The Rockies might have less of a sense of urgency to get a deal done after acquiring Kevin Slowey from the Twins, but Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported this morning that they have had discussions about a possible deal that would send Huston Street to the Reds for Edinson Volquez.
Street has a solid 3.50 ERA and 170/33 K/BB ratio in 167 innings over three seasons with Colorado, but he’s on the trading block now that Rafael Betancourt has established himself as the closer. The 28-year-old right-hander is due a reasonable $7.5 million salary in 2012 and his contract includes a $9 million mutual option or $500,000 buyout for 2013, so he makes sense for a lot of teams, even with a number of free agent closer-types available. The Reds are currently on the market for a closer after declining Francisco Cordero’s $12 million option in late-October.
As for Volquez, he’s coming off a nightmare season in which he posted a 5.71 ERA and 104/65 K/BB ratio over 108 2/3 innings at the big league level. Still, he’s barely two years removed from Tommy John surgery and is only due a slight raise over the $1.6 million he made in 2011, so he’s an ideal buy-low target for a number of clubs.
There’s a pretty large gap in the salaries of the two players, so Renck notes that the Rockies would likely have to sweeten the deal by covering some of Street’s contract and/or including a prospect.
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.