Phillies selected LHP Andy Oliver from the Pirates in the Rule 5 draft.
Oliver getting selected comes as a pretty big surprise. The former Tigers prospect reached the majors in 2010, going 0-4 with a 7.36 ERA in five starts. The Pirates picked him up in the minor deal in 2012, but he failed to progress and was dropped from the 40-man last spring. Converted into a reliever last season, he had a 2.53 ERA in 64 innings in Triple-A, with 85 strikeouts and a whopping 47 walks. In 2013, he walked 112 in 124 1/3 innings as a starter. The stuff is there for him to be a useful reliever if he could ever throw strikes, but his control has been disastrous for years.
Robert Murray of MLB Daily Rumors reports that the Pirates have acquired left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo from the Phillies.
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal is confirming the news and Joel Sherman of the New York Post says pitching prospect Joely Rodriguez is headed to Philly in return. Bastardo had been connected recently to the Red Sox, but the Bucs apparently jumped in with the better offer. The southpaw struck out 81 batters in 64 innings this past season for Philadelphia and owns a cool 3.29 ERA since the beginning of the 2013 campaign.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Pirates are pursuing a trade for Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo.
The Phillies have also discussed a deal with the Red Sox, who are reportedly offering infield prospect Sean Coyle in return. Salisbury writes that the market for Bastardo is "heating up," so the Phillies should be able to get an interesting piece in a trade.
Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles had preliminary discussions with the Pirates about a Brian Matusz-for-Travis Snider swap.
However, there hasn't been much progress in talks. Now that Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz have signed elsewhere, the Orioles are monitoring the free agent and trade market for outfielders. Michael Morse, Delmon Young, and the Phillies' Marlon Byrd have been mentioned as possibilities.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that Pat Neshek is in "serious talks" with three teams and a resolution is expected soon.
The Astros, who have been linked to every major reliever, are one of them. Neshek stumbled a bit down the stretch this past season, but still finished with an outstanding 1.87 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and 68/9 K/BB ratio over 67 1/3 innings. The Pirates have also been mentioned as a possible landing spot.
According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Pirates "like" free agent Pat Neshek.
Neshek faded at the end of his impressive 2014 in St. Louis, but he still wound up with a sparkling 1.87 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and 68/9 K/BB ratio in 67 1/3 total innings. The 34-year-old right-hander is likely looking to cash in big after watching Andrew Miller sign a four-year, $36 million contract with the Yankees and David Robertson land a four-year, $46 million deal from the White Sox.
According to MLB.com's Tom Singer, the Pirates aren't ruling out a reunion with A.J. Burnett.
Burnett declined a $12.75 million player option with the Phillies because he wants to pitch for a contender in 2015, and the last time he was in the postseason was with Pittsburgh. The 37-year-old right-hander posted an ugly 4.59 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 213 2/3 innings this past season for Philadelphia and obviously isn't too concerned about money, so he should come pretty cheap.
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.