MLB Trade Rumors » » Boston Red Sox 2017-12-16T06:34:02Z Jeff Todd <![CDATA[J.D. Martinez Reportedly Prefers To Sign As Outfielder]]> 2017-12-16T04:01:36Z 2017-12-16T02:00:06Z Free agent slugger J.D. Martinez is informing potential suitors that he would prefer to sign as an outfielder, according to a report from Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Just how that will impact the ongoing recruitment process is not yet clear, but the report suggests it could mean the oft-linked Red Sox will need to boost their offer or clear outfield space to make a deal.

Of course, as Silverman also acknowledges, there are some potential bargaining advantages to be pursued from taking this particular stance. And the Boston organization is wary of being drawn into a one-team bidding war.

Agent Scott Boras suggested at the Winter Meetings that Martinez was amenable to serving as a designated hitter, even indicating that his client had “never said to me anything about” the matter. But it seems a somewhat different tone has been struck in talks with teams.

Ample uncertainty remains in Martinez’s free-agent outlook. At this point, the Red Sox are perhaps the only clear suitor that can afford Martinez. His former team, the Diamondbacks, has also been directly connected but seemingly lacks the current financial capacity to fit the kind of salary that’ll be needed to lure the slugger. Likewise the Giants are attempting a financial tightrope walk that makes it somewhat difficult to imagine Martinez fitting (at least, at the rate of pay he’d prefer). A few other teams are rumored to be looking at the market’s best hitter, though it’s not really evident which are serious participants.

At the very least, the report suggests that, while Martinez might be willing to sign on as a DH, he’d require a sweetener to do so — at this stage of the proceedings, at least. (Indeed, Martinez has indicated he’d sign as a DH/outfielder for Boston, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets.) Boras has never been afraid to wait out the market for his clients, with notable power hitters such as Prince Fielder and Chris Davis scoring huge contracts in late January.

No doubt the Red Sox are interested in landing Martinez — Silverman calls him the organization’s “first choice” — but at a palatable price. The team could line up a trade of Jackie Bradley Jr. to make way for Martinez in the outfield while perhaps also making a move for Eric Hosmer or another option at first base, though president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski threw cold water on the idea of a Bradley trade. If Boston’s preference is to utilize Martinez as a DH while holding onto Bradley, it seems the sides will wait to see who blinks first.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[The Red Sox/Scott Boras "Staring Contest" For J.D. Martinez]]> 2017-12-15T01:48:37Z 2017-12-15T01:46:38Z Jacoby Ellsbury’s name was mentioned in trade talks between the Yankees and Diamondbacks, NJ Advance Media’s Brendan Kuty reports, and though “nothing is believed to be off the table,” Arizona didn’t have much interest in the veteran outfielder due to his big price tag.  Ellsbury is owed over $63.3MM through the 2020 season, plus a $5MM of $21MM club option for 2021.  He no longer has a starting job in the crowded New York outfield due to his underwhelming .261/.331/.372 slash line over the last three seasons, and it seems like the Yankees would surely have to eat some money to facilitate a trade, particularly with the D’Backs.  Ellsbury can also block any deal due to his no-trade clause, though he does own a home in Arizona and he has a past relationship with D’Backs GM Mike Hazen from their time in the Red Sox organization.

  • There is considerable interest in how many years J.D. Martinez will land in his next contract, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe writes.  Many in the industry feel Martinez will easily net a five-year deal, though going beyond that for a player who just turned 30 last August could test the comfort zone of several teams, including the Red Sox.  (MLBTR, for the record, predicted Martinez for a six-year, $150MM deal.)  Scott Boras, Martinez’s agent, set an early asking price of seven years and $210MM for his client, which seems like a very optimistic number now but Boras has a penchant for waiting under deeper in the offseason until he can find his clients an acceptable deal.  This has made Boston’s pursuit of Martinez feel like “a staring contest” between Boras and Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski,’s Scott Lauber writes, as Dombrowski is traditionally more aggressive in quickly landing his desired targets.
Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Position Player Rumblings: Red Sox, Machado, White Sox, Cards/Donaldson, Jays/Cain, Mets]]> 2017-12-14T17:45:32Z 2017-12-14T17:43:19Z The Red Sox have designs on adding the two top position players on the free agent market, according to the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman, with ongoing pursuit of both J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer. Interestingly, Silverman notes that Boston would likely look to shed some of its obligations to Hanley Ramirez by dealing him away in the event it can acquire both players.

That scenario seems to be one of several possibilities still remaining for the Red Sox, who are one of the many teams with plenty of work yet to do in settling their regular lineups. Here’s a look in at the latest notes on bats from around the game:

  • Orioles VP of baseball ops Dan Duquette made clear today that he does not foresee striking a deal involving third baseman Manny Machado that is contingent upon extension negotiations, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post was among those to report on Twitter. In other words, it seems any acquiring team would be gaining just one year of control over over Machado. Sherman also hears that the odds are in favor of a deal at this point, tweeting that the White Sox and Cardinals are the “most aggressive” teams in pursuit of the young superstar.
  • For the White Sox, the interest in Machado does not include an intention to flip him in a later swap, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). While Chicago has made an “impressive” bid for Machado, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Nightengale also says that the belief on the South Side is that others have offered more. Meanwhile, GM Rick Hahn said that the team’s “focus remains on the long term” and says he won’t “make any sort of move that’s aimed at jumping up” into immediate contention. Despite that cold water, he did say the organization is willing to “take some calculated risks along the way.” Just what the team has in mind with this reported pursuit remains a bit of a mystery, but we’ll have to wait and see how things shake out.
  • While evidently maintaining interest in Machado and pursuing other fronts, the Cardinals are also still “pushing” the Blue Jays to offer up their own star third baseman, Josh Donaldson, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). At this point, though, there’s no reason to believe that Toronto will budge from its stance on Donaldson — namely, that it’s not interested in moving him for anything approaching a reasonable return.
  • Far from dangling Donaldson, it seems the Blue Jays are at least weighing a major addition. The club has interest in free agent center fielder Lorenzo Cain, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). In theory, Cain could coexist with current center fielder Kevin Pillar, though Cain is also most valuable up the middle. The Jays are interested in committing up to four years, says Heyman, but it seems there are indications Cain will have an opportunity to secure a better deal elsewhere. MLBTR predicted that Cain would land four years in free agency; to this point, we haven’t heard much public discussion of his market, but he’s rather clearly the top available center fielder.
  • While the Mets were able to come away from the Winter Meetings with a relief arm, they have yet to fill their opening at second base. Per Marc Carig of Newsday, Ian Kinsler was not willing to waive his no-trade rights to go to New York. (All links to Twitter.) The club has a variety of other options still in play, Carig explains, adding that the organization was discussing righty Rafael Montero in talks regarding Kinsler.
Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Padres “Clear-Cut Favorites” For Eric Hosmer]]> 2017-12-14T17:36:31Z 2017-12-14T13:04:46Z Following two face-to-face meetings, the Padres seem to be the clear-cut favorites to sign free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nightengale also notes that the Red Sox are still “lurking”.

The Padres have been frequently linked to Hosmer this offseason, but multiple face-to-face meetings could mean that talks have reached a more advanced stage. Indeed, Nightengale’s use of the phrase “clear-cut” seems to imply that teams have at least made someone detailed pitches by now, and that the Padres are far ahead of their competition.

Hosmer is coming fresh off a career year and is just 28 years of age. He hit .318/.385/.498 with 25 homers in 671 plate appearances. The durable Hosmer played in all 162 games and added a Gold Glove to his list of accomplishments for the 2017 season. Hosmer ranked third among free agents in terms of earning potential on MLBTR’s Top 50 Free Agents With Predictions piece.

The Royals free agent rejected a qualifying offer, so if the Padres were to sign him, they’d have to give up their third-highest pick in the 2018 draft (in the case of the Padres, who have a pick in Competitive Balance Round A, that’d be a second-round selection). Since Hosmer will almost certainly sign a deal for more than $50MM, the Royals would stand to gain a compensatory draft pick after the first round.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Trade Chatter: Nats, Rays, Fulmer, Reds, Jays, Braves, Giants, Yelich, Phils]]> 2017-12-14T03:45:12Z 2017-12-14T03:44:39Z Looking to improve an already enviable rotation, the Nationals have Rays right-handers Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi on their radar, Jon Heyman of FanRag reports (via Twitter). Either would cost far less in terms of salary than free agent Jake Arrieta will, and Heyman notes that the Nats are unsure if they’d be able to afford Arrieta. Heyman also points to Diamondbacks righty Zack Greinke as a possibility for the Nats; however, he’s not exactly cheap, with $138.5MM coming his way through 2021.

