Daniel Nava Rumors

AL East Notes: Smyly, Nava, Ortiz, Blue Jays, Red Sox

Rays lefty Drew Smyly will make at least two more rehab starts before rejoining the club, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported earlier this week. The first of those outings will come today, with a second one perhaps coming on Tuesday of next week. As Topkin notes, the Rays won’t need a fifth starter until Aug. 18, at which point Smyly could conceivably join the rotation. His return should be a nice boost to the Rays, as Smyly’s season was in doubt due to a shoulder tear earlier this year. The Rays are in particular need of rotation help at the moment after optioning Matt Moore to Triple-A in an effort to get the talented lefty back on track following some post-Tommy-John struggles.

More from the AL East…

  • The Rays felt they needed a veteran bat to boost the lineup versus right-handed pitching after trading David DeJesus, writes Topkin, which led to the team’s claim of Daniel Nava from the division-rival Red Sox yesterday. Part of the reason the Rays chose to act may be an upcoming stretch against primarily right-handed starters. “He does a nice job against right-handed pitching,” said manager Kevin Cash — a former teammate of Nava. “He makes pitchers work a lot.”
  • Red Sox DH David Ortiz is just 10 plate appearances shy of locking in a $10MM salary for the 2016 season by way of vesting option, writes WEEI.com’s John Tomase. As Tomase notes, Ortiz got off to a slow start in 2015, again sparking some debate about how much he had left in the tank. However, he’s homered 15 times in 45 games since June 10 and is hitting .273/.378/.588 in that time. “You know how it is with myself,” said Ortiz to Tomase. “Whenever I have a slow start, or things aren’t going my way, people start criticizing and saying things. But I guess that’s how it’s going to be. I can put up with that. I know what I’m capable of doing.” Ortiz expressed pride in having earned another year at the big league level due to his performance as opposed to simply having the guarantee built into his contract. “That’s the way we pretty much agreed to do things,” said Ortiz of his incentive-laden deal. “…I agreed to do it that way, because if I don’t put up numbers, what would be the reason to continue playing?”
  • While many have advocated for the Red Sox to hire Dave Dombrowski as the team president to work in conjunction with GM Ben Cherington, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe feels that’s an awkward situation. If the Sox are going to go that route, they might as well fire Cherington, Abraham writes, as Dombrowski would want input in the staff working underneath him anyhow. Cherington has the trust of owner John Henry, Abraham continues, so such a scenario isn’t likely to play out. He does, however, need some help in the form of better scouts and analysts in the front office. As Abraham concludes, Cherington hasn’t been the sole driving force behind the acquisitions of Joe Kelly, Rick Porcello and Justin Masterson, and the team has had poor results in developing pitching despite selecting five arms in the first round from 2008-12.
  • Though the Blue Jays traded away an enormous amount of prospect capital prior to this year’s trade deadline, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet writes that they’re still positioned to contend beyond the 2015 season. The Blue Jays have a strong core of position players that will return next season, with the primary question marks coming from the pitching staff. David PriceMark Buehrle, Marco Estrada, R.A. Dickey (who has a club option), LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe are all free agents this offseason. The club does have Marcus Stroman returning, but there will still be holes to fill. Davidi takes a position-by-position look at the Jays, examining their current Major League options as well as the depth pieces at each position in the minors.

Rays Claim Daniel Nava

The Rays have claimed outfielder Daniel Nava off waivers from the Red Sox, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. Boston had designated the 32-year-old for assignment on July 30th.

Nava has spent most of his time in the corner outfield, though he also has appeared some at first base. The switch-hitter has been much more productive against right-handed pitching in his career, and it seems he could step into the role of just-traded outfielder David DeJesus.

Tampa Bay is placing a good bit of trust in a turn-around from Nava, as the club will owe him the balance of a $1.85MM salary (around $617K) for the rest of the year. Nava can also be controlled for two more years via arbitration, and probably won’t be in line for a significant raise.

Of course, the reason that Nava was available in the first place is that he’s scuffled badly this year while also dealing with injuries. He’s registered just ten hits, and no home runs, in 78 MLB plate appearances. Nava was already coming off of a less-than-inspiring 2014 campaign, when he saw his power output dip following an excellent 2013 (.303/.385/.445), though defensive metrics thought he had improved significantly in his outfield defense.


Red Sox Designate Daniel Nava

The Red Sox have designated outfielder/first baseman Daniel Nava for assignment, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports on Twitter. He lost as spot as the club moved to add bullpen depth to its active roster.

Nava, 32, put up strong results in fairly extensive playing time over each of the last three seasons, racking up 1,261 plate appearances with a .278/.364/.403 slash. But injuries and performance issues have kept him grounded in 2015. He’s put up a meager .152/.260/.182 line in only 78 turns at bat.

Despite the recent struggles, it wouldn’t be surprised to hear of another team with interest at giving Nava a bench spot. But his $1.85MM salary is a major obstacle, so it will take some effort for Boston to find him a new home. (Otherwise, he’ll likely clear waivers and remain under team control.)



