Craig Breslow Rumors

AL East Notes: Price, Burnett, McCarthy, Breslow

With 10 wins in their last 12 games, the Rays have escaped the AL East basement and added another wrinkle to the David Price trade rumors.  As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times outlines, it still makes a lot of sense for the Rays to deal Price, given that the club needs to replenish its minor league stock and the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade only increases Price’s value as the best starter available.  On the other hand, the Rays have already invested a record payroll into this year’s team and they could still make a comeback in a weak AL East, then wait until the offseason to explore trading Price.

Here’s some more from around the AL East…

  • “The Yankees don’t have a strong interest in” reacquiring A.J. Burnett, George A. King III of the New York Post reports.  Burnett is a logical trade candidate if the Phillies decide to sell, though the veteran has a partial no-trade clause in his contract.
  • Brandon McCarthy‘s tendency to allow home runs and grounders might be a problem given Yankee Stadium’s small dimensions and the Yankees‘ poor infield defense, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News still feels the Bombers made a good move in acquiring the righty from the Diamondbacks.  McCarthy’s peripherals indicate that he’s due to pitch better in the second half, and even if he’s only average, Martino still considers that an upgrade over the struggling Vidal Nuno.
  • Before dealing for Rich Hill, the Angels showed some interest in acquiring Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow but felt that Breslow’s stuff had declined since last year, ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reports.  Breslow posted a 1.81 ERA (though a 4.37 xFIP) over 59 2/3 relief innings for the Sox in 2013 but has struggled this season, managing only a 5.04 ERA and almost as many walks (20) as strikeouts (21) over 30 1/3 innings.  The southpaw is also averaging just 87.8 mph on his fastball, down significantly from his 89.9 mph average last year.
  • Also from Edes’ piece, he lists several Red Sox veterans who could be traded this summer now that Boston is on the brink of falling out of contention.
  • While it may not seem likely Jon Lester and the Red Sox will work out a new contract before Lester hits free agency, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reminds us that Cole Hamels and the Phillies were in a similar situation two years ago and agreed on a midseason extension.  Lester has been unwilling to negotiate during the year for fear of distractions, though it was recently reported that he would be open to hearing an offer if it led to a quick signing process.  (One would think he’d be very quick to agree if the Sox presented Lester with the six-year/$144MM deal the Phillies gave Hamels, though I strongly doubt Boston would offer that much.)
  • The Blue Jays have done a poor job of drafting and developing position players over the last decade-plus, Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun writes, a problem that has been underscored by the lack of depth available to fill in for several injured Jays regulars.

Red Sox Notes: Cherington, Breslow, Napoli, McGrath

In a WEEI appearance over the weekend, Red Sox owner John Henry talked about the team's overhaul and historic rebound from the AL East cellar to World Series participants. WEEI's Jackson Alexander has some of the highlights, including Henry's praise for GM Ben Cherington. Henry stated that the team knew for years that Cherington was going to be the next GM, but they had envisioned a scenario where Theo Epstein would be promoted to team president to continue the Epstein/Cherington pairing in Boston for many more years. Epstein is now president of the Cubs and likely hoping to experience a turnaround similar to that of his former club in the near future. Here's more on the Red Sox…

  • WEEI's Alex Speier points out the statistical similarities between Craig Breslow and Jeremy Affeldt from 2008-12, noting the sizable gap between Breslow's two-year, $6.25MM contract and Affeldt's three-year, $21MM contract. Despite the fact that Breslow's dominant 2013 season could have potentially earned him far more than his current contract calls for, the left-hander doesn't regret signing. Breslow tells Speier that the security of his two-year deal helped him to remain calm and not rush back from the shoulder injury that caused him to open the season on the DL. Breslow adds that he's grateful to the Red Sox for being the first team to guarantee him a contract for multiple years. As far as national attention from a strong postseason, Breslow says he's more concerned with receiving validation from his 24 teammates than the national media.
  • Mike Napoli tells MLB.com's Lindsay Berra that he will be more confident in contract negotiations with interest teams this winter now that he's played through a season with avascular necrosis (AVN) in his hips. Said Napoli: "They're always going to say, 'What if?' But what if I got hit in the hand or got hurt in some other way that had nothing to do with my hips? So many things can happen, but I don't feel like my hips are a problem."
  • Agent Josh Borkin of ACES tells MLBTR that Red Sox prospect Daniel McGrath has selected ACES as his representation. The Australian left-hander reached the short-season Class-A New York-Penn League in 2013 at just 19 years old and posted a 4.86 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 33 1/3 innings. McGrath signed with the Red Sox for $400K last summer.

