The sports world may be holding its breath in anticipation of the World Cup final and LeBron James’ impending decision, but baseball's hot-stove season is right around the corner.
That means rumors and speculation are running rampant as the contenders begin to establish themselves as legitimate World Series threats. With so many teams still in striking distance of a postseason appearance, expect a number of moves before the calendar turns to August.
With that in mind, let’s dig into some of the latest MLB rumors.
Jake Peavy on the Market?
Peter Gammons and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien described the latest on the potential pursuit of pitcher Jake Peavy:
w/Garcia in surgery, Gonzalez optioned, Wacha out, I hear what Gordon Edes hears:Cardinals want Jake Peavy— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) July 8, 2014
There was once a time in Peavy’s career that he was a front-of-the-rotation starter, but he has been fairly inconsistent for Boston this season. He sports a 4.64 ERA in 18 starts and has a disappointing 1-7 record. The WHIP of 1.44 and the batting average against of .273 don’t exactly spin tales of a dominant pitcher either.
Still, there is something to be said for his experience and veteran guile in a pennant race, which could be why the Cardinals are interested.
What’s more, given the attrition with the pitching staff, Peavy makes sense as a possible option for St. Louis. It needs quality arms if it wants to keep up with the Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central.
The Braves, on the other hand, can afford to stand pat and possibly wait for better options.
Padres Asking Price High?
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times pointed out that the San Diego Padres will be asking for a lot in return if you plan on dealing for some of their productive pieces:
#Padres said to have put a very high asking price on Joaquin Benoit, Huston Street. Makes sense, given relative scarcity of sellers for now.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) July 7, 2014
As he notes, there aren’t a lot of sellers in the market as we get into the thick of July. There are only nine teams in the entire league that are double-digit games out of first place entering play Wednesday, and two of those squads are exactly 10 games back.
The Padres likely saw the boatload of prospects the Chicago Cubs received back for Jeff Samardzija and got excited about their position as one of the few sellers on the market.
Joaquin Benoit and Huston Street may not be front-of-the-line starters, but they are both incredibly valuable pieces in a bullpen. Benoit has a 1.91 ERA, 0.74 WHIP and is a strikeout machine, while Street boasts 23 saves and 1.13 ERA.
A contender that is desperate for bullpen depth would likely overpay to land the quality pieces the Padres are offering.
Boston Looking to Lock Up Jon Lester?
Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston filled fans in on the latest news from the negotiations between the Red Sox and ace Jon Lester:
The Boston Red Sox are continuing "conversations" that could lead to another offer to free-agent-to-be Jon Lester, according to a major league source.
Presumably, those conversations are taking place at the ownership level, at which Boston's big-money decisions are always made. The source, however, said he wouldn't make any predictions regarding the outcome.
Boston offered Lester a four-year, $70 million deal in the spring, but that was significantly under market value for someone of his stature.
Where will Jon Lester pitch next season?
He has a 2.73 ERA and has continued to thrive while the team squanders. In fact, it is Boston’s struggles that make this such an intriguing situation because it could really use an ace like Lester if it hopes to bounce back and return to the playoffs next year.
Lester is also 30 years old, so there figures to be at least a few years of elite-level pitching in the tank if he stays healthy.
Peavy commented on the situation surrounding his teammate, via Edes:
This is somebody I'm very emotionally attached to. Jon, we'll be friends for life. We love each other. Kinfolk we are. Me speaking on his behalf, that needs to be understood.
I love the Boston Red Sox and respect everybody, but my heart and soul is with Jon Lester. This guy is as good as anybody in the game right now.
Lester’s been a dominant force when it's mattered most during his career (6-4 with a 2.11 ERA in 11 postseason starts and 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA in the World Series) and is a fan favorite in Boston.
Eventually, the Red Sox will likely make the contract terms work.
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