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Alex Cora offers a scouting report on Javier Vazquez 01.03.13 at 10:50 pm ET
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Former big league infielder Alex Cora, who spent 14 years in the big leagues including four with the Red Sox from 2005-08, is now serving as the general manager of the Caguas Criollos of the Puerto Rican Winter League. Cora assembled a team that cruised to the best record in the regular season, giving him the first pick in an end-of-season draft of the players who were on the two teams that didn’t qualify for the playoff round robin.

That pick, in turn, offered a fairly obvious prize: veteran big leaguer Javier Vazquez.

The 36-year-old hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2011, choosing to stay at home for the 2012 season. But Vazquez, who sports a career 165-160 record and 4.22 ERA in 14 big league seasons, stayed in shape in 2012 by playing tennis and doing various cross-training activities, putting him in a position to prepare to pitch for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic this spring. As part of that preparation, Vazquez has now pitched in five winter league games, forging a 3.52 ERA with 30 strikeouts and six walks in 23 innings for Ponce before Cora selected him to join Caguas for the playoffs.

In the process, he’s looked, according to Cora, like the same pitcher who dominated in the big leagues at the end of 2011. Vazquez was 5-0 with a 0.71 ERA, 36 strikeouts and three walks in 38 innings for the Marlins in September 2011, earning NL Pitcher of the Month honors in his last month in the big leagues. That was the culmination of a stretch of 19 season-ending starts in 2011, during which Vazquez went 10-5 with a 1.92 ERA, 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings and just 1.4 walks per nine.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Alex Cora, anthony ranaudo, javier vazquez,
Red Sox vs. Yankees matchups, 8/6 08.06.10 at 2:32 pm ET
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After the Red Sox managed to scrape together a split of a four-game home series against the lowly Indians, it doesn’€™t get any easier as they start another four-game set with the rival Yankees, who enter Friday’€™s game leading the AL East by a half-game over the Rays. The two teams haven’€™t faced each other since May 18, a 7-6 Red Sox win. The Yankees lead the eight-game season series 5-3 and haven’€™t suffered back-to-back losses to the Red Sox all season. The Sox may need to put back-to-back-to-back-to-back wins, in other words a sweep, if they want to play their way back into the middle of the conversation for both the division and the wild card races. Clay Buchholz will try to get the team started on the right foot Thursday when he takes the starting mound against New York’€™s Javier Vazquez.

Buchholz (11-5, 2.59 ERA) might have taken over the title of best Red Sox pitcher this season given Jon Lester‘€™s recent struggles. He’€™s second only to Cliff Lee‘€™s 2.51 ERA in the American League in that category. His 11 wins are good for sixth. However since he suffered a hamstring injury before the All-Star break, Buchholz hasn’€™t been quite as dominant. In the three games since returning to the rotation, he has a 1-1 record with a 3.32 ERA, solid numbers for sure but a little lackluster when compared to his whole body of work this season. However, batters are hitting just .183 in that time. When Buchholz takes the mound Thursday, he’€™ll do it on the road where his ERA (2.36) is surprisingly nearly half a run better than at home (2.81). That may be good news, but the opponent isn’€™t nearly as much. Buchholz has struggled against the men in pinstripes in the past, going 0-2 with a 6.53 ERA in four starts.

Despite Buchholz’€™s checkered past against the Yankees, no one would question that the Red Sox have the upper hand in Thursday’€™s pitching matchup. Vazquez (9-7, 4.61 ERA) simply has not lived up to expectations since the Yankees got him from the Braves in the offseason. He started the season 1-4 with a 8.10 ERA in his first six starts, earning a demotion to bullpen duty in mid-May. It was then that he made his only appearance against the Red Sox this season as he struck out Kevin Youkilis in the ninth inning in his only relief appearance of the season on May 17. (He actually received the win in that game after Jonathan Papelbon blew a 9-7 lead in the ninth.) Since then he has calmed down some, going 7-3 with a 3.36 in 13 starts. However, don’€™t expect Vazquez to stay in the game for too long; he hasn’€™t pitched more than seven innings in any outing this season. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Clay Buchholz, javier vazquez,
Buster Olney Talks Holliday, Beltre on D&H 01.06.10 at 4:11 pm ET
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Why did the Cardinals pay as much as they did for a guy (Matt Holliday) that nobody else was bidding for?

