I think we can officially say that the offseason rumor mill is churning full-force. Here's what's being said about the Braves today:
Mark Bowman at MLB.com refutes a rumor from yesterday that the Braves were discussing a potential Javier Vazquez trade with the Dodgers. While I trust Bowman's report, I also don't think it's altogether out of the question that the Braves would talk to the Dodgers about Vazquez. I know that Javy has a no-trade clause enabling him to block trades to AL West and NL West teams, but he's got one year left on his deal before he becomes a free agent again (and he could then return to the East Coast), and with a little financial inducement, he could probably be persuaded to go play on the West Coast for a year. The Dodgers have pieces that could really pique Frank Wren's interest: young, talented corner players like Andre Ethier and James Loney, and bullpen pieces like Hong-Chih Kuo and George Sherrill.
Bowman also giveth even while he taketh away, however. He does rule out the Yankees as a suitor for Derek Lowe, but affirms the Angels interest (barring John Lackey re-signing or Roy Halladay moving to Anaheim), and adds the Brewers to the list of teams that could have interest in Lowe. He says the Brewers have a keener interest in Vazquez, however. Any trade with the Brewers would almost certainly center around hitting prospect Mat Gamel (and I say "hitting prospect" because he doesn't yet have a position for his lead glove); perhaps we could survive sticking him in left field. But Gamel's not enough for Vazquez, and I'm not keen on any of their other offensive players (please no Corey Hart!). Todd Coffey and Mark DiFelice are attractive relief pitchers, but they still aren't that compelling. Harder to see how the Brewers make a good enough offer to get Vazquez.
In a final tidbit, Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (the king of all Japanese rumors) passes on a report that the Braves are looking at signing 36-year-old Japanese left-hander Hidetaka Kawagoe, who recently converted from starting to relief in Japan before being released by the Orix Buffaloes. He has a career 4.05 ERA in Japan, so he's nothing special, but again, Frank Wren can't go wrong accumulating bullpen options.