Results tagged ‘ Red Sox ’

Giants in “backseat” on Lester talks?

Giants assistant general manager Bobby Evans suggested to reporters on Tuesday afternoon that the Cubs and Red Sox may be the favorites in the Jon Lester sweepstakes.

Evans reportedly added that the Giants are in the “backseat” when it comes to Lester talks, but other teams are “driving the car.” He also said that a Lester decision isn’t necessarily expected to come on Tuesday, as previously reported.

Though the Giants haven’t been informed that they are off Lester’s radar, Evans’ comments certainly aren’t encouraging. The Giants may have been late entrants in the pursuit of Lester, but general manager Brian Sabean confirmed on Monday that the club’s primary focus is on landing Lester.

“Right now it’s all about Lester,” Sabean said before later adding: “We’re still on the board.”

While that may still be the case, it appears that the Cubs and Red Sox — the initial favorites to sign Lester — are re-emerging as the left-hander’s most likely destinations.

– Paul Casella

Tigers intent on keeping Scherzer

The Tigers’ primary focus is on re-signing marquee free agent Max Scherzer, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

The market for Scherzer has been relatively quiet so far this offseason, though that’s likely to change over the next 24 hours with fellow free agent starter Jon Lester expected to announce his decision.

Olney writes that the Tigers are not only “prepared to spend big, big dollars” to sign Scherzer, but that they also plan to keep co-ace David Price in the fold for 2015, as well. Again, there has been very little talk surrounding Scherzer to this point as teams wait to see where Lester ends up.

Aside from the Tigers, other teams that have been linked to Scherzer in varying extents include the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Nationals, Phillies, Cardinals, Cubs, Giants, and Blue Jays. The team that ultimately signs Lester will obviously drop off that list.

Regardless, the final cost for Scherzer figures to be enormous, given the amount of deep-pocketed teams that are in the market for an elite starter. Scherzer, keep in mind, turned down a $144 million extension offer from the Tigers last spring.

– Paul Casella

Red Sox extend one-year offer to Masterson

The Red Sox have reportedly extended a one-year offer to free agent right-hander Justin Masterson, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

The Red Sox are pursuing Masterson as a potential starter, not a relief option. That said, they are certainly not alone in their pursuit. It was reported on Monday by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman that the Rangers also have an offer in to Masterson, while a number of other teams, including the Marlins, White Sox, Royals, Giants, Cubs, Tigers, Indians and Twins are all known to have interest as well.

Teams are banking on a bounceback year for Masterson, who is coming off a season in which he posted an unsightly 5.88 ERA over 28 injury-hampered outings (25 starts) between the Indians and Cardinals. Now seemingly healthy, teams are hoping to find a bargain with a one- or two-year deal for the 29-year-old righty.

– Paul Casella

Lester signing could reignite Hamels talks

Though the Phillies aren’t one of the four teams reportedly pursuing Jon Lester, they could be one of the clubs most impacted by his final decision, which is expected to come at some point on Tuesday.

Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels has been floated as a potential backup plan for both the Red Sox and Dodgers, leading Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer to suggest that the Phils could start fielding serious offers for Hamels in the coming days. “The Phillies, a team desperate for outfield reinforcements, could target Joc Pederson in a trade with Los Angeles,” writes Gelb.

The Cubs and Giants, the other two clubs known to be pursuing Lester, could also attempt to engage the Phillies in trade talks if they miss out on Lester.

It’s no secret that the Phillies are trying to trade a number of their big-contract players this offseason, with Hamels’ name popping up most often in rumors. Not surprisingly, teams have been much less willing to take on the unfavorable contract of a player such as Ryan Howard.

The Red Sox have reportedly rejected past offers from the Phillies, but the Phils figure to gain at least some leverage in the aftermath of Lester’s decision. Either way, trade talks should heat back up once Lester is off the market.

– Paul Casella

Is it Jon Lester decision day?

Will Jon Lester announce his decision today? According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, the free agent pitcher may not announce his pick until Wednesday. There were reports that the left-hander was going to make his decision public on Tuesday. The Cubs, Red Sox, Giants and Dodgers are in the mix for Lester, who has been the hot topic at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. On Monday, Boston manager John Farrell said he was optimistic the Red Sox would bring Lester back. CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reports Lester has to decide between multiple six and seven year offers, which are expected to top $150 million. The Cubs, who met with Lester in mid November in Chicago, won’t say anything about their negotiations.

– Carrie Muskat

Lester reportedly mulling over four offers

Jon Lester is reportedly considering four separate offers, all hovering around the six-year, $150 million mark, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Those are offers are believed to be from the Cubs, Red Sox, Giants and Dodgers, though a late push by another team can never be ruled in these situations. Rosenthal adds that one of those four teams with an offer already on the table is willing to add a seventh year and push the total to $175 million, though it’s unclear at this point which team that applies to.

