Results tagged ‘ Red Sox ’
With baseball’s hot stove at a full boil and the Winter Meetings a week away, free agent first baseman/outfielder Corey Hart finally got the good news on Tuesday that he had eagerly been anticipating.
“Cleared!” Hart wrote in a text message to MLB.com, indicating he had been medically cleared for full baseball activities by the surgeon who performed the second of Hart’s two knee surgeries this year.
Hart, 31, is a free agent for the first time after sitting out the entire 2013 season, having undergone right knee surgery in January and then left knee surgery in July. He had been rehabbing in recent weeks by running and participating in agility drills, but Hart’s formal foray into the open market was on hold while he awaited final medical clearance from Dr. Neal ElAttrache. The two met Tuesday in Los Angeles.
With his medical clearance in hand, Hart is ready to begin fielding offers from interested clubs. He said last month that a number of teams, including the Brewers, Rays, Red Sox and Rockies, had called to check in, but clubs were not willing to discuss contract parameters until Hart was fully functional.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Hart had yet to receive any offers. Asked this week whether Hart would have an offer in hand from the Brewers before the start of next week’s Winter Meetings, Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin said, “There’s a possibility he will.”
Another potential suitor may have fallen off the board Tuesday, just as Hart was sharing his good news. The Rockies were reportedly moving toward a two-year deal with another first baseman, Justin Morneau.
– Adam McCalvy
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees and Dodgers are expected to be the most aggressive in pursuit of Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka when the posting system is finalized. Major League officials and the Japanese league are still working on details.
Sherman said executives from two clubs expect the Cubs to be in the mix as well, with one saying they will be “really aggressive.” Sherman notes that the Cubs have several impact position players (Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora) but not enough pitching.
Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have been involved in the posting process for Japanese players before. They were with the Red Sox when they gave $51.1 million posting fee to land Daisuke Matsuzaka. If the Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers and Red Sox are in pursuit of Tanaka, it will be expensive.
The posting fees are still to be resolved. According to Sherman, MLB officials have been trying to lower the fees transferred from their teams to Japanese teams as part of the process to gain negotiating rights. The Rangers paid the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters $51.7 million posting fee to get Yu Darvish, then signed him to a six-year, $60 million contract.
MLB has a current proposal that involves a limit of $20 million, Sherman writes.
Why is Tanaka so highly regarded? Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 28 regular season games with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, that’s why.
– Carrie Muskat
The Red Sox added a piece to their bullpen on Friday, acquiring right-handed reliever Burke Badenhop from the Brewers for Minor League lefty Luis Ortega.
Badenhop posted a 3.47 ERA across 62 1/3 innings in his first season with the Brewers and has been tough on right-handed batters throughout his career. This year, he held them to a .229 average.
Brewers.com beat writer Adam McCalvy tweets that Milwaukee felt its middle-relief depth made the arbitration-eligible Badenhop expendable.
More info to come on MLB.com.
– Andrew Simon
The Rockies’ pursuit of veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins, which resulted in a one-year, $2.5 million guarantee that will become official once Hawkins passes a physical, can be seen in an odd way as a compliment to young lefty Rex Brothers, who served capably as closer when veteran Rafael Betancourt was injured.
Brothers, who turns 26 on Dec. 18, went 19-of-21 on save chances and finished with a 1.74 ERA last season. At times he struggled putting away hitters early in innings but he still struck out 76 (against 36 walks) in 67 1/3 innings. It certainly is a signal that he could become even more effective.
But before Betancourt went through a right groin strain, an appendectomy and finally a season-ending elbow injury, many of Betancourt’s save opportunities came partly because of Brothers’ effectiveness as a setup man. Brothers’ club-record 30-inning scoreless streak, which covered 32 games, ran from April 10 to June 27. Only the final nine games of the streak came while he was in the closer role.
As the season progressed, several games ended with Brothers not even taking the mound, because the middle relief and setup men pitched away the lead. It’s the old sabermetric argument: Why have the best option sitting in the bullpen while lesser pitchers blow it?
Hawkins ended up an effective closer for the Mets late last season. He earned all 12 of his saves and blew just one from Aug. 6 to season’s end. He struck out 18 against one walk and held opponents to a .222 batting average in those 23 appearances. At 41, he still throws hard enough and deceptively enough to be trusted with the final inning. The Rockies believe if he holds the closer job, it frees them to use Brothers when the game is tight before the ninth. And if plans change and Brothers at some point ends up the closer — which has been his plan his entire career — Hawkins gives them an attractive option in a setup role.
