Javier Vazquez Rumors
Now that the draft is over, teams are focusing more on bolstering their rotations with one more piece, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. No one more aggressive in the pursuit of pitching than Orioles GM Dan Duquette who knows that one veteran starter could make all the difference. While they're anxious to improve their starting five, it doesn't sound as if the O's will be in the mix for someone like Cliff Lee. “We’re looking for a starter and a reliever,” said Duquette. “We’d like to solidify our pitching all around because that’s the name of the game, really. We have to look at everything. Don’t think we’re going to be in the market for a big-money pitcher, but there seem to be some guys out there that we might focus on and see where it takes us.” Here's more from today's column..
- The Astros will craft a game plan early this week for how to approach their veteran assets. Teams are already calling about Bud Norris, who has a cheap $3MM salary, but won't be cheap to acquire. The Orioles, Giants, and Pirates have kicked around the idea of acquiring Norris, but one National League exec says there will be about a dozen teams interested before all is said and done.
- It seems like a no-brainer for the A’s to pick up Coco Crisp's 2014 option for $7.5MM, but he'll be in demand if they don’t. Even though he's 33-years-old, there aren’t many top center fielder/leadoff hitter types out there. Jacoby Ellsbury will be the No. 1 guy in that department, but , one American League special assignment scout said Crisp might be a better low-cost option because “he can do everything Ellsbury can do. Neither of them have an arm, but Coco is still fast, a very good outfielder, and can still be a game-changer.”
- The Phillies believe there are at least three teams — Red Sox, Tigers, and Cardinals — that may have some interest in Jonathan Papelbon at the trade deadline and the Phillies are scouting those teams with a potential deal in mind. General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week that he’s not ready to “blow up” the Phillies, but a Papelbon trade could help retool the club.
- Teams continue to nudge Javier Vazquez into coming back to pitch, but the right-hander seems to be content with staying with his family, according to a source familiar with Vazquez’s thinking.
- The Red Sox can trade Stephen Drew now that June 15th has come and gone, and they would have no problem finding a taker given the lack of shortstops around baseball. However, Boston firmly believes that Drew is their guy. One National League GM doesn't quite understand their infatuation with the shortstop. “They’re either trying to justify the $9.5MM they paid him, or they’re not sold on [Jose] Iglesias, who could start for 29 other teams.”
- If the White Sox decide to finally bolster their farm system, they could get some helpful prospects back by moving right-hander Jesse Crain. The reliever is becoming a top name on wish lists around baseball.
- While many baseball people remain focused on Giancarlo Stanton’s availability in a deal, 25-year-old Logan Morrison is now healthy and has returned to the lineup. The Marlins first baseman/outfielder is a big lefthanded hitter who will be monitored closely by scouts over the next month.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that it would be a shame if David Ortiz can't stay healthy given his level of production so far this year. Even as he seems locked in at the plate, he's not in perfect health. “I’m seeing the ball and hitting the ball good,” the 37-year-old said. “I just keep going out there, seeing and hitting the ball. I’m keeping it simple right now. I’m not trying to do too much and the hits are falling. And some hits get taken away. I’m still not 100 percent down there [pointing to his legs].” Here's more from today's column..
- Right-hander Jake Peavy is on the disabled list again, but he’s going to be very much in demand before the trading deadline if the White Sox start selling off. “He’s a great fit for a team like [the Orioles],” said one National League GM. “They’re looking to add that veteran, battle-tested pitcher to really finish off their staff and that Peavy type would be ideal.” The only problem is that the money might deter them. Cliff Lee of the Phillies would also be an ideal guy, but he too is pricey.
- Teams are still monitoring Javier Vazquez's recovery from knee surgery because he could be talked into pitching again and could be a solid mid-rotation starter. Vazquez was in winter ball and wanted to come back to the majors, but the knee issue seemed to put that to rest. For the right contract, however, he can have a change of heart.
- Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire doesn’t have a contract for next year, but he is earning one with Minnesota’s better-than-expected start. With the pitching staff performing well and the lineup exceeding expectations, don’t be surprised if he gets a mid-season extension.
