Ryan Sweeney Rumors


AL East Notes: Lester, Blue Jays, Aramis

We checked in on the AL East this morning, but with less than a week remaining before the trade deadline, the rumors don’t stop coming. Here’s the latest...



Teams Calling Red Sox About Outfielders

Teams are calling the Red Sox about the availability of “several” outfielders, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports. The Red Sox are “open-minded” about trading away an outfielder now that Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford are nearly ready to return to the MLB roster.

Ryan Sweeney and Daniel Nava could be trade chips for the Red Sox, but the team is “not looking to move Sweeney,” Silverman reports. Scott Podsednik and Ryan Kalish are at Triple-A, and Cody Ross fits well with Boston’s current needs.

Though the Cubs aren’t interested in Sweeney, the Red Sox are eyeing a pair of Cubs pitchers. Boston has expressed preliminary interest in Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, but is “not fully engaged yet,” Silverman reports. I recently previewed the trade market for starting pitchers and outfielders.

Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal explained how Boston’s 40-man roster will impact the team’s next few weeks. The Red Sox are far more likely to trade surplus players such as Sweeney, Kelly Shoppach or Matt Albers than make major changes this month, MacPherson writes.



Red Sox Notes: Sweeney, Bard, Aviles, Ross

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:



Red Sox Avoid Arbitration With Ryan Sweeney

The Red Sox have agreed to a one-year, $1.75MM deal with Ryan Sweeney, reports The Associated Press.  The deal allows Boston to avoid going to arbitration with Sweeney, who was arb-eligible for the second time in his career.  Sweeney is represented by Reynolds Sports Management. 

Sweeney was acquired by the Sox as part of the Andrew Bailey trade last month.  The left-handed batter hit .265/.346/.341 in 299 plate appearances for the A's last season and is currently slated to be part of a right field platoon at Fenway Park next year.

Matt Swartz projected Sweeney to earn $1.6MM in arbitration this winter.  The Red Sox have eight more arb-eligible players, as per MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker, including such big names as Bailey, David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury and Daniel Bard.



Red Sox Acquire Andrew Bailey

The Red Sox have acquired Andrew Bailey from the Athletics in a trade that will send Josh Reddick to Oakland and Ryan Sweeney to Boston, the teams announced. First base prospect Miles Head and right-handed pitching prospect Raul Alcantara are going to Oakland in the deal.

Andrew Bailey - A's

Bailey (pictured) figures to replace longtime closer Jonathan Papelbon at the back of Boston's bullpen in 2012. The 27-year-old right-hander posted a 3.24 ERA with 8.9 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 37.1% ground ball rate in 41 2/3 innings in 2011 after recovering a forearm strain that sidelined him early on in the season. MLBTR projects a $3.5MM salary for Bailey in 2012. The two-time All-Star and 2009 AL Rookie of the Year is under team control through 2014.

Reddick, 24, posted a .280/.327/.457 line in 278 plate appearances for the Red Sox this past season. The left-handed hitter got his first extended shot at Major League pitching in 2011, after posting a .278/.332/.500 line in parts of five minor leagues seasons. Reddick has big league experience at all three outfield positions and figures to get the chance to play every day in Oakland. He's under team control through 2016 and won't be arbitration eligible until after the 2013 campaign.

Sweeney, 27 in February, played all three outfield positions for the Athletics in 2011, posting a .265/.346/.341 line in 299 plate appearances. He has experience in parts of six big league seasons and will remain under team control through 2013. Sweeney's career UZR/150 of 9.2 suggests he's an above-average defender, and his numbers in right field are particularly impressive. MLBTR projects a 2012 salary of $1.6MM for Sweeney through arbitration.

Sweeney's a left-handed hitter who has a solid career line of .296/.352/.402 against right-handed pitching. However, GM Ben Cherington may want to pair him with someone who can hit left-handers given his career .233/.306/.289 line against southpaws. Ryan Kalish and Darnell McDonald (.285/.348/.451 career line against lefties) are internal candidates for the Red Sox to consider and right-handed hitting free agents Ryan Spilborghs and Cody Ross could also be fits.

