Boston Red Sox – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-07-23T05:35:08Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Among Teams Interested In Austin Jackson]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=128141 2018-07-23T01:05:34Z 2018-07-23T01:05:34Z
  • The Red Sox and Giants are among the teams who are showing interest in veteran outfielder Austin Jackson.  San Francisco, of course, just traded Jackson to the Rangers as part of a salary dump, and Jackson is now available in free agency (for the prorated MLB minimum salary) after Texas released him.  Jackson has hit only .242/.309/.295 in 165 PA this season, though he could provide several teams with veteran outfield depth.  He is more natural backup outfield fit, for instance, than current Red Sox roster members Steve Pearce or Brock Holt.  The Giants have a pretty crowded outfield mix already, though Jackson is more experienced than the likes of Austin Slater or Steven Duggar.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Zach Britton]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=128023 2018-07-23T01:01:23Z 2018-07-23T01:01:53Z SUNDAY, 8:01pm: Last year’s failed Britton trade talks between the Astros and Orioles won’t play any factor in this year’s negotiations, The Athletic’s Jim Bowden tweets.  A source tells Bowden that Houston is “all in” on acquiring Britton.

    3:48pm: The Rockies and Brewers are also in the mix, Heyman tweets.

    1:38pm: There are indeed teams ahead of the Dodgers in Britton talks, per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, who lists the Astros, Cubs and Red Sox as being “more active” than LA.

    8:06am: It doesn’t appear the Dodgers or Braves are “quite as engaged” on Britton as other teams are, Crasnick relays. LA’s wary of the luxury tax, as mentioned below, while the Braves aren’t keen on giving up prospects for short-term help, Crasnick suggests.

    SATURDAY, 8:44pm: It’s “at least” a six-team race for Britton, Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets.

    8:14pm: The Orioles are seeking a return equal to or better than the one the Royals received for reliever Kelvin Herrera in a trade last month, Buster Olney of ESPN reports. Washington acquired Herrera for three prospects, though none ranked among the Nationals’ absolute best farmhands at the time.

    7:39pm: Both the Cubs and the Astros “are trying to match up prospects with the Orioles,” Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweets. The Dodgers are also among those who would like to acquire Britton, Dan Connolly of The Athletic reports, though Rosenthal notes that it may be difficult because of LA’s desire to stay under the luxury-tax threshold. No matter where Britton goes, the O’s hope to make a deal happen within the next few days, Crasnick adds.

    6:38pm: With Brad Hand and Jeurys Familia now off the market, Orioles left-hander Zach Britton may be the best soon-to-be traded reliever in baseball. The 30-year-old has drawn widespread interest in recent weeks, too, with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reporting “virtually every top contender” is in on him (video link). The NL Central-leading Cubs are among that group, and they “remain deeply involved” in the Britton discussions, sources tell Patrick Mooney of The Athletic (subscription required).

    In at least the near term, Britton would likely serve as a replacement for Cubs closer Brandon Morrow, who went on the disabled list this week on account of right biceps inflammation. Britton has also endured injuries, most recently a ruptured Achilles that shelved him from the start of the season until mid-June. The two-time All-Star got off to a less-than-dominant start in his first action of the season as he returned from that injury, though he has been better of late as the deadline approaches.

    Not only has Britton gone eight straight appearances (eight innings) without yielding an earned run, but he has seen his velocity climb closer to its past levels in the process. Of course, Britton has also walked a batter in three straight outings and has issued an unpalatable 10 free passes against 13 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings this year. To Britton’s credit, though, he has posted a 3.45 ERA and a terrific groundball rate (64.1 percent).

    While the Cubs are high on Britton, Mooney wonders if they have a good enough farm system to win a bidding war for the pending free agent. Chicago has Baseball America’s 28th-ranked prospect pool, which seemingly places it behind the 8-ball, and Rosenthal notes Britton is likely to yield a “strong” return with so many championship hopefuls chasing him.

    Given the competition for his services, Britton to the Cubs may be a long shot. However, if acquired, Britton would further strengthen a bullpen that ranks fifth in the majors in ERA and just added ex-Ranger Jesse Chavez via trade this week.

    The Cubs’ relief corps has received great results from Morrow, Steve Cishek, Pedro Strop, Justin Wilson, Carl Edwards Jr., the unit’s top five innings leaders. Although, only one of those hurlers (Wilson) is a lefty, and fellow southpaws Brian Duensing and Randy Rosario are difficult to trust. Duensing has endured a brutal year, having logged a 7.31 ERA with more walks (23) than strikeouts (18) across 28 1/3 innings. Rosario, on the other hand, has done well preventing runs over 27 2/3 innings (1.95 ERA), but with 5.2 K/9, 4.23 BB/9, a sky-high 94.2 percent strand rate and a .238 batting average on balls in play against, he’s an obvious regression candidate. It’s likely Britton would be an upgrade over those two, and if his track record is any indication, he’d join Wilson in giving the Cubs a second formidable lefty reliever.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox, A’s, Others “Evaluating” Mike Fiers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=128037 2018-07-23T00:26:25Z 2018-07-22T23:56:05Z TODAY: The Athletics are also interested in Fiers, according to reports from the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky and MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, though there haven’t yet been any serious talks between Oakland and Detroit.

    SATURDAY: Tigers right-hander Mike Fiers started against the Red Sox on Saturday, but he may find himself on Boston’s roster soon. With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline nearing, the Red Sox are one of several clubs “evaluating” Fiers, Buster Olney of ESPN tweets.

    Although Boston possesses the majors’ best record (69-30) and a five-game lead in the AL East, injuries have recently taken a bite out of its rotation. Mid-rotation arm Eduardo Rodriguez incurred “serious damage” to his right ankle last week, forcing him to the disabled list, and both Drew Pomeranz and Steven Wright are currently on the DL with him. Pomeranz will return Tuesday, but he has been woeful in eight starts this year (6.81 ERA/5.37 FIP across 37 innings). Wright, meanwhile, has been battling left knee problems that have shelved him for the past month and will keep him out for the foreseeable future.

    In the absence of Rodriguez, Pomeranz will join either Brian Johnson or Hector Velazquez and the high-end trio of Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and David Price to comprise Boston’s rotation. At best, the 33-year-old Fiers would be Boston’s fourth starter in Rodriguez’s absence, but he’d nonetheless provide the team a proven back-end option. A former Brewer and Astro, Fiers has generally been respectable since debuting in 2011, evidenced by a 4.10 ERA/4.31 FIP with 8.28 K/9 and 2.72 BB/9 over 141 starts (830 2/3 innings).

    Fiers endured a difficult 2017 with the title-winning Astros, but he has rebounded this season with the Tigers after signing a one-year, $6MM deal in free agency. Through 111 innings, including 6 1/3 scoreless frames versus the Red Sox on Saturday, Fiers has worked to a 3.49 ERA with 6.65 K/9, 1.95 BB/9 and the game’s 17th-best infield fly percentage among qualified starters (12.7). On the other hand, some of Fiers’ other numbers aren’t so encouraging (39.4 percent groundball rate, 4.57 FIP/4.76 xFIP/4.49 SIERA), which is something the Red Sox and other teams will have to weigh when considering swinging a trade for him. In the event the Tigers do find a taker for Fiers, he could also be on the acquiring team’s roster in 2019 – his final year of arbitration eligibility.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Have Scouted Royals, Twins]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=128069 2018-07-22T15:18:26Z 2018-07-22T15:15:54Z
  • The Red Sox sent a high-level executive, senior vice president of baseball operations Frank Wren, to scout the RoyalsTwins game on Friday, per Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. It’s unclear which players Wren focused on, though it’s worth pointing out that Boston has shown reported interest in both Merrifield and Royals teammate Mike Moustakas. And with the Twins likely to sell at the deadline, Buster Olney of ESPN doesn’t rule out the Red Sox pursuing second baseman Brian Dozier.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cafardo: Red Sox May Have Interest In Cole Hamels]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=128059 2018-07-22T13:17:55Z 2018-07-22T13:17:07Z
  • It’s “likely” the Rangers will find a trade partner for left-hander Cole Hamels, writes Cafardo, who adds that the Phillies, Yankees and Braves undoubtedly have interest. The Red Sox may also be among teams with Hamels on their radar, per Cafardo. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak doesn’t seem keen on dipping into the trade market for starters, though, and it’s no lock Hamels would even be part of the solution for them or any other team. The 34-year-old’s struggles this season are well known, and his $22.5MM salary for 2018 and $6MM buyout for 2019 don’t help matters.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 7/21/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127973 2018-07-21T19:43:47Z 2018-07-21T19:43:47Z Here’s a roundup of some recent minor moves…

    • The Red Sox have signed reliever Mark Montgomery to a minor league contract, Emily Waldon of The Athletic reports. The deal runs through 2019, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com. The 27-year-old Montgomery got off to a strong start this season with the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate, pitching to a 1.98 ERA with 11.2 K/9 and 5.27 BB/9 in 13 2/3 innings. But the Tigers released Montgomery on July 9 on account of elbow inflammation, and it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to pitch again this season, according to Cotillo. Historically, Montgomery has held his own in the minors when he has been healthy enough to take the mound. Also a former Yankees and Cardinals farmhand, the right-hander has logged a 2.71 ERA with 10.5 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 182 1/3 Triple-A frames.
    • Indians lefty Ryan Merritt has cleared waivers and subsequently outrighted to Triple-A Columbus. Merritt has only recently become healthy after spending the entire 2018 season on the disabled list. He owns a 1.71 career ERA and 2.71 FIP in 31 career major league innings (while striking out a hysterically low 3.69 K/9), but the Indians weren’t able to find room for him on the active roster, particularly with an alarming drop on his already-low average fastball velocity. Merritt’s perhaps best known for starting Game 5 of the 2016 ALCS for an injury-riddled Indians club, and even more remarkably allowing no runs across 4 1/3 innings en route to a Cleveland victory that helped them advance to the World Series.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Red Sox Activate Rafael Devers, Option Bobby Poyner]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127956 2018-07-21T16:11:56Z 2018-07-21T16:11:56Z The Red Sox activated young third baseman Rafael Devers from the 10-day disabled list, who had been sidelined with left shoulder inflammation. He’ll return to the lineup and the field after missing just the minimum ten days. To make room for him on the active roster, the club has elected to ship lefty Bobby Poyner back to Triple-A Pawtucket.

    The 2018 season hasn’t been kind to the 21-year-old Devers. Though he impressed in his MLB debut last year with a .344 wOBA and 111 wRC+ across 240 plate appearances, this season has seen Devers’ bat go cold. His .242/.291/.424 slash line has been good for a wRC+ of just 87, though his 14 home runs at least prove that he’s shown some pop. All in all, Devers has still been worth 0.7 fWAR, but the Red Sox will surely be hoping he can deliver closer to his true potential as they try to maintain the majors’ best record in the second half.