The Rockies still want to shore up the setup roles through free agency. Signing Hawkins as closer likely takes them out of the chase for Brian Wilson and Grant Balfour, who could be invited to pitch the ninth inning by another club. But a hard throwers such as Jesse Crain, Joe Smith or Jose Veras could further fill the Rockies’ needs.
The attempt to load up the back of the bullpen makes for intriguing competition and decisions when it comes to holdovers from last season. The club likes the 96 mph-plus fastball that righty Chad Bettis brought last season when used in relief, and will keep him there rather than revisit him in the rotation. They tested righty Adam Ottavino in late innings and there were some encouraging numbers, such as a 2.00 ERA at Coors Field. Righty Mitchell Boggs finished up with the Rockies after struggling mightily with the Cardinals when forced into the closer role, and the club is having internal discussions about returning him to a starter role. Boggs started 15 of his first 24 big-league appearances when breaking in with the Cards in 2008 and 2009.
The Rockies also continue to be in the market for starting pitching, although it’s unclear exactly where they’ll look. They’re often leery of accomplishment elsewhere because of the Mike Hampton-Denny Neagle experiment a few years back, but Tim Hudson profiled well. However, Hudson decided to take his passion and intensity to the NL West with the Giants.
Left-handed hitting outfielder-first baseman James Loney continues to be a prime candidate for the corner bat the Rockies seek. Corey Hart, coming off a knee injury, told a satellite radio audience on Tuesday that the Rockies, Red Sox and his former team, the Brewers, have checked in with him. Not much will be known until next month, when he is cleared for full activity. What isn’t clear is how strongly the Rockies are pursuing first baseman Mike Napoli, whose ability to make a pitcher work would fit nicely at first base. However, with his 2013 team, the World Series champion Red Sox, and others in the mix, the Rockies may drop out of the bidding the way they did with catcher Carlos Ruiz, who re-signed with the Phillies on Monday.
– Thomas Harding
Although the General Managers Meetings in Orlando, Fla., finished on Wednesday, the baseball world remained plenty busy on Thursday.
The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera’ and the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen were named the American and National League Most Valuable Players, respectively. The owners gave unanimous approval for funding an expanded instant replay system at their quarterly meeting, another key step on the way toward implementing it for the 2014 season. And Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball’s chief operating officer, revealed that MLB and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball have hit a snag in their negotiations over the posting-fee system, casting doubt on whether highly touted right-hander Masahiro Tanaka will become available to MLB teams this offseason.
Even with the meetings over, rumors continued to circulate, with Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reporting that free-agent right-hander Ricky Nolasco already has received multiple four-year offers, in the neighborhood of $52-60 million. In other news from around the league:
- With rumors flying about whether the Rays will trade ace left-hander David Price, our Bill Chastain examines the pros and cons of such a deal, which would be nothing new for the Rays. The club previously has gotten strong returns for pitchers Matt Garza and James Shields.
- Jake Peavy’s championship-winning stay in Boston could be short-lived, with our Phil Rogers writing that the Red Sox could look to deal the veteran right-hander. He speculates that the Angels could be one of several clubs to have interest in Peavy.
- Speaking of players leaving Boston, ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reports that shortstop Stephen Drew will not return to the Red Sox, who aren’t likely to match other teams’ multiyear offers.
- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos might have his work cut out for him as he tries to improve his club while staying within Toronto’s budget this offseason.
- The Orioles might be considering trading catcher Matt Wieters and closer Jim Johnson, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network.
- Derek Jeter said he feels healthy and is “100 percent” sure he will be the Yankees’ everyday shortstop this season.
- Our Rhett Bollinger addresses some Twins issues, including Joe Mauer’s move to first base and the club’s interest in A.J. Pierzynski.
- The Royals believe they need to add only one starting pitcher this offseason, writes Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star. That could mean re-signing Ervin Santana or replacing him.
- The Rangers agreed to a one-year contract with versatile infielder Adam Rosales, who was eligible for arbitration.
- Free-agent outfielder and Houston native Chris Young tells our Brian McTaggart that he would like to play for the Astros.
- The Marlins are looking to build around their young core, including Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez, rather than continuing to deal away pieces. On the other hand, Rosenthal tweeted that Miami is listening to offers for first baseman Logan Morrison.
- Veteran right-hander Alfredo Aceves “appears to be a good possibility” to sign with the Mets, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney.
