Zach Duke Rumors

Odds & Ends: Epstein, Cards, Contracts, Greene

Links for a snowy Thursday…

Yankees, Braves Agree To Vazquez Deal

9:50am: Buster Olney of hears that the Yankees will send $500K to the Braves as part of the deal. Olney does not mention Vizcaino in the report, but O'Brien tweets that he is in the deal.

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).

8:56am: Sherman tweets that the Braves are acquiring righty Arodys Vizcaino, Melky and Dunn for Logan and Vazquez.


Pirates Have Discussed Capps, Doumit

Dejan Kovacevic reports that the Pirates have been discussing closer Matt Capps and catcher Ryan Doumit with other teams. He also adds that they've listened on Zach Duke and Paul Maholm, but it's likely been only listening thus far. Kovacevic quotes GM Neal Huntington as saying "it's safe to assume interest" in Duke and Maholm, as many teams in baseball would like to add a durable lefty to their rotation.

Kovacevic suggests that it would be unlike Huntington to move Capps and Doumit with their values both deflated following disappointing 2009 seasons. However, Capps earned $2.425MM this season en route to a 5.80 ERA over 57 appearances, and is arbitration eligible. Both the Rangers and Rays have said to be interested in the right-hander.

Doumit fractured his wrist and missed significant time, which likely played a large part in his offensive woes in 2009. After putting up a 2008 line of .318/.357/.501, he slipped to just .250/.299/414 in 2009. The Mariners and Rangers have both inquired on the switch-hitting catcher who is owed $3.55MM in 2010 and $5.1MM in 2011 before two club options kick in.

When asked about the possibility of non-tendering Capps, Huntington eventually was quoted as saying, "Barring any unforeseen circumstance, we intend to tender our arbitration-eligible players."

Zach Duke, Paul Maholm Available?

Pirates starters Zach Duke and Paul Maholm are available, says Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  However, Morosi's source says the Bucs would have to be "overwhelmed" to trade either pitcher.  Maholm is owed $11MM over the next two seasons.  Duke is under team control for two more years and is due an arbitration raise on this year's $2.2MM salary.  Morosi sees Duke getting $3-4MM in 2010; I think his 4.06 ERA in 213 innings will fetch him more.

Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted this morning that teams are inquiring on Duke, Maholm, Matt Capps, and Ryan Doumit, though GM Neal Huntington has said he's not shopping anyone.  Kovacevic also said that it'd take a "significant return" to pry Duke or Maholm loose.

Pirates Have Money To Make Splash

Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette informs us that while it may be an unlikely scenario, general manager Neal Huntington does have the payroll flexibility to make a big move at the meetings if he sees value in it for the Pirates. Says Huntington:

"The key word you're going to be hearing from us is value… We could do something big just so that we can feel good about ourselves and show everybody that we did something or that we're spending up to a certain level. But we're not going to do that unless it makes sense and unless there's a real value to the Pittsburgh Pirates."

The Pirates are currently projected to have a $34MM payroll, down significantly from the $49MM they spent on their 40-man roster in 2009. So the "value" that Huntington mentions doesn't necessarily have to mean "inexpensive."

Still, Kovacevic calls any real interest in Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, Rich Harden, or Mike Gonzalez "unlikely," and reminds us that the Pirates free agent contact so far has consisted of Rick Ankiel, Hank Blalock, Justin Duchscherer, Noah Lowry, J.J. Putz, Ron Villone, and Kameron Loe.

Danny Knobler from CBS Sports seems to think the Pirates have some money as well though, as he's heard them linked to Juan Pierre. Knobler reports that the Dodgers would like to acquire Zach Duke or Paul Maholm in any deal, meaning they'd have to eat a significant portion of Pierre's salary. Personally, I'd assume they'd have to include some prospects as well to make the deal make sense for Pittsburgh.

While the Pierre scenario may not entirely make sense for the Buccos on the surface level, it does add to the thought that Pittsburgh may be in line to surprise us at this year's meetings. Any thoughts on an ace that Huntington may have up his sleeve?

