Kelvim Escobar Rumors
Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald says the Red Sox have kicked the tires on many free agents already, with Marco Scutaro and Kelvim Escobar the newest names. Others include Rafael Soriano, Matt Holliday, Rick Ankiel, Adrian Beltre, John Lackey, Aroldis Chapman, Billy Wagner, Mike Gonzalez, Alex Gonzalez, and, of course, Jason Bay. Silverman cautions that not all names connected to the Red Sox have "enduring news value."
Scutaro certainly makes sense for Boston; he's the best available shortstop, considering both the free agent and trade market. We ranked Scutaro the eighth-best free agent overall, perhaps a reflection of a weaker market this year. It'd be nice to see Scutaro sign with the Red Sox, as we'd get at least one of our 50 predictions right.
Aside from committing a multiyear contract to Scutaro, the Sox might have to surrender their #29 pick in the June 2010 draft to the Blue Jays. Looking at the Elias numbers, it is possible that the Jays get screwed out of a first-rounder again, as they did losing A.J. Burnett last year (of course, the Jays failed to sign James Paxton anyway). If the Red Sox sign Scutaro and any of Soriano, Gonzalez, Holliday, or Lackey, the Braves, Cardinals, or Angels would get Boston's #29 pick instead and the Jays would get their second-rounder (assuming arbitration is offered to those players).
As Silverman notes, Escobar would fit right in with the John Smoltz/Brad Penny signings of last year. Those two bombed, but here's the question - what kind of success rate should the Red Sox expect from these one-year pitcher gambles? It is OK if one out of five works out?
The Mets are busy crafting a Plan B in the event that they do not win the John Lackey sweepstakes, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. They would love to sign the market's top starter, but if they don't, they want to add from a group that includes Joel Pineiro, Randy Wolf, Ben Sheets, and Jason Marquis. According to a source, that group does not include Rich Harden.
Rosenthal and Morosi were told that the Metropolitans believe that Sheets has more upside than other hurlers coming back from injury, such as Kelvim Escobar, Erik Bedard, Mark Mulder, and Brett Myers.
Like many other clubs, the Mets are still unsure who the best consolation prize would be. Who in your estimation would be the next best thing for the Amazins?
MLB.com's Lyle Spencer answered a pile of fans' questions about the Angels' free agents, possible new signings and trade options. Here are some of the highlights...
- Spencer "has his doubts" that Los Angeles will re-sign any of its big three free agents (Chone Figgins, Vladimir Guerrero and John Lackey). He thinks the other three AL West teams would be smart to sign Guerrero given that the outfielder is "a prideful man who would have something to prove to his former employer."
- If the Angels do dip into the free-agent market, it would be for a starting pitcher. Spencer lists Randy Wolf and former Angel Jon Garland as possible targets, and also says the Halos could wait until midseason to pick up another arm a la their trade for Scott Kazmir last season.
- The Angels would "love to keep" free agent reliever Darren Oliver. Spencer thinks Oliver's Type A status will give L.A. the edge in re-signing him since other teams won't want to give up a first-round draft pick for a 38-year-old setup man.
- Spencer would re-sign Kelvim Escobar to "an incentives-laden contract" because he thinks the right-hander could have a big season if healthy.
- Utilityman Robb Quinlan will likely not be back in Anaheim, and seems to be a better fit in the National League.
- Spencer shoots down two suggested trades that would send Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, respectively, to Los Angeles. He doesn't think San Diego will move Gonzalez for attendance reasons, and thinks Tampa Bay might ask for too much in return for Crawford.
- However, a fan-suggested trade of Brandon Wood for Jeremy Guthrie might be mutually beneficial for both the Halos and Orioles. Spencer also calls a proposed Milton Bradley-for-Gary Matthews Jr. swap "an intriguing suggestion," but notes that Matthews still provides more benefit to Los Angeles than Bradley would.
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.
I can't even begin to describe the hyper-ness of these links:
- Nick Piecoro at the Arizona Republic got word that the Diamondbacks don't plan to decrease payroll from the $73 million they have on the books this year. He gives a nice rundown of what'll be due next season.
- Despite Jamie Moyer being sent to the bullpen before multiple incentives kicked in, Andy Martino at the Philadelphia Inquirer isn't convinced the move was financially motivated.
- Mark Sheldon at MLB.com thinks the Reds should pursue Bill Hall as it's a "no-risk move."
- Doug Davis is aware of the rumors swirling around him being dealt this deadline, but seems to be warm to the idea of pitching for a contender as some postseason experience can help his pending contract, says Steve Gilbert at MLB.com.
- It's appearing more and more that Luis Gonzalez will officially retire and potentially take a spot in the Diamondbacks front office, says Steve Gilbert.
- According to Dejan Kovacevic at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates have made their claim of John Meloan official and also have signed Australian free agent Jarryd Sullivan to a deal.
- Mike Scioscia isn't expecting Kelvim Escobar to return from injury this year, says Rhett Bollinger at MLB.com. Perhaps this accelerates the Angels' search for a starter.