More on the trade front:

  • The Tigers “will only entertain lopsided offers” for righty Michael Fulmer, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). A trade involving the highly coveted 24-year-old doesn’t look likely, then.
  • The Blue Jays are interested in Reds outfielders Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall, per reports from Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (via Twitter) and Jays Journal. The Braves also have interest in the 29-year-old Duvall, tweets Heyman. Duvall, a 30-home run hitter in each of the previous two seasons, is controllable for the next four years. He won’t be arbitration eligible until next winter.
  • The Giants’ own interest in Hamilton continues, but Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the chatter with the Reds has “faded significantly” of late. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer adds on Twitter that the Giants are the most serious suitors for Hamilton, but they’re “at a bit of a standoff” with the Reds. San Francisco still has interest in free agent Jay Bruce, per Rosenthal, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Bruce is the top name on San Francisco’s “wish list.” Still, the club has not made him an offer to this point.
  • It’s up in the air whether the Marlins will trade center fielder Christian Yelich. Either way, the Phillies will continue to monitor his availability, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia relays. Meanwhile, they’ve “been aggressive” in shopping shortstop Freddy Galvis, according to Salisbury, who adds (via Twitter) that the Angels “really liked” second baseman Cesar Hernandez before they acquired Ian Kinsler. The Halos didn’t want to meet the Phillies’ asking price for Hernandez, however.
  • The Red Sox asked about Marcell Ozuna before the Cardinals acquired him, but they did not have the sort of pitching assets the Marlins were for, Dombrowski told reporters including the Globe’s Peter Abraham (Twitter link.) The Indians also inquired about Ozuna, Paul Hoynes of writes.
  • In addition to Chase Headley, the Padres are dangling infielder Yangervis Solarte in chatter with rival organizations, Heyman reports on Twitter. Solarte, 30, is controllable for the next three years at affordable costs (a guaranteed $4MM in 2018 and then club options totaling $13.5MM for 2019-20).
  • The Blue Jays were another team with interest in Kinsler before Wednesday’s trade, Nicholson-Smith tweets. Toronto was on Kinsler’s 10-team no-trade list, so it’s unclear how open he’d have been to going there.
Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Rumors: Nunez, Reynolds]]> 2017-12-14T01:46:20Z 2017-12-14T01:46:20Z
  • A variety of organizations are still looking at versatile infielder Eduardo Nunez. Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets that the Red SoxBlue Jays, and “possibly” the Yankees are among the suitors. Boston president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski acknowledged the interest, as Alex Speier of the Boston Globe was among those to tweet. The Giants have some ongoing involvement, too, but Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that San Francisco is “a longshot” to make a deal.
  • The Rangers and Red Sox each have some degree of interest in free agent first baseman Mark Reynolds, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. They join a few other clubs with interest, as we covered recently.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Called O's About Machado, Also Considering Frazier]]> 2017-12-13T16:38:40Z 2017-12-13T16:38:40Z
  • The Red Sox called the Orioles about Manny Machado yesterday, per Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link), and they’re also considering Todd Frazier as an option according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald (also via Twitter). Frazier is willing to play first base, according to Silverman, though an acquisition of Machado would presumably slide Rafael Devers across the diamond to first base or necessitate a more extreme move on the left side of the infield. Whether the O’s actually move Machado remains to be seen, but they’re reportedly shopping him and asking interested parties to make offers.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[J.D. Martinez Rumors: Wednesday]]> 2017-12-13T15:57:00Z 2017-12-13T15:57:00Z We haven’t heard an immense amount of chatter to this point on J.D. Martinez, the top free agent slugger, but that could well change today. The power-hitting outfielder is set to appear at the Winter Meetings to sit down with a few possible suitors, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported (via Twitter) yesterday. Here’s the latest chatter:

    • We learned yesterday that the Red Sox will get face-to-face time with Martinez and agent Scott Boras, as Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeted. Indeed, it seems that Martinez is a top priority for Boston, though adding him would presumably mean finding a deal for center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
    • The Diamondbacks are also slated to meet with Martinez, who starred there after a midseason trade, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Whether the Arizona organization can find the cash to make that happen remains to be seen, but it does seem the club’s discussion of Zack Greinke in trades is likely related.
    • While the Giants are also a rumored suitor, though GM Bobby Evans would say only that the team will “maybe” be among those meeting with Martinez, as Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic tweeted yesterday. As Baggarly further explains, though, in a subscription piece, there are ongoing concerns internally that blowing past the luxury line would not be wise. Certainly, there’s no clear path to adding Martinez (or any other high-priced free agents) without doing so.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Heavily Focused On J.D. Martinez]]> 2017-12-13T03:56:54Z 2017-12-13T03:56:54Z
  • The Red Sox are focusing 90 percent of their offseason attention on J.D. Martinez, a source tells NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich.  Martinez has been heavily rumored as a top Sox target, given his past ties to Dave Dombrowski, the lack of qualifying offer compensation tied to his signing, and the simple fact that he is the best power hitter on the market this winter.  Dombrowski told reporters (including the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo) today that he had a specific name in mind to bolster the middle of Boston’s lineup, though no hints were given.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Athletics’ Pursuit Of Outfielders]]> 2017-12-12T01:23:30Z 2017-12-12T01:23:11Z 8:15pm: More on the A’s outfield from Slusser, who reports that they’re also interested in one of Piscotty’s teammates, Grichuk, as well as the Reds’ Adam Duvall and the Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. As 30-home run hitters in 2017, Duvall and Souza would provide right-handed punch to the A’s lineup if acquired. They’re also controllable for the next few seasons – Duvall’s under wraps through 2021, including one pre-arbitration year, while Souza’s set to play his first of three arb-eligible campaigns in 2018. He’s projected to earn a very affordable $3.6MM. Grichuk’s another powerful righty entering his first of three arb years, though he didn’t fare as well as Duvall or Souza in 2017.

    Meanwhile, the A’s seem uninterested in moving one of their top offensive players, left fielder/designated hitter Khris Davis, per Slusser. They’ve spurned the Red Sox and other teams that have inquired about Davis this winter.

    1:04am: The Athletics continue to have interest in the Cardinals’ Stephen Piscotty, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported and’s Jane Lee discusses in a video link. Oakland has been on the hunt this winter for right-handed hitting outfield help.

    A previous connection between Piscotty and the A’s surfaced in the aftermath of the trade deadline, as the Cardinals reportedly floated an offer of Piscotty and either Luke Weaver or Jack Flaherty to Oakland in exchange for Sonny Gray.  Those talks never really got off the ground, however, and the A’s subsequently dealt Gray to the Yankees.

    As Lee mentions in the video, “the A’s have interest in a ton of outfielders right now,” with the team particularly focused on right-handed bats who are controllable, so the A’s aren’t only looking at veteran options.  The Athletics are clearly willing to shop near the top of the trade market, however, as such names as Avisail Garcia of the White Sox and Marlins outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich (a left-handed hitter) have already been reported as landing on Oakland’s radar in talks.

    Piscotty wouldn’t cost as much in a deal as those aforementioned names, given how he struggled in 2017.  After signing a six-year, $33.5MM extension with the Cardinals in April, Piscotty went from building block to potentially expendable piece by hitting just .235/.342/.367 with nine homers over  401 plate appearances.  Groin and hamstring injuries didn’t help his cause, and Piscotty was even demoted to Triple-A in August for a brief spell.

    Still, Piscotty posted strong numbers in his first two big league seasons, he doesn’t turn 27 until January, and the Cards are less than a year removed from locking him up on what could still be a team-friendly extension.  Under normal circumstances, St. Louis wouldn’t be looking to deal a player like Piscotty (especially when his trade value has been lowered), though the club must create room within a crowded outfield picture.  Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham locked into everyday outfield spots next year, leaving just one corner spot for Piscotty, Randal Grichuk, and prospects Magneuris Sierra, Tyler O’Neill, and Harrison Bader.  The Cards may also add another everyday outfielder — they’ve also been linked to Ozuna and Yelich in trade speculation, and J.D. Martinez is a possibility for a Cardinals lineup looking for a big bat after missing out on Giancarlo Stanton.

    This surplus makes St. Louis a logical trade partner for an Oakland team that is short on established outfielders.  Boog Powell and top prospect Dustin Fowler are the top candidates for center field, while Matt Joyce, Jake Smolinski, Chad Pinder and Mark Canha will be in the mix for playing time in the corners.  Piscotty would step into one of those corner spots for everyday duty right away, and the $30.5MM owed to him over the next five years (counting a $1MM buyout of his $15MM club option for 2023) is a palatable price tag even for a smaller-market team like the A’s.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: Stanton, JBJ, Offense, Bullpen]]> 2017-12-12T01:33:30Z 2017-12-12T00:34:35Z President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters Monday that the Red Sox “did all our homework” on Giancarlo Stanton before the Marlins traded him to the Yankees. In the end, though, the club wasn’t on the list of teams to which Stanton would have accepted a trade. Even if the Red Sox were on that list, which consisted of the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers and Cubs, they weren’t keen on acquiring his contract, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston suggests. Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe, revealed that the Red Sox “never tried to make a deal with the Marlins.” That didn’t come as a surprise to Wolfe, who noted Boston has “a tremendous outfield” with three “studs” in Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi. Wolfe added that Boston’s focus as of last month’s GM meetings was on “pitching and other areas.” Specifically, they’re seeking relief help and a power bat, Drellich reports.

    More on the Red Sox:

    • A report Monday morning indicated that the Red Sox had put Bradley on the block, but that’s not the case, according to Dombrowski. “Not accurate,” he said (Twitter link via Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe).
    • While famed agent Scott Boras has encouraged Boston to sign both free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer and outfielder J.D. Martinez, Dombrowski suggested that adding a pair of hitters isn’t likely. “I don’t know where we’d play the two bats,” he stated (via Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, on Twitter). Dombrowski didn’t specify whether the Sox would prefer to pick up a hitter via the open market or trade, Drellich tweets, though Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that they’re telling teams they’d rather go the latter route right now than wait out free agency (Twitter link).
    • Dombrowski also touched on his team’s bullpen, saying that “getting a right-handed reliever is not our driving force.” He pointed to Carson Smith as one of the most effective righty-on-righty relievers in the game (Twitter link via Speier). Smith returned from 2016 Tommy John surgery this past September and thrived over 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven while giving up one run on six hits and two walks.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Red Sox' Possible Corner Options]]> 2017-12-11T17:26:06Z 2017-12-11T17:02:25Z
  • Hosmer and Martinez are conceivably also targets for the Red Sox, as are Santana and others. As Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes, the organization has engaged agent Scott Boras on both players; perhaps unsurprisingly, he also suggests that Boras is pitching Boston on signing the pair in a bold move to revamp its lineup. Interestingly, Cafardo also says that Hosmer’s former club, the Royals, once reached an internal assessment that Hosmer could swat forty long balls annually at Fenway. Of course, the notoriously heavy groundball hitter has never launched more than 25 in a given season (that’s a mark he reached in each of the last two campaigns).
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Make Jackie Bradley Jr. Available In Trade Talks]]> 2017-12-11T14:41:06Z 2017-12-11T14:32:46Z The Red Sox are advising rival organizations that they’ll consider dealing away center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). That stance, he notes, is tied to the team’s efforts to add a power bat — presumably, one that would occupy a corner outfield spot and bump Andrew Benintendi into center.