    That potential certainly is lofty, as Devers made a host of top prospect lists headed into the 2017 season. Notably, Baseball America described him as being “the top power-hitting prospect in the system, a future five- or six-hole hitter with plus power and above-average defense.” While their concerns about his aggressive approach have certainly proven valid so far considering a sub-.300 OBP, the reputation of his bat-to-ball skills suggests that his average is likely to improve as he continues to get more reps at the MLB level.

    As for Poyner, he’s been shuttled back and forth between Boston and Pawtucket all season long. At the MLB level, he’s chucked 10 2/3 innings across ten appearances while striking out ten batters against just a single walk. He’s also allowed just a pair of earned runs. In Triple-A, Poyner owns a tidy 2.81 ERA across 25 2/3 innings to go with 9.82 K/9 against 2.81 BB/9. The lefty is a former 14th round pick of the Red Sox from the 2015 draft.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Trade News & Rumors: Trade Value Rankings, Dozier, Andujar, Britton]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127946 2018-07-21T14:51:25Z 2018-07-21T14:51:25Z Fangraphs recently released its annual rankings of the top 50 most valuable contracts in baseball, or the players who would have the highest value in a trade. High atop the list sits a pair of Indians infielders (Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor), while Aaron Judge, Mike Trout and Carlos Correa round out the top five. The rankings take into account the amount of money each player is owed and the length of his contract in relation to his expected future performance. While the list is top-heavy with young stars (as one might expect), there are a few surprising names later down in the rankings, and a few top prospects even make the list.

    Speaking of trades…

    • Twins second baseman Brian Dozier has drawn trade interest from the Brewers, reports Darren Wolfson of KSTP. That comes as little surprise considering the tight NL Central pennant race and the fact that Milwaukee’s second basemen have combined for the third-worst production in baseball to date. However, Wolfson also reports that another (unnamed team) has been “showing stronger interest”. For their part, the Twins (who now sit 8.5 games out of first place in the division) are open to moving Dozier.
    • The Yankees tried to acquire left-hander Brad Hand (who recently went to the Indians), but balked when they were asked to include young third baseman Miguel Andujar in the return, reports Andy Martino of SNY. That’s just one name the club had been targeting in a search for pitcher, but the prices for some of the available names (Cole Hamels and J.A. Happ, for instance), remain “insane” according to Martino.
    • The trade interest in Orioles lefty Zach Britton is “intensifying”, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Kubatko says that he expects Britton to be the “next Oriole out the door.” The Braves have thrown their hat into the ring recently, while the Cubs, Astros, Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers and Giants have also been “in the mix”. As Kubatko aptly points out, the removal of Hand from the pool of available names should turn a lot of attention towards Britton.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Trade Interest In Zach Britton Has “Picked Up Steam”]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127651 2018-07-20T15:59:04Z 2018-07-20T15:58:48Z JULY 20, 10:58am: Add the Braves to the list of teams interested in Britton, Crasnick reports.

    9:28am: Baltimore’s “barreling ahead” with its Britton trade talks, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets. Along with the teams mentioned below (the Astros, Cubs, Yankees, Phillies and Red Sox), the Giants are among the clubs in the mix for Britton, according to Crasnick.

    JULY 17: If and when the reported trade sending Manny Machado to the Dodgers is formally announced by the teams, the O’s could be quick to turn around and move longtime closer Zach Britton in a separate deal, reports MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli (via Twitter). Interest in Britton has “picked up steam” recently, according to Ghiroli.

    Britton missed about half of the 2017 season due to a pair of forearm injuries and was out until June 2018 due to a ruptured Achilles tendon that required offseason surgery. And while his first few appearances since coming off the disabled list raised questions about his trade value, he’s looked more impressive lately.

    Britton’s past seven appearances have been scoreless, but beyond the bottom-line results, he’s made some encouraging gains in terms of sinker velocity. His ground-ball rate has been a superlative 68.8 percent in that time as well — a noted increase from his earlier outings in which his sinker wasn’t at its most effective levels. That’s not quite to up to Britton’s (quite literally) historic standards, but it remains elite all the same.

    Control has still been somewhat of an issue, as he’s surrendered three walks in those seven innings and thrown a first-pitch strike to just 40 percent of the hitters he’s faced along the way. But there’s no denying that Britton has begun to round into form at a most opportune time for an Orioles organization that, at the very least, looks to be a lock to trade the left-hander and fellow impending free agents Machado and Brad Brach.

    Britton is earning $12MM in 2018, which will present a roadblock for a number of clubs interested in acquiring his services. As could be the case with the eventual Machado deal, the Orioles might have to include some cash to facilitate the deal and to improve the return they receive for their prized lefty. Britton is still owed about $4.8MM of that $12MM sum through season’s end.

    To this point, the Astros, Cubs, Yankees, Phillies and Red Sox have all been connected to Britton in fairly prominent fashion. Surely, as is the case every summer, though, the top relievers on the market will draw at least some level of inquiry from the majority of contenders. Unlike the Machado saga, in which some contending clubs had little need for another infielder on the left side of the diamond, there’s no contending team in baseball that won’t have some interest in bolstering its relief corps. Certainly, some teams will consider it to be a more pressing need than others, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise if as much as a third of the league is tied to Britton before he inevitably finds himself with a new team for the first time in his career.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Willing To Cross Highest Luxury Tax Threshold]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127641 2018-07-18T00:40:06Z 2018-07-18T00:38:58Z Though the past 12 months in Major League Baseball have been largely punctuated by big-market clubs performing financial gymnastics to avoid crossing the $197MM luxury tax barrier (e.g. Giants, Yankees, Dodgers), the Red Sox are of a different mindset. Boston, of course, has already exceeded the $197MM threshold — so much so that the team is already on the hook for an extra 12 percent surtax on every dollar spent over $217MM (plus 20 percent on everything north of $197MM). But Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy tells Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston that the organization is willing, in the right scenario, for its luxury tax ledger to cross the $237MM mark that represents the most severe point of taxation.

    As Drellich explains, the Sox are already in line to pay something in the vicinity of $10MM in luxury tax penalties based on their spending to date. The collective bargaining agreement, though, stipulates that a team exceeding the initial tax barrier by more than $40MM will not only pay a 42.5 percent surtax on every dollar spent beyond $237MM (in addition to the standard 20 percent), it’d also see its top pick in the following year’s draft pushed back 10 spots (provided that pick is not within the top six of the draft, which obviously will not be the case).

    The Red Sox currently hold the best record in baseball, which should line them up to pick 33rd overall in 2019. (Normally, that’d be 30th overall, but the Braves, D-backs and Dodgers will all receive compensatory first-round selections after failing to sign their 2018 first-round draft choices.) By dropping from 33rd to 43rd in the draft, the Sox would not only have a less preferential pool from which to select a player, they’d also see their overall draft budget reduced accordingly. The difference in slot value between pick No. 33 and pick No. 43 in 2018 was $454,400 — not a massive sum, but one that would limit a team’s flexibility when trying to negotiate over-slot bonuses with mid-round picks. Nonetheless, Kennedy clearly states that the Sox aren’t closed off to the possibility.

    “[T]here would be a willingness to do that if it meant, in our estimation, making a decision that could really help put us over the edge, over the top, this year and the postseason,” said Kennedy of crossing the $237MM line. “You know, we had the taste of October the last two years. There’s no question, we’re hungry for October success.”

    Notably, Drellich writes that the Sox may ultimately consider adding a starting pitcher now that Eduardo Rodriguez’s ankle has been found to have “serious damage” following this past weekend’s injury. Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (biceps tendinitis) and right-hander Steven Wright (knee inflammation) are both on the shelf as well. Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and David Price still give the Sox a solid foundation on their starting staff, but with injuries mounting, a more pressing need than most would have anticipated just a few weeks ago certainly exists.

    Boston also remains keen on adding a reliever, Drellich notes, as has been reported by various outlets over the past few weeks. Drellich suggests that Rodriguez could ultimately emerge as a bullpen option if the Sox want to ease him back into action late in the year, though president of baseball operations tells Drellich it is “much too early” to make any sort of determination as pertains to that possibility.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[All-Star Notes: Red Sox, Lowrie, Markakis, Abreu]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127625 2018-07-17T20:10:22Z 2018-07-17T20:10:22Z While the focus this time of year is obviously on trade possibilities, the All-Star break also provides reporters an opportunity to ask players about their own long-term preferences. It’s not surprising, then, that we’ve seen a run of stories on players who won’t be traded away, but also aren’t under long-term control.

    • The Red Sox have certainly enjoyed an excellent opening run, led by excellent performances from a number of core players. It’d be a surprise to see any mid-season dealmaking, but the club might be expected to look into some new arrangements in the offseason to come. Closer Craig Kimbrel represents the most pressing situation, since he’ll be a free agent. As Christopher Smith of MassLive.com reports, Kimbrel says he and his family would “love to stay” but certainly indicated he’ll wait to see what the market bears. Though he only arrived a few months ago, slugger J.D. Martinez says he’d be open to exploring a new pact that might eliminate some of his opt-out opportunities, as he tells Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com. Of course, there’s plenty of time left before he’s scheduled to have a shot at returning to the open market (post-2019), and there’s reason to wonder whether the organization really would want to pay up to enhance its control rights. In between those two players in terms of contract situation is staff ace Chris Sale. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe argues that, with one more option year left to go, the Boston organization ought to look into locking up the 29-year-old for the foreseeable future.
    • It seemed at one time that infielder Jed Lowrie would feature as a trade chip, but the surging Athletics obviously now have no plans to sell. Instead, attention has turned to the question whether he might end up returning to Oakland at season’s end. As John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, Lowrie says the front office has “expressed interest this time” around — unlike the prior time his contract with the A’s was nearing an end. Lowrie, a first-time All-Star in his 11th MLB season, indicated that he’d be open to working something out to return for a sixth campaign in Oakland, though it’s not clear whether any effort at mid-season talks will be made.
    • It’s a similar story for Braves outfielder Nick Markakis, another respected veteran who finally earned an All-Star nod. As Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes, Markakis indicated he expects to keep playing after his contract runs out this fall — which is no surprise given his strong performance thus far. Whether that’ll take place in Atlanta or elsewhere, though, isn’t yet on his mind. “We’ll deal with that stuff in the offseason when the time comes,” says the veteran.
    • Those sorts of questions have long floated around White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, who stands out as a quality veteran on a very youthful roster. As Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times reports, Abreu says he hopes to have a chance to win before his time is up in Chicago. His focus is on “just trying to enjoy the moment with the team” at the moment, but the slugger also indicated that he’s at least open to spending more time on the South Side. “I’d like to stay with this team,” says Abreu. And I’m going to do all in my power to make this team good as soon as possible.”
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox, Braves Interested In Mike Moustakas]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127503 2018-07-16T00:10:56Z 2018-07-16T00:10:07Z 7:10pm: The Royals may have to wait until Manny Machado is traded before fully pursuing a Moustakas deal, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link).  Up to seven teams have been rumored to be involved in the Machado talks, and with some suitors already reportedly falling out of the running, it stands to reason that some of these teams could pivot to Moustakas.  The Braves, for instance, are also one of the clubs in on Machado.

