Zach Duke Rumors
Pirates lefty Zach Duke debuted with a splash in 2005, posting a 1.81 ERA over 14 starts and finishing fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting. Since then Duke has posted more pedestrian numbers, strong enough to garner decent salaries in arbitration but not a multiyear deal. Duke is arbitration-eligible one last time after the season. Let's take a closer look at the Pirates' situation.
This year, the 27-year-old Duke has a 5.20 ERA, 5.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, and 1.4 HR/9 in 114.3 innings. Stats like SIERA and xFIP suggest he's been better, deserving of an ERA more in the 4.30 range. I'd call Duke a back-rotation innings-eater, but he missed significant time this year and in 2007 with elbow injuries.
Duke earns $4.3MM in 2010, and will be due some kind of raise if tendered a contract for 2010. Given the Matt Capps situation last year, we can't rule out a non-tender for Dukes if the Pirates don't like his salary demands. Still, a trade seems more likely. Here's what GM Neal Huntington said to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on July 30th:
"If the package is appropriate for one of our starting pitchers, we are willing to consider a move. If the interest is in one of our starting pitchers who is one year away from free agency, that shifts the tolerance accordingly, as we would be able to reinvest their potential dollars into a major-league starting pitcher -- via trade or free agency -- and add valuable multiyear pieces to our major-league club and/or system. Again, we will need to feel good about the return to make a move."
Huntington was clearly referring to Paul Maholm and Duke. I'm guessing he'd prefer to trade only one of the lefties. They're similar pitchers in terms of performance. Their contract situations and injury histories are the difference. Maholm is signed for 2011 at $5.75MM and has a $750K buyout for '12 for a total commitment of $6.5MM. A team tendering Duke a contract might save a million or more in comparison, but they won't have the '12 option and they will have to worry about his health. As a result, it should take less to acquire Duke from the Pirates this winter.
SATURDAY, 1:44am: In a deal for Maholm, the Pirates want a starting pitcher who is ready to contribute, two high-ranking team sources told Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
FRIDAY, 8:23pm: The Dodgers and Pirates aren't necessarily close to a Maholm deal, but the sides believe there's a genuine possibility that a trade happens, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
4:19pm: The Padres are not close to acquiring Maholm, according to Kovacevic (Twitter link).
3:46pm: The Dodgers and Padres are not the only clubs discussing deals with the Pirates, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter). The Mets appear to be involved in discussions for Maholm, according to Scott Miller of CBS Sports.
3:12pm: The two teams look close to a deal, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown (on Twitter).
3:10pm: The Padres are discussing Maholm with the Pirates, according to Scott Miller of CBS Sports (on Twitter).
2:59: The Pirates are "close" to trading Maholm, according to Jim Bowden of Sirius XM Radio (on Twitter). However, Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse hears that the Padres are not discussing a deal for Maholm (Twitter link). Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears that the Padres are making progress on a Maholm deal (Twitter link).
2:36pm: The Padres are discussing Maholm with the Pirates, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
1:29pm: The Pirates are willing to trade a starting pitcher for the right price, GM Neal Huntington told Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Huntington referred to starters close to free agency, which implies Paul Maholm or Zach Duke.
Kovacevic figures Maholm to be more popular than Duke, since the latter spent time on the DL this year with an elbow strain. Maholm is signed reasonably through next year with a club option for 2012, making him appealing to the Dodgers. The Mets, Cardinals, Padres, Twins, and Tigers may also be in the hunt for a starter.
It was on this day in 1938 that Reds lefthander Johnny Vander Meer became a baseball immortal by throwing his second consecutive no-hitter. What better way to commemorate the Vanderversary than with some news items?
- Adam LaRoche is prepared for another summer of hearing rumors and possibly being traded again, reports Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
- What would be fair value for Cliff Lee? Fangraphs' Dave Cameron breaks down the question.
- ESPN.com's Jayson Stark is impressed by how the entire Nationals franchise seems to have turned around in a year's time.
- Hayden Simpson seemed to be a reach for the Cubs as the 16th overall pick, but Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times thinks that Chicago scouting director Tim Wilken's past drafting record "has earned [him] the benefit of the doubt." Maybe so, but implying Simpson could be "the next Roy Halladay" is a bit much.
