Jed Lowrie Rumors
- GM Ben Cherington's comments today suggest the Red Sox won't be bringing back Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek, says Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
- The Sox have talked to other clubs about Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- The Red Sox and White Sox met to discuss a possible Carlos Quentin trade, but there's no match at the moment, says Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).
- Boston has checked in on Brad Lidge, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
- DeMarlo Hale, the club's bench coach for the last two seasons, won't be returning for 2012, writes ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. Hale is expected to take a job in the Orioles' organization.
The latest buzz out of the AL East...
- A few teams are asking the Red Sox about infielder Jed Lowrie, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Braves are not in the picture for Lowrie, notes Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.
- The Rays are telling teams they will talk about center fielder B.J. Upton, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, but they have to be overwhelmed to move him. Upton has one year remaning before free agency.
- Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters he's very confident of getting a contract extension, and he's had talks with the team.
- The Orioles are receiving plenty of interest in righty Jim Johnson, reports MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli, but they don't seem intent on moving him. The Orioles are undecided on whether to use Johnson as a starter or reliever next year, manager Buck Showalter told reporters today.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe gives a list of suggestions for the Red Sox's offseason. As they look for a solution in right field, Cafardo feels that the club should go after Michael Cuddyer with Carlos Beltran as a Plan B. The BoSox are also looking for a pair of affordable starters and two interesting names that could be had in deals are Joe Saunders of the Diamondbacks and Francisco Liriano of the Twins. Here's more from Cafardo..
- There were many scouts and GMs in the Dominican Republic recently and Jed Lowrie came up often as a possible shortstop/third base candidate. Teams like his offense and are skeptical about his defense, but are more worried about his mental toughness and his ability to play through injury. The 27-year-old may become a chip for the Red Sox in a deal.
- The Astros are getting more and more inquiries about the availability of Wandy Rodriguez. The Red Sox are one of the teams that have asked.
- Scouts and GMs believe that the Athletics would deal left-hander Gio Gonzalez for the right price. An NL talent evaluator noted that the 26-year-old would be at the top of a lot of teams' lists.
- Baseball people we talked to seem to think that if the Marlins are thinking big, Jose Reyes is the most logical signing for them, with Hanley Ramirez shifting over to third. Cafardo also wonders if the Brewers would explore signing with the likelihood of losing Prince Fielder.
- Free agent David Ortiz is still very much in play with the Orioles. O's GM Dan Duquette met with Ortiz’s agent, Fern Cuza, at the GM meetings.
- Cafardo could envision Jason Varitek backing up Matt Wieters in Baltimore
- The BoSox have considered former Mets GM Omar Minaya for a front office role, but nothing is official yet.
In today's column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo wonders what the future holds for David Ortiz after his contract expires at the end of this season. An American League official says the Red Sox should be "looking at keeping his salary level around the same if his production maintains steady." Ortiz, who is earning $12MM in 2011, would like to retire with the Sox, and acknowledges that signing with a National League club is unlikely: "I would have to consider it. I don’t think people want me for that, because I’m a hitter." Here are a few of Cafardo's other notes:
- In the short term, Marco Scutaro, who has been discussed internally by the Phillies, could be valuable to a team looking for a middle infielder. Down the line, the Sox could still have an excess of infielders - Cafardo says Jose Iglesias should be ready to be a full-time MLB shortstop in 2012, meaning Boston may not have enough room in its lineup for him, Jed Lowrie, and Kevin Youkilis. If I'm the Red Sox, I view that as a good problem to have, and address it if and when it comes to that.
- A Dodgers official concedes that Russell Martin is "playing great" for the Yankees. "Better than he played for us," adds the official. However, he cautions that Martin tends to fade in the second half, which has to be of some concern for the Yanks. While Martin's career batting splits don't fully back up that assertion, the backstop did miss most of the second half in 2010 with a hip injury.
- The Angels have been exploring potential trades involving their catchers since Spring Training. They'd likely prefer dealing Bobby Wilson to Jeff Mathis, and may be seeking a left-handed outfield bat in return.
The latest on the Red Sox, as John Lackey prepares for his second Spring Training start...
- Though Adrian Gonzalez and the Red Sox have not resumed contract talks since the weekend they traded for him, there is an understanding that a seven-year deal at around $22MM per year will get it done, writes ESPN's Buster Olney. Gonzalez has said a couple of times that there's no pre-set agreement in place, but his agent John Boggs and Sox president Larry Lucchino both expect a deal.
- Regarding a potential multiyear extension, Clay Buchholz told WEEI's Kirk Minihane, "I think we've talked a little bit about it but there's nothing." Buchholz likes the five-year, $30MM deals signed by Jon Lester, Yovani Gallardo, and Ricky Romero, but perhaps the Red Sox need to see more. Buchholz's numbers are comparable to those players, but for a team there is a lot that goes into the decision beyond the stats.
- Manager Terry Francona explained to ESPN's Gordon Edes that he's thinking about the long-term with lefty Andrew Miller (Twitter link). The Red Sox were able to get a unique contract approved for Miller with the aim of subverting the option system, with a $3MM club option that vests for 2012 if he's claimed by another team. On one hand, the Commissioner's Office allowed this clause at first pass. Still, I've spoken to a few execs who think the Red Sox won't get away with it if Miller is actually claimed.
- Red Sox players are meeting today with Players' Association executive director Michael Weiner as well as several special assistants. Jed Lowrie may have a lot to contribute; Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald says the shortstop recently finished up a political science degree from Stanford by writing a 17-page paper comparing the players' unions in MLB and the NFL.
- Rays fans discouraged by the loss of their closer should consider this tweet from Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus. Going by last year's slot recommendations, Tampa Bay's 12 picks within the first 88 selections of the 2011 amateur draft will cost "around $9.12MM" to sign. Even with a bump in slot prices and yet another supplementary round pick if San Diego signs Chad Qualls, the Rays could sign all 13 draft picks for less than the $11.5MM that Soriano will earn from the Yankees next year.
- We heard earlier today that the Yankees could be persuaded to trade Joba Chamberlain to obtain a "viable starter," but ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand wonders why the Bombers don't just put Chamberlain back into the rotation. "Right now, Chamberlain's trade value is low," Marchand writes. "The only way to increase that is to put him in a more important role. So not only could he solve your biggest problem, he could be used to address your next one."
- Theo Epstein hinted that a strong spring from Jed Lowrie could win him the everyday shortstop's job, or at least give Terry Francona "a decision to make," writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. A good start to the season from Lowrie could make either Marco Scutaro or perhaps Lowrie himself into trade bait, given the presence of shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias in Boston's system.
- We've heard Baltimore is still in the market for a left-handed reliever, but Andy MacPhail is pretty pleased with how the Orioles' bullpen currently stacks up, writes Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.
Here's the latest on the Red Sox, including some continued fallout from the blockbuster Adrian Gonzalez deal...
- The Red Sox are interested in adding a complementary right-handed bat, GM Theo Epstein tells Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter link).
- The Red Sox have offered Taylor Buchholz a minor league deal and are one of 12 teams to express interest in the right-hander, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
- Felix Doubront, Jed Lowrie, and Jacoby Ellsbury's names were all discussed in the Boston/San Diego trade talks, says John Tomase of the Boston Herald. Ellsbury was the only one that drew much interest from the Padres, but they decided against him since Ellsbury's forthcoming arbitration raise would make him too expensive and a trade candidate himself in the near future.
- Also from Tomase, both Chicago teams were "finalists" for Gonzalez and were offering at least one major league player in their trade packages. Ultimately, San Diego decided that it preferred the prospects in Boston's offer.
- John Boggs, Gonzalez's agent, talks to WEEI.com's D.J. Bean about the contract extension negotiations that nearly held up the trade on the weekend. "We’re not working in a spirit to get [the Red Sox] by the jugular or squeeze every nickel, or set a precedent-setting deal," Boggs said.
- The agent for Hideki Okajima tells ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes (Twitter link) that he will talk with the Red Sox "soon," though there has been "pretty strong" interest in Okajima from some other clubs.