    4:00pm: The Royals are “more likely than not” to trade third baseman Mike Moustakas this month, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, who lists the Red Sox and Braves as a pair of playoff contenders interested in acquiring him.

    The Red Sox already boast the majors’ best record (68-30) and a 4 1/2-game lead in the AL East, even though they haven’t gotten great production from third baseman Rafael Devers. But the 21-year-old still has plenty of time to turn into a foundational piece for the Red Sox, and it may behoove them to find an upgrade in the meantime. With Boston pushing for its fourth World Series title since 2004, the lefty-swinging Moustakas would seemingly qualify, having slashed .250/.306/.469 with 19 home runs in 386 plate appearances, easily beating out Devers’ numbers (.241/.292/.424 with 14 HRs in 367 PAs). Of course, Moustakas’ production also hasn’t been all-world, as he has logged a 106 wRC+ to Devers’ 87 and has dropped off precipitously since a red-hot April.

    The Braves haven’t come close to matching the Red Sox’s excellence this season, but they’re still 52-42 – in possession of a National League wild-card spot and within half a game of the NL East-leading Phillies. Their starting third baseman, Johan Camargo, has actually outdone Moustakas by wRC+ (109), having batted .247/.346/.426 with nine homers in 263 PAs. The switch-hitting Camargo is capable of playing shortstop, however, and could perhaps usurp the starting role from the light-hitting, righty-swinging Dansby Swanson or at least platoon with him.

    After failing to encounter much interest in free agency last winter, the 29-year-old Moustakas wouldn’t represent a long-term acquisition for any club. Moustakas is owed the rest of a $5.5MM salary this season, and then his employer will have to decide whether to exercise a $15MM mutual option for 2019 or pay him a $1MM buyout.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Interested In Jeurys Familia]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127519 2018-07-15T23:29:38Z 2018-07-15T23:29:38Z
  • Reports from earlier today listed the Giants and Phillies as two of the teams interested in Mets closer Jeurys Familia, and Sherman adds the Red Sox to that list.  Boston is known to be looking for a significant bullpen addition, so it isn’t any surprise that the Sox have checked in on Familia as they explore the relief market.  As Sherman notes, the Red Sox and Mets combined on a notable bullpen trade at last year’s deadline when Addison Reed was sent to Boston.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Place Eduardo Rodriguez On DL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127452 2018-07-15T20:41:35Z 2018-07-15T20:41:15Z 3:41pm: Rodriguez’s ankle has “serious damage,” the Red Sox announced (via Sean McAdam of BostonSportsJournal.com). Rodriguez won’t need surgery, but he’ll be in a boot for two weeks before the team re-evaluates him.

    9:40am: The Red Sox have placed left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez on the 10-day disabled list with a right ankle sprain, the team announced. In a corresponding move, Boston activated fellow southpaw Brian Johnson from the 10-day DL.

    Rodriguez suffered the injury in Saturday’s start against Toronto, forcing him to depart after he spun 5 1/3 scoreless innings. Injury aside, the outing continued what has been a career-best season for the 25-year-old.

    Boston has raced to the majors’ best record (67-30) thanks in no small part to Rodriguez, who has pitched to a 3.44 ERA/3.56 FIP with 9.46 K/9 and 2.75 BB/9 in 104 2/3 innings. His performance has helped offset David Price’s so-so season and given Boston another high-end starter along with Chris Sale and Rick Porcello.

    With the All-Star break coming up, this may go down as a short absence for Rodriguez, though manager Alex Cora told reporters Saturday that the swelling in his ankle looked “bad.” If this injury proves to be serious, perhaps Boston will be more open to deepening its rotation prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline as it continues trying to hold off the Yankees in the AL East. The Red Sox do have some proven depth in the fold in Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz, but those two are also on the DL. For now, then, they’ll turn to Johnson to join Sale, Porcello, Price and Hector Velazquez in their rotation.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: E-Rod, Wright, Phillips]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127362 2018-07-14T19:13:24Z 2018-07-14T19:00:45Z
  • Red Sox southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez left his start Saturday against Toronto after 5 1/3 scoreless innings with an apparent right knee injury, per Sean McAdam of BostonSportsJournal.com. That’s the same knee Rodriguez had surgery on last October, McAdam points out, making this a potentially worrisome situation for first-place Boston. So far this season, Rodriguez has helped form an excellent 1-2-3 atop the Red Sox’s rotation with Chris Sale and Rick Porcello, having logged a 3.44 ERA/3.56 FIP with 9.46 K/9 and 2.75 BB/9 in 104 2/3 innings. [Update: It’s a right ankle sprain, Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic tweets. X-rays came back negative, but the Red Sox are continuing to evaluate Rodriguez.]
  • In further unfortunate news for the Red Sox’s staff, knuckleballer Steven Wright’s recovery from left knee inflammation is “taking longer than expected,” manager Alex Cora said Saturday (via Christopher Smith of MassLive.com). Wright, who went on the DL on June 26, is continuing to deal with soreness in that knee – which he had surgically repaired in May 2017. As a result, the Red Sox will have to continue awaiting his return. When healthy earlier this season, Wright notched 40 innings of 3.38 ERA ball and a 53.2 percent groundball rate, though he also posted underwhelming strikeout and walk rates (6.98 K/9, 4.5 BB/9).
  • Back to Boston, which promoted veteran infielder Brandon Phillips from Low-A to Triple-A on Saturday, the Red Sox’s top affiliate in Pawtucket announced (h/t: Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic). The 37-year-old Phillips, who signed a minors deal on June 27, collected 26 PAs at the Low-A level. He’ll continue trying to work his way back to the majors and serve as a helpful second/third base piece for the Sox.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Report Links Red Sox To Whit Merrifield]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127249 2018-07-13T14:14:38Z 2018-07-13T03:48:32Z
  • Heyman also notes that he’s heard the Red Sox mentioned in connection with Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield. The 29-year-old has reportedly drawn interest from the Phillies and from the Brewers already, and the Sox would be a logical addition to that market, depending on the status of Dustin Pedroia. As Heyman notes, Merrifield is particularly enticing for the Sox given his minimal salary and their proximity to the top tier of luxury tax penalization. He’s shown, too, that he can play a number of positions, which would make him ideal for a utility role if the Sox get everyone healthy. That said, there’s no characterization of particularly strong interest in the report, the Sox have a thin farm system, and the Royals are under no urgency to trade Merrifield, who is controlled through 2022. Bullpen help has been rumored to be Boston’s primary focus on the trade market so far.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[DL Placements: Logan Morrison, Rafael Devers, Shelby Miller]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127218 2018-07-12T17:22:48Z 2018-07-12T17:22:48Z With the All-Star break at hand, we may well continue to see more disabled list placements than usual as teams attempt to get players extended rest, with a minimal number of actual games missed, to address minor ailments. Here are the day’s notable placements:

    • The Twins added first baseman/DH Logan Morrison to the 10-day DL owing to a left hip impingement. The seriousness of the injury isn’t yet clear, but it surely won’t help Morrison’s trade value — not that there was much likelihood of him being moved by the upcoming non-waiver deadline. He has struggled to a .193/.287/.367 batting line through exactly three hundred plate appearances this year while earning $5.5MM under a deal that includes a $1MM buyout on a 2019 option. Perhaps there’s still a chance that Morrison could be dealt in August if he gets healthy and finds his stroke at the plate. Infielder Ehire Adrianza has been activated from the DL to take the open roster spot.
    • Also hitting the shelf is Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers, who’ll be replaced by Tzu-Wei Lin. The official cause of the placement for Devers is left shoulder inflammation, though it doesn’t seem there’s much reason to anticipate that he’s at risk of a more significant underlying problem. Still just 21 years of age, Devers has compiled 367 plate appearances of .241/.292/.424 hitting this year. He had been heating up over the month of June but is back in a lull through eight games in July, which perhaps helped motivate the club to give him a rest.
    • Unsurprisingly, the Diamondbacks have moved righty Shelby Miller to the DL with inflammation in his pitching elbow. Joining him is reliever T.J. McFarland, who has a strained neck. They’ll be replaced by Matt Koch and Silvino Bracho. There’s still no indication as to the results of Miller’s medical evaluation today.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Interested In Significant Bullpen Addition]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127123 2018-07-11T14:16:13Z 2018-07-11T13:24:31Z As they look to improve a roster that has performed at a high level this year, the Red Sox are interested in adding impact in their late-inning relief mix, according to a report from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. We heard yesterday that the team has interest in Orioles southpaw Zach Britton (see here and here), but he’s certainly not the only potential target.

    At the moment, it is not clear if the Boston organization has any particular pitcher in mind. Crasnick indicates that the team is “blanketing the relief market,” so it appears that there are still quite a few possibilities.

    It’s not surprising, of course, to learn that a clear contender wants to improve its bullpen. That’s almost a given in this day and age, when the ability to deploy a variety of quality relief arms in optimal fashion can make all the difference in high-leverage situations in critical games.

    The key takeaway, though, is that the Sox aren’t just looking to add another solid set-up option. Rather, the report indicates that the organization wishes to obtain a high-end, difference-making arm. Notably, Crasnick suggests that the pending free agency of elite closer Craig Kimbrel is a factor, perhaps indicating that the Red Sox will be particularly interested in a controllable player.

    The Red Sox did just welcome Tyler Thornburg into the fold after a lengthy rehab process. He has worked in the 93 to 94 mph range in his first two outings, below but also in sight of his most recent levels. But the club really can’t know quite what to expect yet from him.

    One interesting element to consider here is the fact that the Red Sox depth chart exhibits an obvious weakness from the left side. The just-recalled Jalen Beeks is currently the only southpaw in the pen, though perhaps Drew Pomeranz could ultimately be utilized in relief once he’s back to health.

    Clearly, a power lefty would make particular sense, which helps explain the look at Britton. And there are other premium late-inning southpaws that could be available — though none at a low price. Brad Hand of the Padres and Felipe Vazquez of the Pirates are perhaps intriguing speculative targets, but they will require a massive haul to pry loose given that both recently inked high-value extensions.

    There ought to be other potential hurlers to consider on the left side, of course. Zach Duke of the Twins has been excellent and is an affordable rental player. The Marlins’ Adam Conley is showing that his stuff can play up from the pen. Despite a thin track record of late, he comes with cheap control, meaning the ask will likely be fairly high. Other possible options include Jake Diekman (Rangers), Jerry Blevins (Mets), Aaron Loup (Blue Jays), and Luis Avilan (White Sox).

