John McDonald Rumors

Boston’s Areas Of Need

Red Sox assistant GM Ben Cherington told Jim Bowden of Sirius XM Radio that Boston will consider improving its bullpen, adding a defense-first shortstop and finding outfield help this summer (Twitter link). Red Sox relievers have combined for a 4.18 ERA and a 1.85 K/BB ratio, so the 'pen has pitched respectably. Still, the team could use a top arm or two behind Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard.

Adam Everett, now a free agent, would likely be an option for any club looking to acquire a strong defensive shortstop. The Red Sox could also consider John McDonald, who backed up current Boston shortstop Marco Scutaro when both were with the Blue Jays last year.

Mike Cameron, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeremy Hermida and J.D. Drew have all missed time with injuries this year, but replacements like Daniel Nava and Darnell McDonald have filled in admirably. The Red Sox just called up Josh Reddick, but could look outside the organization for outfield help. David DeJesus seems like a fit, since the Red Sox would prefer to add a left-handed hitter.


Rosenthal On Yankees, Oswalt, White Sox, Beltre

The Yankees are not actively looking for a utility infielder, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal names Willie Bloomquist, John McDonald and Jayson Nix as options the Yanks could consider should they decide that they want more experience than Kevin Russo and Ramiro Pena can offer. Here are the rest of Rosenthal's rumors:

  • Adrian Beltre will almost certainly reject his player option after the season and re-enter free agency. He has been one of the game's best players this year, rating characteristically well on defense (according to UZR) and hitting .336/.371/.528.
  • The Mariners won't necessarily get a first round pick in next year's draft if they hold onto Cliff Lee. First of all, a losing team could sign Lee (the first 15 picks are protected). Secondly, a team could sign Lee and a free agent who ranks higher under the Elias system. That would mean the Mariners get a supplementary rounder and a second rounder.
  • If the Rangers are sold before the winter, they could be a potential landing spot for Carl Crawford, one executive suggested.
  • Rosenthal hears that Astros owner Drayton McLane is not against the idea of trading Roy Oswalt to Texas, though the Rangers' ability to take on payroll and the pitcher's no-trade clause could prevent a deal from going through.
  • The Marlins inquired on Matt Thornton back when the White Sox were sellers. Now, the White Sox would not consider dealing the left-hander.
  • If White Sox GM Kenny Williams becomes a buyer, he may pursue a left-handed bat.
  • The Mariners want major league or major league-ready hitters for Cliff Lee, but the Dodgers' best prospects are a few years away from the majors.
  • The Rockies are interested in Ty Wigginton, according to Rosenthal's colleague, Tracy Ringolsby.
  • The Rays will look for impact players at the trade deadline.

Blue Jays Still Looking For Shortstop

Despite agreeing to terms with John McDonald, the Toronto Blue Jays are still searching for a shortstop, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com (via Twitter).

Bastian tweets that McDonald's role is "undefined" heading into next year, and that the Jays don't view him as their starter. The team will attempt to fill that role via free agency, and GM Alex Anthopoulos hopes to get something done soon.

Incumbent shortstop Marco Scutaro is perhaps the most attractive of the position's free agent class this offseason, but Bastian reports that talks with the infielder have come to a halt. It's still possible the Jays and Scutaro could agree on a one-year deal, but it doesn't look probable that the 34-year-old will be back in Toronto.

Considering they already have one defensive specialist in McDonald, it seems unlikely that the Jays would pursue a player like Adam Everett or Alex Gonzalez. Of the rest of the free agent shortstops, only Miguel Tejada and Orlando Cabrera look like sure-thing, everyday options.



McDonald Re-Signs With Blue Jays

WEDNESDAY 4:01pm: ESPN's Buster Olney reports (via email) that McDonald's deal is worth a total of $3MM over two years.

TUESDAY 7:52pm: Fanhouse's Ed Price (via Twitter) has learned that Toronto is "expected" to bring back free agent infielder John McDonald to a deal worth around $1.5MM, in what would likely be a one-year contract.

McDonald has been a reserve with the Blue Jays since 2005, and has become a fan favorite in Toronto due to his often-spectacular defense at shortstop.  He just completed a two-year/$3.8MM deal with the club and his return would give the Jays a strong back-up glove at third base (where Edwin Encarncacion and his "E-5" nickname has the starting job) and may even be a candidate to get regular playing time at shortstop given Marco Scutaro's Type A free-agent status.  McDonald's .258/.271/.384 line last season represented career highs in slugging percentage and OPS, but obviously the Jays would be absorbing a blow to their lineup by giving McDonald regular at-bats.


Odds & Ends: Phillies, Nationals, Mariners

There's no such thing as an offseason- just different kinds of on-seasons.


