A bomber for the Bombers?
Alfonso Soriano told reporters before Tuesday night's game against the D-backs that his agent has made him aware of the Yankees' interest in him, but that he was also told that a deal isn't close enough to discuss waiving his no-trade protection.
Soriano went on to indicate that he's "open to anything" as long as he'll be assured he can play every day.
Meanwhile, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer told MLB Network Radio that there are multiple teams interested in Soriano and that he and club president Theo Epstein plan to fly to Arizona to talk to Soriano about which teams he might be willing to play for.
The New York Post, which first reported the talks, says the Cubs would pay the bulk of Soriano's remaining salary, some $24 million through the end of the 2014 season, and would receive a mid-level prospect in return. That's important for New York, which has made it clear it would like to get its payroll under the luxury-tax threshold of $189 million next season when Soriano is owed $18 million.
"You can't sugar coat it," Derek Jeter told the paper. "We need to find a way score runs."
The scenario would be for Soriano to play left field and Vernon Wells to move to designated hitter. The Yankees would then have another decision to make when Curtis Granderson returns from a fractured left pinky finger, tentatively expected in early August.
Red Sox to be 'aggressive'
The Red Sox, who learned just two years ago how quickly things can change, are expected to make every attempt to fortify the roster of a team with one of the best records in baseball.
"I think we're going to be fairly aggressive," Mike Hazen, the team's vice president and assistant general manager, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030, according to Boston.com. "But it's got to be the right deal. We're not going to just do dumb things for the sake of making moves. We have a really good team. That's because we have a lot of good players playing really well, and we're not going to upset the fabric of that club, given what it's done to date. We're going to look to complement that club in any way that we can. So, from that standpoint, we'll be very aggressive in evaluating all opportunities."
The Red Sox are expected to concentrate on pitching. Relievers Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan are done for the season. And the rotation is iffy. Jon Lester has cooled off after a fast start and Clay Buchholz hasn't pitched since June 8 due to shoulder soreness, though team officials do expect him to return and contribute in the second half.
"We're expecting to have Clay back for the season, so you can't go all-in on a No. 1 starting pitcher, necessarily -- depending on the price, of course -- if you're expecting to get your No. 1 back," Hazen said.
With starters Ricky Nolasco and Matt Garza having already been dealt to the Dodgers and Rangers, respectively, starters who could be moved include Jake Peavy of the White Sox, Bud Norris of the Astros and Kyle Lohse and Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers.
The Peavy file
If the Red Sox do decide to pursue Peavy, they could have competition from the Cardinals, according to CBSSports.com. Jon Heyman cites sources saying the two front-runners have emerged as players for Peavy, but that other teams, including the D-backs, could also be lurking.
From Heyman: "The Cardinals' interest in a starting pitcher in itself, first suggested by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is a bit of a surprise considering their stash of veteran and young talent. The Red Sox's interest could depend to some degree on the health of star Clay Buchholz, who has missed several weeks and pushed back a couple throwing sessions but has checked out by various doctors as not having anything too seriously wrong with his neck. The Red Sox's potential interest was mentioned by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe."
Peavy has told reporters that he paid close attention to rumors surrounding Garza before the Cubs right-hander was traded to the Rangers, figuring he could become the next biggest pitcher available after that. "We'll see how the next few days play out," Peavy said after that deal was done.
It's widely believed that White Sox general manager Rick Hahn isn't under pressure to trade Peavy or Alex Rios since both are under contract for 2014.
K-Rod moved. What's next?
There are plenty of teams looking for bullpen help, but Baltimore's acquisition of Francisco Rodriguez from the Brewers is only the second deal involving a reliever. The other was Boston picking up Matt Thornton.
The injury to Pirates closer Jason Grilli only heats up the market for bullpen arms, with the Braves, Tigers, D-backs and Phillies among the teams looking for help.
The Braves are taking a long look at San Diego left-hander Joe Thatcher, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports. Mike Gonzalez, James Russell and Wesley Wright have also been southpaw relievers to whom Atlanta has been linked. In the meantime, Jim Bowden of ESPN and the MLB Radio Networks lists Oliver Perez, Mike Dunn, Glen Perkins, Scott Downs and Russell as potential targets for the NL East leaders.
It's been rumored that at least eight teams will scout former Giants closer Brian Wilson when he throws Thursday in Los Angeles. According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, the free-spirited Wilson threw for the Giants on Monday and looked "nearly Major League ready." Wilson is 15 months out from Tommy John surgery.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.