Piggybacking on Aaron’s entry from earlier, a ‘frustrated’ Mike Lowell elaborated before Tuesday’s game against the Yankees, telling reporters that he has considered asking the Red Sox for his release (via Rob Bradford of WEEI.com).
“Have I given it thought, sure. I think that’s a normal train of thought
to go through,” he said. “Is that something that would happen? I don’t
know. I haven’t looked that deep into it. I think that’s more upper
management’s decision. They’ve been willing to eat a lot of my contract
so maybe that’s not holding them back. Sometimes you think if that
happens it would be better. But I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t
think the flip side is always better or always worse. I know the
situation here is … I just don’t see it being very good.”
He doesn’t disagree with Terry Francona’s decision to play the red-hot David Ortiz, but fears that he’ll be even further buried on the bench once Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury return from the disabled list.
Lowell, 36, is batting .263/.354/.404 with one home run and nine RBI over 57 at-bats this season. He’d surely draw interest from any numbers of teams if the Red Sox were to aggressively pursue a trade, but the team would probably have to kick in a substantial portion of his $12 million salary for this season in order to do so.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.