- It's not often the Red Sox are priced out of a signing, but FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal says Jayson Werth's contract with Washington may have made Carl Crawford too expensive for Boston's liking, especially since the Sox now have to fit a Gonzalez extension ("the parameters" for which are $154MM over seven years) into their budget. The Red Sox may instead focus on acquiring relievers or finding a cheaper outfield option, like trading for Josh Willingham.
- Adrian Beltre's asking price is $85MM over five years, Rosenthal reports. Boston would be interested in re-signing the third baseman if "the market for Beltre collasped," but the plan is to play Kevin Youkilis at third with Gonzalez taking over at first. Rosenthal says the Red Sox aren't considering moving Youkilis to left field to make room for Beltre.
Some links to check out as Cody Ross attempts to follow up yesterday's two-home run performance and the Phillies look to even the score...
- Speaking of Ross, Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News reports that Giants GM Brian Sabean left a "clear impression" before tonight's game that the outfielder will be tendered a contract this offseason.
- Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe tweets that Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale is getting a second interview for the Blue Jays managerial position.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that the Mets have been "asking around" about Rangers GM Jon Daniels, and things could get interesting. Daniels can opt out of his contract after the season since the team was sold.
- Steve Popper of The Bergen Record says that the Mets might not be making the popular choices right now, especially with Francisco Rodriguez, Oliver Perez, Carlos Beltran, and Luis Castillo, but they're the right moves.
- Popper also reports that the Tigers denied the Mets permission to talk to assistant GM Al Avila about their GM vacancy.
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Eric Young will be named the D'Backs first base coach later this week. In a second tweet, he says Eric Wedge's former pitching coach Carl Willis will likely play a big role on his new staff in Seattle.
- Despite the expected heavy interest from the Yankees and Rangers, Michael Silverman from the Boston Herald thinks the Red Sox should make a serious run at Cliff Lee.
- In the second page of that same article, Silverman quotes an unnamed executive in saying that a package consisting of Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and prospect Anthony Rizzo wouldn't be enough to pry Adrian Gonzalez away from the Padres. He speculates the names that would be mentioned next would include Casey Kelly and Jose Iglesias.
- Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports says it makes more sense for the Orioles to trade for a middle-of-the-lineup hitter and an ace starter than seek one in free agency, and asks readers whether or not the O's should pursue Zack Greinke. In his blog post earlier today, ESPN's Buster Olney didn't see Baltimore as a fit for the Kansas City ace.
- Reduced payroll will force the Rays into some tough decisions, writes Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. As Topkin points out, nearly the entire bullpen is entering free agency. Rafael Soriano, Grant Balfour, Randy Choate, Joaquin Benoit, and Chad Qualls are only signed through 2010, while Dan Wheeler's $4MM option will be declined and Lance Cormier could be non-tendered. Balfour and Choate are most likely to return, while Benoit will likely look to capitalize on his monster season.
- Richard Griffin from the Toronto Star spoke with Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, who could be a candidate for the Jays' managerial opening, about the difficulty of getting a foot in the door as a manager. As Griffin says, part of the reason they continue to interview candidates while other teams are filling their managerial positions could be because they have a high level of interest in someone like Mackanin, whose team is still playing.
- The Phillies' worst nightmare isn't losing to the Giants in the NLCS or losing to the Yankees in the World Series, according FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. It's going to the World Series and facing the ace they traded away last offseason, who now sports a Rangers uniform -- Cliff Lee.
As the ALCS gets underway, let's look at some news from around the majors...
- Jason A. Churchill of ESPN.com (Insider subscription needed) proposes that if the Phillies can unload some big contracts, they could make a run at signing Cliff Lee this winter. Adding Lee to the current Roy Halladay/Roy Oswalt/Cole Hamels mix would create one of the all-time great rotations in baseball history, but this seems like a major longshot. If the Phils can really move Joe Blanton or Raul Ibanez like they can in Churchill's scenario, one would think they'd spend that freed-up money on more pressing needs than pitching.
- Writing for MLB.com, former Dodgers general manager Fred Claire strongly endorses Sandy Alderson for the vacant Mets GM job. MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith profiled Alderson earlier today.
