Boston Red Sox Rumors
The Red Sox have declined to offer arbitration to right-handed reliever Andrew Bailey, the club announced (via a tweet from Mike Salk of WEEI.com). The 29-year-old will now hit the open market. He is represented by Jim Murray of Excel Sports Management.
Last year, Bailey threw 28 2/3 innings for the Sox, notching a 3.77 ERA and posting a strong 12.2 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9. His season ended after he suffered a shoulder injury, however, which ultimately required surgery. Bailey was a major part of the deal that sent Josh Reddick to the Athletics before the 2012 season.
We had heard yesterday that Boston would tender a contract to Bailey, but that obviously did not occur. As noted in that post, Bailey is expected to miss a significant portion of 2014, though he says his rehab is progressing well.
The Red Sox will tender a contract to Andrew Bailey, a source tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). Sherman surmises the reliever can serve as insurance for the incumbent closer Koji Uehara and/or become a valuable trade chip this summer. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects that Bailey will earn $4.3MM through arbitraton, after earning $4.1MM during an injury-plagued 2013.
Bailey underwent shoulder surgery in July and is expected to miss the first half of the 2014 season making him a non-tender candidate. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports Bailey has made twice-weekly trips to Boston since the end of the season to work with Red Sox physicians and trainers and will begin his throwing program in January. The 29-year-old, however, refused to put a timetable on his rehab.
"I don't want to say I'm ahead of schedule, but things are going really well," Bailey told MacPherson.
Bailey saved eight games and pitched to a 3.77 ERA, 12.2 K/9, and 3.8 BB/9 in 28 2/3 innings (30 innings) before landing on the disabled list. Since being acquired by Boston two years ago, Bailey has struggled with thumb and shoulder injuries limiting his production to 14 saves in 49 appearances covering 44 innings. In his previous three seasons with Oakland, Bailey was the 2009 AL Rookie of the Year and a two-time All-Star with 75 saves in 157 appearances (174 innings).
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald looks at the Red Sox's top three needs this winter. Aside from finding a replacement for Jacoby Ellsbury and a solution to their catching vacancy, the Red Sox need to make sure they have protection for David Ortiz in the lineup. If Mike Napoli returns, he could easily fill the No. 4 or No. 5 hole. If not, it's possible that Xander Bogaerts could be the man to take over. More from the AL East..
- With catcher Jose Molina all but officially announced as re-signed and the bullpen reconstruction expected to be ongoing into January, the Rays presumably will turn their attention to first base, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Topkin notes that all of the Rays' potential trade targets are still out there, including Ike Davis of the Mets and Texas' Mitch Moreland.
- The Red Sox and the Cardinals are staying flexible this offseason, writes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. The Cards probably won't re-sign Carlos Beltran while Boston seems likely to lose at least three of Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia this winter. As CEO Larry Lucchino put it, it's all about not falling "in love" with your veterans.
- Relief pitcher Oh Seung-hwan of the KBO Samsung Lions decided to move to Japan’s Hanshin Tigers on a record-breaking contract, his agency told The Korea Herald. Seung-hwan, who boasts a 94-96 MPH fastball, had drawn interest from the Yankees.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com looks at the candidates to back up Matt Wieters in the wake of the Orioles' acquisition of Johnny Monell.
The Red Sox won a World Series last year thanks to their daring offseason gameplan. Will they break away from those habits going forward? “So far, I don’t think it’s been all that different,” Lucchino told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. “We still value the draft picks enormously and our behavior has shown that we still prefer shorter- to longer-term contracts and a presumption against really long-term contracts. A lot of things we did last year proved to be successful at least in the short term, and I think we’ll behave accordingly going forward.” Here's more from today's column..
- Trade talks for Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija have been going on and he could be on the move, but the Cubs’ preference would be to re-sign Samardzija and lock him in beyond 2015 and build their future around him, according to a major league source. The Cubs will continue to work on both fronts until an extension is reached or an extension proves to be improbable.
- The Rays, unsurprisingly, have gotten a number of inquiries on David Price. However, none of them have been strong enough to make Tampa Bay give serious consideration to parting with him.
- Moving Matt Kemp would require the Dodgers to eat some of the $128MM he's owed over the next six years. If L.A. knocks that down to $80-90MM, the market is expected to open up.
- The notion that A.J. Pierzynski is bad for a team is way off-base, according to one longtime teammate who said, “He may rub people the wrong way on other teams, but if he’s your teammate, he’s great. He’s tough, loyal, can call a game, and he can hit. I wish we had him back.”
