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While You Were Sleeping: 7/30 A.M. Trade Roundup

  • With Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline looming, Jon Lester appears to be in the final hours of his Red Sox tenure after the left-hander was scratched from Wednesday night’s start against the Blue Jays at Fenway. On Wednesday, ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes Red Sox reported that Dodgers, Cardinals, Pirates, Blue Jays, Orioles and A’s  were in the running for the 30-year-old Lester. Right-hander Brandon Workman will get the start in Lester’s place for Boston on Wednesday. Lester is 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA in 21 starts with 149 strikeouts this season.
  • With Jaime Garcia out for the season and Michael Wacha currently on the disabled list, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak has his sights set on bolstering St. Louis’ rotation.  Starting pitchers Lester, Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Cole Hamels, Ian Kennedy, Justin Masterson and David Price are among the names that could be targeted in a deal by St. Louis. CBSSports and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman cited the Dodgers and Cardinals as the front-runners to land both Price and Lester
  • Speaking of Price, the Rays ace had some fun with fans on Twitter on Wednesday morning. 
  • Although Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp has been linked to trade rumors, ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Mark Saxon tweeted that the club wasn’t close to any blockbuster deals on Tuesday. According to Saxon, a deal sending Lester to L.A. is unlikely, especially if the asking price is Joc Pederson, who is ranked No. 19 on MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospect list and who is the third ranked player on the Dodgers’ Top 20 Prospect list. The left-handed-hitting 22-year-old Pederson is hitting .319 with 23 homers, 56 RBIs and 25 stolen bases over 92 sames for Triple-A Albuquerque this season.
  • Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that Pederson was also sought after by Phillies and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. in a deal for left-hander Cole Hamels, however the asking price of Pederson along with SS prospect Corey Seager and LHP prospect Julio Urias was quickly shot down by Los Angeles and GM Ned Colletti.
  • Heyman reported on Tuesday night that the Rockies will not deal 41-year-old right-hander LaTroy Hawkins. Colorado had reportedly discussed a deals with Pittsburgh and other teams for Hawkins, who is 2-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 38 appearances with 17 saves in 18 tries this season over 37 IP.

– Matt Weber and Joey Nowak

Report: Sox, Lester holding off talks until offseason

if Jon Lester is going to remain in Boston next year, we won’t know it until the season is over. 

According to a report from the Boston Herald on Thursday, the Red Sox and their ace southpaw have decided to stall any talks of a contract extension until the offseason. Lester, 10-7 with a 2.50 ERA this season, is expected to be highly sought-after on the free agent market this year. 

“I’m not going to discuss Jon’s situation out of respect for both Jon and (general manager) Ben (Cherington) other than to say that both sides have put further discussion off until after the season,” principal owner John Henry wrote in an e-mail to the Herald. “It’s clear that both Jon and our organization would like to see Jon back next year if possible.”

Lester had previously said he did not want extension talks to be a distraction to the team during the season. He was an All-Star this season for the third time in his career.

– Joey Nowak

Report: Royals eyeing OF Alex Rios

If the Royals are looking to buy before the Trade Deadline in an attempt to keep up with the Tigers in the AL Central, they could be looking to bolster their outfield, CBSSports.com‘s Jon Heyman is reporting. 

Heyman wrote Monday that Kansas City is looking to add to its offense by trading for Rangers outfielder Alex Rios, who for five years played for the division rival White Sox. 

Rios has appeared in 96 games this season for the Rangers — after being dealt from Chicago to Texas on August 9 last year — batting .302 with four homers, 42 RBIs and eight triples. His .765 OPS this year is 78 points higher than Kansas City’s team OPS (.687), which is second-to-last in the American League.

The Rangers are paying Rios $12.5 million this season and hold a $13.5 million club option on the 33-year-old for 2015.

– Joey Nowak

 

Burnett signs with Phillies

Shortly after the news broke that Cole Hamels will not be available to start the season, the Phillies brought in some rotation help. The team has signed right-hander A.J. Burnett to a one-year deal, a source told MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki. 

It’s a blow to the Pirates rotation that helped lead the club last season to its first postseason berth since 1992, with Burnett expected for much of the offseason to return to Pittsburgh if he did not retire. But in the last couple weeks he had reportedly re-opened his free agency, and now lands with a different NL club.

Because the Pirates did not make him a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer, they will not receive a compensatory draft pick. FOXSports.com‘s Ken Rosenthal reported the deal is worth $16 million.

– Joey Nowak

Mets sign Valverde to minor league deal

The Mets have signed former Tigers closer Jose Valverde to a minor league deal with an invite to Major League Spring Training. 

