12/17/09 8:08 PM EST
Angels eye Vazquez, but hurdles abound
Braves righty, while more attractive than Lowe, prefers East
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
Vazquez, who finished fourth in the Cy Young Award balloting in the National League last season, is clearly the better alternative to Lowe, so he would require more in return, especially considering his favorable contract.
Vazquez, 33, went 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA with 238 strikeouts in 219 1/3 innings with the Braves last season and is owed $11.5 million next season, which is the last year of a three-year, $34.5 million contract extension he signed in 2007, when he was with the White Sox.
Vazquez is also familiar with the American League as he has played four seasons in the Junior Circuit, but his career ERA there is 4.52, which is significantly higher than his career 4.02 ERA in his eight years in the NL.
The biggest hurdle, however, is that Vazquez has a limited no-trade clause blocking deals to NL West and AL West clubs because he wants to stay closer to his family living in Puerto Rico.
The two baseball executives told Angelswin.com that it seems unlikely that Vazquez would waive his no-trade clause even if a deal were worked out between the Angels and Braves.
But if the Angels couldn't acquire Vazquez, they could still go after Lowe, who also has plenty of experience in the AL with the Red Sox and out West with the Dodgers.
The 36-year-old Lowe also went 15-10 last season with the Braves but had a 4.67 ERA with 111 strikeouts in 194 2/3 innings. But he's also owed $45 million over the next three years after signing a four-year deal worth $60 million last offseason.
If the Angels were to trade for either starter, multiple reports say Atlanta is interested in left fielder Juan Rivera, who would bring a much-needed right-handed power bat to the Braves. Rivera hit .287 with 25 home runs and 88 RBIs in 138 games with the Halos last year.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.