    Several teams have been circling Bradley early in the offseason, though there had been no clear indication that Boston would offer him up. A move involving Bradley — whether or not directly tied to the acquisition of a new bat — has always seemed connected to any effort to add pop to the Boston outfield. Of course, there’s also room to add at first base, so there were and likely still are scenarios where Bradley stays right where he is.

    Certainly, retaining the quality all-around performer would hardly be a poor option for the Red Sox. The 27-year-old took a step back at the plate last year, but still hit 17 home runs and landed within range of overall league-average production with the bat. Plus, he’s a highly regarded performer on the bases and in the field, so he graded out as a quality regular even despite falling well shy of his 2016 offensive output — a .267/.349/.486 breakout that leaves traces of a tantalizing ceiling.

    For the Red Sox to part with Bradley, they’d surely need to be zeroing in on a major addition. And they’d likely also need to receive some real value in return. Bradley is still controllable for three more seasons via arbitration and is projected by MLBTR to earn a manageable $5.9MM for 2018. While his Super Two status gave him a high floor to build off of, he’s still a potential bargain given his track record of overall performance in recent seasons.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL East Notes: Yankees, Orioles, Red Sox]]> 2017-12-12T21:21:07Z 2017-12-11T11:11:49Z Later today, the Yankees will announce the hire of Phil Nevin as their third base coach, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports. Nightengale also mentioned an additional fun fact: Nevin and new Yankees manager Aaron Boone were high school teammates. Nevin was a lifetime .270/.343/.472 hitter across 4,703 plate appearances spanning twelve major league seasons. The former number one overall draft pick played with seven different major league teams during his career, but spent most of his time with the Tigers and Padres. Nevin was considered to be a strong candidate for the Tigers’ managerial opening before the club selected Ron Gardenhire to be their next skipper. Instead, he’ll become the latest member of rookie manager Boone’s coaching staff.

    Other items from around the American League’s Eastern division…

    • Any path back to contention for the Orioles in 2018 must begin with a retooling of a rotation that posted baseball’s highest ERA, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun opines. At present, Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy are the only locks in the rotation, and although the Orioles have been in the mix for some pitchers so far, they haven’t signed anyone yet. While it has already been mentioned that the Orioles were in on Tyler Chatwood before he signed with the Cubs, Encina reports that Baltimore was also in on Miles Mikolas, who ultimately ended up choosing the Cardinals. He quotes Dan Duquette saying that retooling the rotation this offseason will be a “bigger challenge” than in previous years, in part due to “significant demand” for pitchers in the free agent class. The Orioles’ rotation posted a 5.70 ERA in 2017.
    • Despite the aforementioned need for rotation improvements, the Orioles did not make a presentation to Shohei Ohtani. Duquette’s reasoning (explained in a segment on MLB Network Radio) was that the Orioles “philosophically don’t participate on the posting part of it.” While the Orioles are known for not utilizing their international bonus pool money, one would think that Ohtani would have presented somewhat of an exception to Baltimore’s “philosophy,” particularly considering his upside and the fact that he’s now ranked as the number one prospect in all of baseball. Of course, Ohtani eliminated all east coast teams before he even scheduled any in-person meetings, so this is largely a moot point.
    • Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald lists five ways the Red Sox can “get down to business” now that the offseason’s two biggest holdups (Giancarlo Stanton and Ohtani) have found their new destinations. While he details Boston’s obvious need for a power bat his more interesting suggestion is that the Sox ought to pony up for a utility man who can be a legitimate hitter. If the team can’t re-sign Eduardo Nunez, Mastrodonato postulates, they ought to turn to the trade market for such an asset.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Should The Red Sox Make A Dual Free Agent Splash?]]> 2017-12-11T04:44:34Z 2017-12-11T03:28:15Z
  • Now that Giancarlo Stanton is a Yankee, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald proposes a bold counter-move for the Red Sox — sign both J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer in free agency.  This would come at a big financial cost for the Sox, of course, though Silverman argues that since the team will likely be over the luxury tax threshold anyway, the Red Sox will face a slightly lesser financial penalty now than they would in exceeding it next offseason with another year of overages on its record.  Silverman believes Boston should strike now rather than hope for landing one of next winter’s big free agents, plus Martinez and Hosmer would help replace the clubhouse leadership gap left by the retired David Ortiz.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Pitcher Steven Wright Arrested On Domestic Assault Charges]]> 2017-12-11T02:21:25Z 2017-12-11T02:21:25Z Steven Wright was arrested on Friday on charges of domestic assault,’s Rob Bradford reports (Twitter link).  Wright was released on Saturday.  Wright and his agent didn’t comment on the situation, though NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich received a statement from the Wright family via their attorney:

    On Friday night, Steven was arrested at our home following a verbal argument, and the police charged him with domestic assault. Although he said things he deeply regrets, he did not raise his hand at anyone during the incident, and the situation was purely emotional. We are working together as a family to make our relationships stronger, and we ask that you respect our privacy as we do so.”

    The Red Sox have also released a statement in regards to Wright’s arrest…

    We are aware of the incident involving Steven. This is certainly a matter that the Red Sox take very seriously. It is my understanding that both local police and MLB are looking into this and for that reason, the club won’t have any further comment at this time.”

    Wright emerged as a solid rotation piece for the Red Sox in 2016, when he posted a 3.33 ERA, 7.3 K/9, and 2.23 K/BB over 156 2/3 innings and was selected to the AL All-Star team.  A shoulder injury cut Wright’s year short, however, and the knuckleballer was then limited to just five starts in 2017 due to season-ending left knee surgery in May.  Wright had been expected to return as Boston’s fifth starter next season, particularly in the wake of the news that Eduardo Rodriguez will miss time at the start of the year due to his own knee surgery.

    It isn’t yet known what, if any, further legal obstacles Wright may face, though MLB’s domestic violence policy gives Commissioner Rob Manfred broad authority to issue suspensions even if no further legal action is taken.  Aroldis Chapman, Jose Reyes, Jeurys Familia and Derek Norris are some of the more notable names who have been suspended or placed on the restricted list for domestic violence-related issues since MLB and the players’ union instituted the policy in August 2015.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cafardo: Red Sox "Very Interested" In Jose Abreu]]> 2017-12-10T16:35:24Z 2017-12-10T16:35:24Z The Red Sox are “very interested” in White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, which runs contrary to previous reports. The Cardinals are also after Abreu, Cafardo adds, which isn’t surprising for a team that just lost out on Giancarlo Stanton and continues to seek a power bat. Abreu, who will turn 31 in January, slashed .304/.354/.552 with 33 home runs in 675 plate appearances last season. He comes with two years of arbitration eligibility and will earn a lofty sum – a projected $17.9MM – in 2018. The White Sox want “top prospects” for Abreu, per Cafardo.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Interested In Kyle Schwarber]]> 2017-12-10T14:26:07Z 2017-12-10T14:23:55Z
  • The power-needy Red Sox have interest in Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber, according to Scott Lauber of, though he casts doubt on the idea of Chicago moving the 24-year-old. The Cubs’ front office has long been bullish on Schwarber, who’s coming off a disappointing season (granted, he did hit 30 home runs) but still under control for five more years. In the seemingly unlikely event the Cubs deal Schwarber to Boston, he’d be a candidate to slot in at first base/designated hitter.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Claim Henry Owens]]> 2017-12-08T18:44:49Z 2017-12-08T18:39:10Z The Diamondbacks have claimed left-hander Henry Owens off waivers from the Red Sox, reports Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (on Twitter). Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reported that Owens was on outright waivers earlier this week.

    The move will reunite Owens, 25, with Arizona general manager Mike Hazen, who was in the Red Sox organization (along with assistant GMs Amiel Sawdaye and Jared Porter) when Boston originally made Owens the 36th overall pick in the 2011 draft.

    Owens was once considered to be one of the game’s best overall prospects. However, he’s managed just a 5.19 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 4.7 BB/9 in 85 big league innings and saw his control of the strike zone, which has long been an issue for him, utterly evaporate in 2017 when he walked 115 batters, hit 17 more and threw 17 wild pitches in 126 Triple-A innings this season.

    Owens has a minor league option remaining, so the Diamondbacks will have the luxury of being able to send him to the minors to attempt to get back on track if they wish, though the Triple-A Pacific Coast League isn’t exactly a friendly environment for a pitcher looking to refine his mechanics and reestablish his confidence.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Abreu Talks Between Red Sox, White Sox Reportedly Not Serious]]> 2017-12-08T17:48:53Z 2017-12-08T17:48:53Z Despite recent reports connecting the Red Sox to Jose Abreu, Rob Bradford of tweets that talks between Boston and Chicago are “significantly overstated,” adding that there’s never been much traction between the two sides in that regard. That meshes with what The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal wrote yesterday (subscription required and recommended) when reporting that it’s unlikely the White Sox move Abreu to Boston or to any other club, “barring an unexpected change.”