D’Backs Attempting To Trade For A Starter

The Diamondbacks "are more focused on trades than free agents" in their search for a starting pitcher, according to a source of Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  The writers suggest the D'Backs will look for a cheap back-end rotation type, speculating on non-tender candidates Dave Bush, Brian Tallet, and Tim Redding.  It sounds like the D'Backs don't want to give up a ton in trade, as they're reluctant to meet the asking price for Edwin Jackson and haven't inquired on Pirates starters Paul Maholm and Zach Duke.

Back on November 12th, we named about 30 potentially available starters, including Tallet and Bush.

Pirates Notes: Rule 5, Duke, Yates

Dejan Kovacevic has a new column up focusing on a number of Pirates topics:

  • After liking what they've found in Rule 5 Draft picks Evan Meek and Donnie Veal, the Pirates are actively scouting available players and have identified some potential targets to use their #2 pick on in this year's Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 10. Meek posted a 3.45 ERA out of the 'pen for the Buccos in 2009. And, while Kovacevic points out that Veal's numbers this season were ugly, he recently dominated the Arizona Fall League. Veal posted a 2.14 ERA through 21 innings, allowing only a .221 opponent average, striking out 22 and walking seven.
  • Last offseason, the Pirates locked up Ryan Doumit, Nate McLouth, and Paul Maholm, but Kovacevic says not to expect any long-term deals this time around. That includes Zach Duke, who will be eligible for free agency after the 2011 season.
  • Tyler Yates, who underwent Tommy John surgery back in July, is back to playing pain-free long-toss and is discussing a minor league deal to keep him in the Pirates organization.

Odds & Ends: Duke, Hardy, Mets, Angels

Some Saturday evening links…

  • Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports write that the Brewers asked the Pirates for Zach Duke or Paul Maholm in exchange for J.J. Hardy.  Pittsburgh hoped to land the shortstop in exchange for closer Matt Capps or catcher Ryan Doumit.  When the Pirates refused to budge, the Brewers pulled the trigger on the deal with Minnesota for Carlos Gomez.
  • Also noted is that the Mets are considering former Indians skipper Eric Wedge as a candidate for their bench coach vacancy.  The position could be a stepping stone to the head job as Jerry Manuel is in the final year of his contract.  Bob Melvin and former Orioles bench coach Dave Jauss are also in the mix.
  • After recently signing GM Tony Reagins to a new contract, the Angels have made a few front office changes, reports Lyle Spencer of
  • John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer implores the Reds not to trade Bronson Arroyo or Brandon Phillips to clear payroll.
  • Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun suggests that Dan Uggla would make a good fit for the Orioles.  Based on conversations that Schmuck has had with beat writer Jeff Zrebiec, it doesn't seem as though the O's front office agrees.
  • Marquis Grissom will not return as the Nationals' first base coach, writes's Bill Ladson.

Odds & Ends: Pirates, Sabean, Weeks

Tuesday linkage:

Pirates Will Tender Contracts To Key Arbitration Eligible Players

According to Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the Pirates plan on tendering contracts to their three key arbitration eligible players: closer Matt Capps, shortstop Ronny Cedeno, and starter Zach Duke. Jeff Karstens may also qualify as a Super Two.

Capps earned $2.3MM this season, the second year of the two year, $3.05MM contract he signed last April. With three more years of arbitration ahead of him, Capps may have been a non-tender candidate after posting a 5.68 ERA and sky-high homerun rate (1.7 HR/9 IP) in 2009.

"I don't see a situation in which we non-tender Capps unless we get completely unrealistic financial demands," [GM Neal] Huntington said. "From the standpoint of our belief in his ability, that's absolutely there."

Duke and Cedeno, on the other hand, earned $2.2MM and $822K this season, respectively. Duke was an All Star for the first time in 2009, although Cedeno hasn't hit much after coming over in the Jack Wilson deal. The team could approach Duke about a long-term extension, similar to the three year, $14.5MM deal they gave Paul Maholm earlier this year.