- Daniel Bard's control issues have followed him into winter ball. The Cubs are expected to keep working with Bard, however, as they can give him a longer leash than the Red Sox did.
- Most teams, including the Brewers, want Corey Hart on a one-year deal. However, because there are a number of teams in on him, he might get two.
Andrew Bailey is a non-tender candidate for the Red Sox after undergoing shoulder surgery, but the reliever tells Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal that he considers himself a member of the team until he hears otherwise. "Until something is on the table, you try not to think about it," Bailey says. "I'd love to be back with Boston." Here's the latest from the AL East:
- Rich Dubroff of Comcast Sports Net sifts through offseason possibilities for the Orioles, writing that with the Winter Meetings ahead, Baltimore has been more involved in discussions this year than in winters past. Closer Jim Johnson, who's projected to earn $10.8MM in arbitration by MLBTR's Matt Swartz, appears to be a logical trade candidate if the Orioles sign a higher-tier free agent, according to Dubroff.
- Orioles Executive Vice-President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette says recent acquisition Johnny Monell could compete for the club's backup catcher job or at DH, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that the O's have four catchers on their 40-man roster after adding Monell.
- The Rays are likely to turn their attention to their first base job after addressing needs at catcher and in the bullpen, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times says. Trade targets such as Ike Davis of the Mets and Mark Trumbo of the Angels remain available, while players like Justin Morneau or Mark Reynolds could be targets in free agency.
- Regarding a potential trade of David Price, Topkin writes that the Rays appear to be comfortable listening to what clubs are saying as they go about addressing other offseason issues.
The Red Sox are still waiting for free agents Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to decide whether to accept Boston's free agent offers, but they're nearing the point when they might move forward, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. The Red Sox haven't set deadlines for any of their free agents to accept offers, but a source tells Bradford that the Sox are "certainly working on other options, also." The Red Sox told at least one player that they would soon need to make plans to potentially acquire another player to take his place.
Ellsbury, Napoli and Drew all rejected qualifying offers from Boston, and the Red Sox have since made new offers to all three players. Saltalamacchia did not receive a qualifying offer, but the Red Sox did offer him a two-year deal at an annual amount below the $14.1MM qualifying offer figure.
Robinson Cano denied asking the Yankees for a $300MM deal back in the summer, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, but just because Cano didn't utter the words himself does not mean that his representatives did not float that number. That was just the "midseason request," however, Martino explains. Now that the star second baseman has reached the open market, his camp has re-set its asking price and is scheduled to meet with the Bronx brass again on Monday. Here's more from the American League East:
- The Orioles are quietly waiting for the free agent starting pitching market to fall into place, writes Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun. We've heard before that the club is quite interested in returning Scott Feldman, who was acquired in mid-year from the Cubs, and Encina guesses he'll take two years and $16-18MM to land. In his detailed breakdown of Feldman, MLBTR's Steve Adams projected his value at two years and $17MM, plus a vesting option. Other arms that might draw attention from Baltimore, according to Encina, are Bronson Arroyo and even A.J. Burnett, if he decides to look around the market.
- Shortstop Stephen Drew is still a great fit for a Red Sox infield that currently features Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks on the left side, writes John Tomase of the Boston Herald. If Drew can't get a club to give up a pick to sign him to a multi-year deal, Boston could swoop back into the mix and try to land him on another one-year contract, perhaps with an implicit promise not to extend another qualifying offer, Tomase suggests.
The market for starting pitchers has actually started off at reasonable prices, argues Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com. Running the numbers on the price of a projected win for the starters who have signed to date, he says that a preliminary look shows that early-moving teams look to have achieved solid value. Here's more on the pitching market around the league:
- Even if the Dodgers are willing to spend the huge amount of cash that Masahiro Tanaka's posting and signing is expected to require, says Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com, it is far from clear how the club would sort its rotation out to accomodate him. GM Ned Colletti has said that he is "not going to close the door on any more starters" even after adding Dan Haren on a one-year deal with a vesting option. Saxon notes, however, that it would be more difficult to push aside Josh Beckett and/or Chad Billingsley than it was for the club to do last year with Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang. Of course, Tanaka may be good enough that, if the price is right, that problem is one you just deal with as best you can.
- The Giants, on the other hand, seem less likely than their rivals to the south to consider the addition of another starter, with Bob Nightengale of USA Today reporting that the club's rotation is set after re-signing Ryan Vogelsong. As Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News noted earlier today, the rotation seemed complete upon the return of Vogelsong, given GM Brian Sabean's earlier comments that he would not make the veteran compete for his slot in the spring. Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, and Tim Hudson round out the club's starting five.
