The Red Sox do not need to stay under the luxury tax line in making their deadline moves, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in an appearance today on WEEI (h/t to Rob Bradford, on Twitter). Recent estimates put Boston about $9MM shy of the threshold, which has added implications under the new CBA since the tax escalates when it is owed in consecutive seasons. While the Sox will no doubt weigh that factor in assessing possible trades, it’s notable that the organization doesn’t feel compelled to stay within those limits. Boston is likely to be involved in the market for third basemen — I looked at possible targets recently — and could also add pitching.
Here’s more …
- The Giants are clearly in position to deal a few veterans, but it’s not yet known just how significant the moves will be. Signs are, though, that San Francisco is willing to listen to offers on just about any player, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi writes. The Giants are not interested in moving Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, and Brandon Crawford, per the report. That could leave some other interesting names available, with Morosi even suggesting that first baseman Brandon Belt could be available. He calls the Angels a potentially “intriguing fit” — though it’s not clear whether there’s any firm interest from Los Angeles — while noting that several other buyers will be looking at a variety of left-handed-hitting first basemen on what seems still to be a wide-open market.
- Unsurprisingly, interest in relief pitching will be robust at this year’s deadline, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com writes. Executives suggest that there’ll be a premium on pen arms, as usual, though the expectation remains that none will fetch the kind of immense returns that Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller commanded last year.
- The Padres have inquired with the Yankees about elite shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. That said, there’s no indication the Yanks have any interest in parting with the talented youngster — even though he is expected to miss the remainder of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. That injury doesn’t really change his long-term value, of course, and it’s not altogether clear what Padres players the Yankees might target that could command that kind of trade value. Lefty Brad Hand and former New York infielder Yangervis Solarte may well be of interest, as Heyman notes, but it’s tough to imagine the Yankees parting with such an elite prospect for either or both of them.
- Heyman also weighs in on veteran Tigers hurler Justin Verlander, who has seen his name begin to come up in trade rumors. At this point, a deal seems less than likely, a source tells Heyman, but there is a real possibility that the righty (and his contract — which promises $56MM over 2018 and 2019) could end up on the move. Three or four teams are said to have participated in exploratory talks on Verlander, per the report, though any deal would require Verlander to waive his no-trade protection.
- Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, a clear trade candidate with his strong play and expiring contract, tells Heyman that his preference would be to remain in Cincinnati. While he says he understands and accepts that a deal “is more than likely to happen,” Cozart noted that he has informed the front office that he’d be amenable to exploring a long-term contract instead. It’s not terribly surprising, particularly given their internal options, that the Reds haven’t yet made an offer to the 31-year-old.
- Mets infielder Asdrubal Cabrera is walking back his recent call to be traded after being moved from short to second, as Dan Martin of the New York Post writes. Cabrera explains: “In that moment when I said that, I wasn’t saying I want to get traded. I was just saying it didn’t seem like they had a plan for me. … If they’ve got a plan, they should tell me.” He went on to say that he is “fine with playing second base,” saying that his complaint related more to a lack of communication. In any event, it remains unclear just how much demand there’ll be for the veteran, and also how inclined the Mets are to bring him back next year at a $8.5MM price tag (versus a $2MM buyout).