Ivan De Jesus Rumors

AL East Notes: De Jesus Jr., Lavarnway, Infante

The Orioles are close to a minor league deal with infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr., reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. However, the O's are likely to hold off finalizing the deal in order to avoid having to add De Jesus to the 40-man roster to protect him from being selected in next week's Rule 5 Draft. Baltimore learned their lesson the hard way in that regard back in 2004 when they signed Chris Gomez to a minor league deal on Dec. 8 and saw him selected in the Rule 5 Draft four days later, Kubatko points out. Some more links pertaining to the AL East…

  • Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes that the Red Sox have had internal discussions about entering 2014 with Ryan Lavarnway as the team's primary catcher. Boston is more interested in a stopgap option as they await the arrival of Christian Vasquez and Blake Swihart at the big league level and is therefore reluctant to strengthen its existing two-year offer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
  • The Yankees remain "very much engaged" with Omar Infante's agent, Gene Mato, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com. The Yankees could try to sign Infante even if they retain Robinson Cano, says Marchand, envisioning him as a modern-day Tony Phillips who would play every day but at different positions. Marchand writes that the Yankees like Infante as a backup at third base and shortstop, and he also points out Infante's experience in the outfield.
  • The Yankees paid a good amount to sign Cuban lefthander Omar Luis last year and they'll be making him available in this year's Rule 5 draft, writes Ben Badler of Baseball America.  The Yanks initially signed Luis for a $4MM bonus but when an unexpected issue popped up in his physical, they negotiated that figure down to $2.9MM.  It may be a long shot that any team will draft Luis, however, given how far away he is from contributing.

Zach Links contributed to this post.


Red Sox Acquire Joel Hanrahan In Six-Player Trade

On the heels of back-to-back All-Star appearances, the Pirates have traded away their closer one year before he hits free agency. Pittsburgh has dealt Joel Hanrahan and infielder Brock Holt to the Red Sox in exchange for reliever Mark Melancon, first baseman/outfielder Jerry Sands, infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr., and right-hander Stolmy Pimentel. Both teams have announced the trade.

Uspw_6394936Hanrahan, 31, pitched to a 2.72 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 in 59 2/3 innings for Pittsburgh last season. Despite having a reputation as a strong closer, some rival evaluators have been concerned about his conditioning and recent proclivity for walks. Hanrahan's walk rate climbed from 2.1 BB/9 in 2011 to 5.4 BB/9 in 2012. Matt Swartz projects the right-hander to earn $6.9MM through arbitration this winter after pulling down $4.1MM in 2012. Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal notes he will not net the Red Sox a compensation draft pick if he signs elsewhere based on the assumption Hanrahan will accept a pricey qualifying offer (Twitter links).

Melancon, 27, pitched to a 6.20 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 45 relief innings with the Red Sox after being acquired from the Astros last winter. He spent some time in Triple-A as well, then returned to the big league club at midseason. Melancon struck out 40 and walked just ten in his final 43 innings of the season. The former Houston closer will step into Pittsburgh's bullpen to provide depth behind the recently re-signing Jason Grilli, who will take over as closer.

Both Sands and De Jesus came to the Red Sox in their summer blockbuster trade with the Dodgers. The 25-year-old Sands owns a Triple-A batting line of .288/.362/.552 with 55 home runs in 940 plate appearances across the past two years. He also has 70 big league games to his credit, most of which came in 2011. De Jesus, 25, has 80 big league plate appearances under his belt and is a .303/.355/.416 hitter in 1,294 career Triple-A plate appearances. The Red Sox had recently removed him from their 40-man roster.

Pimentel, 22, was rated as the sixth best prospect in the Red Sox's organization in 2010 by Baseball America but was bumped down to No. 23 the following year. The 6-foot-3 right-hander boasts a strong changeup but has failed to impress at the Double-A level. In 37 starts for Double-A Portland, the youngster has posted a 5.96 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. Alex Speier of WEEI.com notes that Pimentel was targeted by the Pirates in 2008 as part of the three-way deal with the Dodgers and Red Sox that resulted in Manny Ramirez going to LA and Jason Bay coming to Boston, but the Sox refused to include him.

