|Hot Stove: RHP Zack Greinke meets with Dodgers||11.30.12 at 11:20 am ET|
Greinke, 29, was 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA last season. He played for the Brewers until July 27, when he was traded to the Angels. With the Angels, Greinke was 6-2 in 13 starts with a 3.53 ERA. Over the past two seasons, he is 31-11 with a 3.63 ERA.
Greinke’s best year by far was in 2005 with the Royals. He won the AL Cy Young and was named an All-Star. That season he had 16 wins with an amazingly low 2.16 ERA.
Brown reports that the Rangers, Nationals and Angels also have interest in Greinke. Greinke reportedly has enjoyed his time in the Los Angeles area and might want to stay in the region, but he could opt for the Dodgers.
|Hot Stove: Twins trade OF Denard Span to Nationals||11.30.12 at 11:03 am ET|
The Nationals acquired center fielder Denard Span from the Twins for minor league pitcher Alex Meyer on Thursday.
Span hit .284 with 90 steals and a .357 on-base percentage during five seasons with the Twins. Last season, he hit .284 with four home runs and 41 RBIs. He missed games late in the season due to a strained right collarbone, which let Ben Revere play some games and showcase his talent, likely leading the Twins to pull the trigger on dealing Span.
“He’s going to bring a dimension to the club that we haven’t had before,” Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo said, “a fast-moving, exciting guy that makes contact and moves the guy around and can fly around the field.”
Span tweeted that he was excited to be joining the Nationals.
The 22-year-old Meyer, a top prospect for the Nationals, played for the Potomac Nationals in the Carolina League and the Hagerstown Suns in the South Atlantic League this past season. Combined, he was 10-6 in 25 starts with a 2.86 ERA.
|Agent Scott Boras on WEEI’s Red Sox Hot Stove show: Assembling productive Sox team will be ‘difficult chore’||11.02.12 at 10:32 am ET|
The most well-known agent in baseball, Scott Boras, joined WEEI’s Red Sox Hot Stove program Thursday night to discuss how the market is shaping up this offseason. To hear the interview, go to the WEEI audio on demand page.
A number of teams have a need for a center fielder, which should help Jacoby Ellsbury when he enters free agency after next season. Boras, Ellsbury’s agent, said that a player at that position who can provide power and leadoff capability is limited.
‘I think when you’re talking about players who are going to be in the market when they are elite players that play premium positions that are 30 or younger, there’s not going to be many,’ Boras said. ‘There certainly aren’t many in this process where you’ve got a few center fielders that are available, that are guys that are going to give you a leadoff or some power. There might be a couple in [B.J.] Upton and [Michael] Bourn. As far as the corner outfielders, I think that market, I wouldn’t say that there is an elite young player that’s available. Really, over the next couple of years, there’s going to be a relative small infantry of people who will be available.’
Boras declined to reveal how he’d value Ellsbury if he were entering free agency today.
‘When we’re done negotiating and players are done performing, we’ll kind of let everyone know what we come up with,’ Boras said.
The Sox completed a blockbuster deal this summer that cleared their three biggest salaries in Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford. Boras indicated that he thought it was a good move, but he said the Sox might have a hard time assembling a team this offseason that can produce runs and power.
‘I think the Red Sox did a very good job,’ Boras said. ‘Adrian Gonzalez, he’s a very valued player, the key to that deal certainly I’m sure for the Dodgers. His value, as we go forward, and the production he’s had particularly in the NL West, he’s going to be considered a player whose value and whose compensation is an asset to a team. ‘¦ And when you look at it from the re-set side from the Red Sox, the hard part is that going out and getting middle-of-the-lineup bats that give you both power and on-base percentage and run production, that had been the keys to the Red Sox’ success in 2004 and 2007 when they won, to fulfill those deficiencies with the talent available is going to be a difficult chore.’
|Wednesday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Hiroki Kuroda||10.03.12 at 8:47 am ET|
The Red Sox have one last chance to play spoilers when they face the Yankees in the regular-season finale in the Bronx. If the Orioles beat the Rays and the Sox beat the Yankees, Baltimore and New York would have a one-game playoff for first place in the AL East.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-6, 7.68 ERA) will take the ball for the last-place Red Sox. This will be Matsuzaka’s first start against the Yankees this season. His shortened season after his return from injury has not been stellar. Matsuzaka’s only win came on Aug. 27 against the Royals. He looked sharp, going seven innings, striking out six and allowing no runs in leading the Sox to a 5-1 victory. This looked like the pitcher Sox fans adored during his 18-win season in 2008.
Matsuzaka made his last start on Sept. 19 against the Rays and was horrendous. He went three innings and allowed five earned runs on nine hits. The Rays pounded the Sox, 13-3. Matsuzaka has not gone more than 5 1/3 innings during September. He has allowed 20 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings during starts in September.
Yankees hitters have done particularly well against Matsuzaka. Shortstop Derek Jeter has hit two home runs off the righty in 24 plate appearances. Raul Ibanez, the hero of Tuesday’s comeback win, has four RBIs in 19 plate appearances vs. Matsuzaka.
