Justin Masterson Rumors
Jon Heyman of SI.com says the Red Sox will come calling if the Indians are willing to part with Victor Martinez. And take this for what it's worth, but the Indians were scouting Boston's best prospects this week. Here are details on those two clubs and the rest of Heyman's rumors:
- Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson and Michael Bowden are just the sort of MLB-ready pitchers the Indians seek.
- Still, the Indians would require a stunning amount in return for Martinez or Cliff Lee, since both players can be part of a contending Indians club for affordable 2010 options.
- Generally speaking, the Red Sox are reluctant to deal their top young pitching.
- The Indians are relatively deep at catcher, with Kelly Shoppach and prospect Carlos Santana.
- Red Sox first base prospect Lars Anderson could also appeal to the Indians.
- The Pirates initially asked for Craig Stammen or Garret Mock in their recent deal with the Nats, but Mike Rizzo wasn't willing to deal them.
- The Phillies discussed Pedro Martinez, since there are few good fits for them on the trade market now.
- Heyman says Doug Davis makes sense for the Brewers.
- A D'Backs person says "[Dan] Haren stays," even though many of his teammates are believed to be available.
- Heyman names the Yankees as the early favorites to sign Aroldis Chapman.
With the exception of Jon Lester, who's expected to sign at any moment, the Red Sox have agreed to 2009 contracts with every player on their 40-man roster. (Information courtesy of Sean McAdam with the Boston Herald).
Jacoby Ellsbury, Justin Masterson, Jed Lowrie, Clay Buchholz and Wes Littleton have finalized contracts in recent days. Ellsbury will make $449.5K in '09. Masterson will earn $441K. These are guys with zero to three years of MLB service time.
9:59pm: Ian Browne of MLB.com weighs in on Bard. He discusses the catching situation, and in particular, how the Red Sox will use Bard if free-agent Jason Varitek returns to the franchise.
SI.com points out Penny's Interleague numbers: 7-11 with a 5.08 ERA in 24 appearances against American League opponents. Penny has spent his entire career in the National League.
8:41pm: Rob Bradford of WEEI.com spoke with Brad Penny, who confirmed his deal with the Boston Red Sox.
“There were a lot of teams involved,” said Penny in a phone conversation. “But I wanted to go somewhere where I knew we had a great chance at winning, and Boston is that place.”
Bradford adds that Penny will be in Boston on Jan. 7 to take his physical and will begin his throwing program next week.
Bradford also updates the status of Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, who has started exercises on his throwing shoulder, which is earlier than in years past. Bradford's post states that the injury that plagued Beckett at the end of the 2008 season has subsided. The injury centered around the intercostal muscles near the ribs and not the oblique as previously thought.
The Bard agreement is a nonguaranteed major-league deal worth $1.6MM. According to McAdam, Bard is viewed as a backup, but he could see more time depending upon what Boston decides to do at catcher.
Bard, 31 in March, spent seven games with the Red Sox in 2006 before Boston traded him to the Padres. He hit .202 in 57 games with San Diego in 2008.
McAdam has more on the Brad Penny deal, too. The agreement, a one-year deal with a base salary of $5MM, will be finalized Monday. Incentives and performance bonuses can increase the total deal another $3MM if Penny pitches more than 160 innings, McAdam reports.
Penny, 31 in May, went 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA in 17 starts and two relief appearances in 2008 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The right-hander played 4.5 seasons for the Dodgers. He played with the Florida Marlins from 2000 until he was traded in 2004.
With the addition of Penny, the Boston rotation now consists of Penny, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jon Lester.
The move also allows righty Justin Masterson to remain in a setup role for closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Links for Saturday...
- Jason Michaels is confused by the lack of interest from the Pirates, who have said they want him back.
- Khalil Greene says he's frustrated to have let the Padres down and Tim Sullivan writes that it wasn't for lack of intensity. The Padres still won't be dropping their grievance against Greene.
- Buster Olney expects Mark Prior to sign a minor-league deal with the Padres.
- Jason Beck writes that the Tigers could afford to trade either Jeff Larish or Matt Joyce in a deal for Jack Wilson. Detroit has other weaknesses to address though, so Beck thinks they could hold onto their trade chips and sign a player like Adam Everett.
- Arbitration could work for both Jason Varitek and the Red Sox, suggests Sean McAdam.
- Tony Massarotti has five reasons to keep Justin Masterson in the bullpen.
- The Angels signed South Korean righty Pil Joon Jang to a minor league contract.
- Jay Jaffe plays Yankees GM at Baseball Prospectus.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo ranks the best Rule 5 Draft selections since 1990.
- Tom Verducci looks back at the career Greg Maddux had.
Today is free agent Cliff Floyd's birthday. He is 36 years young. His knees are not. Also, on this date 18 years ago, the San Diego Padres sent Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter to the Blue Jays for Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez, in one of the biggest trades ever featuring young, proven talent. Got one that can top that? Let's hear it in the comments...With little action so far this year, the Hot Stove Season is ugly, Don Mossi ugly. Let's take a look at what is being written in the blogosphere...
- Mets Geek takes a look at three recent rumored deals that may be sitting on Omar Minaya's desk and ponders whether or not the Mets should make each trade.
- The Detroit Tigers Weblog breaks down what a Jack Wilson trade would mean for the Tigers.