    It seems, though, that the need for a southpaw will not necessarily drive the team’s approach when it comes to installing a high-end arm. Per Crasnick, the Red Sox have taken a scouting look at Kyle Barraclough of the Marlins and even “checked in” to see if the Rockies might be interested in parting with veterans Wade Davis or Adam Ottavino. (Crasnick added mention of Ottavino in a follow-up tweet.) All of those hurlers throw from the right side, of course. And they are in quite different contract situations, with Barraclough on the cusp of arbitration eligibility, Ottavino set to hit the open market, and Davis still in the first season of his three-year, $52MM contract.

    Davis, in particular, appears to be rather an unlikely player to move, as Crasnick notes. But the fact that the team has even considered that pursuit seems telling. There really aren’t all that many excellent late-inning rental relievers likely to be made available — Jeurys Familia is probably the best among them — but there are quite a few quality pitchers with lengthy control rights that could perhaps be had. Raisel Iglesias of the Reds, Kirby Yates of the Padres, Nate Jones of the White Sox, and Keone Kela of the Rangers are all pitchers that could at least conceivably interest the Red Sox. All are in the same essential situation as that of Barraclough, though: with multiple seasons of affordable control remaining, their teams don’t have to make a move.

    As things stand, then, the possibilities still seem rather open-ended. That only makes it all the more interesting to see how talks shape up over the next twenty days.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Have Checked In On Manny Machado, Have Interest In Zach Britton]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127108 2018-07-11T01:49:27Z 2018-07-11T01:49:54Z 8:49pm: Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that the Sox did indeed check in on Machado, but there’s “nothing substantial” to those talks at this time. Boston, however, “seems to have definite interest” in Britton.

    8:39pm: The field of teams reported to be showing interest in Orioles shortstop Manny Machado is growing, as both Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun and Rich Dubroff of PressboxOnline.com (Twiter link) report that the Red Sox have recently reached out to the Orioles regarding Machado. Schmuck notes that Boston’s interest is seemingly a response to recent reports that the Yankees have again displayed some renewed interest.

    The Red Sox don’t represent a perfect fit for Machado by any means, with Xander Bogaerts thriving at shortstop (.277/.351/.512) and Rafael Devers slotted in at third base. Devers, though, has struggled to the tune of a .290 OBP, and while the Sox certainly wouldn’t part with him for a Machado rental, Boston could in theory add Machado and send Devers to Triple-A Pawtucket for further development. Devers, after all, is still just 21 years of age and only played nine games in Triple-A before ascending to the Majors last year.

    To this point, it’s not clear whether Boston’s interest constitutes anything more than due diligence, and there’s not yet anything to suggest that they’re embarking upon an aggressive pursuit of Machado. The Dodgers, Brewers and, to a lesser extent, the Diamondbacks were said to be the most most aggressive parties on the Machado front as recently as this afternoon, with the Cubs and Cardinals both now said to be largely out of the mix.

    As ever, it’s worth bearing in mind that most contending clubs will at least gauge the price tag on most of the top trade pieces available. Fancred’s Jon Heyman recently reported that the Red Sox have been scouting Baltimore’s Zach Britton in recent weeks anyhow, and it’s fairly logical to expect that if they were inquiring with the Orioles on Britton, they’d at the very least check in on the Machado price tag. Players of Machado’s caliber are rarely available on the summer trade market, after all, and acquiring him represents something of a rare opportunity for any contender — particularly one in a tightly contested division race such as the current AL East.

    Boston is a particularly difficult fit for the Machado, though, given the money he’s owed through season’s end and the luxury tax penalization the Sox would incur if payroll hiked much further north. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported at the time of the Steve Pearce trade that the money the Blue Jays sent to the Red Sox in that deal helped keep Boston’s luxury tax ledger just south of $237MM.

    That’s an important figure, because despite the fact that much of the focus with regard to the luxury tax is placed on the initial $197MM barrier, there are increasingly steep penalties for exceeding that threshold by more than $40MM. Namely, the Sox would be taxed at a hefty 42.5 percent clip for any amount over that $237MM mark and, more significantly, would have their top pick in next June’s amateur draft knocked back by 10 spots. Machado is currently owed about $7.05MM through season’s end, and the Red Sox’ luxury tax payroll (per Cot’s Contracts) sat at $235.325MM before even accounting for the $1.5MM they took on in the Pearce trade. That figure is an estimate, of course, it nonetheless demonstrates that the Sox are only narrowly south of that threshold.

    It’s certainly possible that the Sox have genuine interest in adding Machado to the mix, recognizing that they’re in a close battle for the division and that every win will prove crucial to avoiding a one-game Wild Card playoff. However, given Boston’s luxury tax situation, an already-crowded left side of the infield and a thin farm system, it’s difficult to see them emerging as a top suitor for Machado.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Have Scouted Zach Britton]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127097 2018-07-10T23:38:27Z 2018-07-10T23:38:27Z
  • The Red Sox have been scouting Zach Britton since he was activated from the disabled list, tweets Heyman. The Sox and Orioles aren’t frequent trade partners but did line up a couple of years back in the Andrew Miller/Eduardo Rodriguez swap, and Boston president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has already pulled off one intra-division swap in 2018, acquiring Steve Pearce from the Blue Jays. Britton hasn’t looked like himself since returning from surgery to repair his Achilles tendon, as his K/BB numbers and ground-ball rates have all been well south of his usual levels. Britton’s velocity has ticked upward in his past two outings, though he’s still falling behind far too many hitters and is owed more than $5MM through season’s end. That last bit may be of particular importance to the Red Sox, who after acquiring Pearce are just narrowly under the next level of luxury tax penalization. If they exceed the luxury tax by more than $40MM, the Red Sox would see their top pick in next year’s draft pushed back 10 slots.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Yankees “Showing Increased Interest” In Manny Machado]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127031 2018-07-10T12:28:41Z 2018-07-10T04:07:43Z 11:07pm: The talks are still in an early stage, Eduardo Encina of Baltimore Sun reports. Though the Yankees haven’t made any offers, the club has expressed interest not only in Machado and rental relievers Zach Britton and Brad Brach, but also in controllable starter Kevin Gausman.

    Machado himself bristled at the ongoing questions about his status after tonight’s game against the Yankees. When asked about the possibility of shifting back over to third, after assuming the shortstop job in Baltimore this year, Machado answered: “I’m a shortstop. I play shortstop.” (Via Marc Carig of The Athletic, on Twitter.) Of course, it’s probably best not to read too much into that statement, as Machado may simply have been fending off questions by referring to his current situation and in any event lacks trade protection.

    9:29pm: There appears to be some mutual interest in considering package arrangements, per reports from Jon Heyman of Fancred and Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter). In addition to weighing some of the O’s relievers, says Kubatko, the Yanks may have interest in Baltimore rotation pieces. Contemplating the possibility of the involvement of starting pitching makes this series of reports all the more fascinating. There are any number of imaginable permutations of package deals, though there’s no real hint at present as to what might be considered.

    7:55pm: The Yankees are “showing increased interest” in acquiring Machado, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athetic (subscription link). It’s still not clear just how serious the Yanks are about such a move, but the report is intriguing nonetheless.

    In some regards, to be sure, it’s a bit of an imperfect fit. Though we included the Yankees as a potential landing spot in a recent poll on Machado’s market, the Bronx Bombers didn’t rate as popular choice among respondents. While the club is unquestionably in position to add MLB talent, it has a much more obvious need in the rotation. And some would surely argue that there’s greater need for (and greater value to be found in) an upgrade at first base, where Greg Bird has not exactly thrived.

    While Machado would upgrade any roster, the New York organization already features a quality shortstop in Didi Gregorius and a variety of other talented young infield options at second and third. Though breakout rookie Gleyber Torres is injured at present, there has been no indication that he’ll miss a lengthy stretch, so that doesn’t seem to represent a significant aspect of the increased interest.

    As Rosenthal suggests, the likeliest motivation behind pursuit of Machado would be to install him at third base. The club could simply option Miguel Andujar for some additional seasoning. (Per the report, there’s reason to question that the promising youngster would be a part of a trade for Machado, which makes sense.) Andujar certainly has played well and has a bright future, but isn’t close Machado’s quality level at present.

    There are other players to consider here, but none would get in the way of the pursuit of Machado. Indeed, Brandon Drury — who was just optioned back to Triple-A after the first of the Yanks’ two games today — might well be a trade chip, though there’s no firm indication of that to this point. Veteran switch-hitter Neil Walker would likely still fit on the roster regardless, so long as the club continues to show patience. (If not, the Yanks could utilize Andujar, Drury, and/or Tyler Wade in a reserve role as well.)

    Part of the underlying reasoning here seems to be that the Yankees may struggle to upgrade as much as they’d like in the rotation. To be sure, the market is not shaping up to offer many compelling starters. Though the Yanks have plenty of pieces to chase a controllable hurler, it’s not yet clear whether the prices will be palatable enough to consider that route.

    As things have shaped up in the American League, the Yankees and bitter-rival Red Sox have ample cause to seek all avenues for improvement. Settling for a Wild Card will, of course, mean a one-game series that could go in any direction. And the team that wins the play-in contest seems rather likely to face either the AL East champs or the defending World Series champion Astros in the divisional round. While the Indians are no cakewalk, they’ll likely be viewed as a somewhat less formidable foe.

    Viewed broadly, then, the potential match is perhaps a bit more compelling than is evident at first glance. Whether other pieces of the Baltimore roster might be of interest to the Yankees is not yet known. It’s also not clear what trade pieces the Yanks would be willing to give that would pique the interest of the O’s sufficiently to pave the way for a trade of a mid-prime franchise legend to a division rival.

    Clearly, this news doesn’t mean that the Yankees are the new favorites to land Machado. Reports from earlier today tabbed the Dodgers and Brewers as the most aggressive teams at the moment, and that seems still to be the case — with other organizations still also looking like plausible suitors as well. But the involvement of the Yankees shows that it’s still an open bidding situation with many possible outcomes. Whether or not the Orioles can leverage the broad demand into a significant return remains to be seen, but it’s clear that multiple contending organizations view Machado as a real potential difference-maker.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Christian Vazquez Out Six To Eight Weeks With Fractured Pinky]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126877 2018-07-09T20:21:36Z 2018-07-09T20:20:33Z July 9: Vazquez will require surgery and is expected to miss six to eight weeks of action, tweets Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. Manager Alex Cora tells reporters that he’s comfortable with Leon and Swihart doing all of the catching during Vazquez’s absence.

    July 7: Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez suffered a broken right pinky while sliding on Saturday and will head to the 10-day disabled list, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe tweets. Vazquez will undergo an MRI on Monday to determine how much time he’ll miss.

