Derek Lowe is looking for a team that will let him start

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Despite finishing the year in the Yankees’ bullpen Derek Lowe said at the beginning of the offseason that he wanted to be a starter in 2013 and apparently he’s sticking with that plan.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that Lowe “has heard from five teams, all of which want him to be a swingman” and is currently turning down those inquiries.

“I want to be a starter and feel I have a lot left in being a regular starter in a rotation and making my 30-plus starts,” Lowe told Cafardo. “I can still do that. It’s frustrating to see other starters who have come off injuries get a shot, and I’ve never been hurt and can still help a team. I’m sure things will get going for me in January. I want to pitch. I’m nowhere near ready to retire.”

Lowe is right about the never being injured and always making 30 starts thing. He made 30-plus starts every season from 2002-2011 and likely would have done so this year if he hadn’t been bumped from the rotation for performance reasons. Of course, that’s not exactly a positive thing and during the past two seasons Lowe has a 17-27 record and 5.23 ERA in 55 starts while managing just 5.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

At some point health and durability cease being valuable for a pitcher when he can’t get hitters out any longer and teams seem to think Lowe has reached that point at age 39. If he does get a chance to start in 2013 it will almost surely come via minor-league contract.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

Justin Verlander
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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.