- Hanley Ramirez is signed through 2014, so the Dodgers may eventually move Dee Gordon to second base, unless they feel they can sign Robinson Cano as a free agent after the season. The Dodgers are unlikely to pick up their $5.75MM option on Mark Ellis.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that even though the 2013 Red Sox may not knock your socks off, they could still be extremely effective. In theory, Boston could have used their wiggle room on the likes of Josh Hamilton, Adam LaRoche, and Cody Ross. Instead, the club's shopping spree yielded Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, David Ross, Stephen Drew, and Ryan Dempster. However, the BoSox have set themselves up for bigger things in the long run and they could still be competitive in '13. Here's more from Cafardo..
- The Red Sox, Nationals, Yankees, Orioles, and Brewers had major interest in free agent pitcher Javier Vazquez before knee surgery put his season in jeopardy. “Never say never,” said a major league source close to the hurler, “but we won’t see him in the immediate future.”
- One AL executive cautions not to rule out the Tigers as a major player for the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton when the time comes. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has strong ties to the Marlins from his time with them and may have the chips to get a deal done. Detroit could use third baseman/outfielder Nick Castellanos, outfielder Avisail Garcia, righty Rick Porcello, and others to entice Miami.
- One NL executive says that he is envious of the position that Robinson Cano finds himself in. “He’s going to have the Yankees and the Dodgers offering him a record amount of money,” said the exec. GM Brian Cashman says he has already offered a “significant” contract, but there's no reason for the Scott Boras client to take the deal when considering how much the Dodgers may be willing to bid.
- Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur had the worst WAR among everyday players last season, but at age 29, he feels that he is just entering his prime. It appears that the Royals would be willing to move him and his strong arm in the outfield could attract interest.
Free agent right-hander Javier Vazquez won’t pitch in the Major Leagues this coming season, Ruben Rodriguez of El Nuevo Día reports (on Twitter). Vazquez, who will also miss the upcoming World Baseball Classic, has been dealing with an injured right knee. James Wagner of the Washington Post confirms that Vazquez won't pitch at the MLB Level in 2013, suggesting he could soon retire instead (Twitter links).
Vazquez drew interest from many teams this winter, including the Nationals, Red Sox, Rays, Royals, Mets, White Sox and Phillies. The 36-year-old ACES client last pitched at the MLB level with the 2011 Marlins, when he posted a 3.69 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 192 2/3 innings. He had his right meniscus repaired by one of the Marlins’ team doctors approximately one month ago.
With Vazquez unavailable, teams interested in adding starters could turn to free agents such as Carlos Zambrano, Chien-Ming Wang and Roy Oswalt. Kyle Lohse, the top free agent available, would require the forfeiture of a draft pick. The trade market could include pitchers such as Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, Luke Hochevar and Zach Britton.
Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Michael Weiner has been an inspiration to everyone that works in his office, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Weiner, who is living with an inoperable brain tumor, handed his role of general counsel to David Prouty last week. “Mike has handled this whole situation with incredible grace and incredible humor, too,” Prouty said. “That’s the way he’s handled everything. So in a way, we’ve all been inspired by him. More generally, Mike is always an inspiration to be around in terms of being a colleague and an executive director who cares about players and about the game.” Here's more from today's column..
- The Nationals and others continue to keep an eye Javier Vazquez, who is recovering from minor knee surgery. Washington’s interest may be piqued by Gio Gonzalez’s alleged link to the Miami PED clinic. The Nationals have faith in Ross Detwiler, but Vazquez would give them depth.
- There was thought that a team would sign Grady Sizemore and wait until he recovers from his latest knee surgery, but so far, they are staying away. “It’s hard to take the risk, even if it’s minimal,” said one exec whose team needs outfield help. “At this point, I think you wait until he feels he’s ready and then you look. If someone beats you to it, so be it.”
- Bud Norris is one of the last remaining assets on the Astros and should become one of the most sought-after pitchers before the season or at the trading deadline. The Astros haven’t said they’d deal him, but they didn't indicate they would move Jed Lowrie either before he was sent to the A's. The Cardinals and Orioles are two teams to watch on Norris.
- The Red Sox were willing to part ways with Kelly Shoppach in part because of his attitude.
- One scout thinks one of the best under-the-radar moves this winter was the Rays obtaining Yunel Escobar, who was traded twice this winter.
Free agent right-hander Javier Vazquez is getting his right meniscus repaired by one of the Marlins’ team doctors this Wednesday, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio reports (Twitter links). The right-hander is expected to be throwing at full strength within two to three weeks. Though seven teams have expressed serious interest in Vazquez, he has not made a decision about playing in 2013 as of now. Here are some more links from around MLB...