    Vazquez’s injury is to his throwing hand, which seems to suggest he’s in for a somewhat lengthy absence. The defensive-minded Vazquez has long been adept at throwing out attempted base stealers, having caught 41 percent during his career, and that has been the case this year. Prior to his injury, he caught 31 percent of would-be base thieves, beating out the league average (27 percent). The 27-year-old has also been one of the game’s top pitch framers in 2018, per Baseball Prospectus, which has no doubt been beneficial to red-hot Boston’s pitching staff.

    Thanks in part to Vazquez’s defensive prowess, the Red Sox own the majors’ best record (61-29). He hasn’t contributed much to their elite offense, however, with a subpar .213/.249/.300 batting line in 218 plate appearances. Likewise, fellow Red Sox catchers Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart have offered below-average offense. And even though Swihart, 26, was once a prized catcher prospect for Boston, the team has been reluctant to use him behind the plate. After donning the tools of ignorance 83 times in 2015, his rookie year, Swihart has appeared as a catcher on just 15 occasions for the Sox over the past two-plus seasons.

    Given its unwillingness to rely on Swihart as a catcher – not to mention his paltry .175/.241/200 line in 87 PAs – it’s possible the club will seek help at the position prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The best catchers in the rumor mill of late have been the Marlins’ J.T. Realmuto and the Rays’ Wilson Ramos, and acquiring either would serve as a major response to Vazquez’s injury. Realmuto isn’t a strong bet to move, however, and would likely be too hard to acquire for a Boston team without a well-regarded farm system. Conversely, Ramos is a near-lock to end up elsewhere in the coming weeks, but whether the Red Sox are interested in him or have the prospect capital to land him is unclear. It’s obvious, though, that Vazquez’s injury is a less-than-ideal development for the Sox as they continue trying to fend off the archrival Yankees in the AL East.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillips On Opportunity With Red Sox]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126992 2018-07-09T16:50:16Z 2018-07-09T16:49:48Z
  • Brandon Phillips chatted with WEEI’s Rob Bradford about his opportunity with the Red Sox and the manner in which he remained motivated and ready to play even when interest was limited throughout the offseason and early in the season. The 37-year-old veteran notes that he’ll play anywhere the Sox ask of him and is hopeful of returning to the Majors and helping Boston toward — but also enjoys working with the team’s minor leaguers as he gets back into playing shape. “I was waking up at 5 o’clock in the morning in the Gulf Coast League trying to get my work in,” says Phillips, who worked out with Boston’s GCL affiliate before moving into game settings at the Class-A level. “They’re like, ‘Brandon, you don’t have to do this.’ I’m like, ‘Man, I’m here for this. I want to work out with those guys. I just want to get back in the feel of it.’” Phillips makes clear that he has no desire to hang up the spikes at any point in the near future and wants to win a World Series ring before even beginning to consider retirement.
  • Aroldis Chapman will likely be dealing with his current left knee issue for the rest of the season, Yankees skipper Aaron Boone said before yesterday’s game (link via George A. King III of the New York Post). Chapman has been playing through a minor bout of tedinitis in his left knee and was held out of yesterday’s game even when the Yankees found themselves with a late 2-1 lead. Boone explained that he wanted to stay away from Chapman and Dellin Betances, instead turning to David Robertson to nail down the save. With a doubleheader set for Monday, it makes some sense to give Chapman that extra day of rest. King also notes that the Reds, Rangers and Royals were all among the rebuilding teams scouting the Triple-A tilt between the Yankees and Red Sox’ top affiliates yesterday. Several contending clubs were on hand as well, though, including the Indians, Phillies and D-backs.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Poll: Worst Use Of A Roster Spot]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126343 2018-07-09T00:37:06Z 2018-07-09T00:37:06Z In today’s game of baseball, the 25th spot on each team’s active roster is arguably more valuable than it’s ever been. Managers are turning to their bullpens sooner than ever before, platoon situations have become commonplace, and defensive replacements and pinch runners remain a vital part of strategy late in close games. Most teams manipulate their rosters with painstaking attention to detail in order to maximize the balance of value and efficiency that each spot on the active roster yields.

    That’s why dead weight on a roster can be damaging to a team in many ways. In essence, three major league clubs have committed to operating with 24 active roster spots so far during the 2018 season. Those teams are the Tigers, Red Sox and Angels, and their commitment to players who aren’t providing value (and aren’t likely to provide any this season) have not only cost them wins, but also but a strain on their teammates. Let’s explore these situations in depth…

    Victor Reyes, Tigers- The number one overall pick in this past offseason’s Rule 5 Draft, Reyes must remain on Detroit’s active roster for the entire 2018 season or be offered back to the Diamondbacks. Prior to the season, he’d never played about Double-A, and ranked as the Tigers’ #25 overall prospect according to Baseball America. The biggest knocks on his game have always been his lack of power and his tendency to swing at bad pitches, which are fair concerns but fairly easy to stomach considering his speed, corner outfield defense and great contact skills.

    That said, it’s painfully clear to everyone in baseball that Reyes doesn’t belong in the majors even a little bit, at least not right now. On the year, he’s hit just .241 with a nightmarish .547 OPS. Sure, it’s commonplace for Rule 5 draftees to struggle in the majors. But the difference here is that the Tigers are barely even giving Reyes a chance to work his issues out. While the young outfielder has appeared in 47 games, 16 of those have solely been as a pinch runner. In fact, Reyes has only been given 68 plate appearances, and he’s simultaneously been an offensive black hole and a defensive liability, according to Fangraphs. Those factors have led to a -0.5 fWAR figure that’s shockingly poor for someone with so little playing time. Speaking of playing time, it’s tough to expect him to develop properly if he’s getting such inconsistent opportunities, and with the way the Tigers are utilizing him it seems almost as though they’re willing to punt this year of his development entirely and wait to option him to the minors next year when the Rule 5 restrictions no longer apply.

    The trade-off is that they’ll be able to add an upside contact player to their farm system if they can simply roster him at all times during a year when they’re not trying to win anyway. But even amidst a clear rebuilding phase, that roster spot could be used to give playing time to other young players who can actually be used; some of the talent they have at Triple-A at least deserve a look. Keeping an extra arm in the bullpen could also help prevent injury or exhaustion for a relief corps that’s been forced to shoulder a workload within the top 50th percentile in MLB. Sure, the whole point is that they get to keep Reyes if they hold onto him all year, but there’s a chance he’ll never develop into a useful player anyway. Is it worth the trouble if he hasn’t shown much promise yet?

    Blake Swihart, Red Sox- We’ve discussed Swihart at length here on MLBTR, and while the roster around him has changed a bit, the situation has largely remained the same: Swihart’s presence on the roster is negatively impacting Boston’s contention for the AL East crown. The former top prospect’s star has dimmed dramatically since his MLB debut in 2015, and he’s only managed to scrape together enough offensive output to post a .185/.250/.210 batting line. Much like Reyes, Swihart has hardly been given any real playing time; he’s amassed just 88 plate appearances and 110 defensive innings.

    Even with top backstop Christian Vazquez’ recent placement on the DL due to a fractured pinky, there’s no indication that Swihart’s benchwarming role with change any time soon. Although he came up through the Sox’ system as a catcher, he’s only appeared behind the plate a grand total of fifteen times in the past two seasons. This puts his team in quite a complicated predicament right now. On the surface, one might think the injury to Vazquez would force them to play Swihart more often. That would finally give the former top prospect one last chance to break through and prove he can stick behind the plate in the majors. However, there’s been no indication to this point that Swihart will actually receive that opportunity. The problem is that if Boston decides to acquire another catcher, they’re openly admitting to other teams that they don’t think Swihart deserves any opportunity to catch in the majors, even as a backup. That wouldn’t be a huge issue in a vacuum, but the Red Sox have been trying to trade Swihart in order to reap some value out of him, and giving up assets to acquire a backup catcher could theoretically expose their selling points on Swihart as pure bluff.

    Regardless all the speculation and theory in the above paragraphs, it’s remarkably clear that Swihart is in the majors for one reason and one reason only: he’s out of minor-league options, and the Red Sox aren’t likely to sneak him through waivers with so many teams in full teardown mode. So they must either think that Swihart still retains some sort of high-ceiling potential, or that some other team will trade them something of value based on his top prospect pedigree. That might seem like a reasonable way to operate a ballclub at first glance; it’s certainly important to wring value from any place in which it can be found, after all. But problem in this situation is that the Sox are locked in a tight AL East race with the Yankees, and with each passing day he’s putting a drain on their ability to compete. To date, Swihart has been worth half a win below replacement level, and that’s in the meager playing time detailed above. If the club cuts bait later in the season, the choice to retain him for this long could be looked at as a glaring roster management error on the part of the part of Dave Dombrowski and the front office.

    Albert Pujols, Angels- It’s no secret that Pujols’ contract is currently one of the worst in baseball, and perhaps among the worst contracts given out in baseball history. To date, he’s been paid about $130MM to provide about 6.4 fWAR to the Angels. That includes a -1.9 fWAR mark in 2017, and (like the other two players in this poll) half a win below replacement so far in 2018. By more traditional statistics, Pujols is hitting just .243/.281/.393 on the season, with a 4.5% walk rate that would be a career low. He’s played 400 rough innings at first base, is rated poorly on the basepaths, and continues to be one of the more shift-prone players in all of baseball.

    The difference between Pujols and the other players on this list is that there’s virtually no hope that the former MVP can ever provide value to his team again. He’s 38 years old and has exhibited a steady decline in each of the past four seasons. In his prime, Pujols was not only a power god, but also enjoyed ten consecutive seasons with a walk total that exceeded his strikeouts. And while he still avoids strikeouts at an impressive rate for the current MLB climate, the walks have practically disappeared in recent seasons.

    It’s clear that Pujols is only holding onto his roster spot by virtue of his past performance (and the respect he deserves for it), and the amount of money he’s being paid. But is that a wise way for a franchise to operate? The Angels entered the season as a hopeful contender, and while they’re surely disappointed to be sitting at a mere 45-45, they’ve still got at least an outside shot of a Wild Card berth. Holding onto Pujols isn’t going to help them make up the 11.5 games they’d need to over the season’s final two and a half months. There are plenty of better ways the Angels could use his spot on the roster, and even the average first baseman at Triple-A would be a better bet to improve the team.

    Each of these players has cost his club half a win across half a season. There’s certainly nothing bad to be said about any of them as people, but for baseball purposes in a vacuum, which one is the worst use of a valuable roster spot on the whole? (Poll link for app users)

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Make Series Of Roster Moves]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126903 2018-07-08T15:31:29Z 2018-07-08T15:22:50Z The Red Sox have announced a series of roster moves, including officially placing catcher Christian Vazquez on the 10-day disabled list with a broken right pinky. In addition, they sent left-hander Brian Johnson to the 10-day DL (left hip inflammation, retroactive to July 5) and transferred righty Austin Maddox to the 60-day DL.