Hiroki Kuroda (15-11, 3.34 ERA) has enjoyed moderate success after moving to the AL. Kuroda played four seasons with the Dodgers, going 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA, before signing with New York last offseason. Kuroda has started against the Sox four times this season but only received one decision, a 4-1 win on Aug. 19. His worst outing against the Sox came July 6 when he went 5 1/3 innings and allowed six runs on 10 hits.
Of the current Sox, Kuroda has faced outfielder (and former National Leaguer) Cody Ross the most. Ross has three doubles, a home run and five strikeouts against the Yankees starter.
|Tuesday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Jon Lester vs. David Phelps||10.02.12 at 3:00 pm ET|
After being swept by the Orioles over the weekend and after a disappointing start to the series with the Yankees, the Sox look to make it through the final two games with a chance to reach 70 wins on the season.
Jon Lester (9-14, 4.94 ERA) takes the ball for the final time this season. In a season that included the departure of Josh Beckett, many expected Lester would step up and be the Sox’ No. 1 starter. However, Lester has walked 67 batters and his ERA is nearly 5.00.
Lester has lost his last three starts, though he lacked run support. On Sept. 16, Lester gave up three runs in seven innings against the Blue Jays and the Sox lost that game 5-0. On Sept. 21, he pitched seven innings and allowed four runs against the Orioles. The Sox lost that game 4-2. In his most recent start, last Wednesday, Lester allowed just three runs through six innings. The Sox lost that game 4-2. His last win was against the Mariners on Sept. 4 when he went six innings and allowed three runs.
The Yankees send David Phelps (4-4, 3.34) to the mound. Phelps began the season in the bullpen, appearing in middle relief. His last appearance was in relief against the Blue Jays last Thursday. He pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed two runs in a game the Yankees won 11-4. His last start was Sept. 19 in the nightcap of a doubleheader against the Jays. He had a strong outing, going 6 2/3 innings allowing just one run and striking out six in a game the Yankees won 2-1.
|Sunday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Zach Stewart vs. Joe Saunders||09.30.12 at 8:48 am ET|
The Sox and Orioles finish up their season series with a 1:35 p.m. start on Sunday. The Orioles look to continue their winning ways against the Sox before they head to Tampa Bay for a three-game series with the Rays, who sit just a few games back in the wild card standings. The Sox head to New York with hopes of ruining a first-place finish for the Yankees in the AL East.
The Sox on Sunday will give the ball to Zach Stewart (1-3, 7.91 ERA overall this season, 0-1, 27.00 with Boston). Steward came to Boston at the end of June as part of the Kevin Youkilis trade. Stewart started just one game for the White Sox, going 5 2/3 innings against the Cubs on June 18 and giving up six runs, including four home runs, in taking the loss.
In his only start in a Red Sox uniform, Stewart performed poorly, going just three innings against the Angels on Aug. 29 and allowing nine earned runs on 10 hits. He then was sent to Pawtucket to make room for Daniel Bard.
The Orioles haven’t seen much of Stewart. Shortstop J.J. Hardy has hit a home run and a double off Stewart in four at-bats. Catcher Matt Wieters, who missed Friday’s game due to the birth of his son, has faced Stewart once and hit a grand slam.
Joe Saunders (8-13, 4.09 ERA overall this season, 2-3, 3.62 with the O’s) will pitch for Baltimore. He was traded to the Orioles on Aug. 26 from the Diamondbacks. Saunders was 6-10 with a 4.22 ERA in 21 starts with the Diamondbacks this season. Prior to his two-year stint in Arizona, Saunders pitched for the Angels.
In his last outing, Saunders pitched against the Blue Jays on Sept. 25 and allowed three earned runs on 11 hits through 6 1/3 innings. His strongest outing of the month came Sept. 19 against the Mariners. Saunders allowed just one run through eight innings of work in that game, although he did not factor in the decision.
Of current Sox batters, James Loney has the most at-bats against Saunders, as the two previously faced each other in the National League. Loney has two home runs and six RBIs in 27 at-bats against the lefty. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia also has hit well against Saunders with eight hits, including two doubles, in 27 at-bats.
|Saturday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Steve Johnson||09.29.12 at 9:11 am ET|
The Sox and Orioles continue their weekend series in Baltimore on Saturday night. The Orioles continue the hunt for first place in the AL East and the Sox are trying to play spoilers.
The Sox will send Felix Doubront (11-9, 4.91 ERA) to the hill. Doubront had his best outing of September last week against the Orioles at Fenway Park. Doubront received no decision after seven innings in which he allowed four hits with a season-high 11 strikeouts. This followed a good start against the Rays, which marked Doubront’s first win since July 18.
Doubront has given up 70 walks this season, the most on the Sox. All of the added baserunners could explain his near-5.00 ERA.
Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis has done well against Doubront, with hits in three of his four at-bats against the Sox lefty. This is Doubront’s second start against the Orioles this season.
The Orioles counter with Steve Johnson (4-0, 1.62 ERA), the right-handed rookie called up in July. He’s been impressive in four starts as well as a number of relief appearances for the Orioles. He has recorded 43 strikeouts in just 33 1/3 innings of work.
Johnson’s last appearance, against the Blue Jays on Monday, was strong as he went five scoreless innings, striking out six.
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