Morning Cup o' Rumors: MLB; Sox needs

Let's take a whirl throughout the rumors in baseball and see what's going on...

In Milwaukee, Doug Melvin picked up Mike Cameron's option, but the Yankees have now come calling -- presumably dangling Melky Cabrera and Ian Kennedy. With Alex Rodriguez being solicited for advice on Cameron and rumblings that the Yankees might sign second baseman Orlando Hudson and move him to centerfield, you can expect to see a new centerfielder roaming the new Yankee Stadium next year.

A back of the rotation starter is being looked at so Clay Buchholz isn't handed the job in spring training. Paul Byrd could return.

Lot of twiddling our thumbs right now as we wait for the free agent season to officially kick off.

Let’s take a whirl throughout the rumors in baseball and see what’s going on…

Out west, the San Diego Padres are committed to trading starter Jake Peavy. Kevin Towers has said there is no turning back now, and has narrowed the field to three National League teams. Two of these teams are the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs. The Braves would send San Diego shortstop Yunel Escobar, doing two things: 1) Putting the Braves in the market for a shortstop and 2) Making Khalil Greene available. The third team is either the Houston Astros or St. Louis Cardinals.

DIn Milwaukee, Doug Melvin picked up Mike Cameron’s option, but the Yankees have now come calling — presumably dangling Melky Cabrera and Ian Kennedy. Melvin is intrigued by this move, as he should be, but is hesitant to move Cameron as long as the possibility exists to retain CC Sabathia — Sabathia and Cameron are good friends. With Alex Rodriguez being solicited for advice on Cameron and rumblings that the Yankees might sign second baseman Orlando Hudson and move him to centerfield, you can expect to see a new centerfielder roaming the new Yankee Stadium next year.

The Colorado Rockies have also reportedly entered the point of no return with Matt Holliday trade talks and Holliday seems like he could move on. There isn’t as much solid ground on Holliday’s potential destinations as there is Peavy, but of course the Red Sox and Yankees have been mentioned. If the Yankees acquired Holliday, they’d have to move Hideki Matsui and are hoping to move him to Seattle. The most likeliest destination is apparently Philadelphia.

Several teams have inquired on Coco Crisp, and no further information is known. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts Crisp is dealt this offseason. Theo Epstein did mention that he felt trade talks were advanced enough that he could make a swap ahead of December 4, the winter meetings. If true, I would expect the talks to either center around trading Crisp or acquiring a catcher.

K-Rod – edorf81

K-Rod’s agent has backed off his demands for a five-year contract while Brian Fuentes’ agent is offering Fuentes to the Mets for four years at $44 million, something the Mets presumably will not bite on as they seem committed to sticking to no more than three years for a reliever. With these two developments, you may see the relief market drying up as more and more people realize how volatile the relief market is and how pointless it is to throw gobs of cash at relievers. Rarely has a big-ticket relief pitcher, upon a long-term, big money signing, gotten through the contract healthy and effective. This is good news for the Red Sox, who are looking to bring in a middle reliever. If the closer market depresses, the middle relief market depresses. The person I’m eyeing is Will Ohman.

The White Sox may trade Nick Swisher and are intent on trading starter Javier Vazquez. The Sox would clearly be interested in both players, and the White Sox are interested in Lugo, but it would take more than Lugo, of course, to land either player.

Running quickly through the Red Sox’s needs/issues:

  • Catcher. Will Jason Varitek come off his obscene demands or will the Sox have to trade for a catcher?
  • Shortstop. Can Julio Lugo find a home?
  • Coco Crisp. We can’t possibly squeeze another year out of this setup, can we? It worked pretty well, but it also was a perfect storm of injuries and other things to get Coco that much playing time.
  • Middle relief. We need to add a dependable arm.
  • Starting pitching. A back of the rotation starter is being looked at so Clay Buchholz isn’t handed the job in spring training. Paul Byrd could return.
  • Mike Lowell. However unlikely, it is at least possible that the Sox could move Lowell if they decide to ante up on Mark Teixeira.

Categories: Brian Fuentes C.C. Sabathia Chicago White Sox Clay Buchholz Coco Crisp Colorado Rockies Francisco Rodriguez Hideki Matsui Jake Peavy Jason Varitek Javier Vazquez Julio Lugo Mark Teixeira Matt Holliday Mike Cameron Mike Lowell New York Mets New York Yankees Nick Swisher Paul Byrd San Diego Padres Will Ohman

Born on the 37th anniversary of the the day Babe Ruth died (1985) which later became the day Jimy Williams was fired in 2001 (a monumental event at the time), Evan was too young to experience the pain 1986 brought, but a deep wound was sowed in 2003. Since then, Fire Brand has become a blog that Red Sox “club officials read,” as per Peter Gammons. Evan enjoys working out, writing, reading, quality television, science fiction and history and being newly married. He is a professional baseball journalist as well as president of a state non-profit and member of the Board of Directors for a national profit. (Twitter.)