Red Sox, Craig Breslow Agree To Deal

January 24th: The Red Sox announced the deal, which includes a club option for 2015.

January 19th: The Red Sox have reached agreement with Craig Breslow on a two-year deal to avoid arbitration, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).  The Baratta Partners client will earn a guaranteed $6.25MM and could make up to $10.15MM over the course of the contract.  The deal is pending a physical.

Boston acquired the left-handed reliever from the Diamondbacks last summer for Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik.  In 63 relief outings for Arizona and Boston last year, Breslow posted a 2.70 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.  For his career, Breslow owns a 3.00 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9.  

As the MLBTR Arbitration Tracker shows, the Red Sox have now signed all of their arbitration eligible players.



Red Sox To Acquire Craig Breslow

Craig Breslow - Arizona (PW)

The Red Sox will acquire left-handed reliever Craig Breslow from the Diamondbacks, Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com reports (Twitter links). The Red Sox will send Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik to Arizona to complete the trade. 

Boston had been seeking left-handed relief. The Angels were also looking at Breslow, according to Magruder. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe first reported that the Red Sox might acquire Breslow.

Breslow has a 2.70 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 43 1/3 innings this year. The 31-year-old earns $1.8MM and will go to arbitration again this coming offseason. He's on track to reach free agency following the 2013 season.

Podsednik, 36, posted a .387/.409/.484 batting line in 70 plate appearances this year, but missed substantial time with a groin injury. He earns $750K at the MLB level and will become a free agent after the season.

Albers has a 2.29 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 39 1/3 innings so far in 2012. He is earning $1.08MM this year and will remain under team control as an arbitration eligible player through 2013.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.


Diamondbacks Avoid Arbitration With Craig Breslow

The Diamondbacks and Craig Breslow have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1.795MM reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). The Baratta Partners client filed for $2.1MM while the team countered with $1.5MM as our Arbitration Tracker shows.

Breslow, 31, came to Arizona in the Trevor Cahill trade. The lefty reliever pitched to a 3.79 ERA in 59 1/3 innings last season with the Athletics, though left-handed hitters tagged him for a .352/.394/.473 batting line in exactly 100 plate appearances. All of the Diamondbacks' arbitration-eligible players are now under contract for 2012.


D’Backs Acquire Cahill, Breslow From A’s

SATURDAY: Slusser reports that the cash considerations going to the Diamondbacks will be "a couple of hundred thousand dollars."

FRIDAY: As was rumored earlier today, the Diamondbacks have acquired pitchers Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow from the Athletics for minor leaguers Jarrod ParkerCollin Cowgill and Ryan Cook, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links) and Steve Gilbert of MLB.com (Twitter). The Diamondbacks will also receive cash from Oakland, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

The centerpiece of the trade for Arizona is Cahill, a right-handed starter who has logged more than 175 innings in each of his three seasons as a Major Leaguer. The groundballer (53.3% career rate) is under team control at least through 2015 and perhaps through 2017, depending on two club options. He'll join Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson at the top of the D'Backs' rotation, with Josh Collmenter and perhaps (or not) Joe Saunders at the back end.

On a conference call with reporters on Friday night, D'Backs GM Kevin Towers said the timing was right to make a move of this nature:

“A lot of it is just the depth that we have in the system. Certainly, Jarrod Parker was a tough piece to give up, but with Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs and Charles Brewer, we feel we’ve got depth in the starting rotation – also, Wade Miley. We see a window here, specifically in the NL West. We’re kind of in a go-for-it mode.”

