According to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, the Red Sox are mulling moving Jacoby Ellsbury to left field.
While the club still views Ellsbury
as their center fielder of the future, he posted a below-average -12.3
UZR/150 in 2009 . Only Colorado rookie Dexter Fowler (-15.2) had a
lower rating among center fielders with at least 900 innings played.
Ellsbury posted an excellent +30.3 UZR/150 in 58 games played in left
field in 2008.
If the Red Sox decide to slide
Ellsbury over to left field, they will surely have to find an adequate
defensive replacement. Silverman names Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran as a potential
trade target. The 32-year-old Beltran has a career UZR/150 of
+3.6 in center field. He also has two years and $37 million left on his
current contract, which would only slightly more per year than Jason
Bay will get on the open market this winter. A small price to pay for a better all-around player. The one problem with
Silverman’s suggestion is that Beltran has a full no-trade clause in
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2010 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.