That was the question that people around baseball were asking last night, because we know that the Yankees weren’€™t involved. The Mets weren’€™t involved because they signed Jason Bay. The Red Sox weren’€™t involved because they offered Holliday that five-year deal at the beginning of the off-season then they moved off to John Lackey. The Angels weren’€™t involved, the Dodgers weren’€™t involved, the Phillies weren’€™t involved. So who pushed the number to that point?

I really think it probably comes down to this. The Cardinals had a fear that Holliday might decide, look, I’€™m just going to sign a one-year deal, go back out on the market next fall. If I’€™m the Cardinals, then I go with that rather than now putting themselves in a position with Albert Pujols set to become a free agent in two years, in order to re-sign him.

As one GM said last night, [Pujols] probably would be justified to ask for $30 million a year. The Cardinals have set themselves up for either A, not re-sign Albert Pujols because he’€™s going to become so expensive, or B, become committed to two players, ages 32-37, somewhere in the range of 42-48 million dollars a year. Those are the type of decisions that you see less and less of in baseball where there’€™s greater concern for flexibility, but the Cardinals obviously decided to go in a different direction.

Before I ask you about the Red Sox, I want to follow up on Holliday. Who do you think had the most influence there? Do you think that was Tony LaRussa, or was that a management call?

I think Tony certainly has a voice, it’€™s an important one in that organization. My guess is they felt some pressure with their fan base to try to put a winning team on the field. I don’€™t know, it surprised me that they would up giving in in a way that even the New York Mets didn’€™t in their negotiations with Jason Bay. Because if you really look at it, if they stood on an $85 million offer or a $90 million offer to [Holliday], who was going to challenge that? Why would they feel compelled to go to $120 million?

I don’€™t know if you saw the quote, I’€™m sure you did, from Joe Maddon, where he said Adrian Beltre is the best third baseman he’€™s ever seen with his own eyes. How do you see Beltre as a player defensively and what you think he’€™ll do for the Red Sox? Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Adrian Beltre, buster olney, javier vazquez, mark mcgwire
Peter Gammons on Dale & Holley 12.25.09 at 1:42 am ET
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Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons appeared in studio on WEEI on Wednesday to discuss the state of the offseason and to discuss the upcoming Hot Stove, Cool Music events (on Jan. 9, 2010).

Gammons discussed several offseason topics, among them:

–There’€™s almost no way that the Red Sox can bring back Jason Bay. The offer that Bay received from the Sox is the best one he’€™s received, just as the Sox made the best offer (five years, $82.5 million) that Matt Holliday had received before they moved on to sign John Lackey.

–The Sox and Padres haven’€™t exchanged any names regarding a potential Adrian Gonzalez deal. It will be virtually impossible for the Padres to even think about trading Gonzalez before July.

–The availability of Miguel Cabrera in a trade will likely depend on the Tigers’€™ performance in the early stages of the season. If he does become available, the Sox would be interested, despite the inherent concerns about Cabrera off the field.

Jacoby Ellsbury could see the majority of his playing time in left field, which would help preserve his legs for offense.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is in ‘€œunbelievable shape.’€

–It remains to be seen how the Mike Lowell situation develops following the failed trade to the Rangers. Lowell could become an important contributor as a first baseman/third baseman/DH and right-handed bat. At the same time, the team believes in Casey Kotchman‘€™s offensive potential.

To listen to complete audio of the session, click here. A transcript of highlights is below. For details of the Hot Stove, Cool Music events, click here.

Any chance Jason Bay ends up back with the Red Sox as opposed to in Queens?

I think he’€™d rather be playing in Beirut than Queens. The sad part of this is that sometimes there’€™s so much competition between agents that the players become pawns. I think in Jason’€™s case, it would have been really easy to take 4 x 15 [million dollars] in July, which I thought, actually, at the time was a little bit high as an offer. It was clear that the Red Sox just wanted to get him signed and get him out of the way. While the Mets offer is four [years] for 65 [million], it’€™s so backloaded that I’€™ve been told by Mets people that it’€™s far less than what the Red Sox were offering in present-day value. And he obviously doesn’€™t want to play there. And they’€™re scared of having him play left field there for four years. It’€™s really a shame it’€™s worked out this way. I don’€™t see any way they’€™re going to add anybody else here. They’€™re not going to go above the luxury tax. They’€™re going to hold some money back to acquire a contract in July for whatever they need. It’€™s too bad. I know he wanted to go the free-agent route. But at the same time, he really found a home here. It’€™s really too bad.

