- Mets Acquire Addison Reed From Diamondbacks
- Mets Claim Marc Rzepczynski On Revocable Waivers, In Talks With Padres
- Brewers Pull Back K-Rod After Waiver Claim
- Denard Span To Undergo Season-Ending Hip Surgery
- Mariners Fire GM Jack Zduriencik
- MLB Wins Collusion Case Versus Barry Bonds
- Cubs Acquire Fernando Rodney, Designate Brian Schlitter
- Chris Perez Retires
- Hanley Ramirez To Play First Base For Red Sox In 2016
- Austin Jackson Clears Waivers, Generating Interest
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- Quick Hits: Scully, Harang, Profar, Kirby
- Mets Acquire Addison Reed From Diamondbacks
- Orioles Still Searching For August Additions
- Mets Claim Marc Rzepczynski On Revocable Waivers, In Talks With Padres
- Rosenthal’s Latest: Farrell, GM Changes, Wright, Dodgers
- Brewers Pull Back K-Rod After Waiver Claim
- AL Notes: Blue Jays, Mariners, Gordon
- Padres Pull Kimbrel Back From Waivers
- Blue Jays Designate Ty Kelly For Assignment
- Quick Hits: Francona, Price, Flores
- Front Office Notes: Zduriencik, Dipoto, Anthopoulos
- Week In Review: 8/22/15 – 8/28/15
- AL East Notes: Buchholz, Red Sox Front Office, Hanley, Shapiro, Tolleson
- Front Office Notes: Brewers, Reds, Levine, Mariners
- Blue Jays Claim Danny Dorn
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Joe Kelly Rumors
Yankees lefty CC Sabathia will not need surgery and hopes to limit his absence to an approximately two-week layoff, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). It had been feared that his balky right knee could end his season. The southpaw also said that he’d be amenable to working in relief when he comes back, if requested, saying he is open to “helping the team any way I can.”
- This August has apparently been heavy on waiver claims, with one general manager telling Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com that he’s never seen this many claims made. “The Orioles seemingly claim everyone,” said the unnamed GM. Of course, Baltimore has yet to pull off any deals this month (or end up being awarded any claimed contracts).
- The Red Sox head towards 2016 as “almost an entirely blank slate,” writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Many pieces of next year’s roster remain to be determined by new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, he explains, to say nothing of the front office and coaching staff.
- One interesting decision for the Red Sox has been somewhat surprisingly underplayed thus far, says Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, who writes that the team faces a difficult decision on Clay Buchholz and his $13MM option. It’s entirely unclear what Dombrowski thinks, of course, and elbow issues have the remainder of the season in question for the righty. Buchholz has been quite good this year, of course, but isn’t set to resume a throwing program for another week. Even if he doesn’t return to the hill this year, says Bradford, that option still seems like a reasonable risk. The 30-year-old, meanwhile, denies that he views a return as necessary for his own contract situation. “I’ve been assured by a couple of different doctors that if the Red Sox or any other team needed any kind of word on how they should view it they would definitely call and talk to whomever they need to talk to just to reassure I’m 100 percent healthy even without throwing,” he said. “Time is the best doctor for this sort of thing from the information I gathered from Dr. Andrews. What I’m looking to do is just start playing catch.”
- Especially after a strong recent run, righty Joe Kelly remains an “intriguing” (albeit uncertain) piece for the Red Sox, writes Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. Senior club analyst Tom Tippett rightly noted recently at the SaberSeminar in Boston that evaluations of trades are always changing. In this case, he said, “if we can figure out how to turn Joe Kelly into a number two or three starter with all those great tools he has, it might look very good a few years from now.”
- Another major Red Sox question mark, of course, is Hanley Ramirez. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe argues that Ramirez should not be considered an option at first base, arguing that he either needs to improve in left field or hit the trade block. But sources tell Cafardo that Ramirez has not put in extra work on his outfield defense since Spring Training, though there appears to be consideration regarding injuries and wear and tear that account for that to some extent. Of course, the trade route doesn’t look terribly promising either, though Cafardo suggests that some kind of bad contract swap could be explored.
- Interestingly, though Ramirez was spotted today working with a first baseman’s mitt and receiving instruction from David Ortiz and coach Brian Butterfield, Lauber tweets. Needless to say, it’s far too soon to reach any conclusions even as to what kinds of possibilities the club could pursue, underscoring the uncertainty that Lauber highlighted in the above-linked piece.
