Philip Hughes Rumors
The White Sox owe it to Paul Konerko to bring him back for a final season in 2014 if the long-time first baseman wishes to keep playing, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune opines. The Sox would have to release or trade Adam Dunn to make room for Konerko with Jose Dariel Abreu now aboard, and while eating Dunn's contract would be expensive, Sullivan argues that Dunn is already a sunk cost and not worth keeping if it means cutting ties with a franchise icon.
Here are some more items from around baseball tonight...
- Chris Young would like to play for the Astros but the free outfielder didn't say if he'd been contacted by the team, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets. Young, a Houston native, has drawn some level of interest from the Red Sox and Mets this winter.
- Also from McTaggart, LaTroy Hawkins said he hasn't been contacted by the Astros this offseason, though the veteran has other "irons in the fire." The Astros are looking for bullpen help and Hawkins has a connection to Houston, having pitched for the club in 2008-09. As many as seven teams, however, have already shown interest in Hawkins, including the Rockies and Mets.
- Dallas Braden tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link) that he intends to try out for teams when he increases his stamina. After throwing a perfect game in 2010, Braden made just three starts in 2011 and hasn't pitched since due to a pair of shoulder surgeries. The southpaw elected free agency from the A's following the 2012 season.
- Brian Cashman tells reporters (including The Chicago Sun-Times Gordon Wittenmyer) that he always expected Joe Girardi to return to manage the Yankees, despite the rumors that Girardi would join the Cubs. Wittenmyer believes the Cubs' reported "back-channel communication" to try and woo Girardi "underscored an ongoing disconnect between the Cubs’ baseball and business sides of the operation."
- The qualifying offer may not be the hindrance to some free agents as it appears, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal argues. Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse were last offseason's two infamous examples of how a draft pick compensation tag could hurt a player's market, but MacPherson opines that the Baseball Prospectus PECOTA system projected Bourn and Lohse as worth the contracts they eventually signed with the Indians and Brewers, respectively.
- If the Rockies could somehow get Justin Morneau at a reasonable price, he would make an ideal platoon partner for Michael Cuddyer and Jordan Pacheco, Troy Renck of the Denver Post opines (Sulia link).
- A member of the Yankees baseball operations staff predicts Phil Hughes will sign with an NL West team, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (via Twitter). The flyball-prone Hughes could be greatly helped by pitching at AT&T Park, Petco Park or Dodger Stadium, though Chase Field or Coors Field aren't good fits. The source says Hughes is a "good fit in Minnesota," and the Twins and Royals are the only teams linked to Hughes so far this offseason.
- Though Tim Hudson is 38 and coming off a nasty broken ankle, a National League talent evaluator still picked the veteran righty as the best risk amongst free agent pitchers who are at least 33 years old, SI.com's Tom Verducci reports. Bartolo Colon, Roy Halladay, Dan Haren and Ryan Vogelsong round out the top five.
Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune discusses (or shoots down) some Padres trade possibilities in his weekly online chat with fans...
- The Padres "are enamored" with Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta. Center reported last week that the Padres have been linked to Arrieta, and Center spoke to a pair of scouts this week who "really love Arrieta's stuff" and believe he could be a second or third starter "in the right situation."
- Center hears that Arrieta and Matt Garza are the pitchers most associated with a potential Padres trade. Several teams are interested in Garza, though I'd argue the Padres could have a possible edge due to Cubs GM Jed Hoyer's familiarity with the San Diego organization and farm system.
- Andrew Cashner, Jedd Gyorko and Everth Cabrera are three players that Center considers "untouchable" for the Padres. Cabrera could be an exception if San Diego received a Major League shortstop in return.
- Center hasn't heard of any Padres interest in Yovani Gallardo or Phil Hughes.
- It's a "long shot" that the Padres would re-acquire White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy. The veteran hurler will be out until after the All-Star break with a rib injury and you would think the Padres would want a safer option if they were going to acquire a starter.
- The San Diego bullpen has been shakier than usual, and Center believes the team may have to make a move to address the problem unless the club can get longer outings from its starting pitchers. Entering Sunday, Padres relievers had thrown 278 innings this season, tied for the third-highest total in the Major Leagues.
- There is a greater possibility that Luke Gregerson is dealt rather than Huston Street because Gregerson would draw more interest on the trade market. Gregerson has been shaky of late (one of the victims of the overworked San Diego bullpen) but still has a 2.67 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 3.5 K/BB ratio in 33 2/3 innings this season. Gregerson is also much cheaper than Street, who is owed $10.5MM through the end of the 2014 season.
9:43am: Sherman tweets that the deal is done.
9:08am: Not surprisingly, the Yankees will pay Vazquez's entire salary, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter).
8:40am: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that it's a two for one deal. The money is still unclear, though it would be a surprise to see the Braves pay any of Vazquez's $11.5MM salary next year.
8:34am: The Yankees are closing in on a deal for Vazquez, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Heyman says the Yankees will acquire Vazquez and Boone Logan for Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn and a prospect.
TUESDAY, 8:08am: Olney reports (via Twitter) that the Yanks have inquired on Pirates pitchers Ross Ohlendorf, Paul Maholm and Zach Duke before. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Yankees aren't trading for Duke or Mahlom (though he doesn't mention Ohlendorf).
MONDAY, 9:11pm: Now Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets that the Yankees are "close to a deal for a starting pitcher, says a source. Still working on who, but I'm told it's not a salary dump deal."
8:55pm: Now Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweets "Hear that Yankees have 'two or three' serious trade talks for starting pitcher - Harang isn't one of them." FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal adds via Twitter: "Source: Yankees in 'active negotiations' for a starting pitcher. Not Harang. Trying to find out who."
8:07pm: Could this be related to what David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote in the comments section of his blog earlier this evening?
"Got a call from a NY writer today wanting to know if I’d heard anything heating up between Yankees and Braves…. Apparently Yankees have hinted at doing “something big” soon. Don’t know if that means pitching."
Hard to imagine the Yankees will go another round with Javier Vazquez, but could this mean Derek Lowe? Like Harang, the Yankees could be among the few teams able to take on Lowe's three-year, $45MM deal.
7:49pm: ESPN.com's Buster Olney tweets the following: "Yankees working very hard tonight on deal for starting pitcher. Remember that they came close to deal for Aaron Harang in summer."
If Harang is indeed the target, the Yankees could be one of the few teams that could afford him. Harang is due $12.5MM in 2010, with a $12.75MM team option for 2011 (and more likely, a $2MM buyout).
Harang pitched to a 4.21 ERA in 162 1/3 innings with Cincinnati in 2009, though his peripherals- 142 strikeouts, 43 walks- were strong.
With Andy Pettitte, C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett all under contract for 2010- acquiring Harang would likely spell the end of either Philip Hughes or Joba Chamberlain in the 2010 rotation plans.