Boston Red Sox – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-07-20T16:29:43Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress TC Zencka <![CDATA[Red Sox Activate Nate Eovaldi, Option Ryan Weber]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=167415 2019-07-20T15:54:36Z 2019-07-20T15:54:36Z The Red Sox activated Nathan Eovaldi from the 60-day injured list today, per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham (via Twitter). Optioning Ryan Weber to Triple-A will be the corresponding roster move. The team announced the moves as well.

Eovaldi will step into the closer’s role, as has been the plan coming out of Boston since the beginning of this month. Eovaldi certainly has the chops to cover the back-end innings for the BoSox, but the decision was surprising because of Eovaldi’s stated preference for the rotation. The injury history, his success out of the pen in last year’s World Series, and the middling production from the Red Sox pen (4.56 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 4.35 xFIP) add up to a fairly compelling case to support Boston’s decision, however.

Ryan Brasier leads the team in saves with seven, but his recent struggles landed him back in Pawtucket earlier this week. Freeing Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes from regular closing responsibilities will lengthen the bullpen and give manager Alex Cora weapons to deploy earlier in ballgames. Given the scarcity of natural sellers in this year’s trade market, the Red Sox already sidestepped the long line of teams angling for bullpen additions by finding an easier get for their rotation in the form of ex-Oriole Andrew Cashner. Rather than mortgaging the farm to outspend the many of pen-hungry buyers, the Red Sox are hoping Eovaldi can settle a relief core than has been the worst in the majors by ERA (6.88) over the last month.

As for Weber, he made two appearances in this most recent go-round with the major league club, struggling through 4 2/3 innings of work. For the season, he’s made three starts and five relief appearances for the Red Sox, amassing 24 innings and a 5.25 ERA (4.31 FIP). The 28-year-old righty returns to Pawtucket for the time being, where he owns a 5.16 ERA this season across 11 starts.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Steve Pearce]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=167247 2019-07-19T02:36:22Z 2019-07-19T02:35:14Z Steve Pearce proved to be a brilliant in-season pickup by the Red Sox a year ago, when they acquired him from the division-rival Blue Jays in late June. Pearce not only put up excellent regular-season production with Boston, but the first baseman dominated during the Fall Classic to earn World Series MVP honors in a five-game victory over the Dodgers. The Red Sox and Pearce could have gone their separate ways then and ended their relationship on a high note, but a couple weeks after the team won its latest title, it re-signed the 36-year-old to a $6.25MM guarantee.

While Boston undoubtedly expected the good times to continue rolling for Pearce in 2019, he has instead trudged through a season defined by underperformance and injuries. After starting the campaign on the shelf because of a strained left calf, Pearce debuted in early April and proceeded to hit a ghastly .180/.245/.258 (29 wRC+) with one home run in 99 plate appearances through May. The Red Sox sent Pearce back to the IL on June 1 with back problems. Pearce hasn’t returned to action since then, owing largely to the posterior ligament knee injury he suffered while on a rehab stint. A month and a half later, he’s still not slated to make his way back to the majors anytime soon, Christopher Smith of MassLive.com reports.

Manager Alex Cora issued an update Thursday on Pearce, saying he’s “just rehabbing” at the team’s complex in Fort Myers, Fla., and not “even close to (being) back.” As of now, Pearce isn’t “participating in many baseball activities” and is only hitting off a tee, Smith writes.

The absences of Pearce and Mitch Moreland (who has taken two at-bats since late May) have thrown a wrench into the plans Boston had at first base entering the season. The righty-swinging Pearce and the left-handed Moreland were supposed to be the Red Sox’s solution at the position. Rookie Michael Chavis, who had been at second base, has instead emerged as the team’s starter at first with Pearce and Moreland unavailable. Meanwhile, Brock Holt and Marco Hernandez have taken the reins at second, which played a part in the Red Sox’s decision to to designate struggling veteran Eduardo Nunez for assignment this week. Moreland’s due back soon, Smith notes, though it’s not yet clear how the Red Sox will dole out playing time at first and second when he returns.

