Craig Calcaterra

Ruben Amaro

Pat Gillick on Amaro: “Ruben didn’t all of a sudden get dumb”

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Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com was on the scene when a reporter asked Phillies president Pat Gillick about whether or not Ruben Amaro, whose contract is up after the 2015 season, will survive the season with his job. Gillick:

“I’ve got his back . . . I’ve got confidence in him . . . Ruben didn’t all of a sudden get dumb. People don’t want to hear this, but there were five years from 2007 to 2011 and the last year in 2011 we won 102 games. He didn’t all of a sudden get stupid the last three years.”

Amaro is certainly under a lot of pressure at the moment, tasked with tearing down and rebuilding a Phillies team that got old, expensive and not very competitive in a hurry. Task number one is trading Cole Hamels for a good return and possibly unloading Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins.

It won’t be an easy task. And it may be one that will be completed by someone else.

Colby Rasmus is on the Royals’ radar

Colby Rasmus AP
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Round two in Missouri for Colby Rasmus? ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that Rasmus is on the Royals’ list of outfield options.

Rasmus has never really lived up to the potential many believes he has, struggling against lefties and never really getting on base at the clip people though he could four or five years ago, he’s only 28 years old, but, barring a breakout season, he’s probably running out of time to be an everyday outfielder. Going to a place like Kansas City where an outfield job is open for him, as opposed to a situation where he has to fight for a job, may be the best thing for him.

 

The Braves sign Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano

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David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Braves have signed Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano to a major league deal.

Toscano is 25. He’s not considered a super prospect — more of a fourth or fifth outfielder type — though he hit for average and got on base in Cuba. I just spoke with someone in the lobby here who has paid some attention to Toscano and he said, as I told him I was going to write this post, that “you’ll think more about him in the couple minutes it takes you to write that post than you will all season, probably.” I feel like that’s probably a good bit of perspective for these sorts of signings.

The Rays reach an agreement allowing them to search for other stadium sites

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The Tampa Bay Times reports that the Tampa Bay Rays and the city of St. Petersburg have reached an agreement allowing the Rays to look in Hillsborough County — that’s where Tampa is — a potential new stadium sites. In exchange the Rays have agreed to buy out the lease between the team and St. Pete if the Rays do, indeed, move before their Tropicana Field lease is up in 2027.

In the past the city was staunchly against allowing the Rays to do anything like this. There seems to be some reasonable calculation going on here by the new administration. One, that the Rays may not, in fact, find a better deal elsewhere, given how much harder it is to get a stadium financed by someone else now compared to several years ago. Two that, at least with this deal, the buyout provisions are likely more certain than they may have been if the lease was merely broken and litigation ensued. And, finally, St. Pete may have come to realize that the land beneath Tropicana Field is more valuable to the city than the ballpark is, so if there is a means to get the Rays out faster, maybe it’s in the city’s best interests.

Report: The Sox are out! Jon Lester choosing between the Giants and Cubs

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This is pretty big:

Lester, of course, has always been able to choose where he wants to go. But I think everyone, on some level, thought the Red Sox would be in the game until the end and, possibly, win his services. The Dodgers were in on Lester too and, presumably, are now out as well.

All of this a function of the price tag, obviously. Lester is likely pushing for $150 million and that, it seems is too rich for the Sox’ and Dodgers’ blood.

UPDATE: Lester’s agent is denying Rosenthal’s report:

Worth noting, of course, that Lester’s agent has an interest in making it look as though as many teams are in on the bidding as possible.