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Place Henry Owens On Outright Waivers]]> 2017-12-07T15:11:37Z 2017-12-07T00:04:43Z The Red Sox have placed former top prospect Henry Owens on outright waivers, removing him from the 40-man roster and clearing a space for a possible acquisition, reports Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. Drellich notes that it is not immediately clear that a corresponding acquisition is on the cusp of completion.

    Owens, 25, once ranked among the game’s top 50 overall prospects in the eyes of Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and, but his stock has fallen since last landing on one of those lists, prior to the 2015 campaign. The left-hander has seen time in a pair of big league seasons, tossing 85 innings for the BoSox from 2015-16 but struggling to the tune of a 5.19 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 4.7 BB/9.

    Early in his pro career, Owens posted enormous strikeout rates, but that trait has diminished as he’s reached the upper minors and the Major Leagues. Moreover, his longstanding issue with walks has become increasingly magnified against more advanced hitters. That’s never been truer than it was in 2017, as Owens split the year between Double-A Portand and Triple-A Pawtucket and walked a staggering 115 batters in 126 innings (8.2 BB/9). Owens also hit 17 batters and uncorked 17 wild pitches in those 126 innings — further exemplifying his struggles to locate the ball.

    Owens does have a minor league option remaining, so any club that claims him would have the opportunity to stash him in Triple-A rather than being forced to carry him on the roster out of Spring Training. Outright waiver priority is not league-specific, so he’ll be available to all rival clubs in the reverse order of the 2017 regular season standings.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox, Tyler Thornburg Avoid Arbitration]]> 2017-12-04T18:45:37Z 2017-12-04T18:45:37Z The Red Sox announced that they’ve avoided arbitration with right-hander Tyler Thornburg by agreeing to a one-year deal for the 2018 season. Terms of the contract weren’t disclosed, though Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal reports (via Twitter) that Thornburg will be paid $2.05MM. That matches the rate at which he was paid in 2017, which is common for arbitration-eligible players who miss an entire season due to injury, as was the case with Thornburg in 2017 (thoracic outlet syndrome).

    Thornburg, 29 was Boston’s biggest bullpen acquisition last winter but was unable to take the mound due to shoulder issues that eventually led to his TOS diagnosis and subsequent surgery. Thus far, it’s been a particularly painful trade for the Sox, who sent Travis Shaw and prospects Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington to Milwaukee to acquire Thornburg’s three arbitration seasons.

    The Sox still have time to extract some value from the contract if Thornburg is healthy, of course. He was a wipeout reliever for the Brewers back in 2016, tossing 67 innings of 2.15 ERA ball with 12.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 0.81 HR/9 with a fastball that averaged just over 94 mph. If he’s able to approximate that level of performance, Thornburg would deepen Boston’s setup corps and help to fortify the bridge to Craig Kimbrel at the end of the game. He’ll be joined by Carson Smith, Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes as right-handed setup options for rookie manager Alex Cora.

    With Thornburg’s case out of the way, the Sox still have a hefty 12 players eligible for arbitration. Kelly, Smith, Mookie Betts, Drew Pomeranz, Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt, Jackie Bradley, Sandy Leon, Steven Wright, Brandon Workman, Christian Vazquez and Eduardo Rodriguez are all eligible for arbitration this winter as well.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners, Giants, Padres, Rangers, Cubs, Angels Among Teams To Meet With Shohei Ohtani]]> 2017-12-04T05:40:13Z 2017-12-04T05:40:33Z 11:40pm: The Angels are indeed one of the finalists, as per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter).

    10:39pm: The Angels are thought by “multiple sources” to be one of the finalists, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets.  The Tigers are out of the running, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.

    8:59pm: The Rangers and Cubs will both meet with Ohtani, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports (Twitter link), and they’re also the only two non-West Coast teams who appear to still be alive in the candidate process.  The Rangers, Grant notes, have yet to comment on their status one way or the other.

    7:22pm: The Nationals won’t be receiving a meeting, the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes reports (Twitter link).

    6:58pm: The Braves are out,’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter).

    6:50pm: The Padres will receive a meeting with Ohtani, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter links).  The Dodgers are also thought to still be active in the Ohtani sweepstakes though Heyman doesn’t have confirmation; regardless, the Dodgers aren’t thought to be favorites to land Ohtani.

    6:38pm: The Rays, Cardinals and White Sox are out, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (all Twitter links).

    6:15pm: The Diamondbacks won’t receive a meeting, Ken Rosenthal tweets.

    6:12pm: The Blue Jays, Pirates, and Brewers are all out, as respectively reported by’s Shi Davidi,’s Adam Berry, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt (all Twitter links).

    5:48pm: The Mets are also out, as per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).

    5:38pm: Ohtani’s list is “heavy” on West Coast teams, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, though the Cubs may still be involved.  Not every west-based team is included, however, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that the A’s aren’t involved.

    5:28pm: The Red Sox are also out of the running, president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  The Twins also won’t be getting a meeting with Ohtani, Heyman tweets.

    5:16pm: The Giants and Mariners are among the teams that will receive meetings with Shohei Ohtani and his representatives next week, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link).  It isn’t known who the other finalists are in the Ohtani sweepstakes, though the Yankees are one of the teams that didn’t make the cut, as Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including’s Brendan Kuty and’s Bryan Hoch).

    According to Cashman, Ohtani seems to be leaning towards West Coast teams in smaller markets.  This ties to a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman saying that Ohtani’s reps are informing teams that the two-way star would prefer to play in a smaller market.

    The news adds another fascinating layer to the Ohtani sweepstakes, which was already one of the more intriguing free agent pursuits in recent memory.  Given the seeming lack of immediate financial motive that inspired Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball, it opened the door for every team in baseball (regardless of market or payroll size) to make a push for the 23-year-old.  There had been speculation that Ohtani might look to avoid playing in a larger market, so this apparent confirmation creates a realistic possibility that he will land with a team that wouldn’t normally be considered a favorite to land such a coveted free agent.

    Of course, San Francisco isn’t exactly a small market, though Ohtani wouldn’t necessarily be the center of attention on a club with such established stars as Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner (and maybe even Giancarlo Stanton in the near future).  Playing for an NL team, however, would force Ohtani into a pinch-hitting or even a part-time outfield role for the at-bats he seeks in his attempt to be a two-way player in the big leagues.  The Mariners do have such a DH spot available (in a timeshare with Nelson Cruz), and were considered to be a contender for Ohtani given their long history of Japanese players.

    The Yankees also have had several significant Japanese players on their past and current rosters, and were widely seen as one of the major favorites for Ohtani’s services from a financial (in terms of available international bonus money) and positional (openings at DH and in the rotation) standpoint, not to mention their international fame and their young core of talent ready to make a World Series push.  With Ohtani now out of the picture, the Yankees could move to signing more pitching depth — a reunion with C.C. Sabathia has been widely speculated as a possibility — or a veteran bat to serve as designated hitter, if the club doesn’t just rotate its DH days to find plate appearances for everyone on the current roster.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Rumors: Sunday]]> 2017-12-03T19:27:00Z 2017-12-03T18:08:06Z In case you were unaware, Giancarlo Stanton is still on the Marlins. We’ll keep track of today’s rumblings on the National League MVP and trade candidate here…

    • The Red Sox are no longer involved in the Stanton race, per Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link). A report on Wednesday indicated that Boston and Miami hadn’t discussed Stanton since the general managers meetings in mid-November, so the Red Sox’s apparent exit from the sweepstakes doesn’t come as a surprise.
    • While Stanton has personally met with the GMs for the Giants and Cardinals, the Los Angeles-born slugger is still waiting to see how serious the Dodgers’ interest is before he’s willing to completely embrace going to another team, according to Jon Morosi of (Twitter links). However, the Dodgers and Marlins haven’t made any “substantial progress” in talks, Morosi adds, as LA is wary of the luxury-tax implications that would come with acquiring him. Meanwhile, both the Giants and Cardinals are still “in the dark” about whether Stanton would waive his no-trade clause to join them, Mish relays on Twitter.
    • San Francisco and Miami have reportedly discussed Giants outfield prospect Heliot Ramos; however, there’s “no indication” the Giants have actually offered Ramos to the Marlins, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Saturday]]> 2017-12-03T02:00:28Z 2017-12-03T00:54:57Z The latest on game-changing Japanese ace/slugger Shohei Ohtani, whom the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters posted on Friday and who’s at the beginning of a three-week window to work out an agreement with a major league team:

