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The Games of the XXX Olympiad came to a close today in London. Nearly 11,000 athletes from 204 nations took part in over 300 events in 26 sports. But, none of the Olympic pagentry involved baseball. So, let's celebrate America's National Pastime with the latest news, notes and quotes:
- Not everyone in the Mets front office is sold that they can be a sustained contender moving forward with Ike Davis at first base, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. One internal option would be moving Lucas Duda in from the outfield and some believe that he would be more comfortable at first.
- Mets owner Fred Wilpon wouldn't speak with reporters following a rare on-field appearance before last night's game against the Braves, but he'll have to start answering questions soon, writes David Lennon of Newsday. There are a lot of unknowns surrounding the Mets, including what their projected payroll will be for 2013 and if the franchise is on the rebound financially.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington says Gerrit Cole, last year's top draft pick, will not be a September callup, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Sulia). "We've not talked about it internally. My gut (feeling) is no." Huntington said. "To drop him into bullpen up here in September is not something we have lot of interest in doing. We have a lot of other options, instead of rushing a young prospect." Cole is currently starting at Double-A Altoona.
- The A's had interest in Mike Aviles prior to the trade deadline, but a deal is unlikely now the Red Sox have placed the shortstop on waivers, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Slusser says the chances are slim the A's will acquire a shortstop before the August 31st deadline for playoff-roster eligibility.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Teams routinely place players on waivers, even if they don't plan on trading them, so this is not an indication that the Red Sox intend to move Shoppach or Aviles. If the players go unclaimed, the Red Sox will be able to complete a trade just as easily as they could have before the current waiver period began ten days ago.
If a team claims Shoppach or Aviles, the Red Sox will have three choices. They can let the player (and his contract) go to the claiming team, they can complete a trade with the claiming team, or they can pull the player back off of waivers. American League teams will have claiming priority on Shoppach and Aviles.
This is a running list of players who have cleared waivers, based on published reports. Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (barring a no-trade clause). This list can always be found in the sidebar under MLBTR Features. Player names are linked to the source articles.
Nick Punto, Red Sox - Punto earns $1.5MM this year and will earn the same amount in 2013.
Carl Crawford, Red Sox - Crawford has $102.5MM remaining on his contract after 2012, so he was expected to clear waivers. Crawford can block trades to two clubs, but no team can flip him to the Yankees after acquiring him from Boston.
Alfonso Soriano, Cubs – Soriano can block any trade. He earns $18MM per season through 2014.
Juan Pierre, Phillies – Pierre earns $800K in 2012 and he'll hit free agency after the season.
Joe Mauer, Twins – Mauer earns $23MM per season through 2018.
Joe Saunders, Diamondbacks – Saunders earns $6MM in 2012 and will hit free agency after the season.
Roy Oswalt, Rangers – Oswalt earns $5MM in 2012 and will hit free agency after the season.
Kevin Millwood, Mariners – Millwood earns $1MM in 2012 and will hit free agency after the season.
Carlos Marmol, Cubs - Marmol will earn $9.8MM in 2013 before hitting free agency.
The Red Sox have a 51-51 record after taking two of three from the Yankees in New York over the weekend. Here are the latest rumors surrounding the Red Sox as they host the Tigers at Fenway Park…
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Mike Aviles have drawn interest from rival teams, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports. The Red Sox are looking to add at the trade deadline, but a modest deal is more likely than a blockbuster.
- The Red Sox remain interested in Justin Masterson, even though they saw him struggle in his most recent start, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter). The Indians have told teams they will consider trading Masterson, who pitched for the Red Sox in 2008-09.
- A few teams inquired on Jacoby Ellsbury, but the Red Sox will likely wait until the offseason to seriously consider trading him, Cafardo reports (on Twitter). The Reds asked about Ellsbury, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (on Twitter).
- The Rangers have pursued Red Sox players more aggressively than other teams, Cafardo reports (Twitterlinks). Texas has scouted both Aaron Cook and Kelly Shoppach and while Rangers officials have backed off on Cook, they maintain interest in Shoppach.
- Here’s the latest on Josh Beckett.
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:
- Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald hears the Red Sox could be discussing a deal involving Ryan Sweeney. The Cubs are one possible destination, Silverman writes. Boston GM Ben Cherington may consider deals for Sweeney once Jacoby Ellsbury returns from the disabled list.
- Longtime Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that Daniel Bard will rebound from his early-season struggles. “He’s going to be fine. I really do think he’s going to be fine,” Papelbon said. “He’s taking some bumps and bruises right now but who doesn’t."
- The Red Sox should be sellers this month, John Tomase of the Herald writes. Cherington should strongly consider trading players such as Mike Aviles, Cody Ross and Kelly Shoppach, Tomase suggests.
- The Red Sox sent just one All-Star to Kansas City (David Ortiz) and until their best players start performing at an elite level, it's hard to imagine the team emerging from its current state of mediocrity, Alex Speier of WEEI.com writes.
Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here. Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing. Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints. Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:
- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle McClellan, tweets B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the one-year deal is worth $2.5MM with incentives based on starts. MLBTR projected a $2.7MM for the Steve Comte client.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that the Padres and Chase Headley agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.475MM, avoiding arbitration. Earlier this evening, the Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. They also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Joe Thatcher on a deal worth $700K, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. CAA announced catcher John Baker has signed for $750K. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the Padres reached agreements with Hundley, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets the salaries for Volquez ($2.2375MM), Venable ($1.475MM), Gregerson ($1.55MM)
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Matt Harrison, tweets Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The ACES client gets $2.95MM on a one-year deal. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary.
- The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweeted the salary figures.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Andres Torres | Bill Bray | Blake DeWitt | Boston Red Sox | Brandon McCarthy | Burke Badenhop | Carlos Quentin | Carlos Villanueva | Chase Headley | Chicago Cubs | Chris Volstad | Cincinnati Reds | Cleveland Indians | Colorado Rockies | David Murphy | David Robertson | Delmon Young | Detroit Tigers | Dexter Fowler | Edinson Volquez | Evan Meek | Felipe Paulino | Glen Perkins | Homer Bailey | Houston Astros | Ian Stewart | J.A. Happ | Jack Hannahan | Jeff Baker | Jeff Karstens | Joba Chamberlain | Joe Smith | Joe Thatcher | Joey Devine | Jonathan Sanchez | Jordan Zimmermann | Kameron Loe | Kansas City Royals | Kyle McClellan | Luke Gregerson | Luke Hochevar | Manny Acosta | Mark Lowe | Matt Harrison | Max Scherzer | Miami Marlins | Mike Aviles | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | Mitch Maier | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Nick Hundley | Oakland Athletics | Paul Janish | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Ramon Ramirez | Randy Wells | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Santiago Casilla | Seattle Mariners | Shawn Kelley | St. Louis Cardinals | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Tim Stauffer | Tom Gorzelanny | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions | Tyler Clippard | Washington Nationals | Will Venable | Wilson Valdez
Mariano Rivera recorded his 601st career save yesterday against the Blue Jays, tying Trevor Hoffman for the all-time mark. John Harper of the New York Daily News writes that, while Joe Girardi isn't about to keep Rivera out of a save situation if one arises today, it would be nice if the Yankees didn't have to use their closer again in Toronto. New York begins an eight-game homestand tomorrow, which could allow Rivera to notch the record-setting save in Yankee Stadium. Here are the rest of this morning's AL East notes:
- Mike Aviles told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he asked the Royals to trade him at the deadline this season, knowing he wasn't a part of the team's long-term plans. Aviles has been an important acquisition for the Red Sox, given the injuries to Jed Lowrie and Kevin Youkilis. The utility man has hit .361/.373/.458 in part-time action since arriving in Boston.
