The Nationals have been linked to nearly every free agent starting pitcher this offseason. They’re tuned into the Cliff Lee negotiations, they’ve expressed interest in Jorge De La Rosa. And now it appears they have a beat on available right-hander Javier Vazquez.
According to Bill Ladson of MLB.com, the Nats are expected to make a contract offer to Vazquez by next week.
The 34-year-old righty told reporters in late October that he is open to pitching in the nation’s capital because it’s not too far from his Puerto Rico home, and he’s not exactly going to be sifting through a pile offers after the 5.32 ERA and 1.40 WHIP that he posted over 31 appearances this year for the Yankees. Vazquez will be lucky to land a two-year deal. And he’ll be extremely lucky if that deal approaches $15 million.
The market is thin on quality starting pitching this winter, but Vazquez showed a complete lack of effectiveness in New York and isn’t getting any younger.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch told the media, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, that starter Dallas Keuchel will come off of the disabled list and rejoin the rotation on Friday against the Tigers. Keuchel has missed nearly two months with a neck injury.
Prior to landing on the DL, Keuchel was 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA and a 69/18 K/BB ratio over 75 2/3 innings. He seemed to be on his way to potentially win another Cy Young Award.
Hinch also noted that Collin McHugh will start on Saturday and Lance McCullers will start on Sunday.
Braves starter Aaron Blair had a nightmarish bottom of the third inning on Wednesday afternoon against the Diamondbacks. He had just given up a run on a Daniel Descalso triple hit to center field that center fielder Ender Inciarte read poorly. In the following at-bat, Ketel Marte laced a curve ball to right field. Sean Rodriguez wasn’t able to get to it in time, so the ball bounced off the fence and caromed back towards the stands along the right field line. By the time Rodriguez was able to retrieve the ball, Marte was already on his way home and scored standing up.
The inside-the-park homer will certainly provide a boost to Marte’s stats. He entered Wednesday’s action batting .196/.255/.370 in 51 plate appearances.