- Free-agent catcher Carlos Ruiz has been drawing plenty of interest this offseason, but our Todd Zolecki says he still could be a fit in Philadelphia.
- The Brewers have a hole to fill at first base, and while they could look to sign a free agent like James Loney or Justin Morneau or trade for someone like the Mets’ Ike Davis, another appealing option is to bring back Corey Hart. The veteran missed all of last season while recovering from knee surgery and is a free agent.
- Speedy Reds prospect Billy Hamilton is playing winter ball in Puerto Rico and could get a chance to be the club’s center fielder if free agent Shin-Soo Choo signs elsewhere.
- Dodgers club president Stan Kasten isn’t ruling out anything but said he doesn’t expect to make any splashy moves this offseason that would add significantly to the team’s already large payroll.
- As the Rockies seek a replacement for retired first baseman Todd Helton, sources have told The Denver Post’s Troy Renck that they are interested in free agents Mike Napoli and James Loney.
– Andrew Simon
Both outfielder Curtis Granderson and catcher Brian McCann have rejected their teams’ qualifying offers, and will become free agents.
MLB.com‘s Mark Bowman has the scoop here on McCann turning down the Braves’ qualifying offer, while the New York Post‘s Joel Sherman has the details on the expectation that Granderson will turn down the Yankees’.
According to Sherman, Granderson believes he can find a multi-year deal and the Yankees are prepared to look elsewhere — possibly at Carlos Beltran.
If McCann and/or Granderson sign with anyone but the Braves and Yankees, respectively, those clubs will receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds of next year’s Draft.
Sherman also reported that Robinson Cano and Hiroki Kuroda are both expected to reject the Yankees’ $14.1 million qualifying offer at today’s deadline.
Bowman says that although McCann could return to his hometown of Atlanta, he is more likely to sign with a team like the Yankees, Rangers or Red Sox.
– Joey Nowak
How would Carlos Beltran look in right field for the Rockies?
The club is weighing various options in free agency, with a big bat being one of the priorities. While trads are an option, the Rockies are more likely to go the free agency route. That’s what they did two years ago when they signed Michael Cuddyer, who paid off for them by winning the National League batting title this year.
Don’t be surprised if the Rockies don’t at least seriously consider making a run at Beltran, who made his first World Series appearance this year while with the Cardinals. He’ll be 37 to start next season, but was quite productive in 2013 — .296, .339 OPB, .491 SLG. Those aren’t far from the numbers over his career. With a team that includes Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Cuddyer, it could be a fit. He could come in at two years and $30 million, as the MLB Trade Rumors Web site predicts. The Rockies had interest in him in the past.
Of course, there are many was for the Rockies to spend their money on a slugger, who can fit in at either first base or right field with Cuddyer playing the other position. Nelson Cruz, who is expected to turn down the Rangers’ qualifying offer and test the market, Justin Morneau, Marlon Byrd, James Loney (.338, nine home runs, 54 RBIs, .957 OPS in 55 games at Coors Field) and Corey Hart also could fit the bill. Brian McCann can catch and play first base, but at the top of his earning value in terms of money and years it’s doubtful the Rockies will be a serious competitor for his services.
The Rockies will attempt to bring in a pitching leader, and are expected to inquire about Tim Hudson — despite the fact the Braves, Royals, Indians and and Red Sox have already identified themselves as contenders — and Josh Johnson. The price figures to be high for Ricky Nolasco or Ervin Santana, as SI.com and others report, but the Rockies need a stalwart and can’t be counted out in those sweepstakes. Matt Garza, who could score big in free agency, and Jason Vargas also could be possibilities.
Also, add the name of righty reliever Jesse Crain to the list of publicly identified free-agency targets. The Denver Post has identified Brian Wilson, Grant Balfour, Joe Smith and Jose Veras as bullpen possibilities. ESPNNewYork.com reported the club is looking at LaTroy Hawkins.
The Rockies are also pursuing free-agent catcher Carlos Ruiz, although the Phillies are making a push to keep him. If the Rockies sign him, the intriguing situation is what becomes of catcher Wilin Rosario, a slugger who doesn’t have Ruiz’s experience or ability defensively.
– Thomas Harding
With the deadline for exercising or declining options looming at 5 p.m. ET on Monday, teams continued to make those decisions on Saturday. Below is a recap of those moves, plus news on the Mariners’ managerial search and more.
- The Rays will bring back their same middle infield in 2014 after picking up options on second baseman Ben Zobrist and shortstop Yunel Escobar. However, they still must decide whether to do the same for outfielder David DeJesus and reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo.
