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Clay Buchholz Rumors
While Red Sox chairman Tom Werner recently implied that the team is likely to do some significant spending on the free agent market this offseason, a source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com that adding two top-tier pitchers isn’t in the club’s offseason blueprint. The team will likely pursue one ace-caliber pitcher, but the feeling within the organization is that there’s enough talent to fill out a championship-caliber rotation. Joe Kelly and Rubby De La Rosa appear to have spots penciled in, and Clay Buchholz has had a resurgence of late. Beyond those three, the Sox have Brandon Workman, Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes, Allen Webster, Henry Owens, Brian Johnson and Eduardo Rodriguez all in line to compete for rotation spots. It’s still believed that the team will pursue Jon Lester most aggressively, Speier writes, though he also spoke with Rays manager Joe Maddon about the Tampa skipper’s former right-hander, James Shields.
Here’s more on the 2013 World Series champs and their attempt to get out of the cellar in 2015…
- Webster, Workman and Ranaudo have failed to impress in extended looks at the Major League level this season, writes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. MacPherson has a hard time envisioning GM Ben Cherington heading into the 2015 campaign with two or three unproven arms in the rotation following the struggles that many of the team’s young prospects endured in 2014. Only De La Rosa has shownthe ability to be a piece of next year’s rotation, he concludes. MacPherson spoke with both manager John Farrell and pitching coach Juan Nieves about the struggles that Boston’s young pitchers have endured thus far.
- In a second piece, Speier writes that Mookie Betts has gone “from blocked to building block,” noting that his versatility and upside may have led to him supplanting Xander Bogaerts as the club’s most untouchable asset in trades. Of course, Dustin Pedroia remains under contract at second base and the team has an enviable outfield logjam, so interest in Betts will likely be high, but Speier opines that Betts should be retained, as his versatility would allow the Red Sox to pursue upgrades at a number of positions in the future, knowing that Betts could be moved around the diamond and still thrive.
- Koji Uehara told reporters, including Speier’s colleague Rob Bradford, that the life on his splitter still isn’t there. As Bradford notes, Uehara has experienced a late-season downturn like this before, as he struggled greatly at an oddly similar juncture near the end of his tenure with the Rangers in 2011. The displaced closer adds that he’s not thinking about where he’ll play in 2015 or regaining the ninth inning, but rather trying to finish the season on a high note before “see[ing] what happens in free agency.”
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington chatted with reporters just minutes ago and it’s no surprise to hear his admission that the club was not expecting Xander Bogaerts to struggle to this extent in 2014 (via Tim Britton of The Providence Journal on Twitter). Still just 21, Bogaerts has slashed .226/.293/.339 in 472 plate appearances this season. Earlier this week, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote that the struggles of Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. have left many around the game wondering how good each player truly is. Here’s more out of Boston..
- Peter Gammons (Twitter links) cautions not to read much into waiver trade bites on Bogaerts, Clay Buchholz, Brock Holt, Joe Kelly, Yoenis Cespedes, Christian Vazquez, Burke Badenhop, Mike Napoli, Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava, Junichi Tazawa, and Koji Uehara.
- Cherington said that he won’t be resistant to trade prospects this off-season, “for the right guy,” tweets Jason Mastrodonato of The Springfield Republican. He added that the club has never been opposed to dealing prospects, but such decisions are “contextual,” tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- The GM wouldn’t give much on the team’s interest in Rusney Castillo. “We are one of many teams interested. That’s all I’ll say,” the GM said, according to Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com (on Twitter).
Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox has an appointment with Dr. James Andrews Monday that will help determine Boston's level of interest in trading for a starting pitcher at the deadline, reports Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Buchholz, who has bursitis in his right shoulder, has not pitched since June 8. If Andrews says Buchholz can start throwing again, the Red Sox will be less likely to trade for a starting pitcher like Bud Norris or Jake Peavy this month. Here's more out of Boston.
- Another factor in the Red Sox's decision about whether to add pitching is the "readiness" of younger pitchers Drake Britton, Brandon Workman, Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Red Sox must weigh their goal of being competitive in the future against their goal of competing in the present, and are unlikely to blow up their farm system, particularly not for a rental. Rosenthal also mentions Peavy, who is under contract through next season, as a possible choice for the Sox.
- The Sox are targeting bullpen help at the trade deadline, although they also could pursue a starter or third baseman, Evan Drellich of MassLive.com reports. The Sox have scouted Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez, but Drellich suggests that the price may be too high.
- Fear of Robinson Cano's next contract could motivate the Red Sox to sign Dustin Pedroia to an extension, Rosenthal reports. Pedroia is under contract for $10MM in 2014, and the Sox have an $11MM option on him for 2015. Cano is, of course, a free agent after this season, and should command a huge contract that could raise the bar for Pedroia. If Pedroia agrees a new deal with the Sox before Cano signs his next contract, Rosenthal says, that will prove that Pedroia "is not all about the money." The Red Sox recently offered Pedroia an extension.