Quick Hits: Guillen, Diamondbacks, Nava

White Sox executive Kenny Williams says baseball needs personalities like that of former manager Ozzie Guillen, Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago writes. “I think it misses personality and characters and a guy who has had as much success as he has and has much baseball knowledge as he has and has a desire to be in uniform and should be in uniform somewhere,” says Williams. “Hopefully he gets another chance to show it.” Williams and Guillen had their differences when Guillen was with the White Sox, of course. The White Sox allowed Guillen to depart for Miami, where his tenure as manager of the Marlins was brief and unfortunate. He hasn’t managed since, although he’s expressed interest in returning. He now is an analyst for ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Here are more quick notes from around the Majors.

  • Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart sees pitching as the key to improving the franchise’s fortune, the New York Times writes. “Everything depends on pitching,” says Stewart. “So as quickly as our young pitchers can mature is going to determine whether we contend or don’t. I know we’re going to hit and catch the ball. Those things are givens.” The Diamondbacks’ emergence will thus depend on young pitchers like Jeremy Hellickson, Rubby De La Rosa, and Archie Bradley, who makes his big-league debut today.
  • The Red Sox received inquiries about outfielder Daniel Nava this spring, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe tweets. The team declined to trade Nava despite a surplus in their outfield, however, feeling that Nava was more valuable in a Red Sox uniform than on the trade market.

AL East Notes: Victorino, Pedroia, Pentecost, Blue Jays, ARod

Red Sox manager John Farrell says the club will start veteran Shane Victorino in right field if he’s healthy, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Farrell added that Victorino is “full go,” indicating that only a setback could change those plans. With Hanley Ramirez the obvious starter in left field, that could mean Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo will compete for the center field job. Others like Allen Craig, Jackie Bradley, Brock Holt, and Daniel Nava appear thoroughly blocked in the outfield. Here’s more from the AL East.

  • Dustin Pedroia is healthy and ready to go, reports Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston. My take: a healthy Pedroia means that Betts and Holt are also blocked in the infield. Should everybody remain healthy, some kind of trade looks all but inevitable. Several players like Betts, Castillo, and Holt still have options, so the club can stow some major league quality talent at Triple-A if necessary.
  • The Rays lost great talent this offseason, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Executive Andrew Friedman tops the list of 13 impactful losses. His departure is mitigated by the presence of Matt Silverman. Rounding out the top five poignant losses include Ben Zobrist, Joe Maddon, Joel Peralta, and bench coach Dave Martinez.
  • Blue Jays top draft pick Max Pentecost has undergone shoulder surgery, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of SportsNet.ca. Dr. James Andrews performed the procedure. Pentecost, a catcher, is expected to resume throwing in about three months.
  • The Blue Jays continue to be faced with three big questions, writes Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com. They include the identity of their closer, second baseman, and fifth starter. Brett Cecil and Aaron Sanchez are expected to compete for ninth inning duties, although Sanchez could factor in the rotation battle too. Other candidates to start include Marco Estrada and prospect Daniel Norris. Second base will probably go to Maicer Izturis, Ryan Goins, or prospect Devon Travis.
  • The Yankees are right to allow beleaguered veteran Alex Rodriguez to attend camp, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. It’s surprising to see other writers suggest the club swallow the $61MM remaining on Rodriguez’s contract without at least giving him a chance to provide some value. If he fails to remain healthy, the club can also recoup part of the money via insurance.

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Thursday

Arbitration settlements will continue to trickle in over the coming months, and we’ll be tracking them in our Arbitration Tracker as well as on a daily basis in posts such as this. Here are the day’s minor arb settlements, with all projections coming courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz

  • The Red Sox announced that they have avoided arbitration with outfielder Daniel Nava, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that Nava will receive a $1.85MM salary. Nava had filed at $2.25MM, while the team countered with a $1.3MM offer. His salary is a bit north of the $1.775MM midpoint between the two figures and just $50K shy of his $1.9MM projection. The 31-year-old Nava enjoyed a solid season at the plate last year but saw a precipitous decline in power, hitting just four homers en route to a .270/.346/.361 batting line. That represents roughly league-average production (100 OPS+), but is also a far cry from his excellent .303/.385/.445 batting line and 12 homers in 2013.