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Likely To Activate Nathan Eovaldi On The Weekend]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=167204 2019-07-18T21:58:33Z 2019-07-18T21:58:33Z Starter-turned-possible closer Nathan Eovaldi will join the Red Sox for their upcoming series in Baltimore beginning on Friday, as per multiple reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo).  Eovaldi may not necessarily be activated from the 60-day injured list on Friday, since his final minor league rehab outing came today and the Sox could be hesitant about having Eovaldi pitch on consecutive days in the wake of elbow surgery in April.

Eovaldi tossed just 21 innings (of 6.00 ERA ball) before going under the knife this season, and rather than extend his rehab process by stretching him out in preparation to start, Boston will instead try to solve its season-long issues at the back of the bullpen by deploying Eovaldi as a closer.  It’s a creative solution that has some real upside, though using Eovaldi as a reliever surely wasn’t on Boston’s mind when the club re-signed Eovaldi to a four-year/$68MM deal last winter.

How Eovaldi performs even in the short term will be of significant consequence to the Red Sox as they approach the trade deadline.  President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski suggested that the team’s recent acquisition of Andrew Cashner to address the back of the rotation (more or less filling the hole left by Eovaldi) could potentially be the sum total of Boston’s pre-deadline moves.  It’s possible Dombrowski’s stance could change should Eovaldi get off to a rough beginning out of the bullpen, even if it’s adding one more lower-tier arm to further bolster the pen.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Concerned With Hembree's Diminished Velocity]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=167003 2019-07-17T13:08:40Z 2019-07-17T13:08:40Z
  • Red Sox right-hander Heath Hembree’s average fastball velocity is down roughly 2.5 mph since his return from the injured list, Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com observes. As one would expect, Hembree’s decreased velocity and his potentially related struggles — three runs on three hits and no outs recorded Tuesday — raised red flags with manager Alex Cora and the coaching staff. Cora said after the game that the Sox would “check in” Hembree to gauge how he’s feeling, acknowledging some concern over the right-hander.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Option Ryan Brasier]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=166877 2019-07-16T18:13:18Z 2019-07-16T18:13:18Z The Red Sox announced Tuesday that they’ve optioned struggling right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier to Triple-A Pawtucket. Southpaw Darwinzon Hernandez is up from Pawtucket in his place.

    Brasier’s demotion is the latest in a series of suboptimal outcomes for a Boston relief corps that the front office neglected to address in the offseason. Brasier and fellow righty Matt Barnes opened the season expected to share closing duties, but neither has performed up to expectations. Brasier’s last couple of weeks have been particularly rough, as he’s allowed runs in four of his past seven outings — including four runs in two-thirds of an inning last night. In all, he’s sitting on a 4.24 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 1.56 HR/9 and a 28.8 percent ground-ball rate. ERA alternatives like FIP (4.72) and xFIP (5.40) paint an even uglier picture than Brasier’s lackluster ERA.

    The bullpen will receive a boost when Nathan Eovaldi returns from the injured list later this month and assumes closing duties. Boston re-signed its postseason hero on a hefty four-year, $68MM contract with the idea that he’d serve as a key rotation piece, but he’s been out since late April due to elbow surgery and will now return in a bullpen role. The Red Sox already acquired Andrew Cashner to step into Eovaldi’s rotation spot alongside Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez, but additional bullpen help will surely be on president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski’s radar in the 15 days leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Nathan Eovaldi Nearing Rehab Assigment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=166852 2019-07-16T06:32:03Z 2019-07-16T06:32:03Z
  • Red Sox soon-to-be closer Nathan Eovaldi will embark on a rehab stint Wednesday or Thursday, likely with Triple-A Pawtucket, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe tweets. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Saturday that Eovaldi could rejoin Boston’s staff sometime this week. Eovaldi, who has been out since late April because of right elbow surgery, will be pitching in a full-time relief role for the first time in his career when he returns. The 29-year-old has started in 152 of 160 appearances thus far.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Designate Eduardo Nunez For Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=166721 2019-07-15T18:27:29Z 2019-07-15T18:15:33Z The Red Sox announced Monday that they’ve designated infielder Eduardo Nunez for assignment and optioned right-hander Hector Velazquez to Triple-A Pawtucket. In a pair of corresponding moves, right-hander Ryan Weber and first baseman/outfielder Sam Travis were called up from Triple-A.

