As Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes, agent Scott Boras recently addressed the progress of client Xander Bogaerts, who struggled in his first full big league season but enters the 2015 All-Star break hitting .304/.338/.411. As Speier notes, Bogaerts is currently on pace to hit free agency entering his age-27 season — a rare occurrence for any player. Boras noted that rarity, making sure to point out that fellow client Bryce Harper will have an early taste of free agency, but denied that he discourages his clients from signing long-term deals before free agency. Boras maintains that he’s “absolutely” open to long-term deals for clients. Said Boras: “With our clients, we give them a lot of information. I always tell teams, I don’t know of any players we have that haven’t signed a deal that they felt was a value deal for them.” For his part, Bogaerts said that he loves playing in Boston and hopes to remain there, although clearly he’s quite a ways from having to face the possibility of playing elsewhere.
More from the AL East…
- Rick Porcello spoke with WEEI.com’s John Tomase about his disastrous first half and the importance of trying to take away some positives from the season’s first few months. Porcello, who will spend the All-Star break decompressing at his family’s home in southern Vermont, maintained that he was not feeling the pressures that can come along with signing a large contract. “They brought me over here because of what I’ve done and who I am,” said Porcello. “That’s the most important thing. There’s no added pressure on myself. I am who I am. I can’t try and be somebody else or do something I’m not capable of doing. So that hasn’t factored into it at all.”
- The Blue Jays are “regularly being asked for Marcus Stroman” as a return in trades for pitching, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. Despite the fact that Stroman won’t contribute to the team in 2015 after tearing his ACL this spring, the Blue Jays won’t be trading him, Davidi writes. Looking at the trade history of GM Alex Anthopoulos, Davidi notes that it’s probably more likely to see the Blue Jays acquire someone with some team control remaining. He lists the Padres as a speculative trade partner, noting that both Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross would fit that mold. Acquiring a starter or two would allow the Blue Jays to transfer Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen to help fix the team’s relief woes, though trade possibilities exist there, too. Jonathan Papelbon said at yesterday’s All-Star festivities that he considered the Jays a “good fit” and would waive his no-trade clause to go there.
- As Alykhan K. Ravjiani of Postmedia first tweeted, the Blue Jays have promoted top prospect Jeff Hoffman to Double-A. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet notes that the promotion comes at a time when the Jays are on the hunt for pitching, and Hoffman is likely to be asked about frequently, perhaps along with prospects Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd. Hoffman was a candidate to be selected first overall in the 2014 draft but fell to the Blue Jays with the ninth pick after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Now healthy, Hoffman has a 3.21 ERA through his first 11 starts with Class-A Advanced, where he’s averaged 6.1 walks against 2.4 walks per nine innings.
- Though man Orioles fans believe the team’s diminished run production to be a reason for the club’s struggles, MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski opines that questionable starting pitching is the greater culprit. While the decisions to let Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis leave via free agency has had a negative impact on the offense, poor performances from Chris Tillman, Bud Norris and more recently, Miguel Gonzalez, have left Baltimore with a 4.20 ERA from its rotation.