John Lackey Rumors
The latest Padres rumors:
- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts met with Padres owner Jeff Moorad, Byrnes and Hoyer during the regular season finale, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com.
- Most baseball people expect Hoyer, not Byrnes, to join Epstein in Chicago, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- The Padres have internally discussed the possibility of acquiring John Lackey from the Red Sox if Boston takes on most of the right-hander's salary, according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Lackey pitched for the Angels when Padres manager Bud Black was the team's pitching coach.
- When Theo Epstein joins the Cubs, he'll likely bring along someone from the Padres front office, according to Center. GM Jed Hoyer, assistant GM Jason McLeod and senior VP of baseball operations Josh Byrnes are candidates to join Epstein in Chicago.
- Contract talks have begun between the Padres and Heath Bell, tweets Center. The Padres are aiming for a two-year deal with an option, while Bell wants three guaranteed years. He's never had a multiyear deal in his career. Center recently wrote that the Padres are in the two-year, $15-16MM range. If no deal can be worked out, the Padres must decide by November 23rd whether to offer arbitration to the Type A reliever.
- Theo Epstein wouldn't tell the people he'd want to bring to Chicago until he's officially part of the Cubs, a source close to Epstein tells Dan Hayes of the North County Times (Twitter link). The source believes recent rumors are "just speculation." Yesterday, SI's Jon Heyman reported that Epstein is interested in poaching some combination of top Padres executives Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod, and Josh Byrnes. Today, Heyman writes that Hoyer is "definitely in the mix for a job with the Cubs once Epstein officially goes to Chicago."
- Tom Krasovic thinks that if Hoyer joins the Cubs he'd bring McLeod with him. Byrnes, a favorite of Padres owner Jeff Moorad, would likely become San Diego's GM.
Here's the latest from Fenway Park...
- "People around the game [are] getting [the] idea that" Theo Epstein will likely remain as Boston's GM, reports Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). Yesterday, Heyman reported that "a slight majority" of people around baseball believed Epstein would turn down a job offer from the Cubs.
- Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach is under consideration for the manager's job, reports Michael Silverman of the Boston Globe. Wallach "is still at the stage of being considered for an interview," according to several sources. Wallach's name was mentioned in connection with the open managerial jobs with the Dodgers, Marlins and Blue Jays last winter.
- A Padres official tells Tom Krasovic of the Inside The Padres blog that it "is not farfetched at all" that San Diego would consider a trade for John Lackey this winter. Krasovic thinks Lackey could benefit from pitching at Petco Park and reuniting with Bud Black, who was Lackey's pitching coach with the Angels. Krasovic proposes a trade that would require Boston to pay most of Lackey's salary, take Orlando Hudson in return and also send "a young big leaguer or a good prospect, or two" back to the Padres. It sounds lopsided in San Diego's favor, but given how low Lackey's stock has fallen, the Red Sox will have to meet similar trade criteria in any potential Lackey deal.
The Yankees and Rays are in the playoffs but the rest of the AL East is in offseason mode...
- Under John Henry's ownership, the Red Sox have fired three managers and each move seemed to work out for the club, writes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. General Manager Theo Epstein says that he plans to use the same process as he did when hiring Terry Francona eight years ago.
- The Orioles have lots of needs but finding a starter seems to be their top priority, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com. Kubatko asked manager Buck Showalter if the club might go against their grow-the-arms philosophy and sign a pricey free agent starter and the skipper left the door open to the possibility.
- Speaking of Francona and the Orioles, don't expect the skipper to land in Baltimore, says Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun. The O's will have a managerial spot open if Andy MacPhail leaves his position as president of baseball operations and Showalter moves up to that post.
- After giving lucrative deals to John Lackey and Carl Crawford, the BoSox are committed to getting them to turn things around in 2012, writes Michael Vega of the Boston Globe. Lackey signed a five-year, $82.5MM deal in 2010 while Crawford inked a seven-year, $142 million deal last December.
Two of the five AL East clubs made the playoffs, and both will begin their quest for the World Series later today. The Rays and Rangers play at 5pm ET, the Yankees and Tigers at 8:30pm ET. Let's round up some notes from the only division with four 81+ win teams in 2011...