- Right-hander Scott Atchison expects to sign a minor league deal with a team other than the Red Sox this week, writes MLB.com's Evan Drellich. Atchison told Drellich it the team he's closing in on will give him a good chance to make the Major League bullpen. Atchison was diagnosed with a partial UCL tear last August but has had "great results" in letting it heal with rest and rehab.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Pirates expressed interest in Freddy Garcia, but the 36-year-old hurler elected to sign a minor league deal with the Padres instead.
- Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers have officially agreed to a 25-year, $7 billion TV deal, John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal reports. The agreement will lead to the creation of a new regional sports network for the Los Angeles area; SportsNet L.A will launch in 2014.
- The Rays signed free agent infielder Kelly Johnson today, but that won’t stop Ben Zobrist from playing “a lot” of second base for Tampa Bay, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Johnson, who played 79 games in left field as a rookie in 2005, will bounce around.
- Michael Bourn still wants a five-year deal, yet the Mets aren't willing to go there, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (on Twitter). Here’s an explanation of how the Mets wanted to sign Bourn while keeping their first round draft pick this coming season.
Here's the latest news and stories making headlines out of Washington...
- Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals continue to discuss financial figures for the right-hander, but the two sides remain far apart in their conversations, says Amanda Comak of The Washington Times (on Twitter). While Zimmermann would be open to a long-term contract, he wants to first address his arbitration deal for the upcoming season, according to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com (via Twitter).
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says there's nothing new to report regarding free agent Javier Vazquez's status, writes Dan Kolko of MASNSports.com (on Twitter). The veteran made mention of his desire to play for a contender earlier this month, but stated that he would not rush into signing with a team.
- Outfielder Denard Span, acquired this offseason from the Twins, enters the season highly optimistic about the Nationals' chances come October, says Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
The Mariners continue discussing an extension with Felix Hernandez, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The sides aren’t close to a deal, and are now “dancing.” However, Seattle is at least considering a four-year, $100MM offer, according to Rosenthal. It’s not clear if the Mariners have offered a nine-figure deal to Hernandez, whose current contract expires at the end of the 2014 season. The 26-year-old Octagon client would presumably want a longer commitment, as Rosenthal points out. Here are more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB...
- The Mariners’ willingness to add veterans approaching free agency suggests GM Jack Zduriencik senses an urgency to win now in the view of some rival executives.
- Justin Upton won’t be traded for Chase Headley, an official from one of the teams involved told Rosenthal. Headley is two years away from free agency, however, and Rosenthal suggests that the Padres figure to move him eventually. Upton, another trade candidate, is under contract through 2015.
- The Diamondbacks and Rangers haven’t revived Upton-centered trade talks since the Mariners’ failed attempt at acquiring the 25-year-old right fielder. Rosenthal reports that the sides agreed to “move on.” When the teams were last in contact the Rangers offered a four-played package led by Mike Olt that would have included shortstop prospect Leury Garcia and either Martin Perez or Cody Buckel plus a fourth prospect.
- The Rangers continue pondering one significant move. They are viewed as possible destinations for Kyle Lohse and Michael Bourn, and could also pursue relief help. The Rangers discussed right-handed reliever Tyler Clippard with the Nationals earlier this offseason, Rosenthal reports.
- The Nationals could trade Clippard or Drew Storen now that they’ve signed Rafael Soriano. One rival executive suggested Washington could sign Lohse, but Rosenthal writes that a deal with free agent right-hander Javier Vazquez seems more likely.
"We’re not evaluating any offers. Not yet," Vazquez said. "I’m not in a hurry or under pressure. If it comes, great. There’s a desire in me that there wasn’t last year. I’ve got the itch to pitch again. I didn’t have it before; but, now, I’m considering returning to pitch in the big leagues. I’m ready to pitch now; but, to make the decision, I need to be 100 percent."
The Nationals are showing "heavy interest" in signing the 36-year-old right-hander. In fact, GM Mike Rizzo traveled to Puerto Rico Wednesday to see Vazquez throw six innings with 10 strikeouts and his fastball reportedly touching 95 mph. Vazquez says he spoke with Rizzo afterwards, but the conversation was strictly informal.
"We just said, 'Hi,' to each other and he asked me how I felt," said Vazquez.
Vazquez 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 and has been contacted by 15 teams to express their interest.
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.