David Ortiz Rumors
Yesterday, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com surveyed two National League executives on Robinson Cano and his value as he inches closer to hitting the open market. Both supported the Yankees spending big on the second baseman and one even said that he has a legitimate case for a $200MM extension. Here's more on the Yankees and other AL East items..
- David Ortiz told reporters, including the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber, that he may not play again for the Red Sox this year because of his strained right Achilles. "To be honest with you, what I’m looking for right now is to make sure I heal up the right way," Ortiz said. "I pushed it once. Didn’t work. So I’m not going to push it again." Ortiz, who has played only once since July 16, received a platelet-rich plasma injection nearly two weeks ago that has left him feeling “totally different.” But, he is still wearing a protective boot on his right foot and won’t attempt any baseball activities until at least Tuesday when he’s expected to have it removed.
- The Orioles' Nick Markakis is expected to undergo surgery tomorrow to insert a plate into his broken left thumb, according to Roch Kubatko of MASN.com. The surgery could speed up the recovery process, so the Orioles remain optimistic Markakis could return if they go deep into the playoffs, writes Kubatko.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post looks at five personnel decisions that backfired on the Yankees this season. Sherman writes that the trade of Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda was among the club's biggest mistakes. Although Pineda could bounce back from injury and fulfill his potential, Montero could have been a long-term answer for the Yankees in the event that Russell Martin leaves via free agency.
- Theo Epstein only deserves some of the blame for the situation that the Red Sox are in and not all of it, opines John Tomase of the Boston Herald. While Epstein made the big money deals that tied up the club's payroll, owners John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino had final say over all of them.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka's next start with the Red Sox could be his last with the club, writes Michael Vega of the Boston Globe. "Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll be wearing this Red Sox uniform next year," Matsuzaka said through his interpreter, Jeff Cutler. "As I’ve said before, it’s an honor to be able to wear this Red Sox uniform, but it hasn’t been an added stress for me."
- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine told NESN's Tom Caron that the criticism that has been directed at him stems from personal gripes, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Valentine believes that he has always received unfair criticism and anticipated more of it when he arrived in Boston.
Edward Creech also contributed to this post.
The Red Sox are 62-71 after getting creamed by the Athletics last night, and they've dropped five of seven since making the big nine-player blockbuster with the Dodgers a week ago. Chairman Tom Werner spoke to Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe about a number of topics, so let's recap...
- “All I can say from our point of view, we were very pleased with the result," said Werner about the trade. "It was something we’ve been talking to the Dodgers about even in July. I feel like this gives us a real opportunity now."
- Werner made it clear that the savings from the trade will be reinvested in the team, but it is unlikely to happen all at once. They hope to sign Cody Ross to an extension and will at least attempt to sign Jacoby Ellsbury long-term. Retaining David Ortiz is another priority.
- “We give him high marks in how he’s dealt with the challenges this season, and he’s going to be with us for a long time," said Werner regarding GM Ben Cherington. “We just have to be more disciplined. One of the things we’ve talked to Ben about is supplementing his staff with a few more evaluators. I’m confident that we’ll get back because now we have the resources and the talent with Ben, and under Ben, to do so.”
- Werner reiterated that the team is happy with Bobby Valentine, but he declined to talk about the manager's future with the club beyond 2012.
- Werner discussed several other topics as well, including potential distractions from owning the Liverpool soccer club as well as when he thinks the Red Sox can contend again.
David Ortiz has played in just one game since July 16 due to a right Achilles strain, and while he hopes to be back in September, this prolonged injury isn't a good sign for a 36-year-old on the way to free agency. The injury adds another twist to that should be a very interesting free agent case for Ortiz, especially in the wake of the recent overhaul of the Red Sox roster.
Before the injury, Ortiz was enjoying one of his best seasons. The veteran slugger has hit 23 homers and posted a .318/.415/.611 line in 2012, providing solid production all season long and avoiding the slow starts that plagued him over the last three years. Even though he turns 37 in November, it appears as though Ortiz still has plenty left in the tank and, if healthy, projects as one of the biggest bats on the free agent market. Ortiz's suitors will be limited to AL teams given his inability to play the field, but as he recently pointed out to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford, his full-time DH status and his recent health issues will be less important to teams than his potent bat.
