Ryan Westmoreland Rumors
Ryan Westmoreland, a former top prospect with the Red Sox, announced his retirement from professional baseball, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports. The 22-year-old underwent brain surgery in 2010 and worked to revive his pro career before suffering a setback and having a second surgery.
"Although it is a very difficult decision for me, it has become clear that the neurological damage caused by the most recent cavernous malformation and surgery leaves me with physical challenges that make it impossible to play the game at such a high level," Westmoreland told reporters.
The Red Sox selected Westmoreland in the fifth round of the 2008 draft, signing him to a $2MM bonus. He posted a .296/.401/.484 batting line as a 19-year-old at Class A the following year, and Baseball America ranked him 21st among MLB prospects leading up to the 2010 campaign.
Some Red Sox links for Thursday, as Clay Buchholz looks to continue his dominant spring against the Marlins...
- Matt Albers told Alex Speier of WEEI.com that he hasn't talked to any Japanese teams and doesn't know why a report yesterday had him going to Japan. “Don’t know where that came from,” Albers said.
- Dennys Reyes agreed to extend the opt-out date in his contract by one day from Saturday to Sunday, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. The left-hander is battling for a spot in Boston's bullpen.
- As Speier explains in a piece for Baseball America, Ryan Westmoreland, who underwent brain surgery last March, is continuing his attempt to return to the majors. The former top prospect has made impressive strides in his recovery, though his vision hasn't returned completely and he's still working on some fine motor skills. Best of luck to Westmoreland as he recovers.
Here's a potpourri of news items as we head into the weekend...
- Chipper Jones talks to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince about his recovery from knee surgery and his future in baseball. Jones was thinking of retirement last summer before, as Castrovince writes, "he started to hit like Chipper Jones again....And where the knee injury might have been the straw that broke the camel's back in June, in August, it served as a motivating factor to keep going."
- Laynce Nix has the been the subject of trade rumors, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Nix has a .251/.293/.445 career slash line against right-handed pitching and the Astros are reportedly in the market for a left-handed bench bat. Nix is currently in the Nationals' Spring Training camp on a minor league contract.
- Star prospect Mike Trout is turning heads at the Angels' Spring Training camp, reports MLB.com's Lyle Spencer.
- The Rockies will look internally to replace the injured Aaron Cook, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Already suffering from shoulder inflammation, Cook will be out until at least May due to a broken finger on his throwing hand.
- Tyler Kepner of the New York Times looks at the Rangers' offseason and how the team had a more-than-adequate "plan B" (Adrian Beltre) in mind when they failed to re-sign Cliff Lee.
- Jake Odorizzi might end up being the most important piece of the trade package the Royals received for Zack Greinke, says MLB.com's Dick Kaegel.
- Mariners manager Eric Wedge has brought a number of former Indians coaches and players with him to Seattle, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- Brandon Wood has struggled this spring, while Mark Trumbo has had a big camp for the Angels. Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com thinks Trumbo's emergence means that the out-of-options Wood's "days in an Angels uniform appear to be numbered."
- It was almost a year ago that Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland underwent life-threatening brain surgery. Today, MLB.com's Evan Drellich writes that "doctors have already been amazed at the speed of his recovery" as Westmoreland is trying hard to regain both his basic motor skills and his baseball abilities.
On this day 100 years ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Brooklyn Superbas (today the Dodgers) played what the Baseball Reference Bullpen describes as "the most evenly matched game ever." Both teams used two pitchers, scored eight runs, and recorded 13 hits, two errors, 38 at-bats, five strikeouts, three walks, 13 assists, 27 putouts, one hit batter and one passed ball. The game was perhaps fittingly called on account of darkness, thus preserving the total deadlock.
If two teams end up with matching scorecards tonight, we'll know there's some Friday the 13th spookiness at play. Until then, however, here are some news items...
- With Jose Mijares out for at least the next four weeks, the Twins may be in need of left-handed relief help, reports MLB.com's Kelly Thesier. The Twins were one of several teams interested in Scott Downs before the trade deadline, so it's possible Minnesota could revisit that pursuit.
- A Mets official tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that talks between the team and first-round pick Matt Harvey will "likely" last right up to Monday's deadline. Harvey, picked seventh overall by the Mets, is represented by Scott Boras. MLBTR's Mike Axisa profiled Harvey back in June.
