Junichi Tazawa Rumors
The latest on the Red Sox, via Alex Speier of WEEI.com...
- The Red Sox are currently evaluating five starters for the final two spots in their rotation, Speier writes. Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves, Vicente Padilla, Andrew Miller and Felix Doubront are all in the mix for a starting job. Aaron Cook and Ross Ohlendorf could join the competition, but they have yet to pitch in games.
- The Red Sox are open to the idea of trading for a starter during Spring Training or once the season begins, but they’re comfortable with what they have, Speier reports.
- Speier also has the details on the contracts of Boston's pre-arbitration eligible players. Junichi Tazawa($920K) and Mark Melancon ($521K) will earn well over the $480K minimum in 2012. The Red Sox announced today that they have agreed to terms with the 16 players on their 40-man roster who aren't yet arb eligible.
Two years ago today, the Indians traded third baseman Mark DeRosa to the Cardinals for Chris Perez, with Jess Todd also going to Cleveland as the player to be named later. DeRosa injured his wrist shortly after the trade and struggled in his time with the Cards, but they received a consolation prize in righty Seth Blair, chosen in the 2010 draft as compensation when DeRosa signed with the Giants. Perez has racked up 42 saves as the Indians' closer. Todd was designated for assignment in April of this year, claimed by the Yankees, designated again in May, claimed by the Cardinals, and recently outrighted to Triple-A. On to today's links...
- Rangers reliever Darren O'Day may return this week from the 60-day DL, meaning the team will need to open up a 40-man roster spot.
- The Red Sox announced they activated righty Junichi Tazawa from the 60-day DL and optioned him to Double-A; lefty Rich Hill was placed on the 60-day DL to keep the 40-man roster at 40.
- Pirates lefty Paul Maholm reiterated to Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he'd like to stay in Pittsburgh, but he's not going to beg or initiate extension talks. In general terms, GM Neal Huntington expressed a strong preference for avoiding in-season negotiations. He has a $9.75MM option on Maholm for 2012. For more on the Maholm situation, click here.
- Athletics reliever Vinnie Chulk can opt out of his contract Friday, notes SI's Jon Heyman (Twitter link). The 32-year-old righty has a 2.75 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, and 0.2 HR/9 in 39 1/3 Triple-A innings this year.
- Heyman talked to agents and executives, asking them to predict contracts for Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Jose Reyes. Everyone sees Pujols getting at least $27.5MM and at least six years. I have to wonder if he'd prefer a one-year deal if his return is less than stellar. Meanwhile, most of the participants saw Fielder getting $24-25MM a year and at least five years.
- The Cardinals could try to acquire two relievers rather than go after a big fish like Heath Bell, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
A few links for the morning...
- Today's chat starts at 2pm CST.
- Brandon Webb says he'll pitch next year and he hopes it's with the D'Backs, according to Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic. The team has the option of paying Webb $8.5MM or buying him out for $2MM.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck says the Tigers, who had interest in Junichi Tazawa last Winter, now have to face the righty as he makes his first MLB start.
- How about this stat, from Tracee Hamilton of the Washington Post: The Nats were 21st in the majors in runs before Nyjer Morgan's arrival. Since trading for him, they're third.
- MLB.com's Chris Haft wonders if the Giants may be about to release Rich Aurilia.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America reports that the Red Sox agreed to sign 10th rounder Brandon Jacobs for $750k, which exceeds the recommended bonus by about $600k.
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle hears that the A's have budgeted first round money for fourth rounder Max Stassi. However, there appears to be a 50% chance he accepts a scholarship at UCLA instead of going pro.
The Red Sox called up Junichi Tazawa, acquired Chris Woodward from the Mariners and designated Billy Traber for assignment this afternoon, according to DJ Bean of WEEI.com. Tazawa pitched well in the minors, striking out 88 in 98 AA innings before pitching twice in Triple A.
They acquired Woodward off of waivers, according to a team press release.
A few links to check out on the 30th anniversary of Thurman Munson's death...
- Mike Ashmore of AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com wrote a feature on Keith Foulke, who is pitching with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League. Foulke turned down several Triple-A offers before the season, including one from the Nationals, and admits it "probably turned out to be a little bit of a mistake." Foulke is looking to get back to majors as you'd expect, and says "“I’m going to make one last push over the last couple weeks, and we’ll see what happens."
- The Rangers are ready to call up prospect Neftali Feliz, perhaps in time for tonight's game according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Baseball America rated Feliz the 13th best prospect in the game in early July.
- Daniel Barbarisi of The Providence Journal wonders if Japanese import Junichi Tazawa could be a candidate to fill the bullpen spot left vacated by Justin Masterson's inclusion in the Victor Martinez trade on Friday. Tazawa was recently bumped to Triple-A and is already on the 40-man roster.
- Make you sure follow MLBTR on Twitter for the quickest updates possible. While you're at it, why don't you go ahead and follow me too. Almost all of my tweets are about baseball, I swears it.
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.