The 35-year-old right-hander has spent 11 seasons in the majors (with Arizona, Houston and Detroit) and was an All-Star in 2007, 2010 and 2011. He has 286 career saves and converted 49 in a row in 2011, becoming the third pitcher in MLB history to be perfect in all his save opportunities while closing 40 or more games. 

He appeared in 20 games for the Tigers last season and saved nine games after signing a minor league deal on April 4. He was released on August 7.

– Joey Nowak

Maholm with the Dodgers?

Lefty Paul Maholm has apparently landed with the Dodgers as multiple reports out of the team’s Spring Training camp — including from MLB.com‘s Ken Gurnick — have him spotted there, and with a locker in the clubhouse. 

Maholm, 31, was a free agent this winter after going 10-11 with a 4.41 ERA in Atlanta last season. The majority of his nine-year career came in Pittsburgh, along with stints with the Cubs and Braves.

He is 76-95 in his career with a 4.28 ERA and 1.39 WHIP.

– Joey Nowak

Report: Arroyo agreement could come soon

One of the top remaining free agent starters is Bronson Arroyo, but his 2014 landing spot could come into clearer focus soon, ESPN.com‘s Jerry Crasnick is reporting. 

Crasnick tweeted on Friday that the Dodgers and D-backs are “in the mix” for Arroyo, but the Orioles “still aren’t out of it.” He also said Arroyo “could have a clearer picture where he’ll land by the end of [Friday].”

The right-hander went 14-12 with a 3.79 ERA in 32 starts for the Reds last season. 

– Joey Nowak

Crisp signs 2-year extension

The A’s and  outfielder Coco Crisp have agreed to a two-year extension that will run through the 2016 season, with a vesting option for 2017.

The 34-year-old leadoff hitter will enter his 13th Major League season this year, and his fifth with the A’s. He’s a career .272 hitter with 108 home runs, 531 RBIs and 278 stolen bases over 1,294 games between the Indians, Red Sox, Royals and A’s.

In 131 games last year, Crisp hit .261 with 22 doubles, 22 homers, 66 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. It made him just the 10th 20/20 player in A’s history and the first since Ruben Sierra in 1993. He’s 141-for-162 in stolen base attempts as an Athletic (at 87 percent, it’s the best in franchise history) and all of his career-best 22 homers last season came in the leadoff spot, the most in the Majors.

– Joey Nowak

Angels bring in lefty bench haul

The Angels have signed quite the collection of potential left-handed bench bats, with Brennan Boesch, Carlos Pena and Chad Tracy all reportedly signing minor league deals with invitations to major league Spring Training. 

MLB.com‘s Alden Gonzalez has the news here about Pena and Boesch, whom Gonzalez says will compete for a bench spot this spring. 

Pena, also a solid defensive first baseman, signed a one-year, $2.9 million contract with the Astros last winter and hit .209 with 8 HRs and 25 RBIs in 85 games before he was released on July 31. The 35-year-old signed with Kansas City in August, but had a season-ending appendectomy in September. 

Boesch, who played at UC Berkeley before being drafted in the third round by the Tigers in 2006, played in 380 major league games from 2010-12 in Detroit and appeared in 23 for the Yankees last season. 

The Baltimore Sun‘s Dan Connolly reported Wednesday that the Angels also signed veteran Chad Tracy (not to be confused with former manager Jim Tracy’s son, who signed with the Orioles) to a minor league deal with an invite to big-league Spring Training. The former D-back and National has proven valuable off the bench in Washington the last two seasons.

– Joey Nowak

Young: It’s Dodgers or retirement

There are a number of teams surely interested in Michael Young‘s services should the veteran decide to play again in 2014, but he told reporters this weekend that if he does not retire, he will most likely play for the Dodgers. 

The LA Times‘ Dylan Hernandez wrote that it’s a “safe bet” that Young will play for Los Angeles if he comes back for a 15th season. He was traded from Philadelphia to L.A. on August 31, and appeared in 21 games for the Dodgers at the end of the season.

MLB.com‘s Alden Gonzalez also wrote Sunday that Young “hasn’t been in any big hurry” to make a decision, but he wants to be respectful to all his suitors. Young has a Dodgers offer on the table if he wants it.

The seven-time All-Star hit .279 with eight homers and 46 RBIs in 147 games between the Phillies and Dodgers last year. He’d most likely play second base for the Dodgers in 2014.

“I’ve made no secret I’ve loved my time in L.A.,” Young said, according to the Times. “Great teammates, coaching staff. It’s a first-class organization, top to bottom. As far as baseball is concerned, the Dodgers are it for me.”

– Joey Nowak

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