Clearly, Cahill will be counted on as one of the mainstays of the D'Backs' rotation, but it wasn't long ago he seemed destined to remain in Oakland after inking a multiyear extension in April:

"I defintely thought I’d be with them a bit longer. But their history is, they usually keep guys when they don’t make too much, then trade them off for prospects. I thought I’d be there longer, but I'm glad to be part of a team that’s headed in the right direction."

Breslow, a lefty reliever, kicked around earlier in his career before latching on with the A's the past three seasons. He's posted a career 3.80 FIP, and with no significant lefty/righty splits, Towers said Breslow will likely be used as a swing lefty out of Kirk Gibson's bullpen in 2012. He is eligible for free agency after 2013.

In Parker, Cowgill and Cook, the A's get three prospects who all have far less than a full season of service time. Of them, Parker, a right-handed starter, is regarded by scouts as having the highest ceiling. Now 24, Parker pitched mostly in the minors in 2011 after missing all of 2010 due to Tommy John surgery. He was ranked No. 19 in Keith Law's top 50 minor league prospects in July.

Cowgill is a 25-year-old outfielder who made his Major League debut in 2011 after posting a .383 career on-base percentage in parts of four minor league seasons. Cook was a starter in the minors before being converted to relief work in 2011. He has a "strong arm, chance for a good slider," tweets Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.

John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR in Phoenix first tweeted the rumored trade, and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Piecoro, Slusser and Gilbert all filled in with details.


A’s Unlikely To Trade Gio Gonzalez At Meetings

The latest on Athletics lefty Gio Gonzalez, a 26-year-old who is under team control through 2015…

Tim Dierkes and Luke Adams contributed to this post.


Athletics Place Harden, Crisp, Breslow On Waivers

A trio of Athletics were placed on waivers recently, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports: starter Rich Harden, center fielder Coco Crisp, and lefty reliever Craig Breslow.  Placing the three on waivers does not necessarily mean the A's want to trade them.  But if they were placed this afternoon then the clock is now ticking to make a claim, with the window closing after 48 hours.

The Red Sox pulled out of a trade deadline deal for Harden over physical concerns, but the 29-year-old righty continues to take his turn in the rotation for the A's.  His big-time strikeout rate is back in an eight start sample, though Harden remains prone to free passes and home runs.  Owed just $360K plus performance bonuses, claiming Harden would not be terribly risky despite his extensive injury history.

Crisp, 31, is hitting .274/.329/.392 in 441 plate appearances this season, already his highest total since '07.  He leads the American League with 37 steals and his defense is typically well-regarded.  He has a shot at Type B status, so the A's probably won't let him go for nothing.  Crisp has about $1.39MM remaining on his contract.

Breslow is under team control through 2013, assuming he's tendered contracts for the next two seasons.  The brainy 31-year-old has been hittable this year, especially against left-handed hitters.


Cafardo On Clippard, Pence, Upton, Myers

In a conversation with Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino echoed John Henry's sentiment from earlier this week: Whether or not Boston makes a move at the deadline, the luxury tax won't be an issue. Lucchino said the Sox have paid the tax before, and would be willing to do so again if the right deal came along. Here are some other highlights from Cafardo's weekly notes column:

  • The Rangers have made "a lot of inquiries" on Tyler Clippard. The Braves, Yankees, and Red Sox also have varying levels of interest in the Nationals' setup man.
  • According to an Astros source, the team intends to hold on to Hunter Pence. However, Cafardo points out that could change in the offseason, with the new ownership group (and possibly a new GM) in control.
  • Some Nationals people believe a change of scenery would greatly benefit B.J. Upton, and are considering "offering the moon" for him.
  • There hasn't been a whole lot of interest in Brett Myers yet. "We’ve had a couple of bites from National League teams, but not much else," said an Astros official.
  • Athletics lefty Craig Breslow is drawing interest from the Yankees and Red Sox.

Heyman On Astros, Adams, Matsui, Yankees

Incoming Astros owner Jim Crane has ordered a decrease in payroll from $76MM to $60MM, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Here’s the latest on Houston’s deadline plans and other notes from around MLB: