Cardinals have interest in shortstop Erick Aybar

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CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler shares this scoop:

After talking to the White Sox about Alexei Ramirez and checking in with the Phillies on Jimmy Rollins, the Cardinals have now been in touch with the Angels about Erick Aybar, according to sources.

Anaheim surely wants young pitching prospects in return and that’s something the Cardinals possess.

Aybar, 29, is batting .280/.309/.384 with four home runs, five stolen bases and 37 RBI in 82 games this season for the 48-56 Halos. Pete Kozma, 25, is hitting .241/.286/.304 in 96 games for the 62-41 Cards.

Aybar is making a $8.5 million salary this year and owed a total of $25.5 million from 2014 to 2016.

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UPDATE, 8:41 p.m. ET: Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM says the Angels want one of the Cardinals’ top two pitching prospects — Carlos Martinez or Michael Wacha — along with Kozma in return for Aybar. The Cardinals are “reluctant” to do the trade at that lofty price, according to Bowden’s source.

UPDATE, 8:56 p.m. ET: Bowden reports that the Cardinals have made it clear to the Angels that they will not trade Martinez or Wacha for Aybar. The asking price will have to come down for this one to work.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.

The Red Sox sign Jhonny Peralta

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The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.

Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.

This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.