Junichi Tazawa Rumors
According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Detroit Tigers are interested in Japanese pitcher Junichi Tazawa. Morosi lists the Red Sox, Mariners, Braves and Phillies as other potential suitors for the 22-year-old.
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told Morosi that it's "too early to tell" whether the club will pursue Tazawa aggresively.
Though Morosi doesn't think the Tigers have a great chance of signing Tazawa, their chances of signing Japanese players have gone up since they hired Kevin Hooker to co-ordinate their Pacific Rim scouting.
Morosi also wonders whether the Tigers would part with Matt Joyce or Jeff Larish in a deal for J.J. Putz. Earlier this week, Morosi wrote that the Tigers would have to find bullpen help outside the organization.
Links for Friday. As always, I'll update this post with more stuff so refresh later if you're interested.
- Nick Piecoro suggests catcher Miguel Montero could be the D'Backs' best trade chip. Their needs will be second base and perhaps starting pitching.
- The Marlins' top priority is improving their defense.
- Dave Cameron takes apart Scott Boras' claim about Oliver Perez. If more of these client books leak out, Boras is going to have to hire Cameron to keep him quiet.
- White Sox GM Ken Williams talked about adding speed from within, though Williams is notoriously unpredictable.
- Two 19 year-old Indian men named Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel will try out in front of Major League scouts today after winning the Million Dollar Arm contest. The idea of the contest was to find raw talent among India's huge population, kids who could hit 85mph consistently. The Red Sox and Indians are among the clubs in attendance.
- The Phillies may be interested in Junichi Tazawa, though Ruben Amaro's "We know of him" comment isn't exactly an endorsement. The Indians, Yankees, and D'Backs will pass on Tazawa, who could command $7MM.
- Also at NPB Tracker, a second Japanese club hopes to convince the Rangers to trade Nelson Cruz. Doesn't make much sense for Texas.
- Amaro is figuring out his front office; Chuck LaMar has been promoted to assistant GM.
- Chris De Luca's sources close to Bud Selig say there's "zero chance" Bud and the owners let Mark Cuban buy the Cubs.
- Baseball America has the full list of 561 minor league free agents. See anyone you like?
- Former Dodgers GM Fred Claire looks at the notable waiver claims of the past few years.
- Baseball Prospectus' John Perrotto says the Twins are reportedly willing to trade Delmon Young to the Padres for Kevin Kouzmanoff.
Here's a look at the latest blog post from ESPN's Keith Law.
- Junichi Tazawa is not free to sign with an MLB team until he finishes a tournament later this month. Law and David O'Brien report that the Braves have made an offer to Tazawa.
- Law is also on board with O'Brien's statement that Jeff Francoeur's name has not come up in trade talks.
- The Indians' wish list: late inning reliever, an infielder, and a starter. Paul Hoynes discussed the closer situation this morning.
- Law says the Tigers do have money to spend this winter. Yesterday we figured they might have around $14MM to work with.
David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has all kinds of Braves info, found in the body and comments of his latest blog post.
- The Braves have expressed interest in Ryan Ludwick, and the Cardinals would be willing to take Kelly Johnson or Yunel Escobar in return. However, the Braves would probably have to include one of their middle infielders in a Jake Peavy deal and don't want to trade both this winter.
- Braves GM Frank Wren publicly acknowledged the Peavy trade talks. O'Brien believes a package built around Escobar has a chance. Pitching prospect Tommy Hanson is not available. The Braves don't have interest in Khalil Greene, by the way.
- The Braves aren't looking to sign health risk-starters like Ben Sheets and Brad Penny.
- The Braves have an eye on the available White Sox veterans: Jermaine Dye, Nick Swisher, and Javier Vazquez.
- The latest word on Atlanta's offer to Junichi Tazawa: a $4-5MM signing bonus and a four-year contract, which wouldn't be counted against '09 payroll. Speaking of Tazawa - the Rangers are in on him too.
- The Braves are not shopping Jeff Francoeur. His name has not surfaced in trade talks.
Collecting today's Red Sox rumors and links...
- Nick Cafardo says the Red Sox did not meet with C.C. Sabathia's agent and he doesn't appear to be in their plans.
- The Sox are eyeing southpaw reliever Billy Traber, according to WEEI's Alex Speier.
- Scott Boras believes Derek Lowe would be a good fit in Boston or New York. Nick Cafardo says Lowe would like to return to Boston, maybe even at a slight discount.
- Jason Bay's agents say he's loving Boston and is open to a contract extension.
- When asked about the possibility of Manny Ramirez signing with the Yankees, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein basically said it's not his concern.
- Otherwise, the theme of Epstein's comments was flexibility. Justin Masterson could be a starter or reliever, and Epstein won't get hung up on acquiring any one player.
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says the Red Sox are heavily involved on Junichi Tazawa, though the Braves and Mariners are after him as well. The Sox also like Kenshin Kawakami and may have interest in Paul Byrd and Javier Vazquez.
- Cafardo believes the Mets and White Sox have interest in Julio Lugo. It would have to be a bad contract swap. Cafardo adds that the Red Sox view Jacoby Ellsbury as their starting center fielder, and there has been trade interest in Coco Crisp.
