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Darnell McDonald Rumors
No team in baseball has scored as often as the Red Sox (409 runs), but there’s room for improvement, even in Boston. Red Sox right fielders have the worst average (.220), on-base percentage (.304) and slugging percentage (.326) of any American League team. And as one Red Sox source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com, the status quo isn’t good enough.
“We need more out of that position,” Speier’s source said.
J.D. Drew hasn’t been as effective as expected against right-handers and Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald haven’t produced as expected against left-handers, especially recently. Speier says it wouldn’t be surprising if Cameron or McDonald gets cut when Carl Crawford returns from the disabled list.
The Red Sox would prefer for their existing options – Drew, Cameron, McDonald and Josh Reddick – to play so well that no reinforcements seem necessary. But Boston’s interest in right-handed outfielders who can contribute off of the bench appears to be growing, according to Speier.
The Phillies' Domonic Brown became the latest prospect to get the call up to the big leagues today (although he debuted in 2010), but some blue-chippers remain down on the farm. Here's a note about one of them, and some other interesting items …
- Rays manager Joe Maddon said Desmond Jennings wasn't called up after Dan Johnson was designated for assignment because Tampa wants the speedy outfielder to play every day, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. Of course, Maddon was implying that the decision was not related to Jennings' service time.
- The Phillies' signing of 17-year-old Australian catcher Liam Bedford was among last week's notable minors transactions, compiled by Matt Eddy of Baseball America. Another noteworthy move: The Angels have finally signed UC Irvine catcher Francis Larson, their 22nd-round pick in last year's draft.
- The Red Sox have a unique sales pitch for minor league free agents, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Boston has a recent track record of awarding promotions to players like Nick Green and Darnell McDonald, which is appealing to guys like Drew Sutton who are looking to latch onto organizations that will give them a legitimate shot of playing in the Majors.
7:51pm: One Red Sox official has called the ESPNBoston story "false," tweets Edes. According to Edes, however, his source was describing scenarios he'd been told by another Sox official. GM Theo Epstein also disputed the report, writes John Tomase of the Boston Herald.
5:49pm: The Red Sox moved a little closer to finalizing their Opening Day roster today by reassigning a number of players to minor league camp. Before April 1st rolls around, however, the club appears open to making more significant roster moves. Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston reports that the Red Sox "have let it be known" they'll listen to trade offers on a number of players expected to start the year with the team.
According to Edes' source, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, Mike Cameron, Darnell McDonald, and Marco Scutaro would be available in the right deal. Some of those players would likely draw more interest than others. Matsuzaka, for instance, in addition to having a full no-trade clause, is owed $10MM this season and has struggled so far this spring. So while Edes writes that the Red Sox would move the right-hander if they could "add to their young catching inventory," finding a deal that works could be tricky.
Cameron and Scutaro have been identified as potential trade candidates previously this winter, given Boston's depth at their respective positions. As for Wakefield, Edes' source says the 44-year-old is "on the bubble" and could be available for a left-handed reliever. Though his 2011 role with the Sox is up in the air, the knuckleballer said earlier this week that he can't imagine playing anywhere besides Boston.
Saturday evening linkage as the Phillies and Giants kick off the NLCS…
- Nationals third base coach Pat Listach confirmed to Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel that he will interview for the Brewers' managerial opening on Tuesday.
- Nick Piecoro lists some candidates for the Diamondbacks' scouting director job (Twitter links): Tim Huff (Rays), J.J. Lally (White Sox), Chuck Ricci (Indians), and Jeff Schugel (Angels). ESPN's Keith Law tweets that Huff would be an excellent hire, and says he's surprised that Ray Montgomery (Brewers) and Rick Wilson (Angels) aren't on the list (Twitter link).
- MLB.com's Sarah D. Morris doesn't think the Dodgers need an overhaul.
- Lefty Rich Hill has already had discussions with the Red Sox about returning in 2011, tweets Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.
- McAdam (via Twitter) also expects to see Darnell McDonald back in Boston next season.
