Rumors: Vazquez, Chapman, King Felix

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With the offseason just days away, Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune is back with his latest batch of rumors to preheat the Hot Stove.

Among them, he floats Javier Vazquez
as a possible trade candidate now that Tim Hudson is expected to
finalize an extension with the Braves this week. Vazquez had one of the
most unsung seasons in the majors this season, going 15-10 with a 2.87
ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 238 strikeouts (2nd in the NL). The Braves are
looking to bolster an outfield that hit just .262/.329/.397 with a
measly .726 OPS (27th in MLB).

While I agree that the Braves should
sell-high on Vazquez, where Rogers loses me is when he names Seattle as
a potential destination for Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman. His
logic? The Mariners are possibly hoping to acquire another front-line
arm before Felix Hernandez bolts for free agency after the 2011 season.

Listen, I’m well aware that
Hernandez, represented by Alan Nero, will almost certainly test the
open market, most likely landing in New York or Boston; it’s a sad
reality of our game. However, if there was any time to make a major financial commitment to a pitcher — Chapman is rumored to be asking for $40-60
million —
King Felix is the one. Nevermind the fact that the Mariners have almost
no chance of landing the 21-year-old Chapman.

If they’re really thinking about life after King Felix, they might as well trade him for Clay Buchholz right now.

Nathan Eovaldi expects to pitch out of bullpen if Yankees reach ALDS

New York Yankees starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)
AP Photo/Todd Kirkland
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Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.

Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.

There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.

Cardinals “optimistic” Yadier Molina will be on NLDS roster

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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Yadier Molina suffered a mild ligament tear in his left thumb on September 20, but the Cardinals announced Monday that they remain “optimistic” he’ll be on the roster for the upcoming NLDS.

Molina visited a hand specialist Monday and Jenifer Langosch of reports that he’ll have a custom splint built in hopes that he’ll be able to hit and catch. He’s still not 100 percent, but even a limited Molina could be better than the alternative. That would be Tony Cruz in this case.

The Cardinals will meet the winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card game between the Cubs and the Pirates. Game 1 of the NLDS will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET in St. Louis.