Junichi Tazawa Rumors

Gammons On Sheffield, Tazawa, Kearns

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.

Odds And Ends: Tazawa, Anderson, Viciedo

A few links for Wednesday night…

Red Sox Rumors: Sabathia, Youkilis, Tazawa

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.

Odds and Ends: Renteria, Burnett, Delmon

Interesting linkage this Thursday evening:

Odds and Ends: Teixeira, Izturis, Gaudin

Links for Thursday…

Japanese Links: Kawakami, Tazawa

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.

Boston Set To Sign Junichi Tazawa

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 alexander.walsh@gmail.com.

Odds And Ends: Tazawa, Hoffman, Halladay

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.

Rangers Rumors: Byrd, Valverde, Littleton

We haven’t discussed the Rangers much lately.  Let’s take a look at the latest from MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan (here and here).  Hat tip: The Newberg Report.

  • 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.

Orioles Rumors: Burnett, Markakis, Japan

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.