Friday, October 31, 2008

2009 Baseball Hot Stove Season Kicks Off

Is Coco on the trading block?
During the final two months of the season, Coco Crisp might have elevated his trade value to an all-time high. One of Cubs GM Jim Hendry's off-season priorities is to find more lefthanded hitting. According to the Chicago Tribune: "[Lefthanded] hitters and switch-hitters who could be available include free agents Bobby Abreu and Mark Teixeira along with Brian Roberts and Coco Crisp, who may be on the trading block again."
Kotsay could be moving on

The Globe's Adam Kilgore writes that it seems likely that outfielder/first baseman Mark Kotsay will end up elsewhere. He will be a free agent for the first time, and he has indicated his desire to occupy an everyday role, something unlikely to happen with the Red Sox. Kotsay was acquired by Boston from Atlanta in late August.

Peavy is available if Sox are interested

From the Globe's Nick Cafardo's Sunday notes: "The Braves appeared to be the best fit, but GM Frank Wren is backing off Kevin Towers's demands. The Astros, Cardinals, and Brewers (perhaps the best fit) will be out there. The Sox are waiting to see whether Peavy would erase them from his no-trade list, though he's not a huge priority. Peavy was in the Padres' system when Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino were team executives, so there's a history. The Sox would be able to satisfy San Diego's demands for low-priced players, especially a shortstop (Jed Lowrie), a center fielder (Jacoby Ellsbury or Coco Crisp), and a pitching prospect (Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, Justin Masterson). From the Chicago Tribune: "The Cubs are on the list of teams for which Jake Peavy will waive his no-trade clause. This doesn't look like a fit, but don't be surprised if Jim Hendry tries to put together a package that would include a swap of first basemen, Derrek Lee and Adrian Gonzalez, who is supposedly untouchable." According to the Boston Herald, the Padres have already let it be known they'll be looking for two top young pitchers and a front-line position player - preferably someone who can step in fairly soon and roam Petco Park’s large center field - in exchange for Peavy. Peavy, 27, is 86-62 with a 3.25 career ERA. He won the National League Cy Young Award in 2007 and has twice led the NL in ERA and strikeouts.

Teixeira could be a big target for Sox

The Globe's Tony Massarotti writes that according to a team source, the Red Sox already have had some internal discussion about free-agent-to-be Mark Teixeira, the most desirable hitter available on the open market and a player for which the bidding will be fierce. All signs point to a spirited run at Teixeira, a switch-hitting, slugging first baseman with the excellent defensive skills, exceptional baseball acumen, and discretionary plate discipline that Sox officials so covet. The 28-year-old Teixeira is a switch-hitter with power from both sides of the plate who has averaged 35 home runs and 118 RBIs the past five seasons. He is a two-time Gold Glove winner at first base who finished this year with more walks (97) than strikeouts (93), making him a perfect fit for the Sox in every way.

Tazawa free to pursue career in MLB; Sox interested?

Junichi Tazawa, a 22-year-old Japanese pitcher whose fastball reaches the mid-to-high 90s and who also throws a forkball and slider, was passed over by Japan's 12 professional teams in Thursday's amateur draft. He had told Japanese teams not to draft him so he could pursue a career playing in the United States. He has drawn interest from several major league teams, including the Red Sox, who scouted Tazawa when he pitched in his team to the national corporate league championship in Japan this season. Put this one in the "highly speculative" category for now.

Boras pitching Varitek to Tigers?

Is agent Scott Boras planning a game of musical chairs with his clients, one that might result in Varitek ending up as a Detroit Tiger? FoxSports' Ken Rosenthal thinks it's a possibility, writing: "Boras, according to a rival executive, is trying to sell catcher Jason Varitek to the Tigers as a replacement for another of his clients, Ivan Rodriguez. The idea is not without merit; the Tigers' lineup is strong enough to carry Varitek's declining offense, and his defense and leadership would greatly benefit their pitching staff." . . . The Globe's Adam Kilgore writes that the Red Sox and Varitek have not initiated contract discussions, which is not unusual this soon after the season, according to Boras. Boras did not offer any specific figures Varitek is aiming for, but he outlined an argument - - based on leadership and defense -- as to why Varitek is still an elite catcher. When Varitek signed his four-year contract at the end of 2004, the fourth year was a sticking point. Boras seemed to indicate that Varitek, who will turn 37 in April, will want another multiyear deal this offseason.

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