    With their newfound roster space, the Red Sox selected righty Ryan Brasier from Triple-A Pawtucket and recalled fellow righty William Cuevas. They continue to possess a full 40-man roster.

    The 30-year-old Brasier could now see his first major league action since 2013, when he threw his only nine MLB innings while with the Angels. Brasier inked a minors deal with the Red Sox over the winter after spending the previous several years at the Triple-A level with the Halos and Athletics. He has opened this season with tremendous numbers at Pawtucket, where he has logged a 1.34 ERA with 8.93 K/9 and 1.79 BB/9 in 40 1/3 innings out of the team’s bullpen. Overall, Brasier – the Angels’ sixth-round pick in 2007 – owns a 3.65 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 246 1/3 Triple-A frames.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Interested In Fernando Rodney]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126772 2018-07-07T15:10:22Z 2018-07-07T15:10:22Z Twins closer Fernando Rodney is one of several relievers the Red Sox are considering as trade targets, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter link).  Rodney is a known commodity to Boston president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, Crasnick notes, from their time together when Dombrowski was the Tigers’ general manager.

    With the Twins out of contention and reportedly open to becoming deadline sellers, Rodney stands out as one of the most obvious trade chips on Minnesota’s roster.  The 16-year veteran has posted a 2.97 ERA, 10.1 K/9, and a 3.09 K/BB rate over 30 1/3 IP, earning 18 saves along the way.  ERA predictors like FIP (3.44), xFIP (3.77) and SIERA (3.34) are a bit less impressed by Rodney’s performance, and he is posting his lowest grounder rate (43.4%) in the last ten seasons, though his overall numbers are still quite sound, particularly for a pitcher who celebrated his 41st birthday back in March.

    Rodney isn’t exactly known for clean innings in high-pressure situations over his long career in the game, though with Craig Kimbrel locked into the closer’s role in Boston, the Sox would use Rodney as a setup option.  Though Boston’s bullpen ranks within the top ten in most statistical categories, the team has still been looking to bolster its relief corps before the deadline, with the likes of Raisel Iglesias, Zach Britton, and several late-inning Marlins arms all linked to the Red Sox in trade rumors.  The Sox also had interest in Kelvin Herrera before he was dealt to Washington.

    Rodney would likely require a smaller price tag than any of these names, given his age and the fact that his contract is only guaranteed through this season; he is controllable through 2019 via a $4.25MM club option (with a $250K buyout).  Rodney is only owed roughly $2.05MM for the remainder of the season, which could make him particularly attractive to a Red Sox team that is trying to stay under the maximum luxury tax threshold of $237MM.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Recently Scouted Nathan Eovaldi's Start]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126587 2018-07-05T02:50:40Z 2018-07-05T02:50:40Z
  • Evaluators from the Red Sox, Phillies, Cubs, and Braves were on hand to watch Nathan Eovaldi’s Monday start for the Rays, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain writes.  Of course, several other players on the Rays or Marlins were also likely under observation, though Eovaldi represents an interesting low-cost option for teams in need of rotation help — of the teams listed, only the Cubs wouldn’t appear to be in need of starting pitching depth.  After missing all of 2017 recovering from Tommy John surgery and then missing time due to minor elbow surgery and a rib muscle strain at the beginning of this season, Eovaldi has returned to post a 3.92 ERA, 49.6% grounder rate, 7.6 K/9, and a minuscule 1.3 BB/9 rate over his first 41 1/3 frames.  He has received some significant help in the form of a .211 BABIP, a 79.6% strand rate and a .285 wOBA that is well under his .321 xwOBA, though ERA indicators (4.75 FIP, 3.59 xFIP, 3.57 SIERA) are largely in line with his real-world ERA.  Eovaldi is also averaging 97mph on his fastball.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 7/4/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126561 2018-07-04T21:59:00Z 2018-07-04T21:59:00Z Here are the latest minor league moves from around baseball…

    • The Red Sox signed outfielder Kyle Wren to a minor league deal, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter link).  Wren is the son of Frank Wren, the former Orioles and Braves general manager and the current Red Sox senior VP of player personnel.  The younger Wren was an eighth-round pick for Atlanta in the 2013 draft (when his father was still the GM) and was dealt to the Brewers after the 2014 season.  The 27-year-old Wren has posted solid numbers over his pro career, hitting .295/.364/.384 over 2546 PA in the minors, though the Brewers still released him last week.
    • In other Boston minor league news, the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox announced (via Twitter) that outfielder Ramon Flores has been released.  The Sox acquired Flores from the Diamondbacks back in March, and he struggled to a .215/.299/.308 slash line over 223 PA for the PawSox this season.  These numbers are a far cry from Flores’ previously-solid career performance at the Triple-A level, and even counting this year, he still owns an .802 career OPS over 1402 PA at the highest minor league level.  A longtime member of the Yankees’ farm system, Flores has appeared in 119 games in the majors with the Angels, Brewers, and Yankees, with the large majority (104 games and 289 PA) coming with Milwaukee in 2016.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Activate Tyler Thornburg]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126516 2018-07-04T12:43:27Z 2018-07-04T12:43:27Z The Red Sox have officially activated right-hander Tyler Thornburg, marking his first appearance on the club’s active roster. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe tweeted last night that the move was set to be made and the club announced it this morning.

    Now 29, Thornburg came over from the Brewers in a Winter Meetings swap in advance of the 2017 campaign. The package delivered third baseman Travis Shaw and prospects Mauricio DubonJosh Pennington and Yeison Coca to Milwaukee.

    At the time, MLBTR contributor Burke Badenhop — who had once been traded between these same teams — interviewed Thornburg to discuss the move and give him a taste of what to expect. Unfortunately, the anticipated appearances at Fenway Park never took place in the season that followed.

    Thornburg came down with somewhat mysterious shoulder troubles during the offseason and ultimately underwent a procedure to address thoracic outlet syndrome in July of 2017. He has been working back ever since.

    Despite the uncertainty, the Red Sox staked an additional bet on Thornburg over the winter by tendering him arbitration. He’s earning $2.05MM, a repeat of his 2017 salary, and can be controlled for one more campaign through the arb process.

    Thornburg’s first appearances with the Boston organization came on his just-completed rehab assignment. In 16 1/3 total upper-minors innings this year, he owns a 4.96 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9. As those numbers might hint, reports on Thornburg have wavered a bit, suggesting he may still be settling in after a long layoff.

    It’s hard to know what to expect at this point, certainly, but Thornburg was quite impressive in his most recent MLB season — a breakout 2016 effort. Sitting at 94 and getting whiffs on about a dozen out of every hundred pitches, he turned in 67 frames of 2.15 ERA ball with 12.1 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9 along with a 32.4 percent ground-ball rate.

    Now, Thornburg will be trying to reestablish himself at the game’s highest level. The Red Sox, meanwhile, will be watching closely to see if he’s capable of fulfilling an important role down the stretch, perhaps reducing the need for any outside additions to the team’s array of right-handed setup options.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Dodgers, Red Sox, Indians Among Teams Eyeing Marlins’ Bullpen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126326 2018-07-03T04:40:53Z 2018-07-03T02:25:03Z July 2, 9:14pm: The Marlins are placing an “extremely high” ask on Barraclough, in particular, per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Indeed, he hears that the Miami organization is “basically looking for another club’s top prospect, or among their top prospects” in any swap involving the young hurler. The report suggests that Conley is the “most realistic” candidate to be moved among the three hurlers discussed below.

    Unsurprisingly, multiple teams are poking around on the Marlins’ relievers. The Indians are among the contenders with some interest, per Jon Heyman of Fancred (via Twitter).

    1:22pm: The Red Sox have also been in contact with the Marlins about their late-inning relievers, Morosi writes today. While Boston is set to at last welcome Tyler Thornburg to its bullpen, the team is nonetheless exploring contingency options, per the report. More generally, it stands to reason that the majority of contenders will at least explore the possibility of adding an arm such as Barraclough, Steckenrider or (to a lesser extent, given the shorter track record in the ’pen) Conley.

    Any from that group would be an upgrade over virtually any team’s seventh- or eighth-best reliever at the very least, and deep bullpens are paramount to success in postseason play.

    July 1: The Dodgers have “had preliminary dialogue” with the Marlins about some of Miami’s top bullpen arms, says Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com. That list of relievers includes Kyle Barraclough, Drew Steckenrider and Adam Conley.

    While Morosi’s sources have been careful to note that no deal is close at this time, there’s certainly a good fit between the two clubs. The Dodgers’ bullpen actually ranks fourth in MLB with a combined WPA of 26.06, but has recently seen Tony Cingrani, Pedro Baez and Josh Fields hit the disabled list (as Morosi himself notes).The bridge to closer Kenley Jansen appears particularly weak, with Erik Goeddel and Scott Alexander currently working in setup roles. The Dodgers are certainly contenders for the NL Pennant, sitting just 3.5 games back of the division-leading Diamondbacks. And of course, the Marlins aren’t serious competitors for a spot in the playoffs this season.

    There’s certainly no rush for the Marlins to trade any of the above players, as all three have yet to even qualify for arbitration eligibility. Conley and Barraclough will remain under club control through 2021, while Steckenrider is controllable for another two seasons beyond that. At the same time, though, the Marlins aren’t seen as likely to do much winning over the next three or four years; they’re mired in a full teardown that began this offseason with trades of Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna. Trading Barraclough and Conley in particular could make a lot of sense if they’re able to net some young talent who could contribute during their next contending season.

    Of the aforementioned hurlers, Barraclough seems likely to bring back the most hefty return. The righty has been a revelation this season, pitching to a sub-1.00 ERA with a typically high 4.21 BB/9 and a K/9 of 9.66. Since stepping into the closer role for the Marlins earlier this year, he’s converted all seven save opportunities and has yet to allow a run. Barraclough (along with Steckenrider) has already been connected to the Indians this offseason.

    For what it’s worth, the Dodgers have one of the best farm systems in baseball, with MLB.com ranking them tenth out of 30 MLB teams. While it seems unlikely that they’d part with top prospects Alex Verdugo or Keibert Ruiz in a trade for one of the aforementioned Marlins arms, it’s worth noting that elite prospects have changed hands in recent years when a top-flight reliever becomes available, and the sheer amount of team control left on the contracts of Barraclough, Steckenrider and Conley could prove an enticing reason to consider all possible angles.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Select William Cuevas]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126371 2018-07-02T17:45:11Z 2018-07-02T17:45:11Z The Red Sox announced Monday that they’ve selected the contract of right-hander William Cuevas from Triple-A Pawtucket. In a pair of corresponding roster moves, right-hander Justin Haley was optioned to Pawtucket, while righty Carson Smith was moved from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL. Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston first reported that Cuevas was having his contract selected (Twitter link), while MassLive’s Chris Cotillo tweeted that Haley would be optioned out.

