In this morning's column, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe takes a look at some of the emerging storylines in the American League East. In New York, Francisco Cervelli is set to be the backup catcher, but could become trade bait for the Yankees with Austin Romine knocking on the door. The catching situation with Tampa Bay is also worth keeping an eye on as Jose Molina needs a backup. The Rays could pick up Ivan Rodriguez or deal from their pitching surplus to fill the vacancy. If they trade Jeff Niemann or Wade Davis, Cafardo writes that it would be for a catcher. Here's more from Cafardo..
- The Phillies are making it clear to teams that they would eat as much as $2MM of Joe Blanton’s $8MM deal in a trade. Moving Blanton would allow the Phillies to have payroll flexibility and bump Kyle Kendrick into the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Yesterday, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos scouted the Phillies game and left after Blanton's exit.
- Meanwhile, the Nationals continue to dangle left-hander John Lannan. The club is spreading word that the 27-year-old is available in a deal, particularly one for a center fielder.
- The Braves are in need of a left field power bat and right-hander Jair Jurrjens could be the trade bait for one.
- At some point, Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar will have to move to second base to make room for Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. Escobar loves being a shortstop, so there is a bit of trepidation among some in the organization as to how he will accept this.
- Meanwhile, many feel that the Marlins' Hanley Ramirez won't stay happy for long at third base and eventually will demand a trade.
- With several teams in the market for a center fielder, Cafardo asked a National League scout if the Yankees would entertain a deal for Brett Gardner. Gardner is currently slated to start in left field for the Yanks but a National League scout said that at some point the club might seek out a more traditional left field option.
- The Red Sox are impressed with Chris Carpenter's live fastball but privately they are not happy with what they wound up getting in exchange for Theo Epstein.