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3:00pm: The Indians are indeed interested in Lackey, tweets Rosenthal. Two teams that aren’t in play, he adds, are the Angels and Brewers.
12:01pm: There’s now a “very good chance” that the Red Sox will trade John Lackey as well as Jon Lester, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter). Lackey has been known to be available for days, but there had also been speculation that Boston could work out some form of extension with the right-hander.
Lackey’s five-year, $82.5MM contract with the Red Sox contained a clause that gave Boston a 2015 club option at the league minimum in the event that he missed significant time with an elbow injury. A torn ulnar collateral ligament that required Tommy John surgery triggered that clause, making Lackey a highly appealing trade chip even to teams with the most modest of payrolls.
Lackey will likely want an extension regardless of where he ends up, Rosenthal adds (Twitter links), but that’s not necessarily an unappealing concept for teams in search of a starter that can be controlled beyond 2014. Rosenthal lists the Indians and Marlins as two such clubs.
The Dodgers and Royals have shown interest in Lackey already, and reports yesterday indicated that the Marlins may prefer Lackey to Lester, as the asking price could be lesser. However, the asking price on Lackey isn’t exactly tame, as ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported yesterday that Boston wants an established big league starter in return (presumably, one with team control beyond 2015). Indeed, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald tweets, the BoSox aren’t likely to move both Lackey and Lester without getting starting pitching in return.
In 326 2/3 innings dating back to last season, Lackey has reestablished himself as a solid big league starter. He’s posted a 3.55 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9, averaging nearly 6 2/3 innings per outing.
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has exasperated many trade partners with his negotiating style, executives tell Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Those execs say the M’s frequently inquire on a number of players, only to shift direction when a deal appears within reach. That’s not unusual for teams to do, but rival officials say Jack Z has become one of the most difficult GMs in the sport with whom to do business. In a lengthy email to FOX Sports, the Mariners GM responded by saying that the in-and-out nature of his trade conversations are typical of those that occur throughout the industry. Meanwhile, other teams are confused by the club’s recent acquisition of Kendrys Morales given the way Zduriencik has intimated that the club has limited financial breathing room. Here’s more out of the AL and NL West..
- If the Angels do add a starting pitcher, a rental probably makes more sense for them, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. The Mike Trout extension counts towards their competitive balance tax payroll next season, so they won’t have much wiggle room. Meanwhile, one industry source sees the Angels as more of a player for a starter in August when they take take advantage of available money without dealing prospects (link). The Angels have $15MM in breathing room before they surpass the tax threshold, but they are hesitant to deal more prospects after dealing six to land Joe Thatcher and Huston Street (link).
- Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego looks at Padres GM candidates A.J. Preller and Billy Eppler. Preller, an assistant GM with the Rangers, isn’t afraid to go against the grain with one exec referring to him as “eccentric.” Preller also has a rep as a grinder though his aggressiveness in signing talent from Latin America has rankled some competitors.
- The Dodgers shouldn’t trade for David Price or Jon Lester, argues Dave Cameron of Fangraphs. The Dodgers already have a strong mathematical likelihood of making the postseason and it doesn’t appear that the cost to land either of the star pitchers would be worth it for them, in Cameron’s view.
- The Giants‘ interest in Ben Zobrist of the Rays could be deepening, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com. The Giants’ pickup of Dan Uggla hasn’t moved the needle so far and Marco Scutaro is unable to play everyday due to his lingering back issues.
Here are today’s minor league transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…
- The Dodgers have signed Barry Enright to a minor league deal, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter). Across four big league seasons, Enright has made 26 starts and five relief appearances, posting a 5.57 ERA with 4.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 for the D’Backs and Angels.
- Veteran outfielder Andres Torres left the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox and is looking for an opportunity with a National League team, SB Nation’s Joon Lee reports (Twitter link). Torres enacted an out clause in his minor league deal with Boston, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reports (via Twitter). Torres ended up making 95 PA in the Sox system, hitting .275/.298/.473.
- The Royals released catcher Jesus Flores, according to the Pacific Coast League website’s transactions page. Flores inked a minor league deal with K.C. in March and posted a .698 OPS over 150 PA with Triple-A Omaha this season. The 29-year-old appeared in 311 games with the Nationals from 2007-12 and spent last season in the Dodgers’ and Rays’ farm systems.
- The Angels released southpaw Justin Thomas, who has signed a $160K contract with KIA Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization (hat tip to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net). This is Thomas’ second taste of international baseball, as he made three starts last year for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan. Thomas posted a 5.99 ERA over 20 starts for Triple-A Salt Lake City after signing a minor league deal with the Angels in January.
- The Dodgers released right-hander Juan Abreu, the team announced. Abreu posted a 7.11 ERA over 6 1/3 relief innings at Triple-A this season after signing a minor league pact with L.A. during the offseason. The righty has 6 2/3 Major League innings to his name (with a 2.70 ERA and 12 strikeouts), all with the Astros in 2011.
