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Junichi Tazawa Rumors
ESPN’s Peter Gammons posted a new blog entry last night. Let’s take a look.
- Gammons sees Gary Sheffield as a "serious comeback player of the year candidate."
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels told Gammons his team bid $7MM for Junichi Tazawa, but the Red Sox signed him for $3MM due to their presence in Japan. According to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, the Rangers also offered more money to reliever Chad Cordero but he preferred the West Coast.
- Kicking Jim Bowden while he’s down: Gammons says Nationals outfielder Austin Kearns was claimed on waivers last summer but the Nationals pulled him back.
A few links for Wednesday night…
- Ian Browne of MLB.com writes that Junichi Tazawa could probably pitch in the majors now, it just wouldn’t be ideal for the pitcher’s development.
- Newsday’s Ken Davidoff breaks down the offseason’s winners and losers.
- Lars Anderson wasn’t disappointed when Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees, according to Howard Ulman of the AP (via the Boston Globe), but the Red Sox prospect says he wouldn’t be doing anything differently if Tex were with Boston.
- Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that third base prospect Dayan Viciedo could very well end up in the outfield if the White Sox decide to let Jermaine Dye walk after 2009.
- Eric Seidman of FanGraphs tries to come up with the best way of evaluating winners and losers in trades.
Red Sox rumors and links abound this morning.
- ESPN’s Buster Olney says the Red Sox will meet with C.C. Sabathia within the next few days. It’s unknown whether they have serious interest.
- Olney adds that the Sox hope to sign Kevin Youkilis and Jon Lester long-term, in the wake of the Dustin Pedroia deal. Peter Gammons suggested a deal for Youkilis could get done quickly.
- Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe says GM Theo Epstein has prioritized catching. Epstein suggested more catchers may be available in trade than people think.
- Benjamin says the Red Sox also want to add a right-handed hitting outfielder who can play center (such as Rocco Baldelli) and a corner infielder. Trade talks with the Tigers for Julio Lugo have broken down.
- Epstein indicated to Benjamin that certain free agent pitchers will "dominate for years to come," and that’s the type he’s interested in. He also said an eight-to-ten year deal for a free agent is unlikely, but Benjamin says not to rule out Mark Teixeira.
- Epstein said at a press conference yesterday that the team’s Junichi Tazawa signing was made possible in part by the Daisuke Matsuzaka signing a few years back. Dice-K and Hideki Okajima could be reasons Tazawa turned down more money from the Rangers. Tazawa may begin his career in Double A.
- The Boston Herald’s Sean McAdam looks at the controversy caused by the Tazawa deal.
Interesting linkage this Thursday evening:
- ESPN’s Keith Law gives a thumbs up on the Giants’ signing of Edgar Renteria.
- Jesse Spector examines comparables for A.J. Burnett.
- Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News suggests the Rockies could be a fit for Delmon Young. Young doesn’t seem to be in Ron Gardenhire’s preferred starting outfield.
- Tony Massarotti at the Boston Globe points out that Junichi Tazawa‘s signing may help mitigate the loss of a draft pick in the event that the Red Sox were to sign a Type A free agent that had been offered arbitration (examples would be Derek Lowe or Mark Teixeira).
- The Dodgers will likely acquire their 2009 starting shortstop via trade, writes Bill Shaikin of the LA Times. Renteria has been signed by the Giants, Rafael Furcal is too expensive, Orlando Cabrera has been offered arbitration, and the rest of the free agents just aren’t that good.
Links for Thursday…
- Check out this week’s minor league transactions. Some familiar names were signed.
- The Red Sox officially announced the signing of Junichi Tazawa.
- J.C. Bradbury likes the Dustin Pedroia contract.
- Sox Machine has parting words for Javier Vazquez, whose trade to the Braves was officially announced today. ESPN’s Keith Law tells you all you need to know about the players involved in the deal. Tyler Flowers is the key, Santos Rodriguez the wild card.
- The Rockies’ talks for lefty reliever Joe Beimel continue. In another article, Patrick Saunders looks at the team’s wish list.
- Rob Neyer believes teams are starting to figure out defensive evaluation, creating a weak market for lumbering LF/1B/DH types.
- Jesse Spector spoke to Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski.
- T.R. Sullivan says the Tigers’ talks for Rangers catcher Gerald Laird continue.
- Larry Dobrow offers suggestions to fix the Reds.
- Aaron Gleeman says the Twins have already missed several good opportunities to affordably improve their bullpen.
- Viva El Birdos explains why the Cardinals should’ve offered arbitration to Russ Springer and Braden Looper.
- Lee Jenkins provides insight into Mark Teixeira – the perfect baseball player and ideal Boras client.
- Roch Kubatko says Cesar Izturis remains a strong possibility for the Orioles.
- Fred Claire notes that Jack Zduriencik will always remember Russell Branyan as his first free agent signing. Geoff Baker examines the Branyan signing and the Ken Griffey Jr. idea.
