Claiming Adrian Gonzalez is one thing, but claiming Josh Beckett too? Yep, the Dodgers have done that, Sean McAdam of CSNNE confirms.
This is a little different than the Adrian Gonzalez claim. For one thing, the Red Sox may very well just want to be rid of Josh Beckett. The fan base has turned on him and, depending on how much blame you put on him for the clubhouse problems in Boston — probably nowhere near as much as some folks claim, but in Boston everything sucks right now — it’s not like you have to sell the fans on letting him go. The fact that he’s pitched like butt this year makes it easier too. He’s due $35 million through the end of 2014 too, so losing him saves a lot of money.
But it’s also different in that Beckett has 10/5 rights, and a player with 10/5 rights has the right to block waiver claims too. Beckett has given no indication that he’d waive his no-trade protection in the past, although things have gotten way worse in Boston lately so maybe he’s of a different mind about such things now. Added incentive: pitching in the NL West could really help him rebound between now and 2014 when he’ll likely want to cash in on one last big free agency deal.
One final possibility: maybe the Dodgers claim of both Gonzalez and Beckett is the precursor to a gigantic mega-trade/player dump involving the two teams. Again, the Dodgers don’t have that much to offer besides salary relief, but weirder things have happened. I think.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.