- If you’re interested in a discussion of all those moving pieces, be sure to check out last week’s MLBTR Podcast with Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald, who did a nice job of setting up the fascinating offseason to come.
Matt Wieters left the third inning of last night’s Orioles loss to the Mariners with a right hamstring strain, and he’ll be re-evaluated on Friday when the club is back in Baltimore. All parties are hopeful that Wieters can avoid the DL, and the catcher told reporters (including Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun) that “I think we caught it before it became a severe strain. The hamstring got tight and it was getting tighter. I think we stopped before we did any serious damage to it.” Losing Wieters would obviously be a blow to the Orioles’ postseason chances, and another DL stint also wouldn’t do any favors to Wieters’ free agent stock this offseason. The catcher already missed the first two months of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery but had been hitting well (.278/.305/.449 with five homers) in 167 PA since his return.
Some more from around the division…
- Chris Davis has rebounded from a miserable 2014 to have a big 2015 season, with improved health and better performance against fastballs as two major reasons for his resurgence, MLB.com’s Mike Petriello writes. With a thin market of free agent first basemen this winter, Petriello thinks Davis could make a big cash-in on the open market this offseason, perhaps even a contract topping the $100MM mark.
- Desmond Jennings and Drew Smyly are both slated to return from DL stints to the Rays this week, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. Smyly’s return is the more tenuous of the two, as he didn’t pitch well in a recent rehab start. He’ll throw a bullpen session on Thursday to determine whether he’ll make his scheduled start against the Rangers on Sunday.
- With Koji Uehara done for the season, Joe Kelly could be the Red Sox answer at closer both for the rest of 2015 and maybe in the future, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. Kelly, for his part, tells The Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato that he has no interest in switching to a bullpen role.
- Has the Jacoby Ellsbury signing already been a bust for the Yankees? Brendan Kuty of the Star-Ledger poses the questions and breaks down both sides of the argument, concluding that it’s still too early to judge the seven-year, $153MM contract before even two full seasons have passed. Ellsbury’s underachieving, injury-plagued 2015 season, however, is a cause for concern for the Yankees, especially since Ellsbury was still expected to perform like a top-level player for at least the first few years of the deal.
The Yankees are promoting middle infield prospect Rob Refsnyder today, a move originally reported by the YES Network’s Jack Curry (on Twitter). The 24-year-old Refsnyder hasn’t wound up on many top prospect lists, but he’s been a strong hitter throughout his minor league career and was hitting .290/.387/.413 for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, so there’s hope he might provide the Yankees with a bit of extra offense. Chad Jennings of the Journal News looks at the implications of the move, wondering what it means for incumbent second baseman Stephen Drew, who has 12 homers but is batting .182/.257/.372 this season. In the short term, Drew could move to a utility infielder role, but in the longer term, there might not be a role for him. Jennings also wonders whether the Yankees might look for a second base upgrade like Ben Zobrist on the trade market if Refsnyder doesn’t hit immediately. Here’s more from the American League.
- The Twins have also shown interest in free agent Neftali Feliz, according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Neal notes that several other clubs have interest as well. That’s not surprising, since it’s rare that a young big-league reliever with Feliz’s pedigree is available as a free agent at this point in the season. Feliz opted for free agency after the Rangers outrighted him last week, and beyond Glen Perkins, Blaine Boyer, Brian Duensing and J.R. Graham, the Twins’ bullpen has struggled lately. An unconfirmed report last night had Feliz agreeing to terms with another club, however. We’ll likely know more about his status as the day unfolds.
- The Athletics have placed starter Jesse Hahn on the 15-day DL with a forearm strain, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes. Chris Bassitt will start for the A’s today. A forearm strain sounds ominous, but A’s manager Bob Melvin sounds hopeful that the injury isn’t serious. “This time of the season, typically starters who have logged a lot of innings have some aches and pains and that’s where he is right now,” Melvin says. “It wasn’t getting better in the fashion where we were comfortable having him make another start, so we tried to be proactive here in giving him some time off.” Hahn, who the A’s acquired in an offseason trade with the Padres, has a 3.35 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a strong 52.6% ground ball rate in his first season with Oakland.
