Report: Ted Lilly, Jason Vargas among those to clear waivers

7 Comments

Color me skeptical, but ESPN’s Buster Olney says all of the following starting pitchers have already cleared waivers and are eligible to be traded: Chris Capuano, Bruce Chen, Tom Gorzelanny, Ted Lilly, Rodrigo Lopez, Jason Vargas, Chien-Ming Wang and Carlos Zambrano.

It’s largely Vargas’ presence that causes me to question the list.  It’s very hard to believe no one would have put a claim in on a Mariners left-hander who has a 4.01 ERA this year, makes just $2.45 million this season and is under control through 2013.  Vargas owed much of his success last year to Safeco, but he actually has a 3.88 ERA in 10 road starts this season.  Common sense dictates that several teams would have put a claim in on him.

Capuano, Chen and Gorzelanny were also pretty claimable with their modest salaries and decent records this year.  Capuano is 9-10 with a 4.51 ERA for the Mets, Chen is 7-5 with a 4.15 ERA for the Royals and Gorzelanny is 2-6 with a 4.50 ERA for the Nationals.  Their salaries this year are $1.5 million, $2 million and $2.1 million, respectively, though Capuano and Chen do have incentives that would have increased a claiming team’s financial responsibilities.

The others did figure to slip through waivers.  Zambrano was a given.  Lilly, who is in the first year of a three-year, $33 million deal, is 7-12 with a 4.71 ERA.  Both Zambrano and Lilly have no-trade protection anyway and thus couldn’t have been given away on waivers without their permission.  Wang has allowed 12 runs — six earned — in 15 innings since returning from a two years off due to shoulder problems.  Lopez is 3-3 with a 4.78 ERA while splitting time between the rotation and the pen for the Cubs.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
5 Comments

Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.