    Now 32 years of age, Nunez proved to be an excellent pickup for Boston when the Sox acquired him from the Giants prior to the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline. He gave the lineup a strong jolt that season, hitting .321/.353/.539 through 173 plate appearances down the stretch before his season came to a close with an ALDS knee injury that saw him helped off the field. Nunez re-signed with the Sox for a two-year guarantee, the second season of which was a player option, and simply has not been the same player.

    In 676 plate appearances for the Sox over the past two seasons, Nunez has scuffled to a dismal .255/.277/.366 batting line with a dozen homers and steals apiece. His struggles and Dustin Pedroia’s career-altering knee injury prompted the Red Sox to also trade for Ian Kinsler last summer in a move that now looks quite lopsided. Boston won last year’s World Series, so the end result of all their moves was as good as can be hoped, of course; but Kinsler didn’t hit much with Boston, and the Sox would surely like to have righty Ty Buttrey in their bullpen this season following his breakout with the Halos.

    The Red Sox will have a week to trade Nunez, pass him through outright waivers or release him. He has enough service time to reject an outright assignment and retain his salary even in the event that he clears waivers, so this seems likely to spell the end of his time with the organization. Nunez is still owed about $2.07MM of this season’s $5MM salary, making it a near certainty that he won’t be claimed. In all likelihood, he’ll soon become a free agent and be granted the ability to explore opportunities with other clubs.

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    George Miller <![CDATA[Red Sox Activate Andrew Cashner, Place Steven Wright On IL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=166647 2019-07-14T21:16:35Z 2019-07-14T21:00:21Z The Red Sox have placed right-hander Steven Wright on the 10-day injured list to make room for newly-acquired pitcher Andrew Cashner on the active roster, reports Ian Browne of MLB.com. Cashner is in line to make his first start for Boston on Tuesday.

    Wright suffered a contusion on his right foot after being hit by a comebacker in last night’s game. X-rays came back negative on Wright’s toe, but evidently the injury was significant enough to keep him out of commission for the time being, leaving the door open for Cashner to make his Red Sox debut.

    Cashner, 32, was acquired yesterday from the Orioles, soundly ushering in trade season, one of baseball’s most exciting couple of weeks. He’s played the last season and a half in Baltimore after earning a two-year contract prior to 2018. He struggled mightily in the first year of that deal, though results have been slightly more promising in year two—evidently, enough to make the veteran righty desirable to a contending club. He’ll slot in as the team’s fifth starter, with Nathan Eovaldi shifting into the closer role when he makes his return to Major League games in the next week or so.

    Wright’s stay on the active roster was a relatively brief one, after a suspension kept him out of action for 80 games and he made his return on June 26. Once again, though, he’ll find himself unavailable to play, this time owing to an injury. In 6 1/3 innings with the Red Sox, he’s allowed three home runs and four walks, compared to five strikeouts—all told, good for an 8.53 ERA.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest on Red Sox Bullpen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=166565 2019-07-14T12:19:19Z 2019-07-14T12:19:29Z TODAY: Wright was knocked out of last night’s game when he was struck by a comebacker off the bat of Max Muncy. Per a team announcement, he has been diagnosed with a right foot contusion, but x-rays fortunately came back negative. As Cotillo notes, Wright’s health status bears monitoring, as any long-term injury to the knuckleballer might force Dombrowski to reevaluate his confidence in the club’s end-of-game options.

    SATURDAY, 11:08pm: The Red Sox addressed their rotation Saturday with the addition of veteran right-hander Andrew Cashner, whom they acquired from the AL East rival Orioles. There had been a need for another starter in Boston, which has lacked a true complement to Chris Sale, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Rick Porcello for most of the season. The role was supposed to go to Nathan Eovaldi, one of the many heroes of Boston’s 2018 World Series-winning campaign, but the right-hander has seldom pitched since re-signing on a four-year, $68MM contract over the winter.

