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Mike Cameron Rumors
Despite today’s loss, the 44-30 Red Sox have proven that they’re one of baseball’s top teams. Here’s the latest on the Red Sox from Peter Gammons of MLB Network, who joined WEEI’s Mut & Merloni show today (Audio here, Ryan Hannable has the highlights):
- The Red Sox may consider pursuing a right-handed hitting outfielder, since there’s some concern about Mike Cameron. Gammons mentions Jeff Baker of the Cubs and Ryan Spilborghs of the Rockies as possible targets for Boston.
- Minor league infielder Yamaico Navarro is recovering from an oblique injury, but the Red Sox could call on the versatile prospect if they need depth later in the summer. "I know they think that he’s going to be a really important guy to this team, because he’s got so much versatility,” Gammons said. “He’s so young. And he’s grown up a lot in the last year.” Navarro has a .283/.387/.538 line at Triple-A this year.
- The Red Sox envision Andrew Miller as someone who has “the potential of being a big-time power starter” rather than a reliever, Gammons said. The left-hander made his Red Sox debut this week, tossing 5 2/3 innings and allowing seven hits, three walks and three runs while stiking out six.
7:51pm: One Red Sox official has called the ESPNBoston story "false," tweets Edes. According to Edes, however, his source was describing scenarios he'd been told by another Sox official. GM Theo Epstein also disputed the report, writes John Tomase of the Boston Herald.
5:49pm: The Red Sox moved a little closer to finalizing their Opening Day roster today by reassigning a number of players to minor league camp. Before April 1st rolls around, however, the club appears open to making more significant roster moves. Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston reports that the Red Sox "have let it be known" they'll listen to trade offers on a number of players expected to start the year with the team.
According to Edes' source, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, Mike Cameron, Darnell McDonald, and Marco Scutaro would be available in the right deal. Some of those players would likely draw more interest than others. Matsuzaka, for instance, in addition to having a full no-trade clause, is owed $10MM this season and has struggled so far this spring. So while Edes writes that the Red Sox would move the right-hander if they could "add to their young catching inventory," finding a deal that works could be tricky.
Cameron and Scutaro have been identified as potential trade candidates previously this winter, given Boston's depth at their respective positions. As for Wakefield, Edes' source says the 44-year-old is "on the bubble" and could be available for a left-handed reliever. Though his 2011 role with the Sox is up in the air, the knuckleballer said earlier this week that he can't imagine playing anywhere besides Boston.
Since signing a two-year, $17.5MM deal with the Red Sox, outfielder Mike Cameron has hinted that it could be the final contract of his career. As he enters year two of that deal, Cameron says that he will wait to make any decisions about his career beyond 2011, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
The veteran was limited in 2010 by a painful sports hernia and suggested at the end of last year that he would let his condition this season dictate his decision on his future. Following surgery and rehab, Cameron says that he is feeling a whole lot better than he was last season. This season he will be asked to take a reserve role behind starters J.D. Drew, Carl Crawford, and Jacoby Ellsbury.
Even though he played in just 48 games last season, the 38-year-old still hit .259/.328/.401 – respectable numbers, even though they're not quite up to par with his usual production. In 16 seasons with seven different ballclubs, Cameron owns a career .250/.340/.447 slash line.
Rival teams are already calling the Red Sox about Mike Cameron, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. However, Boston probably won’t accept an offer unless they’re blown away and teams aren’t likely to make overwhelming proposals for a 38-year-old player who’s set to earn $8MM this year.
The Red Sox can use Cameron, a right-handed hitter, to complement left-handed outfielders Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew. And at this point, the Red Sox don’t have glaring needs in other areas, so they don't have to acquire new players. “They’re in a good position with the depth they’ve created,’’ an AL executive told Cafardo.
Though the Red Sox could express interest in Joe Blanton if a starter goes down, the right-hander isn’t a fit for Boston now, according to Cafardo. It’s conceivable that the Phillies called about Cameron, since Domonic Brown will miss the beginning of the season with wrist surgery. For what it's worth, Cameron says he'd prefer not to be traded.
Jim Hickey has one of the most important roles in the American League this year, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Rays pitching coach is responsible for rebuilding a Rays bullpen that was depleted by free agency. Hickey says he expects at least one of the team's unheralded arms to break out unexpectedly, adding that if there's going to be a 2011 version of Joaquin Benoit, he'd put his money on Juan Cruz. Here are some of Cafardo's other Sunday notes:
- Domonic Brown has struggled this spring and is now set to undergo surgery on a broken hand. As such, Mike Cameron remains a potential fit for the Phillies. Cafardo argues that "the only problem with a Cameron-Phillies hookup is that he may be a very valuable member of the Red Sox now that he’s completely recovered from abdominal surgery."
- Alex Gonzalez doesn't like changing teams as much as he has in the last two seasons, and would have liked to stay in Toronto. Now that he's playing in Atlanta, the shortstop tells Cafardo that he'd "love to stay here for a long time." Gonzalez will be a free agent at season's end.
- DeMarlo Hale was interviewed for two managerial openings this past offseason, and Cafardo wonders if he'll be hired away from the Red Sox next winter. "Right now," Cafardo says, "there doesn’t appear to be an obvious place for a managerial change next season."