- Michael Ynoa will undergo Tommy John surgery on August 24, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). Oakland signed the 18-year-old in 2008 to a contract that featured a $4.25MM bonus, a record high for a non-Cuban international player. Ynoa made his professional debut this seaon for the Athletics' Arizona League rookie-ball team, posting a 5.00 ERA and 11.0 K/9 ratio in three starts.
- Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland is making " 'remarkable' progress" in his comeback from brain surgery, reports Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- Writing for ESPNBoston.com, Mike Andrews looks at the "age advancement" of certain prospects in Boston's minor league system.
- Nationals president Stan Kasten criticized the draft pick signing process in a chat with MASN's Ben Goessling. "The charade, the Kabuki dance nature of all of this is just kind of silly," Kasten said. "We can do better as an industry, and I think both sides [players and owners] recognize that." Kasten didn't give any updates on Washington's negotiations with first overall pick Bryce Harper.
- Could Luis Rodriguez be "the next Andres Torres"? Fangraphs' Dave Cameron looks at the infielder's breakout season for the White Sox Triple-A affiliate.
Some links to browse, as teams continue to make spring cuts....
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes (via Twitter) that the Red Sox will not pick up David Ortiz's $12.5MM option for 2011 regardless of what he does this season.
- Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas reports that the Rangers have kept in contact with Khalil Greene, even after voiding his contract last month, though assistant GM Thad Levine says "there were no overtures about coming back and playing."
- Murray Chass interviewed John Smoltz about his future, and the result is an interesting read. "I don't know if I’m going to pitch, but I haven't ruled it out," Smoltz said. "I have a lot of options, and I don't want the options to rule me." Smoltz adds that he laughs at all the "rumors and speculation that’s out there." We won't take it personally.
- In his ESPN Insider blog, Buster Olney expands on a couple tweets he made yesterday, about the Twins' closer situation and the possible appeal of Smoltz.
- John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that the Giants haven't entered into any long-term contract negotiations with Pablo Sandoval yet, since he's still a couple years away from being arbitration-eligible.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says that "money has nothing to do with who's going to play and who's not going to play," according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. This stance is relevant not only for Stephen Strasburg's ETA in the majors, but also for determining Ian Desmond's role. Rizzo suggested that Desmond "is in the running to be an everyday guy."
- Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland will undergo brain surgery, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Best of luck to Westmoreland.
Let's round up some assorted Sunday links....
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney tweets that the A's finished second to the Reds in the chase for Aroldis Chapman.
- A major league source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com that the Red Sox tried hard to sign Chapman earlier in the offseason. They pulled their initial offer after Chapman switched agents and never offered another formal deal.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic finds it hard to imagine Brandon Webb returning to the D'Backs after 2010.
- Jamey Newberg wonders if Vladimir Guerrero will "revive his pinball numbers by playing half his games in his favorite arcade." Vlad has a career 1.175 OPS in Texas, but Jack Moore of FanGraphs suggests this stat is overblown.
- Within his Sunday blog entry, ESPN.com's Buster Olney addresses the persistent rumors about a potential reunion for Johnny Damon and the Yankees. Olney says that a few executives around the league "are absolutely convinced" that Damon will end up in the Bronx, but that it would require Damon significantly lowering his asking price and initiating contact with the Yanks.
- FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Dodgers avoided arbitration with Jason Repko, signing him to a one-year deal worth $500K. Repko should compete for the team's fourth outfield spot.
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes that injuries have slowed the development of Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland, whose name frequently pops up in trade rumors.
- Pittsburgh's 2004 first-round pick, Neil Walker, could be without a position at Triple-A this year, and is a candidate to be traded, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says the Indians hope that at least one of Austin Kearns and Shelley Duncan makes the 25-man roster, to add a right-handed bat to their lefty-heavy outfield.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney asked an "independent evaluator" to guess what the Red Sox would have to give up to obtain Adrian Gonzalez. Olney's source says the Padres need to acquire Ryan Westmoreland and Casey Kelly, plus other highly-touted prospects. Gonzalez is under control for two more years at $10.25MM. He'd probably be worth $40MM-plus over two years on the open market, so the Padres have some serious bargaining power. Here are the rest of Olney's rumors:
- The A's are interested in Adrian Beltre, but "only in an Oakland economy size financial package."
- Some teams bristle at the idea of paying eight figures for Beltre.
- Some teams have been put off by Adam LaRoche's asking price.
- The Orioles checked out of the Matt Holliday derby when they learned that he's asking for considerably more than $75MM.