    Eovaldi underwent surgery on his pitching elbow in late April, three weeks into the season, and his recovery has taken far longer than the team anticipated. Now, with just two and a half months left in the campaign, the Red Sox don’t believe Eovaldi has enough time to stretch back out as a starter. Therefore, Eovaldi will return as a closer – a decision the playoff-contending Red Sox hope will give them a legitimate Craig Kimbrel successor for the rest of 2019. And the 28-year-old Eovaldi is finally on the verge of rejoining the club. Eovaldi could slot into Boston’s bullpen “within about a week,” assuming the short rehab stint he embarks on early next week goes well, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Saturday (via Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com).

    Eovaldi sputtered out of the gates this year before his surgery, pitching to a bloated 6.00 ERA/7.10 FIP with 6.86 K/9 against 4.71 BB/9 in four starts and 21 innings. But Eovaldi held his own over a much larger sample size a year ago, and he brings a 97 mph fastball to the table that could play up in short outings this summer. If it does, Eovaldi would add a a much-needed end-of-game solution to a maligned bullpen that has tallied as many blown saves as saves (18). Boston’s relief corps hasn’t been a statistical disaster on the whole, though its 12th-place K/BB ratio, 13th-ranked FIP and 16th overall ERA are hardly indicative of a dominant unit.

    The Red Sox, including their bullpen, took an 11-2 beating at the hands of their 2018 World Series foes – the Dodgers – on Saturday. While the Sox are a respectable 50-42, they’re currently a game and a half out of a wild-card spot and nine back in the AL East after rolling to 108 wins a season. Nevertheless, with Cashner and Eovaldi set to join Boston’s starting staff for most of the second half, Dombrowski suggested Saturday he could pass on further pickups before the July 31 trade deadline.

    “We might (stand pat),” Dombrowski said, who later remarked (via Cotillo), “We like how our club looks, but we’ve liked how our club looks for a long time.”

    In regards to his team’s bullpen, Dombrowski pointed to Eovaldi’s imminent return and the recent activation of Steven Wright from an 80-game PED suspension as reasons for contentment. Of course, that was before the Dodgers trounced Wright for three earned runs on three hits in a third of an inning Saturday. The knuckleballer has now surrendered at least one earned run in three of six appearances since his activation, and has yielded six ER on 11 hits (including three homers) in 6 1/3 frames on the season.

    Despite Wright’s struggles, if we’re to believe Dombrowski, the righty may be someone Boston leans on down the stretch in lieu of outside help. Even if Dombrowski wants to make more additions to his pitching staff or anywhere else, though, there’s a question of how much more money he’ll be able to spend. The Red Sox are running an estimated luxury tax payroll upward of $245MM after trading for Cashner, per Jason Martinez of Roster Resource. Exceeding the highest threshold, $246MM, would subject the Red Sox to the harshest penalties – a 75 percent tax on every dollar spent over the limit and a 10-spot fall for their top 2020 draft pick.

    Also of great relevance: Owner John Henry said two weeks ago the franchise is “not going to be looking to add a lot of payroll” this summer. With two-plus weeks left before the deadline, we’ll find out soon if Henry sticks by that statement.

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    Ty Bradley <![CDATA[Red Sox Acquire Andrew Cashner]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=166508 2019-07-14T01:07:54Z 2019-07-14T00:35:12Z 7:35pm: The Orioles are picking up exactly $1.78MM, per Rosenthal. They’ll also cover “most” of the performance bonuses Cashner could earn, according to Sean McAdam of BostonSportsJournal.com.

    5:30pm: Baltimore will pay approximately half of the ~$3.36MM in guarantees left on Cashner’s deal, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. The Orioles also owe Cashner $1.5MM in signing bonus money in both 2020 and ’21.

    4:32pm: The Red Sox have acquired righty Andrew Cashner and cash considerations for prospects Elio Prado and Noelberth Romero, the Orioles have reported.