Holt, 24, was rated as the 27th best prospect in the Pirates' farm system in 2010 by Baseball America, but he has not been featured by the publication in their annual Prospect Handbook since. He hit .292/.329/.354 in 72 big league plate appearances this season, his MLB debut. Holt has hit .317/.381/.427 throughout his minor league career, including a .344/.406/.453 showing between Double-A and Triple-A this past season. He's played the middle infield exclusively as a professional, spending most of his time at short rather than second.

Andrew Bailey, Boston's incumbent closer, pitched to a 7.04 ERA in 15 1/3 innings in 2012 while missing most of the year with injuries. The additions of Hanrahan and Koji Uehara give the Red Sox some late-inning bullpen depth along with Junichi Tazawa and possibly Daniel Bard if he can bounceback from a disastrous season. The Pirates will pair Melancon and Grilli with Jared Hughes and Tony Watson, though they could also seek additional relief help on the free agent market.

ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes first reported that the two sides were nearing an agreement while ESPN's Jim Bowden reported the agreement (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, John Tomase of the Boston Herald, MLB.com's Evan Drellich, MLB.com's Peter Gammons, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports all added details on Twitter. Mike Axisa contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Outrighted: Ivan De Jesus

The latest outright assignments from around MLB…

  • The Red Sox outrighted Ivan De Jesus off of the 40-man roster after he cleared waivers, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter). The Red Sox designated the infielder for assignment last week. In 45 games for the Dodgers and Red Sox this past season, he hit .220/.267/.293 while playing second base, third base and shortstop.


Red Sox Designate Five Players For Assignment

The Red Sox have designated third baseman Danny Valencia, infielder Ivan De Jesus and right-handed pitchers Sandy Rosario, David Carpenter and Zach Stewart for assginment, according to a team press release.

All five players were acquired by the Red Sox within the last year and De Jesus, Carpenter and Stewart were small pieces of some of Boston's biggest trades of the season.  De Jesus was picked up as part of the blockbuster deal with the Dodgers in August, Carpenter came from the Blue Jays as part of the John Farrell trade package, and Stewart as part of the deal that sent Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox in June.  Valencia, meanwhile, was picked up in a trade with the Twins in August while Rosario was picked up off waivers from the Marlins last month.


Red Sox Notes: Valentine, De Jesus, Ellsbury

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.

A Look At The Prospects Headed To The Red Sox

The Red Sox and Dodgers completed what is arguably the biggest trade of the MLB Trade Rumors era today, a nine-player swap featuring Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford moving to Los Angeles. The Dodgers clearly made the move with the intention of improving their chances to win both now and during the next several seasons, but for the Red Sox it was all about a fresh start.

As reported earlier, the Dodgers will assume all but $12MM of the approximately $271.5MM in contracts coming their way. Boston is getting what amounts to a financial fresh start, as their three highest paid players coming into the season (in terms of average annual value) are now off the books. After a disastrous end to last season and a disappointing 2012 season overall, most clubs would have been happy just clearing that much future payroll. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington did one better and acquired some quality prospects as well.

Uspw_5380708The four-player prospect haul is highlighted by two right-handers: Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa (pictured). The Cubs asked for the 22-year-old Webster in exchange for right-hander Ryan Dempster prior to the trade deadline but were rebuffed. Baseball America ranked him as the number two prospect in Los Angeles' system before the season, behind only Zach Lee. Webster was also ranked as the 95th best prospect in baseball before the season by the publication. He's pitched to a 3.55 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 22 starts and five relief appearances at the Double-A level this season, and Baseball America spoke to one team official who described him as a future number two starter in the Derek Lowe mold.

