to the club," said Duquette. "I think it tells the team we want to win." While the team will still control Gausman through 2019, the right-hander can now potentially gain Super Two status and enter arbitration a year earlier than if the club had waited until mid-June.
- In an interview with WEEI's Mut & Merloni, ESPN's Buster Olney described the circumstances of a possible Jacoby Ellsbury trade this summer, writes Kevin Dillon of WEEI.com. Olney points out that even if Ellsbury falls out of favor with the Red Sox, they would still have to find a contender in need of a center fielder to swing a deal.
- Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona stopped by WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show and discussed the fallout from his book released earlier this year, Dillon writes. The current Indians skipper says that he hasn't gotten the chance to talk with Red Sox owners since releasing the book in which he claimed that they cared more about making money than baseball.
Max Fogle contributed to this post.
The Red Sox and Scott Boras haven't discussed an extension for Jacoby Ellsbury so far this season, sources tell Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. The outfielder will be eligible to hit the open market after the 2013 campaign.
Ellsbury is earning $9MM in his walk year after going through his final arbitration-eligible offseason. The outfielder is off to a slow start through 45 games this season, and some have openly wondered if the distraction of his impending free agency is partly responsible for his .242/.307/.335 slash line.
The 29-year-old, who ranks third on Tim Dierkes' free agent power rankings, will have to pick things up if he hopes to cash in this winter. Ellsbury is hoping for a repeat of his amazing 2011 season where he hit .321/.376/.552 with 32 homers and 39 steals with a career high 732 plate appearances. ESPN's Buster Olney recently wrote that it would "be a crusher" to Ellsbury if he continues at his current trajectory, noting that he could have pushed for a $100MM contract with a return to those 2011 numbers.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
Jose Canseco will be joining the Fort Worth Cats of the independent United League, the team announced. Canseco will serve as a player-coach during the team's opening home stand against the Edinburg Roadrunners, managed by Jose's twin brother Ozzie. This isn't Canseco's first go-around in an independent league, as the 48-year-old has appeared for clubs in several circuits since completing a 17-year big league career. Here is tonight's look around the rest of the baseball world..
- Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune and other reporters discussed the state of the White Sox with GM Rick Hahn. "We're not going to change that path and will focus on this season until it's readily apparent that we have to change our focus," said Hahn, regarding the decision to buy or sell as the season progresses. The White Sox are currently 20-23, good for fourth in the AL Central.
- While the Reds have looked to add some balance to their lefty-heavy lineup, the market is not to their liking, reports Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. "There is really nobody out there that would make much of a difference. We’re just biding our time to see what happens," said General Manager Walt Jocketty.
- In his latest mailbag, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe was asked about potential trade targets for the Red Sox, including a possible closer upgrade. While the ninth inning is a concern, the club will fully want to test out Andrew Bailey before making a major trade for established reliever. Cafardo has heard baseball people speculate that the club could be interested in reacquiring Jonathan Papelbon, but they'll focus on what they already have first.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is still optimistic about the club's offense, but acknowledges some concerns in an interview with Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. When asked about possible moves to remedy under-performance and injury, Amaro said the team has looked to improve but cited a lack of activity around the league, "I don’t think a lot of teams feel like they know what they have yet, so you’re not seeing anything more than waiver-wire claims."
The Yankees will now be partners in a new Major League Soccer franchise, as announced on MLB.com. "We look forward to the opportunity to work with Manchester City to create something very special for the soccer fans of New York -- and to bringing another terrific team to this city for all sports fans to enjoy," stated Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner. This isn't the Bombers' first foray into the world of soccer as they had a marketing partnership with Manchester United during their "YankeeNets" phase. Here's a look at tonight's other news from the American League East..
- Ben Francisco's days with the Yankees may be coming to an end, opines Mike Axisa of the River Avenue Blues blog. The 31-year-old outfielder has struggled to provide an impact in New York, hitting for just a .114/220/.182 line in 50 plate appearances so far this season.
- Jacoby Ellsbury has not played as the Red Sox would have hoped in his contract year, notes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Lauber compares Ellsbury to Red Sox teammates Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, as both performed below expectations during their final seasons before hitting free agency. Ellsbury is off to a .241/.303/.335 start in a league-leading 208 PA.
