Carl Crawford Rumors

NL West Links: D’Backs, Torrealba, Crawford, Colletti

Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Eaton holds the top spot on Keith Law's top 20 list of prospects (ESPN Insider subscription required) who will have the biggest impact in 2013.  Eaton is projected as Arizona's leadoff man and everyday center fielder, and Law believes Eaton can be a Rookie Of The Year candidate given how well his game fits Chase Field.  D'Backs left-hander Tyler Skaggs is #4 on Law's list and Trevor Bauer (who the Snakes dealt to the Indians this offseason) ranked fifth.  Padres righty Casey Kelly also appears in the top 20, while Padres infielder Jedd Gyorko and Giants reliever Heath Hembree are honorable mentions.

Here's the latest from the NL West…


Quick Hits: O’s, Verlander, Royals, Crawford

Justin Verlander repeated today that he wants to stay with the Tigers beyond 2014, when his current contract expires. “I love Detroit,” he said, according to John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press. “I feel like I’m a kindred part of that town. I grew up in front of these fans and earned my way into their hearts.” Verlander said he's not yet sure whether he and his representatives would be willing to negotiate during the season. Here are some more links from around MLB…

  • Grantland's Jonah Keri interviewed Orioles GM Dan Duquette about the success of his team in 2012 and Duquette's outlook on 2013. Duquette feels that both Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman will be ready to make significant impacts on the club at some point in 2013.
  • ESPN's Jayson Stark presents an in-depth look at the top stories to watch in each league during Spring Training this year. Stark's piece also includes breakdowns of the best and worst free agent signings, trades and more, according to a group of 16 baseball scouts and executives.
  • Dave Cameron of FanGraphs lists the ten worst moves of the offseason with the caveat that "the worst moves aren’t as bad as bad as they used to be." The Royals make three appearances on the list after trading Wil Myers to obtain James Shields, acquiring Ervin Santana and signing Jeremy Guthrie for three years.
  • Meanwhile, in another piece for Grantland, Keri examines the worst contracts in MLB starting with Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees and Carl Crawford of the Dodgers.
  • Agents at Hendricks Sports have filed an MLBPA grievance against three MLB agents who left the firm for Excel Sports Management and took players with them, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal reports (on Twitter). Be sure to use MLBTR’s Agency Database for your agency-related inquiries.

Dodgers Notes: Colletti, League, Crawford

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti discussed a number of offseason topics with the media (including MLB.com's Ken Gurnick) during today's official introductory press conference for Carl Crawford.  Here are some of the highlights…

  • Colletti said the Dodgers would look to add starting and relief pitching this winter, plus outfield depth.  "Our outfield is somewhat complete, but not complete," Colletti said.  "We've got to keep our versatility and have somebody that can play center field. Tony Gwynn is still part of the organization and a candidate."  Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are set as the Dodgers' starting outfield trio for 2013, though good bench options are necessary given Crawford and Kemp's recent injury problems.
  • Mickey Hatcher is not a candidate to replace the recently-fired Dave Hansen as the Dodgers' hitting coach, though Colletti said Hatcher could find a job in another capacity with the team.  Hatcher, fired last spring as the Angels' hitting coach, served as "a de facto assistant" to Hansen last season.
  • The Dodgers are interested in bringing back Jamey Wright, Randy Choate and Brandon League next season.  All three relievers are free agents, though Colletti is "encouraged" by negotiations thus far with League (as tweeted by Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times).
  • Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has the details of Crawford's meeting with the media, including his surprise at being traded last summer, his willingness to waive his no-trade clause and how he wished he'd immediately undergone Tommy John surgery rather than trying to play through the pain.  "I wish I’d done it [earlier], because I’d be better now. With the Boston fans you have a big deal that was made about my money and trying to play for the team," Crawford said. "Maybe I shouldn’t have done that and taken care of myself. I pretty much put pressure on myself to play. You get looked at as being soft and as somebody just trying to take money. I wanted to prove that wasn’t the case. That probably cost me a little time for next year."