14 Responses to “Morning Cup o' Rumors: MLB; Sox needs” Subscribe

  1. Bob November 7, 2008 at 8:01 AM #

    Now would be the ideal time to trade Coco, after the playoffs his trade value is at an all-time high. What would be interesting is if the Braves were to include Escobar in a package for Peavy. Like you say they would need a SS, why not do the Renteria deal all over again with Lugo this time? Probably would bring back less, but he's not going to accomplish much here either. I'd rather not bring Paul Byrd back because I'm not convinced he can pitch relief, I'd sign a Tavarez type who could pitch middle relief and fill in as a starter and then throw the 5th spot up for grabs between Buchholz and Bowden. Maybe when faced with an intently focused guy like Bowden breathing down his neck and possibly taking any chance he has of seeing time in Boston this year Clay will grow up.

  2. M.A.G November 7, 2008 at 8:52 AM #

    Zero posibilities of Tek coming back. Boras has shown he has absolutely no intentions of beig reasonable. I see a trade for a catcher as something almost inminent. Even if our chances to get Martin are slim, we are gonna at least trade for one of the Texas kids. They actually have the position overcrowded, and they are not gonna get a better chance to acquire somethin valuable from one of them. So (in contrast to LA) they actually need to make a trade, and they are gonna be reasonable in their demands. I think a trade for Teagarden is very probable.
    I also think we are gonna move Coco. But we have to wait to see if we are gonna make him part of a big package, or if we are gonna deal him separately. I think our next moves are gonna depent heavily of what we do to adrees our hole at catcher.
    Move Lugo for anything. We are not gonna get something valuable for him, but anything will be a plus.
    Stay away from Teixeira, and don't even consider Holliday (that would be the dumbest move posible). I prefer to take my chances with Lowell and wait for Lars.

  3. M.A.G November 7, 2008 at 9:26 AM #

    By the way, the Globe has mentioned another interesting name: Jeff Clement.

  4. Bob November 7, 2008 at 10:57 AM #

    The only reason the Mariners would trade Clement is if he can't be a catcher, in which case he's of no use to the Red Sox. With how abjectly awful Johjima was last year the Mariners would be stupid to trade Clement if he can catch, if Bavasi was still their GM then I could see this happening, but the new guy can't possibly be that dumb. I personally think Clement has a better chance to be a good catcher than say Salty, but I doubt he's trade bait.

  5. Gerry November 7, 2008 at 9:54 PM #

    This is looking alot like last year, when we wisely held on to the core. Unwisely, we never found a good-Gagne replacement in Hansen or Masterson, and we never replaced Schill/Colon/
    Buchhoz . . . which we still need to do for 2009.
    I agree with Bob about Byrd. IMO nor do we need a true #5 for fill in at $5 – 8M. With the health of Josh or Wake unclear, we need, now, to sign another potential Ace at #4. Either we go out on a $$ limb for one of the FA Aces, or let Masterson start until Buchholz or Bowden come up. Then switch him back to the Pen if appropriate . . . or, if he is doing a Lester, bring Bowden up through the Pen, and let Buchholz get his reps in Pawtucket until someone is injured.
    Use those FA $$ to bolster the pen with one of Marte, Street, Gregg or equivalent; and give Hansack a shot at the 7th slot until Jones, Gronk or Bard appear or Justin returns.
    Catcher? Without Martin, I am leaning increasingly towards bringing Kelly Shoppach back to Boston. Better defense than the Texans, and maybe better bat, with power. Professor Tek (I hope) + Shoppach = 20 -25HR, with Tek responsible for training the catching staff of the future (including rotating Kottaras and Brown through, via the bench) and starting 60 games vs. lefties.

  6. M.A.G November 8, 2008 at 3:49 AM #

    Gerry, I don't think there is any chances of Tek going back as a mentor. Boras has shown he wants his pound of flesh, and it seems Tek still wants to play, and not as a backup.
    The Shoppach idea is certainly attractive. But I wonder if the Indians are interested, and if that's the case, what they will want for him. Cleveland don't have the need for trade him, because there is some doubts about the future of Martinez as a catcher, so his price will be higher than the Texas kids IMO.