It’€™s the same way with Matt Holliday. Scott Boras is brilliant. But I’€™m not sure Matt Holliday has anything comparable to the five [years] times 16.5 [million] that the Red Sox offered him at the winter meetings. I don’€™t think he’€™s going to get a Mark Teixeira contract.

Were you surprised that the Sox moved so quickly to sign Mike Cameron, with Bay and Holliday still out there?

I think they basically had spent five months with Jason Bay and Joe Urbon and just said, ‘€˜Okay, you’€™re not going to move? It’€™s been five months. We’€™re going to move on.’€™ The night before they did Cameron, they went to Boras, they had the five times 16.5, and he said it had to be a Mark Teixeira contract, so they moved on.

I know that defense has been the focus of this offseason. If you go to Baseball Prospectus and believe those defensive [efficiency] ratings, they were the second worst defensive team in baseball. Watching them, I would say that they were. However they configure the outfield, it’€™s going to be very good. I know they’€™d like to find one more right-handed hitting outfielder. And the left side of the infield will theoretically be better. It will be very interesting to see.

My theory is they want to play Ellsbury in left field as much as possible. I thought his improvement, getting to balls inside, I thought he started to make a quantum leap as an offensive player ‘€“ not Grady Sizemore, but not far removed. I think he’€™ll be a better offensive player than Curtis Granderson, for instance ‘€“ quite a bit better of an offensive player than Granderson.

I remember in ‘€™84 or ‘€™85, when the Yankees got Rickey Henderson in a trade with the A’€™s, I was doing a story on him in beautiful downtown Winter Haven. He said to me, ‘€˜The beating you take when you steal 70 to 100 bases a year is incredible.’€™ Now, with Rickey, he went into the bag so hard, head first, he was beating up his hands and legs. He said, ‘€˜It’€™s really hard to play centerfield and run 100 times a year.’€™ Barry Bonds has told me the same thing. That’€™s why he wasn’€™t playing centerfield in Pittsburgh. He was playing left field.

I think Ellsbury really wants to be a great offensive player. Boras is smart enough to know that a Gold Glove is not going to go to arbitration the same way that hitting .300 and stealing 80 bases will. So I think he’€™ll be open to it. He played left field in the Cape League. They’€™ll play Ellsbury in left field 80-100 games a year, rest his legs a little bit, and maybe it will keep him fresher over the course of the season.

One of the things, people all have their opinion about Boras, and he’€™s a tough agent, but he will work with teams if he thinks it’€™s right. Most farm directors will tell you that he’€™s the best agent because it’€™s in his interest and the club’€™s best interest to have his client succeed. So he’€™ll cooperate when it comes to that stuff. Like this year with Oliver Perez, he made Oliver Perez go to Arizona, get the work and lose weight to get in shape. I think he’€™ll understand that with Ellsbury. I think he’€™ll see, ‘€˜Oh boy ‘€“ he might make $7 million next year in arbitration.’€™

Boras told Alex Cora after he signed his two-year deal with the Red Sox to work out to set up for his next contract.

He’€™s very interested in that. More and more agents are realizing that part of their responsibilities back to teams is to get guys in facilities and get them in shape. I know that Vernon Wells is doing it, Carl Crawford, at a training center in Houston. A lot of guys go to Athletes’€™ Performance. My old friend Mike Roberts, who runs the baseball part of API, says that Daisuke [Matsuzaka] is in unbelievable shape and really working hard. He said, ‘€˜Do you think he was embarrassed last summer?’€™ I said, ‘€˜His criticizing the Red Sox was like his way of saving face in Japan.’€™ But he’€™s in tremendous shape.

Before Cameron, they offered the Holliday deal. Did they want Holliday or Lackey more?

I think they looked at it and said it’€™s going to be harder to get a big-time front-line [pitcher], once they knew that the Holliday thing was going to drag out into the middle of January, I think they said, it’€™s going to be easier to find a hitter on the market in June or July than it is to get a frontline pitcher.

I don’€™t think they ever thought he was that interested in coming to Boston. I didn’€™t know the whole thing about his wife going to the University of New Hampshire.

What is the situation with Mike Lowell?

I think Mike got frustrated and it’€™s my understanding he did say, or [agent] Sam Levinson said, it’€™s probably best if he got traded. Okay, that’€™s understandable. But at the same time, Mike wants to play full time. I understand that entirely. I talked to Mike Reinold after he had been down there to see him.