- The Nationals released right-hander Ryan Perry, the club announced. Picked 21st overall by the Tigers in the 2008 draft, Perry posted a 4.36 ERA and 132 strikeouts (against 84 walks) over 169 1/3 relief innings with Detroit and Washington from 2009-12.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Brewers GM Doug Melvin says he’s “been pretty aggressive as far as contacting teams,” but the trade front remains quiet, per Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel. Melvin reportedly checked in on right-handed setup men, but found the market lacking. According to Melvin, two players who surprisingly may not be dealt are LaTroy Hawkins and Chad Qualls.
- The Angels were active early and often in this season’s trade market, and GM Jerry Dipoto thinks the club is ready to stand pat, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. Per Dipoto, “We really like our team. The likelihood is that we’ll do nothing, but we will stay in touch.”
- With rumors swirling, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti thinks a trade for an elite pitcher is “unlikely,” writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Colletti is loath to part with any of his top prospects, including Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, and Julio Urias. In discussing Pederson, Colletti notes that he isn’t ready to contribute to a pennant race. Hitting southpaws and trimming his strikeout rate top Pederson’s to-do list.
- The Astros have a handful of relievers to market this July, including Qualls, Josh Fields, and Tony Sipp. The Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich reports that the trio of relievers continue to draw plenty of offers. It’s interesting to see this juxtaposed with Melvin’s expectations that the Astros intend to keep Qualls.
We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here.
- The Angels have signed pitcher Randy Wolf to a minor league deal, according to MiLB.com. Wolf has had a busy season — he was released by the Mariners near the end of spring training, opted out of his deal with the Diamondbacks, was signed and then designated for assignment by the Marlins, and then opted out of a deal with the Orioles. He appeared in six games with Miami, allowing 15 earned runs in 25 2/3 innings.
- The Giants have announced that they’ve purchased the contract of catcher Andrew Susac. Catcher Hector Sanchez will head to the 7-day DL. MLB.com ranks Susac the Giants’ third-best prospect, noting his good power and plate discipline. He’s hit .268/.379/.451 for Triple-A Fresno this year.
- Jair Jurrjens will start for Triple-A Colorado Springs today, which means he’s accepted his outright assignment, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. The Rockies designated Jurrjens for assignment earlier this week.
- The Mets will place Daisuke Matsuzaka on the disabled list with elbow trouble and purchase the contract of fellow pitcher Buddy Carlyle, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin tweets. The Mets outrighted Carlyle earlier this week. The righty has appeared in five games for the Mets this season. He posted a 2.16 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 33 1/3 innings for Triple-A Las Vegas.
Here’s the latest out of the American League:
- The Red Sox could be involved as both buyers and sellers, according to reports from ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark (Twitter links). After inquiring with the Phillies on lefty Cole Hamels, Philadelphia has sent scouts to watch Boston’s Double-A affiliate. Meanwhile, the Red Sox have sent their own “top scouts” to take a look at the Cardinals‘ New York-Penn League club over the last few days, suggesting that a deal sending Jake Peavy to St. Louis could still be in the offing.
- Though recent reports may (to some extent) suggest otherwise, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said earlier today that the team’s priority at this point is to add an “offensive piece,” as Bryan Hoch and Jake Kring-Schreifels of MLB.com report. “It still feels like the pitching needs more help, but honestly, the offense has been consistently poor throughout the entire year.” Cashman added that, while second base prospect Rob Refsnyder could be the team’s “second baseman of the future, maybe as early as next year,” he would potentially only see time in the outfield at the MLB level this year and would not represent an immediate upgrade over incumbent Brian Roberts at the keystone.
- Justin Masterson of the Indians may still be working through a rehab assignment, but that has not stopped teams from inquiring as to his availability, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer reports. Hoynes writes that the interest in Masterson suggests both that the trade market for starters is wanting for quality and that teams value players differently, with some potentially willing to bet on a return to the righty’s results from 2013. Of course, as manager Terry Francona notes, a healthy and productive Masterson could also provide a significant boost to Cleveland’s own chances.
- As they peruse the market from the buy side, the Indians are looking for players with future control rather than rentals, tweets ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden. That is unsurprising, given the team’s careful resource management and somewhat long postseason odds.
- We learned earlier today that the Tigers are expected to pursue a left-handed reliever. The club does not appear to be in the market for a left-handed hitting outfielder or an infielder to play on the left side, as Chris Iott of MLive.com reports. “I don’t know that either one of them would be real high on our priority list at this point,” said GM Dave Dombrowski.
