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Rumors: Vazquez, Chapman, King Felix

With the offseason just days away, Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribuneis back with his latest batch of rumorsto preheat the Hot Stove.

Among them, he floats Javier Vazquez as a possible trade candidate now that Tim Hudson is expected to finalize an extension with the Braves this week. Vazquez had one of the most unsung seasons in the majors this season, going 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 238 strikeouts (2nd in the NL). The Braves are looking to bolster an outfield that hit just .262/.329/.397 with a measly .726 OPS (27th in MLB).

While I agree that the Braves should sell-high on Vazquez, where Rogers loses me is when he names Seattle as a potential destination for Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman. His logic? The Mariners are possibly hoping to acquire another front-line arm before Felix Hernandez bolts for free agency after the 2011 season.

Listen, I’m well aware that Hernandez, represented by Alan Nero, will almost certainly test the open market, most likely landing in New York or Boston; it’s a sad reality of our game. However, if there was any time to make a major financial commitment to a pitcher -- Chapman is rumored to be asking for $40-60 million -- King Felix is the one. Nevermind the fact that the Mariners have almost no chance of landing the 21-year-old Chapman.

If they’re really thinking about life after King Felix,
they might as well trade him for Clay Buchholz right now.