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Rays exercise option to keep Zobrist

The Rays announced Friday they have picked up the $7.5 million club option on utility man Ben Zobrist‘s contract for 2015.

This year, Zobrist will become the first player in club history to play 10 seasons with the Rays. He is the franchise career leader in doubles (229) and walks (542) and is second to Carl Crawford in games played (1,064), hits (1,016), runs scored (565) and triples (32).

“Ben has been integral to the success that the Rays have enjoyed throughout his career here,” Rays VP of baseball operations Chaim Bloom said in a statement. “His skill and versatility on the field, combined with his character and selflessness, make him the ultimate team player. We are excited to continue forward with him.”

Zobrist’s current deal was finalized in 2010. He hit .272 with 10 home runs, 52 RBIs, 34 doubles, 10 stolen bases, 83 runs, 75 walks and a .354 on-base percentage in 146 games this year, and was selected by the Tampa Bay Chapter of the BBWAA as the Don Zimmer Most Valuable Player.
Zobrist will join teammates Evan Longoria and Jeff Beliveau in Japan this month for a five-game All-Star Series against the Japanese national team.
– Joey Nowak

Tigers expected to pick up Soria’s option

The Tigers made a high-profile midseason trade for Joakim Soria last year that did not pan out, but they’re hoping to see better results from him in 2015.

The team is reportedly set to pick up Soria’s $7 million option, MLB.com‘s Jason Beck reported on Friday. The Detroit Free Press‘ Anthony Fenech first reported the news.

Soria, who previously closed for the Royals and the Rangers, was acquired by the Tigers from Texas on July 23 but appeared in only 13 games largely due to injury, as well as an unclear role in the Detroit bullpen.

He had a 2.70 ERA in 35 games (17 saves) with Texas before posting a 4.91 ERA with Detroit (one save). Soria was twice an All-Star with Kansas City, saving 160 games in five years.

Beck tweeted Friday that Soria is expected to handle the 8th inning duties with free agent Joba Chamberlain gone and Bruce Rondon hopefully back from Tommy John surgery. Joe Nathan will be back, and expected to close.

– Joey Nowak

Brewers pick up Gallardo’s option, decline Weeks’

According to MLB.com‘s Adam McCalvy, the Brewers have exercised the 2015 club option on starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo‘s contract.

Gallardo will make $13 million during the 2015 season and be a free agent thereafter.

The 28-year-old right-hander made 32 starts for the Brewers this season, going 8-11 with a 3.51 ERA. He threw 192 1/3 innings, and has thrown at least 180 in every season for Milwaukee since 2009.

Also as expected, team has declined the club option on longtime second baseman Rickie Weeks. The 2003 first-round draft pick, who hit .274 with eight homers and 29 RBIs in 121 games this season, also had a contract option based on plate appearances that he did not reach.

– Joey Nowak

Yankees trade for Prado

The Yankees have landed another piece at the Trade Deadline, acquiring Martin Prado from the D-backs.

The utility man was an All-Star in 2010 with the Braves before he was dealt in January 2013 in the deal that sent Justin Upton to Atlanta. Over two seasons with the D-backs, Prado has hit .278 with 19 homers and 124 RBIs.

The D-backs will receive power-hitting catching prospect Peter O’Brien, along with a player to be named later or cash considerations, in the deal. O’Brien is considered by MLB.com’s Prospect Watch to be the team’s No. 9 overall prospect, and has spent this season between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton.

MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert also reported Arizona will not be including any cash in the deal for Prado’s contract.

– Joey Nowak

Tigers land Price in 3-way deal with M’s, Rays

Just when it looked like Thursday’s Non-Waiver Trade Deadline was going to come and go without Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers making significant noise, they made perhaps the biggest splash of all.

The Tigers worked out a three-way agreement with the Rays and Mariners that brings four-time All-Star and 2012 Cy Young Award winner David Price to Detroit.

Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson — who was removed in the middle of the seventh inning from Detroit’s game against Chicago — headed to Seattle, and Nick Franklin went to Tampa Bay. Tigers lefty Drew Smyly and 18-year-old shortstop prospect Willy Adames (ranked No. 3 in the Tigers system) went to Tampa Bay in the deal.