- Fire Brand of the American League feels that with the recent additions to the bullpen, the Red Sox may be better suited to insert Justin Masterson into the rotation, rather than sign a high-priced free agent.
- Ump Bump suggests that the Angels could get more bang for the buck if they sign Adam Dunn over Mark Teixeira.
- The 'Burgh Blues picks through the scraps and identifies eight players they would like to see the Pirates invite to Spring Training, including Richie Sexson, Sidney Ponson, Mark Prior and Matt Clement.
- MLB Notebook takes a look at the big guns in the free agent market and feels that the Yankees are no longer in a position to set the pace. Rather, they argue that the Angels now control the market.
- East Windup Chronicle feels that some are underestimating the amount of potential Major League talent playing in Japan, noting the number is "at least 30" and considerably more if they had the opportunity to start in the minors out of high school.
- Bernies Crew likes the Jorge Julio signing by the Brewers, noting the move gives the team much needed flexibility and depth in the bullpen.
The Texas Rangers have excess catching, and the Tigers, Reds, and Red Sox are all looking to benefit from that surplus.
T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com has the Tigers and Reds at the top of the list of teams interested in the oldest of Texas' catchers, Gerald Laird. Laird is arbitration eligible, and therefore the most attractive option for a trade from the Rangers' perspective. Joshua Roenicke of the Reds and Zach Miner from the Tigers are mentioned as potential trade bait in exchange for Laird.
Sullivan says the Red Sox are more interested in one of Texas' younger catchers: either Jarrod Saltalamacchia, or Taylor Teagarden. Clay Buchholz would not be included in any deal, but Michael Bowden and Justin Masterson may be available.
In a separate article that followed from a conference call with Texas GM Jon Daniels, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News points out that the Rangers are not in cost cutting mode. A Laird trade might give that appearance. Another note from Grant's article - the Rangers aren't in on Koji Uehara or Kenshin Kawakami.
- The interest shown in Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla has been "tentative at best."
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels wants Clay Buchholz from the Red Sox for one of his catchers, but Sullivan says the Sox made it clear Buchholz is not available under any circumstances. Sullivan suggests the Sox might be more inclined to trade Justin Masterson or Michael Bowden if they bolster their minor league pitching depth by signing Junichi Tazawa.
- Sullivan wonders if swapping John Mayberry Jr. for Greg Golson gives the Rangers the outfield depth to trade Marlon Byrd (perhaps because Golson is capable of playing center field).
- A club official told Sullivan it's "doubtful" that the Rangers would be interested in Jose Valverde.
- Wes Littleton has drawn trade interest; he was designated for assignment last week.
According to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, a slew of catchers are being shopped to the Red Sox. Among them: Jeff Mathis, Mike Napoli, Brian Schneider, Miguel Montero, John Buck, Ramon Hernandez, Bengie Molina, Carlos Santana, Kelly Shoppach, Victor Martinez, Jesus Flores, Kenji Johjima, Jeff Clement, Yorvit Torrealba, and the Rangers' guys. Silverman says the Braves, Cardinals, and Rays also have catchers available. It seems that teams are asking for players like Justin Masterson, Clay Buchholz, or Lars Anderson in some cases.
On the Jason Varitek front, Scott Boras told the AP yesterday that he's had no financial discussions with the Red Sox. He expects the matter to be discussed after Thanksgiving. Curt Schilling commented last week about Varitek possibly playing fewer games in 2009, but Boras shot down the idea of a reduced role.
The Red Sox traded center fielder Coco Crisp to the Royals for reliever Ramon Ramirez today; tip of the cap to Brian McRae for the scoop. Let's round up the reactions and consequences.
- MLB.com's Dick Kaegel says Royals GM Dayton Moore will now attempt to rebuild his bullpen, perhaps by trading an outfielder or first baseman. Kaegel says "word from Chicago downplays the Cubs' reputed interest" in Mark Teahen.
- MLB.com's Ian Browne says Red Sox GM Theo Epstein will bring in a fourth outfielder to replace Crisp. Browne suggests free agents Gabe Kapler or Rocco Baldelli.
- Ken Davidoff says the Sox now have the flexibility to move Justin Masterson into the rotation, reducing the leverage of the agents for Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett.
- Craig Brown of Royals Authority expects the Royals to trade Teahen now.
- Dave Cameron gives the slight edge to the Royals in the trade.
- According to ESPN's Peter Gammons, the Reds were also part of the "surprisingly small market for Crisp."
- Matt Porter of the Boston Globe profiles Ramirez.
- ESPN's Keith Law says both teams may be disappointed, and 2008 may have been Ramirez's career year.
Let's take a look at Peter Gammons' Saturday blog post.
- Gammons indicates that Brad Penny is working hard this offseason, and teams such as the Cardinals, Red Sox, Rangers, and Blue Jays "appreciate" his past success.
- The Mets are apparently worried about Bobby Jenks' declining strikeout rate, a sentiment echoed by Joel Sherman. Sherman talked to a Mets official who said the chances of acquiring Jenks are "close to zero."
- The Rangers apparently wanted Clay Buchholz or two of Justin Masterson/Nick Hagadone/Michael Bowden for Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Red Sox aren't biting.
- The Rangers would probably have to trade Hank Blalock ($6.2MM) to make room for Kerry Wood.