In his latest column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo applauds the Yankees' offseason moves so far, but writes that they still have some major decisions ahead of them. Here are some other highlights from Cafardo:
- According to a source, talks between the Red Sox and Padres about Adrian Gonzalez aren't progressing. Padres GM Jed Hoyer is asking for at least Clay Buchholz and either Casey Kelly or Ryan Westmoreland, and the Sox would prefer not to give up that much.
- Cafardo likes Mike Cameron, but not Milton Bradley, as a fit in Boston.
- An NL scout views Boof Bonser as a reliever with closing potential, rather than as a starter.
- Before signing Brandon Lyon, the Astros were talking to Fernando Rodney as well. Apparently his asking price was near $30MM over three years. If that's true, he'll probably end up disappointed this winter.
- Jose Valverde may be "pricing himself out of the market" as well. Teams like the Tigers and Orioles seem unwilling to commit $10MM+ annually to Valverde in a long-term deal.
Peter Abraham takes a look at the Red Sox checklist as they head into this year's Winter Meetings. Abraham is sure to note that his focus is on what Boston needs, not the fantasy trade scenarios that fans may want. Says Abraham, "The Sox needs refining, not rebuilding." That said, let's take a look:
- The easy solution in left field is to bring back Jason Bay. Abraham says though, that the acquisition of Jeremy Hermida presents Boston with the option of signing a right-handed hitter, such as Xavier Nady, to form a platoon. The Red Sox could also let Bay go in favor of pursuing Matt Holliday.
- While the rotation appears to be set for now with Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz, and Tim Wakefield, Abraham says the Sox could use a "No. 5.5 starter, a No. 6, and possibly a No. 7" for depth. He names the usual suspects, including Ben Sheets, Erik Bedard, and Rich Harden.
- Boston has requested medical reports on Mike Gonzalez, and will need to fill out the back of the bullpen for 2010. Abraham feels the Red Sox will invite about a dozen relievers to camp and see who performs well.
- Boston should look to add a veteran outfielder and infielder for bench depth. Abraham says Boston doesn't seem interested in keeping Rocco Baldelli around. He names Adam Everett, Craig Counsell, Reed Johnson, Marcus Thames, and Adam Kennedy as options.
- Abraham doesn't see Buchholz, Casey Kelly, or Ryan Westmoreland being dealt. He names Casey Kotchman, Josh Reddick, and Manny Delcarmen as trade chips.
- Abraham also speculates on the possibility of Jonathan Papelbon being traded. With Daniel Bard waiting in the wings, this isn't the first time someone has speculated on the possibility of Papelbon being shipped off.
1:55pm: From Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports: the Dodgers are making a run at Gonzalez and Bell (separately or together); they could send James Loney to San Diego in such a deal.
12:26pm: A Jayson Stark source says the asking price for Gonzalez is "astronomical, three times the asking price on Halladay."
12:04pm: SI's Jon Heyman hears the Red Sox are still in talks for Gonzalez. Buchholz, Lowrie, and Masterson are "in the mix" with the Padres asking for Westmoreland and Anderson. Heyman adds, "However, the sides are still pretty far apart, and Boston is still in the mix for Martinez." Heyman also says Bell's name has come up in these talks.
11:35am: MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo via Twitter: "I'm hearing odds of Padres dealing Gonzalez are very low at this point." Bonus: Mayo's Twitter background has a Magic Eye effect.
10:22am: ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Red Sox still "have pokers in the fire" on Gonzalez, Martinez, and Roy Halladay. Stark continues to suggest the Sox may try to include a third team to faciliate one of these deals.
6:45am: Mark Feinsand and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News say the Red Sox are in "full pursuit" of Gonzalez, and believe Boston could get Heath Bell too if they're willing to include pitcher Daniel Bard. Also, Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald confirms that the Red Sox are more interested in Gonzalez than Victor Martinez.
12:51am: We heard yesterday that the Padres and Red Sox spoke at length Wednesday night about a possible Adrian Gonzalez trade. However, there was no indication the talks had developed by the end of the day. Not only are the Red Sox discussing a three-way deal with the Indians and another club, they're involved on the Gonzalez front as well. Here's the latest:
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that there are indications the talks were active late last night and will likely peak today.
- It would be surprising if this were not the case, but Kevin Towers is asking for "a ton" in return for Gonzalez, according to Cafardo's source.
- The teams are discussing Clay Buchholz, Lars Anderson, Jed Lowrie, Ryan Westmoreland, Justin Masterson and others.
- A rival executive told Jon Heyman of SI.com he believes the Red Sox prefer Gonzalez to Victor Martinez.