San Diego’s front office is in a state of flux amid rumors that Theo Epstein could take various Padres staffers with him to the Cubs, but in the meantime they’re apparently talking about taking John Lackey off the Red Sox’s hands.
Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that the Padres “have internally discussed the possibility” of trading for Lackey if the Red Sox “agree to eat most of Lackey’s contract.”
Prior to becoming the Padres’ manager Bud Black was the Angels’ pitching coach and worked with Lackey, so that connection seems to be fueling reunion speculation. And from Lackey’s point of view switching from the AL to the NL and from Fenway Park to pitcher-friendly Petco Park would make getting his career back on track much easier.
What’s left on his contract will be a huge hurdle, however, as Lackey is still owed $15.25 million in each of the next three seasons for a total commitment of $45.75 million to a 33-year-old with a 5.26 ERA in 61 starts since the beginning of last season. If the Red Sox are interested in eating, say, two-thirds of that money while getting only a low-level prospect in return it could make some sense for the Padres.
On Friday, it was reported that free agent Hanley Ramirez was under federal and state investigation, though no one knew for what, exactly. Michele McPhee of ABC News said, “Obviously I know absolutely nothing about sports or Hanley Ramirez’s stats, but what I do know is crime. And there has been some reports about a FaceTime phone call that was made between a man during a car stop. After that car stop, police recovered a significant amount of drugs. And during that car stop, the suspect claimed that one of the items found in the vehicle belonged to Hanley Ramirez and then FaceTimed [Ramirez] in front of police. And that car stop coordinated with the timing of his release from the Red Sox.”
The suspect was reportedly transporting 435 grams of fentanyl and a “large amount” of crack cocaine. But it turns out that Ramirez’s name only got mentioned because the suspect was hoping to avoid arrest. Ramirez is not actually under investigation, Shelley Murphy and Evan Allen of the Boston Globe report.
The attorney of the suspect said that his client grew up in the Dominican Republic with Ramirez and used the former Red Sox DH’s name “to get the cops off his back, which didn’t work.” During the traffic stop, a trooper asked permission to open a brown cardboard box found in the rear cargo area of the suspect’s jeep. The suspect said the box contained books, shipped to him by Ramirez’s mother to deliver to Ramirez in Boston. The suspect FaceTimed Ramirez to back up his story, but Ramirez said he wasn’t aware that the suspect was on his way to visit. Ramirez gave permission to the trooper to open the box. He did, and found a gift bag with two kilograms of fentanyl. The suspect was arrested on drug trafficking charges.
Ramirez, 34, hit a disappointing .254/.313/.395 with six home runs and 29 RBI in 195 plate appearances for the Red Sox before being designated for assignment on May 25 and released on June 1. The Red Sox maintain that Ramirez’s release had nothing to do with anything off-the-field.