Can The Blue Jays Re-Sign Scutaro & Barajas?

The Blue Jays would like to re-sign Marco Scutaro, Rod Barajas and John McDonald, but retaining the free agents may not be realistic. GM Alex Anthopoulos told Shi Davidi of the Canadian Press that he's not necessarily bringing them back.

"As much as I like John McDonald, Rod Barajas and Marco Scutaro, there might be alternatives that make this organization better and are the right alternatives for this team," Anthopoulos said.

Scutaro is one of the offseason's most appealing free agent shortstops. He hit .282/.379/.409 and was a solid defender, according to UZR/150, so he's in line for a raise from his 2009 salary of $1.1MM.

"We'd like to bring them back," Anthopoulos said, "(but) everything has to fit with respect to what the alternatives are and with respect to what their financial requirements are. I'm starting to get a pretty good handle on where their expectations are with respect to the market and what they feel their value might be."

Scutaro will be a Type A free agent, so the Blue Jays will obtain two top draft picks if he turns down an arbitration offer to sign elsewhere. Barajas will be a Type B free agent; the Jays won't necessarily offer him arbitration.

Davidi also reports that the Blue Jays won't bring Kevin Millar back for another season. The 38-year-old hit .223/.311/.363 in his lone season with the Jays.


Odds & Ends: Torre, Braves, Blue Jays

In the midst of a tight Dodgers-Phillies game, here are some news tidbits from around the baseball world….

  • Before Game Five, Joe Torre said he wants to (and believes he will) be the Dodgers' manager next season, reports Mike Jensen of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that Frank Wren is in a bit of a Catch-22 when it comes to re-signing Tim Hudson and Adam LaRoche, and/or trading Kenshin Kawakami or Derek Lowe for hitting help.
  • MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports that new Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has spent his first few weeks on the job talking to the team's coaches and players.  After talking to pending free agents Marco Scutaro, Rod Barajas and John McDonald, Anthopoulos said he wants to speak to their respective agents in the coming weeks.
  • As reported by Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Mark Cuban told a group of Pitt students that he won't be buying the Pirates.
  • Speaking of Pittsburgh natives looking to be involved in MLB ownership, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan said that Pittsburgh lawyer Check Greenberg's investment team made with members of the Hicks Sports Group on Wednesday to discuss buying the Rangers. 
  • Tommy Rancel of the DRaysBay blog outlines why he thinks the Rays should look into signing Kelvim Escobar this off-season.

Odds & Ends: Saito, Jaramillo, Marlins

More Monday linkage…

  • Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post says the Rockies want catcher Yorvit Torrealba back, but not at his $4MM option price.
  • WEEI's Alex Speier explains that outrighting Takashi Saito makes a Boston re-signing more feasible.
  • Rudy Jaramillo will likely reach an agreement soon with the Cubs for their hitting coach position, according to SI's Jon Heyman.  Heyman says Jaramillo will be near the top of the coach pay scale, at $800K a year for multiple years.  The Cubs are hoping Jaramillo can help Alfonso Soriano. Milton Bradley hit well in Texas, though he's a trade candidate.
  • MLB.com's Joe Frisaro talked to first baseman Nick Johnson, who is approaching free agency for the first time in his career.  Johnson seems unlikely to stay with the Marlins.  (Check out our discussion post on him here).  Frisaro says the Fish could further shake up the infield corners by trading Jorge Cantu.
  • Newsday's David Lennon reminds us the Mets chose Oliver Perez over Randy Wolf last winter.  Wolf supplied 214.3 innings of 3.23 ball for the Dodgers for $8MM.
  • MLB.com's Jordan Bastian talked to Blue Jays defensive whiz/impending free agent John McDonald about the future and his popularity in Toronto.
  • MLB.com's Bill Chastain feels the Rays will at least talk to free agent reliever Billy Wagner.  Nice fit, though VP Andrew Friedman found it unlikely they'd sign a closer when asked a few weeks ago.  It won't help if Wagner turns down an arbitration offer from the Red Sox, which would attach a draft pick cost.

Odds & Ends: Astros, Indians, Reds, O’s, Reyes

Assorted rumblings from around the majors…


O’s Interested In John McDonald

According to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun (via Twitter), the Orioles are interested in free agent infielder John McDonald.

McDonald, 35, hit .258/.271/.384 with four home runs and 13 RBI in 152 plate appearances this season for the Blue Jays.  The Orioles are expected to let Melvin Mora walk this offseason in lieu of exercising his $8MM option for 2010 and could use some inexpensive infield depth.  McDonald was well above average defensively this season with a 10.5 UZR/150 (per FanGraphs).  He made $1.9MM in 2009.