Michael Bowden Rumors

Red Sox Close To Acquiring Marlon Byrd

2:23pm: The deal remains probable but timing issues remain, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  The Cubs are likely to pay most of Byrd's remaining $6.5MM salary and Red Sox pitcher Michael Bowden is in play.

2:19pm: The structure of Byrd's deal could help the Red Sox' payroll for luxury tax purposes, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com. If the Cubs sent $5.5MM to Boston to offset the outfielder's salary, then it would actually decrease the Red Sox' payroll number that sum would be subtracted from Byrd's $5MM average annual salary.

The veteran is set to earn $6.5MM in the final year of a three-year, $15MM deal.

1:34pm: Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine acknowledged to reporters that the club's talks with the Cubs are advanced, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald“The talks have been good talks, from what I gather,” Valentine said. “Ben [Cherington] will try to get as good a player as he can get.”

12:17pm: The Cubs have been actively attempting to trade Byrd according to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. A trade with the Red Sox is not final, but Bradford hears that it is "probable." Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter) that Boston has looked at other outfield options as well.

10:59am: The Red Sox are close to acquiring Marlon Byrd from the Cubs, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe. Boston has been actively exploring the outfield market following Jacoby Ellsbury's shoulder injury.

Byrd, 34, has just three singles and one walk in 47 plate appearances this season, resulting in a .070/.149/.070 batting line. He hit .276/.324/.395 in 482 plate appearances last season while missing time with multiple fractures after taking a pitch to the face, an injury that occurred in Fenway Park. Byrd is in the final season of his three-year, $15MM contract and will earn $6.5MM this year. He is not in Chicago's lineup this afternoon.

Ellsbury's subluxed his right shoulder last week and there is still not timetable for his return. Carl Crawford is also on the shelf with wrist and elbow problems, leaving the Red Sox with an outfield of Jason Repko, Ryan Sweeney, Cody Ross, and Darnell McDonald. Byrd has played center field exclusively during his time with the Cubs, though he has experience in all three outfield spots.

If completed, this will be the first real trade between the two teams since Theo Epstein left the Red Sox to take over as Chicago's president of baseball operations. The two sides did work out the compensation package for Epstein, however.

Quick Hits: Wright, Bowden, Jurrjens

The Rays locked Evan Longoria up to a historic six-year, $17.5MM extension on this date in 2008. Then a rookie with just six games of experience, Longoria has since evolved into one of the game's top players. Here are today's links…

Red Sox Designate Bowden, Exposito For Assignment

The Red Sox have designated Michael Bowden and Luis Exposito for assignment, tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com.  The moves were made to allow Boston to promote Jason Repko and Nate Spears.

Bowden, 25, was one of three supplemental first-round picks by Boston in 2005 along with Clay Buchholz and Jed Lowrie.  The right-hander has a 3.27 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in parts of four Triple-A seasons.  Bowden has also appeared in 39 big league games for the Red Sox over the last five years. 

Exposito, also 25, moved up to Triple-A Pawtucket last season and hit .242/.298/.367 with eight homers in 359 plate appearances.  The catcher was briefly called up to the Red Sox last June but did not appear in a game.

AL East Notes: Blue Jays, Blanton, Yankees, Pineda

On this day in 1966, the Orioles acquired catcher Cam Carreon from the Indians in exchange for leftfielder Lou Piniella.  Sweet Lou became an everyday major leaguer in 1969 with the Royals and made his way back to the American League East with the Bombers in 1974.  Here's what's happening in the AL East today..

  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos scouted today's Phillies game and left after Joe Blanton exited the game, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  
  • Even though Brandon League has blossomed into an All-Star closer for the Mariners, Anthopoulos has no regrets about the trade that shipped League to Seattle and brought Brandon Morrow to Toronto, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.  The Blue Jays signed Morrow to three-year, $21MM contract extension this winter with a team option for 2015.
  • Red Sox right-hander Michael Bowden is out-of-options and fighting to make the big league roster, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.  The 25-year-old appeared in 14 games for the BoSox last season.
  • There's a great deal of excitement surrounding Michael Pineda as he gets set for his first year in pinstripes, but GM Brian Cashman is looking to pump the brakes on fans' expectations for him, writes Jeff Bradley of the Star-Ledger.  Cashman doesn't view Pineda as an "instant number two" but instead as a long-term asset with a great deal of promise.

AL East Notes: Bowden, Angelos, Jones

Four of the five AL East teams — the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles — appear to have some interest in Cuban outfield prospect Jorge Soler. Here are the latest links from the division…

  • Rob Bradford of WEEI.com explains that the future of out-of-options right-hander Michael Bowden may be closely linked to his Spring Training performance. For MLBTR's complete list of out of options players on the Red Sox and around the league click here.
  • An Orioles official tells Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun that there's "absolutely no truth" to rumors owner Peter Angelos is considering selling the team.
  • The Orioles would have to offer Adam Jones an extension of at least five years for him to sign long-term, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Rosenthal explores the timeline for a possible Jones trade, pointing out that the Braves were among the teams that inquired on the center fielder this offseason. Jones avoided arbitration with the Orioles last night, agreeing to a $6.15MM contract for 2012. He’s under team control through 2013.