    Cuevas, 27, will be headed to the Majors for his second stint with the Sox. He originally debuted with Boston back in 2016, tossing five innings in a trio of relief appearances, and he pitched a third of an inning in 2017 with the Tigers. In all, Cuevas’ extremely minimal big league results haven’t been pretty, as he’s been tagged for six runs on eight hits and six walks with four strikeouts in his 5 1/3 frames of work.

    That said, he comes with a respectable Triple-A track record and has pitched fairly well in Pawtucket so far in 2018. Through 86 1/3 innings, all coming out of the rotation, Cuevas has a 3.65 ERA with 7.0 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 and 1.04 HR/9. He’ll give the Sox some length in the bullpen after a raucous weekend series against the Yankees in which the two contenders for the AL East division title traded blowout victories. The Red Sox came out on the losing end of that series and relied heavily on Haley, who tossed 4 2/3 innings of relief between Boston’s two losses, totaling 42 pitches in each appearance.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Acquire Lorenzo Cedrola From Red Sox For International Bonus Pool Space]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126365 2018-07-02T16:33:43Z 2018-07-02T16:27:23Z The Red Sox have traded minor league outfielder Lorenzo Cedrola to the Reds in exchange for international bonus pool space, both teams announced. Neither announcement revealed the size of the pool allotment changing hands, though international bonus allotments must be traded in increments of $250K.

    For the Reds, it’s not a surprise to see them trading away some pool space. The Cincinnati organization is still in the maximum penalty bracket from the previous collective bargaining agreement, meaning they can’t sign any single international amateur for a bonus of greater than $300K. Boston is under no such exemption and will use the additional funds to bolster their haul on the 2018-19 international signing market, which opened today and will run through June 15, 2019.

    Cedrola, 20, signed with the Red Sox in February 2015 out of Venezuela and has since risen to the Class-A South Atlantic League, where he’s currently repeating the level. He’s hitting .318/.350/427 through 229 plate appearances in his second run through that level, and while he hasn’t homered, he’s hit 17 doubles and three triples along the way. Cedrola has minimal power but has swiped 65 bases (in 91 tries) through 262 minor league games.

    Baseball America rated Cedrola as the Red Sox’ No. 24 prospect in the 2016-17 offseason, calling him an “excellent athlete and plus runner” while also noting his physical limitations and lack of home run power. Cedrola rarely walks but has strong contact skills — career 4.3 percent walk rate and 11.9 percent strikeout rate — and BA notes that with his speed and average arm, he has the profile of at least a reserve outfielder.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Notable International Prospect Signings]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126347 2018-07-02T17:53:44Z 2018-07-02T16:12:59Z With the 2018-19 international signing period kicking off today, there will be dozens of six- and seven-figure bonuses handed out to teenage prospects, primarily out of Latin America, filtering in throughout the day today. Many of these have been in the works for quite some time, as is reflected by the fact that most of the top players’ destinations and signing bonuses have been previously reported/projected (and by the fact that the top agreements will all be reported in one swift avalanche today).

    We’ll keep track of the notable National League signings here and the notable American League signings in a separate post. Note that you can read up on each of these players with the dedicated international coverage available from Ben Badler of Baseball America (subscription required), Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com and Kiley McDaniel & Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs, each of whom has scouting info on the top echelon of international amateurs. Badler is also tracking the all of the signings from all 30 teams.

    Onto some of the more notable signings…

    Read more

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Tommy John Surgeries, Sanchez, Thornburg, Sandoval]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126337 2018-07-02T02:21:24Z 2018-07-02T02:21:24Z Tommy John surgeries have become alarmingly common in today’s baseball climate, but the most disturbing trend is the age at which the bulk of these procedures are performed. Craig Davis of the Sun Sentinel sheds some spotlight on a recent study showing that teens between the ages of 15 and 19 account for 75% of all Tommy John surgeries. Davis cites the words of Dr. Tommy John (son of the former major league pitcher and the procedure’s namesake), who bluntly says, “The success rate after Tommy John surgery is not good. You don’t want this surgery, especially if you have it in your teenage years.” One possible reason for the dramatic increase in youth Tommy John surgeries is single-sport specialization; Dr. Randolph Cohen of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood seems to believe it’s a big issue. “There’s an overall kind of irrational push by parents on children who are playing sports for such long hours and such long durations and such great repetition that we’re seeing an increase in the injuries in children than say we saw 20 years ago, where injuries like that were much more rare,” he said.

    A few injury-related notes from around major-league baseball…

    • Though injured Yankees star Gary Sanchez hasn’t begun running drills yet, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports that his recovery is going well. The Bombers are apparently hopeful he’ll be able to return around the All-Star break. Though he’s currently batting below the Mendoza line, the young Sanchez leads all MLB catchers with 14 homers to this point in the season.
    • The Red Sox are set to add a valuable reliever even before the July 31st trade deadline hits, as Chris Cotillo of masslive.com reports that Tyler Thornburg is expected to return to the club this week. The 29-year-old right-hander has yet to pitch in a game for the Red Sox since being acquired from the Brewers in exchange for Travis Shaw and a pair of minor-leaguers. There wouldn’t appear to be a great chance of salvaging the trade at this point, but if Thornburg can return to post something close to the 2.15 ERA and 12.06 K/9 he posted with Milwaukee back in 2016, he could be of great help to an already-strong bridge to Craig Kimbrel.
    • The Giants got some good news today, as it appears Pablo Sandoval has avoided any serious injury. Panda’s x-rays showed no fractures (according to a tweet from Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic), so his diagnosis is simply an elbow contusion after being hit by a Zack Godley pitch during today’s matchup against the Diamondbacks.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Olney: Red Sox Could Add Reliever In Salary Dump]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126264 2018-07-01T16:08:02Z 2018-07-01T16:07:50Z
  • The Red Sox and Braves are among other contenders that could be in the market for bullpen help, according to Olney. In Boston’s case, Olney notes that it may take on a high-priced reliever from another team in a salary dump, thanks to its thin farm system. The Braves, meanwhile, don’t have the spending ability of clubs like the Red Sox and division-rival Phillies, but they are set to act as buyers as they seek their first playoff berth since 2013. Philadelphia, which hasn’t clinched a playoff berth since 2011, will also buy, Olney relays. Entering Sunday, the Braves (47-34) lead the Phillies (44-37) by three games for the NL East lead, but the latter is in possession of a wild-card spot at the moment.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Notes: Iglesias, Deadline, Lind, Chavis]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126212 2018-06-30T23:14:17Z 2018-06-30T23:12:06Z The Red Sox and Astros are among the teams with interest in Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Houston, in particular, is “looking hard at Iglesias,” Cafardo writes. The Astros had been eyeing fellow late-game option Kelvin Herrera, per Cafardo, though he’s no longer on the market after the Royals traded him to the Nationals earlier this month. Unlike Herrera, a free agent at season’s end, Iglesias could be a multiyear solution for an acquiring team. The 28-year-old standout is under control through 2020 for affordable salaries ($4.5MM this season, $5MM in each of 2019 and ’20), though he could elect to opt into arbitration over the winter in hopes of securing a raise. Given Iglesias’ track record and remaining team control, the Reds would surely require an impressive haul to consider moving him. It’s worth noting, then, that the Astros have Baseball America’s 10th-best farm system, while the Red Sox’s prospect pool is just 24th.

    Here’s more on Boston…

    • Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski told Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com and other reporters on Saturday that he’s talking trades with multiple teams, but he suggested he’s content with his roster as it is. Regardless of whether Boston makes more moves (it picked up infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce in a deal with Toronto this week), Dombrowski expects trade action to continue across the league well before the July 31 non-waiver deadline. “I will tell you, as we talk to various clubs, there are a lot more clubs that are motivated to do things quickly from a trading perspective, if they get what they want,” said Dombrowski, who added that the Red Sox’s desire to keep their payroll under $237MM won’t necessarily stop them from making further additions. Should the team exceed that figure, its top pick in the 2019 draft would drop 10 spots.
    • First baseman Adam Lind will have a chance to opt out of his minor league deal with the Red Sox on Sunday, Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic tweets. McCaffrey adds that Dombrowski is hopeful Lind will remain at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he has batted .263/.321/.455 in 109 plate appearances since inking his minors pact May 29. Given the presences of first basemen Pearce and Mitch Moreland – a fellow left-handed hitter – and corner outfield/designated hitter options Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez, major league playing time looks as if it will be hard to come by for Lind if he stays with the organization.
    • The Red Sox will activate infielder Michael Chavis, their top-ranked prospect at MLB.com, on Sunday, Dombrowski announced (via Cotillo). Chavis served an 80-game suspension after testing positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a performance-enhancing drug. The 22-year-old will start with Class-A Lowell and eventually work his way back to Double-A Portland, where he played most of last season.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Not Planning To Trade Rafael Devers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126180 2018-07-01T00:56:30Z 2018-06-30T19:49:23Z
  • Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski recently emphasized Rafael Devers’ status as Boston’s third baseman of the present and future, and Heyman hears from a source that the Sox have no plans to deal the young slugger.  Devers has hit only .239/.284/.425 with 13 homers over 328 PA this season, leading to speculation that the Sox could look for third base help, either for the short term (Boston has been linked to Adrian Beltre in the rumor mill) or perhaps with Devers himself heading elsewhere in a deal.  It certainly seems way too early for the Sox to give up on Devers, who is just 21 and in the midst of his first full season in the majors.  He would be a major trade chip, however, if the Red Sox did explore moving him for another major veteran acquisition.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox First-Round Pick Triston Casas Out For Season Following Thumb Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126115 2018-06-29T18:53:37Z 2018-06-29T18:53:37Z Red Sox prospect Triston Casas, the team’s first-round pick in this year’s draft, will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb, according to a team announcement. Casas, an 18-year-old third baseman, appeared in just two games for the Red Sox’ Rookie-level affiliate in the Gulf Coast League before incurring the injury.

    Clearly, it’s a discouraging outcome for both the organization and for Casas, who forewent a college commitment to the University of Miami in order to sign with the Sox for a $2,552,800 bonus. Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston hears that there’s optimism that Casas will at least be able to participate in the instructional league this fall (Twitter link).

    It’s been a rough year for Boston prospects on the whole. In addition to the Casas injury, the Sox lost top prospect Jay Groome to Tommy John surgery. The organization’s No. 2 prospect, Michael Chavis, was hit with an 80-game suspension in early April following a failed PED test and has not yet played a game in 2018.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Acquire Steve Pearce]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126071 2018-06-29T13:14:48Z 2018-06-29T13:10:11Z June 29: Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the Blue Jays included $1.66MM as part of the deal. That’s a bit more than half of what Pearce is owed through season’s end and will help to keep the Red Sox from eclipsing the top tier of penalties in the luxury tax bracket. Boston is just narrowly shy of exceeding the tax threshold by a total of $40MM. Were Boston to cross that $237MM threshold, the team’s top pick in next year’s draft would be moved back 10 spaces.