- Yoon Chul, the reporter who wrote that Shin-Soo Choo wanted a "transfer" to a winning team, has apologized to the Indians for "editing problems" that altered the meaning of the Cleveland outfielder's words according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Another Korean journalist, Jeeho Yoo, told the Tribe that Choo said "he wants to stay with one club for a long time and Cleveland would be his first choice."
- Jed Lowrie's strong second half has made him a candidate to either take over the starting shortstop's job from Marco Scutaro or to become trade bait for a club looking for a young infielder, writes Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.
- Some conflicted early reaction to Seattle's pending hire of Eric Wedge: CBSSports.com's Scott Miller thinks "the Mariners could not have made a more uninspiring hire," while 710ESPN Seattle's Shannon Drayer gets great reviews of Wedge from former players and Indians broadcaster Tom Hamilton.
- Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com looks back at the Rangers' 2007 trade of Mark Teixeira and how it was the starting point for the club's current success. Texas acquired Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones from Atlanta for the slugging first baseman --- safe to say the Rangers won that deal.
- Speaking of Teixeira, he cited teammate C.C. Sabathia as "arguably...the best free agent signing in Yankees history." The story from Marc Carig of The Star-Ledger cites Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Teixeira himself and others as candidates for that title, plus Yankees GM Brian Cashman posits that Orlando Hernandez might've been the best signing from a pure dollars-to-performance standpoint.
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle writes that the Astros can take some lessons from how the Rangers rebuild their franchise, and that the Astros have finally belatedly gotten started on their own youth movement.
- Austin Kearns tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he "would love to stay" in New York next season.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe spoke to nearly a dozen scouts and executives and found that there would be substantial interest in Daisuke Matsuzaka if the Red Sox made the righthander available in a trade this offseason. Most of those polled believe Boston would have to kick in some money to offset the two-years and $20MM left on his deal, but it's unclear what they would want in return. As Cafardo reminds us, there's no such thing as too much pitching depth, so the Sox could simply hold onto him.
As far as teams that could have potential interest in Dice-K, Cafardo names the Mariners, Mets, Dodgers, Brewers, Rangers, and Tigers. Here are the rest of his rumors...
- There's talk that the Red Sox might go after Yu Darvish if he's posted this winter, and there is a little bit of a New England connection there: Darvish's father attended school in the area.
- Doug Melvin said he will go outside the organization to replace departed manager Ken Macha, which rules out Dale Sveum and Willie Randolph.
- Jim Hendry and Cubs ownership likes what interim manager Mike Quade got out of his players down the stretch, so the sentiment to retain him is growing.
- Fredi Gonzalez turned down a chance to interview with the Cubbies, and it's looking more and more likely that he will take over for the retiring Bobby Cox in Atlanta.
- Alex Anthopoulos is looking at third base/bench coaches for his next manager, while Neal Huntington might dip into his Indians' roots to fill the Pirates' managerial vacancy.
- Paul Konerko indicated that contract length won't be much of a factor when he hits free agency this winter because he isn't sure how much longer he wants to play. Kenny Williams indicated that there might not be enough room in the budget for the White Sox to bring back their captain, especially if they seeks out a lefty bat as expected.
- Jason Varitek wants to return to the Red Sox but the team is thinking bigger picture with Jarrod Saltalamacchia on board. Cafardo suggests the Marlins as a potential landing spot for Varitek, where he would work with the team's young pitchers.
- Meanwhile, the Sox could sign John Buck as a stopgap while they wait for Salty to establish himself.
- Teams in need of a second baseman are very interested in Jed Lowrie, though at least one scout thinks he can stick at shortstop. The 26-year-old hit .287/.381/.526 in 197 plate appearances this year.
- Despite a strong finish (1.41 ERA in his last ten starts), the Cubs would still like to move Carlos Zambrano. Of course, they're going to have to eat some of the $55MM left of his contract to do so.
- Cafardo thinks that Carl Pavano could command a three-year deal worth $30MM as a free agent this winter, but he'd have to give a bit of a discount to return to Minnesota. The Twins have shown a willingness to spend in the last year, so this will be an interesting negotiation for them.