UPDATE: Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM reports that the deal is done. The Red Sox are sending Marco Scutaro to the Rockies for right-hander Clayton Mortensen. Colorado will be responsible for Scutaro’s entire $6 million salary this season.
Mortensen, a 2007 supplemental first-round pick of the Cardinals, posted a 3.86 ERA and 30/24 K/BB ratio over 58 1/3 innings at the major league level last season. The 26-year-old sinkerballer had a ground ball rate of 52.7 percent, so he could have some value out of Boston’s bullpen, but this was a pure salary dump.
6:06 PM: Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe and Alex Speier of WEEI.com are both hearing that a deal is “likely” to get done. These guys might have the same source.
Anyway, while moving Scutaro could free up salary to sign Roy Oswalt or Edwin Jackson, Speier mentions that the Red Sox could also consider a trade with the White Sox for right-hander Gavin Floyd. Floyd, who turns 29 later this month, is owed $7 million this season and his contract includes a $9.5 million option for 2013.
5:56 PM: The Rockies’ efforts to acquire Marco Sctuaro from the Red Sox hit a snag yesterday, but Troy Renck of the Denver Post now hears that the two sides are “finishing up” a trade.
The Red Sox are expected to receive a pitcher in return and Renck names right-hander Clayton Mortensen as a possibility. It’s hard to believe they wouldn’t get more in return, even if the Rockies are picking up most or all of Scutaro’s $6 million salary for 2012. It will be interesting to see if the Red Sox also try to get Jonathan Herrera, who could be thrown into the mix at shortstop with the likes of Mike Aviles, Nick Punto and possibly Jose Iglesias.
Scutaro would immediately slot in as the starting second baseman for the Rockies. The 36-year-old batted .299/.358/.423 with seven homers, 54 RBI and a .781 OPS over 113 games in 2011. He would be a marked improvement from a group that combined to bat just .256/.304/.351 with a .655 OPS last season.
As for the Red Sox, it appears they are motivated to move Sctuaro in order to clear some salary to sign a starting pitcher like Roy Oswalt or Edwin Jackson.
In the end, the Mets’ march into the playoffs played out just how they imagined: three innings of a Bartolo Colon perfecto, four combined innings of one-run ball from five different relievers, a James Loney home run. Well, maybe it looked a little different when they drew it up.
Colon guided the Mets through five innings for his 15th win of the year, striking out six and giving up a two-run homer in the fifth. Behind him, the Mets combined for five runs off of RBI base hits from T.J. Rivera and Jose Reyes, finding an edge with Loney’s go-ahead homer in the sixth and a bonus RBI single from Asdrubal Cabrera in the ninth inning. Despite a pair of well-placed home runs by Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf, the Phillies found themselves in scoring position just twice and were unable to close the two-run gap to tie the game.
The Mets’ 5-3 win over the Phillies clinched their spot in the postseason, sans tiebreaker. They also secured home-field advantage for Wednesday’s wild card game, during which they’ll face either the Cardinals or the Giants. On Friday, the wild card winner will advance to the Division Series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
As MLB.com’s Jeff Passan and Joe Trezza simultaneously pointed out, it will be an unconventional playoff run for the Mets, who approach October without Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Neil Walker, David Wright, Zack Wheeler, or Ben Zobrist. Now, if ever, seems like an appropriate time for some champagne.
With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.
Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.
With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:
If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.