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The Twins demoted one top prospect today in favor of another, sending Aaron Hicks to Rochester and recalling Oswaldo Arcia to take his place. The moves came on the heels of another loss to the streaking Royals, who have snapped off nine consecutive wins and are 4.5 games back from a Wild Card spot. Here's more out of the AL Central…
- It's no coincidence that Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has a history of making significant moves at the trade deadline and a history of gettting his team to the postseason, writes Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Knobler writes that the Tigers have long coveted the recently acquired Jose Iglesias, and Dombrowski's persistent inquiries made Detroit a natural fit for a third team when the Red Sox and White Sox initially struggled to make a Jake Peavy deal.
- Knobler also notes that Dombrowski tried many times to acquire Jurickson Profar from the Rangers with packages fronted by Avisail Garcia but came up empty.
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti was happy to acquire a left-handed reliever who has thrived against opposing lefties and also has postseason experience in Marc Rzepczynski, he told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. The Tribe looked at many other ways to upgrade, but found the asking prices too high. Manager Terry Francona told Bastian that he merely rolled his eyes and said "Oh my goodness," at the alarming asking prices for players in which the Indians had interest.
- White Sox general manager Rick Hahn conceded to MLB.com's Scott Merkin that he nearly pulled off a last-minute deadline deal before the other team suddenly changed its asking price. Hahn said he received a text message 45 minutes prior to the deadline and spent the next 35 minutes or so working on the specifics, and it got to the point where he informed chairman Jerry Reinsdorf that it was close to happening. Hahn did not specify which player(s) were on the table.
- The Royals will be active players on the August trade/waiver market, writes Dick Kaegel of MLB.com. Kaegel spoke with GM Dayton Moore, who told him: "There are two months left to the baseball season and there's potentially the opportunity to improve our team. So we're going to continue to evaluate and look for ways to upgrade."
The Red Sox got creative last night, orchestrating a three-year deal with the White Sox and Tigers that sent Jake Peavy and Brayan Villarreal to Boston, Jose Iglesias to Detroit, Avisail Garcia to Chicago and three low-level minor leaguers (J.B. Wendelken, Francellis Montas and Cleuluis Rondon) from Boston to Chicago as well. Now that the baseball world has had some time to digest the move, here are some reactions…
- Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs offers up his take on the trade, noting that the White Sox exchanged a questionable outfielder for a questionable infielder, while the Red Sox did well to acquire Peavy at a low cost.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America has a scouting report on all players involved, noting Garcia is the centerpiece for the White Sox and calling him "a five-tool talent who runs, throws and defends enough to handle center field in his youth and right field down the line."
- Two years ago, the Red Sox wouldn't have made this trade, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. However, a strong desire to avoid the new Wildcard play-in game has changed the dynamic of the trade deadline. Passan goes on to write that no GM has had a better year than Ben Cherington, who has taken the Red Sox from one baseball's worst teams in 2012 to an AL East title race in 2013.
- So long as he remains healthy, Peavy should be viewed as a top-of-the-rotation arm, according to ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required). Law says that the Red Sox paid a "modest" price in the deal, and also opines that the Tigers did well to add a Jhonny Peralta replacement that has solid future value as a defense-first middle infielder. He is less rosy on the White Sox end of the trade, however, given his view that Garcia will not develop into an above-average MLB regular.
- Boston was able to "parlay two lucky months from Iglesias into Jake Peavy," according to a rival executive that Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports spoke with. Another source told Rosenthal that the White Sox side of the deal was largely a salary dump, with a less-than-stellar prospect return (albeit one with some upside).
- The Red Sox accomplished exactly what they needed to and did so at an extremely reasonable price, opines WEEI.com's Alex Speier. He notes that the trade not only upgrades the rotation this year and next with Peavy, but allows the Sox to improve their bullpen by shifting Brandon Workman to relief duty.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington discussed the trade in a conference call, with WEEI.com's Rob Bradford passing on the highlights. Noting that the deal came together late, Cherington said the team was comfortable moving Iglesias given the organization's depth at shortstop. He noted that the team also sees Villarreal as a promising power bullpen piece moving forward.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski acknowledged the role that the Biogenesis scandal had in nabbing Iglesias, reports MLB.com's Jason Beck. "There's a lot of uncertainty facing the situation which concerned me," said Dombrowski, "especially with our scenario trying to win a championship. … My problem ends up being that after 4 o'clock tomorrow, I cannot aggressively try to do anything that's assured. Because after 4 o'clock, if anything happens, and people know we're looking for a shortstop, there are shortstops that aren't going to make it through waivers." Dombrowski did make clear that the team would not have pulled the trigger if it hadn't been confident in Iglesias as a long-term solution at short.