- Lauber also discusses how the two-year, $10MM deal Jonny Gomes signed with the Red Sox has affected the outfielder. While Gomes has gotten off to a slow start in 2013, Lauber argues that the security of a multiyear deal has helped the 32-year-old focus on providing leadership to younger Red Sox players.
Braves lefty Eric O'Flaherty has a torn UCL and will likely need surgery, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (on Twitter). GM Frank Wren tells O'Brien (also via Twitter) that the Braves are unlikely to make an immediate trade to replace O'Flaherty in the bullpen, noting that Wren doesn't expect other teams to trade top relievers this early in the season. Here are more notes from around the East divisions.
- The Mets have not yet discussed the possibility of acquiring first baseman Daric Barton, Joel Sherman of the New York Post says (on Twitter). Sherman writes (also via Twitter) that a Mets employee says the team will likely at least consider Barton, however. The Athletics designated Barton for assignment Saturday afternoon. Mets first baseman Ike Davis has struggled terribly this season, posting a line of .160/.245/.267.
- Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury might be distracted by his impending free agency, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald suggests. Lauber quotes Mike Napoli, who discusses how pressures from friends and family during a contract year can take a player out of his comfort zone. "I could see where guys, because of that free agent year, if you start off rough, it’s like you want to do so good that you’re overdoing it," Napoli says. Shane Victorino says that he hasn't noticed Ellsbury overburdening himself, however. Ellsbury is hitting .247/.312/.346 so far this year.
- Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner says this season has been "amazing" so far, Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger reports. "I didn’t but into the doomsday scenario that many people did. Because I knew that we had some good kids at Triple A. But more importantly, I knew that the guys we got in the offseason were veterans," Steinbrenner says. "[T]his is what you expect veterans to do." Newly-acquired veterans Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay have played key roles in the Yankees' 27-16 start.
- Steinbrenner tells McCullough he won't address manager Joe Girardi's contract until after the season, but Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News argues that Girardi deserves a new contract now, given his performance as the team has struggled with injuries.
Here's the latest out of the American League East..
- Whether you like the Yankees spend-heavy ways or not, you have to give General Manager Brian Cashman a great deal of credit, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. While detractors could call the Bombers lucky for finding diamonds in the rough such as Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells, and Lyle Overbay, it's difficult to write off similar success Cashman has had in the two years prior with unheralded acquisitions.
- Despite his resurgence in New York, Vernon Wells still says that he plans to retire after next season when his seven-year, $126MM contract expires, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. When Morosi noted that the allure of playing for the Yankees has kept Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte in the game past age 40, Wells laughed and said, “I think Mariano is sticking with his plan this time, so I’ll go with that.”
- Despite the club's recent slide, Red Sox manager John Farrell says that this is not the time for a shakeup, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
- Here's more on the Red Sox from earlier today.
After a 20-8 start to the 2013 season, the Red Sox have dropped nine of their past 11 games and now find themselves in third place. General manager Ben Cherington's squad is still just three games out of first place but will need to snap their skid promptly to keep up in the AL East. Here are some Sox-related links for your Wednesday afternoon...
- ESPN's Buster Olney appeared on the Mut & Merloni radio show in Boston, and Jerry Spar of WEEI.com has some of the highlights. "It's going to be a crusher" for Jacoby Ellsbury if he continues this season on his current trajectory, says Olney. Ellsbury, who ranks third on Tim Dierkes' free agent power rankings, is hitting just .256/.321/.363 through 39 games. Olney wonders if Ellsbury would gamble on signing a one-year deal rather than settling for a fraction of the $100MM he could have pushed for with a repeat of his 2011 numbers.
- Within that same interview, Olney discussed Boston's decision to trade for Joel Hanrahan this offseason, noting that the Red Sox knew there were some health issues at the time of the trade. Many teams were aware of the issues with Hanrahan, which is why the Pirates didn't get much of a return for their two-time All-Star. Hanrahan joins a long list of players that must re-establish their value before getting paid, says Olney.
- Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston takes a look back at last summer's blockbuster trade with the Dodgers, noting that Loney has departed to the Rays, Ivan De Jesus Jr. and Jerry Sands were included in the Hanrahan deal but Allen Webster and Rubby de la Rosa have looked good. Edes runs down each player the Dodgers received as well as the future financial implications for the Sox. "This will be a good deal for the Dodgers only if they are playing in October," Edes writes. "It may be years before we know how good a deal it was for the Red Sox."