“In this game when you are capable to do what I do, that’s a plus. I don’t care what anybody says. It’s a plus," Ortiz said. "It’s hard to hit a damn baseball. Harder than what anybody can imagine. If you put two, three David Ortiz in your lineup you’re going to have some results. I guarantee that....[Offense is] what everybody is looking for right now. They don’t care if you’re a catcher, first base, DH, whatever. If you can produce, trust me, you’re going to play.”
Ortiz has a point. Teams have been reluctant in recent years to spend on the DH spot, thus limiting a number of veteran designated hitters to modestly-priced one-year deals. Several of those veterans are back on the free agent market in 2013, and of that group, Ortiz has by far had the most recent success and is able to consistently produce against both right-handed and left-handed pitching. His current Achilles strain aside, Ortiz is quite durable for an older player, with just one other DL stint since 2002.
After having to settle for accepting Boston's offer of arbitration last offseason and agreeing to a one-year, $14.575MM contract, I would guess that Ortiz will certainly be able to find a multiyear contract this winter. Agent Fernando Cuza should be able to find, at minimum, a two-year, $30MM deal for his client. The Red Sox will make Ortiz a qualifying offer, but given how such offers are one-year deals worth around $13.35MM, Ortiz will surely turn it down in hopes of finding a better deal elsewhere.
The Sox would get a supplemental first round draft pick if Ortiz did reject that qualifying offer and signed with a new team, but it's likely that Boston would make a significant push to bring back its long-time star. With Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford all gone to the Dodgers, the Red Sox suddenly have loads of future payroll space to work with in the offseason.
Two years and $30-$35MM is a very fair price for a hitter who can still generate a 1.026 OPS and locking up a franchise icon like "Big Papi" would also be a good PR move for ownership in the wake of a tumultuous season. For his part, Ortiz has been vocal about going through the "humiliating" arbitration process and his displeasure with the constant controversy surrounding the Sox, but said earlier this week that he wanted to return to Boston in 2013.
If not Boston, where else could Ortiz land next season? The Royals, White Sox and Tigers already have their DH spots filled, the Yankees are known to keep their DH spot flexible so they can rest their older players and Ortiz will want to play for a likely contender, ruling out the Astros, Mariners and Twins. This leaves...
- Angels. This one is doubtful, as while it's possible the Halos could trade or non-tender Kendrys Morales, they're unlikely to do so in favor of a DH who is seven years older.
- Blue Jays. Edwin Encarnacion could become a full-time first baseman.
- Indians. The Tribe are known to be looking for hitting help this winter and will have an open DH spot with Travis Hafner's contract expiring. That said, Ortiz might not consider Cleveland to be close to contention in 2013.
- Orioles. Jim Thome is in the mix but is a free agent himself and could also choose to retire. The O's could decline their $11MM option on Mark Reynolds for 2013, move Chris Davis to first base and sign Ortiz as their designated hitter.
- Rangers. With Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli headed for free agency, Texas could well make a play for Ortiz depending on how the rest of their offseason shakes out.
- Rays and Athletics. I group these teams together as signing Ortiz would be a larger salary outlay than either is usually comfortable making. For just a two-year deal, however, Andrew Friedman or Billy Beane could think Ortiz is worth it for a pennant run. The Rays are the likelier of the two to pursue Ortiz given that the Rays are more established contenders, whereas the A's have been a surprise this year.
Photo courtesy of Bob DeChiara/US Presswire
On this date 20 years ago the Mets sent right-hander David Cone to the Blue Jays for 24-year-old second baseman Jeff Kent. Cone helped Toronto win the first of two consecutive World Series titles and Kent went on to become a borderline Hall of Famer (though he spent his most productive seasons in San Francisco). Here are today’s links as we await the next major trade of the 2012 season...
- Alan Blondin of the Houston Chronicle writes that Roger Clemens called his recent performance for the Sugar Land Skeeters a favor to Skeeters manager Gary Gaetti. Clemens told Blondin he doesn't have plans for further pitching performances, but cautioned, "That could change in a couple days."