The Red Sox selected Head, now 20, in the 26th round of the 2009 draft. He has posted a .274/.351/.446 line in 861 minor league plate appearances over the course of the past three seasons, but has yet to reach Double-A. Alcantara, who recently turned 19, has a 2.72 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 as a starter in 125 2/3 minor league innings. However, he has just four appearances above Rookie Ball.

Bailey will join the recently-acquired Mark Melancon in a new-look Red Sox bullpen. Boston may move  Daniel Bard to the rotation and Alfredo Aceves might also start, but Matt Albers, Scott Atchison, Bobby Jenks and Franklin Morales are candidates to contribute out of the bullpen in 2012.

ESPN.com's Buster Olney first reported the move (all Twitter links). Photo courtesy Icon SMI.



Athletics Avoid Arbitration With Ryan Sweeney

The Athletics have signed outfielder Ryan Sweeney to a one-year contract, reports MLB.com's Evan Drellich.  The deal will pay Sweeney $1.4MM in 2011, according to the Associated Press.  Sweeney was one of seven players tendered contracts by Oakland yesterday, and the signing means the club avoids arbitration with the 25-year-old.  Sweeney is represented by agent Larry Reynolds.

Sweeney hit .294/.342/.383 in 331 plate appearances with the A's in 2010, though he didn't play after July 11 due to a right knee injury that eventually required surgery.  Since coming to Oakland as part of the Nick Swisher trade in January 2008, Sweeney has a .740 OPS in 1298 plate appearances and has played all three outfield positions, though he mostly stuck to right field last year.  Sweeney made $420K with the A's last season and this would've been his first year of arbitration eligibility.



Infield Options For The A's

2:04pm: Tejada told a Spanish-speaking AP reporter that he's willing to play any infield position, according to Jorge Arangure Jr. of ESPN.com. Arangure Jr. cites Tejada's road numbers (.283/.313/.395) and fading defense and suggests that the infielder will have to accept a one-year deal with a low annual salary.

12:50pm: Slusser now says Tejada's representatives contacted the A's, not the other way around. The chances of a reunion don't sound great.

She says the A's inquired on Andy LaRoche a while ago, only to hear that the Pirates wanted Ryan Sweeney and Gio Gonzalez in return. Slusser suggests the A's would like to acquire a high-quality young infielder to play third or short. Failing that, the team could turn to a bargain free agent.

11:42am: The A's would consider adding an infielder who can play third base, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Two of the options they're considering are former A's Miguel Tejada and Adam Kennedy. The A's have contacted Tejada's agent and the sides could work a deal out if Tejada lowers his asking price.

After hitting .315/.340/.455, Tejada may be reluctant to sign at a discount and is apparently looking for a two-year $16MM offer. The Twins and Orioles are possible fits for the former AL MVP.

The A's also like Kennedy, but would prefer to add a player with experience at short. The infielder, who turns 34 this weekend, hit .289/.348/.410 in nearly 600 plate appearances last year. His defense was below average at second and third, according to UZR/150. We heard earlier in the week that Kennedy was Plan D or E for the A's.



Odds & Ends: Nationals, Podsednik, Duchscherer

Links for Monday...

