UPDATE: Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the mystery team submitting a waiver claim for Johnny Damon was … the Red Sox. Seriously.
Of course, Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes that Damon has a no-trade clause that includes Boston, so that may be a hang-up even if the Red Sox and Tigers can work out a deal (he also can’t be “assigned” there, to get around the “trade” part).
Obviously the Red Sox could use the outfield help given their many injuries, but it may be too little too late considering they’re 6.5 games back in the AL East and 5.5 back in the Wild Card.
Plus, it’s possible Theo Epstein and company simply claimed Damon to block him from going to the Yankees or Rays.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that an unknown team has claimed Johnny Damon off waivers, which means he can only be traded to that one team.
Detroit has 48 hours to potentially work out a deal, at which point they can either pull him back off waivers and keep Damon for the remainder of the season or simply let the claiming team assume his contract.
He’s owed about $2 million for the rest of the season, so giving him away for nothing could actually be an option with the Tigers all but out of contention at 61-63.
As for the identity of the mystery team, Buster Olney of ESPN.com speculates that the White Sox, Red Sox, Rays, and Rangers “make the most sense as a fit for Damon.”
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.
Mariners’ right-hander Arquimedes Caminero is nearing a deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. The club has reportedly agreed to sell the 29-year-old’s contract, Dutton writes, though no official move has been announced by either team yet. Caminero is under club control through 2020 and currently ineligible for arbitration.
The right-hander began the 2016 season with the Pirates but was sent to the Mariners in a trade for Seattle minor leaguers Jake Brentz and Pedro Vasquez in order to clear space in the Bucs’ bullpen. With the Mariners, Caminero produced a 3.66 ERA and 8.2 K/9 through 19 2/3 innings in the second half of the year. Although he boasts an electric fastball, one which consistently averaged 98.7 m.p.h. in 2016, his success rate has been tempered by poor control throughout his major league career. According to Dutton, the Mariners’ willingness to sell Caminero’s contract was a strong indication that they did not see him as a viable contender for their 2017 bullpen or as a potential trade chip further down the line.
Should the deal go through, the right-hander will be the second former Mariner to sign with a Japanese club for the 2017 season. Per Dutton’s report, outfielder Stefen Romero also picked up a contract with the Orix Buffaloes of NPB in late November.