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.

Dellin Betances to open season on injured list

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Yankees GM Brian Cashman said on Tuesday that reliever Dellin Betances will begin the regular season on the injured list due to inflammation and impingement in his right shoulder, the YES Network’s Jack Curry reports. Curry adds that Betances will try throwing again in three to five days.

Betances, who turns 31 years old later this month, has allowed two runs on two hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings this spring. He has experienced diminished fastball velocity, which is now explained by his injury. The right-hander is coming off of another excellent season in which he posted a 2.70 ERA with 115 strikeouts and 26 walks across 66 2/3 innings.

Fortunately, the Yankees have more than enough depth in the bullpen to withstand Betances’ absence. Aroldis Chapman, Adam Ottavino, and Zach Britton will handle the late innings and Betances will slot back in whenever he is healthy.