- Boston's luxury tax threshold for 2009 is $160.5MM.
- By tomorrow the Red Sox should receive the Jason Varitek book compiled by the Boras corporation. Boras gave a ridiculous Varitek pitch to the media; click the link for quotes. Epstein will meet with Boras today to discuss his clients.
- The Red Sox plan to talk to the Rangers, with Taylor Teagarden, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Gerald Laird as possibilities. For Teagarden, the Red Sox would probably have to give up Clay Buchholz or Michael Bowden.
Links and tidbits for Wednesday. Remember to check back on this post for updates!
- Dave Cameron notes that the Elias rankings screwed over Damaso Marte by making him a Type A. See also: Doug Brocail, Bob Howry, Darren Oliver.
- Remember to check out the Previous Entries link at the bottom of the website, as stories get buried pretty quickly in times like these.
- Japanese outfielder Saburo Ohmura (link in Japanese) would be fine with a minor league deal.
- Roch Kubatko has info on what it might take to trade for Khalil Greene or Jack Wilson.
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly confirmed the team's interest in Junichi Tazawa. For what it's worth, Coonelly wouldn't rule out Derek Lowe when asked.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times offers his thoughts on the rumor mill.
- Official Elias rankings for the AL and NL.
- Ballplayers are in for a tax bump under the Obama administration. They'll manage.
- The Twins are looking for righthanded pop.
- The D'Backs have just $3-5MM budgeted for Randy Johnson.
- The Hanshin Tigers are eyeing Nelson Cruz, Kevin Mench, and Jose Bautista. Only Mench is a free agent of the three.
- The Rockies are looking for a lefty reliever, according to Troy Renck and Keith Law. How about Jeremy Affeldt again?
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin doesn't like his C.C. Sabathia offer being called window dressing.
Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald has the latest on the Marlins.
- The Marlins have had informal talks with the Rangers regarding catcher Max Ramirez. The Fish are willing to trade lefty Scott Olsen, though the Rangers are wary of his makeup and home run tendencies. The Marlins are OK with their in-house options if they can't work out a trade. The Marlins aren't interested in Gerald Laird.
- The Marlins may consider bringing Carl Pavano back to Florida, the site of his last success.
- Luis Gonzalez, Mark Hendrickson, Paul Lo Duca, and Arthur Rhodes are the Marlins' free agents. Of the four, Rhodes stands a chance of being re-signed. However, the Marlins have not spoken to Rhodes' agent in weeks.
- Juan C. Rodriguez reports that despite reports, the Marlins are not in on Junichi Tazawa.
8:09pm: According to John Hickey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Mariners scouts met with Tazawa today. The Yankees will not pursue Tazawa.
7:25pm: O'Brien has more. He says the Braves made a multiyear offer to Tazawa, and will know his decision in a few weeks. In an earlier post, O'Brien passed along a rumor that the Braves' offer topped the $6MM Pedro Alvarez received.
4:10pm: According to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves offered Junichi Tazawa a Major League contract. O'Brien says the Red Sox, Mariners, Cubs, and Marlins are also interested in the 22 year-old pitcher. This offer could put the Braves in the lead, but the dollar amount is unknown.
Links for Tuesday. Be sure to check back on Odds and Ends posts, as I update them throughout the day with minor links.
- The Jays may no longer have A.J. Burnett under contract, but they continued their claiming frenzy by adding pitcher Les Walrond.
- The A's re-hired Jason Giambi's strength coach. Does it mean anything?
- The Cardinals remain intrigued by the idea of bringing Edgar Renteria back.
- The Dodgers bought out catcher Gary Bennett for $50K; he's a free agent now.
- Mike Cameron thinks C.C. Sabathia has a good chance of re-signing with the Brewers. He says Sabathia could be a pioneer by taking less money to stay.
- Yahoo's Tim Brown says Orlando Hernandez is working out and intends to play next year. He did not pitch in the Majors at all this year due to foot injuries.
- Dylan Hernandez chatted with Scott Boras last week.
- The New York Daily News discusses Baseball Prospectus' Nate Silver, whose political website is immensely popular.
- Patrick Newman points out that Junichi Tazawa will not be the first Japanese amateur to sign with an MLB team.
- Buster Olney says Brad Ausmus wants to play in 2009 if it's close to his San Diego home. The Dodgers could be one possibility.
Some Japanese baseball-related rumors, courtesy of Patrick Newman at NPB Tracker:
- Seven teams have surfaced in Japanese media reports as suitors for free agent amateur pitcher Junichi Tazawa: the Red Sox, Braves, Mariners, Pirates, Tigers, Cubs, and Phillies. David O'Brien of the AJC says the Braves are "legit players" for Tazawa. The Red Sox are seen as the frontrunner, according to Paul Hoynes. Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald agrees that Boston is in the lead, and adds the Marlins to the mix.
- Reliever Hitoki Iwase will remain in Japan. Shortstop Tomohiro Nioka is a free agent, but may not necessarily come to MLB.
- So Taguchi and Tadahito Iguchi may return to Japan for the '09 season.
- Saburo Ohmura is a 32 centerfielder with an eye on MLB. Newman tells me he profiles as more of a fourth outfielder.