Number One Reliable Starter Search: Javier Vazquez and his agent are just doing the New York Yankees a solid I guess. Reports today have the 34-year-old free agent pitcher agreeing that he won't accept arbitration if it's offered by the Yanks. Vazquez was labeled a Type-B Free Agent by the Elias Sports Bureau, so he wouldn't have cost the team that signed him any picks anyway, but by agreeing to decline arbitration Vazquez gets New York a "sandwich pick" between the 1st and 2nd Rounds of what is expected to be a deep 2011 Draft. Of the three pitchers the Nationals have been linked to in published reports, Vazquez is the one arm that wouldn't cost the Nationals picks, with the Colorado Rockies having decided to offer lefty Jorge De La Rosa (a Type-A Free Agent) arbitration and the Minnesota Twins late last night offering mustachioed right-hander Carl Pavano (also Type-A) arbitration as well. And in just the last few minutes, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark is reporting on Twitter (@jaysonst) and at ESPN.com's Rumor Central that Vazquez is willing to settle for a one-year deal, refuting recent rumors of 3-year/$33M dollar demands on the part of the pitcher and his agent. Mr. Stark list the Cubs, Marlins and Nats as potential suitors in the article linked from the Tweet entitled, "Stark: Vazquez wants one-year deal".
• Earlier Today: In case you weren't plugged in and following each Tweeted report that came out this afternoon, the Washington Nationals announced (moments after it broke on the Twitter) via their own account (@NatsTownNews) that the Nats had decided to offer Adam Dunn arbitration. Moments later the team announced that they would not offer arbitration to the other eligible players: RHP Miguel Batista, infielder Adam Kennedy and outfielders Willie Harris and Kevin Mench. The decision to offer Dunn arbitration guarantees that the team will be compensated with two draft picks owing to Dunn's Type-A Free Agent status, though exaclty where the picks will fall won't be decided until his ultimate destination is known. FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi sapped some of the hope from the "#SignAdamDunn" crowd with a report this afternoon in an article entitled, "Martinez deal has larger implications", in which Mr. Morosi wrote that one in a seemingly endless supply of anonymous sources had told him that the Nats weren't aggressively pursuing a deal with Dunn:
"Speaking of Dunn, a source said today that the Washington Nationals aren’t pursuing him with much vigor any longer. They appear to be on the fringe of the sweepstakes now."
According to Mr. Morosi, the White Sox (and according to other reports the Cubs) were the only teams still out there as options for the recently-turned-31-year-old free agent slugger. "After whiffing on [Victor] Martinez," Mr. Morosi writes, referencing the 4-year/$50M dollar deal the former Red Sox' 1B/C/DH signed with the Detroit Tigers, "...the pressure is on the Chicago White Sox to come away with Dunn or their own free-agent slugger, Paul Konerko."
In an article at ChicagoBreakingSports.com by Cubs beat writer Phil Rogers entitled, "Your morning Phil: Mitchell, Konerko, Dunn", Mr. Rogers reports that Dunn, "...is in play on both sides of Chicago (although it's unclear if either the White Sox or Cubs can really afford him)." The important consideration for Nats fans, which Mr. Rogers points out, is what each team would surrender should they sign Dunn. The Tigers would have given the Nationals their 1st Round pick (19th overall) which is the first unprotected pick in the first round next year. The Chicago team's picks?
"...the Sox will send the 23rd overall pick to the Nationals if they sign Dunn. The Cubs will keep their first-rounder, ninth overall, and send Washington their second-rounder if they sign Dunn."
So the Sox signing Dunn would be the best scenario for the Nationals, resulting in the Nats having the 6th overall pick which they earned and the 23rd pick (unless the White Sox sign a Type-A Free Agent ranked higher than Dunn, don't ask.) Or the Nats could just sign Adam Dunn. For the record, though former Rays' first baseman Carlos Pena was a Type-B Free Agent and therefore wouldn't cost the team that signed him a Draft pick, offering arbitration as the Nats did with Vazquez, would have gotten the Rays a sandwich pick. Apparently they didn't want to take their chances with an arbitration hearing if Pena agreed, and they have declined to offer Pena arbitration to avoid the chance that he'd win big. Dunn or Pena? It's been the question for months now...
What Will D.C. GM Mike Rizzo do?