- Twins general manager Terry Ryan feels that now is the time for Trevor Plouffe to step up and establish himself as the team's long-term answer at third base, writes Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN. Mackey quotes Ryan as saying Plouffe "[has] the rest of the year" to show the Twins that third base isn't a position they need to address.
- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that they don’t regret trading Stephen Drew to Oakland, even though Willie Bloomquist experienced a setback in his return from a back injury. “No. We wanted to see what [Jake] Elmore was capable of doing,” Towers said. “He’s held his own, I think, defensively out there.”
- David Ortiz, a free agent this offseason, wants to re-sign with the Red Sox, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. “This is what I know and this is something I want to be part of,” Ortiz said.
- The Athletics and Astros have improved their farm systems considerably in the last year, Jim Callis of Baseball America writes in this week’s edition of Ask BA.
- The Blue Jays should have publicly told the Red Sox that manager John Farrell is off-limits long ago, Shi Davidi writes at Sportsnet.ca. The Blue Jays have failed to limit speculation about the possibility of Farrell returning to Boston, Davidi writes. Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos has said the Blue Jays won’t announce an extension with Farrell, even if the sides agree to one.
With the calendar ready to turn to the final month of the regular season, there are still 15 teams in contention for a playoff spot. From the surprises (Athletics, Pirates, Orioles) to the big spenders (Dodgers, Angels, Tigers), the addition of a second Wild Card to each league has take the race for the playoffs to another level. Let's take a moment to catch up on the latest stories and news making headlines from around baseball...
- It took him awhile, but FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal finally understands why the Dodgers' trade with the Red Sox actually makes sense for Los Angeles. The addition of Adrian Gonzalez to man first base gives the Dodgers the game's biggest Mexican-American star as well as an upgrade both offensively and defensively. Even though Los Angeles paid a large sum for its package of stars, Rosenthal suggests the team wouldn't have had many desirable options to pursue this offseason.
- Another star player appears to be done in Boston - at least for this season - write Evan Drellich and Austin Laymance of MLB.com. Slugger David Ortiz, enjoying a strong season at the plate, may find himself on the disabled list come Monday as he continues to struggle with his right Achilles tendon. "We're talking about it, because I just can't really play like this," Ortiz said. "I don't want to be thinking about my foot while I'm facing the opposition, which is what happened to me after I hit that double [on Friday]."
- Prospect Dylan Bundy can't help but wonder what it would be like if the Orioles call up the right-hander to join the big league club in Baltimore this September, writes Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com. The 19-year-old isn't afraid of the bright lights of the big city as he doesn't think there's much of a difference between playing at Double-A and facing Derek Jeter amidst a playoff race. "Not any pressure at all, it's just the same game. Little bit better hitters. Someone told me the other day, it's the same distance between the rubber and home plate no matter where you are. Just little bit bigger stands, little bit better hitters in the box. More media, but it's all the same."
Teams are calling the Red Sox about potential trades involving Boston’s outfielders, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reported earlier today. Here are some Red Sox-related notes as the team prepares for the second half...
- A National League GM called the Red Sox to inquire on Jon Lester a couple of weeks ago and was told Boston intends to win in 2012, Peter Gammons of MLB Network tweets.
- Gammons recently suggested on 98.5 The Sports Hub that Lester could benefit from a change of scenery (transcript via the Boston Herald). “I just sense that Jon is so unhappy here that I’m sure it would be good for him,” Gammons said. But Lester said on Twitter that he loves Boston and is happy pitching for the Red Sox. “Nothing better than playing for the Red Sox,” he wrote. “Hope to be here for my entire career!”
- The Red Sox aren't going to trade David Ortiz this summer, so it's no surprise the slugger told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he hasn't thought about being dealt. “My name has never been mentioned in a trade, so why should I think about it? If I have to, I have to,” he said. Ortiz's ten and five rights allow him to block trades to any team, but he said he'd consider waiving no-trade protection under certain circumstances.