    • The Ohtani sweepstakes is seemingly on the verge of picking up in earnest, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the 23-year-old CAA Sports client will meet with various teams in Los Angeles next week (Twitter link). The Mariners are among those clubs, suggests Passan, who relays that team brass has asked multiple members of its roster to clear their schedules for a potential meeting with Ohtani. That comes on the heels of general manager Jerry Dipoto’s revelation last week that the Mariners are preparing an aggressive push press for Ohtani. “We’re not joking around. We’re bringing the big guns,” declared Dipoto (Twitter link via Greg Johns of
    • Ohtani’s camp will notify certain teams this weekend if they’ll remain in the mix to sign him, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The Padres are hopeful they’ll advance to the next round. “As a group, we’re prepared, and I think he’s a player that obviously we’ve scouted and have history with,” GM A.J. Preller told Lin. “You try to see what the fits are and why he’s a good fit for us and why we’re a good fit for him. We’re kind of down the path of doing that work.”
    • The Red Sox will also chase Ohtani, per president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who told Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald via text: “Would acknowledge our interest. Beyond that, all would be confidential.” Ohtani joining Chris Sale and David Price would make for a rather enticing top of the rotation, needless to say, and he could also factor in as a designated hitter for a Boston club that received uninspiring production there last season in the first year of the post-David Ortiz era.
    • Count the World Series-winning Astros as yet another team that will court Ohtani. Owner Jim Crane told Brian McTaggart of that the Astros will “put a full-court press on” to sign Ohtani, adding that they’ll “probably send the A-team out there.” He also noted that the Astros “need a left-handed DH, so there you have it.” In addition to having the ability to demonstrate his offensive prowess in Houston, Ohtani would add another potential front-end starter to a rotation that already includes past Cy Young winners Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel.
    • While the Rays are obvious long shots to land Ohtani, they have an advantage over other teams with the presence of two-way prospect Brendan McKay, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times observes. McKay, the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft, could be both a pitcher and a hitter in the majors. “We’re hopeful (McKay) can do it,” Rays GM Erik Neander said. “We want to give him the opportunity to do it because he’s shown he deserves that opportunity and we don’t want to take that away from him prematurely.” Citing McKay’s presence, the Rays will emphasize to Ohtani that they’re open-minded about developing and employing a two-way player, per Topkin, who also expects them to pitch Tampa Bay’s “relaxed” lifestyle during the recruiting process.
    • The Marlins, MLB’s other Florida-based organization, are unlikely to make an effort for Ohtani, Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. The cost-cutting Marlins are wary of the financial commitment it would take to reel in Ohtani, who won’t require much from a salary standpoint but will cost a $20MM posting fee. While that looks like a relatively minor amount for a possible franchise face like Ohtani, the Marlins simply aren’t in position to fork it over in their current financial state, Healey explains.
    • While the Indians only have $10K in international bonus pool space, they’re expected to partake in the Ohtani derby, per Paul Hoynes of He’d slot into an already loaded rotation, one which features two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco; additionally, Ohtani could DH for a team at risk of losing Carlos Santana in free agency.
    • All things considered, the Yankees may be the favorites for Ohtani. There’s a general “fear” coming from other franchises regarding the Bronx Bombers, tweets Passan, given the talent on hand, the market they’re in and their strong relationship with CAA Sports. They also have the second-biggest international bonus pool.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL Central Notes: Twins, Tigers, Abreu]]> 2017-12-02T22:45:06Z 2017-12-02T18:21:22Z Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweeted today that while the Twins remain “engaged and interested” in regards to a few big name free agent pitchers, there’s no indication yet that they are “in heavily” on anyone. While that can change quickly, Wolfson acknowledges that the trade market is also a very real possibility. It would seem that Minnesota is in a position to take their time in exploring all possible options. It makes plenty of sense to wonder whether the Twins might wait to see where Shohei Ohtani signs before making any significant pitching acquisitions. The market for pitching is likely to hold fast until the two-way Japanese sensation picks a landing spot, and on the off-chance that he chooses Minnesota, they might be able to focus their resources on other areas of the roster. A particularly weak bullpen comes to mind as another area the Twins will need to improve upon if they expect to contend again in 2018.

    More notes out of the American League’s central division…

    • While the Tigers probably won’t be serious pursuers of big name free agents this offseason, Katie Strang of The Athletic provides a short list of potential bargain buys for a depleted Detroit rotation. Strang notes that Michael Fulmer is coming off elbow surgery, while veteran Jordan Zimmerman has spent the offseason overhauling his delivery in hopes to return to form after a disastrous 2017 season. Beyond them, Matthew Boyd and Daniel Norris aren’t sure bets to hold down rotation spots. Chris Tillman, Miles Mikolas and Clay Buchholz are some interesting names Strang suggests as options for the Tigers to explore. While none are particularly exciting, they all have some upside as comeback players and could eat innings for Detroit in 2018.
    • Although the Red Sox are players for White Sox slugger Jose AbreuScott Lauber of ESPN notes that the south siders are reportedly asking for “an arm and a leg” in exchange for their first baseman. Boston might not have the prospects necessary to swing a deal; the White Sox were able to land huge hauls for Chris Sale and Adam Eaton last offseason and might be holding out for a similar return for Abreu. The Cuban native has put up a .301/.359/.524 batting line for his four-year major league career. His slugging percentage and 124 home runs both rank 13th in the majors during that span, while his 410 RBI rank 5th. MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk recently detailed the trade market for Abreu.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox, Marlins Haven't Discussed Stanton In Two Weeks]]> 2017-11-30T04:51:21Z 2017-11-29T20:41:44Z We heard somewhat varied reports yesterday on whether there was any real connection between the Red Sox and Marlins on Giancarlo Stanton. Today, there’s clear indication that the sides aren’t firmly engaged on the slugger: per Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal (subscription link), the teams have not engaged on the matter since the GM Meetings. It certainly sounds as if Boston is not actively pursuing Stanton, though it’s always possible that could change if his market continues to drag — which remains a distinct possibility.’s Jon Morosi tweets that the Marlins haven’t set any sort of deadline for teams to submit their best offers, so perhaps Boston could reengage if their reported talks for White Sox star Jose Abreu do not prove fruitful.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Among Teams Discussing Jose Abreu Trade Scenarios With White Sox]]> 2017-11-29T19:45:21Z 2017-11-29T16:31:25Z The Red Sox are among the organizations “in active talks” with the White Sox regarding veteran slugger Jose Abreu, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). It is not clear at the moment which other teams might be involved or how far talks might have progressed.

    MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk recently examined the potential market for Abreu, citing Boston as one of the major possible suitors. Of course, there are also quite a few other organizations that would likely see merit in his contract rights, too.

    Unlike top trade candidate Giancarlo Stanton and the slate of available free agents, Abreu can be controlled for a limited financial commitment. MLBTR projects that he’ll earn $17.9MM in arbitration for the coming season, a large sum but also less than what other top sluggers would command on the open market. And there’s another season of control that amounts to a floating club option; should he perform well, Abreu will be entitled to (and will likely deserve) another big raise in his final year of arbitration eligibility. If not, he can be allowed to walk.

    In all likelihood, it’s something like a two-year, $40MM contract commitment without any possibility of a long-term commitment gumming up future balance sheets. That’s an appealing contract situation for a player that just smacked 33 long balls and slashed .304/.354/.552 in the 2017 campaign. Abreu will not turn 31 until January of next year.

    While Abreu wouldn’t necessarily earn significantly more in average annual salary in a hypothetical trip onto the open market this winter, he’d surely command more years. There’s a world of difference between a four or five-year guarantee at this general rate of pay, for instance, and the current commitment to Abreu. To take but one comparison, he’s effectively controlled under a more team-friendly scenario than that which the Blue Jays agreed to with Jose Bautista last January, after the much older player languished on the market and fell shy of earning expectations on the heels of a down season. That contract guaranteed $18.5MM and included only a mutual option, whereas Abreu’s 2019 rights are firmly in club control.

    There’s a fair bit of excess value here for the White Sox, who also won’t feel compelled to move Abreu for less than a compelling return. Putting Abreu in crimson hosiery will likely not be cheap, then. Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has suggested his organization is hesitant to part with significant prospect value to land a slugger, so getting something done here will likely require some creativity and/or tough choices.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Notes: Tuesday]]> 2017-11-28T23:45:15Z 2017-11-28T23:45:10Z MLBTR’s Kyle Downing recently rounded up everything we have learned this offseason about the Marlins’ marketing of star slugger Giancarlo Stanton. But there have been developments over the past few days … some of which are in some tension, perhaps reflecting different viewpoints from the actors involved in the high-stakes negotiations.

    • Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains that if the two sides get close to a deal, the Marlins could grant the Cardinals an exclusive negotiation window of roughly 48 to 72 hours to make a pitch directly to Stanton. While MLB clubs are typically forbidden from talking to players that are under contract with another team, Goold confirmed with MLB officials that the Marlins could designate a window to “convince a player to waive his no-trade (clause) without contract modification.”
    • Meanwhile, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins told Stanton back in October that if he declined to ultimately approve a deal, the Marlins would have to explore other ways to shed salary, which could leave him as the lone star on a roster devoid of other top-tier talent. The scenario wasn’t presented to Stanton as an ultimatum, Spencer stresses, but it does underscore the possibility that the Marlins could eventually pivot and market less challenging stars, including Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich.
    • The Red Sox are an “extreme long shot” to acquire Stanton, a source tells Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. It seems that Boston is not enamored of the current value proposition that a Stanton acquisition would represent, given the Marlins’ asking price.

    Earlier Updates

    Read more

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Inside Dave Bush's Pitching Development Role]]> 2017-11-27T04:49:01Z 2017-11-27T04:49:01Z
  • Nine-year big league veteran Dave Bush has been working as a Red Sox pitching development analyst for the last year, as the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato details in this look at Bush’s duties within the organization.  Bush sees his role as helping bridge the gap between the analytics department and young pitchers who may be being exposed to such information for the first time.  “Baseball is not known for accepting change in a hasty manner.  But I also think there’s also a benefit for someone like me, who has been a player,” Bush said.  “I’m comfortable having that conversation.  And it’s my responsibility to present information to them because I think it’s going to make them better.”  Bush’s duties are part of president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski’s plan to overhaul how the Sox select and develop young pitchers, as the club has been notably short on homegrown arms over the last decade.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Rumors: Stanton, JBJ]]> 2017-11-25T21:55:49Z 2017-11-25T21:55:49Z The latest on Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton comes from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, who reports that the Red Sox currently have “tepid” interest in the NL MVP. Notably, Miami isn’t enamored of Boston’s farm system, per Cafardo, though he notes that the Marlins’ main motivation in trading Stanton would be to rid themselves of his contract. As such, one shouldn’t rule out Stanton to the Red Sox if they’re willing to take on a significant portion of the $295MM coming his way over the next decade.