The Tigers are eyeing the World Series and have given themselves considerable means to get there with July trades for Joakim Soria and now Price. The ace is owed $14 million this year, is under arbitration control next season and will be a free agent after the 2015 season.

Price has spent his entire seven-year career in Tampa Bay, where he’s amassed 82 wins in 175 appearances (170 starts). He owns a career 3.18 ERA and is 11-8 with a 3.11 ERA this season.

Jackson, who played five seasons with the Tigers and finished second in the 2010 Rookie of the Year voting, is a career .277 hitter with a .270 average in 99 games this season. Smyly has split time between the bullpen and rotation in his Tigers career, but pitched well as a starter this season (6-9, 3.77 ERA).

In 119 games with the Mariners, Franklin has hit .214 with 12 homers and 47 RBIs.

– Joey Nowak

Cabrera to Nationals

The Nationals have made a significant move to bolster their infield by landing Asdrubal Cabrera in a trade with the Indians.

The Indians will be sending cash along with Cabrera, and will be receiving infielder Zach Walters in the deal.

Cabrera, being paid $10 million in the final year of his contract with the Tribe, was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012. He’s appeared in 97 games this season, batting .246 with nine homers and 40 RBIs.

He has played only shortstop (aside from the occasional DH day) with Cleveland since 2009, when he last saw time at second base. The Nationals certainly have a bounty of infielders with All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman (though currently injured and playing some outfield lately).

Walters has appeared in just 40 MLB games in the last two years (32 this season), batting .234, but  has a .965 OPS with Triple-A Syracuse this year.

– Joey Nowak

Reports: Lackey to Cardinals

The Red Sox are well on their way to dealing away a large chunk of their starting rotation Thursday, now reportedly trading John Lackey to the Cardinals just hours after Jon Lester was dealt to Oakland.

CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman had the news first, and Peter Gammons reported the Red Sox would receive Allen Craig and Joe Kelly in the deal.

Lackey, 35, has pitched 12 years in the Majors — eight for the Angels and the last four for the Red Sox — compiling a 149-114 record and a 4.02 ERA. He was an All-Star in 2007.

Boston has now traded away three of its starters who pitched in the World Series last year — Lester, Lackey and Jake Peavy.

– Joey Nowak

A’s not done yet: Milone dealt for Fuld

Billy Beane pulled off the biggest trade of the Deadline day (so far) but he wasn’t finished with the Jon Lester/Yoenis Cespedes deal. 

Shortly after that news broke, FOXSports.com‘s Ken Rosenthal tweeted that lefty Tommy Milone was heading to Minnesota in a deal, and FOX‘s Jon Morosi reported it was for outfielder Sam Fuld. MLB.com‘s Rhett Bollinger confirmed the deal.

Milone, 27, has spent the last three seasons with the A’s. In 75 games with Oakland (73 starts), he’s 31-22 with a 3.84 ERA. He’s 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA this season, in 16 starts spanning 96 1/3 innings.

Fuld, who played in seven games for the A’s earlier this season before being selected off waivers on April 20 by the Twins, is batting ,263 with 21 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and 20 runs scored this year.

– Joey Nowak

Red Sox, A’s swap All-Stars: Lester for Cespedes in blockbuster

One of the most talked-about names on this year’s trade market has reportedly been dealt, but the exchange piece comes as a bit of a surprise. 

A’s general manager Billy Beane seems to have pulled off another blockbuster deal and acquired more starting pitching for the stretch run by trading power-hitting outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to Boston for ace left-hander Jon Lester and veteran Jonny Gomes

WEEI‘s Alex Speier first reported the pieces of the deal on Thursday, and Yahoo!‘s Jeff Passan tweeted that Boston would be sending cash to Oakland and receiving the second pick in the competitive balance Comp B round.

After already dealing for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel this summer, the A’s continue to bolster their pitching staff and position themselves for a playoff run with the acquisition of Lester, a 10-game winner already this year and a three-time All-Star. He’ll be a free agent at the end of this season.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, land an elite power hitter in Cespedes — the two-time defending Home Run Derby champ who, at 28, has hit 23-plus homers in his first two full seasons and has already belted 17 this year. He was an All-Star for the first time this season.

Gomes, 33, has been in Boston since the 2013 season after spending 2012 with the A’s.

– Joey Nowak

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

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