Daily Dose: GM says Peavy's return is '50-50'

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General manager Kevin Towers revealed Thursday that Jake Peavy is
“50-50” to return from his ankle injury to pitch again this season.
“We’ll know more when he comes out of the cast,” Towers said. “I can’t
speak for Jake, but I’d much rather have him ready for 2010 than
risking a more serious injury by coming back too early this year.”

The injury erases whatever chance Towers had of finding an
acceptable deal for Peavy this year and he also indicated that the
Padres won’t look to trade Adrian Gonzalez or Heath Bell. However,
pitchers like Chad Gaudin, Kevin Correia, and Cla Meredith could be on
the block and Towers said that he doesn’t “see [Brian] Giles taking
playing time away from” the young outfielders once he’s healthy.

While the Padres choose to tweak rather than rebuild, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Boston is
“desperately” trying to trade Julio Lugo with both Mike Lowell and Jed
Lowrie on the verge of coming off the disabled list. According to
Rosenthal the Red Sox have informed teams that they’re willing to eat
nearly all of Lugo’s remaining deal–which pays $9 million this year and
another $9 million in 2010–in exchange for a marginal prospect.

Lugo has hit .284/.352/.367 in 37 games since coming back from knee
surgery, which basically matches his .271/.335/.390 career line, but
his defense has been terrible and the Red Sox clearly prefer Nick Green
as their utility man with Lowrie and Lowell set to return this weekend.
In the third year of a four-year, $36 million contract, Lugo has hit
.251/.319/.346 while missing one-third of Boston’s games.

* General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Thursday that Pedro Martinez
could be ready to make his Phillies debut as soon as July 30 against
the Giants. Martinez was placed on the disabled list with a strained
shoulder immediately after signing a one-year deal, but the stint is
just about building up arm strength. After seeking a $5 million
contract, Pedro ended up signing for under $1 million in guarantees.

* Released last week when the Blue Jays opted to eat the remaining
$15 million on his contract, B.J. Ryan inked a minor-league deal with
the Cubs on Thursday. Ryan clearly poses no threat to Kevin Gregg or
Carlos Marmol at this point, but it costs the Cubs just a prorated
portion of the league minimum to find out if he has anything left in
the tank as a possible middle reliever or situation left-hander.

AL Quick Hits: Adrian Beltre played catch Thursday for the first
time since June 30 shoulder surgery and said that he hopes to play
again this year … According to Joe Maddon there’s a “50-50 or 60-40”
chance that Evan Longoria (finger) will be available Friday after
missing the All-Star game … Kansas City has a new left side of the
infield with Yuniesky Betancourt and Alex Gordon both coming off the
disabled list Thursday … Alexi Casilla will get another chance at
second base in Minnesota after hitting .340 following his demotion to
Triple-A … Derek Holland has rejoined Texas’ rotation and Orlando
Hernandez could request his release from Triple-A after being told that
he won’t be called up … Chris Perez revealed Thursday that he’s “been
getting cortisone shots all year” on a left foot injury that will
require offseason surgery … Justin Duchscherer (elbow) threw 30 pitches
on the side Thursday and is hoping to begin a rehab stint by the end of
the month.

NL Quick Hits: Raul Ibanez picked up right where he left off
Thursday, homering twice … Chris Volstad served up three homers
Thursday to give him 20 bombs allowed in 113 innings after giving up
just three in 84 frames last year … Manny Corpas came off the disabled
list Thursday and will resume setting up for Huston Street … Scott
Olsen has been scratched from his scheduled Friday start with shoulder
tightness … Khalil Greene (anxiety) will start another rehab stint
Friday at Double-A … Jamie Moyer tossed seven shutout, one-hit innings
Thursday, but his ERA remains ugly at 5.58 … Chris Snyder (back) is
slated to begin a rehab assignment Monday … Chris Dickerson skipped
Thursday’s game because as Dusty Baker put it “he looked like Fred
Sanford walking around here” … Omar Minaya said Thursday that Carlos
Delgado (hip) is not expected back before August while Fernando
Martinez (knee) is likely out until September.

Report: The Nationals are still in on Chris Sale and Andrew McCutchen

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 05: Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning on September 5, 2016 at U. S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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The Nationals are trying to go big this offseason, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that they are still in trade talks for White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale and Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Both players figure to command a big return, as Sale delivered another Cy Young-worthy performance in 2016 and, despite a downturn in his production rate, McCutchen is still one of the more coveted sluggers in the National League.

In 2016, Sale led the league in complete games, with six, and turned in a 3.34 ERA and 5.2 fWAR in 226 2/3 innings. While teams have been sniffing around the White Sox’ ace since the trade deadline, the club is expected to maintain a high asking price — so high, said FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, that it may keep the left-hander in Chicago for the foreseeable future.

According to Heyman, four other teams are reportedly in the mix for Sale, including the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Braves, though parts of Rosenthal’s tweet hinted that the Red Sox were maintaining their interest in hopes of striking a more affordable deal. Should the Nationals pursue a deal for Sale, it’s likely that they’d have to move shortstop/center fielder Trea Turner, which they appear reluctant to do.

McCutchen, meanwhile, is also drawing interest around the league after batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs in 675 PA during 2016. He didn’t appear to lose much power in his eighth season with the Pirates, but took considerably fewer walks and struck out at a career-high clip.

The Nationals were said to be in the lead for McCutchen on Thursday, and there was some expectation that the club would wrap up a trade for the center fielder by the non-tender deadline on Friday. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pointed out that the Rangers were also talking to the Pirates, however, and no deal has come to fruition as of yet.

Astros sign Carlos Beltran to one-year, $16 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Carlos Beltran #36 of the Texas Rangers hits an RBI against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.

In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.

The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report: