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.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.