- The Red Sox‘ weak rotation has strained their bullpen, and the Red Sox have leaned hard on pitchers like Alexi Ogando and Junichi Tazawa. But the Red Sox do not want to move the hard-throwing Joe Kelly, who’s currently starting with Triple-A Pawtucket, into a bullpen role, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald writes. “As long as we think he can start, we want to give him every opportunity to do that,” says GM Ben Cherington. The 27-year-old Kelly has posted a 2.57 ERA in 14 innings with Pawtucket, striking out 11 batters and walking five. His last start ended prematurely after he got hit in the hand with a line drive, although the Red Sox hope he can make his next start on schedule, as Tim Britton of the Providence Journal writes.
Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe conducted a Q&A with Red Sox CEO/president Larry Lucchino over the weekend, and the two discussed a number of issues with what has been an uninspiring roster for much of the season. Shaugnessy notes early on, before getting to the Q&A, that it seems that Lucchino’s role has diminished given his involvement in the building of a new Rhode Island stadium for the club’s Triple-A affiliate and his role in Boston’s bid for the 2024 Olympics. Lucchino, however, denies that he’s less involved than in previous years. “I’ve had to throw myself into Pawtucket quite a bit because of [PawSox owner] Jim Skeffington’s death,” said Lucchino. “…It’s part of my Red Sox responsibility. The Olympics take a very small amount of my time. They asked me to take a larger role, but I demurred.”
Some roster-related highlights from the Q&A, as well as a couple other notes pertaining to the 2013 champs…
- Lucchino said he understands the comparisons that are being made between the Hanley Ramirez/Pablo Sandoval signings and the Carl Crawford signing/Adrian Gonzalez extension, but the team certainly never intended to duplicate the aggressive philosophy they showed in 2011. Asked if the Red Sox need to question their evaluation skills in light of those signings as well as the Rick Porcello extension and John Lackey trade, Lucchino replied, “We’re not immune to second-guessing ourselves, but I do think a little more water needs to run underneath the bridge before you can effectively evaluate some of these most recent transactions.”
- Shaughnessy pressed a bit on the Lackey trade in particular, noting that both of the players received in that deal — Joe Kelly and Allen Craig — are now in the minor leagues. Lucchino admitted that the trade looks dismal: “It certainly looks like that deal didn’t result in the kind of gains we thought we’d have in the major leagues. But both of those guys still play for the [Pawtucket] Red Sox and no one has given up on the pitching contributions that Joe Kelly can make in the future.” This is likely reading too much into the comment, but I find it interesting that he didn’t voice a similar vote of confidence in Craig.
- Lucchino voiced the same confidence in GM Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell that Red Sox owner John Henry has previously expressed. He also repeatedly said he’s yet to wave the white flag on the 2015 season, and the team will reassess more at the tail end of July.
- In an interview with WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, Red Sox vice president of player personnel took exception to the narrative that Rusney Castillo was signed based on workouts as opposed to in-game experience. Baird explains that the Red Sox saw Castillo in international play as well as on video from Cuba. Additionally, while owner John Henry has noted in the past that missing out on Jose Abreu may have played a role in Boston’s aggressive pursuit of Castillo, Baird says that the Red Sox did their homework on Castillo. While Castillo certainly hasn’t performed at the level of Abreu, or even fellow countryman Yasmany Tomas, I’d add that it’s still early in his contract, and he’s been slowed by injuries as well.
- The Red Sox were originally optimistic about Hanley Ramirez’s hand after X-rays came back negative, but as Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald wrote yesterday, Ramirez is traveling back to Boston to receive an MRI due to persistent discomfort. Ramirez was hit by a line-drive while running the bases last Wednesday, and manager John Farrell told him that the pain worsened over the weekend. A trip to the disabled list is possible, writes Mastrodonato.
The Red Sox have designated catcher Erik Kratz for assignment and optioned struggling right-hander Joe Kelly to Triple-A Pawtucket, the team announced. (CSN New England’s Sean McAdam tweeted the Kratz DFA prior to the announcement.) Additionally, Dustin Pedroia has landed on the 15-day DL due to a hamstring injury. In a series of corresponding moves, Boston has recalled Jackie Bradley Jr. from Pawtucket and selected the contracts of shortstop Deven Marrero and right-hander Jonathan Aro.
The biggest item of note in this story, for Red Sox fans, will be the departure of Kelly from the rotation, at least for the time being. One of two players acquired from the Cardinals in what now looks to be a lopsided John Lackey trade (the other was Allen Craig), Kelly has made 24 starts in a Red Sox uniform, with the cumulative result being a 4.96 ERA to go along with 6.7 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9. His 4.20 ERA in 2014 was significantly better than his 5.67 mark this season, but his FIP and xFIP marks over the two seasons are pretty similar, each pegging his true talent in the 4.10 to 4.40 range.
Kelly’s struggles this year have come largely as a result of an inability to strand hitters, but some pundits have suggested that he may simply be better off being converted to a relief pitcher in the long run. Whether that outcome proves to be the case remains to be seen, but one can imagine Kelly’s fastball (currently averaging 95.7 mph) playing up even better in the bullpen. For the time being, at least, Kelly will work in the Pawtucket rotation, tweets the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato.
Kelly has already accumulated enough service time in 2015 to reach three years of Major League service and thus qualify for arbitration following the season. As such, there’s no risk of this option — even if he’s left in the minors for a significant amount of time — delaying his path to free agency. The struggles and demotion will, however, undoubtedly impact his earning potential in his first trip through the arbitration process.
As for the 35-year-old Kratz, he was claimed off waivers from the Royals on Sunday due to some concern over an injury to Blake Swihart. However, Swihart is healthy and back in the lineup, so Kratz’s time in a Boston uniform will end without so much as a single in-game appearance over the few days that he was on the roster. A career .217/.270/.400 hitter, Kratz has proven himself capable of hitting for power but at the cost of questionable batting average and OBP marks. Defensively, Kratz’s 31 percent caught-stealing rate is above average, and he’s received plus ratings in terms of pitch framing.
Rays first baseman James Loney is headed to the DL for the next four to six weeks with a broken finger, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. While the 31-year-old has not exactly been tearing things up at the plate, he is a particularly difficult player for Tampa Bay to replace. As Topkin explains, the club’s 40-man roster does not admit of any ready options at Triple-A. That could lead the Rays to look outside the organization, he suggests, with players in DFA limbo (Casey McGehee, Travis Ishikawa), on the open market (Kila Ka’aihue), or possibly available via trade (Garrett Jones) seeming like potential options. Both McGehee and Ishikawa will, presumably, ultimately be exposed to waivers, though both come with significant salary commitments ($4.8MM and $1.1MM, respectively). The Giants could be motivated to strike a deal involving one of those players if Tampa is willing to take on some cash.
Here’s more from the AL East:
- Blue Jays star Jose Bautista is still struggling to deal with painful shoulder inflammation, as Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star writes. Bautista says he appreciates the difficulties in lineup construction that the injury has caused, but made clear that he is doing all he can by taking on DH duties. The team’s upcoming interleague stretch and Bautista’s own pain levels were factors in the decision to treat him with a cortisone shot, per the report. It’s an interesting piece that delves into many of the day-to-day matters that have a significant impact on a player over the course of a season, but which often go underappreciated.
- Struggling badly hitting from the right side, Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval is seriously considering facing opposing southpaws from the left side of the box, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports. “There’s conversation at various points about that. He’s even initiated it at times,” said manager John Farrell. “But until that change is made, that’s something that certainly will include him in that process.” Certainly, it’s interesting to see player and club contemplating such a move just a few months into a five-year, $95MM contract.
- Joe Kelly and the rest of the Red Sox rotation have all been consistently inconsistent, as Britton writes. The up-and-down performances across the staff have put the club in a tough position, making it difficult to pull the trigger on a move to try another option. “There’s no decision here in this moment,” Farrell said of Kelly’s rotation status. “He’s shown us the ability to go out and work deep in a ballgame. There’s no denying the stuff. It’s a matter of consistent location with his fastball.”
- Top Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy has been scratched from his start today after experiencing stiffness in his right shoulder, Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports. While it’s far from clear that there is cause for alarm — the team says it hopes Bundy is simply suffering from tendinitis — Bundy has already been forced to rehab back from Tommy John surgery. Another highly-rated young arm, Hunter Harvey, has dealt with more obviously concerning injury issues. The club’s future hinges in no small part on the health and development of those two players, along with the equally-hyped Kevin Gausman.
Chris Young‘s career turned on a 1,168-word email the Royals right-hander wrote to a St. Louis surgeon in 2013 where he diagnosed himself as suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome, writes Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star. Dr. Robert Thompson, director of the Washington University Center for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome concurred, and performed a decompression procedure to free the nerves in Young’s shoulder. “I feel better now at 35 than I did when I was in my late 20s, early 30s, because I was dealing with so much pain,” Young said. “I forgot what it was like to be healthy. Now I try to make up for lost time.” And that he has. Nearly two years after undergoing the career-saving operation, Young, the reigning AL Comeback Player of the Year, has been a relevation for the Royals pitching to a 1.06 ERA in seven games (including one start) with a 8.5 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 over 17 innings of work.