You have to believe a full offseason of rehab will help him. I remember calling Mike after the first of the year last year. He was really worried about being ready for spring training. One of Terry Francona‘€™s great lines was, ‘€˜Tell him we don’€™t need him to be ready for the Boston College game.’€™ I don’€™t know how this all works out. I really don’€™t. They’€™ve been looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder. They may not do that now, if he’€™s coming back.

They want to give Casey Kotchman every chance. I must say, a year ago in spring training, I did a thing on ESPN.com about the five guys I thought would have breakout seasons. Kotchman was one of them.

One of my favorite statistics in looking at young players as they come up, do they have more walks and more extra-base hits than strikeouts? On the major-league level, in the last 50 years, there are only 11 of them ‘€“ Pedroia and Pujols are two of them, by the way ‘€“ that have that. Kotchman’€™s numbers were unbelievable in the minor leagues. It’€™s such a good predictor of guys being really good hitters. Actually, he’€™s not that far from it on the major-league level. Except for the time, he was hitting .330-something in Anaheim in 2008 and got beaned. He struggled after that. Then, he didn’€™t play much here.

He’€™s a great first baseman. I get the impression Tito really wants to play him. I can see him, I talked to [Angels hitting coach] Mickey Hatcher about it a lot during the playoffs, he said if he can just relax, this ballpark was made for him. He’€™s Nick Johnson with defensive skills. So it will be interesting to see what happens with him.

The Sox probably don’€™t believe as much as Mike Lowell believes that he’€™s going to be a better, more mobile player.

You just never know who gets hurt, what happens. I remember the year he came over from the Marlins, people saying, writing, scouts saying, he’€™s done. He’€™s lost his bat speed. ‘€¦ And of course it turned out that he played great for them. Playing first, third, being a right-handed DH, maybe he ends up being an important part of the team. Who knows?

The thumb injury isn’€™t that dramatic ‘€“ plenty of guys come back from this. So why did Texas blow this up?

I don’€™t think Max Ramirez is any loss to Red Sox Nation.

I guess [the Rangers] got cold feet, having to spend $3 million. I don’€™t see it. I think they’€™re being a little bit silly here.

He has to be a little bit better in terms of the hip. Alex Rodriguez‘€™ operation was really minor. It can’€™t be compared to Lowell’€™s. But Chase Utley‘€™s, I still think he’€™s one of the five best players in the National League, but he was not quite the same defensive player this year after having the hip operation. I’€™m sure he will be this year. He’€™ll be the same guy again.

I think it takes some time. I didn’€™t understand that these operations didn’€™t exist a dozen years ago. It started in Europe and this is a very new technology. Mike’€™s a little bit older and a little different body type than Utley. It’€™s something that’€™s new. I have to believe it will be better.

It was tough at the end. The playoffs, he couldn’€™t move at all. I understand that. But he’€™d also been playing everyday for a full season.

What can be expected of Mike Cameron at this point in his career?

I think a great deal of energy. He is a really good defender. The only thing that worries me is that he’€™s so fearless that with all the things that jut out in Fenway that he’€™ll run into something. But I think he’€™ll hit 25 home runs, he’€™ll steal 20, 25 bases and be a really good outfielder. He is in great shape and he’€™s completely fearless. He will strike out a lot.

To me, he’€™ll probably hit seventh or eighth in the order. He hits left-handed pitching ‘€“ he has in the past ‘€“ pretty well. He’€™s a guy that good teams want him. The Yankees tried to trade Melky Cabrera for him the year before and the Brewers changed their minds on it.

He’€™ll be a good player. It’€™s one of those years, they make the deal with Florida [for Jeremy Hermida], they have Kotchman around, they have a couple of guys who people have loved for years. If all of a sudden one of them breaks out the way David Ortiz did, or even Kevin Millar did really here, then they get one or two pretty good players in terms of depth.

Where do you see the Adrian Gonzalez situation being right now?

I don’€™t think that Jed will even think about trading him until July. One of the things he found when he went out there, he’€™d always said all those years when he was with the Red Sox, they didn’€™t do deals based on how they thought the public would react, as we know ‘€“ trading Nomar, some other things. They did what they thought was in the best interests of the team.

They have to think about selling tickets in San Diego. Adrian Gonzalez is from there, he’€™s Mexican-American, he’€™s the most marketable player they have. This is a new ownership. They can’€™t afford for their first move to be trading their most important player. Now, if they’€™re 25 games out on July 1st, that may be a different story.

