Nationals expected to make offer to Javier Vazquez

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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.

Another young fan was struck by a foul ball, this time at Guaranteed Rate Field

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ESPN reports via the Associated Press that a young boy was struck by a line drive foul ball but was not seriously injured during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Royals. The boy and a woman were escorted by a first aid crew to the concourse area and the boy was later eating ice cream in a luxury suite.

A woman was struck in the face by a foul ball also on the first base side at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, but she didn’t request medical assistance.

Last week, a young fan at Yankee Stadium was hit by a line drive foul ball, which motivated several teams to commit to extending protective netting at their ballparks. The Yankees, strangely, were not among them. Nor were the White Sox.

Diamondbacks clinch NL Wild Card

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Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.

The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.

The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.

The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.