  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Nationals still have money left to sign Matt Capps, assuming he wants to go there. Morosi expects Capps to decide on his next team this week.
  • In a separate tweet, Morosi notes that the Tigers are only interested in Scott Podsednik if it's a one-year deal. Detroit has no interest in Rick Ankiel.
  • ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that Justin Duchscherer has received contract offers from three unnamed teams, and he expects to decide on his 2010 home within a week.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Royals are interested in free agent outfielder Brian Anderson on a minor league deal.
  • Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle sees Rajai Davis and Ryan Sweeney retaining starting jobs in the wake of the impending Coco Crisp signing.  Slusser suggests a possible reduced role or trade for Scott HairstonFanGraphs' Dave Cameron doesn't understand the move, noting that Davis and Sweeney are similar to Crisp.  Crisp's physical will take place tomorrow, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney
  • Matthew Carruth of Lookout Landing explains that Mariners fans fully understand the dangers of Milton BradleyThe Seattle Times' Geoff Baker reflects on Carlos Silva's time with the club.
  • Patrick Newman joins FanGraphs with a look at Japanese baseball imports and exports for 2010.  Speaking of which, new Met Ryota Igarashi would like to be Francisco Rodriguez's set-up man.



A's Acquire Matt Holliday

5:01pm: Scott Miller of CBSSports.com says the Rockies are prepared to turn around and trade Street to another team.

4:08pm: Gonzalez confirmed his inclusion in the trade in a phone call to Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today.

3:42pm: A Rockies spokesman told the AP that talks are fluid, and "everything's speculation."  Heyman is now aboard with Gonzalez/Smith/Street as the package.  Seems solid for one year of Holliday and the accompanying draft picks.

3:20pm: Susan Slusser spoke to Smith, who is flying to Denver for a physical.  She agrees that Street and Gonzalez are the other two players.

2:54pm: ESPN's Jerry Crasnick confirmed Smith is in the deal.

2:39pm: Troy Renck says the A's had been offering Street and Gonzalez.  Meanwhile ESPN adds Ryan Sweeney and Gonzalez to their mix of players discussed.

2:30pm: Brown says the two teams have agreed in principle to a deal that will send Gonzalez, Smith, and Street to the Rockies.

2:24pm: The ESPN report now says Brett Anderson was under discussion as well as Smith.

2:03pm: The ESPN guys talked to A's assistant GM David Forst, who said, "It's still an ongoing discussion."

2:00pm: Ken Rosenthal chimes in.  The deal may not be finalized for about 48 hours.  Players discussed over the weekend: Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, and Smith.  Rosenthal says the A's do not plan to flip Holliday or trade him in July.  Rosenthal also says the A's could increase payroll to as high as $80MM, which could mean $25-30MM to play with.

1:57pm: ESPN's Buster Olney and Jerry Crasnick say the two teams have agreed to terms, and believe pitcher Greg Smith was under discussion.

1:51pm: Yahoo's Tim Brown also says a deal is close.

1:27pm: According to SI.com's Jon Heyman, the A's traded for Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday.  More as it comes in!



Nick Swisher Traded To White Sox

Baseball Digest Daily is reporting that the A's have traded Nick Swisher to the White Sox for Gio Gonzalez, Fautino De Los Santos, and Ryan Sweeney.  I'd heard about the Sweeney part but hadn't been able to confirm it.  This is a fascinating trade - let's discuss.

I have to imagine the White Sox plan to use Swisher as their center fielder for the next couple of years; he did play 59 games there in '07.  Kenny Williams stuck to his word about adding OBP to his team, picking up Swisher and Carlos Quentin to fill out his outfield.  Swisher, 27, is signed at a very reasonable price: $3.5MM in '08, $5.3MM in '09, $6.75MM in '10, $9MM in '11, and a $10.25MM club option for '12 with a $1MM buyout.  The option gets a $1.75MM bump if Swisher is top five for the MVP voting during the contract.  He has limited no-trade protection for 2011-12.

The White Sox paid a massive price to get their man, however.  Pitchers De Los Santos and Gonzalez were their two best prospects, according to Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein.  De Los Santos is said to have a huge ceiling, whereas Gio is a solid lefty who's nearly big-league ready.  Goldstein ranked Sweeney eighth on the team, but projects him as more of a fourth-outfielder type (he was once very highly regarded though).

If it wasn't obvious with the Dan Haren trade, the A's are in full-fledged rebuilding mode.  Joe Blanton, Huston Street, and Mark Ellis could be next to go.









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