- In his own conference call, posted on CSNChicago.com, White Sox GM Rick Hahn explained that the deal evolved out of talks with many teams from prior to the All-Star break. According to Hahn, the three-team deal did not really come together until this afternoon.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
The Red Sox have announced a three-team trade with the Tigers and White Sox that will send right-handers Jake Peavy and Brayan Villarreal to Boston and shortstop Jose Iglesias to Detroit. The White Sox will receive outfield prospect Avisail Garcia as well as minor league right handers J.B. Wendelken and Francellis Montas and shortstop Cleuluis Rondon.
Peavy, 32, has a 4.28 ERA with 8.6 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 35.2 percent ground-ball rate in 80 innings for the White Sox this season, though he's spent some time on the disabled list with a broken rib. Peavy hasn't had any pitch limitations since returning from the disabled list, however, as he fired 118 pitches in his final start with the White Sox. Advanced metrics like FIP (4.09) and xFIP (3.68) indicate that Peavy has been the recipient of some poor luck. He's more than a rental, as the Red Sox will control him for $14.5MM in 2014.
Villarreal allowed 10 runs in just 4 1/3 innings for the Tigers this season prior to the trade, but he was significantly better in 2012, posting a 2.63 ERA In 54 2/3 innings for the big league club. He averaged 97.1 mph on his heater last season, according to Fangraphs. In 34 1/3 innings at Triple-A Toledo this year, the 26-year-old Villarreal owns a 3.15 ERA with 10.7 K/9 but a troubling 6.8 BB/9 rate.
Iglesias, 23, is hitting .330/.377/.410 in 231 plate appearances for the Red Sox this season. While those numbers look terrific, Iglesias' bat has drawn been questioned, and he's been mired in a dreadful slump of late, hitting .212/.248/.222 with just one extra-base hit in his past 105 plate appearances. However, Baseball America ranked him ninth among Red Sox prospects prior to the season based largely on his glove, calling him perhaps "the best defensive shortstop prospect in the game." In a small sample of 452 1/3 Major League innings at shortstop, Iglesias has 22.2 UZR/150 and grades out as seven runs above average according to The Fielding Bible. He will provide the Tigers with an insurance policy in the event of a Biogenesis suspension for Jhonny Peralta and can take the reins as Detroit's full-time shortstop in 2014 should the club let Peralta depart via free agency.
Baseball America ranked the 22-year-old Garcia as the No. 74 prospect in baseball prior to the season, and he's delivered on that hype at Triple-A Toledo, hitting .382/.414/.549 with five home runs in 152 plate appearances. Garcia has the tools to be an everyday right fielder with average defense and All-Star upside, BA wrote in its preseason scouting report.
Montas, 20, has a 5.70 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 85 1/3 innings for Class-A Greensville this season. He ranked 22nd among Red Sox prospects prior to the season according to Baseball America. BA wrote that Montas "can light up a radar gun" better than anyone in Boston's system, as he regularly touches triple digits with his fastball. Montas flashes plus sliders at times but without consistency, BA adds. Ben Badler of Baseball America tweets that Montas has "freakish arm strength" and misses bats.
Wendelken, also 20, has worked out of the bullpen at Greenville this season. In 64 innings for Greenville, he has a 2.81 ERA with 7.6 K/0 and 2.8 BB/9. The Red Sox selected him in the 13th round of the 2012 draft, and BA noted that he was one of the country's most effective relievers, allowing just one run in 44 innings at Middle Georgia College and reaching 94 mph with his heater.
Baseball America's Ben Badler tweets that Rondon is a very smooth defender at short but offers little with the bat. The 19-year-old Rondon is hitting .277/.328/.353 for short-season Class-A Lowell this season.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports was the first to report that the Red Sox and White Sox had a deal for Peavy (Twitter link). WEEI.com's Alex Speier first broke the news that it was a three-team trade involving the Tigers, and Danny Knobler of CBS Sports tweeted that Iglesias was going to the Tigers. Bob Nightengale of USA Today was the first to tweet that Garcia was headed to the White Sox. Speier also reported that Rondon would be included in the trade (on Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
It was on this date in 1871 the Boston Red Stockings incorporated giving birth to today's Atlanta Braves. Let's take a look at the news from the 21st century Braves and the rest of the National League:
- The Braves have enough payroll space to add one significant salary and have yet to rule out Michael Bourn or Justin Upton, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. O'Brien adds GM Frank Wren has spoken with Bourn's agent Scott Boras, but they didn't start any negotiations. O'Brien also has been told manager Fredi Gonzalez contacted Bourn within the past few weeks. In regards to Upton, O'Brien sees the Braves and Rangers as the last two teams standing, but neither seems willing to match what the Mariners offered in their failed bid to acquire the outfielder.
- O'Brien, via Twitter, discounts the suggestion the Braves have yet to acquire Bourn or Upton to save payroll in order to sign Martin Prado to a long-term deal.