- Had the Dodgers picked up a veteran starter or two in the offseason, the L.A. Times' Steve Dilbeck says the team could've avoided using so many young arms to plug holes in their injury-plagued rotation.
- Omar Minaya hinted that the Mets could add a starting pitcher, but "is reluctant" to do so at the expense of dealing promising minor leaguers, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- R.J. Anderson of Fangraphs thinks the Marlins will likely be sellers at the trade deadline. Responding to Anderson's story, Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel agrees, but thinks a potential deal could bring back more than just prospects for the Fish.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette chats with Pirates fans and covers a few hot stove topics, including the likelihood of Zach Duke being dealt.
- Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports (via Twitter) that Ozzie Guillen thinks "it was a good sign" that A.J. Pierzynski wasn't traded before his ten-and-five rights kicked in. Guillen believes the non-deal "sends a message to the Sox players that there is still time to fix things."
Links for Wednesday...
- Anthony Lerew cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A, tweets Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star. The Royals designated Lerew for assignment over the weekend.
- Kat O'Brien of The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote a very interesting piece about what happens in Cuba once their players defect. Said one local cab driver: "[Aroldis] Chapman doesn't exist. He never existed."
- Pirates' team president Frank Coonelly chatted with fans at MLB.com. He fielded a question about what the Pirates would do with the second overall pick in June's draft if for some reason the Nationals pass on Bryce Harper.
- The Tigers released minor leaguer Kory Casto, reports Tom Gage of The Detroit News. Casto had been signed to a minor league deal after a .271/.334/.378 performance for the Nationals' Triple A club. Baseball America ranked him fourth among Nats prospects heading into the '07 season.
- Which of Zach Duke, Paul Maholm, and Ryan Doumit is most likely to be traded this summer? Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tackles the question.
- SI's Jon Heyman speculates that the Phillies would probably have to trade Raul Ibanez to be able to retain Jayson Werth after this season.
- Adeiny Hechavarria's visa has been approved and he's headed to the U.S. to take his physical this week for the Blue Jays, tweets ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan suggests the Rays will have long-term difficulty competing, while Jonah Keri offers a rebuttal.
- Rocco Baldelli still has hopes of playing baseball, according to this FOX Sports Florida article. He's currently rehabbing a shoulder injury and working with Rays minor leaguers.
- ESPN's Adam Rubin says the Mets will not place Canadian third base prospect Shawn Bowman on waivers until they've exhausted trade possibilites.
- In search of an accurate Mariners payroll number, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times arrives at about $93MM.
- Tracy Ringolsby of Inside The Rockies explains why free agent Braden Looper would be a good fit for Colorado. On a related note, Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post learned that the Rockies are not interested in Jarrod Washburn.
- Elsewhere on the "nothing brewing" front, Jim Bowden of FOX Sports tweets that Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told him the team has had no discussions regarding Pedro Martinez.
Some notes from Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com...
- The Diamondbacks continue to pursue a number three or four starter in the wake of Brandon Webb's setback. A club official acknowledged that such a pickup was possible, but “I don’t think any team will be willing to give up that kind of pitcher at the start of the season.”
- Rosenthal says the team has infield depth to use in a trade, and reiterated that they'd love to move Chris Snyder and the $11.25MM left on his contract. The Rangers and Red Sox are said to be looking for infielders, and the Mariners could join them following Jack Hannahan's injury.
- The Tigers are shopping Nate Robertson, but Arizona doesn't consider him enough of an upgrade. Zach Duke and Paul Maholm are not available.
- The best available starter may be Chad Gaudin, who was released by the Yankees on Thursday.
- The Brewers considered a Jeff Suppan for Snyder trade, but didn't want to take on Snyder's 2011 salary. Suppan will earn $12.5MM this season, the final one on his contract.
- The Cubs do not expect to make a trade for a reliever before Opening Day, but they've scouted Jason Frasor and Scott Downs, plus Luke Gregerson of the Padres.
- Nick Green has an out clause in his minor league contract, but the Dodgers may add him to the roster to serve as the backup shortstop.
Noon ET today was the deadline for both the team and player to submit their salary figures for arbitration, however the two sides can come to an agreement at any point before the actual hearing. The hearings are scheduled for the first week of February.
