Michael Bowden Rumors

Gammons’ Latest: Penny, Jenks, Salty

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.

Rangers Rumors: Blalock, Blake, Catchers

Next up we’ll dig into the latest Rangers rumors, courtesy of Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.

  • The Rangers are expected to pick up their $6.2MM option on Hank Blalock today.  It doesn’t seem that Blalock will spend much time at third base if he’s with the Rangers in 2009.  Instead, he’d play first and DH.  Of course, a trade is possible.
  • The Rangers may look at outside options for third base, and they’ve been in touch with Casey Blake‘s agent.  The Rangers have an eye on defense, which might rule out Garrett Atkins.  Grant finds Joe Crede questionable, though he might be a decent fit given his glovework.
  • The focus of the GM meetings for Texas has been shopping catching for pitching.  The main suitors are the Red Sox and Marlins, with the Tigers a fallback.  Names in the mix could include Scott Olsen, Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, and Justin Masterson.  Over at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson profiles the Rangers’ four catchers.

Red Sox Rumors: Bay, Tazawa, Kawakami, Lugo

Collecting today’s Red Sox rumors and links…

  • Nick Cafardo says the Red Sox did not meet with C.C. Sabathia‘s agent and he doesn’t appear to be in their plans.
  • The Sox are eyeing southpaw reliever Billy Traber, according to WEEI’s Alex Speier.
  • Scott Boras believes Derek Lowe would be a good fit in Boston or New York.  Nick Cafardo says Lowe would like to return to Boston, maybe even at a slight discount.
  • Jason Bay‘s agents say he’s loving Boston and is open to a contract extension.
  • When asked about the possibility of Manny Ramirez signing with the Yankees, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein basically said it’s not his concern.
  • Otherwise, the theme of Epstein’s comments was flexibility.  Justin Masterson could be a starter or reliever, and Epstein won’t get hung up on acquiring any one player.
  • Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says the Red Sox are heavily involved on Junichi Tazawa, though the Braves and Mariners are after him as well.  The Sox also like Kenshin Kawakami and may have interest in Paul Byrd and Javier Vazquez.
  • Cafardo believes the Mets and White Sox have interest in Julio Lugo.  It would have to be a bad contract swap.  Cafardo adds that the Red Sox view Jacoby Ellsbury as their starting center fielder, and there has been trade interest in Coco Crisp.
  • Boston’s luxury tax threshold for 2009 is $160.5MM.
  • By tomorrow the Red Sox should receive the Jason Varitek book compiled by the Boras corporation.  Boras gave a ridiculous Varitek pitch to the media; click the link for quotes.  Epstein will meet with Boras today to discuss his clients.
  • The Red Sox plan to talk to the Rangers, with Taylor Teagarden, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Gerald Laird as possibilities.  For Teagarden, the Red Sox would probably have to give up Clay Buchholz or Michael Bowden.

Red Sox To Pursue Peavy?

The Red Sox could make a pitch for Jake Peavy, according to Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald.

"It stands to reason the Padres would want two of the team’s three best young arms – Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden and Justin Masterson – plus another position player.

If the Sox were to include highly regarded first baseman Lars Anderson in a package with two of their best pitching prospects, talks between the clubs would certainly become interesting. But officials with other clubs believe the Sox consider Anderson to be virtually untouchable."

Beyond the names mentioned above, Sox prospects Ryan Kalish and Josh Reddick need more seasoning before they can be considered "near major league ready." The Red Sox didn’t let go of their prospects for Johan Santana so I’m not sure they’d do so for Peavy, unless they’ve lost any confidence in Clay Buchholz.