The Angels are going to hold off on negotiating with their seven potential free agents until after the season, according to Bill Shaikin of The LA Times. The Angels will have a 15 day window to talk exclusively with their players after the World Series, but after that all teams can bid for their services.
"It's unlikely we'd do anything during this time period," General Manager Tony Reagins said Friday. "We don't want it to be a distraction. We want to focus on trying to win."
The team had discussed an extension with ace John Lackey earlier this season, but no agreement was reached. Third baseman Chone Figgins and outfielders Vladimir Guerrero and Bobby Abreu highlight the rest of the Angels' potential free agent class, which includes utility man Robb Quinlan and pitchers Kelvim Escobar and Darren Oliver.
On this day in MLBTR history, the Padres hadn't decided whether to be buyers or sellers. A lot's changed since last year, but many teams face a similar dilemma now. Here are some links for the morning...
- Coco Crisp will miss the rest of the season with a torn labrum, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports that former MLB closer Armando Benitez is pitching for the Newark Bears, hoping for another shot in the big leagues.
- Prospect Bryce Harper knows he's "not LeBron yet," according to the AP.
- Mark Teixeira says he loved playing in Atlanta and still considers it a "home" of his, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman.
- D'Backs first rounder A.J. Pollock will begin his pro career in Class A South Bend, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.
- Jeff Wilson of the Dallas Morning News says the Rangers want to improve their 'pen.
- A pair of starters may not pitch again this season. Nick Piecoro says Brandon Webb may need shoulder surgery and Mike DiGiovanna says Kelvim Escobar has a "deep ache" in his shoulder.
- Click here to listen to my discussion with the Benchwarmers on 590 KFNS in St. Louis last night.
Ken Rosenthal brings us his latest Full Count video:
- Rosenthal thinks the Mariners should consider dealing Adrian Beltre along with Erik Bedard by the deadline. The A's and Dodgers would be interested in the 29 year old. Also, Jarrod Washburn's stock is rising.
- If Kelvim Escobar makes a strong return to the Angels rotation, Jon Garland could wind up on the trading block. As it stands, Escobar is slated for relief duties initially.
- 30 year old Justin Duchscherer could be Billy Beane's best trade piece. His sparkling 1.99 ERA in combination with his being signed through this year for only $1.2MM make him a very palatable option.
Buster Olney has a new column up. Let's take a look:
- He suggests Randy Wolf as a "possible trade chip" with the Padres looking increasingly out of it this year. One problem: Wolf has veto power over trades to 14 teams. He's been decent this year, with a 4.13 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 98 innings, but nothing to get too excited over.
- Gossip item: the Mets could have had Kyle Lohse for what the Cardinals are paying ($4.25MM), only Omar Minaya passed.
- Olney doesn't see much in the speculation about the Angels wanting C.C. Sabathia. With Kelvim Escobar's rehab going well, great first-half performances from Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana, and John Lackey likely to improve going forward, why should they make a push for C.C.? Olney sees the Brewers and the Cubs as more interested parties. (Ken Rosenthal mentioned the Brewers and the Rays as C.C. suitors yesterday.) Later in the post, Olney notes that Sabathia has a 1.96 ERA in his last fourteen starts. Yowza.
- How the Rockies fare over the next two weeks could determine what becomes of Brian Fuentes.
- Olney can't decide whether the Orioles should buy or sell. What do you think?
- Roy Oswalt won't get traded, with Olney linking to the Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice for his evidence. (Oswalt has, of course, been talking like he'd prefer to be somewhere else.) Also working against a deal for Oswalt: his continued experiments with pitching to contact (to keep the ol' pitch count down) haven't been going very well this year, either. His K/9 has been declining for years, of course, but it may have reached a point of no return this season. Whatever happens, I'm sure the 'stros would prefer to move him at peak value, not right now when he has a 4.77 ERA.
- Homer Bailey, back in Triple A Louisville, isn't getting any love from the scout quoted here, who says he threw "batting practice fastballs." Bailey was 0-3 with a 8.73 ERA in the majors this year after a hotly anticipated call-up. Given the bounty of young arms they already have, the Reds would probably prefer to trade him...but alas, his value has dropped the way his curveball used to.
Kelvim Escobar's season, and perhaps even career, may be in jeopardy because of his shoulder issue. A contribution this year is a long shot. Baseball Injury Report's Rick Wilton guesses it is related to the rotator cuff. By the way, Baseball Injury Report was all over this last night; check it out and consider subscribing.
John Lackey's triceps strain takes on heightened importance with the probable loss of Escobar. Lackey, Jered Weaver, and Jon Garland is still a competitive front three. And between Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana, Dustin Moseley, and Nick Adenhart, the Halos can figure out the last two slots.
If Tony Reagins does look externally for more pitching, here are some options off the top of my head: Claudio Vargas, Jason Marquis, Matt Morris, Matt Belisle, David Wells, Jorge de la Rosa, Byung-Hyun Kim, Horacio Ramirez, Anthony Reyes, and Cliff Lee. In other words, slim pickens right now.