Collin Balester Rumors

Odds & Ends: Lowe, Bay, Gonzalez

News and notes from around the big leagues tonight…

  • Derek Lowe tells MLB.com's Mark Bowman that he doesn't expect to be back in Atlanta in 2010 and feels rather disrespected by being put on the trade market just a year after signing with the Braves: "I would have never even considered going there if I knew that ultimately this was going to happen."
  • The Providence Journal's Joe McDonald considers Theo Epstein's comments from the Mike Cameron press conference to be a virtual farewell to Jason Bay's time in Boston.
  • As if the Mike Gonzalez and Garrett Atkins signings weren't enough, the Orioles also "made a pretty good run" at trading for Adrian Gonzalez at the winter meetings, tweets ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes.
  • Scott Merkin of MLB.com is reporting (via Twitter) that Jason Botts has been given an invitation to spring training by the White Sox.  Botts played in Japan last season after posting a .230/.325/.344 line in 326 plate appearances with Texas from 2005 to 2008.
  • MLB.com's Todd Zolecki (via Twitter) quoted Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. as saying "Right now, it doesn't look good," in regards to Chan Ho Park re-signing with Philadelphia.
  • ESPN's Jayson Stark talks with Baseball America's John Manuel about how the Phillies' farm system looks in the wake of the big Roy Halladay/Cliff Lee deal.
  • Jose Contreras wanted a three-year contract from the Rockies, but the club "didn't bite," reports Thomas Harding of MLB.com.  Harding notes that Colorado may have to wait to see what happens with Rafael Betancourt's possible arbitration case before they can make a move toward signing relievers like Contreras or Joe Beimel.
  • If the Nationals can't sign any relief help, they will move a willing Collin Balester into the bullpen, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
  • Jake Westbrook seems fit after his stint Puerto Rican Winter League, reports MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.  It was rumored that the Tribe would have been in the market for a veteran starter (maybe Carl Pavano) to anchor their staff had Westbrook suffered a setback from his Tommy John surgery in 2008.

Nationals Rumors: Pena, Rotation, Valentin

Chico Harlan of the Washington Post offers up a number of Nationals rumors.

  • Wily Mo Pena was placed on waivers, meaning that any team can claim him and take on his $2MM salary. As Harlan points out, no team will claim him so Pena will have to choose between free agency and a minor league assignment. Apparently Pena declined to comment this morning, but shook hands with many in the Washington clubhouse before heading out (leaving a full locker behind).
  • Collin Balester was optioned to AAA so Shairon Martis and Jordan Zimmermann are the team's 4th and 5th starters.  
  • Catcher Javier Valentin declined a minor league assignment and became a free agent.     
  • Yesterday, Harlan spoke with Austin Kearns and Josh Willingham about the possibility of reduced playing time and both players said they want to play out the spring first.

Nats Trying To Acquire Dukes?

Rays Index dug up a story on a Dominican news site.  Apparently the Nationals are trying to acquire Elijah Dukes with the intent of making him their center fielder.  Manny Acta went to the Dominican Republic to watch Dukes play recently.  The Rays, of course, are asking for pitching in return.  The Nats don’t want to give up Collin Balester, Colton Willems, Zech Zinicola, or Glenn Gibson in the deal.

If you speak Spanish check out the article here and let us know any interesting info in the comments that we weren’t able to glean from Google Translator.