- Michael Saunders To Miss 5-6 Weeks After Knee Surgery
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Jake Peavy Rumors
In today’s Insider-only blog post (subscription required), ESPN’s Buster Olney discusses the looming free agency of Russell Martin, calling him the “Lamborghini of the catching market” and noting that he is positioned better than perhaps any free agent this offseason. Olney spoke with a number of executives from around the league, with some believing the tipping point for Martin could be whether a team is willing to increase its offer from three years to four, and others believing the tipping point will be whether or not any team offers a fifth guaranteed year. I’m on board with the latter of the two opinions, personally, as I do feel Martin has an exceptionally strong case for a four-year deal. As Olney notes, even if Martin is physically unable to catch a full workload of games by the end of his contract, he’s an exceptional athlete with MLB experience at other positions, so he could be moved around to provide further value as his heavy career workload begins to take its toll.
A few other NL Central items for your afternoon…
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington recently explained to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the way in which we the aging curve for players needs to be reevaluated, as many of those models were developed during the PED era, which inflated production into players’ mid-30s. Sawchik provides a graph showing WAR for catchers in their 30s based on three eras: 1980-89, 1990-2004 and 2005-14, in an attempt to isolate the steroid era data. Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron looked at Sawchik’s excellent work and noted that catcher production from ages 32 to 35 in the post-steroid era has remained relatively consistent from a WAR standpoint, adding that framing skills are largely undeterred by age (as noted by Max Marchi of Baseball Prospectus in this 2013 piece).
- Jake Peavy told reporters, including Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago-Sun Times, that he will be interested to see where his close friend Jon Lester signs this offseason. Peavy had no qualms in stating that he’d like to once again be teammates with his friend: “I’ve certainly talked to Jon Lester because we’re buddies,” said Peavy. “So I have a feel for what he does. And I certainly know that Chicago would interest him and interest me.” Peavy clarified that he’s not suggesting a package deal for the Cubs, but rather, “There’s a package deal out there for any team.” Wittenmyer spoke to a few people close to Peavy who believe the Cubs would be high on his offseason wishlist, however, having spent several years there with the White Sox.
- In a second piece from Wittenmyer, he writes that sources have told him that James Shields would be the chief fallback option for the Cubs if they don’t land Lester. As Wittenmyer points out, the case for Shields to come to Chicago could be greater if the Cubs land former Rays skipper Joe Maddon. Shields tells Wittenmyer that he enjoyed playing for Maddon very much, though he adds that he hasn’t had any time yet to think about free agency.
If the Royals win the World Series it would be difficult to imagine GM Dayton Moore leaving for the Braves‘ vacancy. However, those who know Moore well say that he felt comfortable in Atlanta, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. On top of that, the Braves would offer Moore a bigger budget to work with. More from today’s column..
- Word is spreading that the Red Sox could make Yoenis Cespedes available. The slugger will make $10.2MM in the final year of his deal and his desire not to play right field or work on his defense could spell the end of his time in Boston. A Cespedes deal would allow the Sox to make room for Mookie Betts or add a left-handed hitter.
- The Giants are a team to watch when Nick Markakis hits the open market as expected. Even though they’re enjoying Travis Ishikawa‘s work, they are unlikely to commit to him as an everyday left fielder. The Mets could also be in the mix.
- One agent believes Jake Peavy has turned his next contract from a one-year, $7MM deal into a three-year, $36MM deal based on his second half with the Giants. Cafardo notes that the Giants won’t re-sign Ryan Vogelsong and with little help coming from Triple-A, they’ll likely have to bite on a Peavy deal.
- There have been preliminary talks between the Red Sox and Koji Uehara about staying in Boston,but the sides aren’t close to a deal.
Over at The Hardball Times, Jon Roegele breaks down some interesting data on Tommy John surgeries. The number of UCL replacements was a big story this year, of course. Roegele’s research suggests that, while the overall rate of return for pitchers who have undergone the procedure has not improved much since it was invented, the recovery time has been shortened significantly.