Colletti On Gonzalez, Crawford, Mattingly

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti confirmed that he and manager Don Mattingly will return in 2013, Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com reports. The GM also reflected on the eventful 2012 season in an extended interview with Bloom. Here are some highlights…

  • Colletti explained that the team’s midseason trades should help the team in 2013 and beyond, regardless of whether the Dodgers make the playoffs this year. “When we made these trades, we thought that these players were going to be with us for a while,” Colletti said.
  • The GM said he'll be pleased if Gonzalez can continue producing at this clip for the remainder of his Dodgers career. Gonzalez has a .276/.328/.431 batting line with 21 RBI in 134 plate appearances.
  • There’s a chance Carl Crawford will open the 2013 season with the Dodgers, Colletti said. The left fielder’s throwing arm should be at full strength by May, but he could open the season with the club if he’s progressing well.
  • Colletti said it’s been a great experience working with the Dodgers’ new ownership group, including veteran MLB executive Stan Kasten. “He's someone who understands baseball very well,” Colletti said. “He's been in the game for three decades.” 
  • Manager Don Mattingly succeeds for a variety of reasons, Colletti said. “He continues to learn every day. He's open-minded. He's ultra-competitive. And a very hard worker.”

Red Sox Notes: Ellsbury, Hunter, Crawford

The Red Sox are 69-90 since last September 1st, ESPN.com's Buster Olney notes (on Twitter). As a disappointing season winds down it’s time to look ahead to some possible offseason moves. Here’s the latest on the Red Sox…

  • It’s likely that the Red Sox will “kick the tires” on a possible long-term contract for Jacoby Ellsbury this offseason, but it’d be a surprise if the sides find common ground, Alex Speier of WEEI.com writes. Agent Scott Boras will present Ellsbury as a superstar, but the Red Sox probably wouldn’t be comfortable paying him like one after 2013, his final season as an arbitration eligible player. It’s unlikely the Red Sox will look to trade Ellsbury, Speier writes. The outfielder told Speier he’s not focused on his contract status. “I just go out and play, man, prepare," he said.
  • Torii Hunter said he’s open to the possibility of signing in Boston when he hits free agency this offseason, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. "I'm open to anybody, especially if David [Ortiz] is there," Hunter said. He noted that his first choice remains a new deal with the Angels.
  • Hunter suggested that Carl Crawford will be pleased to start fresh with the Dodgers. “I'm sure he's a lot happier," Hunter said.

Red Sox, Dodgers Complete Nine-Player Blockbuster

If there was any doubt remaining that the Dodgers' new ownership group would drastically alter the franchise, it has now been completely eliminated. The Dodgers and Red Sox have officially completed a massive nine-player blockbuster trade that sends Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto to Los Angeles for James Loney and four prospects.

The four prospects are right-hander Allen Webster, infielder Ivan De Jesus, outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands, and right-hander Rubby De La Rosa. The Red Sox will pay just $12MM of the over $270MM owed to Beckett, Crawford, Gonzalez, and Punto, so their savings are considerable. Adding the four new players represents a substantial financial commitment by the Dodgers:

  • Gonzalez will earn $21MM per season through 2016 and obtain a raise to $21.5MM for 2017-18. The total exceeds $130MM when accounting for the remainder his 2012 salary.
  • Crawford will earn $20MM in 2013, $20.25MM in 2014, $20.5MM in 2015, $20.75MM in 2016 and $21MM in 2017.
  • Beckett will earn $15.75MM per season through 2014.
  • Punto earns $1.5MM per season through 2013.

With this trade as well as the previous acquisitions of Hanley Ramirez, Randy Choate, Brandon League, Shane Victorino, and Joe Blanton, the Dodgers have absorbed more than $300MM in future payroll obligations in the last month or so. As Jeff Euston of Cot's Baseball Contracts notes (on Twitter), the club now has a $193.75MM in contract obligations for next season, $133.6MM for 2014, $90MM for 2015, $88.65MM for 2015, and another $90MM for 2016. The Red Sox, on the other hand, are now on the hook for just $45.6MM in 2013, $34.4MM in 2014, $12.75MM in 2015, and $2.45MM in 2016 (Twitter link).