    While it’s unclear how much of Stanton’s deal the Red Sox would be open to absorbing, the Giants are “willing to take on a lot” of it, Cafardo writes. The Giants have shown more interest than anyone else in Stanton, Cafardo hears, and he adds that they’re prepared to exceed the luxury tax threshold for the fourth straight year if necessary. As of now, they and the Cardinals are the only known teams that have submitted offers to the Marlins to acquire Stanton.

    • The Giants, White Sox and Royals “will likely keep inquiring” about Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. throughout the offseason, Cafardo contends. Each of San Francisco, Chicago and Kansas City have pursued Bradley recently, but the Royals already had Lorenzo Cain occupying center when they went after JBJ in 2015. Now, with Cain likely to depart via free agency, the fit between the Royals and the affordable Bradley is obvious. However, it’s fair to wonder whether the Royals have a good enough farm system to put together a deal for Bradley, who’s controllable through 2020 and will make around $5.9MM next season.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[What We Know About The Giancarlo Stanton Situation]]> 2017-11-25T03:37:39Z 2017-11-25T03:36:29Z As of Black Friday, the 2017 offseason has been astonishingly quiet. The trade and free agent market seems as though it’s being held up in large part by the situation surrounding NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Once that massive domino falls, it’s possible we’ll see a flurry of free agent activity follow. In the meantime, however, Stanton rumors are a heavy focus of the baseball media cycle, and as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd pointed out in an in-depth piece earlier this month, his market is wide and complex. As we approach the weekend, here’s an overview of what we know about the Marlins’ attempt to deal their All-Star outfielder.

    He’s the best player available on the market- This may be redundant considering I already mentioned his brand new MVP award, but the subject is well worth its own spotlight. His .281/.376/.631 batting line is other worldly, and his 59 homers paced all of baseball in 2017. While his 6.9 fWAR only tied for fifth among all players in the majors, the rest of the top seven (Aaron Judge, Jose Altuve, Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout) won’t be available for teams to acquire in a trade. The top three free agents (Yu Darvish, J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer) aren’t anywhere near as valuable in terms of expected WAR output as Stanton.

    Teams perceive his remaining contract as close to market value- According to these three tweets from Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, multiple teams told the Marlins that the remaining 10 years and $295MM left on Stanton’s contract are a pretty good estimate of what he’d earn on the open market, were he a free agent this offseason.

    He has a lot of power over his own fate- Not only does Stanton have a full no-trade clause in his contract, but he also has the ability to opt out after the 2020 season, at which point he’d leave 7 years and $218MM on the table in search of a new deal. The opt-out makes trading him even more complicated, as it caps the contract value upside for his would-be new team. Meanwhile, the full no-trade protection gives him enormous leverage in the process. Many teams would love to add Stanton to their lineup, and the Marlins are looking to shed payroll. Ultimately, this means the Fish may not end up being able to accept the best offer, and could have to simply settle for the proposal from the city Stanton wishes to play for most.

    The Marlins’ leverage over him is nonzero- While Stanton is a coveted asset and enjoys no-trade protection, he’s made it well-known that he isn’t interested in being around for a rebuild. The slugger’s desire to leave Miami could result in him approving a trade he’s not thrilled about just to play for a contender. On the other hand, it could also result in a tense game of chicken between Stanton and the Marlins to see who will bend first. Although the Marlins have a firm mission to shed payroll, they can do so in other ways; they don’t actually have to trade Stanton at all. And as much as Stanton wants to be traded, he might be willing to hold out for a team of his choice and risk staying put. The case is fascinating.

    Some evaluators believe the Marlins’ asking price is unrealistic- While Miami’s asking price isn’t entirely clear, it seems as though they’re looking for a team to pay all (or nearly all) of his salary while including prospects. This has led some to suggest that the Fish need a “reality check” in terms of their asking price. If the contract is indeed roughly market value, then it’s difficult to imagine that a team will give up good prospects for the privilege to pay Stanton his full dollar value over the course of the deal.

    He prefers to play near a coast- While this doesn’t seem to be a firm deal breaker, it complicates matters for teams like the Cardinals and Phillies, who have the payroll space and prospect depth to swing a trade for the prolific slugger.

    The Cardinals and Giants have made formal offers- The Giants were the first to officially submit a trade proposal, with the Cardinals following suit later that same week. This doesn’t mean the trade discussions are finished; those trades could still be tweaked or even scrapped entirely in favor of starting from scratch. But the fact that there are at least two offers on the table gives the Marlins some options to weigh for the time being. It’s not known what those offers are, however, though we do know that the Cardinals included Sandy Alcantara in their proposal. It’s equally uncertain whether Miami even takes those offers seriously.

    As many as eight teams are engaged in talks for him- While only six of those eight teams are thought to be serious pursuers, the fact that so many teams are showing strong interest bodes well for Miami and their power in negotiations. In addition to the Cardinals and Giants mentioned above, we know that the Dodgers, Phillies and Red Sox have had some level of dialogue with the Marlins. The Yankees, too, have reportedly done their due diligence, though it doesn’t sound as if they’re actively pursuing Stanton.


    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Sign Esteban Quiroz To Minors Deal]]> 2017-11-23T22:35:51Z 2017-11-23T22:34:24Z
  • The Red Sox have signed second baseman Esteban Quiroz to a minor league deal, as per a tweet from Team Mexico’s official Twitter feed.  (’s Rob Bradford was among those to report that the contract contains an invitation to Boston’s big league Spring Training camp.)  Quiroz, who turns 26 in February, has a career .293/.402/.451 slash line and 38 homers over 1573 career plate appearances in the Mexican League, plus he also represented Mexico in the most recent World Baseball Classic.  Dustin Pedroia will miss at least the first two months of the season recovering from knee surgery, so Quiroz will be part of the second base mix during camp as the Red Sox look for fill-ins for their longtime star.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Added To The 40-Man Roster]]> 2017-11-21T01:48:28Z 2017-11-21T00:47:42Z As detailed earlier this morning at MLBTR, the deadline for Major League clubs to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from next month’s Rule 5 Draft is tonight. Because of that, there will be literally dozens of moves between now and 8pm ET as teams make final determinations on who to protect and who to risk losing in next month’s Rule 5 draft. This process will lead to smaller-scale trades, waiver claims and DFAs, but for some clubs the only necessary moves will simply be to select the contracts of the prospects they wish to place on the 40-man roster. We’ll track those such moves in this post…

    Click to check in on other teams that have selected players to their 40-man rosters …

    Read more

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: Offseason, Brentz, 40-Man]]> 2017-11-20T03:07:51Z 2017-11-20T03:07:51Z Some notes from Fenway Park…

    • With the Red Sox looking for power bats this winter, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald looks at how making a big signing (i.e. J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer) or trade (for Giancarlo Stanton) would impact the club’s payroll and the rest of its offseason moves.  For instance, signing Martinez would give the Sox less future financial space to make other high-profile moves this winter, assuming Boston wanted to keep some money free to ink its current young stars to extensions.
    • A much more conservative offseason forecast is provided by’s Paul Swydan, who argues that the Red Sox should go after less-expensive options (i.e. Jay Bruce, Hyun Soo Kim, Zach Duke) to address their first base, outfield, and bullpen needs, while still saving money for extensions and to make a big signing from the star-laden 2018-19 free agent class.
    • Bryce Brentz looks like the team’s top choice for the fourth outfielder role next year, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told’s Ian Browne and other reporters earlier this week.  With Chris Young hitting free agency, the Red Sox have a need for a backup outfielder, particularly a right-handed hitter who can spell Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi against southpaws.  Brentz has only appeared in 34 MLB games since the Sox selected him 36th overall in the 2010 draft, though he is coming off a very strong 2017 season that saw him hit .271/.334/.529 with 31 homers over 494 PA for Triple-A Pawtucket.
    • Minor league pitchers Jalen Beeks, Chandler Shepherd, and Jake Cosart seem like the top candidates to fill the three open spots on the 40-man roster, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes.  Teams have until 7pm CT to set their rosters in advance of the Rule 5 Draft on December 14.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Could Use Swihart At Second Base]]> 2017-11-20T01:38:14Z 2017-11-20T01:38:14Z
  • Some Red Sox officials want to try Blake Swihart out at second base, as the team will be looking for help at the keystone with Dustin Pedroia sidelined for at least the first two months of the season.  Boston has already been exploring the idea of using Swihart in a superutility role, as he is regarded as a good enough athlete to handle first base, third base, left field, and his former position of catcher.  Perhaps most importantly for Swihart’s future, the former top prospect tells Gammons that he has “felt the best I’ve felt in two years” and seems fully recovered from the ankle injuries that stalled his development.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox, Tony La Russa Discussed Bench Coach Job]]> 2017-11-21T20:54:06Z 2017-11-19T17:27:28Z
  • More from Olney, who reports that the Red Sox and three-time World Series-winning manager Tony La Russa discussed having him serve as rookie skipper Alex Cora’s bench coach. Instead, Boston hired La Russa as a special assistant to president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and replaced previous bench coach Gary DiSarcina with Ron Roenicke. La Russa, 73, hasn’t been part of a coaching staff since he managed the Cardinals to a title in 2011.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[East Notes: O’s/Cobb, Mets, Nats, Jays, Rays]]> 2017-11-18T05:19:33Z 2017-11-18T05:19:33Z The Orioles seem to be casting a wide net in their hunt for starting pitching, as they have been cited as having interest in quite a few arms already. While the organization has become known for doing a good portion of its business later in the offseason, perhaps it’ll be more aggressive on some pitchers this time around. In any event, the latest name connected to the O’s is righty Alex Cobb, with Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweeting that the team has interest in a hurler who long tormented them in the division. Cobb won’t come cheap, but could be an option if Baltimore decides it’s able to add a more significant contract. The primary goal, though, will be to ensure there’s enough depth on hand in the rotation.