Elsewhere in the American League:
- The next start for Tigers ace David Price will be pushed back from Thursday to Saturday to give his mild hamstring strain extra time to heal, reports Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter links). Price says he could have pitched on normal rest, so the move is simply precautionary.
- The Tigers have a need for a left-handed power bat off the bench, but risk losing out-of-options infielder Hernan Perez to waivers if they attempt such an move, according to MLive.com’s Chris Iott.
- After throwing 108 pitches in winning his MLB debut as a starter, the White Sox remain coy on whether Carlos Rodon will remain in the rotation or return to the bullpen, writes MLB.com’s Scott Merkin. “You’re also somewhat protecting the amount of usage you’re going to get out of him over the course of the year, so there’s some factors that go into it for him and his learning curve and things like that,” said manager Robin Ventura. “There’s more to it than he’s just ready to go.” If Rodon remains in the rotation for the rest of the season, Merkin calculates the left-hander will approach the team’s unofficial innings limit of 160.
- The Red Sox‘s July 2014 trade of John Lackey for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly is looking worse and worse, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opines. Craig performed poorly down the stretch in 2014 for the Red Sox and has been just as bad this year, and while Kelly’s radar gun readings have been impressive, his performance hasn’t (although his peripherals this season have been much better than his 5.72 ERA). Meanwhile, Lackey has pitched well for the Cardinals while making the league minimum salary.
The Red Sox are one of the most oft-discussed teams in Spring Training, with a logjam of outfield options and a persistent stream of rumors linking to pitching upgrades. Here’s a look at the latest talk surrounding the team…
- Rival evaluators are beginning to raise red flags about Boston’s rotation, writes ESPN’s Buster Olney, in today’s Insider-only blog post. Clay Buchholz‘s velocity is down from earlier this spring, while Justin Masterson and Wade Miley have looked underwhelming in recent starts. As Olney points out, the Boston rotation has little track record of logging innings as well. Joe Kelly has never topped 124 1/3 innings, Rick Porcello hit 200 innings for the first time in 2014, Buchholz has never reached that mark and Masterson’s been limited by injuries over the past two seasons.
- Kelly left yesterday’s start with tightness in his right biceps, but he’ll throw today and won’t require an MRI on his arm, tweets Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. As Olney notes in the above piece, the Sox do have nice depth with Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes and Brian Johnson, among others, but the fact that they don’t have to add Kelly to a growing list of Spring Training casualties among pitchers is nonetheless a positive outcome for the Sox.
- Will Middlebrooks explained to Richard Justice of MLB.com how hard it was to see the Red Sox sign Pablo Sandoval, then spend a month in limbo before being dealt to the Padres. Middlebrooks had nothing but glowing things to say about his time in Boston and the organization, and he said he ultimately understands the move from Boston’s end. “It stung a little bit, just because I cared so much about being a part of that team,” said Middlebrooks. “I’d be lying to you if I said it didn’t bother me. But at the same time, I like to think I have an idea of the business of baseball. You have a guy that keeps getting hurt, and they’re an organization that wants to win now. I understand that.” Middlebrooks called the trade to San Diego a “great opportunity” and ultimately expressed excitement to be healthy and have a chance to be a big part of the new-look Padres.
- Josh Norris of Baseball America writes that new Red Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada looked sharp in infield drills with the club and provides video of the infielder in action in a Red Sox uniform.
The Yankees came away from the Winter Meetings without completing any deals, though it wasn’t for lack of trying, GM Brian Cashman told reporters, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. “We threw a lot of ideas a lot of different ways, but we’ve got a long way between now and Opening Day,” said Cashman as he left the meetings. We’ll keep our conversations that still are ongoing alive, and just wait and see.” Hoch writes that the Yankees never made proposals to David Robertson or Brandon McCarthy, the latter of whom “went to a level we couldn’t play on,” in Cashman’s words.
More from the AL East…
- The Orioles had definite interest in Ross Detwiler before the Nats traded him to the Rangers, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. That he ended up in Texas may be best for the player himself, however, as Kubatko notes that Baltimore would’ve kept Detwiler in the ‘pen. The Rangers plan to use him as a starter, which is his preference.
