Javier Vazquez Rumors

Nationals Showing “Heavy Interest” In Javier Vazquez

The Nationals are showing "heavy interest" in Javier Vazquez, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). He says scouts are raving about the right-hander, who is throwing 92-95 mph during winter ball in Puerto Rico.

Vazquez, 36, sat out the 2012 season after pitching to a 3.69 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 192 2/3 innings for the Marlins in 2011. The ACES client has been scouted by the Red Sox, White Sox, Phillies, Royals, Rays, and Mets in recent weeks, but he remains undecided about a return next season. Vazquez has favored East Coast teams throughout his career.

The Nationals already have a stacked rotation featuring Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Dan Haren, and Ross Detwiler. They do lack a left-handed reliever though, so Detwiler could shift to the bullpen with Vazquez taking his spot in the rotation.

Javier Vazquez Rumors: Thursday

Though he didn't pitch during the 2012 season, veteran right-hander Javier Vazquez has drawn interest from several teams as he toys with the idea of returning to the Major Leagues under the right circumstances.  Here's the latest on some of Vazquez's suitors…

  • The Red Sox have watched each of Vazquez's last two starts in the Puerto Rican Winter League but Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald isn't sure how interested the team is in Vazquez, with one source saying the Sox are "just continuing to scout him" at this point.
  • Beyond the Red Sox and the Nationals, the White Sox also scouted Vazquez's last start, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link).  Vazquez pitched for the Pale Hose from 2006-2008.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. tells ESPN's Jayson Stark (Twitter links) that the team has scouted Vazquez but their interest is limited "until we know what his plan isWe're flying at about 5,000 feet, just to see what's going on."
  • Despite all this interest, Vazquez reiterated that he hasn't decided yet if he'll return next season, tweets Rosenthal.  Vazquez's fastball reportedly reached 94 mph during his most recent start.

Nationals Scouting Javier Vazquez

The Nationals are scouting Javier Vazquez as GM Mike Rizzo traveled to Puerto Rico this evening to watch the veteran right-hander pitch, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com (on Twitter). While Washington already has one of the strongest rotations in all of baseball, adding an insurance arm may make sense given Dan Haren's health issues last season.

Vazquez has been contacted by 15 teams about his services, but does not plan to sign with a club until after the World Baseball Classic in March and will only consider pitching for a contender, writes Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The former All-Star last pitched for the Marlins in 2011 where he posted a 3.69 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 192.2 innings.

Mets Notes: Young, Pavano, Bourn

Free agent outfielder Scott Hairston is choosing between his former team, the Mets, and New York's American League representative, the Yankees. As we await news on Hairston's decision, here are some Mets-related links…

  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he'd like to add a starting pitcher of the Chris Young or Carl Pavano ilk, ESPN.com's Adam Rubin reports. “I couldn’t identify who that might be at this point, but that general category of player is probably what we’re looking at,” Alderson said. The Mets have also been linked to Shaun Marcum, though Marcum's asking price could deter the Mets.
  • Alderson said the Mets also hope to add at least one veteran reliever before Opening Day, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports. The GM explained that it was a difficult winter to build through free agency. "The free agent market for outfielders was almost as overpriced as the market for starting pitching," he said. "But be that as it may, we're still looking." A trade remains possible, though there are some prospects Alderson wouldn't deal.
  • The Mets need outfield depth, but don't expect them to consider Michael Bourn. They would have to surrender their first round pick to sign a free agent such as Bourn, and Alderson confirmed to Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger that the Mets aren’t about to give up their top draft choice. “We’ve very wary of that. It’s not our M.O,” he said.
  • Mets scouts have watched Javier Vazquez, McCullough reports. Teams have been watching the right-hander throw in Puerto Rico.

Quick Hits: Vazquez, Nationals, Padres, Stanton

On this date three years ago, the Mets officially signed R.A. Dickey to a minor league contract worth $600K if he made the team. Three seasons and one NL Cy Young Award later, the knuckleballer was traded to the Blue Jays for a package including two top prospects this offseason. Here's the latest from around the league as Saturday turns into Sunday…

  • "I am seriously considering pitching again, but have not made a final decision," said Javier Vazquez to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. "Certainly, If I do come back, [the Nationals are] definitely a place I would consider. I'm feeling really good and throwing the ball well."
  • The Padres have talked to the Marlins about Giancarlo Stanton, but nothing too detailed according to Bill Center of The San Diego Union-Tribune. Center notes Miami had interest in Padres prospect Jedd Gyorko earlier this winter.
  • In his latest Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney ranked the Braves' bullpen as the best in baseball. Atlanta strengthened their relief corps by acquiring Jordan Walden a few weeks ago.
  • Within the same column, Olney says the Yankees probably won't make many more additions prior to Spring Training. New York claimed Russ Canzler off waivers yesterday.
  • The Pirates and Francisco Liriano have not yet finalized their two-year agreement, but there are no hang-ups or deal-breakers according to Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Sulia). The holidays delayed things.

Quick Hits: Vazquez, Webb, Rockies, Lohse, Kubel

Here's the latest from around the league as Friday turns into Saturday…

  • The Red Sox, Rays, Nationals, and Royals scouted Javier Vazquez during his Puerto Rican League outing tonight, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The right-hander was said to be pitching at 93 mph with the fastball.
  • The Rockies will scout Brandon Webb's throwing session, which will take place in the coming weeks according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding. The Twins will also be in attendance.
  • "Obviously, it's been a little slow, a little slower than anticipated … It's going to eventually work itself out. It's not like I'm not going to be out of baseball," said Kyle Lohse to MLB.com's Mike Bauman. The right-hander has yet to receive an offer other than the qualifying offer he rejected.
  • "I haven't really thought other than that … If something happens, it happens, but I'm looking forward to getting back to that beautiful facility again and start going," said Jason Kubel to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert when asked about trade rumors. The Diamondbacks are expected to move one of their spare outfielders before Spring Training.
  • The Brewers will probably announce the Mike Gonzalez signing on Monday, reports Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel (on Twitter). The holidays delayed the finalization of the contract.