- The Angels are unlikely to deal for a starter in advance of the trade deadline, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Though the club has some payroll available to make an addition, it is hesitant to ship out more prospects after a series of recent moves.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
There were plenty of scouts on hand for the Phillies‘ matchup tonight, as ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (links to Twitter). Among the players presumably being eyed were starter Cliff Lee, fresh off a lengthy DL stint, and southpaw reliever Antonio Bastardo. Clubs with representatives on-hand included the Tigers, Blue Jays, Orioles, Brewers, Angels, Royals, Giants, Rangers, Diamondbacks, Pirates, and Mariners, though Crasnick adds that all were not necessarily looking at Lee in particular. The return start for Lee did not go well for the veteran lefty, as he surrendered 12 base hits (11 singles and one long ball) and six earned runs to go with three strikeouts and a walk over 5 2/3 innings.
Here’s more from the game’s eastern divisions:
- The Phillies are telling clubs that starter Cole Hamels is not available, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports on Twitter. Hamels looks to be the best trade piece on the club’s current MLB roster, but Philadelphia may well prefer to keep the 30-year-old as it attempts to avoid a total rebuild.
- The Yankees appear on Lee’s twenty-team no-trade list, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Lee also listed New York on last year’s version of his slate of clubs to which he can decline to be dealt.
- For the Braves, the trade deadline is likely to bring aid to the bullpen and bench, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. A left-handed reliever has long been on the club’s list, and Bowman says that the club might also look to add a bench bat that would improve the team’s anemic pinch-hitting results. As Bowman notes, Jordan Schafer and Ryan Doumit have both largely been ineffective in that role.
- The Rays now seem more likely than ever to take the decision whether to deal David Price right up until the trade deadline, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. “I think they take it down to the wire,” an executive told Sherman. “That allows them to make sure they know who they are while making a couple teams sweat to the end that one of their competitors are going to get him. … It wouldn’t surprise me if Price actually ends up a July 31 decision.”
- Meanwhile, the Orioles are looking at a broad array of options to bolster their club, reports MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli. In particular, the club is looking at both starting and relief arms, and has indicated to at least three clubs that righty Miguel Gonzalez could be moved. One of those teams is the Padres, who of course hold one of the better available starters in Ian Kennedy. A.J. Burnett of the Phillies is also on Baltimore’s radar, as is Jorge De La Rosa of the Rockies, though Ghiroli says that Colorado was asking for top prospect Kevin Gausman to be included. Manager Buck Showalter indicated that executive vice president Dan Duquette remains hesitant to part with the club’s best prospects, and could ultimately take things down to the wire to get the right deal. (That, of course, was the strategy that Baltimore employed in this year’s free agent market, though last year the club started buying somewhat early at the deadline.)
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Here are some recent minor league transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…
- Two minor league signings were posted today by the Athletics, as the club landed righty Tim Alderson and outfielder Zeke DeVoss, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Alderson, a 25-year-old former first-rounder and top-100 prospect, has seen his career stall. He has struggled to a 6.12 ERA in 50 relief innings this year for the Orioles’ top affiliate. DeVoss, just 24 years old, was a third-round pick in 2011 but failed to progress this year for the Cubs.
- The Angels have outrighted infielder Ian Stewart to Triple-A, according to the PCL transactions page. He was designated for assignment two days ago. It is not yet clear whether Stewart has accepted the assignment. (He has the right to choose free agency because he has previously been outrighted.)
- The Brewers shifted right-hander Jim Henderson from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day, the club announced via Twitter. Henderson’s 40-man roster spot will be filled by righty Jeremy Jeffress, who contract was selected by the Brewers in a corresponding move.
- The Giants signed righty Mitchell Boggs, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports. Boggs had a 9.50 ERA, 18 strikeouts and 17 walks over 36 relief innings for the White Sox Triple-A affiliate this season before being released earlier this month. A reliable contributor for the Cardinals’ bullpen from 2010-12, Boggs developed major control issues last season, and the Giants are now his fourth organization in a little over a year’s time.
- The Royals released right-hander Ramon Troncoso, the club announced last week. Troncoso signed a minor league contract with K.C. in March and produced a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 K/9 and an even 3.0 K/BB rate over 44 IP with Triple-A Omaha. Troncoso pitched 30 relief innings for the White Sox in 2013, his first taste of big league action since 2011.
- The Phillies released utilityman Rusty Ryal, according to Matt Provence, media relations director for Triple-A LeHigh Valley (Twitter link). Ryal, 31, appeared in 134 games with the Diamondbacks from 2009-10 and hasn’t been back to the majors since, playing in the minors for five different organizations since. He signed a minor league deal with the Phillies in June.
Buck, a client of ACES, was designated for assignment and eventually released by the Mariners earlier this month when after hitting .226/.293/.286 in 27 games (92 plate appearances). The 34-year-old will provide some veteran catching depth for the Halos, who have been using a productive combination of Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger behind the dish this season.
In parts of 11 big league seasons between the Royals, Marlins, Mets, Pirates and Mariners, Buck is a .234/.301/.398 hitter with 134 home runs. He’s gunned down 25 percent of opposing base-stealers in his career and was at 21 percent in 2014 with Seattle.