- Also from Kubatko, the Orioles have interest in bringing back old friend Nate McLouth, though not at his current $5MM (plus a $750K buyout of a 2016 option) price tag. The Nationals are willing to eat part of that salary to move McLouth, Kubatko adds, but the Orioles will wait to see if he is released for the time being.
- The Orioles have some interest in Melky Cabrera, reports Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, but only on a two- or three-year deal (Twitter link). Cabrera is said to be eyeing a five-year deal, however, and the Mariners’ previously reported interest appears to be stronger than that of the Orioles, based on Encina’s tweet.
- Though the Red Sox have five starters (or will have five, once the Wade Miley trade is completed), Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that they’re still a match for Cole Hamels. He speculates that an arm like Joe Kelly could be a part of a trade with the Phillies, thereby opening a spot in the Boston rotation.
- Peter Gammons looks at the reconstructed Red Sox rotation, noting a heavy emphasis on ground-ball pitchers that places some pressure on Xander Bogaerts and Pablo Sandoval. Gammons notes that the Red Sox brass is aware of its lack of a front-line starter. They’d like to add James Shields, but “exit polls” at the Winter Meetings had him going to the Giants, according to Gammons. Johnny Cueto is of interest, but the “timing and price isn’t there right now,” and Hamels negotiations with the Phillies have been difficult for all teams involved.
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Miguel Gonzalez‘s name was mentioned in trade rumors this summer (most notably as part of a possible Jon Lester package) and yet as MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko points out, Gonzalez’s recent success could be another example of “how sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make.” The Orioles right-hander has a 2.00 ERA over his last nine starts, including a complete game shutout of the Reds last Wednesday. Gonzalez has been a solid piece of the O’s rotation for the last three years and has a 3.38 ERA over 136 IP this season, which I suspect will earn him a nice salary bump this winter when he is arbitration-eligible for the first time.
Here’s some more from around the AL East…
- Also from Kubatko, the Orioles are “hesitant” about making a long-term commitment to Nelson Cruz. Though the O’s have recently had some light negotiations with Cruz’s representation about a new contract, it isn’t hard to see why the club would be wary of guaranteeing multiple years to a 34-year-old who is a defensive liability and has a PED history. Of course, Cruz’s bat looks as potent as ever, given his .862 OPS and a league-high 39 homers this season. As you would expect, a one-year “qualifying offer appeals to the Orioles,” Kubatko writes, though surely Cruz feels his production merits a longer deal.
- Melky Cabrera has been scouted by at least one NL team for the last three weeks, Sportsnet’s Jeff Blair reports. One of those scouts tells Blair that his team could be willing to offer Cabrera something in the neighborhood of a four-year, $53MM contract in free agency this winter, a deal akin to what Jhonny Peralta received from the Cardinals last offseason. Peralta’s deal was front-loaded, and Blair opines that a similarly-structured deal could await Cabrera given that both players have a PED suspension on their records.
- Blair also can’t figure out why the Blue Jays haven’t already re-signed Cabrera for 2015 and beyond, given how well the outfielder has hit this year. Cabrera, who is done for the season after fracturing his pinky finger on Friday night, has expressed an interest in staying in Toronto.
- It’s been a tiring season for David Ortiz, as the Red Sox slugger tells ESPN Boston’s Joe McDonald that “it wears you out more than when you know you’re going to the playoffs — believe it or not. It wears you out more than when you know you have more games to play.” Ortiz isn’t sure how much longer he’ll play beyond 2015 (the end of his current contract), though when he does he hang it up, he said he’ll do it in the offseason rather than announce his retirement a year in advance like Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera.
- Red Sox righty Joe Kelly and the Orioles‘ Andrew Miller were two trade deadline acquisitions that have worked out very well for their teams, Peter Gammons writes in his latest piece for Gammons Daily. Boston hopes Kelly can be a No. 2 or No. 3 starter in their 2015 rotation while Miller has continued his superb season since joining Baltimore’s pen.
- Also from Gammons, if the Orioles don’t bring back Nick Markakis, one possible replacement could be prospect Mike Yastrzemski. A 14th-round draft pick in 2013, Yastrzemski (Carl’s grandson) hit .288/.346/.490 with 14 homers, 34 doubles and 16 triples in 594 PA over three minor league levels this season, though he has yet to reach Triple-A.