    Cashner, 32, was famously swapped straight-up for Anthony Rizzo in a 2011 trade between the Cubs and Padres. After a breakout 2013 campaign, in which the hard-throwing righty posted a 3.09 ERA/3.35 FIP (2.6 fWAR) in 26 starts, it’s been mostly unfulfilled promise for the former first-rounder. The TCU product was smashed in the first season of a two-year, $16MM deal he signed with Baltimore prior to the 2018 campaign, with a near-league-low 5.82 K/9 against 3.82 BB/9 en route to a 0.6 fWAR season in 28 starts.

    He’s been better this year, though his K rate remains among the league’s lowest and peripheral markers (4.25 FIP, 4.88 xFIP) are non-believers in the sustainability of his 3.83 ERA. Cashner’s average fastball velocity, once an eye-popping 98.8 MPH in predominant relief for the 2012 Padres, now sits at a barely-above-league average 94.0. He’s mostly scrapped the bread-and-butter sinker he featured so prominently from 2013-18, overhauling his repertoire back to the four-seam/changeup/slider mix with which he began his career. Returns have been positive: his 8.7% swinging-strike rate is his highest since transitioning full-time to a big-league rotation, and his chase rate’s bettered the standard he established from 2016-18. Cashner’s grounder-heavy repertoire should play well in Fenway Park, with any opposite-side power somewhat neutralized by the ballpark’s spacious right-field dimensions.

    Andrew Cashner

    Our own Steve Adams offered ample justification for transitioning the righty back to a late-inning role, but it appears such a move won’t be in the short-term cards for the Bo Sox. Cashner will apparently start Tuesday’s game for Boston, with GM Dave Dombrowski noting that the move eases the undue stress the club’s bullpen has endured thus far. Cashner’s two-year deal includes a $10MM vesting option for 2020 should the righty eclipse the 187 inning mark this year, a fact of which his acquiring club is surely aware.

    Boston’s rotation has been solid this season, though it’s true that the fifth spot has been a sore one. Hector Velazquez, Brian Johnson, Ryan Weber, Josh A. Smith and Darwinzon Hernandez have each tried their hands, to less-than-stellar results, and the club had no clear fill-in at the minors’ upper levels. Nathan Eovaldi is set to return soon, but the team expects to plug him straight in to its beleaguered closer’s role.

    Both Prado and Romero, 17, will transition from the Red Sox Dominican Summer League affiliate to that of the Orioles. Neither are big-time bonus babies, and reports are scarce, but Orioles GM Mike Elias does have ample experience scouting in Latin America from his time with the Cardinals and Astros organizations.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mitch Moreland Starts Rehab Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=166287 2019-07-12T03:58:55Z 2019-07-12T03:58:55Z Injured Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland started a rehab assignment at the Triple-A level on Thursday, Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com reports. Moreland, who has been out for several weeks, may be in for a somewhat “lengthy” stint in the minors as he works his way back to the bigs, per Cotillo.

    Moreland got off to a fine start this season, slashing .225/.316/.543 (116 wRC+) with 13 home runs and an eye-opening .318 ISO in 174 plate appearances, but multiple ailments have derailed his year since late May. The 33-year-old landed on the 10-day IL with a lower back strain May 29, and though he made a quick return, Moreland went back to the shelf June 8 after suffering a right quad strain.

    The lefty-hitting Moreland and righty Steve Pearce opened the season in a timeshare at first base for the Red Sox. Pearce has been down since June 1, though, and knee troubles will prevent him from returning in the near future. The long-term absences of Moreland and Pearce have left first almost exclusively to Michael Chavis, who has enjoyed a respectable rookie year. Chavis had been Boston’s primary second baseman before the injuries to its first basemen. Brock Holt and Marco Hernandez have offered good production there in Chavis’ stead, so it’s unclear how the club will divvy up playing time between first and the keystone once Moreland returns.

