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Braves reportedly interested in Red Sox Bradley

The Braves are interested in acquiring Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., according to Peter Gammons.

With a logjam in the outfield and Rusney Castillo projected to start in center field, JBJ would likely have a limited role with the team and be used more as a defensive replacement.

While Bradley struggled at the plate during the 2014 season, hitting just .198 with 121 strikeouts in 127 games, the outfielder’s defensive skills are undeniable.

With the departure of Justin Upton, Bradley could be a nice pickup for the rebuilding Braves.

Quinn Roberts

Rays interested in Moncada

Matt Silverman, Rays President of Baseball Operations, said Tampa Bay is interested in Cuban free-agent Yoan Moncada. However, the team has yet to workout the shortstop.

“We may,” Silverman said on Tuesday while talking with MLB Network Radio. “We don’t leave any stone unturned and he is someone who has great intrigue and we are eager to see what he can do.”

The Yankees, Giants, Red Sox and Dodgers are reportedly a few of the other teams interested in the 19-year-old switch hitter.

“Given our financial situation, I wouldn’t expect us to be the winners of an auction, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to do our due diligence and evaluate the player and put our best foot forward,” Silverman said. “If we are in a position to acquire him, great. If we don’t acquire him, at least we know we have done the work and have checked all of the boxes.”

Quinn Roberts

Braves Still Pursuing Gomes

The Braves are still pursuing free-agent outfielder Jonny Gomes, according to MLB.com’s own Mark Bowman.

Atlanta reportedly believes Gomes would be a good platoon option with Zoilo Almonte in left field.

Gomes, a veteran outfielder who’s spent nine years in the Majors, played for the Red Sox and A’s last season. He combined to hit .234 with six home runs and 37 RBIs.

Quinn Roberts

Haren to Report to Spring Training

While Dan Haren had been vocal about his desire to return to the West Coast, Ken Rosenthal of foxsports.com reported on Sunday that the right-hander will report to Spring Training with the Marlins.

MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reported on Saturday that the Marlins hadn’t given up hope that the 34-year-old would have a change of heart.

Haren staying with the Marlins is an ideal situation. Miami wants a veteran pitcher to add to its relatively young rotation.

The Marlins’ plan is to go to Spring Training with a rotation of Haren, Henderson Alvarez, Mat Latos, Jarred Cosart, and either Tom Koehler or Brad Hand. Jose Fernandez will also return mid-season after recovering from Tommy John surgery.

A 12-year veteran, Haren was acquired from the Dodgers on Dec. 10 as part of the Dee Gordon trade. He went 13-11 with a 4.02 ERA.

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 20.

Quinn Roberts

Nats-Rays-Mets Trade That Almost Happened

The Nationals, Rays and Mets were close to a three-team trade just a few days ago, according to Ken Rosenthal of foxsports.com.

The names tossed around included Nats shortstop Ian Desmond, second baseman Ben Zobrist, shortstop Yunel Escobar and a few top Mets prospects.

The potential trade would have sent Desmond to the Rays for Zobrist and Escobar, the two players the Rays traded to the Athletics on Saturday. The Rays then would have flipped Desmond to the Mets.

However, the conversation eventually fizzled because the Mets balked at the Rays price for Desmond.

The Rays wanted right-hander Noah Syndergaard, the Mets’ No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America, with the other two prospects unknown.

The Mets also engaged in direct talks for Zobrist, but the Rays again wanted two top prospects, and the Mets again weren’t interested.

The Nats-Rays-Mets discussion was one of about a dozen potential deals Tampa Bay had for Zobrist, Rosenthal said. The Cubs and Giants were just a few of those options.

Quinn Roberts

Haren Could Still Pitch for Marlins in ’15

While Dan Haren has been vocal about his desire to return to the West Coast, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reported Saturday that the Marlins haven’t given up hope that the 34-year-old will have a change of heart.

If Haren is having second thoughts, it would be an ideal situation for the Marlins. Miami wants a veteran pitcher, and Haren is an ideal candidate.

The Marlins have still explored their options even with a limited trade market. The Giants and Padres look to be two of the most obvious possibilities.

