Quick Hits: Volquez, Tanaka, D’Backs

The Major League Baseball Players Association announced that Kevin McGuiness, a lawyer who has spent a decade heading a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., has been hired as COO under new union head Tony Clark.  The 61-year-old will fill a post that had been vacant since Gene Orza retired in March 2011. McGuiness will start work with the union next month.  Tonight’s look around baseball..

  • The Pirates signed starting pitcher Edinson Volquez as a free agent this offseason, but that wasn’t the first time they had pursued him, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. “When San Diego put me on waivers (last year), the Pirates called right away,” says Volquez. “This winter, they called again. I thought, ‘They must really want me, so let’s do it.'” Volquez posted a 5.71 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 with the Padres and Dodgers last year, but the Pirates have had success with down-on-their-luck pitchers like Francisco Liriano in the recent past. “What I hear about the Pirates pitching coaches and the pitching staff is pretty good,” Volquez says. “So, why not take a chance to come here and maybe get better?
  • Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers has made no secret of his desire to make a play for Masahiro Tanaka and he has a strategy in place to make it happen, writes MLB.com’s Steve GIlbert.
  • Tanaka flew to the U.S. today and is expected to start meeting with MLB clubs in the coming days, according to a report from Nikkan Sports
  • While some see the Blue Jays’ starting rotation as a weakness, others view it as an opportunity, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.  Pitching prospects Sean Nolin and Marcus Stroman both say they aim to make the rotation out of spring training.  Of course, there will be less seats at the table if Toronto goes out and finds more arms via trade or free agency.

Charlie Wilmoth and Aaron Steen contributed to this post.


31 Responses to Quick Hits: Volquez, Tanaka, D’Backs Leave a Reply

  1. Gobias Bluth 2 years ago

    Kevin Towers has a strategy??? Uh oh, buckle your seat belt D-back fans, this can’t be good. Dude needs to be relieved of his duties posthaste.

    • ice_hawk10 2 years ago

      His plan involves Alex Rodriguez’s suspension getting mysteriously overturned and revealing the Dodgers are using Mexican drug money to finance their team.

      • $1961279 2 years ago

        naw, it’s the Angles are using that south of the border drug money. You know that team in ANAHEIM in the AL West?

      • AZDbacksfan1 2 years ago

        Thats the best Kevin Towers joke ive heard in a long time.

  2. Lefty_Orioles_Fan
    Lefty_Orioles_Fan 2 years ago

    Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers has made no secret of his desire to make a play for Masahiro Tanaka and he has a strategy in place to make it happen,
    A strategy eh, I am curious to see what it is besides spend the owners money!
    Maybe hold a car wash fundraiser maybe?
    Actually Chase Field is really a beautiful place. but I am curious about what Towers is thinnking

    • pft2 2 years ago

      Well, besides salary there are many perks they could offer. They could offer him a piece of the action on every ticket sold to Japanese tourists who come to Arizona on a D-Backs package, a commission on Japanese sponsors and advertising, and a couple of chartered flights a year to and from Japan for him and his family and friends. Not sure how MLB handles the value of these perks for luxury tax calculations but the D backs are a long way from worrying about that. They still have to come in with guaranteed money comparable to other teams, but the perks could make their offer stand out.

  3. Andrew Cromack 2 years ago

    As a dbacks fan I would love to see KT pull a rabbit out of a hat and make it happen. But this unknown stragety makes me slightly scared. And for the love of god MLB can the dbacks get a different writer than steve gilbert. He is horrible. Just the other day he was telling dback fans to cool there hopes on getting tanaka, and he doesnt call a spade a spade. he frustartes me to death.

  4. Joe Blow 2 years ago

    Thank god. For a second I thought it said Tony Clark was 61 years old.

  5. ConstantinusMagnus 2 years ago

    Let’s assume both the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees offer Tanaka 6 years at $120 million. (If Arizona was actually in a position to do a similar deal for Choo then they can afford one for Tanaka.) So, how much does the considerable tax differential between high-tax New York and low-tax Arizona advantage the Snakes in an identical offer? Has anyone seen a comprehensive “tax factor” for each team similar to park factor for hitter and pitching stats? Florida and Texas have no individual income tax and California’s top rate is over 11%. Over the life of a 6 year contract for $120 million the TX vs. CA tax differential is almost worth $2 million Average Annual Value. The NY vs. AZ spread might not be as big as a CA vs. TX one but with a contract as large as it will take to land Tanaka, why don’t we hear more about the higher relative value of an Arizona dollar in pay against a New York dollar of pay?

    • Karkat 2 years ago

      With the kind of money Tanaka would be making, the difference is 4.54% in Arizona vs. 8.82% in New York (2013 numbers). So if that came right off the top of the $20MM AAV, we’re talking ~900k in Arizona per year and ~1/75MM in New York per year. Continuing this overly-simplistic model, it’d make $120MM become $114.55MM in Arizona and $109.42MM in New York.