    Moreland’s comeback figures to have negative consequences for either the optionable Hernandez or veteran infielder Eduardo Nunez, who Cotillo suggests could become a DFA candidate at that point. Although the Red Sox would owe Nunez the balance of his $4MM salary in getting rid of him, he hasn’t justified a roster spot this season. A .233/.249/.313 line (40 wRC+) in 170 PA has relegated Nunez to a bench role.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Release Tyler Thornburg]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=166067 2019-07-10T17:47:07Z 2019-07-10T17:37:46Z The Red Sox have released righty Tyler Thornburg, per a club announcement (via Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, on Twitter). That was the anticipated outcome after the reliever declined an optional assignment.

    Thornburg will be now take to the open market in search of a bounceback opportunity elsewhere. He’s promised a $1.75MM salary from the Boston organization regardless. Other clubs can consider bringing him aboard for nothing more than the league-minimum rate of pay for whatever time he spends at the major-league level. While Thornburg hasn’t been a productive big league pitcher in quite some time, he’s still only 30 years of age and is sure to catch on with a rival team (likely on a minors pact).

    The trade that brought Thornburg to the Red Sox stings quite a bit in retrospect. Travis Shaw ended up giving the Brewers two quality seasons; while he has struggled this year, the Milwaukee org also just called up the other key piece of the swap — infielder Mauricio Dubon. While he isn’t seen as a blue-chipper, the 24-year-old has handled the bat well at Triple-A and is generally viewed as a valuable prospect.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tyler Thornburg Rejects Minor League Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=165980 2019-07-10T00:25:30Z 2019-07-10T00:25:30Z Right-hander Tyler Thornburg has refused an optional to Triple-A Pawtucket with the Red Sox and is “trending toward being released” by the organization, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports (via Twitter). The Red Sox recalled Thornburg’s rehab assignment yesterday, triggering a 48-hour window to either bring him to the big leagues or option him to the minors. As a player with more than five years of MLB service, however, Thornburg has the right to reject a minor league assignment.

    Thornburg, 30, has been on the shelf since late May due to a hip impingement. He’s pitched 18 2/3 innings out of the Boston ’pen this year, but despite picking up 22 strikeouts in that time, he’s scuffled to a 7.71 ERA thanks to the 10 walks and four homers he’s allowed.

    Injuries have decimated Thornburg’s tenure with the Red Sox since Boston acquired him from the Brewers in the December 2016 trade that sent Travis Shaw to Milwaukee. At the time, Thornburg was coming off an excellent season, having given the Brewers 67 innings of 2.15 ERA ball with a gaudy 90-to-25 K/BB ratio. Controllable for another three seasons, Thornburg looked like a potential long-term late-inning option in the Boston relief corps.

    Instead, he missed the entire 2017 season due to shoulder troubles that eventually culminated in surgery to alleviate the dreaded thoracic outlet syndrome. TOS surgery has proven considerably more problematic for pitchers than Tommy John surgery in recent years, and like many others before him, Thornburg has struggled in the wake of that procedure. He’s pitched just 42 2/3 innings with the Red Sox in total, working to a 6.54 ERA while yielding an average of 2.1 homers per nine innings pitched. Thornburg’s velocity actually bounced back a bit this season, albeit not quite to his pre-surgery levels (93.7 mph vs. 94.2 mph).

    Assuming Thornburg does ultimately end up being cut loose, he’ll become a free agent who can sign with any club. Given the number of teams in search of bullpen help throughout the league, he should latch on elsewhere as he looks to reestablish himself as a viable bullpen piece.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[J.D. Martinez Discusses Opt-Out Possibility]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=165909 2019-07-09T17:07:23Z 2019-07-09T05:29:27Z After a months-long standoff between the Red Sox and then-free agent J.D. Martinez prior to the 2018 season, the team finally landed the slugger on a five-year, $110MM guarantee in February. The contract has worked out brilliantly so far for the Red Sox, whom Martinez helped to a World Series title to cap off an incredibly productive 2018. While Martinez hasn’t been as excellent this season, the designated hitter/outfielder has still managed outstanding production for the sixth straight year.

