Javier Vazquez Rumors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Javier Vazquez is pitching for Puerto Rico's Ponce Lions this winter and is planning to pitch for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic in March. Peter Gammons of MLB Network reported in November that Vazquez would gauge things during the WBC and see if he wants to make a comeback, but comments made to Ralph Pagan Archeval of ESPNDeportes.com indicate that he is heavily leaning towards a return.
"Winning the World Series, quite simply, is the only thing (I’m interested in). It’s a team award, since I’m not interested in individual awards. In truth, what I’m missing is a World Series victory...If I decide (to play), it doesn’t matter for what team, as long as they have a good possibility to get to the championship. I’m not going to sign with a team knowing that I’m going to lose," said Vazquez (translation courtesy of Nick Collias).
Vazquez was ranked as No. 19 in the 2012 free agent class by Tim Dierkes last winter and fielded phone calls from a number of clubs. The right-hander stopped short of announcing his retirement, leaving the door open for a comeback at some point. Vazquez, now 36, showed in 2011 that he still has a lot left to offer as he pitched to a 3.69 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 32 starts for the Marlins. The veteran may prefer to spend 2013 with his family, but if he does, it won't be because of his health.
"My [physical] condition is very good. The most important thing is to keep count of the pitches and get that as high as I can. I’ve felt very good; better than I thought I was going to feel. I’ll continue pitching and see what happens."
The Nationals and manager Davey Johnson continue to work toward a new contract for 2013, and based on the most recent reports it sounds as though the sides have a good chance of reaching a deal. Here's more from the NL East...
- The Mets aren't close to completing extensions with David Wright and R.A. Dickey, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports. The Mets remain hopeful that they can complete long-term deals with the players instead of trading them away.
- Todd Zolecki of MLB.com explains why Angel Pagan and Torii Hunter could be solutions for the Phillies this offseason. Zolecki doubts that Michael Bourn will return to Philadelphia this offseason and points out that B.J. Upton's far from a perfect player.
- Former Braves and Marlins starter Javier Vazquez will pitch in the upcoming World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico and see if he wants to make a comeback, Peter Gammons of MLB Network reports (on Twitter). The right-hander didn’t pitch in 2012, but pitched quite well for the Marlins in 2011, posting a 3.69 ERA in 192 2/3 innings.