- "It's a big priority, for obvious reasons," said Red Sox GM Theo Epstein to The Boston Globe's Michael Vega when asked about getting big money free agent signings John Lackey and Carl Crawford back on track. "We're going to leave no stone unturned, really, with all of our players and the organization as a whole."
- Orioles owner Peter Angelos is trying to convince Andy MacPhail to remain with the team in a decision-making or advisory role, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. MacPhail was expected to walk-away from the team after the season.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post wrote about the Yankees and their transition from a team that relies on experience to one with youth in important spots.
- Jeff Passan of Yahoo!Sports broke down Evan Longoria's walk-off homer in Game 162, which sent the Rays to the playoffs for the third time in four years.
On September 3, the Red Sox had a 99.6% chance of making the postseason, according to statistican Nate Silver. The next day, Silver notes that Bill Buckner played himself on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm that spoofed Buckner's legendary World Series error. The Sox went 6-18 after Buckner's cameo. As Larry David himself would say, that is a prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay big coincidence.
Some notes from Boston as the fallout continues from the Red Sox' legendary collapse....
- Theo Epstein and Terry Francona met with the media today, and Alex Speier from WEEI had the details. Epstein said that the team had just finished an initial review of its baseball personnel and wouldn't make any decisions for a few days yet.
- Epstein said that Francona wasn't being singled out as the cause for Boston's collapse. "That would be totally irresponsible and totally short-sighted and wouldn’t recognize everything he means to the organization and to all our successes, including, at times, in 2011,” Epstein said. “So we take full responsibility for what happened, all of us. Collectively it was a failure....I’m the general manager so I take more responsibility than anybody. I don’t think we believe in – I know we don’t believe in scapegoats. In particular, no one blames Tito for what happened in September. Look, we all failed collectively."
- Epstein dismissed rumors about his connection to the Cubs' general manager's job as "just speculation."
- Francona said he wasn't yet prepared to discuss his future with the Sox, saying last night's devastating result was "still pretty fresh and pretty raw." The manager said he and Epstein would sit down within the next few days.
- Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated hears from several "baseball people" that Francona and the Sox could mutually decide to part ways. If Francona does leave, it probably won't be to the White Sox, as Heyman hears Chicago "may go younger" (both Twitter links).
- Epstein said the club would examine its process for evaluating free agents, given the failures of John Lackey, Carl Crawford and past free agents like Matt Clement and Julio Lugo. Though Lackey and Crawford struggled this season, Epstein said the team will do everything possible to get both players back up to par for 2012.
- Epstein praised the performances of David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon, saying he hopes the Sox can figure out a way to bring both pending free agents back to Boston this winter.
- Peter Gammons thinks Lackey may have to be traded for another bad contract like Barry Zito or Carlos Zambrano, reports WEEI.com's Paul Flannery. "I'm not sure John is ever going to fit in Boston again. I understand how upset he is but I think it's going to be hard for fans to warm up to him again," Gammons said. Gammons notes that other teams who suffered late-season breakdowns underwent major organizational changes, though he thinks Francona will return as manager.
- ESPN's Buster Olney looks at some key figures on the Red Sox and Braves whose status is in question in the wake of both teams' terrible Septembers. Olney thinks Lackey has to be moved, predicts changes to Boston's coaching staff and hears it's "highly unlikely" Epstein leaves, though friends of the GM say he would embrace the challenge of running the Cubs.
- Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal thinks Epstein should take the fall for building a roster with too many holes.
As the trade deadline approaches, the Red Sox are probably going to be looking for position players rather than pitchers, GM Theo Epstein told Peter Gammons in an appearance on NESN (video link).
"I don't see a ton of pitching help out there unless it's the few guys who can really make an impact, who will take your farm system to get," Epstein said. "I think we could benefit from a complementary position player in the right spot."
Epstein cited the organization's pitching depth as a reason why the club won't seek out arms before the deadline. For the time being, he says, the club won't look to tap into that depth to replace John Lackey in the rotation. The 32-year-old has a 7.47 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 through 13 starts this season.
