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Trade Deadline: Ubaldo Jimenez reportedly trade has ’50/50′ chance, Red Sox interested?

07.26.11 at 9:18 am ET
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The Rockies at one point claimed that they wanted a Herschel Walker-type deal for their No. 1 starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, causing many to think that any deal for the righty would be out of the question. Well, the chances for Jimenez changing uniforms have actually improved to “around 50/50,” a source tells FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.

That being said, Morosi said an executive of a team that is believed to be interested in Jimenez told him that the asking price for Jimenez is still “unrealistic.” But as Morosi notes, there is still plenty of time for those demands to change as the Sunday trade deadline approaches.

The Red Sox are one of those teams thought to be interested in the righty along with the Yankees, Rangers, Tigers, and Reds, who Morosi says “have been pursuing Jimenez for weeks.”

Jimenez is 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA this season after going 19-8 with a 2.88 mark last season when he finished third in the NL Cy Young voting. He is signed through 2012, when he’d be paid $4.2 million, with $5.75 million and $8 million club options for the 2013 and 2014 seasons respectively.

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Trade Deadline: Tigers looking for starting pitching?

07.26.11 at 8:48 am ET
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The Tigers have a “long list” of starting pitchers they want to trade for, according to a tweet from Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, and three names on that list include San Diego’s Aaron Harang (8-2, 3.29 ERA), Seattle’s Jason Vargas (6-8, 3.94) and Doug Fister (3-11, 3.30), also of Seattle. All three play for teams that are in last place in their respective divisions and have little hope of even coming close to making a run at the playoffs.

Detroit starters rank 19th in the majors with a 4.02 ERA, and that includes star pitcher Justin Verlander‘s mark of 2.24, which is fourth among all qualifying MLB starters. Outside of the lanky fireballer though, the Tiger don’t have a starter in their rotation whose ERA is lower than 4.35. All three of the aforementioned pitchers would break that trend.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Aaron Harang, Detroit Tigers, Doug Fister

Trade Deadline: Twins were reportedly hoping to trade Jose Mijares

07.26.11 at 8:30 am ET
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Despite their 47-55 record, the Twins weren’t seen as real big sellers leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. But one player they were hoping to trade was lefty reliever Jose Mijares, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Buster Olney.

However, it looks as if those efforts may be put on serious hold after Mijares surrendered five runs (four earned) in just 2/3 of an inning during Minnesota’s horrendous 20-6 loss to Texas Monday night. Mijares entered the night with a 4.21 ERA and 1.71 WHIP, but those numbers ballooned to 5.47 and 1.90 respectively after his poor showing. He had allowed just one run in seven innings of work in July before that.

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Trade Deadline: Phillies reportedly ‘aggressive’ on Heath Bell, Mike Adams

07.26.11 at 8:22 am ET
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The Phillies appear to be looking to solidify their bullpen as they prepare for what could be a deep run into the postseason.

According to a tweet from Joel Sherman of the New York Post, NL East-leading Philadelphia is acting “aggressive” in trying to acquire Heath Bell or Mike Adams from San Diego before Sunday’s trade deadline.

Bell has 28 saves this season to go with a 2.45 ERA as the Padres’ closer this season while Adams has performed very well in the set-up role, thanks to a 1.30 ERA and 0.71 WHIP.

Phillies relievers rank 14th in the majors with a 3.42 collective ERA but are tied for fifth in saves with 30 and are dead-last (in a good way) in blown saves with only three.

Also according to Sherman, the Padres have been surprised at a lack of interest in both relievers from the Yankees, Reds and Cardinals.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Heath Bell, Mike Adams,

Red Sox prospect Garin Cecchini suffers season-ending wrist fracture

07.26.11 at 8:17 am ET
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Garin Cecchini was amidst the best stretch of his first professional baseball season when his year came to an untimely halt.

The 20-year-old, who was taken by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2010 draft and signed away from a scholarship to LSU for a $1.31 million bonus (typically an amount reserved for first-round picks), had shaken off a slow start to enjoy an outrageously hot week for the Short-Season Single-A Lowell Spinners. In seven games, he went 12-for-21 with a homer, four doubles and seven RBI, good for a .571 average, .640 OBP and .905 OPS, in the process earning New York-Penn League Player of the Week honors.

However, on Saturday, he suffered a broken wrist when he was hit by a pitch. Long-term, the non-displaced fracture is expected to heal fully after four to six weeks in an immobilizing cast that extends just above the elbow. Surgery will not be required, and he should be cleared to participate in the Fall Instructional League. However, the highly regarded third baseman’s year with the Spinners is over.

While disappointed at the premature end of his year, the Sox were extremely pleased with what Cecchini showed during his 32 games in Lowell. He hit .298 with a .398 OBP, .500 slugging mark and .898 OPS, the sort of line that few Red Sox prospects have amassed at such a young age for the Spinners. (Hanley Ramirez had a better line as an 18-year-old in 2002; Ryan Westmoreland had a comparable stat line over a nearly full season in Lowell as a 19-year-old in 2009.) Cecchini showed the ability to drive the ball, accumulating 16 extra-base hits (three homers) in 114 at-bats, and walking nearly as many times (17) as he struck out (19).

“This guy’€™s a really impressive bat,” said Sox farm director Mike Hazen. “Left-handed, he’€™s got a nice inside-out swing, an ability to cover the middle to the outer half of the plate well, and with power. He had the ability to not just hit the ball the other way, but to hit it over the outfielders’€™ heads the other way, which at that age is a huge separator.”

Yet the Sox were unsurprised by Cecchini’s ability in the batter’s box, since he showed an approach similar to what they’d seen when scouting him in high school. The unexpected element of the 20-year-old’s game was his speed. He swiped a dozen bases (in 14 attempts) for Lowell after having stolen a comparable number in extended spring training. Given that he suffered a torn ACL as a senior in high school that required surgery and prevented him from playing for much of last year, his running ability exceeded the Sox’ expectations.

Once Cecchini was able to recover fully from his surgery and begin working out in earnest, Hazen said that he became stronger, leaner and more athletic, putting him in a position to run the bases as well as he did.

“I think it was a bit of the unknown because we hadn’€™t seen him run in so long,” said Hazen. “He did a lot of work on his body, to the point where he was stealing all those bases. That was probably one of the more impressive things we saw, just the overall athleticism. Overall, we’re very happy with his season. It’s just unfortunate that it’€™s ending early.”

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Closing Time: Red Sox drop a late-night decision to Royals

07.26.11 at 2:00 am ET
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After a 2-hour, 21-minute rain delay, and 4 hours and 28 minutes of baseball, the Royals claimed a 3-1 win over the Red Sox Monday night at Fenway Park. The winning run came on Mike Aviles’ 14th-inning squeeze bunt, which sailed over the head of a charging Adrian Gonzalez, allowing Eric Hosmer to score. The decisive play came against Red Sox reliever Randy Williams, who had been part of a collection of Sox’ relievers which had combined to throw 7 2/3 scoreless innings entering the final frame.

Williams and the Red Sox, who stranded three baserunners at third base in the final five innings, would give up an insurance run for the Royals on Alceides Escobar’s sacrifice fly in the 14th, scoring Jeff Francoeur

For what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ 38th loss of the season …

WHAT WENT RIGHT

– Pitching for the first time since July 5, Jon Lester finished his 89-pitch outing by allowing one run on seven hits, striking out six and walking two. According to BrooksBaseball.net, the lefty’s fastball averaged just over 92 mph, while maxing out at 95 mph.

Josh Reddick continued to produce, claiming his 20th RBI in 33 games with an RBI single against Kansas City starter Kyle Davies. The hit scored Carl Crawford, who had just claimed his 11th stolen base. It also came with the count full, making Reddick 6-for-11 on balls put in play with the count 3-and-2. Reddick also made a tremendous, head-first diving catch of a leadoff bloop to right in the 10th inning by the Royals’ Alcides Escobar.

– Kansas City’s strategy of attempting to steal against the battery of Lester and catcher Jarrod Saltalmacchia didn’t pay off, with the Sox gunning down the attempted thieves on two of three occasions. The catcher caught three KC baserunners in all.