Both Beckett (10-and-5 rights) and Crawford (limited no-trade clause) had to approve the deal, and Buster Olney of ESPN reports (on Twitter) that neither player asked for any kind of compensation to do so. The Dodgers were not included in Gonzalez's limited no-trade clause. Los Angeles claimed both Gonzalez and Beckett off trade waivers yesterday, plus Punto and Crawford both cleared earlier this month. Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times reports (on Twitter) that the Blue Jays are believed to have claimed De La Rosa off waivers, but he was pulled back and will technically be included in the deal as a player to be named later.

Uspw_6257872The Dodgers, who currently sit three games back of the Giants in the NL West race, are adding an impact left-handed bat to pair with the right-handed Matt Kemp in Gonzalez. The Southern California native spent the first five full seasons of his career a little further south with the Padres, so he's certainly familiar with the division. Gonzalez, 30, is hitting .300/.343/.469 with 15 homers in what is generally considered to be a down year compared to his career average of .294/.372/.509 and 30 or so homers annually. Dodgers' first basemen have hit just .244/.289/.357 this season, so even down year Gonzalez represents an enormous upgrade.

Beckett, 32, has pitched to a 5.23 ERA in 21 starts and 127 1/3 innings this season while battling thumb and back issues. His strikeout rate (6.6 K/9) is a career-low and PitchFX shows that his velocity has tapered off into the low-90s. Moving into the easier league and a more pitcher-friendly ballpark should help his numbers, and Beckett gives Los Angeles a pitcher with a proven playoff track record. Current Dodgers' starters have combined for just 11 career playoff starts, six by Blanton. Beckett alone has 13 playoff starts and a World Series MVP to his credit.

Crawford, 31, had Tommy John surgery two days ago and will miss the rest of the season. He hit just .260/.292/.419 with 14 homers and 23 steals in 161 disappointing games with the Red Sox after averaging .299/.340/.448 with 13 homers and 50 steals in eight full seasons with the Rays. Crawford is expected to be able to return to action early next season, meaning Victorino is likely to be allowed to leave as a free agent.

The Dodgers recently lost Jerry Hairston Jr. to a hip injury for the remainder of the season, so the 34-year-old Punto gives them some protection and added depth on the infield. He's hit just .200/.301/.272 with five steals in 148 plate appearances for Boston this year while playing all four infield positions. He's a year removed from a .278/.388/.421 line as a part-time player with the Cardinals.

Loney, 28, has hit just .254/.302/.344 with four homers in 359 plate appearances this season and will become a free agent this winter. He figures to serve as a stopgap first baseman for the Red Sox for the next six weeks or so.

Webster, 22, has pitched to a 3.55 ERA in 121 2/3 innings for the Dodgers' Double-A affiliate this season. The 25-year-old De Jesus has been up and down between Triple-A and the big leagues in recent years, hitting .301/.354/.416 in over 1,200 minor league plate appearances since 2010. Sands, 24, has been also been up and down these last two years. He owns a career .291/.363/.557 line nearly 900 Triple-A plate appearances. De La Rosa, 23, just returned from Tommy John surgery and pitched to a 3.71 ERA in ten starts and three relief appearances for Los Angeles last season. Click here for a more in-depth look at the prospects headed to Boston later today.

A trade of this magnitude had many helping hands along the way, though Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston first reported that the two sides were discussing this massive deal. Check out this post for all of the pre-completion rumors and reports. Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald and an Roche of WBZ (on Twitter) first reported completion of the trade while Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times added details (Twitter links). Photo courtesy of US Presswire.


Red Sox, Dodgers Nearing Blockbuster

SATURDAY, 7:52am: The deal is "pretty much done," reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that both Beckett and Crawford have agreed to waive their no-trade clauses while Rosenthal adds that both clubs have signed off on the medicals.

