Red Sox interested in Diamondbacks catcher Chris Snyder?

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com wrote this morning that Diamondbacks catcher Chris Snyder is on the Red Sox’s “down-the-road hit list” as a potential midseason trade target. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe also seems to think Snyder is a possible fit.
Arizona spent the offseason trying to deal Snyder, with rumored trades for Lyle Overbay and C.J. Wilson falling through because of questions about his back problems, so it seems likely that he could still be had. However, because Diamondbacks starter Miguel Montero is out for another month or so following knee surgery any Snyder move would have to wait until he returned.
Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek have combined to allow a remarkable 36 steals in 37 attempts through 16 games, leading to speculation that the Red Sox may decide they need a better catch-and-throw guy behind the plate. Snyder doesn’t have a great arm and has thrown out just 3-of-13 steal attempts so far this season, but is at a solid 32 percent for his career and would at the very least stop teams from running at will.
Complicating a Snyder-to-Boston deal is that the Red Sox would have to move Victor Martinez out from behind the plate, which would likely also involve benching David Ortiz. Beyond that Snyder is under contract for $5.75 million in 2011 with a $6.75 million option or $750,000 buyout for 2012, so bringing him in would seemingly make it far more likely that Boston would let Martinez walk as a free agent this offseason. While a great-hitting catcher, Martinez would be merely a good-hitting (and very expensive) designated hitter.

Athletics trade Billy Burns to the Royals for Brett Eibner

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 13: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics waits on deck to bat during the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 13, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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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.

Nationals acquire closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 20:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies on May 20, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images
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The Nationals announced on Saturday afternoon that the club acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn.

Melancon, 31, put together another solid season for the Pirates, leaving the club with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 38/9 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He led the majors last season with 51 saves and has a 1.80 ERA since joining the Pirates in 2013. Melancon is earning $9.65 million this season and can become eligible for free agency after the season.

With Melancon out of the picture, the Pirates intend to have Tony Watson take over the closer’s role.

Rivero, 25, has handled the seventh and eighth innings for the Nationals this season, compiling a 4.53 ERA and a 53/15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He’s just shy of one year of service time, so the Pirates will have control of him for a long time.

Hearn, 21, was rated the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft but he didn’t sign and ended up going back to college. The Nationals took him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. This season, between rookie ball and Single-A Hagerstown, Hearn put up a 2.79 ERA and a 39/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s a long way away from the majors, so he’s essentially a lottery ticket for the Pirates.

The Nationals needed an upgrade at closer as Jonathan Papelbon has struggled this season. The right-hander has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, ballooning his ERA up to 4.41 with a 30/13 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see how Papelbon, who has never made a habit of letting his feelings go unspoken, handles a demotion to the eighth inning.