We already heard today that the Red Sox are planning to exercise Terry Francona's contract options for the next two seasons. Here are a few more items from the Sox camp…
- Boston looks like the AL East favorite, but SI.com's Jon Heyman lists a few unanswered questions about how various players will perform this season.
- Theo Epstein backed away from comments he made earlier this week saying the Red Sox "covered [Carl Crawford] as if we were privately investigating him." In an e-mail to ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes, Epstein said he used "a bad figure of speech" and said the club's "scouts just did a real thorough job on background, that's all" in researching the free agent outfielder. Crawford said Epstein informed him of Boston's tactics over the winter, but admitted that he was "a little freaked out" by the in-depth scouting procedures.
- Mike Cameron reiterated his desire to not be traded, writes Gordon Edes. "Why would I want to be traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks to play every day and miss out on the opportunity here?”, Cameron asked. It's unknown if Cameron cited the D'Backs because he knew of any interest on their part, or if he was just throwing out the name of a team that isn't expected to contend this season. (If it's the latter, sorry, D'Backs fans.)
Bruce Bochy, coming off a World Series victory, tops Nick Cafardo's list of baseball's best managers in the Boston Globe. Cafardo, who ranks baseball's skippers 1 through 30, praises Bochy's "flawless postseason," explaining that he "had a pretty dynamite pitching staff in San Francisco but basically took a team of vagabonds to the highest peak." Here are some other items of interest from Cafardo's piece:
- Bengie Molina has gone back and forth on whether he wants to play this year. A team like the Red Sox wouldn't mind adding him for insurance, but Molina would be looking for a job that offers fairly consistent playing time.
- Alfredo Aceves, who recently signed with the Red Sox, "wasn't pleased" that the Yankees didn't show a stronger interest in re-signing him. Brian Cashman said the Yanks only offered Aceves a minor league deal due to injury concerns.
- Joe Nathan's recovery from Tommy John surgery is on track and he expects to be ready for the start of the season. Twins management is confident in Nathan's health as well, which is why the team didn't make significant additions to a bullpen that lost Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, and Jon Rauch.
- Although Cafardo thinks Mike Cameron will see plenty of playing time in Boston this year, he cautions that the outfielder could become trade bait before the end of Spring Training. One National League scout's thoughts: "Cameron is a guy who fits well on a team because he’s versatile, plays excellent defense, and can hit left-handed pitching. A team like the Phillies would have to be interested, but he’s a guy who could help a lot of teams."
Mike Cameron's agent told Alex Speier of WEEI.com that his client does not hope to leave the Red Sox for a team that can offer more playing time. Cameron wants to win and has not requested a trade, Mike Nicotera says.
The Red Sox have discussed potential deals with other teams, but Nicotera says Boston did not initiate the discussions. The Red Sox will listen to offers for the outfielder, but a team source told Speier that a trade would be surprising since “there isn’t a deal out there that makes sense.”
The Phillies have kicked the tires on Cameron and the Braves could also use a right-handed hitting outfielder who can handle center field.
Cameron missed significant time with kidney stones and an abdominal tear in 2010, as the Red Sox finished third in the AL East. This year, Cameron wants to win and stay healthy. He’ll likely get lots of playing time against left-handed pitching since Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew and David Ortiz all bat from the left side and Cameron, a right-handed hitter, handles southpaws well.
Cameron, who turns 38 this week, earns $7.25MM for 2011, the final year on his contract.
THURSDAY, 12:14pm: The Marlins appear to be interested in bringing Edgar Renteria back, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. The 34-year-old has an offer to return to San Francisco for about $1MM, but has said he would like to return to St. Louis or Florida to finish his career.
Renteria has said he's open to playing second base if it helps him land a desirable job. The Marlins could have him back up Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez up the middle and provide insurance in case prospect Matt Dominguez struggles at third base.
Renteria batted .276/.332/.374 in 267 plate appearances last year, missing time with elbow, groin, hamstring and shoulder injuries before returning to form and winning the World Series MVP.
Renteria spent the first three seasons of his career with the Marlins from 1996-98. He made one All-Star team while in Florida and helped the Marlins to their first World Series championship in 1997.
The AL East is a busy division these days. The Yankees have to finalize their rotation, the Rays have to reconstruct their 'pen and the Orioles are acquiring players in bunches. The Red Sox have added two star players to their lineup, but they're still contemplating more moves. Here's the latest:
- The Red Sox would only offer a three-year contract to an elite reliever, a source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Rafael Soriano fits that description, but Speier says the Red Sox are an unlikely suitor, since they already have Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard.
- Boston had significant interest in Scott Downs after signing Carl Crawford, according to Speier. Downs was a Type A free agent who would ordinarily cost a top pick, but the Red Sox had already surrendered their top pick to sign Crawford, so adding Downs would only have cost Boston its second round selection. The Angels gave Downs a three-year deal, more than the Red Sox were comfortable offering.
- The Red Sox maintain interest in Matt Guerrier and Jesse Crain. Guerrier is not looking for a Joaquin Benoit-like deal ($16.5MM over three years) and, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, remains one of the team's top targets.
- The Phillies have kicked the tires on Mike Cameron, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (on Twitter).