FRIDAY, 10:00pm: Crawford has the Dodgers on his partial no-trade list and the outfielder has yet to be asked to accept a trade, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).  It has been previously reported that Crawford can block trades to two clubs but Heyman writes that Crawford has the ability to block trades to three teams.

9:34pm: Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine says that he still expects Beckett to make his start on Saturday, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

9:01pm: The Dodgers are expected to pick up more than $260MM of the $271.5MM in combined salary that the Red Sox are sending to them, a source tells Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.

6:45pm: The Dodgers have agreed to send Webster, De La Rosa, Loney, Sands, and De Jesus to the Red Sox, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  Meanwhile, a source tells Rob Bradford of WEEI (Twitter link) not to expect a deal to be completed tonight.

6:42pm: The Red Sox have yet to secure permission from Beckett, who has 10-and-5 rights, or Crawford, who has a partial no-trade clause, a source tells Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.  However, neither player is expected to block the deal.

6:38pm: Pitcher Allen Webster will go to the Red Sox in the trade, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).

6:15pm: The Red Sox and Dodgers are currently reviewing medical records, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (via Twitter).  The deal would include Rubby De La Rosa, James Loney, Jerry Sands, Ivan De Jesus, and a top prospect, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (Twitter link).

6:04pm: Adrian Gonzalez was scratched from the lineup and summoned from the dugout into the clubhouse along with Nick Punto, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (via Twitter).

5:52pm: There are two deals on the table, one mega deal involving Carl Crawford and another with just Beckett and Gonzalez, tweets Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe.

5:48pm: Though the deal may not happen in its current nine-player form, something is expected to happen, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

5:10pm: Dodgers minor leaguers in the trade talks have included Allen Webster, Zach Lee, Rubby De La Rosa, and Jerry Sands, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

5:06pm: The Red Sox would receive prospects and not just salary relief if the deal happens, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.

4:52pm: Boston would send some cash to Los Angeles if the sides complete a deal Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports. Morosi confirms that the sides are close to a trade (Twitter links).

4:34pm: The Red Sox and Dodgers are closing in on a trade that would send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to Los Angeles, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports (on Twitter). Hurdles remain, but the sides continue working toward a deal.

The Dodgers recently won the claiming rights to Gonzalez and Beckett. Gonzalez can't block a trade to Los Angeles, but Beckett must approve any assignment as a player with ten and five rights. Crawford and Punto cleared waivers earlier this month and can be traded without waiver-related restrictions. 

The Dodgers have been willing to take on considerable salaries since their new ownership group gained control of the club at the beginning of the 2012 season. Adding the four Red Sox players would represent a substantial financial commitment:

  • Gonzalez will earn $21MM per season through 2016 and obtain a raise to $21.5MM for 2017-18. The total exceeds $130MM when accounting for the remainder his 2012 salary. 
  • Beckett will earn $15.75MM per season through 2014. As noted above, he must approve any trade.
  • Crawford will earn $20MM in 2013, $20.25MM in 2014, $20.5MM in 2015, $20.75MM in 2016 and $21MM in 2017. His contract allows him to block trades to two teams.
  • Punto earns $1.5MM per season through 2013.

The Dodgers claimed Cliff Lee on waivers earlier this month after trading for Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez, Joe Blanton and Brandon League. The Dodgers would have to place MLB players on waivers before trading them to Boston, which could complicate trade talks. 

Zach Links contributed to this post, which was originally published on August 24th.


Dodgers Could Pursue Adrian Gonzalez

The Dodgers probably won’t trade for Adrian Gonzalez this month, but there’s a remote chance of a deal, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times writes. Gonzalez, who’s now on revocable waivers, drew trade interest from the Dodgers last month. However, Hernandez hears that the Dodgers don’t expect the Red Sox to make Gonzalez available. 

If the sides do discuss a trade, they won’t have to worry about Gonzalez’s limited no-trade clause, He can’t block a move to the Dodgers, according to Hernandez. The point would be moot if an American League team or a National League team with a worse record than the Dodgers were to claim the first baseman.