- Meanwhile, it could well be that San Francisco could look to add pen pieces given their decision to add veteran arms to the back of its rotation, reasons Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Sulia). It is easier and cheaper to add relief arms, he notes, and the club could look to ease the burden on its starters by following the Dodgers and Cardinals in trotting out multiple arms that can throw quality innings.
- Free agent reliever Edward Mujica of the Cardinals is drawing interest from a variety of teams, according to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The Angels are probably out after inking Joe Smith, Cotillo notes. But the Orioles, Indians, and Cubs have at least kicked the tires on Mujica, joining the Phillies in pursuit of the 29-year-old.
- Right-handed reliever Luis Ayala, who produced solid results last year at age 35 for the Orioles and Braves, is also in search of a multi-year deal, Cotillo reports. He has not yet seen an offer, but has received interest from the Red Sox and Rays as well as the Dodgers, Giants, O's, and Phils. Meanwhile, the Royals have seemingly stepped away from Ayala after showing initial interest.
- One other arm that could enter the market is Angels righty Jerome Williams. Soon to turn 32, Williams' agent Larry O'Brien tells Cotillo (Twitter link) that he is rooting against a tender from the Halos since "there are many teams he could effectively start for." That statement seems to imply what has long been suspected about Williams, which is that Los Angeles does not intend to use him as a starter. As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes wrote in reporting Matt Swartz's $3.9MM projection for Williams, a non-tender is a very real possibility for the swingman. Of course, as MLBTR's Zach Links has explained, there are few teams with as many projected rotation holes as the Angels.
The Marlins are looking to fill voids at second base, third base, and catcher this offseason and it appears that GM Dan Jennings has a level of flexibility that predecessor Larry Beinfest did not, writes Peter Gammons of Gammons Daily. For their second base opening, Miami has discussed Mark Ellis, who would also provide the club with some needed veteran leadership.
The 36-year-old had his $5.75MM club option declined by the Dodgers after they finalized their deal with Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero. Ellis batted .270/.323/.351 with six homers and four steals in 126 games (480 plate appearances) for the Dodgers and, as usual, he was a standout defender at second base. Ellis posted marks of +7.6 in UZR/150 and +12 in The Fielding Bible's Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) metric. The Tigers also have Ellis on their radar.
The Marlins have also approached the Red Sox about 22-year-old third baseman Garin Cecchini, even though he would appear to be similar to Colin Moran, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 draft. Cecchini spent time in Advanced-A and Double-A in 2013, hitting a combined .322/.443/.471 with seven homers. Baseball America ranked Cecchini as the seventh-best prospect in the Red Sox's system heading into the 2013 season. One executive covering the Arizona Fall League told Gammons that the youngster “has sneaky power that will play in the big leagues and will keep increasing in pro ball.”
Middle relievers like Javier Lopez and Joe Smith have commanded eight-figure multiyear contracts in free agency, so teams looking for less-expensive relief help could turn to the Blue Jays as trade partners later this offseason, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi writes. "My early sense of the relief market is that it could be a very lucrative one for the players, and I think the value of our players and our relievers is actually going to climb," Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos recently said. Toronto has a surplus of bullpen arms ranging from closer candidates like Casey Janssen, Sergio Santos or Brett Cecil to out-of-options swingmen like Esmil Rogers and Todd Redmond.
Here's the latest from around the AL East...
- The Blue Jays' payroll won't be affected by Rogers' recent $5.2 billion purchase of NHL television rights for its cable networks, Rogers Media president Keith Pelley told Jeff Blair on The Fan 590 Radio (partial transcript from Sportsnet.ca's Jeff Simmons).
- Scott Feldman could accept a two-year contract with an option on a third year, sources tell MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko. There is mutual interest between Feldman and the Orioles, and since the team isn't willing to give him more than two years, the option year could be a nice compromise. Feldman recently said that his market was slow in developing, though around half the teams in baseball had checked in with his agent. Besides the Orioles, the Twins and Yankees have also been linked to Feldman in rumors.
- Also from Kubatko, "not everyone in the [Orioles] organization is convinced that [Jim] Johnson will be on the Opening Day roster next year." The O's are known to be listening to offers for their closer, though as Kubatko notes, listening on Johnson is different from openly shopping him.
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier does a position-by-position breakdown of the Red Sox depth, noting that the club's strong bench and minor league reinforcements were a big reason for Boston's success in 2013.
- In other AL East news from earlier today, we collected some Yankees items as part of a New York Links post.