- Tim Britton of the Providence Journal makes a similar argument (that Cano's potentially enormous extension could increase the price on a potential Pedroia contract), and also notes that Pedroia's leadership could further motivate the Red Sox to strike a deal. "Last year, we had a real lesson on what chemistry can do to a club," says Sox principal owner John Henry. "What’s happened this year is further indication. I just don’t think we appreciated how much chemistry can mean to a baseball team." Also, Britton argues that, in addition to a Pedroia deal making sense for the Red Sox, it's also in Pedroia's best interest to do a deal now at age 29, rather than waiting to hit the free agent market when he's 32.
Yesterday, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com heard that a deal that would send Matt Garza from the Cubs to the Rangers could still go "either way". Today, it's a different story. Here's the latest on Chicago's prized right-hander:
- A Major League source tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe the Red Sox's interest level in Garza is deepening (Twitter link). This comes in the wake of the news Clay Buchholz will seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews tomorrow. Manager John Farrell, as quoted by WEEI.com's Alex Speier on Twitter, explained the purpose of the visit is for "verification and clarification to get some peace of mind."
- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (free registration required) calls the Pirates "the team du jour" after GM Neal Huntington's comments earlier today and adds the Orioles, who are scouting the Cubs on their current road trip, are viewed as sleepers for Garza.
- The Cubs have worked to draw competing offers into the Garza bidding in order to create alternatives to Texas, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum told reporters, including the Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer (Twitter link), Garza will "100 percent" make his start tomorrow against the Diamondbacks.
- The Cubs would prefer to deal Garza before his scheduled start tomorrow against Arizona, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- The Rangers and Cubs were set back in talks to the point where the Rangers are now viewed as only one of many teams now in the mix for Garza, Heyman writes. For now it seems that Texas and Chicago made no progress in overcoming the snag that derailed their swap on Friday night, though the Rangers aren't out of it. The deal that fell apart included a package of Rangers prospects, with third baseman Mike Olt and pitchers C.J. Edwards and Neil Ramirez thought to have been on the table.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Clay Buchholz hopes to throw a bullpen session on Thursday at Fenway Park and, if all goes well, the right-hander may try a simulated a game a few days afterwards, Buchholz told reporters (including Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe) during Monday's All-Star festivities in New York. Buchholz said he won't return until the stiffness in his neck has totally subsided, but “if I thought it was a do or die situation in September and we were pushing for the pennant, if it came to that, absolutely I’d be out there," he said. "There’s no risk right now, but I don’t feel comfortable doing it."
Here are some more items about the AL East-leading Red Sox…
- Scott Boras, Jacoby Ellsbury's agent, told reporters (including WEEI.com's Alex Speier) that he wasn't planning to negotiate with GM Ben Cherington about a new contract for his client until after the season. Ellsbury recently claimed the #2 spot on Tim Dierkes' free agent power rankings for the coming offseason. The center fielder is hitting .305/.368/.422 and has stolen a league-leading 36 bases for the Sox this year, a performance that Boras attributes to Ellsbury's gradual recovery from a shoulder injury.
- Alfredo Aceves is no longer represented by agent Tom O'Connell, Nick Cafardo reports (Twitter link). The right-hander is believed to be representing himself for now, according to Rob Bradford and Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Aceves was outrighted to Triple-A earlier today, the latest step in the reliever's tumultuous stint in Boston. You can keep track of who's representing who in the baseball world via MLBTR's Agency Database.
- The move from Boston to small-market Pittsburgh wasn't the reason for Mark Melancon's improvement in 2013, the reliever told media (including Tim Britton of the Providence Journal), saying that the improvement began after working on his mechanics and approach to pitching during a minor league stint last season. Melancon allowed 11 runs in his first two innings with the Red Sox in 2012 but posted a 4.19 ERA over his next 43 innings, though it wasn't enough to keep him from being dealt to the Bucs last December. With the Pirates, Melancon has posted a sterling 0.81 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 44 1/3 IP and earned his first All-Star appearance.
The Blue Jays shouldn’t part with manager John Farrell unless they are confident they can hire a comparable replacement and make the Red Sox pay dearly for their former pitching coach, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. The Blue Jays could start by asking for Clay Buchholz again, Rosenthal suggests. Here’s more from around MLB, starting with Farrell…
- People who know Farrell find it difficult to believe he’d try to force his way out of Toronto, Rosenthal reports. The Blue Jays appear to value Farrell and don’t want to see him leave.
- Most MLB teams wanted to develop Jurickson Profar as a pitcher when he was an amateur player, Rosenthal reports. The Rangers built a relationship with Profar, who wanted to play shortstop.
- Scouts following the Indians like the team’s up-the-middle talent, but say the body language of manager Manny Acta suggests he’s resigned to losing. The Indians are expected to consider trade offers for Justin Masterson, Shin-Soo Choo and Chris Perez this offseason and rival teams wonder if they’d listen to offers for Asdrubal Cabrera.
- Indians officials are “livid” with Perez for his comments about the team’s ownership and top baseball executives, Rosenthal writes. Perez questioned the Indians’ decision making and spending last week in an interview with Jon Paul Morosi. Some executives viewed those remarks as an attempt to get traded, Rosenthal reports.