Gonzalez will earn $21MM per season through 2016 and obtain a raise to $21.5MM for 2017-18. The total exceeds $130MM when accounting for the remainder of Gonzalez's 2012 salary. While this sum would deter most teams, the Dodgers have been willing to spend under their new ownership group. 

"We are trying to add players. That doesn't mean we will be able to," chairman Mark Walter said, speaking in general terms.

The Dodgers claimed Cliff Lee on waivers earlier this month after trading for Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez, Joe Blanton and Brandon League. They’ve also shown aggressiveness on the international market, signing Yasel Puig.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has heard that the Red Sox would only move Gonzalez in a transformative or franchise-changing move (Twitter link). A trade isn’t out of the question, but seems unlikely. Executives could see the Dodgers claiming Gonzalez, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Still, the Red Sox wouldn’t let him go for nothing.

Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times examines the possibility that the Dodgers could persuade the Red Sox to part with Gonzalez by taking on Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett as well. Beckett drew some interest from the Dodgers leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, according to Hernandez. However, this scenario sounds extremely unlikely to me given the money involved and Crawford’s elbow injury (he was scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery today).


Red Sox Notes: Crawford, McClure

The latest news on the Red Sox who, at 59-63, are currently on pace to suffer their first losing season since 1997…

  • Clay Buchholz told the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham that he was surprised by the decision to let McClure go (Sulia link). Buchholz said he had a good relationship with McClure and spoke to him daily.
  • Carl Crawford will undergo Tommy John surgery on Thursday, the team announced via press release. The surgery will be performed by Dr. James Andrews. Two seasons into the seven-year deal Crawford signed with Boston, he'll have appeared in just 161 games and batted .260/.292/.419. As a position player, Crawford will likely have a shorter recovery time than pitchers who undergo the procedure. For example, Reds shortstop Zack Cozart had Tommy John last August and was ready for Spring Training this season.
  • In a second press release, the Red Sox announced that they've fired pitching coach Bob McClure. Assistant pitching coach Randy Niemann will take over the position in the interim. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal tweets the following quote from Boston GM Ben Cherington: "This wasn't working out. We felt like we need to make a change. The best thing to do was to give everyone a fresh start." Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com adds that the decision was performance-based, not because of clashes with manager Bobby Valentine (Twitter link).
  • Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets that McClure will be a candidate to take over the Rockies' pitching coordinator. As Renck points out, McClure is familiar working with pitchers at an altitude. McClure spent seven years as a pitching coach with the Rockies between Triple-A and the Major League club from 1999-2005.

Players Who Cleared Waivers

This is a running list of players who have cleared waivers, based on published reports. Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (barring a no-trade clause). This list can always be found in the sidebar under MLBTR Features. Player names are linked to the source articles.

Updated 8-31-12

Infielders

Nick Punto, Red Sox - Punto earns $1.5MM this year and will earn the same amount in 2013.

Outfielders

Carl Crawford, Red Sox - Crawford has $102.5MM remaining on his contract after 2012, so he was expected to clear waivers. Crawford can block trades to two clubs, but no team can flip him to the Yankees after acquiring him from Boston.

Alfonso Soriano, Cubs – Soriano can block any trade. He earns $18MM per season through 2014.

Juan Pierre, Phillies – Pierre earns $800K in 2012 and he'll hit free agency after the season.

Catchers

Joe Mauer, Twins – Mauer earns $23MM per season through 2018.

Starting Pitchers

Joe Saunders, Diamondbacks – Saunders earns $6MM in 2012 and will hit free agency after the season.

Roy Oswalt, Rangers – Oswalt earns $5MM in 2012 and will hit free agency after the season.

Kevin Millwood, Mariners – Millwood earns $1MM in 2012 and will hit free agency after the season.

Relief Pitchers

Carlos Marmol, Cubs - Marmol will earn $9.8MM in 2013 before hitting free agency.