- It's been nearly a decade since the Reds had to go to an arbitration hearing, but this year could be different, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. "We're hopeful we can get something done," Reds GM Walt Jocketty said of the six players with whom salary figures were exchanged. "Some of the spreads were significant. We'll see how it proceeds the next week or two." The Reds' arbitration class is headlined by Mat Latos, whose case was analyzed by MLBTR's Matt Swartz last week. You can keep track of all of the Reds' arbitration cases with MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker.
- With the Red Sox still seeking a left-handed hitting first baseman/left fielder, Tom Singer of MLB.com wonders if the Pirates will make another run at Jose Iglesias, as the starting point of a bigger deal involving Garrett Jones (Twitter links).
- There is still no clear-cut answer as to whether Francisco Liriano will be with the Pirates in 2013, tweets Singer. The Pirates and Liriano agreed to a two-year, $12.75MM contract in December, but the deal was put on hold earlier this month when it was discovered the left-hander injured his right arm.
- Lucas Duda told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com his surgically repaired right wrist feels great and he has started hitting off a tee. Duda is projected to man left field for the Mets.
- Chipper Jones was honored at the New York BBWAA dinner last night and confessed to the audience he was starting to get the itch to go back to Spring Training, Rubin reports. "I was on the Braves' web site, just kind of messing around on my computer," said Jones. "I was thinking to myself, 'You know what? I think I'm going to go down and get me a workout in, see how everything feels.' I was down there for about five minutes and I figured I'd go to Hawaii instead."
3:00pm: The deal is not complete, but it is in the final stages, a Pirates source tells Bowden (on Twitter).
12:24pm: The Red Sox are moving closer to a trade for Joel Hanrahan, reports ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. One source cautioned there is "still work to be done," however. It's unclear what the Pirates would receive for their closer, though Edes hears they want a "significant return."
Hanrahan, 31, pitched to a 2.72 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 in 59 2/3 innings for Pittsburgh last season. He earned $4.1MM and projects to earn $6.9MM through arbitration next year. Hanrahan is scheduled to become a free agent after 2013.
Andrew Bailey, Boston's incumbent closer, pitched to a 7.04 ERA in 15 1/3 innings in 2012 while missing most of the year with injuries. WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reports they have not discussed free agent Rafael Soriano despite having a protected first round pick. The Dodgers were among the teams with interest in Hanrahan in recent weeks.
We've already had one batch of AL East Notes on MLBTR today, but here are some more items on a busy day around the division…
- The Orioles have had a quiet offseason while their division rivals have been spending, writes Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun. While the O's didn't make any major signings en route to a playoff appearance last year and face a payroll increase due to several arbitration-eligible players, Schmuck thinks spending on a big free agent like Adam LaRoche would help the team contend again.
- A Dodgers official flatly denied that the Dodgers and Red Sox could make an Andre Ethier/Jacoby Ellsbury swap, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Ethier's name has come up in recent rumors but L.A. isn't shopping the outfielder and doesn't appear eager to move him.
- Also from Cafardo, he hears from an AL general manager that the Red Sox may be trying to deal Ellsbury so they can shift Shane Victorino to center field and then sign Cody Ross. Several teams are interested in Ross but none have yet met his desired price of a three-year, $21-$31MM contract.
- Jose Iglesias has "always been available, but nobody has knocked down [Boston's] door," writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe about the Red Sox prospect's trade value. Given that Stephen Drew was signed to just a one-year contract, it's too early to say that the Sox have given up on Iglesias as a long-term solution at shortstop.
- Also from Cafardo's piece, he thinks that Rafael Soriano and Matt Garza could both still be targets for the Red Sox.
- Right-hander Daniel McCutchen has received multiple offers to play in Japan, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes has learned. McCutchen’s minor league deal with the Orioles permits him to accept an offer from a Japanese team. The 30-year-old appeared in one game for the Pirates this past season, but he spent most of the season at Triple-A, where he posted a 2.98 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 63 1/3 innings.
- The Blue Jays were picked as the 2013 AL East champions by 13 of 20 scouts and executives polled by FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi. In that same poll, the Orioles were picked to finish last by 10 voters, while the Red Sox received six last-place votes and were the only team that didn't get at least one pick as division winners. Morosi himself picks Toronto for first place and Boston for last.
- From earlier today, the Rays signed Roberto Hernandez, the Red Sox finalized the signing of Koji Uehara and I compiled some Yankees-related notes.
MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith also contributed to this post
Though it can be argued that misses in free agency were the cause of Boston's disastrous 2012 season, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald thinks that shrewd free agent signings could help the team quickly return to prominence. Here's the latest from Fenway Park…
- The team has "shown only preliminary interest" in Ryan Dempster, reports Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter link). Lauber notes that the Sox also didn't make a major push for Dempster at the trade deadline, though that could have been because they already considered the season lost.
