Javier Vazquez is not going to Anaheim

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Javier Vazquez headshot.pngAngelswin.com (found via MLB.com) reports that the Angels are interested in Braves’ starter Javier Vazquez.  That’s well and good, but the article only makes brief mention of Vazquez’s limited no trade clause that allows him to veto a deal to western division teams. A very personal clause for Vazquez, as the entire reason for it was just how miserable he was when he pitched for the Diamondbacks, rendering a flight back home to visit his family in Puerto Rico (and vice-versa) an all-day affair.

In light of that, one of Angelswin.com’s arguments — “It’s possible a contract extension could entice the Vazquez camp to waive the no trade clause to an AL or NL West club,” makes no sense. He wants no part of the west. If the NTC was gone and the trade was made, he’d immediately go back to the east once the contract expires at the end of next season.

Any Angels-Braves trade seems pretty hard to see happening right now. If, as reported on Tuesday, the Braves want the Angels to take Derek Lowe, they’re either going to have to pony up a lot of cash in the deal or accept Gary Matthews, Jr. in return, and no one really wants that. If the Braves want to land Juan Rivera and maybe another valuable player or prospect, they’d have to give up Vazquez, and that’s out of their control for the reasons stated above.

Time to look elsewhere, Atlanta. Heck, why not look within the division. If the Mets are willing to make a complicated trade for Bronson Arroyo, why not Derek Lowe? I mean, if you were worried about New York Met Derek Lowe coming back to bite you in the butt later, you wouldn’t be shopping him now anyway, would you?

Michael Cuddyer not shining in left field early in NLDS Game 1

Michael Cuddyer
AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek

Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.

Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.

With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.

Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.

Mets take lead during NLDS Game 1 with Daniel Murphy’s solo homer

Daniel Murphy
AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek
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Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, belting a solo home run to right field at Dodger Stadium off of starter Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw threw a 2-0, 94 MPH fastball and Murphy didn’t miss it.

Both teams’ starters are pitching quite well overall. Kershaw has allowed the one run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Jacob deGrom started off the game with six consecutive strikeouts and has struck out seven total while blanking the Dodgers on three hits and a walk in three innings.

Kershaw doesn’t have the most impressive post-season track record, owning a career 5.12 ERA across eight starts and three relief appearances spanning 51 innings. Aside from the homer, the lefty appears to be putting that notion aside.

Qualifying offer for free agents set at $15.8 million

Jason Heyward
AP Photo
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Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal reports that the value of a qualifying offer for free agents this off-season has been set at $15.8 million. That represents an increase of a half-million dollars over last year’s value.

This is of particular interest with regards to the big-name free agents, including Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Yovani Gallardo, Jordan Zimmermann, and Jeff Samardzija.

Teams that make a qualifying offer to a player that ends up being rejected receive a compensation draft pick in the upcoming draft. The team that signs the player who rejected a qualifying offer gives up their earliest non-protected draft pick.

Free agents who had been traded mid-season aren’t eligible to receive a qualifying offer. This includes Yoenis Cespedes, David Price, Johnny Cueto, and Ben Zobrist, among others.

A player has yet to accept a qualifying offer since the QO system was implemented.