AL East Notes: Red Sox, Maddon, Darvish, Ortiz

Some interesting items to pass along from around the AL "Beast" …

  • The Red Sox were gauging trade interest in some of their out-of-options pitchers at the GM Meetings this week, a source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Franklin Morales, Andrew Miller, Felix Doubront, Michael Bowden and Scott Atchison are all out of options but aren't locks to make next year's bullpen, according to Speier, so Boston may decide to add or remove some of these players from the 40-man roster based on relative trade interest.
  • The Rays are hopeful of extending the contract of manager Joe Maddon, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.com. Maddon is entering the final year of a three-year extension he signed in 2009.
  • The Yankees may shy away from pursuing Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish if he's posted because of the club's history with busts Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa, opines Heyman (Twitter link), although owner Hal Steinbrenner told reporters, such as the New York Post's Joel Sherman and Newsday's Ken Davidoff, that the team will evaluate each player on a case-by-case basis.
  • The Blue Jays are interested in free agent DH David Ortiz, tweets Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.
  • Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano said that last month's rumors that he was angling for a contract extension was the result of a joke gone awry, according to Spanish-language Web site DiarioLibre.com“I’m not thinking about the contract. My lawyer told a journalist as a joke that I was looking for a contract extension, and that’s what got published… I’m not thinking about that. The team has a $14MM option for next year." Thanks to MLBTR's Nick Collias for the translation.

Tomase’s Latest: Felix, Hawpe, Rays

John Tomase from the Boston Herald has some notes about several Major League topics in his latest article:

  • Tomase reminds us that at the 2009 deadline, the Red Sox reportedly offered the Mariners any five of the following prospects in exchange for Felix Hernandez: Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Josh Reddick, Yamaico Navarro, Nick Hagadone, Felix Doubront, and Justin Masterson. While a Boston official disputed the specific names, Tomase says the reports were in the ballpark.
  • Regarding a trade though, Tomase quotes King Felix himself as saying that he wants to stay in Seattle: "I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m not trying to think about it. I’d love to stay here (with the Mariners). I’m part of Seattle now and I’d like to be in Seattle."
  • San Diego's Anthony Rizzo, acquired in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, is off to a blazing start at Triple-A. Rizzo has posted a monstrous line of .400/.471/.744 with seven homers, eight doubles, and a triple through 102 PAs, but despite that production the Padres aren't giving up on Brad Hawpe yet. Manager Bud Black cites Hawpe's career success, but it'll be hard to ignore his .149/.194/.194 line much longer.
  • Manny Ramirez's abrupt retirement had many questioning a Rays' lineup that was struggling to score runs, but as Tomase points out, the Rays have gone 14-5 since Manny called it quits. The Rays were 0-6 with Manny on board.

Tomase's article also features several more quotes from Felix on his appreciation for Seattle as well and is a good read all-around.

AL East Notes: Bowden, Chavez, Cliff Lee

AL East notes, as Jon Lester gets the Opening Day nod for the Red Sox…

  • Michael Bowden told WEEI's Mike Petraglia he knows he has a slim chance to make Boston's bullpen, so he hopes to create an opportunity for himself in Triple-A.  The 24-year-old former first-round pick could be a nice trade chip for the Red Sox should a need arise; he could start for another club.
  • Athletics GM Billy Beane explained to Joel Sherman of the New York Post why he felt Eric Chavez was on a Hall of Fame career path when he locked up the third baseman for $66MM seven years ago.  Now 33 and operating on a minor league deal, Chavez appears likely to have his contract purchased by the Yankees to begin the season.  In a blog post, Sherman notes that Andruw Jones, unlike Chavez, "is creating no buzz in Yankee camp."
  • Talking to Brian Costello of the New York Post, Yankees GM Brian Cashman responded to Cliff Lee's comment that "it seems like some of the Yankee guys are getting older."  Lee never raised that issue to Cashman, who concluded, "It doesn't really matter.  It was a marriage that was not meant to be. That's life."

Odds & Ends: Chipper, Cubs, Lowell, Mets, Tigers

Links for Thursday, as Ubaldo Jimenez keeps winning…

Odds & Ends: Hardy, Tejada, Cardinals, Mariners

Here's a few links to close out the night…

  • Tony Massarotti of The Boston Globe says that the Red Sox "had been engaging with the Brewers in on-and-off discussions involving (J.J.) Hardy since the trading deadline." Massarotti's source says the Brewers wanted either Clay Buchholz or Daniel Bard, but Boston was only willing to part with Michael Bowden.
  • MLB'com's Brian McTaggart tweets that Astros' GM Ed Wade said “At this point, we’re prepared to commit to Tommy Manzella playing shortstop," but noted that Miguel Tejada could return as a third baseman.
  • Matthew Leach of MLB.com takes a look at some outfield options for the Cardinals should Matt Holliday depart as a free agent.
  • The Mariners don't really have any non-tender candidates, according to Larry Stone of The Seattle Times. He also mentions that Brandon Morrow, Jason Vargas, and Jack Hannahan fell a little short of qualifying as Super Twos. 
  • ESPN's Peter Gammons says it's possible, though highly unlikely, that the Red Sox and Josh Beckett's agent Michael Moye are so far apart during contract ngotiations that the team would consider dealing their ace. He also says that unless there is "some unexpected understanding," Beckett will hit the free agent market after 2010.
  • J.C. Bradbury debunked some common Hot Stove Myths.