- Red Sox officials were "seen meeting on" free agent catcher Russell Martin at the GM meetings, tweets CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. Signing Martin "might require more moves" for Boston, given the presence of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway behind the plate.
- Though the Diamondbacks are said to be looking for a third baseman, shortstop or starter in a Justin Upton trade and the Red Sox have several young players at those positions, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe doesn't think the Red Sox would part with any of their young core at this time.
- “Just because the Red Sox are coming off one losing season, I don’t lump them in with the non-contenders,” one player agent tells Scott Lauber. “Knowing what we know about the Red Sox, the market they play in, they’ll be back in the fray.” Another agent, however, predicts that veterans pursuing short-term deals on World Series contenders (such as Boston targets like Hiroki Kuroda or Torii Hunter) might avoid the Red Sox since the club doesn't look like it will turn things around by next season.
- GM Ben Cherington said the team is focusing on other needs besides at shortstop, reports Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. This would seem to indicate that the position is Jose Iglesias' to lose, though Abraham predicts the Sox will sign a veteran backup at short.
- Assistant GM Mike Hazen discussed Boston's young talent, the idea of trading prospects for established stars and other topics in a radio interview on WEEI's Red Sox Hot Stove Show. WEEI.com's Alex Speier has the partial transcript.
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said completing this year’s managerial search relatively early should provide the team with some amount of additional flexibility this coming offseason. The GM can focus on the roster now that John Farrell’s in place as Boston’s new manager. Here are more details from Cherington’s conversation with MLBTR at the 2012 GM Meetings…
- The Red Sox are talking to free agent outfielders while discussing possible trades to address their needs in the outfield, Cherington said.
- Cherington expressed confidence that Jose Iglesias can be an MLB shortstop on a good team. “He has a chance to be an elite defender and his development path has probably made his offensive performance look worse than the hitter he actually is,” the GM said. However, nothing will be given to Iglesias and the Red Sox could go with another option if an appealing alternative emerges.
- “We’ve got some work to do this winter,” Cherington acknowledged.
The AL East figures to be one of the game's most competitive divisions in 2012. Here are the latest links from Florida, where all five AL East teams are preparing for the season…
- Raul Ibanez doesn’t have emotional, historical or financial ties keeping him on the Yankees’ roster, so Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders how long the club will stick with Ibanez if his struggles continue. But as Sherman point out, it’s still just March 15th.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman and third baseman Alex Rodriguez tell Joel Sherman of the New York Post that the Blue Jays are becoming a serious threat in the AL East. “They aren’t a secret anymore,” Rodriguez said. “They are knocking on the door,” Cashman added. “It is undeniable that they are going to win and win for a while.” Blue Jays ownership could support a top ten payroll in time and “that isn’t a guess, that’s a fact,” GM Alex Anthopoulos said.
- John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports that the relationship between Red Sox GM Ben Cherington and manager Bobby Valentine seems to be starting off well. If the Red Sox name Jose Iglesias their starting shortstop, it'll be a sign of just how much Valentine's opinion matters. The front office has maintained the defensive whiz needs more seasoning.
- Mark Melancon's interleague experience could help him transition from the NL Central to the AL East, Brian MacPherson Providence Journal writes.
- Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com ranks the AL East rotations, placing the Orioles fifth. They have intriguing arms such as Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta, but their rotation is filled with uncertainty from top to bottom this spring.
The American League East may be the toughest division in baseball, so the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox and Blue Jays likely welcomed the news that MLB will expand its playoffs in 2012. In theory, three teams from one division could play in the postseason under the new arrangement. Here are the latest links from the AL East…
- Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told Peter Gammons of MLB.com that he gets “tired of hearing the Red Sox are underdogs." As Gammons explains, the Rays could be better in 2012 than they were in ’11.
- Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said he's "pretty certain" the Tampa Bay market can support the team long-term, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Sternberg said he's had encouraging talks with city officials and business leaders about the club.
- After a challenging winter, Sternberg is projecting a "very, very good team this year," Topkin writes. Sternberg approved a payroll increase of approximately 50% for 2012.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington joined WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show and said the decision of whether Jose Iglesias breaks camp with the team will be up to manager Bobby Valentine. "In a perfect world, [Iglesias] would probably get some more time in Triple-A," the GM said (via Jerry Spar).
- Cherington said on WEEI that he isn't worried about Carl Crawford, who will be looking to increase his production after a disappointing 2011.
- Right-handed reliever Chris Carpenter, acquired from the Cubs for Theo Epstein, isn't a lock to make the team, Cherington said. The Red Sox may option him to Triple-A and call him up when a spot opens up.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues discusses some Yankees who fell short of expectations in 2011 and could make up for it in 2012.