Gammons’ Latest: Martin, Dunn, Quentin

Here’s the latest blog post from ESPN’s Peter Gammons

  • Takashi Saito is mentioned as a free agent this winter, but I believe it’s a situation where he can only re-sign, return to Japan, or retire.
  • Gammons heard talk that Russell Martin could be switched permanently to third base.  In that scenario, the Dodgers would sign a pitching-oriented catcher such as Jason Varitek.  Would that be a good move?
  • Adam Dunn knows it’s cliche, but he intends to prioritize winning over money when he hits free agency.
  • The D’Backs were asking a lot for Carlos Quentin last winter, with the White Sox, Red Sox, and Indians interested.  Josh Byrnes was not able to get Michael Bowden, Jed Lowrie, or Cliff Lee.  Arizona ended up getting Chris Carter from Chicago and flipping him to Oakland in the Dan Haren deal.  Carter mashed 39 home runs in A ball this year.  You can’t say the Diamondbacks gave Quentin away for nothing, since they acquired a crucial component for the Haren trade.
  • A year ago, Yankees GM Brian Cashman asked Joe Torre and his coaches their opinion on a Robinson Cano for Orlando Hudson swap.  Don Mattingly and Larry Bowa were heavily in favor of keeping Cano.

CC Sabathia Links

The CC Sabathia trade is complete, but there’s still some good info floating about.

Red Sox Leading For Santana?

UPDATE, 11-29-07 at 10:30pm: The Yankees’ offer stands at Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera, and maybe Jose TabataPhil Hughes is a big upgrade over Kennedy, and the Twins are insisting on him.  Meanwhile the Red Sox are still pushing Coco Crisp while the Twins are holding out for Jacoby Ellsbury.  If one of the teams cracks on Hughes or Ellsbury this thing might get done.

UPDATE, 11-29-07 at 8pm: Despite what Jon Heyman said, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo seems to think the Red Sox are still in the lead for Santana.  It would be the package named below by Olney.  Nothing is done yet, as Santana’s agent hasn’t been approached about an extension.  Meanwhile Cafardo indicates that the Yankees may part with Robinson Cano after all.  One other note: Peter Gammons suggests that the Sox would have to redo Josh Beckett’s reasonable deal if they acquire Santana and give him $20MM+.

UPDATE, 11-29-07 at 2:50pm: Buster Olney suggests the same package as Walters from the Red Sox, except with Michael Bowden rather than Masterson.  However the fourth player is still undetermined.  He also notes that the Yankees are simultaneously talking to the Twins.

UPDATE, 11-29-07 at 1pm: The Boston Herald has a bit more.  Basically the Red Sox are only willing to include one of Ellsbury/Buchholz/Lester, while the Twins want two from that group. 

FROM 11-29-07 at 8:30am:

Shooter Charley Walters is back with a new column of rumors and whatnot.  Remember, Walters was the one saying the Garza for Delmon rumor wouldn’t die.

  • Despite the exclusion of Jacoby Ellsbury, Walters says the Red Sox have the lead in the Johan Santana sweepstakes.  The package would be Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, Jon Lester, and Justin Masterson.  Not a bad haul.  I was thinking Lowrie might become a target of the Twins.
  • The following clubs are interested in Carlos Silva: Tigers, Mets, Phillies, and Royals.  None of those teams are new.
  • The amount of cash each club is getting this year for online media properties like MLB.com sites:  $25MM.  And don’t forget the Twins get about $20MM in revenue sharing.  Maybe that’s why they have interest in Aaron Rowand.

Red Sox Emerge As Top Buehrle Suitor

Here’s something we didn’t see coming.  According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Red Sox have emerged as the frontrunner for southpaw Mark Buehrle.  They’ve jumped ahead of the Braves and Mets on the strength of their farm system. 

Cowley says talks between Buehrle and the White Sox regarding an extension are basically dead.  Now Boston has taken center stage, even sending assistant GM Allard Baird to watch Buehrle’s last start (a typical fine effort from him). 

Cowley believes a major motivation for the Red Sox is keeping Buehrle away from the Yankees.  The Red Sox would apparently give him a five year extension.  Possible targets for Kenny Williams: Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jed Lowrie.  In my opinion: two of those guys, done deal.  Buchholz is arguably the best pitching prospect in the minors, and would make White Sox fans forget about Buehrle fairly quickly. 

Williams plans to sit back and listen to all offers first, of course.  According to Cowley, at least seven teams have made serious contact.