- Within the same piece, Rosenthal notes that you could argue the Rays should have added a bat at the deadline, given their current presence in the Wild Card race. However, the club was 8 1/2 games out of the Wild Card at the time, and didn't want to compromise their team defense for an offensive upgrade.
- John Tomase discusses Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays in a piece for the Boston Herald, and the Jays GM offers a few interesting quotes. Anthopoulos says the primary challenge of the AL East isn't going up against the massive payrolls of the Red Sox and Yankees, but rather competing with a handful of smart general managers who know how to run a team.
- More Anthopolous, on the most efficient way for the Blue Jays to add talent: "The trade route where we are right now is important for us. It's going to be a big part of what we're doing and it is. Free agency is the last route we want to go. At some point we'll have to start delving into it a little more, but I still want to try to avoid it at all costs. If we try to do this through the draft, it's going to be a while. And it's not going to work and we're not going to get it to time properly."
- Bobby Jenks tells Michael Vega of the Boston Globe that he's disappointed the first season of his two-year deal with the Red Sox turned out so poorly. He's optimistic about being ready for Spring Training and being able to contribute in 2012 though. The reliever says that although he hasn't undergone his spine surgery yet, the doctors are talking about "weeks and not months" for the recovery.
A few items of note out of the AL East, where the Yankees lead the Red Sox by 2 1/2 games through Thursday's action …
- Yankees setup man David Robertson has pitched so well this season that Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders whether we're watching the development of Mariano Rivera's heir apparent as New York's closer. Rivera is under contract through next season.
- Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson is in the thick of MVP talks because of his stellar season, writes Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, but he's also an affable, charitable, humble and highly intelligent person. He's the Yankees' player rep for the MLBPA and is one of two league-wide reps along with Craig Counsell of the Brewers. Crasnick's piece is an excellent read.
- Not much was thought of it when the Red Sox acquired Mike Aviles from the Royals, but the utility infielder is preparing himself for what could be an important postseason role, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Aviles isn't a prototypical burner but is an efficient basestealer, according to Bradford, and could pinch-run in the postseason in a big spot — a la Dave Roberts in 2004.
Aviles, 30, has struggled this year, getting demoted in June, but owns a career line of .286/.317/.417 in 1218 plate appearances. He finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2008, and is capable of playing second base, shortstop, and third base. He'll be arbitration eligible for the first time after the season and is under team control through 2014.
Navarro, 23, hit .258/.362/.469 in 149 Triple-A plate appearances this year, playing all over the diamond. Prior to the season, Baseball America ranked Navarro 12th among Red Sox prospects, citing 15-20 home run potential but questioning his maturity. Volz, 23, posted a 3.33 ERA, 9.8 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, and 1.1 HR/9 in 51 1/3 relief innings at High-A this year and is not among the team's top 30.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney has a new Insider-only blog entry up, so let's dive in and take a look at the highlights….
- One American League general manager says that many of the trades we see this July will look like the Bengie Molina deal, in which the Giants picked up the remaining cost of Molina's salary. "There's going to be a lot of salary relief," the GM predicted.
- Expanding on a point from an earlier column, Olney writes that rival general managers consider Brian Sabean the most difficult GM to trade with simply because they can't get him on the phone. According to Olney, many GMs contact assistant Bobby Evans rather than Sabean, since the Giants GM doesn't return calls.
- Sometime this month, the Nationals will have to decide whether to trade Adam Dunn or to fully commit to locking him up with an extension. Olney speculates that four years for about $48MM would get it done.
- Replying to a Nick Cafardo piece for the Boston Globe in which Theo Epstein addresses how the Red Sox will replace Dustin Pedroia, Olney says Mike Aviles, Mike Fontenot, or Ty Wigginton might be good fits for the Sox. If Epstein makes a move, he'll be looking for a player who will have value elsewhere on the field when Pedroia returns to second base.