    Once the season concludes, Martinez will have a decision to make on whether to stick with his contract or opt out of it and test free agency again. Martinez will be 32 years old by then, and vacating the deal would mean passing on a guaranteed $62.5MM for a free-agency mystery box. However, Martinez doesn’t seem ready to rule out taking the gamble. Asked Monday if he’d consider opting out, Martinez told Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com it’s in agent Scott Boras’ hands.

    “For me, I just listen to him,” Martinez said. “That’s what I pay him for. He gives me his opinion, he gives me his advice and it’s up to me after that to make my decision. We’re really not there yet, where he’s given me his opinion and his advice. So I think we have to see how it plays out.”

    Back when Boras and Martinez were negotiating with Boston, medical concerns on the team’s behalf helped hold up an agreement. Martinez appeared in just 119 games in 2017 as a Tiger and Diamondback after a Lisfranc injury in his right foot kept him from debuting until mid-May. The issue led to wariness from the Red Sox, which left Martinez “very confused.” The club eventually got Martinez to accept making the last two years of his pact (2021-22) mutual options should he suffer a Lisfranc injury or other significant right foot complications. But Martinez has been durable as a Red Sox, and he expressed confidence to Cotillo that concerns about his foot rest with their doctor – not other doctors around the league.

    If other teams aren’t worried about Martinez’s foot, it could influence whether he revisits the open market in a few months. That said, $60MM-plus would be a lot to leave on the table for a defensively limited 30-something who’d be saddled with a qualifying offer. Players who check one or two of those boxes, let alone three, haven’t fared great in free agency in recent years. It could be all the more concerning to clubs that Martinez’s offensive numbers, while still impressive, have dropped precipitously compared to 2017-18. In fairness to Martinez, though, he posted a 1.000-plus OPS in each of the previous two second halves. A similar tear this season could give the three-time All-Star and Boras something to think about once Boston’s season ends.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Market For Madison Bumgarner]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=165874 2019-07-09T02:25:54Z 2019-07-09T02:25:54Z We’ll continue our evening trip around the summer starting pitching market in San Francisco, where top rental rotation piece Madison Bumgarner resides. Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription link) updated the market for the burly southpaw, cataloging a variety of suitors.

    The Astros, Braves, and Brewers are newly added entrants to the mix, joining the already reported Twins and Yankees. We’ve certainly seen many or all of these teams cited as possibilities — among others, as MLBTR’s Connor Byrne explored a month back — but this is the clearest indication yet of the kind of competition that could be developing.

    All that said, there are limits to Bumgarner’s appeal, as Rosenthal explores. We’ve hashed out many of the pluses and minuses of late; suffice to say that there are good reasons to think the long-time star still has some gas in the tank, but no real reason to believe he’s the stud he once was.

    Beyond that, there are also some clear alternatives floating around who’ll also draw attention from contenders. On the rental side, the Mets’ Zack Wheeler (latest rumors) has emerged as a younger, lower-salaried, and arguably higher-upside possibility. Teams that prefer future control could look to Marcus Stroman (latest rumors), Matt Boyd (latest rumors), and perhaps even Trevor Bauer (latest rumors).

    Bumgarner’s no-trade rights could certainly play into the equation here, as he’ll have the ability to block deals to most of the interested teams. As Rosenthal originally reported a few months back, the savvy veteran put his eight-team list to full use by naming a host of clear contenders (Braves, Red Sox, Cubs, Astros, Brewers, Yankees, Phillies, Cardinals).

    As Rosenthal rightly notes today, there’s also not much reason to think that MadBum would decline to facilitate a move. Beyond the obvious appeal of another shot at postseason glory after a few seasons away, the 29-year-old stands to shed the qualifying offer entering free agency.

    The qualifying offer issue may not seem like a major factor for a player of Bumgarner’s stature, but the recent experience of Dallas Keuchel shows it’s still of real importance. Though he placed fourth on the latest free-agent power ranking from MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes, just edging Wheeler, Bumgarner still faces plenty of variability in his ultimate earning power.

    Though Bumgarner left his last start with an elbow contusion, it seems he escaped a worrying injury. There’ll be plenty of time still in the run-up to the deadline for Bumgarner to show off his form to interested clubs, including those listed above.

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