We'll keep track of the players who avoid arbitration today by agreeing to deals here. Make sure you check back in for updates, and be sure to click the "Continue Reading" link to see today's full list of settlements. Yesterday's list can be found here.
- Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels avoided arbitration with Mike Napoli and Reggie Willits by signing the duo to one-year deals. Napoli will earn $3.6MM in 2010 with a $100K bonus if he makes 120 starts. Willits' contract is worth $625K.
- Zach Duke's one-year contract with Pittsburgh is worth $4.3MM with no performance bonuses, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- The Padres and reliever Mike Adams have agreed to a contract, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (via Twitter). Brock's follow-up tweet says Adams' deal is worth $1MM, virtually splitting the difference between San Diego's $875K offer and Adams' $1.2MM demands.
- Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that the Twins have agreements in place with all eight of their arbitration eligible players. In a follow-up tweet, Christensen reports that Francisco Liriano agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.6MM and Jesse Crain agreed to a one-year contract worth $2MM.
- Marc Carig of the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that the Mets avoided arbitration with reliever Sean Green (via Twitter). The one-year deal was worth $975K, according to the New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron.
- The Tigers avoided arb with Gerald Laird and Zach Miner as well according to James Jahnke of The Detroit Free Press. MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets the details on the one-year contracts: Laird will earn $3.95MM, Miner will earn $950K.
- Christensen tweets that the Twins avoided arb with Brendan Harris, signing him to a two year deal worth $3.2MM with another $650K in possible incentives.
- The Tigers and Bobby Seay avoided arbitration according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter), agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.475MM.
- Thesier tweets that Matt Guerrier agreed to a one year deal worth $3.15MM with the Twins, avoiding arb.
- Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe tweets that the Red Sox have avoided arbitration with Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, with Delcarmen getting $905K plus incentives according to Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal. Boston avoided arb with Jonathan Papelbon as well.
- Pat Neshek agreed to a one year deal with $625K with another $75K in incentives, avoiding arbitration with the Twins according to MLB.com's Kelly Thesier (via Twitter).
- The Nationals have agreed to terms with Jason Bergmann, Jesus Flores, Wil Nieves, and Josh Willingham according to a team press release. All four players avoided arbitration. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez tweets that Willingham will make $4.6MM next season, while Bergmann will make $750K according to a tweet from MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- MLB.com's Mark Bowman tweets that the Braves and Peter Moylan have agreed to a deal, avoiding arbitration. He gets $1.15MM.
- Matt Garza avoided arbitration with the Rays, tweets Topkin. The two sides agreed to a one year deal worth $3.35MM,
- MLB.com's Jim Street tweets that the Mariners and David Aardsma have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.75MM.
- The Astros avoided arbitration with Michael Bourn, Matt Lindstrom, and Humberto Quintero according to a tweet from MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Bourn gets $2.4MM, Lindstrom $1.625MM, and Quintero $750K (via McTaggart's Twitter).
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports that the Rockies and Jason Hammel have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $1.9MM.
- The A's agreed to a one year deal with Kevin Kouzmanoff, reports The Oakland Tribune. Oakland acquired Kouzmanoff from the Padres over the weekend.
- Jered Weaver agreed to a one year deal worth $4.265MM with the Angels to avoid arbitration, according to a tweet from Jon Heyman.
- Topkin tweets that J.P. Howell agreed to a one year deal worth $1.8MM, avoiding arbitration with the Rays.
- According to the team's official Twitter feed, the Blue Jays avoided arbitration with Jason Frasor ($2.65MM) and Brian Tallet ($2MM) by agreeing to one year deals.
- Delmon Young avoided arbitration with the Twins by agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.6MM, according to a tweet by Joe Christensen of The Star Tribune. Kelly Thesier of MLB.com tweets that Young will get $25K each for 575 and 600 plate appearances.
- According to a team press release, the Royals have avoided arbitration with Alex Gordon and Robinson Tejeda. Terms of either deal was not disclosed.
- Heyman tweets that Stephen Drew and the Diamondbacks agreed to a one year deal worth $3.4MM, avoiding arbitration.
- The White Sox and John Danks avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one year deal worth $3.45M, according to ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine.
