Former White Sox (and Yankees and Rockies) pitcher Jose Contreras is one of those over-35-free agents. Rather than wait around to see who calls — or doesn’t — he’s working out for Japanese teams. The Softbank Hawks, specifically. The Hawks are generally a strong team — made the playoffs last year after a couple of seasons in the wilderness — and Contreras would, by far, be the biggest name among former Major Leaguers on the club.
Contreras always kind of reminded me an NPB pitcher — or what I sort of imagine NPB pitchers to be like — due to that quirky-herky-jerky delivery of his. There’s a lot of deception to his game — weird, changing arm angles and stuff — and he can cause timing problems for batters. Reminds me of Hideo Nomo or something.
Point is, I could see Contreras doing well in Japan simply because he has forgotten more about being crafty than most guys ever know.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.