Here’s the latest from out west:
- Referring to a report that Mariners ownership had killed a deal that would have brought in free agent Nelson Cruz, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that Seattle’s ownership had in fact determined before the offseason that it would not sign any players linked to PED use. The details of the situation remain hazy, but Heyman indicates that Cruz’s Biogenesis-related suspension was the root of the decision.
- The Rangers are looking for a manager in the mold of Terry Francona and Clint Hurdle, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Indeed, every one of the five external candidates under consideration have links to one of those two skippers, as does candidate and interim manager Tim Bogar. Texas is expected to whittle its search down to three finalists in the coming week, says Grant.
- Giants starter Jake Peavy thought at one point that he would be traded to the team he is now facing in the NLCS, the Cardinals, as Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The veteran righty could still end up in St. Louis next year, as Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports. Peavy speaks very highly of the club and city, and could make some sense for the Cards if the team decides another established arm is needed for 2015.
In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that Jake Peavy has gone from a likely minimal contract in free agency to a possible three-year deal. The Giants are interested in re-signing him because they need him, and manager Bruce Bochy has gotten great work out of him. For his part, the 33-year-old appears to enjoy being back with Bochy, his manager during his glory years in San Diego. Here’s more from today’s column..
- A major league source tells Cafardo that Victor Martinez‘s preference is to stay with the Tigers and, therefore, Detroit will get the first crack at him. The interest is mutual and the Tigers would like to get something done sooner rather than later.
- If A’s GM Billy Beane listens to offers on Jeff Samardzija this offseason, you can count the Red Sox as one of the possible interested parties. The Sox inquired with the Cubs about him before the trade deadline, and they would not give up a package that included lefthanded pitching prospect Henry Owens.
- Orioles outfielder/DH Nelson Cruz enjoys Baltimore and wants to stay, but Cafardo expects the Yankees, Rangers, and Mariners to be in on the bidding. No matter what, the 34-year-old looks like he’ll make a bundle somewhere on a three- or four-year deal.
- First baseman Adam LaRoche likely won’t re-signed by the Nationals, who could move Ryan Zimmerman to first base. However, LaRoche lines up nicely as a target for the Brewers, who have toyed with the idea of Ryan Braun moving to first but will likely keep him in the outfield. He could draw interest from the Orioles if they lose Cruz.
- While there’s intrigue over Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang, there’s still some pushback from scouts who have seen him play on whether he can translate well to MLB. Some are worried about the pronounced leg kick in his stance that lasts deep into his swing. There also has always been skepticism over his defensive ability, even though he won the Korean version of the Gold Glove.
Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton is already home from the hospital and is not expected to require major surgery, reports MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Preliminary testing has not shown concussion symptoms, though Stanton will be closely monitored going forward. Needless to say, it is great to hear that things are looking up so soon after his frightening injury.
Here are a few more stray notes from around the game:
- Underlying the suspension of Orioles slugger Chris Davis is the fact that Adderall addiction is a significant problem, especially among athletes, writes ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. Davis has already tested positive for a stimulant and knew that he would receive additional testing, yet still was caught. Of course, as Stark does note, it is not known whether Davis himself has such a problem. It is worth bearing in mind, also, that Davis has been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD in the past, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Rosenthal says that it remains unclear why Davis no longer sought to obtain a Therapeutic Use Exemption as he had at some points in the past.
- If the Yankees decide to make significant free agent additions this year, the player to target is Victor Martinez, opines Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman acknowledges that the DH slot may be an attractive place to stash one of the team’s current veterans, but argues that Martinez is a rare offensive force who has demonstrated his ability to thrive against virtually all types of pitchers and pitches.
- Giants righty Jake Peavy has continued to adapt and modify his repertoire as he has aged, as Eno Sarris of Fangraphs explores. The veteran hurler will hit free agency for the first time in his career at age 33. (He has already signed three separate contract extensions and been traded three times.) It is well worth your time to check out Peavy’s thoughts and grips, as well as relevant statistics on his pitch mix.