Lester is expected to make a decision some time on Tuesday, at which point the starting pitching market will really begin to open up. Once Lester makes his decision, teams will likely ramp up their pursuit of the other two top-level free agents starters — Max Scherzer and James Shields – as well as the second-tier free agents such as Brandon McCarthy, Ervin Santana, Francisco Liriano and Justin Masterson.

The teams that ultimately miss out on Lester could also turn their attention toward the trade market where pitchers such as the Phillies’ Cole Hamels and the Tigers’ Rick Porcello, among many others, are believed to be available for the right price.

– Paul Casella

Masterson garnering significant interest

Free agent right-hander Justin Masterson has already met with the Red Sox and is expected to hold meetings with the Marlins, White Sox and possibly Cubs during this week’s Winter Meetings, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. At least three other teams — the Royals, Giants and Twins — have displayed varying amounts of interest in Masterson.

Masterson, who will turn 30 next March, is coming off a diastrous, injury-plagued season in which he went 7-9 with an unsightly 5.88 ERA over 28 combined outings (25 starts) between the Indians and Cardinals. The righty, however, was the Indians’ ace in 2013, making his first All-Star appearance while racking up a 14-10 record to go with a 3.45 ERA.

Now seemingly healthy, Masterson could be a legitimate bounceback candidate. It’s with that in mind that teams are hoping to find a bargain with what is likely to be a one- or two-year deal.

Masterson was drafted by the Red Sox in 2006 and broke into the big leagues with Boston in 2008. He pitched one-and-a-half seasons for the Sox before being traded to the Indians at the 2009 Trade Deadline. Given that history, Masterson is familiar with current Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer from those days together in Boston.

The Cubs, however, have reportedly signed free agent Jason Hammel and remain focused on landing Jon Lester, who’s expected to announce a decision no later than Tuesday. The actual market for Masterson, like any pitcher still on the market, should become more clear once Lester announces his decision.

– Paul Casella

Cubs can only wait for Lester

Will Jon Lester decide to go west and join the defending World Series champions? Will he return to Boston to pitch for the Red Sox? Or, will he pick the Cubs and rejoin Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer? Lester met Monday in Atlanta with a delegation from the Giants, who pitched a return to the Bay area where the left-hander played in the second half of last season with the Athletics.

The Giants, Red Sox and Cubs can afford Lester, who was 16-11 with a career best 2.46 ERA in 32 starts last season for the Red Sox and Athletics. According to reports, the Cubs and Red Sox have made six-year offers to Lester worth $138 million and $130 million, respectively.

Lester, who turns 31 on Jan. 7, also met with the Braves, but they have reportedly dropped out of the bidding for the free agent pitcher, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

All the Cubs can do now is wait. Lester has two World Series rings from his days with the Red Sox, including one from 2007 when Epstein and Hoyer were in Boston’s front office. The lefty could be a key part of the Cubs’ bid to end a 108-year championship drought.

– Carrie Muskat

Giants yet to make final offer for Sandoval

Don’t count out the Giants in the battle for free-agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval.

San Francisco has faced a stiff challenge in its quest to retain the 28-year-old, who has spent all of his seven big league seasons and won three World Series with the club. The Red Sox have made Sandoval a five-year, $95 million offer, according to The Boston Globe, and the Padres have entered the mix as a surprise contender. San Diego, normally not a player for expensive free agents, has made a “very competitive offer,” according to MLB.com’s Corey Brock.

But even if the Giants have not matched those bids yet, that still could change. Appearing on MLB Network radio on Sunday morning, assistant general manager Bobby Evans said his club has “not made a final offer.” The San Francisco Chronicle previously reported that Sandoval’s agent, Gustavo Vazquez, has asked the Giants to submit their best proposal next week. Sandoval is expected to make his decision then.

– Andrew Simon

Market looking robust for Miller

Andrew Miller has recorded one save in his career, but that’s not going to stop the free-agent left-hander from cashing in big this offseason.

Multiple clubs already have submitted offers of at least three years to Miller, according to FoxSports.com’s Jon Morosi, who added that it’s looking more and more like 29-year-old will score a four-year deal.

A former No. 6 overall draft pick back in 2006, Miller never established himself as a starter but has made a highly successful conversion to the bullpen. He posted a 2.02 ERA for the Red Sox and Orioles last year, striking out 103 batters in 62 1/3 innings while dominating both left-handed and right-handed hitters.

As Morosi points out, Miller should have no trouble smashing the record for the highest average annual value for a reliever with no closing experience, which currently sits at $6 million. As many as 22 clubs have shown interest in Miller, so there will be plenty of competition to drive up his price.

– Andrew Simon

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