Kelly Shoppach Rumors

West Links: Headley, Scutaro, Rockies, Rangers

Hanley Ramirez has been a Dodger for all of four days, but he's already hit a game-winning homer against the rival Giants. Here's the latest from Hanley's new division and its AL counterpart…

  • Chase Headley of the Padres is coveted by the Athletics, Orioles, and Indians, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). It doesn't appear as though Oakland is a match for the San Diego third baseman, however.
  • The Giants will pay $1.75MM of Marco Scutaro's contract according to Heyman (on Twitter), leaving the Rockies on the hook for just $500K or so. Troy Renck of The Denver Post notes (on Twitter) that Colorado has saved $2.8MM by trading Scutaro and Jeremy Guthrie.
  • The Rangers need help at backup catcher according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, and he reports that they had scouts in attendance to possibly watch Kelly Shoppach tonight (on Twitter).

Mets Have Considered Kelly Shoppach

The Mets are looking for an upgrade behind the plate and they're rumored to have interest in Ramon Hernandez of the Rockies. According to MLB.com's Peter Gammons (on Twitter), they have considered Kelly Shoppach as an alternative if the price to land Hernandez is too high, however.

New York's backstops have produced a .244/.303/.298 batting line this season, the third worst catcher OPS in the NL. Shoppach has put up a .269/.358/.527 line while backing up Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and he's historically done most of his damage against left-handers. As Gammons notes, a trade would allow the Red Sox to bring Ryan Lavarnway up from Triple-A, where he's hitting .306/.395/.455.


Red Sox Notes: Sweeney, Bard, Aviles, Ross

The Red Sox head into the All-Star break 2.5 games out of the Wild Card race with a 43-43 record. Here are the latest notes and rumors surrounding the team:



Mets Interested In Ramon Hernandez

1:35pm: The Mets see the Rockies' desire to trade Hernandez as a salary dump and are unwilling to offer much of a prospect in return, writes Sherman.

1:10pm: Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets the asking price for Hernandez is still high, so it's doubtful anything will happen in the next two weeks.

11:20am: Nothing is imminent between the Mets and Rockies but talks could accelerate when Hernandez comes off of the disabled list this week, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post.

10:22am: The Mets are very interested in Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez, a source tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Other backstops that interest GM Sandy Alderson & Co. include Kelly Shoppach of the Red Sox and the Mariners' Miguel Olivo.

One source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that the discussions are serious enough that he believes that Hernandez will wind up as a Met, though he stopped short of offering a guarantee.  The source added that Alderson was trying to expand the deal to include left-handed reliever Matt Reynolds.

Rubin notes that Rockies like Mets infielder Justin Turner and tried to acquire him last offseason before obtaining Marco Scutaro.  He suggests that the Mets could get a deal done without losing key minor leaguers and instead draw from the likes of shortstop Wilfredo Tovar, right-hander Domingo Tapia, outfielder Matt Den Dekker, and left-hander Josh Edgin.

Hernandez is nearly ready to return to action after suffering a hand injury, but Wilin Rosario has since taken over as Colorado's starting catcher.  The 36-year-old is in the first season of a two-year, $6.4MM pact.


Stark On Garza, Orioles, Braves, Phillies, Headley

Arizona general manager Kevin Towers says he’s been impressed by Mike Trout and Bryce Harper from an offensive and defensive standpoint, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports. "They can beat you on the basepaths. They impact the game defensively,” Towers said. “They can beat you with key hits or the long ball. They're both very special." Here are Stark’s latest rumors from around MLB…

  • One American League executive says the Cubs are basing their asking price for Matt Garza on last summer’s Ubaldo Jimenez deal. This means it’ll take two controllable, young players with upside to pry the right-hander away from Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein.
  • Other teams say the Orioles are involved in the Garza talks. However, Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy aren’t going to be available in summer trade talks with any club.
  • The Braves are looking for "an impact starting pitcher" and they’ve scouted trade candidate Jason Vargas extensively
  • The Angels are desperate to add a really good bullpen piece and would dangle Peter Bourjos in the right deal, according to rival teams.
  • One executive doesn’t expect Luke Gregerson of the Padres to become available, though there would be heavy demand if San Diego were willing to listen.
  • Another executive suggests the Red Sox could trade Kelly Shoppach and call Ryan Lavarnway up from the minor leagues.
  • The Twins continue to tell teams they expect to hold onto Josh Willingham.
  • The Marlins are telling rival teams they haven’t discussed becoming sellers this summer. The Phillies also seem to want to add, not subtract. The Phils are considering a long list of relievers and have asked the Padres about Chase Headley.
  • The Diamondbacks have “window-shopped” for bullpen depth, Stark writes. Towers says he prefers his current team, now 38-37, to the one that won the NL West a year ago.
  • Stark also reported on the Blue Jays' approach to the trade deadline and you can read the details here.

Cafardo On Red Sox, D’Backs, Nats, Oswalt, Ichiro

The Red Sox and Phillies, two teams that played each other this weekend, took very opposite paths, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  The Phillies spent $50MM over four years for Jonathan Papelbon while the Red Sox went for the low-cost approach with arbitration-eligible Andrew Bailey.  So far, things have worked out for both clubs, but in different ways.  Papelbon has converted all of his save opportunities while Boston saved themselves a nice chunk of change while filling in for Bailey just fine with Alfredo Aceves.  Here's more from Cafardo..

