FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the Pirates have acquired reliever John Axford from the Indians.
No word yet on what the Indians will receive in return. Axford began the year in the closer role with Cleveland, but has dropped in the pecking order since the early part of May. His ERA was down to 3.14 for the year before he gave up a grand slam against the Yankees on August 8. He could be a useful mid-to-late inning option down the stretch.
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports that the Yankees are making a late run at David Price.
But the Daily News beat writer sees it as "unlikely" that the Yanks will match the Rays' lofty asking price and FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal says there's "no chance" it'll happen. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported an hour ago that Tampa Bay is "definitely" going to move its ace left-hander by the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline, but the clock is ticking. The Tigers, Dodgers, Mariners, and Pirates are among the other clubs with reported interest. Detroit may be the front-runner right now.
The Cardinals and Pirates are the two teams "pushing hardest" for Jon Lester, sources tell FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi.
Rosenthal notes that the Dodgers remain involved as well. The Cardinals made a move for a starter on Wednesday, acquiring Justin Masterson from the Indians, but they remain interested in Lester as more impactful starter to pair with Adam Wainwright. Lester would immediately become the Pirates' ace down the stretch. Lester is a free agent after the season.
A source tells FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal that the Royals, Pirates, Marlins "and others" are in on Ian Kennedy.
Rosenthal also notes the right-hander isn't a certainty to be dealt at the deadline. The Padres would have incentive to hold onto him, as Kennedy still has another year of arbitration before becoming a free agent. Still, he's having a great year and the Padres would likely be better dealing him for players who will be peaking closer to when they're ready to contend. Stay tuned.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that the Red Sox are asking for teams' best prospects in trade talks for Andrew Miller.
As Crasnick notes, they'll surely have to drop their demands in order to get anything done. Miller is having a fantastic season, posting a 2.40 ERA and 66/13 K/BB ratio over 41 1/3 innings, but clubs aren't going to surrender top talent for him. The Braves, Pirates and Royals have all been connected to the lefty reliever.
Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports that the Red Sox have told teams that it will require "at least two elite-level prospects" to acquire Jon Lester.
It's a hefty price to pay for a two-month rental, but you can't blame the Red Sox for asking for that haul, especially when it looks like David Price might not be dealt. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman has listed the Dodgers and the Cardinals as the favorites for Lester, and Lauber has been told by industry insiders that the Dodgers are the "front-runner." The Pirates and A's are lurking in the background.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers and Cardinals "appear to be the teams most aggressively competing" for Jon Lester and David Price.
Lester is virtually certain to get moved after being scratched from Wednesday's scheduled start, while Price's status is more up the air with the Rays back in the playoff hunt. Heyman writes that the Pirates "are still involved to some degree on the Lester front, but they are reluctant to surrender top prospects for a rental, seeming to place them third in the derby at the moment." The A's have also been mentioned as a potential suitor for Lester, but it appears that they may have fallen back from the pack, as well. It could be an interesting battle between the Dodgers and Cardinals for Lester and perhaps Price, as they both have the prospects to deal and the room to add payroll.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Rockies are expected to hang on to LaTroy Hawkins.
Hawkins is 41 and would have some value on a contending team in a middle relief role, but the Rockies like his veteran presence and plan to pick up his $2.25 million club option for 2015. Hawkins has saved 17-of-18 chances this season while sporting a 3.09 ERA. The Pirates and a couple other clubs had expressed interest.
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the Athletics are also "in the mix" for Jon Lester.
It would certainly be a stunner if they were able to land Lester after picking up Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel earlier this month. Rosenthal has also reported that the Cardinals, Dodgers and Pirates are in negotiations with the Red Sox regarding Lester. Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com also hears that the Blue Jays and Orioles are in on Lester, though WEEI.com's Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are saying those two teams are out of it. Lester has been scratched from Wednesday's scheduled start and is expected to be dealt soon.
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the Cardinals, Dodgers and Pirates are all "in the mix" for Jon Lester.
Lester has been scratched from Wednesday's scheduled start and is expected to be dealt soon, so it sounds like it will come down to which of the three clubs Rosenthal mentions makes the best offer. It was reported previously that Josh Bell was at the center of the Red Sox' talks with the Pirates. It's not clear at this point what the Cardinals and Dodgers are offering. Lester seems likely to change addresses on Wednesday.
Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com has been told by two sources that the Pirates are "in pursuit" of Jon Lester.
Jeff Passan and Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reported earlier Tuesday that the Pirates were a "a fast-emerging dark horse" to acquire Lester. It's possible they're the favorites to get him at this point after Lester was scratched from Wednesday's scheduled start. Jose Tabata was scratched from the lineup at Triple-A Indianapolis Tuesday, so he could potentially be part of a deal for Lester (though obviously not the headliner). WEEI.com's Rob Bradford and Alex Speier have reported that the Red Sox are still in discussions with multiple teams regarding Lester.
ESPN's Jayson Stark reports that trade talks between the Phillies and Pirates regarding A.J. Burnett are "all but dead."
The stumbling block is Burnett's player option for 2015, which could pay him as much as $14.25 million if he makes 32 starts. Stark says that the Phillies are telling teams they expect Burnett to retire, and Burnett has told his teammates the same thing. However, the Pirates don't want him at $14.25 million next year and aren't willing to take the chance if he changes his mind. After all, Burnett waffled back-and-forth between continuing his career or retiring last winter before ultimately deciding on the former.
According to Jeff Passan and Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, the Pirates are "a fast-emerging dark horse" to acquire Jon Lester from the Red Sox.
The Pirates could use an ace as much as anyone and they have the prospects to get a deal done. For what it's worth, prospect outfielder Josh Bell is said to be "at the center" of talks. The Dodgers, Brewers, and Orioles are among the other teams who have been linked to Lester over the past couple of days.
FOX Sports' Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays, Cardinals, Pirates and Braves have scouts at Monday's Bartolo Colon versus A.J. Burnett matchup.
It's not clear which pitcher each team is evaluating (and it's possible they're evaluating both). Colon certainly got the better of the matchup, as he tossed 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball, while Burnett was tagged for seven runs over five frames. Both pitchers could be moved prior to Thursday's deadline.
According to MLB.com's Thomas Harding, the Pirates have interest in Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins.
The Bucs are looking for some easy and inexpensive ways to upgrade their bullpen, and the 41-year-old Hawkins fits that mold. He has posted a 3.09 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 35 innings this season out of the Colorado bullpen on a salary of just $2.25 million. Hawkins also carries a $2.25 million club option for the 2015 campaign.
Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Pirates are interested in Andrew Miller.
The Braves are also in on Miller, with CBS Sports' Jon Heyman calling the left-hander their "prime bullpen target." The interest in Miller is no surprise given his 2.31 ERA and absurd 64/12 K/BB ratio over 39 1/3 innings this season.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Pirates' interest in A.J. Burnett is "mild at best."
He adds that their interest "might fall further" if Burnett intends to pick up his 2015 player option, which would be worth $12.75 million if he makes 32 starts this season. Burnett, of course, pitched for the Pirates from 2012-13 and they wanted to re-sign him over the winter but were outbid by the Phillies. Heyman also says that the Orioles' interest in Burnett "doesn't seem keen, either." The righty holds a good-but-not-great 3.86 ERA in 2014 and it appears his market might be drying up.
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that Phillies right-hander A.J. Burnett would prefer to be dealt to the Pirates and that Pittsburgh players are lobbying for his return.
Burnett made a bit of an awkward exit from Pittsburgh when he signed with the Phillies during the offseason, but it's water under the bridge at this point. However, one possible hangup in a deal is his player option for 2015. He's currently at 21 starts this season, but his 2015 salary would rise to $8.5 million at 24 starts, $10 million at 27, $11.75 million at 30 and a maximum of $12.75 million if he makes it to 32 starts.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Tigers, Indians and Pirates are among the most ardent pursuers of Padres right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit.
The newly-minted closer for the Padres could be viewed as either a closer, or a setup man by the teams looking to acquire him, and his fantasy value is intimately tied to whichever role he lands in. After the Huston Street trade, the Padres are in a good position and don't have to deal Benoit if they aren't enamored with the potential return package.
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Pirates had a scout at A.J. Burnett's last start on Friday in Atlanta.
Gelb notes that it wasn't the scout's normal assignment, as he was clearly there to see Burnett. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported Saturday that the Phillies and Orioles have had preliminary discussions on a trade involving Burnett, but Gelb thinks the Pirates might wind up being a better fit. Burnett, of course, pitched for the Pirates from 2012-13.