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweets that the Mets and Pedro Feliciano have agreed to a one year deal worth $2.9MM, avoiding arbitration. There's another $100K in performance bonuses.
- The Star Telegram's Anthony Andro reports that the Rangers and Chris Ray have avoided arbitration. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says it's a one year deal worth $975K.
- Russell Martin has agreed to a one year contract worth $5.05MM, avoiding arbitration with the Dodgers according to Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times (via Twitter)
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that the Blue Jays and reliever Jeremy Accardo have agreed to a one year deal worth $1.08MM, avoiding arbitration.
- Rafael Perez agreed to a one year deal with the Indians to avoid arbitration according to a team press release. MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince tweets that Perez will make $795K in 2010.
- The Orioles and Luke Scott avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $4.05MM according to Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun. He earned $2.4MM last season, hitting .258/.340/.488 with a career high 25 homers.
- MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweets that the Cubs have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($975K). Mike Fontenot ($1MM,) Koyie Hill ($700K), Angel Guzman ($825K), and Tom Gorzelanny ($800K). Terms of the deals came from Gordon Wittenmyer of The Chicago Sun Times (via Twitter).
- Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the Pirates and Zach Duke have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one year deal.
- Mike Salk of 710 ESPN Radio reports that Mark Lowe and the Mariners have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $1.15MM salary for next season.
- LaVelle E. Neal III of The Star Tribune tweets that the Twins and J.J. Hardy have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $5MM. He gets a small raise over last year's $4.65MM salary after hitting .229/.302/.357.
- According to the Cardinals' official Twitter feed, the team has avoided arbitration with Ryan Ludwick by agreeing to a one year deal. Heyman tweets that he'll receive $5.45MM next year after earning $3.7MM in 2009.
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Josh Hamilton, giving him $3.25MM plus awards-based bonuses according to a tweet from SI.com's Jon Heyman. It was his first time eligible. Hamilton hit .268/.315/.426 in 2009, missing time with back trouble and a sports hernia.
- Mark Topkin of The St. Petersburg Times tweets that the Rays and Jason Bartlett have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $4MM salary for 2010. He earned just under $2MM in 2009, hitting .320/.389/.490 with a career high 14 homers.
- Casey Janssen agreed to a $700K deal for 2010 to avoid arbitration, according to the Blue Jays official Twitter feed. It was his first time up for arbitration.
- Juan C. Rodriguez of The Sun Sentinel reports (via Twitter) that the Marlins and Jorge Cantu have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $6MM. Cantu hit .289/.345/.443 while making $3.5MM in 2009, his first year of arb eligibility.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy tweets that both Carlos Gomez and Rickie Weeks have agreed to one year deals to avoid arbitration. Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel tweets that Weeks will earn $2.75MM next year, while Gomez will earn $1.1MM as a Super Two.
- Heyman tweets that the Dodgers have avoided arbitration with both George Sherrill and James Loney. Sherrill gets $4.5MM plus incentives in his third year eligible, Loney $3.1MM in his first go around.
- According to the Blue Jays official Twitter feed, reliever Shawn Camp has agreed to a $1.15MM deal for 2010, avoiding arb. He was eligible for the second time after posting a 3.50 ERA in 79.2 innings last season.
- Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald reports (via Twitter) that Leo Nunez and the Marlins have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $2MM salary for 2010. Sticking with the theme of the day, it was his first time eligible for salary arbitration.
- MLB.com's Ken Gurnick tweets that the Dodgers and Hong Chih-Kuo have agreed to a one-year deal worth $950K, avoiding arb. It was Kuo's first time eligible.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets that the Mets and Jeff Francoeur have avoided arb by agreeing to a $5MM deal. Francoeur earned $3.375MM in 2009 and hit .280/.309/.423 for the Mets and Braves.
- Heyman tweets that Howie Kendrick and the Angels have agreed to a $1.75MM deal with incentives. This was Kendrick's first crack at arbitration.
- Heyman tweets that the A's and Rajai Davis agreed to a $1.35MM salary for 2010, plus incentives. This was Davis' first year eligible for arbitration.
- Heyman tweets that Jonathan Sanchez avoided arb with the Giants by agreeing to a $2.1MM deal, plus incentives. He posted a 4.24 ERA in 163.1 innings last year, and was up for arbitration for the first time in his career.