  • The Diamondbacks are now among the teams that may have interest in Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, as GM Kevin Towers is looking to upgrade offensively at the infield corners.  The Reds and Giants are also in need of upgrades. Of course, the Sox would have to decide whether Will Middlebrooks can handle the position.
  • The Red Sox called the Nationals after catcher Wilson Ramos went down, but they said they would stay in-house.  Lately, the Nats have been scouting teams who have depth behind the dish, and Boston is one.  Kelly Shoppach would be available, as the Sox could call up Ryan Lavarnway.
  • The initial reports on Roy Oswalt’s sessions with Boston and Philadelphia were good, but not great. "Not in midseason form by any means," said one scout. “His fastball was off a tick, but he’ll get that up. He wasn’t throwing too much secondary stuff, but he looked fluid. It probably would take him a few weeks to get ready, but everybody’s going to need pitching a month from now, so it’s a good investment for down the road."
  • Mariners rightfielder Ichiro Suzuki is in the final year of his contract and there’s some reason to believe retirement is a possibility.  Those who know him don’t think that he wants to play for anyone but the M's.

Catching Rumors: Shoppach, Nationals

MLB catchers have combined for a .244/.316/.388 line this year and they're preventing 30% of stolen base attempts. Here are some catching rumors from around baseball…

  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com suggests Kelly Shoppach of the Red Sox is likely popular in trade talks right now (Twitter link). The Angels and Nationals are among the clubs with possible interest in catching depth and Jarrod Saltalamacchia's emergence may make Shoppach expendable. The Red Sox could call Ryan Lavarnway up if necessary.
  • The Nationals don’t sound overly interested in trading for a catcher, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Sandy Leon and Wilson Ramos are on the disabled list, so the Nats are relying on Jesus Flores and Carlos Maldonado for now.

AL East Notes: Garcia, Shoppach, Red Sox, Hughes

Items out of the American League East..

  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes that Freddy Garcia could wind up as trade bait for the Yankees but there are a number of complications, including his $4MM salary.
  • The Marlins are a possible fit for the Yankees if they look to trade Garcia, as Miami has the payroll flexibility to take him on and the pitcher has a good relationship with manager Ozzie Guillen, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.  However, Olney notes (via Twitter) that all five Marlins starters are looking good at the moment.
  • The Red Sox have no plans to deal back-up catcher Kelly Shoppach, a source told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.  As a free agent signing, Boston would have to get approval from Shoppach in any trade made prior to June 15th.
  • In an interview on WEEI, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that the club has been working diligently to find ways to make the new Collective Bargaining Agreement work for them, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.  
  • In addition to Garcia, Phil Hughes could quickly emerge as a trade candidate for the Yankees as well, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Red Sox Sign Kelly Shoppach

9:23pm: The Red Sox have announced the signing in a press release. Crasnick tweets that Shoppach can also earn another $400K in performance bonuses, raising the potential value of the deal to $1.75MM.

9:35am: The Red Sox have agreed to sign Kelly Shoppach to a one-year, $1.35MM deal, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). The deal will be announced today, Crasnick reports.

Shoppach, 31, hit just .176/.268/.339 in 253 plate appearances for the Rays in 2011, but he led the American League by preventing 41% of stolen base attempts. The Red Sox selected Shoppach in the second round of the 2001 draft. He made his MLB debut with the 2005 Red Sox before Boston shipped him to Cleveland in the Coco Crisp deal. The Rays declined Shoppach's option after the 2011 season and signed Jose Molina soon afterward.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia figures to be Boston's primary catcher in 2012 and with Ryan Lavarnway and Luis Exposito also on the 40-man roster, it doesn't appear that the Red Sox have room for longtime backstop Jason Varitek. The 39-year-old switch hitter posted a .221/.300/.324 line in 250 plate appearances this past season.


Quick Hits: Mills, Madson, Twins, Danks, Prado

On a day when the Blue Jays adopted a familiar-looking "new" logo, here are some news items to carry us into the weekend….

  • If the Astros fire Brad Mills, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports believes Mills could reunite with Terry Francona as the latter's bench coach for a future managing vacancy.  Morosi also lists Rangers executives A.J. Preller and Thad Levine and Rays executives Andrew Friedman and Gerry Hunsicker as wish list candidates for Jim Crane if he removes Ed Wade as Houston's general manager.  It would be the second stint as Astros' GM for Hunsicker, who ran the team from 1996-2004.
  • Ryan Madson could be one of several free agents to lose his Type A status under the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.  Such an adjustment would help Madson, as clubs with unprotected first-round draft picks currently have to give up that pick in order to sign the closer.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that Denard Span and Ben Revere won't be traded this winter.  Minnesota could lose both Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel to free agency this offseason.
  • The White Sox didn't add Jordan Danks to their 40-man roster, and Jim Margalus of the South Side Sox speculates that this could be a hint that Chicago is preparing to part ways with John Danks.  The elder Danks brother has drawn strong interest on the trade market.
  • The Braves "seem to undervalue [Martin Prado's] skills," writes Fangraphs' Jason Roberts, who thinks Atlanta may not get proper market value in exchange for the utilityman in a deal. 
  • Right-hander Darrell Rasner has signed a new contract with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, reports NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman.  Matt Sosnick, Rasner's agent, tells Newman the contract is worth $1.5MM plus performance bonuses.  Rasner last appeared in the majors as a Yankee in 2008 and has pitched for Rakuten ever since.
  • The Blue Jays, Cardinals, Mariners, Red Sox and Twins are all listed as possible suitors for Kelly Shoppach by ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link).