    More from the eastern divisions:

    • The Mets are the current poster child for the concept that you can never have enough pitching depth. Even on the heels of a tough season in which the club’s vaunted rotation collapsed, though, GM Sandy Alderson says he’ll consider dealing arms, as Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. While there’s still a need to “be careful” not to thin the staff out too far, Alderson is obviously also looking for ways to improve with a limited amount of payroll flexibility. Odds are that the team’s most prominent pitchers won’t be dangled, but Puma suggests Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, or Rafael Montero might conceivably be discussed.
    • While there’s nothing the Nationals can do to get out from under their 2018 commitment to Matt Wieters, the team will look for ways to improve behind the plate. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post writes that the plan is to reduce the veteran’s role. Of course, that would mean relying more heavily on another player, and the team’s top internal alternatives (Pedro Severino and Raudy Read) are hardly sure things. An external acquisition will surely at least be considered; I ran through some other possibilities after the Nats were bounced from the postseason.
    • The Blue Jays are aiming for depth in their pitching staff, Ben Nicholson-Smith of writes. Lefty Robbie Ross is among the arms they are interested in, he reports. Certainly, Toronto has had a chance to see Ross up close over the past several years, which he has spent with the Red Sox. He was limited by injury in 2017 but turned in 55 1/3 innings of 3.25 ERA pitching in the prior campaign. Toronto isn’t limiting itself to lefty relievers, though; Nicholson-Smith says the club is looking at basically every type of hurler out there.
    • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times has the latest on the Rays’ efforts to land a new ballpark. Owner Stuart Sternberg expressed optimism about a prospective site in Hillsborough County, but there are plenty of challenges still to be dealt with. Among them: the club “might only cover $150 million of the projected $800 million cost,” Topkin writes. Those interested in learning more about where things stand will want to give the link a full read.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Rumors: Friday]]> 2017-11-18T00:12:13Z 2017-11-17T23:32:03Z You didn’t think we were going to make it to the weekend without another look at the market for Giancarlo Stanton, surely? The Marlins slugger, fresh off of receiving the National League MVP Award yesterday, is still the biggest name to watch. Here’s the latest:

    • Offers are flowing in on Stanton now that the GM Meetings have wrapped up, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic writes. The Giants have submitted some kind of proposal, according to Rosenthal, with the Cardinals and Red Sox among the other teams believed to be lining up their own concepts for Miami to consider. Rosenthal adds that the San Francisco organization would be willing to take on much of Stanton’s contract, but may in turn need to shed salary elsewhere. It’s interesting to note the Sox’ active interest, since president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski had thrown some cold water on the idea of a major acquisition of late.
    • Stanton himself discussed the odd situation he faces — with his name splashed about headlines due both to his evident availability in trade and his MVP nod — as Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel reports. The Marlins star says he’d rather remain with the Fish, but thinks the team needs to “thoroughly address[]” its pitching with “a huge push” that, frankly, does not seem likely. (Stanton says he’s “not entirely sure” it’s realistic, but adds: “But I know all teams have plenty of money.”) Generally, Stanton called the situation “interesting,” but seems to be at peace with the process. “This is the only place I’ve known,” he said, “but I also understand the business part of it and the direction the new ownership wants to go.”
    • Super-agent Scott Boras sided with Stanton on the spending point in his recent comments to the media, chiding teams like the Marlins for drawing up plans to reduce payroll. But MLB commissioner Rob Manfred defended the rights of organizations — particularly, those with new owners — to modify payroll as part of their long-term strategies, as’s Mark Feinsand reports on Twitter“I think it’s unfair, really, to criticize a decision — if it turns out to be the decision — to move a player who has a contract that somebody else negotiated,” Manfred said in an oblique reference to Stanton’s situation. “… I hope that the fans of Miami — whatever decisions are made — give [new Marlins owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter] an opportunity to show what their plan for moving that franchise forward is.”

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Rumors: Wednesday]]> 2017-11-15T23:18:09Z 2017-11-15T23:17:56Z The Giancarlo Stanton rumor mill was churning yesterday as teams jockey for position with the Marlins — and, perhaps, with Stanton himself, who can veto any trade. At the end of the day, though, it seemed there was no greater clarity as to where he might be dealt and when a trade might go down.

    We’ll use this post to track any new developments today …

    •’s Jon Morosi reports that teams that have spoken to the Marlins have informed them that they feel the 10 years and $295MM on Stanton’s deal is a rough approximation of his market value (all Twitter links). In other words, other clubs don’t perceive there to be much, if any, surplus value on Stanton’s deal. As such, the Marlins will have to pay down a notable portion of the deal to also extract premium prospects from a potential trade partner. One exec suggested that Miami would need to pay as much as $5MM annually in order to receive good prospect value. Morosi notes that the Cardinals and Marlins once again discussed trade concepts today.
    • The Marlins initiated a brief conversation with the Yankees regarding Stanton, writes FanRag’s Jon Heyman. The Yankees aren’t considered a serious suitor, though, and the Yankees simply said they’d be open to hearing what the Marlins had in mind, perhaps as a matter of sheer due diligence. Both Yankees GM Brian Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner have publicly stated a desire to dip under the $197MM luxury tax barrier, and Stanton’s $25MM annual salary would obviously get in the way of that goal.

    Earlier Updates

    • Marlins CEO Derek Jeter says he has not yet spoken with Stanton, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald was among those to report on Twitter“If there’s a reason to call him, I’ll call him,” said Jeter. The new Marlins boss did not commit to dealing Stanton and noted that such a move would be complicated, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. But Jeter also suggested that the team cannot continue operating in the same manner financially as it did under prior ownership.
    • Of course, president of baseball operations Michael Hill sat down with Stanton and says he has a sense of what the slugger is interested in. He’s also running point on Stanton talks with other teams. Hill tells Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that he is putting the onus on suitors to come forward with some information on what they are willing to do to land Stanton. “Until I know where you’re at on the contract, the money, all that stuff, I can’t engage,” Hill said of his rival executives.
    • Rosenthal said that eight teams had engaged on Stanton to this point. Six of those are fairly serious pursuers, according to a report from Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
    • There’s “little momentum” regarding Stanton between the Dodgers and Marlins, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports on Twitter. Of course, the most notable point at this stage seems to be that the Dodgers are involved at all. Los Angeles seems like a solid fit for Stanton, though it’s also not difficult to imagine the organization preferring not to tie up such a significant portion of its payroll in one contract.
    • John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle ran down the latest on Stanton from the Giants’ perspective. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch did the same with regard to the Cardinals. And’s Rob Bradford explained why he still thinks the Red Sox could be in Stanton (or another superstar hitter) despite some indications to the contrary.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giancarlo Stanton Rumors: Tuesday]]> 2017-11-14T22:43:36Z 2017-11-14T22:43:35Z Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton has already generated plenty of buzz at the GM Meetings. Perhaps that’s unsurprising, given that his massive contract represents a key factor in the Miami organization’s offseason — and those of the teams that will consider acquiring it. Given the unique circumstances at play, perhaps it wouldn’t be surprising if he were to be dealt at a relatively early stage.

    Here’s the latest:

    • The Dodgers are indeed in the mix for Stanton, tweets’s Mark Feinsand. To what extent Los Angeles is interested remains unclear, but the Dodgers certainly have the payroll capacity to take on the contract as well as the young talent in order to entice the Marlins to part with Stanton.
    • Stanton actually has not ruled out the Red Sox — or, it seems, any other organizations — according to a report from Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. While the slugger may have initial preferences, Drellich writes that he’s maintaining a “’completely’ open mind.” It’s ultimately not too surprising to hear some competing information flying about Stanton’s approach, for the reasons Goold explores in the below-linked piece. But if the slugger is indeed willing to entertain any possibilities, then that will presumably make for a more wide-open process — and keep things interesting right up to the point that Stanton weighs an actual opportunity t change teams, should it arise.