De La Rosa, 23, just returned from Tommy John surgery. He threw a dozen minor league rehab innings before making one relief appearance with the Dodgers earlier this week, but was sent down to Triple-A last night so he could be included in the trade as a player to be named later. Reports indicated that the Blue Jays may have claimed him off waivers, so pulling him back and waiting until the offseason to officially include him gets around that obstacle. De La Rosa made ten starts and three relief appearances for the Dodgers last year, pitching to a 3.71 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in 60 2/3 innings. PitchFX confirms that he can run his fastball into the upper-90s and triple digits. Although Rubby was not eligible for this year's prospect lists, Baseball America considered him the third best prospect in the organization and 90th best prospect in the game prior to 2011. Like Webster, they called him a potential number two starter down the road.

The Red Sox have developed two above-average starting pitchers in Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz in recent years, but they whiffed on free agent contracts to John Lackey and (to a lesser extent) Daisuke Matsuzaka. Only two of their top ten prospects coming into the season were pitchers, and number four prospect Anthony Ranaudo has only thrown 37 2/3 innings due to injury this summer. They surrendered Casey Kelly to acquire Gonzalez last offseason, however 2011 first rounder Matt Barnes has since emerged as one of the best pitching prospects in the game. Boston's starting rotation has pitched to a 4.88 ERA this season, fourth worst in the AL and fifth worst in all of baseball. Not all prospects work out, but adding Webster and De La Rosa to Barnes gives the Red Sox some much-needing top-shelf pitching depth in the upper minors.

The two other pieces of the trade – Jerry Sands and Ivan De Jesus – project to be role players. The 24-year-old Sands is a right-handed hitting corner outfielder/first baseman who has hit .244/.325/.376 with four homers in 251 plate appearances with the Dodgers over the last two seasons. His big Triple-A numbers (.291/.363/.557 since last year) are somewhat inflated due to a hitter-friendly park in Albuquerque. Like De La Rosa, Sands was not prospect-eligible this year but Baseball America did consider him the team's sixth best prospect prior to 2011. There is some concern about his ability to hit right-handed pitching long-term – .589 OPS vs. RHP and .904 OPS vs. LHP in his limited big league time – but Fenway Park should boost his offensive output. He'll give the Red Sox some flexibility at three of the four corner spots.

De Jesus, 25, missed the start of this season with an oblique injury and has been up and down the last two years. He's hit .231/.282/.277 in 72 big league plate appearances and .301/.354/.416 in over 1,200 Triple-A plate appearances since the start of 2010. Again, those minor league numbers are inflated a bit by the offensive environment in Albuquerque. Baseball America ranked him as the team's 26th best prospect before the season in their Prospect Handbook, where they noted his ability to play three infield positions. With Nick Punto on his way to Los Angeles and Will Middlebrooks injured, De Jesus will provide some infield depth for the time being.

The big prize for the Red Sox is all the freed-up payroll, but the trade was not just a pure salary dump. Webster and De La Rosa have the potential to be impact big leaguers and both Sands and De Jesus should be able to carve out a niche at the Major League level. Three of four prospects figure to see time with Boston next month, and Webster should be in consideration for a job at some point next season. The Dodgers were able to swing all of their midseason trades without surrendering Lee and 2011 first rounder Chris Reed, a benefit to their willingness to absorb money. Boston essentially hit the reset button financially, all while adding some quality prospects in the process.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.


Red Sox, Dodgers Complete Nine-Player Blockbuster

If there was any doubt remaining that the Dodgers' new ownership group would drastically alter the franchise, it has now been completely eliminated. The Dodgers and Red Sox have officially completed a massive nine-player blockbuster trade that sends Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto to Los Angeles for James Loney and four prospects.

The four prospects are right-hander Allen Webster, infielder Ivan De Jesus, outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands, and right-hander Rubby De La Rosa. The Red Sox will pay just $12MM of the over $270MM owed to Beckett, Crawford, Gonzalez, and Punto, so their savings are considerable. Adding the four new players represents a substantial financial commitment by the Dodgers:

  • Gonzalez will earn $21MM per season through 2016 and obtain a raise to $21.5MM for 2017-18. The total exceeds $130MM when accounting for the remainder his 2012 salary.
  • Crawford will earn $20MM in 2013, $20.25MM in 2014, $20.5MM in 2015, $20.75MM in 2016 and $21MM in 2017.
  • Beckett will earn $15.75MM per season through 2014.
  • Punto earns $1.5MM per season through 2013.