- One Orioles person points out that Andy MacPhail traded for many of the Orioles’ key players in a series of successful deals. MacPhail dealt for players such as J.J. Hardy, Pedro Strop, Chris Davis, Tommy Hunter, Robert Andino and Adam Jones before stepping down following the 2011 season.
- Though the Nationals would like to retain Adam LaRoche, they can rely on internal options if the first baseman’s asking price reaches the three-year, $33-36MM range. Similarly, the Nationals might decide not to pursue Michael Bourn despite the long-standing expectation that they will offer him a competitive free agent contract.
- The Brewers will need to sign a starting pitcher and fix their bullpen this coming offseason, Rosenthal writes.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Adam LaRoche | Asdrubal Cabrera | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Chris Perez | Clay Buchholz | Cleveland Indians | John Farrell | Jurickson Profar | Justin Masterson | Michael Bourn | Milwaukee Brewers | Shin-Soo Choo | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Washington Nationals
The Red Sox are on track to finish below .500 for the first time since 1997. Here’s the latest as a disappointing season winds down:
- Manager Bobby Valentine is now fighting a battle that he cannot win, opines Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. Miller writes that Valentine couldn't possibly be back as skipper in 2013 because either the Red Sox will lose patience or he will.
- In a heated interview on WEEI, Valentine characterized the 2012 season as "miserable" but said he'd definitely like to manage the Red Sox again in 2013. "If that's what I'm asked to do, that's what I'm going to get paid to do," Valentine said. He also suggested he would like to punch radio host Glenn Ordway in the face and defended himself when asked about a late arrival to a game earlier this year (highlights via Alex Speier).
- Blue Jays manager John Farrell would be an excellent hire for the Red Sox, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes. The Red Sox tried to acquire Farrell from Toronto twice last offseason, including once after the Blue Jays made it clear that Farrell was off-limits to teams seeking managers, Bradford reports. The Blue Jays asked for Clay Buchholz as compensation for Farrell, according to WEEI.com. Red Sox pitchers who worked with Farrell in Boston have a deep respect for their former coach based on both friendship and fear, Bradford adds.
- Farrell said yesterday he’s "unequivocally" focused on the Blue Jays.
- Ivan De Jesus Jr. wanted to get traded from the Dodgers leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. “I wanted a fresh start,’’ said De Jesus, who was sent to Boston in the recent blockbuster trade between the Red Sox and Dodgers.
- The price tag on a potential extension for Jacoby Ellsbury would be “astronomical" should the Red Sox attempt to lock the outfielder up long term, ESPN.com's Buster Olney said on WEEI today (partial transcript via Kirk Minihane of WEEI.com). Olney said he's doubtful rival teams will overwhelm Boston with trade offers for Ellsbury, partly because he's a Scott Boras client.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that he is not aware of any trade talks involving either the acquisition or trading of a pitcher, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Major league sources also dismissed the idea that Boston would consider trading Josh Beckett in the wake of his golfing controversy.
“I’m sure that Ben’s looking at every conceivable way of improving our team, but I haven’t been in on any trade conversations about pitching, either coming or going,” said the manager.
Speier writes that Beckett's value would be virtually non-existent and points out that he has given the team more quality outings than any other pitcher so far this year. Beckett, 31, is set to earn $15.75MM each year through 2014.
Valentine also said that no real consideration was given to the idea of sending the struggling Clay Buchholz to the minors. Had Boston made that move, they would have exposed the pitcher to optional waivers.
Red Sox righty Clay Buchholz is unlikely to pitch again in the regular season due to a stress fracture in his back, reports Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com. McAdam's source believes postseason pitching is possible, though it'd be a tall order.
That explains why the Red Sox picked up Erik Bedard yesterday, though Bedard was actually Plan C after Hiroki Kuroda and Rich Harden. The Sox had a deal in place to acquire Kuroda for Tim Federowicz and another prospect Saturday night, reports McAdam, but the righty rejected it. The Kuroda talks were later used as a base for GM Theo Epstein to acquire Trayvon Robinson, who they sent to Seattle in the Bedard deal.
Red Sox GM Theo Epstein acquired Mike Aviles, Erik Bedard and Josh Fields in trades this weekend. He joined reporters on a conference call to discuss those moves and other issues pertaining to his first-place team this evening. Here are the details:
- The Red Sox like the way Bedard's stuff looks this year. He "really started to look like one of the best left-handers in the league again," Epstein said.
- Though Bedard was rusty in his lone start since returning from the disabled list, the Red Sox maintained interest in him since he seems healthy and has pitched in the AL East. Plus, he met Boston's biggest need – rotation help.
- The Bedard deal came together at the last minute, since the Red Sox had to acquire Trayvon Robinson from the Dodgers before completing the deal with the Mariners.
- As for the bullpen, Epstein says the Red Sox can get by without adding outside help. "We feel we have some depth, not only in the big leagues, but in Triple-A," he said.
- Epstein declined to speak about discussions for Rich Harden, but says he has no hard feelings. It appeared last night that Boston was going to acquire Harden.
- The Red Sox like Fields' "big arm" despite his command issues.
- Though Epstein didn't discuss Clay Buchholz's injury in detail, he acknowledged concern over the right-hander's health.