- The Giants’ decision to trade Escobar is surprising, but it might be a little bit like the Giants’ 2009 deal of top pitching prospect Tim Alderson for infielder Freddy Sanchez, McCovey Chronicles’ Grant Brisbee writes. Alderson was highly regarded at the time, but there were warning signs then, and he never panned out. Still, though, the Giants at least knew what they were getting with Sanchez, and that’s not the case with Peavy, Brisbee writes.
- The Red Sox’ return was a strong one for Peavy, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs tweets, and it could be an indication that better pitchers will fetch a very nice return in this market. Many analysts seem to share Cameron’s basic take that the deal was good for the Red Sox — MLB.com’s Jim Callis, for example, tweets that the Red Sox got more than he expected them to.
- ESPN’s Keith Law (Insider-only), however, writes that Peavy is a great fit for the Giants, noting that they need the help and that Peavy’s skill set will play better in the National League and in San Francisco’s home park. Law calls Escobar a “fringy starter prospect” and writes that Escobar’s changeup currently makes him vulnerable against righties.
- FanGraphs’ Tony Blengino calls the deal a win-win, noting that the change in ballparks should help Peavy, a fly-ball pitcher who wasn’t built for Fenway.
The Giants have acquired Jake Peavy from the Red Sox, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. The Red Sox will receive pitching prospects Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets. The Giants will pay $2MM of what’s left on Peavy’s contract, ESPN’s Jim Bowden tweets.
The trade reunites Peavy with Bruce Bochy, who managed him with the Padres. The deal also provides the Giants with valuable starting pitching depth, which they needed, given Matt Cain‘s injury. The Red Sox, meanwhile, add prospect depth while clearing space for younger starting pitchers like Brandon Workman and Allen Webster.
Peavy is making $14.5MM in his final season before free agency. (His contract indicates that he can receive a player option for 2015, but he will not be able to pitch enough innings to attain it.) In 124 innings this season, has a 4.72 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9.
Escobar and Hembree appear to constitute a strong return for Boston. The lefty Escobar, 22, has pitched the entire season with Triple-A Fresno, posting a 5.11 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. He had a very strong 2013 season at Class A+ and Double-A. MLB.com ranked him the Giants’ No. 2 prospect and the No. 75 prospect in all of baseball, noting that he could become a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
Hembree, 25, has spent most of the 2014 season with Fresno, where he’s posted a 3.89 ERA with 10.5 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 39 1/3 innings of relief. He appeared in nine games in the big leagues in 2013. MLB.com ranked him the 11th-best prospect in the Giants’ system, noting that he has long been regarded as a potential closer. Both Escobar and Hembree were on the Giants’ 40-man roster, although the Red Sox had a 40-man spot open before the trade, so they didn’t need to make any further moves to add both.
Heyman tweeted that the Red Sox would acquire minor league pitchers in return, with WEEI.com’s Alex Speier tweeting that the Red Sox would get one righty and one lefty. Jen Royle of the Boston Herald tweeted this morning that Boston was close to trading Peavy to an NL team, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Red Sox and Giants were in serious discussions. CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly reported that the Giants would receive cash in the deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
10:06am: The Red Sox are “close” to trading Peavy to the Giants, Rosenthal and Jon Morosi report (via Twitter), although there are still details to be ironed out before the deal is done.
9:58am: Yesterday, the Red Sox and Giants were in the midst of serious talks regarding Peavy, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The Giants don’t have much starting pitching depth right now and currently have Yusmeiro Petit in the rotation in place of the injured Matt Cain. Also, Peavy and Giants manager Bruce Bochy worked together when they both were with the Padres.
9:33am: The Red Sox are “close” to trading starting pitcher Jake Peavy to an unknown National League team, Jen Royle of the Boston Herald tweets. (She notes, however, that “[l]ots of things need to happens before this gets done.”) That NL team is not the Cardinals, who have lately been connected to Peavy. (The Red Sox had reportedly been scouting the Cardinals’ system in case Peavy trade discussions advanced.) The Braves have also reportedly been involved in Peavy trade talks, and Royle guesses that the Giants or Brewers could also be possibilities.