With this trade as well as the previous acquisitions of Hanley Ramirez, Randy Choate, Brandon League, Shane Victorino, and Joe Blanton, the Dodgers have absorbed more than $300MM in future payroll obligations in the last month or so. As Jeff Euston of Cot's Baseball Contracts notes (on Twitter), the club now has a $193.75MM in contract obligations for next season, $133.6MM for 2014, $90MM for 2015, $88.65MM for 2015, and another $90MM for 2016. The Red Sox, on the other hand, are now on the hook for just $45.6MM in 2013, $34.4MM in 2014, $12.75MM in 2015, and $2.45MM in 2016 (Twitter link).

Both Beckett (10-and-5 rights) and Crawford (limited no-trade clause) had to approve the deal, and Buster Olney of ESPN reports (on Twitter) that neither player asked for any kind of compensation to do so. The Dodgers were not included in Gonzalez's limited no-trade clause. Los Angeles claimed both Gonzalez and Beckett off trade waivers yesterday, plus Punto and Crawford both cleared earlier this month. Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times reports (on Twitter) that the Blue Jays are believed to have claimed De La Rosa off waivers, but he was pulled back and will technically be included in the deal as a player to be named later.

Uspw_6257872The Dodgers, who currently sit three games back of the Giants in the NL West race, are adding an impact left-handed bat to pair with the right-handed Matt Kemp in Gonzalez. The Southern California native spent the first five full seasons of his career a little further south with the Padres, so he's certainly familiar with the division. Gonzalez, 30, is hitting .300/.343/.469 with 15 homers in what is generally considered to be a down year compared to his career average of .294/.372/.509 and 30 or so homers annually. Dodgers' first basemen have hit just .244/.289/.357 this season, so even down year Gonzalez represents an enormous upgrade.

Beckett, 32, has pitched to a 5.23 ERA in 21 starts and 127 1/3 innings this season while battling thumb and back issues. His strikeout rate (6.6 K/9) is a career-low and PitchFX shows that his velocity has tapered off into the low-90s. Moving into the easier league and a more pitcher-friendly ballpark should help his numbers, and Beckett gives Los Angeles a pitcher with a proven playoff track record. Current Dodgers' starters have combined for just 11 career playoff starts, six by Blanton. Beckett alone has 13 playoff starts and a World Series MVP to his credit.

Crawford, 31, had Tommy John surgery two days ago and will miss the rest of the season. He hit just .260/.292/.419 with 14 homers and 23 steals in 161 disappointing games with the Red Sox after averaging .299/.340/.448 with 13 homers and 50 steals in eight full seasons with the Rays. Crawford is expected to be able to return to action early next season, meaning Victorino is likely to be allowed to leave as a free agent.

The Dodgers recently lost Jerry Hairston Jr. to a hip injury for the remainder of the season, so the 34-year-old Punto gives them some protection and added depth on the infield. He's hit just .200/.301/.272 with five steals in 148 plate appearances for Boston this year while playing all four infield positions. He's a year removed from a .278/.388/.421 line as a part-time player with the Cardinals.

Loney, 28, has hit just .254/.302/.344 with four homers in 359 plate appearances this season and will become a free agent this winter. He figures to serve as a stopgap first baseman for the Red Sox for the next six weeks or so.

Webster, 22, has pitched to a 3.55 ERA in 121 2/3 innings for the Dodgers' Double-A affiliate this season. The 25-year-old De Jesus has been up and down between Triple-A and the big leagues in recent years, hitting .301/.354/.416 in over 1,200 minor league plate appearances since 2010. Sands, 24, has been also been up and down these last two years. He owns a career .291/.363/.557 line nearly 900 Triple-A plate appearances. De La Rosa, 23, just returned from Tommy John surgery and pitched to a 3.71 ERA in ten starts and three relief appearances for Los Angeles last season. Click here for a more in-depth look at the prospects headed to Boston later today.