      This is sort of a logical upper bound since taxes don’t work that cleanly, but we’re talking on the order of a few million dollars over the life of the contract with two states that are that disparate.

      • BlueSkyLA
        BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

        It is way more complicated. For one he’s a Japanese citizen, which means he would probably be taxed in Japan on his U.S. earnings. Then, depending on the state where he becomes a resident he may or may not be liable for income taxes in that state, no matter where he is employed. Finally, it isn’t all about income taxes. Many of the states with low or no income tax have low or no income tax because other taxes (especially on property) are high. Didn’t old Ben Franklin have something to say about that?

        • Karkat 2 years ago

          If I could understand how taxes worked, TurboTax wouldn’t have a market xD

        • Quikmix 2 years ago

          Yeah, it gets messy really fast. Players are taxed based in each state where games are played. So you’ve got your home-state tax for your home games and then taxes in any number of additional states based on how many games were played there and what percentage of your annual income those games represent.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

            I haven’t made a study of this, but I’m pretty certain that tax collection policies vary a great deal from state to state. Making personal decisions based on taxes is usually a bad idea anyway.

          • BlueSkyLA
            BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

            I haven’t made a study of this, but I’m pretty certain that tax collection policies vary a great deal from state to state. Making personal decisions based on taxes is usually a bad idea anyway.

  6. GD 2 years ago

    Amazing how Jim Duquette in the MLB video doesn’t even mention Seattle as an option. Come on Z lets surprise MLB Nation once again this offseason!

    • Lefebvre Believer 2 years ago

      *rubs Z’s head for good luck, and to make it extra shiny and impressive for any meeting with Tanaka*

  7. The Pirates’ pitching coaches have done an excellent job over the past few seasons, but that still doesn’t justify 5 million for baseball’s worst starter last year. Especially for a team that doesn’t have spare money lying around.

    • George Burns 2 years ago

      On one hand i agree with you. I think anyone expecting him to be this years Liriano is crazy. On the other hand i think that he if he can go out and put up a low to mid 4 era and throw the 170 to 180 innings he normally puts up he will be worth 5 million. Lets face it 5 million doesn’t get you much on the FA market.

      • He might be worth 5 million, but there’s still no reason to give it to him up front. It’s hard to believe that they were actually bidding against anyone.

        A major league deal worth 1-2 million plus incentives would’ve gotten the deal done. Maybe not when the Pirates signed him, but it’s hard to see Volquez going off the board at five million to any other team. The Pirates spent money they could’ve used elsewhere on someone they could’ve had for less money.

  8. Matt 2 years ago

    Blue jays need to be more patient with there prospects. its good to gave guys like Stroman and Nolin in the system but using any of there options this early in there careers is a huge mistake. AA needs to sign Two free agent starters and hopefully a few minor league free agent starters. We have tried trading for Garza the last three years, why not sign him already? or is AA only interested in trading the farm for him next year?

    • JaysFan1996 2 years ago

      AA used one of Nolin’s option years already, If we decided not to get any SP in FA, might as well have the Redmond, Rogers etc take the 5th spot until they are COMPLETELY READY

  9. LetsGoBucs92122 2 years ago

    Very curious to see what Ray Searage and company can do with Volquez. If they can get him back on track, it’d be a huge boost to the rotation.

  10. RobbyH619 2 years ago

    What can the Dbacks offer Tanaka that other teams cannot? Unlimited access to the pool before and after the game. Why take 115 mill else where when you can get 100 mill AND 1st dibs on that pool. Take the deal tanaka

  11. Joe Valenti 2 years ago

    I watched Stroman pitch a few times this season. Man, can that guy make the glove pop. His scouting report says his fastball peaked at 96 and from what I saw, that was pretty accurate (and consistent) but he was one of those guys that, if you closed your eyes, it sounded like he was throwing a medicine ball when it hit the glove.

    He’s listed at 5’9″ but he honestly looked more like 5’6″-5’7″. Definitely not a big guy. He also has a very violent and quick motion. I really don’t see this guy as a starter. If he starts he would have to be a really special circumstance. He has a lot of Pedro Martinez like qualities so it’s not totally out of the realm of possibilities. He does look like a great back of the bullpen piece. Definitely has 2 plus pitches (fastball and slider), with his scouting report saying he also has a good cutter and a work-in-progress changeup

  12. Joe Valenti 2 years ago

    I hear that Kevin Towers is going to sit down with Masahiro Tanaka and his agent and walk them both through a video presentation showcasing the benefits of investing in Prestige Worldwide

  13. Andrew Cromack 2 years ago

    Phoenix is not as bad as you make it out to be my friend. Its beautiful here for a good 7 months out of the year. You call the dbacks worms….. You must be a dodger fan

  14. George Vander Buist 2 years ago

    Never been, what is going on the other 5 months?

  15. vtadave 2 years ago

    He’s probably referring to the heat.

  16. BlueSkyLA
    BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

    The saying goes in New England that their weather is nine months of snow followed by three months of poor sledding. In Arizona it’s seven months of heat followed by five months of poor golfing.

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