If Haren is dealt, the Marlins would likely seek other options, including signing free agent James Shields. However, Shields is a costly alternative, one that the Marlins can’t afford. He is seeking a deal in the five-year, $100 million range.

The Marlins would like to go to Spring Training with a rotation of Henderson Alvarez, Mat Latos, Jarred Cosart, Dan Haren and either Tom Koehler or Brad Hand. Jose Fernandez will also return mid-season after recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 20.

Quinn Roberts

Marines of NPB Make Two Acquistions

The Chiba Lotte Marines in the Pacific League of Nippon Professional Baseball announced on Thursday that they acquired right-hander Rhee Dae-eun from the Chicago Cubs and left-hander Chen Kuan-yu from the Central League’s Yokohama BayStars.

Splitting time between the Cubs Double-A and Triple-A affiliates, the 25-year-old Rhee combined to go 8-6 with a 3.42 ERA.

Chen, a 24-year-old from Taiwan, pitched just 21/3 innings in the Central League, but has a 2.34 ERA over two Eastern League seasons. Of the 32 runs Chen allowed, 12 were unearned.

Quinn Roberts

Gammons: If Traded, Will Hamels Reap the Desired Return?

In an article posted on his website Friday, baseball reporter Peter Gammons talks about the aspects of trading Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels and what that would mean for teams who are interested.

Here are some of the main points to chew on:

  • Whoever trades for Hamels has to take on $100 million, or $120 million if you’re the Red Sox and one of the other 19 teams on Hamels’ no-trade list.
  • Not many teams can take on Hamels’ huge contract. If by chance they can, many aren’t willing to trade their top prospects. The Dodgers are a great example. They can take on the Hamels contract, but they will not trade Julio Arias, Corey Seager or Joc Pederson. The Red Sox have made it clear that in their quest to get Hamels, they won’t trade rising star Mookie Betts and highly touted catcher Blake Swihart, making the possibility of a trade less likely.
  • A trade with the Padres, that would likely include Wil Myers, could make sense. However, for a team that has failed to draw two million people since Petco Park opened, Gammons is skeptical if they could and should take on a $100 million contract for Myers and a young arm to make it work.
  • Gammons points out the nine trades involving “aces” since 1978 and that many didn’t pan out as hoped.
  • Do the Phillies fear the rebuilding process and don’t want to wait until 2017? If they aren’t interested in trading Hamels for top tier prospects and aren’t willing to wait for the timetables of Michael Brantley, Carlos Gomez or Chris Archer, then they “can hold onto one of the best pitchers in their history and hope for either 82 wins or a major breakdown in St. Louis, San Diego or Boston”.

Quinn Roberts

Kuroda returning to NPB

Free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda is headed back to Nippon Professional Baseball to pitch for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

A Japanese newspaper first reported the news, which was later confirmed by CBSSports.com

The 39-year-old spent seven seasons in the Majors, pitching four years for the Dodgers and three years with the Yankees. During his time with both clubs, Kuroda went 79-79 with a 3.45 ERA. He finished the 2014 season with a 11-9 record and a 3.71 ERA.

Kuroda pitched for Hiroshima from 1997-2007, winning a Best Nine Award in ’05, an honor given to the best player at each position. He was also the NPB ERA Champion in ’06 with a 1.85 ERA.

Quinn Roberts

Rangers Meet with Shields

The Rangers have turned their attention to free-agent starter James Shields, meeting with the right-hander at the Winter Meetings, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.

With Jon Lester now off the market, plenty of teams are looking for that frontline starter. The Rangers are no different. According to Cotillo, the Rangers met with Shields in San Diego over the weekend.

Right now, Texas has Yu Darvish and Derek Holland at the top of its rotation, but questions about the rest of the Rangers rotation still exist due to injury concerns about Martin Perez and Matt Harrison. Shields would be a definite upgrade.

The team has also reportedly shown interest in free-agent Justin Masterson and possibly trading for Mets right-hander Dillon Gee and D-backs left-hander Wade Miley.

Quinn Roberts

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