A trade of this magnitude had many helping hands along the way, though Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston first reported that the two sides were discussing this massive deal. Check out this post for all of the pre-completion rumors and reports. Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald and an Roche of WBZ (on Twitter) first reported completion of the trade while Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times added details (Twitter links). Photo courtesy of US Presswire.


Red Sox, Dodgers Nearing Blockbuster

SATURDAY, 7:52am: The deal is "pretty much done," reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that both Beckett and Crawford have agreed to waive their no-trade clauses while Rosenthal adds that both clubs have signed off on the medicals.

FRIDAY, 10:00pm: Crawford has the Dodgers on his partial no-trade list and the outfielder has yet to be asked to accept a trade, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).  It has been previously reported that Crawford can block trades to two clubs but Heyman writes that Crawford has the ability to block trades to three teams.

9:34pm: Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine says that he still expects Beckett to make his start on Saturday, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

9:01pm: The Dodgers are expected to pick up more than $260MM of the $271.5MM in combined salary that the Red Sox are sending to them, a source tells Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.

6:45pm: The Dodgers have agreed to send Webster, De La Rosa, Loney, Sands, and De Jesus to the Red Sox, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  Meanwhile, a source tells Rob Bradford of WEEI (Twitter link) not to expect a deal to be completed tonight.

6:42pm: The Red Sox have yet to secure permission from Beckett, who has 10-and-5 rights, or Crawford, who has a partial no-trade clause, a source tells Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.  However, neither player is expected to block the deal.

6:38pm: Pitcher Allen Webster will go to the Red Sox in the trade, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).

6:15pm: The Red Sox and Dodgers are currently reviewing medical records, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (via Twitter).  The deal would include Rubby De La Rosa, James Loney, Jerry Sands, Ivan De Jesus, and a top prospect, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (Twitter link).

6:04pm: Adrian Gonzalez was scratched from the lineup and summoned from the dugout into the clubhouse along with Nick Punto, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (via Twitter).

5:52pm: There are two deals on the table, one mega deal involving Carl Crawford and another with just Beckett and Gonzalez, tweets Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe.

5:48pm: Though the deal may not happen in its current nine-player form, something is expected to happen, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

5:10pm: Dodgers minor leaguers in the trade talks have included Allen Webster, Zach Lee, Rubby De La Rosa, and Jerry Sands, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

5:06pm: The Red Sox would receive prospects and not just salary relief if the deal happens, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.

4:52pm: Boston would send some cash to Los Angeles if the sides complete a deal Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports. Morosi confirms that the sides are close to a trade (Twitter links).

4:34pm: The Red Sox and Dodgers are closing in on a trade that would send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to Los Angeles, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports (on Twitter). Hurdles remain, but the sides continue working toward a deal.

The Dodgers recently won the claiming rights to Gonzalez and Beckett. Gonzalez can't block a trade to Los Angeles, but Beckett must approve any assignment as a player with ten and five rights. Crawford and Punto cleared waivers earlier this month and can be traded without waiver-related restrictions. 

The Dodgers have been willing to take on considerable salaries since their new ownership group gained control of the club at the beginning of the 2012 season. Adding the four Red Sox players would represent a substantial financial commitment:

  • Gonzalez will earn $21MM per season through 2016 and obtain a raise to $21.5MM for 2017-18. The total exceeds $130MM when accounting for the remainder his 2012 salary. 
  • Beckett will earn $15.75MM per season through 2014. As noted above, he must approve any trade.
  • Crawford will earn $20MM in 2013, $20.25MM in 2014, $20.5MM in 2015, $20.75MM in 2016 and $21MM in 2017. His contract allows him to block trades to two teams.
  • Punto earns $1.5MM per season through 2013.

The Dodgers claimed Cliff Lee on waivers earlier this month after trading for Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez, Joe Blanton and Brandon League. The Dodgers would have to place MLB players on waivers before trading them to Boston, which could complicate trade talks. 

Zach Links contributed to this post, which was originally published on August 24th.