- Paul Sullivan suggests Chad Gaudin is a non-tender candidate for the Cubs. He’s set to get an arbitration raise on this year’s $1.775MM salary.
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A few links today involving Japanese players…
- Michael Silverman and Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald wrote yesterday that the Red Sox have scouted Kenshin Kawakami multiple times and he has interest in pitching for them. Kawakami figures to receive multiple bids, assuming he commits to MLB first.
- ESPN’s Keith Law says signing Junichi Tazawa was a "no-brainer" for the Red Sox. Law figures Tazawa will start in Double A and could reach the Majors in ’09.
- Aaron Shinsano of East Windup Chronicle respectfully disagrees; he doesn’t believe Tazawa is ready for Double A. Shinsano suggests marketing played a part in the signing, as Tazawa is not a first-round talent.
- Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star says Tazawa’s contract "does not seem right" and the Blue Jays are wise to stay out of the Japanese market.
- Patrick Newman at NPB Tracker translates a Yahoo Japan article that indicates the Padres, White Sox, Indians, and Brewers will stay out of the Japanese free agent market.
SUNDAY: Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe talked to a baseball source who says the Red Sox have an agreement in place with Tazawa. Look for an official announcement later in the week, after he takes his physical. It appears to be a Major League deal for $3MM over three years. He’ll be arbitration-eligible after three years of big league service time.
FRIDAY: Japanese amateur pitcher Junichi Tazawa appears close to signing with the Boston Red Sox, reports Chad Finn at the Boston Globe. The offer for the 22-year old is reportedly a three-year, major league deal nearing $6MM, putting Tazawa on the 40-man roster.
Tazawa has officially declined offers from the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers according to the Kyodo Wire, says the article.
Signing Tazawa would complicate current opinions on the "gentleman’s agreement" previously observed by MLB teams, which prevented American teams from signing Japanese amateurs. Might Japanese teams start making offers to American amateurs if Tazawa is signed?
Alex Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Links for Saturday…
- Junichi Tazawa is expected to announce early next week that he will sign with the Red Sox. He turned down offers from the Rangers, Mariners and Braves.
- The Padres recently offered to talk with Trevor Hoffman, but he hasn’t responded. Tom Krasovic also has a Sandy Alderson quote that the Padres are "highly unlikely" to offer Hoffman arbitration.
- Robert MacLeod talked to Blue Jays insiders who believe trading ace Roy Halladay would send "the wrong signal" to fans since the Jays want to compete in 2009.
- Rob Neyer wonders how C.C. Sabathia‘s weight will affect his performance going forward.
- Joba Chamberlain tops Peter Abraham’s list of the 20 most important people to the Yankees organization.
- Peter Gammons asks five post-Thanksgiving questions about free agents and trades. Also within that blog post, Gammons mentions that Kevin Towers went to Sunday’s Chargers game with Brad Ausmus and hopes to sign him.
- Larry LaRue writes that the Mariners could use a couple good outfielders to go along with Ichiro.
- Bob Verdi expects a quiet retirement accouncement from Greg Maddux.
- The interest shown in Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla has been "tentative at best."
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels wants Clay Buchholz from the Red Sox for one of his catchers, but Sullivan says the Sox made it clear Buchholz is not available under any circumstances. Sullivan suggests the Sox might be more inclined to trade Justin Masterson or Michael Bowden if they bolster their minor league pitching depth by signing Junichi Tazawa.
- Sullivan wonders if swapping John Mayberry Jr. for Greg Golson gives the Rangers the outfield depth to trade Marlon Byrd (perhaps because Golson is capable of playing center field).
- A club official told Sullivan it’s "doubtful" that the Rangers would be interested in Jose Valverde.
- Wes Littleton has drawn trade interest; he was designated for assignment last week.
3:08pm: Roch Kubatko of MASN Online gives thoughts on the Orioles and Mark Teixeira and Burnett. Kubatko believes there’s no chance the O’s offer five years to Burnett, and even four would be a stretch. He’d have to be willing to take a discount to come to Baltimore. As for Tex, will he be willing to play for a team that may not be competitive in the first few years of his deal?
8:32am: Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun talked to A.J. Burnett‘s agent Darek Braunecker, who said his client has narrowed his list from twelve to about six teams. The Orioles remain in the mix after Andy MacPhail had a "nice conversation" with Braunecker on Friday.
It’s speculated that the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Phillies, and Braves are the other five clubs. In his comments, Braunecker didn’t seem dead set on a five-year deal.
In other Orioles news, Nick Markakis‘ agent had "active talks" with MacPhail about a contract extension. Markakis is entering his three arbitration years.
Finally, Steve Melewski of MASN Online says the O’s have shown interest in four Japanese free agents: Koji Uehara, Kenshin Kawakami, Junichi Tazawa, and catcher Ryoji Aikawa. Tazawa seems close to signing with the Red Sox. Uehara might be a more affordable alternative to Burnett.