- The Red Sox declined a team option on reliever Matt Thornton, while two of the team’s free agents — first baseman Mike Napoli and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia — would like to return. In other news, second baseman Dustin Pedroia soon will undergo surgery on his left thumb after playing the whole season with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament.
- Joey Cora is among a handful of finalists to become the Mariners’ new manager.
- Roger McDowell will return as pitching coach of the Braves after signing a new two-year deal.
- As expected, the Giants declined their option on pitcher Barry Zito, according to the MLB Players Association. Zito becomes a free agent after completing his seven-year contract with San Francisco, which also declined an option on outfielder Andres Torres.
- Also per the MLBPA, the Orioles declined their option on lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, who underwent Tommy John surgery after signing a two-year deal before the 2012 season and never appeared in a game for Baltimore.
– Andrew Simon
The action began to crank into high gear on Tuesday night, with less than 24 hours remaining before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, which comes at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Here’s where things stand going into the final day:
- The Red Sox made a bold move late on Tuesday night, landing veteran starting pitcher Jake Peavy in a three-way deal with the Tigers and White Sox, along with reliever Brayan Villareal. While the right-hander will bolster Boston’s rotation, Detroit’s acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias gives them insurance if Jhonny Peralta is served with a long suspension as part of MLB’s investigation into the Biogenesis case. Chicago, meanwhile, received young outfielder Avisail Garcia and a trio of prospects in the deal.
- The A’s acquired infielder Alberto Callaspo from the Angels for former first-round pick Grant Green and plan to add the switch-hitter to their mix at second base. General manager Billy Beane said afterward that he was “not currently” involved in additional trade talks.
- The Indians added the left-handed arm they were seeking for their bullpen, nabbing veteran Marc Rzepczynski from the Cardinals for a Minor Leaguer. Rzepczynski had spent much of this season at Triple-A Memphis.
- St. Louis has been linked to some big names ahead of the Deadline and could be in the mix for a shortstop or starting pitcher, but GM John Mozeliak downplayed the likelihood of a trade. But with All-Star catcher Yadier Molina headed to the disabled list with a knee injury, it’s possible the club could be spurred to action.
- Astros right-hander Bud Norris continues to draw plenty of interest from contending teams.
- The Yankees are one of the clubs in pursuit of White Sox outfielder Alex Rios, although New York is one of six teams on his no-trade list.
- The Dodgers took a shot at bolstering their bullpen by signing former Giants closer Brian Wilson, but there might not be much else for GM Ned Colletti to do.
- The D-backs could part with right-hander Ian Kennedy, who started for Arizona on Tuesday.
- The Pirates seem likely to stand pat after grabbing the NL Central lead with a doubleheader sweep of the Cardinals on Tuesday.
- Andrew Simon
We’re about 24 hours away from Wednesday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, and it still has been a pretty quiet week. Some wheels were evidently set in motion on Tuesday afternoon, so let’s take a look at where some things stand around 5 p.m. ET:
- White Sox starter Jake Peavy and Astros starter Bud Norris were both scratched from their Tuesday starts, and rumors started flying. The D-backs have interest in Peavy — Arizona GM Kevin Towers has history with the right-hander dating back to their San Diego days — along with a handful of other clubs with starting pitching needs.
- The Phillies called up third base prospect Cody Asche, prompting rumors about Michael Young leaving town, but Young was slotted into Tuesday’s starting lineup when it was first unveiled this afternoon. There have been reports that Young’s no-trade clause would be waived only for a deal to the Rangers, though MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reported a Texas reunion is “unlikely” and the Red Sox and Orioles have also been tied to Young. And on top of the Young chatter, there are still rumors flying about Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon and Cliff Lee.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that the Jose Veras deal was the big one that Detroit wanted to take care of, and the Tigers are not looking for a bat (even with shortstop Jhonny Peralta looking at a possible suspension with his ties to Bioegenesis). Javier Lopez and Kevin Gregg are other bullpen names that have been floated in connection with the Tigers.
- A league source tells MLB.com‘s Joe Frisaro that if there’s any darkhorse team who could put together the right package to land Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton, it would be the Red Sox.
- Even with a wealth of quality relievers, it might be a quiet Trade Deadline for the Padres.
- The Cubs have already dealt away some big pieces, and manager Dale Sveum says that any rumors about starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija being the next to go are “far-fetched.” Kevin Gregg and right fielder Nate Schierholtz could be a different story, though.
– Joey Nowak