The defending AL East Champion Rays are 47-38, which gives them the third best record in the American League. Unfortunately for the Rays, they're third in the AL East, behind the only two AL clubs with better records, the Yankees and Red Sox. Here's the latest on the division:
- The Orioles' reliance on Mitch Atkins and Chris Jakubauskas as starters shows that Baltimore's rotation has been a disappointment, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen have not pitched as well as expected, so the rotation has become a consistent weakness.
- The Orioles will purchase Atkins' contract today to add him to the active roster and they could consider designating Jakubauskas for assignment to create space, according to Connolly.
- Derek Jeter, who returned to the Yankees' lineup from the disabled list last night, told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that he's unhappy with his first half performance and intends to improve "everything" in the second half.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com looks back at Boston's free agent additions under GM Theo Epstein and concludes that "the pricier investments have offered suspect returns." That's certainly true of two free agents the Red Sox signed before the 2010 season: Mike Cameron and John Lackey.
On this date nine years ago, Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez disposed of the Mariners in the first inning by striking out the side on nine pitches. Today, the outlook isn't nearly as rosy for Boston, which is above .500 for the first time this year. Here's the latest:
- The Red Sox announced that Daisuke Matsuzaka experienced elbow tightness during his last start. An MRI confirmed that the right-hander appears to have a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and strain to his common flexor mass. The Red Sox will re-examine him in two weeks.
- Boston's other injured starter, John Lackey, received a cortisone shot in his right pitching elbow, according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com (on Twitter).
- Tonight, Victor Martinez returns to Fenway Park for the first time this season. Back in March, Alex Speier of WEEI.com explained that the Red Sox didn't offer V-Mart more than $42MM in guaranteed money, but believed he would have returned if they had matched the Tigers' $50MM offer.
- Peter Gammons weighed in on all things Red Sox earlier today.
On this date 15 years ago, Sammy Sosa became the first Cub to homer twice in one inning. Here's the latest from around the league, including a note on a less productive Cubs bat...
- The Cubs optioned Tyler Colvin to the minors after today's game and GM Jim Hendry told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that he wants the outfielder to get regular playing time in Triple-A. As Hendry says, MLB teams are in the "production business."
- Scott Olsen made about $108K with the Pirates before they released him, according to Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter).
- John Lackey's DL stint probably won't affect Boston's 2015 option for the right-hander, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Though the option will be worth the MLB minimum if Lackey misses extended time because of a right elbow injury that existed before he signed with the Red Sox, he'd have to miss the rest of the season for the option to be affected, according to Bradford.
- Brian McTaggart of MLB.com looks back at Drayton McLane's 19 years of ownership in Houston. McLane has agreed to sell the Astros to Jim Crane; for details on the sale and how it could impact the franchise, click here.
Ten years ago today, Marlins starter A.J. Burnett pitched a no-hitter against the Padres despite walking nine batters. Now a member of the Yankees' rotation, Burnett is off to a strong start after a disappointing 2010 season. Here's the latest on the Yankees' division rivals...
- Josh Rupe cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles designated the reliever for assignment on Tuesday.
- John Tomase of the Boston Herald notes that the Red Sox inquired about Jose Bautista during the offseason, only to hear that the Blue Jays weren't interested in moving him. Talks never went anywhere, as the Blue Jays were in the process of trading Vernon Wells and extending Bautista (on a deal that’s looking shrewd in the early going).
- John Lackey is in a major rut and he knows it, as Tomase writes. “Everything went wrong that could go wrong,” Lackey said of his start against the Blue Jays last night. “It’s pretty much the story of the whole damn year.”
- Don Connolly of the Baltimore Sun looks back at the 2008 trade that sent Erik Bedard to Seattle for Adam Jones, Chris Tillman and others and concludes that it was one of the top five deals in Orioles history, but not quite as good as it seemed a year or two ago.
- James Shields has re-emerged as a top pitcher and is pitching with a sense of purpose, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, who spoke to the Rays right-hander about his 2011 success.
- In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney notes that Rays ace David Price is relying heavily on his fastball. Price threw 103 fastballs out of 112 pitches yesterday, though he averaged a season-high 95.3 mph with the pitch and threw it to both sides of the plate.