Some links for Friday...
- In an interview with 619 Sports out of San Diego, Scott Hairston said he found out he got traded back to the Padres by reading MLBTR. Cool!
- The Brewers will wait until next month before they consider making an offer to Mark Mulder, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer runs down the Reds' arbitration history.
- The Orioles have signed outfielder Jeff Salazar to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, reports Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun.
- The Brewers are still in touch with Mark Mulder and Doug Davis, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- The Yankees offered Jesus Montero straight up for Roy Halladay, according to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star (Hat Tip: River Ave. Blues).
- The Rockies watched Derrick Turnbow throw today, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- The Nationals are still in the mix to sign Orlando Hudson, who hopes to sign soon (MLB.com's Bill Ladson reporting).
- Pete Caldera of NorthJersey.com hears of some mutual interest between the Yankees and Rocco Baldelli.
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Brandon McCarthy, agreeing to a $1.32MM deal for 2010, according to Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels tells Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas that he'd like to add a catcher, but he's not about to rush. "We have some time," the GM said.
- Ryan Theriot tells Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that he'd like the Cubs to sign Ben Sheets.
- The Mets signed Jolbert Cabrera to a minor league deal, according to Ed Price of AOL FanHouse (via Twitter).
- Writing for FanGraphs, Patrick Newman explains what the Rangers can expect from new signing Colby Lewis.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted last night that the Mets contacted Jerry Hairston Jr..
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney says some people within the Mets organization believe Omar Minaya will be fired the first time his club slumps badly.
- Olney also notes that Adam LaRoche will be up against a crop of free agent first basemen that could include Carlos Pena, Lance Berkman and Derrek Lee after the season.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post says the Giants, Padres, Rangers and Mariners have all called about Yorvit Torrealba.
- The Pirates aren't close to agreeing to terms with Zach Duke on his 2010 salary, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Duke made $2.2MM last year in his first season as an arbitration-eligible player.
- The Cardinals will watch Derrick Turnbow throw today, according to Rob Rains of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.
- The Cards signed knuckleballer Charlie Zink to a minor league deal, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. After eight years in the Red Sox organization, the 30-year-old will try to break camp with St. Louis.
- Bill James tells Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that he's curious to see how much better the Red Sox are on defense this season.
Links for a snowy Thursday...
- MLB.com's Lyle Spencer tweets of the Dodgers' interest in Robb Quinlan for a fourth outfielder role. The Rockies and Twins are other known suitors.
- Red Sox GM Theo Epstein appeared on the Toucher and Rich show this morning. He spoke about the team's offense, Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Lowell, and the "bridge period" comment; MLB.com's Ian Browne provides the transcript.
- MASN's Steve Melewski says the Red Sox rescinded the contract given to reliever Bob McCrory after he failed his physical.
- Tommy Rancel of DRays Bay looks at the team-friendly deals signed by Paul Cohen clients.
- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa told Cam Inman of The Contra Costa Times there's a non-zero chance the team adds Mark McGwire to the player roster on August 31st.
- There is currently no timetable for the Cardinals to sit down with Albert Pujols' agents, GM John Mozeliak told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cards are ready to talk when Pujols is.
- Maury Brown of The Biz of Baseball is beta-testing an MLB salary database. Also of note: Cot's Baseball Contracts has joined the Baseball Prospectus family.
- ESPN's Buster Olney wrote yesterday that Khalil Greene is working hard and seeks a big league deal. Greene can play shortstop or third base, and Olney sees Oakland as a potential match.
- The Pirates aren't far apart with Zach Duke on his 2010 salary, writes Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Kovacevic believes Duke's $2.2MM salary could double in his second arbitration year. A multiyear deal is not in the works.
- Murray Chass chronicles the blank contract Andre Dawson gave to the Cubs in the spring of '87.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues looks at Nick Johnson's injury history in detail.
- A December 30th tweet from SI's Melissa Segura notes that Dominican lefty Victor Payano signed with the Rangers. Payano had a deal with the Red Sox in July for $900K that was voided due to shoulder concerns. Here's a video of the 16-year-old courtesy of Kiley McDaniel.
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.
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."