Cafardo’s Latest: Cobb, Hamels, Red Sox

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe shares some news and opinions in his latest reader mailbag piece

  • The Rays aren’t looking to trade Alex Cobb, as they see the right-hander as a building block piece.  Cobb is under team control through the 2017 season and is only arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter; as Cafardo notes, Tampa only tends to move its stars when they get too expensive.
  • Cafardo believes the Red Sox will acquire an ace-level pitcher before Opening Day.  Given all of Boston’s other winter moves, “it makes no sense to do all they’ve done…and not go after the ace” to top everything off, Cafardo writes, especially since the Sox have the prospect depth to make a trade happen and already might be over the luxury tax threshold.
  • One of those potentially available aces is Cole Hamels, who the Red Sox have been connected to in rumors but “there haven’t been substantiative talks lately.”  Cafardo speculates that Boston could be waiting for the Phillies‘ asking price to drop, and the Sox have already turned down one offer that would’ve cost them both Mookie Betts and Blake Swihart.
  • Besides getting an ace pitcher, Cafardo also predicts the Red Sox will add another reliever (possibly a hard-throwing lefty) and trade one of Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava or Allen Craig before the season begins.  In Craig’s case, Cafardo believes the Sox won’t deal him until they see if he’s productive in Spring Training, as Craig is a valuable bat if healthy.

Red Sox Notes: Lester, Nava, Betts, Ross

Team chairman Tom Werner and COO Sam Kennedy have no regrets over how the Red Sox handled their extension talks with Jon Lester, WEEI.com’s Alex Speier reports, even though the lack of progress led to Lester being traded to Oakland at the deadline.  Kennedy felt that there wasn’t anything to regret since the negotiations were amicable on both sides, though Werner wished more talks had taken place.  “I don’t want to go back too much, but let me just say that we expected a little more dialogue back and forth than happened.  But I’ll take our share of responsibility in that,” Werner said.  Both executives said the Sox would look to rebuild the rotation for 2015, and Kennedy hinted that the team’s alleged distaste for long-term deals for pitchers in their 30’s isn’t necessarily as rigid as believed.

Here’s some more from Fenway Park…

  • Daniel Nava received some trade interest from the Giants at the July deadline, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports.  This is just my speculation, but I wonder if San Francisco could pursue Nava again this offseason if Mike Morse isn’t re-signed.  The Tigers and Royals were also rumored to be in on Nava last summer.
  • Cafardo’s piece breaks down the Red Sox roster and examines who the team should consider trading.  Mookie Betts, for instance, seems to be “the Red Sox prospect teams want most in a deal” according to conversations with rival scouts, yet Cafardo feels Betts’ talent and versatility makes him too valuable a piece to move.
  • David Ross isn’t sure if he’ll be back in Boston next season or even if his career could be over, the veteran catcher told reporters (including John Tomase of the Boston Herald) yesterday.  Ross will be 38 on Opening Day 2015 and he’s been a non-factor at the plate for the last two seasons, though his defense and ability to mentor pitchers and young players in general is greatly respected.  John Farrell said Ross is under consideration to return to the Sox next year, and Ross could make sense as a veteran backup to Christian Vazquez.

Red Sox Rumors: Bogaerts, Cespedes, Cherington

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..


Cafardo On D’Backs, Red Sox, Lester, Nava

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at some of the recently suggestions put forth by Red Sox chairman Tom Werner to help make the game more marketable to young people.

Too many people are leaving games in the sixth and seventh innings because they can’t watch 3½-hour games, so they’re leaving the game at the point where the game should be getting exciting,” Werner said. “You wouldn’t make a 3½-hour movie. The NFL makes changes almost on an annual basis. They’re considering making the extra point from 35 yards rather than from the 8-yard line… I respect tradition, but I don’t revere it.”

Among Werner’s ideas: instituting a pitch clock, limiting the number of times a batter can step out of the box, and putting a cap on the number of catcher and pitching coach visits to the mound.  More from today’s column..

  • Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson could be on the hot seat and there has been a lot of speculation about Joe McEwing, a third base coach with the White Sox, or Mike Aldrete, the bench coach for the Cardinals.  If Gibson is canned it would mark Tony La Russa‘s first big decision but GM Kevin Towers would also likely to have a say.
  • In a chat with Cafardo, David Ross spoke glowingly of the amenities or “little things” that the Red Sox do for their players and Cafardo wonders if that could keep Jon Lester in Boston beyond this season.  Lester’s family was always taken care of the team’s traveling secretary and while other teams can offer similar services, the consensus among players who have been multiple places is that Red Sox and Yankees are the teams that offer more to their players.
  • Ross tells Cafardo that even though there have been no contract talks with the Red Sox yet, he would like to return.  Boston would certainly love for him to keep working with Christian Vazquez, but Ross’s recent bout with plantar fasciitis has slowed him.  Ross is finishing up a two-year, 6.2MM deal.
  • Daniel Nava drew interest from the Tigers and had interest from the Royals before they traded for Josh Willingham, but he has yet to be put on waivers.  It’s not a certainty that he’ll clear and but the Red Sox will likely put him on revocable waivers later in the month to see what type of interest he’ll get.  The Sox’ outfield looks crowded next season with Allen Craig, Jackie Bradley Jr., Shane Victorino, Yoenis Cespedes, Mookie Betts, and Brock Holt all in the mix so it makes sense to see what can be had for Nava.
  • In a separate tweet, Cafardo reports Nava, Mike Napoli, Koji Uehara, and Will Middlebrooks have been placed on revocable waivers.