Quick Hits: Upton, Liriano, Orioles, Headley

Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive VP of labor relations, told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he’s not ready to say baseball’s collective bargaining agreement needs changes. While the CBA appears to have limited the market for certain players who declined qualifying offers, Manfred says it’s still early. “I’m not inclined to get into a discussion about changing an agreement when it hasn’t even operated for a full year.” As Rosenthal points out, draft pick compensation places an artificial burden on free agents. Here are some more links from around MLB…

  • The Rangers aren’t a perfect fit for Justin Upton, because their lineup already includes many right-handed hitters, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney notes (Twitter links). The Braves could be a better fit, and could deal from a surplus of pitching. Olney reported yesterday that the Diamondbacks are open to dealing the right fielder.
  • The Pirates haven’t announced their two-year, $12.75MM agreement with Francisco Liriano, but MLB.com’s Tom Singer still expects the deal to go through (Twitter link). The Pirates have been trying to get the left-hander to Pittsburgh for a physical.
  • The Orioles have not watched free agent right-hander Javier Vazquez work out and they have no current plans to attend any of his scheduled sessions, Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports (on Twitter). That said, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggested today that the Orioles could have some interest (Twitter link).
  • Within an in-depth piece about third baseman Chase Headley, Padres GM Josh Byrnes revealed to MLB.com's Corey Brock that he pushed for the Red Sox to draft Headley back in 2005 when he was in the Boston front office. Headley, 28, is arbitration eligible for the third time this offseason.

AL East Notes: Vazquez, Rays, Price, Red Sox

Earlier today, we learned that the Nationals are interested in free agent starter Javier Vazquez, who is considering a return to MLB.  The Red Sox are also set to watch Vazquez pitch in Puerto Rico on Friday, but they're not the only team out of the American League East with an eye on the veteran.  More on that and other news from the division..

  • Alex Cora, who serves as the GM of Vazquez's team in Puerto Rico, told WEEI's Hot Stove Show that the Blue Jays have also been scouting the 36-year-old, according to Alex Speier on Twitter.  It's not clear if the Red Sox or Blue Jays would be willing to give Vazquez a big league contract, but the Nationals aren't believed to be considering it.
  • Cy Young winning left-hander David Price was happy to avoid arbitration with the Rays and says that he is open to a contract extension, writes Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.  “If it’s right, we’ll do it,” Price said. “If not, I have to understand it’s a business first and foremost. (The Rays) want to win this year but also be able to win in the future as well. They have to do what’s best for the franchise.”  Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman won't rule out an extension, but acknowledged that there are a number of variables to consider.
  • Also on WEEI's Hot Stove Show, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein opined that the Red Sox's haul of prospects in their blockbuster deal with the Dodgers was more valuable than the financial flexibility they gained in the deal, Speier writes.  The former Boston GM spoke very highly of right-handers Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa.

Nationals Interested In Javier Vazquez

Free agent starter Javier Vazquez might return to MLB in 2013, and if he does he’d like to join a contender. The 36-year-old ACES client will throw for multiple teams, including the Red Sox, in his native Puerto Rico tomorrow. Here are the latest Vazquez-related rumors…

  • The Nationals sent a top scout to watch Vazquez in a recent Puerto Rican winter league game, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. The Nationals were impressed with the right-hander and have interest in signing him to a minor league deal. Washington executives would be willing to grant Vazquez an out clause that would enable him to ask for his release if he’s not on the MLB roster by an agreed upon date. Kilgore suggests the Nationals would not be prepared to offer Vazquez a Major League deal.
  • A scout told Yahoo’s Tim Brown that Vazquez looks great physically (Twitter link). The ball is coming out of his hand well, the person said.

Quick Hits: Vazquez, Red Sox, Padres, Astros, Cubs

The Red Sox will scout right-hander Javier Vazquez in Puerto Rico on Friday, according to Victor Ramos of Solo Beisbol (on Twitter, Spanish link).  An industry source confirmed the news to Rob Bradford of WEEI, who notes that Vazquez has been throwing a fastball in the 92-93 mph range in recent workouts.  Vazquez said earlier this week that he would consider a return to MLB and would like to play for a contender.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • Speaking of the Red Sox, Andrew Bailey says that he's happy to have Joel Hanrahan on board, even though it means that he won't be closing, Bradford writes.  Meanwhile, Bailey believes that he's poised for a strong year thanks to his offseason training.
  • Padres General Manager Josh Byrnes indicated today that the team likely won't pick up a starting pitcher in free agency, writes MLB.com's Corey Brock.  The Padres signed Jason Marquis to a one-year deal last month, adding him to an already lengthy list of rotation candidates.
  • General Manager Jeff Luhnow says the Astros aren't likely to add any additional key players between now and spring training, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.  Houston's biggest pickups this winter were the signings of slugger Carlos Pena and relief pitcher Jose Veras.
  • The Cubs expect free agent Nate Schierholtz to be a regular in right field, writes Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.  Chicago inked Schierholtz to a one-year, $2.25MM deal with $500K in performance bonuses.