  7. M.A.G November 8, 2008 at 3:56 AM #

    So, who do you guys think we have to surrender to re-acquire Shoppac?

  8. Bob November 8, 2008 at 7:18 AM #

    I believe that any package would have to start with Bowden. I wouldn't give up much more though. Certainly not Buchholz or Lars.

  9. Gerry November 8, 2008 at 8:47 AM #

    Based on the stated needs of the Cleveland FO, I think we could start with Manny Delcarmen and maybe add in Jones or Bard, or?. Although he seems headed for some kind of stardom, Kelly is still not their starting catcher, and I am totally uncomfortable with the idea of giving up Bowden, Buchholz or Masterson (or Lars) to get any catcher. We don't have to.
    And MAG, we can only hope that no one buys into Boras' BS. I would be very happy having Tek back on a generous but reasonable contract, while finding his successors.
    He faced alot of physical and emotional challenges last year. He seems determined to prove he can still play and hit at the top of his game, and may yet do so. I remember he started off last year on a tear, but may have been impacted like the rest of the team with lots of early travel fatigue, dealt with a flu epidemic, messy divorce, was injured, and due to rotation injuries worked with a ton of young and old pitchers, for which he probably prepared overtime: Buchholz, Masterson, Bowden, Pauley, Zinc, Colon, Byrd, plus the emergence of Lester, the nibbling of Daisuke, and loss of Schill and Beckett. He did wind up with 15HR (one not counted) in a bad year, and he did help lead the battered Sox just shy of the WS. Maybe he could return to a .250 – .260BA and 700OPS. But he would have a much harder time doing this on a new club.

  10. Bob November 8, 2008 at 12:07 PM #

    there is no chance of Tek hitting .250 next year, heck he even had a pretty good April and half of May this year, which probably masked exactly how awful he was from mid-may on. he doesn't have the bat speed to hit a half-decent fastball anymore. Even though Cleveland needs relief pitching I can't possibly see them giving up Shoppach for Delcarmen, Jones, and Bard especially when relievers are such a crap shoot, more likely it would take a starter (which they also need) and then one of those guys on top. I'm not even convinced they want to trade Shoppach. They have a huge hole at 1st base and Victor Martinez is an OK defensive catcher whose bat could play reasonably well at 1st. They could simply slide Martinez to 1st and have Shoppach catch. Buchholz should be on the table only for Martin and Bowden should be on the table for any dal that brings a young catcher with defensive skills and a good bat. I personally think that Masterson is a reliever, so he will probably not be traded since he won't bring back something by himself.

  11. M.A.G November 9, 2008 at 3:28 AM #

    I agree with Bob. If we want to have a quality catcher we need to be ready to trade at least Bowden. We cannot land someone valuable without paying the price. If we simply don't want to lose anyone of value, then we cannot expect to get anyone of value in return.

  12. JaredK November 9, 2008 at 8:18 AM #

    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/articles/20
    Salty says it would be a dream come true to play with Varitek in Boston.

  13. M.A.G November 9, 2008 at 9:28 AM #

    The truth is, the more I think about it, the more I like Saltalamacchia. I understand the concerns about his catching abilities, and about his average production the last years, but the kid has only 23 years old (wich is extremelly young for a catcher) and still has a lot of room to grow up defensively and ofensively. I still think he could make strides with regular playing time and some patience. It's going to take a little time, but I think this kid worth it.
    I recognize, at first I was more inclined to go after Teagarden, as a safer bet, but now I feel more interested in Salty, in whom I see more upside. As I said I understand the concerns of the people who distrust him, but I still have faith in the kid. Maybe I'm wrong but I'm ready to take a gamble on him. I think we can get a player with the potential of being special, and at a reasonable cost.

  14. gerry November 9, 2008 at 9:51 PM #

    I feel like a leaf in the wind, between Martin, Salty, TG, Laird, Shoppach, Molina, etc. But you are correct that Salty not only has the greatest potential, but has already proven his major league readiness. Depends on what is reasonable in trade, I guess. Unless the Sox are prepared to reload the pitching staff via FA (i.e. Sheets or Lowe or both), then they ought not to be giving up a top prospect. Evan did a great article on "if you were the Sox GM" in which he landed both Kawamaki and Tazawa. If we get them, we still need to keep Buc and Bo, and get a really good FA, then we needn't worry too much about Beckett or Wake. We just keep on winning.