Another problem they have in making trades is that they played really well the last two months. I’€™ve always likened it to a college basketball game where a team is down 40 points and they rally to lose by 10, so everybody says, ‘€˜Wow ‘€“ they played great in the last 10 minutes.’€™ But actually, they’€™re going to be back to losing by 30 the next time they play that team. My guess is that’€™s what the Padres will be. They have to get much more athletic in the outfield. They’€™re playing [Kyle] Blanks in left field, which is going to be a problem. I don’€™t think he’€™ll even think about it for a while. I think they’€™ll go into this next season, then see where they’€™re at, and then talk.

I was talking to Jed a couple days ago. He said he was amazed reading some of the names that they supposedly exchanged. Because they hadn’€™t. The Padres now have the Red Sox’€™ assistant general manager and their scouting director. They know the difference between Casey Kotchman and Michael Bowden.

Are you surprised the Sox went five years with John Lackey, and how do you think it affects the Josh Beckett situation?

I was surprised. I understand that one of the things they really felt about Lackey the last year and a half is that he really developed feel ‘€“ changing speeds a lot better than he used to. He used to be a head-on guy. But I think it’€™s going to make it difficult.

I can come up with, okay, Beckett’€™s career ERA in Boston is 4.05. The last two years in the postseason he’€™s allowed 18 runs in 30 innings. Blah, blah. But the staff views Josh Beckett as the captain of the pitching staff. He’€™s a model guy who’€™s a leader, he cares about whether the team wins or loses. I think that’€™s going to be a tough negotiation. I do think they’€™ll make every effort to keep him. I really do.

If he has a normal season, the negotiations will start at five years.

I think that will provide for some interesting negotiations.

For Beckett, it’€™s a win-win ‘€“ Beckett is now clearly the top guy in next year’€™s free-agent market.

My guess is that Cliff Lee goes out on the market, but yeah, [Beckett] should be the No. 1 guy after Lee. If he has a really good year, and in fairness, I understand part of his reputation was that he was a great October pitcher, and he hasn’€™t been a good October pitcher the last two years, but he’€™s also been hurt. Okay, now, like A.J. Burnett, he has a history of some injuries.

At the same time, if he comes back and is healthy for a whole year, puts up 33 starts, doesn’t have a pull or a shoulder problem or hip problem, whatever different things he’€™s had, then in my mind, there’€™s no reason he won’t win 18-20 games, and as we’ve seen with Lackey and Burnett, that’€™s $16, $17, $18 million a year.

Who won the Halladay trade?

I think Seattle did really well. They’€™ve built that team up. Jack Zduriencik has done a great job with the defense. But I love Halladay pitching in Philadelphia. Jayson Stark, I don’€™t remember the numbers, but he had some great numbers on what the Toronto Blue Jays have been the last two years without Roy Halladay starting. It’€™s incredible. They have been like a .430 winning percentage team. In Philadelphia, with pretty good defense, a team that scores a lot of runs and a team that’€™s a lot of fun to play for ‘€“ that team, it’€™s crazy, they’€™re really fun ‘€“ he’€™s in the National League, I think that helps.

I’€™m a big Javy Vazquez guy. It’€™s hard not to like him. He’€™s one of the most likeable people. I know that Ozzie Guillen felt he was a National League pitcher, he wasn’€™t tough. I think that kind of drove him out of New York, although he did have some shoulder problems that he never talked about that one year with the Yankees. I know the Red Sox really wanted him before the Wagner signing. That will be very interesting to see, too.

One thing I’€™m impressed about by the Yankees is by bringing in Granderson and Vazquez, they’€™ve gone out to add to Rivera and Jeter, they’€™ve added incredible people. There’€™s nothing wrong with that. I think the character of the team has really evolved. To me, Melky Cabrera is a nice fourth outfielder. I understand Liberty Broadcasting, or whoever owns the Braves, in getting rid of Soriano and Vazquez, they’€™ve taken $16 million off their payroll. That deal wasn’€™t about getting players. I read today on MLBtraderumors.com, there was talk about Frank Wren yesterday saying we’€™re going to get a major bat. It turns out to be Troy Glaus.

Will Miguel Cabrera be out there?