    Earlier Updates

    • The Giants have at times given signals of going big for Stanton (or another expensive player) or instead trying to stay under the luxury tax line. But it seems the organization is engaged with the Marlins in earnest. Per’s Joe Frisaro, via Twitter, the clubs are discussing Giants prospect Heliot Ramos as a possible element of a hypothetical return for Stanton. San Francisco is joined by at least three others in chasing the slugger at this point, he adds. (Those looking for subtle signals will also note that Giants GM Bobby Evans and Marlins president of baseball ops Michael Hill were spotted on a joint foyer foray this morning, as John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets.)
    • Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, meanwhile, hears at least seven clubs have shown some level of interest in Stanton, noting that the Marlins front office is “encouraged” by the early dialogue. Front office sources from other organizations framed things a bit differently;’s Buster Olney tweets that there’s a perception that the Marlins are seeking a “shockingly high” package for the rights to pay Stanton at a premium rate, particularly since his deal includes an opt-out clause.
    • Importantly, per Heyman, Miami is said to be open to hanging on to some of Stanton’s contract. Additionally, the team is focused on achieving value rather than on getting young pitching, specifically.
    • Of course, Stanton’s own preferences hold the final say in any deal. While it’s far from certain, there are rumblings that Stanton is not inclined to approve a swap that would send him to the Cardinals or Red Sox, as Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald reports. If nothing else, anything less than a full blessing from Stanton with regard to a given organization would likely complicate any effort to finalize a deal.
    • The no-trade clause obviously ties into the subject of leverage, which is a key issue for the Fish, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains. Since Miami would do well to keep its cards close to the vest with regard to Stanton’s preferences, the information flow is critical to the Marlins’ effort to maximize their return while finding a landing spot Stanton that will authorize.
    • While the Red Sox “may have checked in” on Stanton, they seem to be focused elsewhere. And the Dodgers haven’t engaged yet at all, Heyman adds. Both of those teams were highlighted by MLBTR as among the best fits on paper for the star slugger.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Among Teams That Have Reached Out To Lucas Duda]]> 2017-11-14T21:53:26Z 2017-11-14T20:51:52Z Some of the same teams to have looked into other free agent first basemen — the Red SoxAngels, and Mariners — have each contacted Lucas Duda as well, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). While he is arguably best served as a platoon option, it’s worth noting that Duda has generally been quite a productive offensive player and could represent a more affordable target than some other sluggers. The 31-year-old could turn into an excellent value if he’s able to approach the kind of output he sustained from 2014-15 and also demonstrated in the first half of the 2017 campaign.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Early Markets For Santana, Morrison Taking Shape]]> 2017-11-14T20:58:23Z 2017-11-14T19:40:44Z TODAY: The early interest in Santana is robust, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, who writes that Santana “is thought to be drawing interest from as many as 10 teams.”

    Among those reaching out to his representatives, per Heyman, are the Angels as well as two eyebrow-raising NL East clubs: the Mets and Phillies. The New York franchise has had its moments of frustration with Dominic Smith, though it would remain surprising to see him blocked entirely by a player that likely can’t be utilized anywhere other than first base. Mike Puma of the New York Post does tweet, though, that the club could send Smith back to Triple-A and eventually shop him. And the Phillies would appear to be set at first with Rhys Hoskins, though he could in theory be shifted to the corner outfield after experimenting there last year. (Of course, the team has other young players in the outfield and indications are that the preference is not to disturb that mix.)

    YESTERDAY: The Red Sox have an obvious hole at first base in their lineup, and they’re set to begin the preliminary stages of filling that vacancy at this week’s GM Meetings. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets that Boston will sit down with Carlos Santana’s agents at Octagon, while Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports that the Sox have also lined up a meeting with Logan Morrison’s representatives at ISE Baseball.

    Boston isn’t alone in eyeing that pair, however. Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels are considering a run at Morrison as they look to add some left-handed punch to their lineup. Morrison is one of multiple players on Anaheim’s radar, Fletcher notes.

    Meanwhile, the Mariners have interest in bringing Santana into the fold, according to’s Jon Morosi (on Twitter). There have yet to be any “substantial” discussions between the two sides, Morosi cautions (as one would expect this early in the offseason), but first base is a definite area of need for the Mariners. Seattle saw both Yonder Alonso and Danny Valencia hit free agency when the season ended, and while Dan Vogelbach represents an internal option, he’s not considered to be a strong defender.

    Santana, 32 in April, is widely considered to be one of the best first basemen available on the free-agent market this offseason. While he wouldn’t necessarily provide the huge power bat that many Sox fans covet — he belted a career-high 34 homers in 2016 but saw that mark fall to a more typical 23 homers in 2017 — Santana is an on-base machine who has also worked himself into one of the premier defensive first basemen in the league.

    A switch-hitter, Santana batted .259/.363/.455 this past season and has never posted an OBP south of .351 in a season. Santana has walked at a 15.2 percent clip in his career against just a 17 percent strikeout rate (13.2 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively, in 2017). Originally a catcher, Santana eventually moved off the position to first base and has built up a quality reputation there. He was a Gold Glove finalist this past season after registering a +10 Defensive Runs Saved mark and a +4.8 Ultimate Zone Rating. The Indians made a qualifying offer to Santana, so he’d cost the Red Sox their second-highest pick in next year’s draft as well as $500K of their international signing pool. The Mariners would have a lighter penalty, only surrendering their third-highest pick.

    As for Morrison, he’s a younger option that’ll play most of next season at the age of 30. A longtime top prospect, Morrison’s career never fully took off as hoped in either Miami or in Seattle. However, he rebounded from a slow start with the Rays last year to hit .275/.350/.498 with 14 homers over his final 303 plate appearances before a wrist injury ended his season.

    Morrison returned to the Rays as a free agent on a one-year, $2.5MM contract this past offseason and proved to be one of the top bargains in all of baseball. In 601 plate appearances, Morrison posted a .246/.353/.516 line and 38 homers while receiving slightly above-average marks from DRS and UZR himself (+1 from each metric). He doesn’t come with the platoon issues that many left-handed hitters carry, either, as he hammers right-handed opponents and has been a bit above average against lefties over the past two years. Including his strong finish in 2016, Morrison has raked at a .256/.352/.510 pace (130 wRC+) with an 11.8 percent walk rate and a 23.1 percent strikeout rate in 904 plate appearances.

    Despite that huge season, the budget-conscious Rays opted not to extend a QO to Morrison. Tampa Bay had already extended a QO to righty Alex Cobb and surely didn’t relish the notion of taking the risk, however small, of two players accepting one-year salaries worth $17.4MM. Morrison now benefits from that decision, though, as he won’t require interested parties to surrender a draft pick or international money upon signing.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dombrowski On Red Sox' Search For Slugger]]> 2017-11-14T15:43:51Z 2017-11-14T14:54:24Z
  • Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski covered a host of topics in his chat with reporters yesterday. As Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports, some of the most interesting comments covered the team’s search for a “proven bat.” Most notably, Dombrowski suggested that there are limits to the team’s willingness to pursue trade avenues, with the Sox uninterested in dealing away current MLB assets and cognizant of the need to “be careful” of further depleting their stock of prospects. With Boston having dipped below the luxury tax line last year, perhaps it’s now more appealing to take on salary via free agency than to give value in trade. Meanwhile, Dombrowski addressed the question of how the team will help cover for Dustin Pedroia early in the season. He hinted that a significant acquisition might not be necessary, highlighting Marco Hernandez as a strong internal candidate to bridge the gap.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Crasnick’s Latest: Stanton, Ohtani, JDM, Darvish, Royals, McCutchen]]> 2017-11-13T15:20:45Z 2017-11-13T15:20:45Z In this year’s edition of his annual Hot Stove survey (an always-excellent read), ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick surveyed 40 front office execs and scouts from around the league on nine offseason issues as this week’s GM Meetings kick off. Among the topics discussed, at length, are the possibility of a Giancarlo Stanton trade (and his likeliest destination), where Japanese star Shohei Ohtani will land, how much J.D. Martinez can command in free agency, and whether Yu Darvish’s poor World Series showing hampered his free-agent stock. Crasnick also polled the 40 baseball ops/scouting minds on multiple groups of free agents and trade candidates, asking which will provide the most value and which are likeliest to be dealt.

    If you follow the offseason even loosely, you’ll want to be sure to read through the entire column, which is packed with quotes and insight from general managers, scouts and other front-office executives on the players in question and their potential landing spots. Some abbreviated highlights…

    • Three quarters of the respondents indicated that they expect Stanton to be traded this offseason, with nearly a third listing the Cardinals as the likeliest landing spot. The Giants were the second-most popular spot, though one scout tells Crasnick he has a difficult time envisioning that match, calling the Giants a “bottom-five farm system.” One respondent who felt Stanton would stay in Miami suggests to Crasnick that the Marlins may be underestimating just how much of the contract they’ll need to pay down.
    • The Yankees and Dodgers split the vote on the surveyed group’s likeliest destinations for Ohtani, with the Rangers not far behind. Several other clubs received a few votes, and four of the 40 respondents suggested that they believed Ohtani would remain with the Nippon Ham Fighters in 2018. There’s still some work to be done with the league, the players’ union and Nippon Professional Baseball before the posting process can begin in earnest. The agreement between MLB and NPB on the current iteration of the posting system expired this offseason.
    • The Red Sox were the overwhelming favorite when it came to the question of Martinez’s next team, though expectations for his contract varied in size. One GM pegged Martinez at around six years and $140MM, Crasnick notes. Some execs felt he’d fall closer to Justin Upton’s $106MM guarantee.
    • Only three of the 40 respondents thought that Darvish’s pair of World Series meltdowns would have a substantial impact on his offseason earning capacity. Crasnick’s piece has plenty of insightful quotes on Darvish — more than any other player — from the scouts that were polled. An AL scout tells Crasnick that 15 years ago, the World Series might’ve hurt Darvish, but in a largely sabermetric environment, his late struggles are a “void blip in the radar.”
    • Crasnick also asked respondents which of the Royals’ big three free agents (Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain) would provide the best value on his next deal, which of Carlos Gomez or Carlos Gonzalez had a better chance of reestablishing himself as a star, and which major 2018-19 free agent among Andrew McCutchen, Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado is likeliest to be traded this winter. I found it somewhat of a surprise to see Hosmer as the decisive favorite in that Royals question, though many scouts praised his glovework despite poor reviews from defensive metrics. McCutchen, less surprisingly, was deemed likeliest of his trio to go, while Gonzalez topped Gomez handily in their own respective face-off.