- The Red Sox are about $10MM over the luxury-tax threshold, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Ten years ago today, the Yankees swung a three-team trade with the Athletics and Tigers. Jeff Weaver went to New York, Jeremy Bonderman and Carlos Pena went to Detroit, and Ted Lilly went to Oakland as the primary pieces. Here's the latest from baseball's two East divisions...
- "We plan on being contenders in ’13, ’14, ’15 and ’16," said Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. to reporters (including Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer) when asked about selling at the deadline (Sulia link). "So we’re not blowing this team up. That’s not going to happen, regardless of what happens over the next couple of weeks."
- "I'm going to be open to anything. My mentality is not going to be, 'I like it here.' It's going to be, 'Bring it to the table, and we'll see what happens," said David Ortiz of the Red Sox to Jorge Ortiz of USA Today while expressing his displeasure with going through the arbitration process over the winter. "It was humiliating. There's no reason a guy like me should go through that."
- The 2013 ($9MM) and 2014 ($14MM) club options in James Shields' contract will remain intact if the Rays trade their ace right-hander, confirmed ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
- The Marlins have released catcher Steve Holm, reports Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com (on Twitter). The 32-year-old hit .135/.256/.270 in 43 plate appearances for their Triple-A affiliate.
The Dodgers are in need of a run producer and the Astros' Carlos Lee is the latest name to surface on the club's radar, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. The veteran has the ability to block trades to 14 teams, and the Dodgers are on that list. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that Lee doesn't want to play in Los Angeles Almost all of the teams on that list are high-revenue teams, providing the first baseman with leverage. More from around baseball on this Thursday night..
- With the Pirates on the lookout for offense, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (via Twitter) wouldn't be surprised to see them check in on Ryan Kalish or Cody Ross when Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford return to the Red Sox.
- David Ortiz hasn't been happy with the Red Sox for some time and people that have heard his complaints strongly doubt that he would want to return to Boston after this year, writes Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
- Both the A's and the Giants have had a revolving door at first base for some time, writes John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Giants have used 24 players at first since J.T. Snow left, and the A's have used 41 since Jason Giambi left the first time.
- A's skipper Bob Melvin insists that the promotion of Derek Norris isn't about creating trade bait when it comes to Kurt Suzuki, writes Jane Lee of MLB.com. Earlier this week, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote that Oakland would probably like to move the catcher and his $6.45MM salary.
- Carlos Beltran says that the Royals never made him a concrete, multi-year offer to keep him during his time there, writes MLB.com's Dick Kaegel. "I don't really recall getting a real offer. I knew they talked about having something done, but we never got to the point where we were serious about it," the outfielder said.
A look around the American League East as the Red Sox take on the Marlins at Fenway..
- David Ortiz defended the atmosphere around the Red Sox locker room and lashed out at a report saying that there was a "toxic" atmosphere in Boston, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. When asked if he wants to return next season, the slugger said "I don’t know. I’ll think about it." Ortiz is earning $14.575MM this season and is set to hit the open market after this season.
- Rays skipper Joe Maddon said that the club was interested in Brooks Conrad during the offseason, according to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Tribune (via Twitter). Tampa Bay claimed Conrad off of waivers from the Brewers earlier today.
- The Blue Jays promoted Brian Parker to director of amateur scouting, writes Zack Meisel of MLB.com. Parker will take over for Andrew Tinnish who was promoted to assistant GM yesterday.
The Red Sox shuffled their lineup yesterday, playing Adrian Gonzalez in right field to create space for Kevin Youkilis and Will Middlebrooks. Here's the latest on the Red Sox as the club prepares to resume its series with the Orioles...
- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show that he doesn’t anticipate trading Youkilis. “He's making up for a lot of deficiencies that have presented themselves at other positions,” Valentine said. “Trading him -- I don't see that." (transcript by Jerry Spar). The Phillies and Indians were eyeing Youkilis earlier in the month.
- GM Ben Cherington said David Ortiz deserves recognition for his work on and off the field, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports. “I feel pretty good about our relationship with David,” Cherington said. “We certainly support him and have a lot of respect for him and want him to be on our side, and I’m glad he is.” Earlier in the week the DH spoke of a lack of respect from the front office.