Peavy has a 4.72 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 124 innings this season. He is making $14.5MM this season before heading to free agency this winter.
Here’s the latest out of the American League:
- The Red Sox could be involved as both buyers and sellers, according to reports from ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark (Twitter links). After inquiring with the Phillies on lefty Cole Hamels, Philadelphia has sent scouts to watch Boston’s Double-A affiliate. Meanwhile, the Red Sox have sent their own “top scouts” to take a look at the Cardinals‘ New York-Penn League club over the last few days, suggesting that a deal sending Jake Peavy to St. Louis could still be in the offing.
- Though recent reports may (to some extent) suggest otherwise, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said earlier today that the team’s priority at this point is to add an “offensive piece,” as Bryan Hoch and Jake Kring-Schreifels of MLB.com report. “It still feels like the pitching needs more help, but honestly, the offense has been consistently poor throughout the entire year.” Cashman added that, while second base prospect Rob Refsnyder could be the team’s “second baseman of the future, maybe as early as next year,” he would potentially only see time in the outfield at the MLB level this year and would not represent an immediate upgrade over incumbent Brian Roberts at the keystone.
- Justin Masterson of the Indians may still be working through a rehab assignment, but that has not stopped teams from inquiring as to his availability, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reports. Hoynes writes that the interest in Masterson suggests both that the trade market for starters is wanting for quality and that teams value players differently, with some potentially willing to bet on a return to the righty’s results from 2013. Of course, as manager Terry Francona notes, a healthy and productive Masterson could also provide a significant boost to Cleveland’s own chances.
- As they peruse the market from the buy side, the Indians are looking for players with future control rather than rentals, tweets ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden. That is unsurprising, given the team’s careful resource management and somewhat long postseason odds.
- We learned earlier today that the Tigers are expected to pursue a left-handed reliever. The club does not appear to be in the market for a left-handed hitting outfielder or an infielder to play on the left side, as Chris Iott of MLive.com reports. “I don’t know that either one of them would be real high on our priority list at this point,” said GM Dave Dombrowski.
- The Angels are unlikely to deal for a starter in advance of the trade deadline, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Though the club has some payroll available to make an addition, it is hesitant to ship out more prospects after a series of recent moves.
The Pirates are not on A.J. Burnett‘s 20-team no-trade clause (as outlined by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick earlier today), and they are his preferred destination if the Phillies choose to move him, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). As I speculated in this morning’s post on his no-trade clause, however, Rosenthal notes that Burnett’s complex mutual/player option may be a deterrent for the Bucs, as Burnett could potentially be a spendy acquisition if he makes a full season’s worth of starts. Nonetheless, Pirates players are lobbying with the front office in an attempt to persuade GM Neal Huntington and his staff to reacquire their former teammate, according to Rosenthal.
Here’s more out of the NL Central…
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly says that the team has financial flexibility to add payroll, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Whether or not that would extend to taking on Burnett’s future commitments, of course, remains to be seen.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said last night that he expects Michael Wacha to pitch in September, but Rosenthal tweets that St. Louis is still looking for rotation upgrades. The Cardinals are exploring everything from front-line starters to back-of-the-rotation types, he says.
- Peter Gammons reports that the Red Sox have been scouting Cardinals short-season Class-A outfielder Rowan Wick in case the Redbirds decide to make a run at Jake Peavy (Twitter link).
- The reason that a deal sending Peavy to the Cardinals has not yet taken place, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com, is that Boston wants a prospect of some kind in return. St. Louis, meanwhile, was more interested in doing the deal primarily in exchange for taking on Peavy’s salary. Peavy is earning $14.5MM this year. (A $15MM player option would vest for 2015 if he is able to log at least 137 2/3 more innings this year, though that would appear to be quite a tall order.)
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.