    June 28: The Red Sox have acquired infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce from the Blue Jays, per a club announcement. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe had reported that the team was close to acquiring a right-handed-hitting player (via Twitter).

    Minor-leaguer Santiago Espinal will head to the Jays in return. Toronto will also send some cash to their division rivals to help offset Pearce’s salary. The amount of cash remains unknown.

    Pearce, 35, was set to return to the open market after the season, when his two-year contract will expire. He’s earning $6.25MM this year, some portion of which will remain on the Toronto books. Pearce, interestingly, has now appeared with each of the five AL East organizations, in addition to time spent with the Astros and Pirates.

    To this point of the season, Pearce has been limited to 26 games of action due to injury — a recurring problem for a player who has otherwise generally been quite productive. He’s slashing a robust .291/.349/.519 through 86 plate appearances in 2018. Since the start of the 2013 campaign, he owns a cumulative 121 OPS+. When healthy, then, he’s a rather accomplished hitter — especially against left-handed pitching.

    While his calling card is his bat, Pearce also brings solid versatility to the table. He has shown an ability to perform at least passably in the corner outfield, corner infield,and even at second base. For Boston, Pearce could share time at first with the lefty-swinging Mitch Moreland and perhaps also line up at times in left. Whether he’ll be an option at second isn’t yet clear, though that has certainly been an area of some attention given concerns over Dustin Pedroia. (For what it’s worth, the announcement lists Pearce specifically as a first baseman and outfielder.)

    With the move, the Jays have likely launched a long-anticipated summer sell-off. Given the state of affairs in the division, and a tough Wild Card race as well, it’s not surprising to see the organization begin moving veterans. It remains to be seen, though, how willing the Blue Jays will be to consider moving more controllable assets.

    For their trouble, the Blue Jays will not only save some cash but will also pick up a potentially useful prospect asset. Espinal, a tenth-round pick in the 2016 draft, is hitting well this year at the High-A level. The 23-year-old carries a .314/.364/.478 slash with seven home runs and nine steals over 280 plate appearances. He has lined up primarily at shortstop but has also seen time at second and third base as a professional.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox Sign Brandon Phillips]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125972 2018-06-27T21:55:51Z 2018-06-27T21:55:49Z 4:55pm: Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski tells MLB.com’s Ian Browne that Phillips will spend some time at the team’s spring complex in Florida getting into playing shape before reporting to Triple-A Pawtucket (Twitter links). Notably, the organization doesn’t view him solely as a second baseman, as Dombrowski notes that Phillips “can play a number of positions.” Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, meanwhile, tweets that Phillips will actually be playing third base in Pawtucket when he gets there.

    3:45pm: The Red Sox announced Wednesday that they’ve agreed to a minor league contract with veteran infielder Brandon Phillips. The longtime Reds second baseman had not signed with a team since the end of the 2017 season, so he’ll assuredly require some time to ramp up in the minors before he can be considered an option to join the big league club. Phillips is represented by ACES.

    Brandon Phillips | Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Second base has been an issue for the Red Sox all season, as they’ve been without Dustin Pedroia nearly all year following offseason knee surgery. Pedroia did return briefly, suiting up for three games before landing back on the DL with inflammation and discomfort in his surgically repaired knee. Eduardo Nunez has shouldered the bulk of the workload at second base this season in lieu of Pedroia, but he’s struggled mightily, hitting just .253/.284/.350 through 272 plate appearances to date.

    Phillips, who’ll turn 37 tomorrow, isn’t the player he was during his peak, when he hit .280/.330/.449 with outstanding defense and above-average baserunning from 2007-12. That said, the three-time All-Star still posted a quite respectable .285/.319/.416 slash in 604 plate appearances between the Braves and Angels last season, delivering 13 homers and 11 steals.

    Phillips is a four-time Gold Glover, but his defensive ratings dipped in 2016-17, with both Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved providing a negative valuation of his glovework. He’s also been inefficient on the bases, as evidenced by a 25-for-41 success rate (61 percent) in stolen-base attempts over the past two seasons. Still, he’ll bring some valuable depth to an area of weakness for a Red Sox club that still doesn’t know when, or perhaps even if, Pedroia will return to the Major League roster.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Red Sox Place Steven Wright On DL With Knee Inflammation]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125889 2018-06-26T19:13:08Z 2018-06-26T19:13:08Z The Red Sox announced today that righty Steven Wright is going on the 10-day disabled list with inflammation in his left knee. Boston has recalled Justin Haley to take the open roster spot.

    It’s not clear what the prognosis is just yet for Wright, but the fact of the DL placement is somewhat worrisome in and of itself. Wright missed much of the 2017 season after undergoing a cartilage restoration procedure on the same joint. He missed the first six weeks or so of the current campaign, too.

    Wright, a 33-year-old knuckler, has been a key piece for the Sox since getting back to the hill. In forty innings over ten appearances, including four starts, he has worked to a 3.38 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9.

    If the knee responds well to rest, perhaps this won’t turn out to be a significant issue at all. If it’s more, then depth could begin to be a concern. Drew Pomeranz is still working back from the DL at the moment, but would be the top rotation option once he’s ready. Otherwise, Haley has thrown well at Triple-A but has not yet started in the bigs. (He has recorded twenty innings of relief.) The team’s other options with MLB experience, Hector Velazquez and Brian Johnson, are currently working out of the major-league bullpen.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Red Sox Showing Interest In Britton, Beltre]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125797 2018-06-25T16:18:14Z 2018-06-25T03:37:43Z
  • The Red Sox are one of several teams who are scouting Orioles southpaw Zach Britton, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reports.  Craig Kimbrel wouldn’t be in any danger of losing his closing job if Britton joined the Sox, though Britton would be a setup man and big left-handed weapon out of Boston’s pen.  Brian Johnson is currently the only lefty reliever on the 25-man roster, though Bobby Poyner (currently in Triple-A) has posted some solid results when pitching for the big league team.  MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently explored Britton’s value as a trade candidate, noting that virtually every contender will, or should, be monitoring Britton as he continues his return from offseason Achilles surgery.
  • Also from Cafardo, he adds the Red Sox and Braves to the list of teams with some interest in veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre.  With Rafael Devers on Boston’s big league roster and Braves top prospect Austin Riley looming at Triple-A, both teams could make sense for a short-term upgrade like Beltre, who is only signed through this season.  While Beltre seems like a natural trade chip for a Rangers team that is well out of contention, there still remains some speculation as to whether or not Texas will actually move him, as the team heavily values Beltre’s leadership and wants him on the roster in 2019.  Beltre also has no-trade protection via 10-and-5 rights.  Still, the Rangers are at least shopping Beltre (and other players) to gauge trade interest, and it can’t hurt that multiple contenders could be in the market for third base help.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox "Tried" To Acquire J.D. Martinez Last Summer]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125745 2018-06-24T20:28:01Z 2018-06-24T20:26:22Z
  • Slugger J.D. Martinez is thriving with the Red Sox, who signed him to a five-year, $110MM deal over the winter. But Boston first “tried” to acquire Martinez last summer, president Dave Dombrowski revealed to Rob Bradford of WEEI. When Martinez was with the Tigers a year ago, the Red Sox, Indians and Diamondbacks were among the most aggressive teams in attempting to trade for him, according to Bradford. Martinez ended up with the D-backs – who landed him on July 18 – in part because the Tigers placed a higher asking price on him in talks with Boston than the other teams, Bradford hears.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Red Sox Interested In Mark Canha]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125661 2018-06-24T03:15:25Z 2018-06-24T01:33:10Z The banged-up Athletics will turn to veteran Edwin Jackson to fill a spot in their rotation, but they’re on the hunt for more starting depth, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Athletics have had discussions with the Red Sox, who are seeking outfield depth and have “unsuccessfully asked” the A’s about Mark Canha, according to Slusser. The 29-year-old Canha has been effective this season, his last pre-arbitration campaign, with a .250/.322/.452 line and nine home runs in 208 plate appearances. It’s unclear which pitcher(s) the A’s requested in their discussions with Boston, though Slusser adds that the teams could revisit talks in the coming weeks.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL East Notes: Red Sox, Jones, Orioles, Sanchez, Blue Jays]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125607 2018-06-23T14:03:16Z 2018-06-23T14:03:16Z It’s still early in the season relative to the league’s non-waiver trade deadline at the end of July, so with the disclaimer that trade are still subject to change before then, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports that the Red Sox “have an eye on” adding a reliever and a right-handed hitter to complement the team. Drellich points out that these types of additions would not mean “mortgaging” the team’s already-thin farm system, as the addition of a righty-bat would likely be an infielder to balance out the club’s lefty-heavy group. He also cites some troubling statistics about the usage and performance of pinch-hitters for the club, signaling that a backup plan for Dustin Pedroia could help the team in matchup situations. The veteran was seen as likely to resume baseball activities shortly after returning to the DL on June 2nd, but still has yet to be cleared for such activities three weeks later.

    Other news and notes from around a topheavy AL East division…

    • Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun takes a look at the situation of Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who’s enjoying one of his best calendar months in years. Per Meoli, Jones isn’t concerned about all the resulting trade chatter surrounding him. “I can’t let it bother me. I’m in a different part of my life to where I’m not anticipating a $150 million, $200 million, $300 million offer this offseason. I’m more just, ’Let me go be a pro, do what I do best,’ and that’s play the game hard and live with the result. All the other stuff, all the projections and this and that, that’s all whatever.” Notably, Jones is well aware that he “holds all the cards” in regards to where (or if) he’s traded, as the veteran’s been with the O’s long enough to qualify for ten-and-five rights.
    • Speaking of the Orioles, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com takes a look at what the club’s infield (and roster) could look like post-Machado, if and when the veteran is shipped to another club. Kubatko notes that where fellow infielder Tim Beckham plays will depend upon whether or not the O’s get a major-league ready shortstop as part of the return for their superstar (if the don’t, Beckham seems likely to take over the position). In addition to all this speculation, Kubatko adds that Danny Valencia could see time at third in that case, but has also played himself into potential trade-chip status.
    • Young Blue Jays hurler Aaron Sanchez left last night’s game with a finger contusion, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports, noting that his departure throws a question mark into Toronto’s rotation. It’s not clear at this juncture whether Sanchez’ current finger issue is in any way related to the blister-related issues that limited him to just 36 innings last season, though reports of a contusion would seem to make that improbable. With so many moving parts on the Jays’ pitching staff, the Davidi wonders how the rotation alignment will shake out; there’s been some suggestion that Jaime Garcia could move to the bullpen with Marcus Stroman and Sam Gaviglio set to return from the DL and paternity list soon, respectively.
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