- If Tony La Russa comes back to the Cardinals, he should sign a multi-year deal, says Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. learned how to build a successful team by working under Ed Wade and Pat Gillick, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The San Francisco Chronicle's Gwen Knapp praises the Giants' homegrown talent.
Sunday night linkage..
- M's manager Don Wakamatsu urged fans to be patient with the newly acquired Justin Smoak, writes MLB.com's Mike McCall.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean isn't sure if his club can make the postseason without a trade, writes Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News.
- Darnell McDonald went from being a non-factor with the Orioles to being a key part of Boston's offense, says WEEI's DJ Bean.
- Kevin Cowherd of The Baltimore Sun wants to see the Orioles hire their new manager this week.
The Red Sox designated Scott Atchison for assignment to make room for Mike Cameron, according to a team press release. Last night, it appeared that the Red Sox had designated Darnell McDonald for assignment to make room for Cameron, but the team changed its plans.
Jacoby Ellsbury has experienced soreness in his left side, so the team wanted to keep McDonald around, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (via Twitter). Atchison has options, so the DFA is 'procedural', writes Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com (via Twitter). For now, the Red Sox are not cutting ties with Atchison or McDonald.
The Red Sox signed Atchison to a one-year deal with two club options last winter. The 34-year-old righty has a 6.10 ERA in 10.1 innings this year, with 7.8 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9.
The Red Sox designated Darnell McDonald for assignment, according to Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). The Red Sox had to make room for returning center fielder Mike Cameron, who is returning from an abdominal injury.
Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury both missed significant time early on, so McDonald has played more than expected. The 31-year-old has essentially been a regular this year. He has played all three outfield positions, hitting .263/.320/.400 in 105 plate appearances. Like Jeremy Hermida, McDonald has batted more times than Cameron and Ellsbury combined. It wouldn't be fair to judge McDonald's defensive ability on 226 innings, but UZR suggests he has been below average to this point.
McDonald could be claimed by another team, but the outfielder has enjoyed playing for the Red Sox so far. He told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that he wants to stay in the Red Sox organization, though he understands the business side of the game.
Despite strong play in the majors and Triple-A this season, Darnell McDonald's Red Sox future is in limbo, writes Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal. With Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury set to return soon, the club will have to open up two roster spots.
Fellow outfielder Jonathan Van Every will almost certainly be the first casualty upon Cameron's return, though he still has options remaining. McDonald, 31, is out of options. With his strong play in the last three weeks, MacPherson writes that it is not hard to imagine another team snapping him up.
In 62 major league plate appearances, McDonald has a slash line of .264/.350/.491 with 3 homers. For Triple-A Pawtucket, he hit .341/.372/.683 with 2 HRs in 43 plate appearances.
Bill Hall would be a candidate to get the axe before McDonald if not for the fact that the club needs their fifth outfielder to be able to play the infield as well. Hall's career UZR/150 scores at second base, shortstop, and third base are 0.7, 1.8, and 3.1, respectively.
With Red Sox Nation in full panic mode, a number of writers are surveying the wreckage in a 4-9 start that represents, to provide some clarity, just eight percent of the season.
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier discusses whether the Sox would have been better off keeping Casey Kotchman than signing Adrian Beltre, noting that so far, Kotchman has notched a .963 OPS to Beltre's .668 OPS. However, Speier does hasten to add how early in the season it is. Before a recent 4-for-7 streak, Kotchman's OPS was just .717.
- Theo Epstein has no excuses for the start, saying, "It's just what it is. It's been bad baseball. We haven't played well. There are no excuses for how we've played."
- With the addition of Darnell McDonald for the injured Jacoby Ellsbury, however, moves will be trickier. McDonald puts the Red Sox 40-man roster at 40.
- And things may get worse before they get better: Mike Cameron, also on the DL with an abdominal strain, didn't rule out surgery to correct the problem.
- FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi piles on, saying that the White Sox have "a better chance at a rapid turnaround" than the Red Sox do.
- In a minor league move, the Red Sox traded Andrew Dobies, a Double-A pitcher, to the White Sox for a player to be named later or cash.