Author: Aaron Gleeman

Pablo Sandoval

Report: Red Sox make $95 million offer to Pablo Sandoval


Boston’s interest in free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval is well known and now Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox have made him a five-year, $95 million contract offer.

Sandoval’s other primary suitors are believed to be the Giants and Padres, and according to Cafardo he “would like to make a decision soon.”

Sandoval is only 28 years old, but there are worries about how his large body type will age, especially defensively at third base. Offensively he’s posted good but not great numbers for the past three regular seasons, hitting a combined .280 with a .759 OPS while averaging 135 games per year. And he’s been great in the playoffs.

Rays have made Matt Joyce “available” for trade

Matt Joyce

Tampa Bay isn’t done dealing, as Jon Morosi of reports that the Rays have made corner outfielder Matt Joyce “available on the trade market” and “have had some talks with other clubs” about him.

Joyce has been a productive regular for the Rays since 2010, hitting .251 with a .778 OPS in 622 games while facing mostly right-handed pitching. This season he hit .254 with nine homers and a .732 OPS in 140 games.

Joyce is 30 years old, under team control for just one more season, and due for a raise to around $5 million via arbitration, so it makes sense that the Rays would be looking to deal him.

Braves “are very much shopping” Justin Upton

Justin Upton

Atlanta traded away outfielder Jason Heyward with one season remaining on his contract and now the Braves are apparently looking to do the same with outfielder Justin Upton.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Braves “are very much shopping” the 27-year-old Upton and “are requesting a higher return than they received” for the 25-year-old Heyward, which was Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins from the Cardinals.

Upton is owed $14.5 million for 2015 and is coming off a season in which he hit .270 with 29 homers and an .833 OPS. His defense, however, consistently rates poorly by advanced metrics. Overall he ranked 18th among all MLB outfielders in Wins Above Replacement, sandwiched between Starling Marte of the Pirates and Nelson Cruz of the Orioles.

Pirates are “essentially committed” to Pedro Alvarez as their starting first baseman

Pedro Alvarez

Pittsburgh designated for assignment this season’s starting first baseman, Ike Davis, and general manager Neal Huntington told Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that the Pirates “have essentially committed” to Pedro Alvarez as their new first baseman.

Alvarez was previously the Pirates’ starting third baseman, but throwing problems forced him to stop playing the position and now Josh Harrison is cemented as the starter there.

Instead of parting ways with Alvarez the Pirates have decided to shift him across the diamond to first base, where his throwing problems will hopefully be a non-factor and his offense will hopefully return to 2012/2013 levels. Alvarez strikes out a ton and is a career .235 hitter, but he led the league with 36 homers in 2013 and also went deep 30 times in 2012.

Pirates’ next reclamation project pitcher: Radhames Liz

Radhames Liz, Ernesto Frieri

Pittsburgh has done great work recently turning around the careers of pitchers, grabbing guys like Francisco Liriano, Vance Worley, and Edinson Volquez off the scrap heap and getting tremendous value out of them at low costs.

Now the Pirates will try to do the same with Radhames Liz, a one-time Orioles top prospect who left MLB for Korea after posting a 7.50 ERA in 110 innings from 2007-2009.

Liz spent three seasons pitching in Korea, posting a 3.57 ERA, and then returned to America at Double-A and Triple-A for the Blue Jays this season. He pitched pretty well with a 2.95 ERA in 12 starts, but his 44/24 K/BB ratio in 61 innings was nothing special.

He throws hard and the Pirates think enough of Liz’s upside at age 31 that they gave him a big-league contract with a spot on the 40-man roster.

Liz was the No. 69 prospect on Baseball America’s top-100 list for 2008, three spots behind Max Scherzer and two spots behind Chris Tillman.