I think a lot of it will depend on how the Tigers play for the first couple of months. It’€™s a different situation, because the owner there loves his city and he’€™s watched it die. He doesn’€™t really care about how much money he loses. It’€™s not just the pizzas ‘€“ he’€™s got casinos around Detroit. There was a lot of talk about a fire sale in Detroit this year. Jim Leyland called me [to say], ‘€˜There’€™s not going to be a fire sale. The owner’€™s not going to allow that.’€™

But, if they get off to a bad start, they’€™re not going to be able to move Dontrelle Willis. They’€™re not going to be able to move a couple of other pitchers. If they’€™re 12 games out on June 15, I could see Cabrera getting moved, and I could see the Red Sox being very interested. He’€™s got a huge contract, but he’€™s also a monster bat. Just don’€™t put him at third.

No reservations about bringing him to Boston, on or off the field?

I think there are always going to be issues off the field with Miguel. He’€™s a great kid. He just gets into these issues. But there are a lot of people who were with the Marlins who will tell you Miguel Cabrera was nowhere near the problem that Dontrelle Willis was. Dontrelle is a great guy.

The Marlins, there was a couple times when he was confronted by other players, but they really liked him. They traded him because they got Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller.

Read More: adrian gonzalez, Casey Kotchman, Cliff Lee, Curtis Granderson
Reports: Yankees Deal for Javier Vazquez 12.22.09 at 11:20 am ET
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The Red Sox made their move to add rotation depth when they acquired John Lackey last week. This morning, the Yankees appear ready to make a comparably significant splash, adding a strikeout-an-inning starter to a rotation that already includes CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte.

According to several reports, the New York has acquired starter Javier Vazquez and reliever Boone Logan from the Braves in exchange for outfielder Melky Cabrera, prospect Mike Dunn and a player to be named, reportedly Arodys Vizcaino. News of the Yankees’ pursuit of Vazquez was first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Vazquez went 15-10 with a career-low 2.87 ERA and 238 strikeouts in 219.1 innings in 2009. He’€™s thrown at least 198 innings in each of the last 10 years, reaching double digits in wins in each of those seasons. While he finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting in 2009, he has been more dominant in the NL than in two separate stints in the American League.

Vazquez, ,33, has spent eight seasons in the NL, going 90-93 with a 4.02 ERA. In four seasons in the AL (one with the Yankees in 2004, and three more with the White Sox from 2006-08), he had a 52-46 record and 4.52 ERA. As a member of the Yankees in 2004, he went 14-10 with a 4.91 ERA, and he gave up a grand slam to Johnny Damon in Game 7 of the ALCS against the Red Sox.

That said, Vazquez has virtually identical numbers in the two leagues in hits per nine innings (8.9 in both leagues), homers (1.1 per nine innings in the NL, 1.2 per nine innings in the AL), walks (2.3 in NL, 2.5 in AL) and strikeouts (8.1 per nine innings in both leagues).

Logan, 24, had a 5.19 ERA in 20 games for the Braves last year. He held lefties to a .231 average and .626 OPS.

The switch-hitting Cabrera, 25, hit .274 with a .752 OPS and 13 homers for the Yankees as their everyday centerfielder in 2009. He became expendable when the Yankees acquired Curtis Granderson, though the Yankees will now be in the market for a starting left-fielder.

Dunn, a 24-year-old southpaw, pitched in four games for the Yankees last year after forging a 3.31 ERA in 38 minor-league games at two levels last year. Dunn punched out 99 in 73.1 innings while walking 46.

Vizcaino, 19, went 2-4 with a 2.13 ERA in the short-season New York Penn League last year, punching out 11.1 batters per nine innings.

Read More: arodys vizcaino, boone logan, javier vazquez, melky cabrera
Rumor Mill at this hour: 12 a.m. 12.08.09 at 12:02 am ET
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Ivan Rodriguez has agreed to a two-year deal with the Nationals worth $6 million, according to Yahoo’s Tim Brown.

Fernando Rodney has also turned down arbitration according to MLB.com’s Jason Beck. The 32-year-old had 37 saves and a 1.47 WHIP in 2009.

Jon Heyman is tweeting that the Braves will now attempt to trade Soriano after losing out on the draft pick payoff of a departure via free agency.

Yahoo’s Tim Brown is tweeting that Adrian Beltre and Mike Gonzalez have declined arbitration from the Mariners and Braves, respectively. As was expected, Gonzalez’ teammate Rafael Soriano accepted arbitration from the Braves, according to Ken Rosenthal.

Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution thinks the Braves are trying hard to unload Derek Lowe‘s $45 million over the next three years. O’Brien says the team would rather keep Javier Vazquez.

Read More: Adrian Beltre, Derek Lowe, Fernando Rodney, Ivan Rodriguez
Rumor Mill at this hour: 1 p.m. 12.07.09 at 12:59 pm ET
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Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News is tweeting that former Red Sox starter Brad Penny is closing in a deal with the Cardinals. Terms of the deal are not yet known.

After earlier reports that Andy Pettitte had rejected an offer from the Yankees, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News is tweeting that the team never made an offer but is planning to today. Buster Olney says the deal will be worth more than $11 million.

Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez could both be available, tweets Steve Henson, but the Braves won’t part with Kenshin Kawakami.

SI’s Jon Paul Morosi is reporting the Pirates and Tigers have both expressed interest in free agent shortstop Adam Everett. The 32-year-old is reportedly seeking a one-year deal for “around $3 million,” according to Morosi.

After an earlier report suggested Brian Bruney was on his way to Atlanta, Joel Sherman is tweeting that the Yankees have sent the right-handed reliever to the Nationals for a player to be named later.

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star names the Giants, Mariners, and Rockies as the teams that are pursuing 31-year-old free agent catcher Miguel Olivo.

Read More: adam everett, Andy Pettitte, Brad Penny, Brian Bruney
Red Sox at Braves Match-Ups, 6/27 06.27.09 at 2:34 pm ET
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Javier Vazquez didn’€™t get a chance to face the Red Sox when the Braves were in Boston last week, and perhaps that was just as well for the pitcher. For his career, Vazquez is 2-6 against the Sox. He seems to have a weakness for throwing homerun balls to his batting Boston counterparts, having given up 11 homers in just 10 games pitched.

Mike Lowell (out of the lineup again today due to hip discomfort) and David Ortiz both have two career homeruns a piece against Vazquez, but look for J.D. Drew to flash his elusive smile as he goes to bat against a pitcher who he’€™s homered off of four times. Well, maybe a smile is a lot to ask of Drew, but at least he’€™ll be happy on the inside.

(The only pitcher against whom Drew has homered more often is Claudio Vargas. Drew has taken Vargas deep five times.)

In his last two starts against Boston, Vazquez has allowed 12 runs in 11 2/3 innings.

On the other side of the ball is 42-year-old Tim Wakefield, who’€™s tied for the most number of wins this season on the Sox pitching staff with Josh Beckett. Wakefield (9-3, 4.47 ERA) will be looking to become the first Boston pitcher to 10 wins in 2009 as he faces a Braves team that didn’€™t go down easy against him last week in Boston. (Wakefield allowed four runs and got a no-decision.)

Ignited by David Ortiz’€™ recent surge and a pitching staff with a 3.38 in their last 23 games, the Sox are 7-3 in their last 10 games and currently hold the American League‘€™s best record at 45-28. The Sox are also 38-24 all-time against the Braves.


Garret Anderson (70 career plate appearances against Wakefield): .275 average/ .286 OBP/ .536 slugging, 5 homers, walk, 6 strikeouts
Casey Kotchman (18): .294/ .333/ .529, homer, walk, 2 strikeouts
Chipper Jones (17): .333/ .529/ .500, 5 walks, 2 strikeouts
Gregor Blanco (3): 1-for-3
Yunel Escobar (3): 2-for-3
Brian McCann (3): 1-for-3
Nate McLouth (3): 1-for-3
Martin Prado (3): 2-for-3, strikeout
David Ross (3): 1-for-3


Mike Lowell (48 career plate appearances against Vazquez): .283 average/ .313 OBP/ .522 slugging, 2 homers, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Mark Kotsay (39): .200/ .282/ .286, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts
Julio Lugo (29): .296/ .345/ .444, homer, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
J.D. Drew (28): .417/ .500/ 1.000, 4 homers, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts
David Ortiz (26): .304/ .385/ .652, 2 homers, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Jason Varitek (20): .105/ .150/ .158, walk, 9 strikeouts
Kevin Youkilis (14): 1-for-14, 7 strikeouts
Jason Bay (13): 2-for-12, walk, 5 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia (11): 7-for-10, walk, 2 strikeouts
Rocco Baldelli (6): 1-for-6, 3 strikeouts
Brad Penny (6): 1-for-5, 3 strikeouts
Jacoby Ellsbury (4): 0-for-3, walk, strikeout

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