Dustin Pedroia extended his career-best hitting streak to 22 games with a third-inning single to right. It’s a stretch that started June 29. Amazingly, the second baseman has gone hitless in just two of the last 42 games (dating back to June 4).

Daniel Bard chipped in with yet another scoreless inning, shutting down the Royals in the eighth inning. It has now been 24 games since Bard last allowed a run, with the Sox having compiled a 20-3 mark during the streak entering Monday night.

WHAT WENT WRONG

– The Royals were able to knot the game up at 1-1 thanks to Billy Butler’s double down the left field line in the sixth inning. The run, which came with nobody out, was made possible when Crawford overthrew cut-off man Marco Scutaro, allowing Melky Cabrera to race home. Lester would face one more batter — walking Eric Hosmer — before calling it a night.

– Despite the fact he came in with a 1-9 mark and 7.32 ERA, Davis stymied the Sox’ bats. The KC starter allowed just one run on five hits over six innings. He had totaled an 0-3 record with a 6.91 ERA — along with an opponents’ batting average of .367 — in his three starts since coming off the disabled list (sore shoulder).

– The Red Sox squandered a golden opportunity in the ninth inning after getting Yamaico Navarro to third base and David Ortiz to first with one out. But KC reliever Aaron Crow struck out Crawford before inducing an inning-ending, deep fly ball to right from Reddick.

– Another great chance came in the 12th inning when the Sox got Reddick to third with one out. But the outfielder was subsequently caught in a run-down after it appeared as though either he or the batter, Marco Scutaro, missed a sign on potential failed squeeze play. Scutaro followed up the miscue by getting thrown out at second trying to stretch a shot into left into a double.

– Crawford went 0-for-6 with four strikeouts.

Trade Deadline: Jeff Francoeur says playing for Red Sox would be ‘neat,’ but wants to stay with Royals

07.25.11 at 8:42 pm ET
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Jeff Francoeur has been through this before. Twice the 27-year-old outfielder has been dealt near trade deadlines, the most recent instance coming when he was traded from the Mets to Texas last August 31.

Here he is again, with the rumors swirling as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. This time, the Red Sox are the ones being whispered with the outfielder’s name.

“It would be neat,” Francoeur said of potentially playing with the Red Sox. “From a standpoint where my dad took a train with my grandpa for tons of games to Fenway. I was in high school and had a Boston Red Sox credit card. But I’m happy here, and I would like to play here.

“I enjoy Kansas City and I’ve told [Royals general manager] Dayton [Moore] I would like to stay there. I would like to be a part of it. But at the end of the day, you know how these things work and you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Francoeur — whose father hails from the Springfield area — is a logical fit for any team seeking right-handed-hitting outfield help. In 97 games, he is hitting .269 (.309 vs. lefties), with a 13 home runs and an OPS of .770. Also factored into the equation is that the Georgia native is on a one-year deal with KC worth $2.5 million that includes a $4 million mutual option.

“I don’€™t know what’s going to happen,” Francoeur said. “To be honest with you dealing with it last year from the Mets and going to Texas it was a lot of fun, I got a chance to play in the playoffs. The last couple of years, I learned you just go out and play. Before you are checking the internet, trying to see what it says, but this year I’€™m just going to go out and play and if I get the call into [KC manager Ned Yost's] office I’€™ll see what’€™s going on.”

Ironically, it isn’t the first time Francoeur has drawn interest from the Red Sox. The team had significant interest in the then-Parkview (GA) High star during the 2002 draft before Atlanta swooped in and took him with the 23rd overall pick. Francoeur still, however, has fond memories of the process, which helped forge a lifelong friendship with Red Sox area scout Rob English (whom he still visits and goes catfish-fishing with.)

The Red Sox ultimately made do in the draft, talking Jon Lester (the pitcher Francoeur was scheduled to face off with Monday night) with their initial pick in ’02.

“The two teams I wanted to go to were the Red Sox and the Braves,” he said. “Looking back now I’€™m sure they were very happy with Lester.”

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