Infielder Ramon Vazquez is fighting to make the Pirates, reports Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Vazquez said he's been told he's not on the team right now, despite being guaranteed $2MM in 2010. GM Neal Huntington admitted he has to consider a trade of some sort, having six players for four bench spots.
A release is the least-desirable approach for the Pirates, since they'd still owe Vazquez's $2MM salary (less $400K if he joins another big league club). A trade makes more sense, with Kovacevic naming the Rangers and Orioles as possible matches. Vazquez, 33, hit .230/.335/.279 in 239 plate appearances last year while playing second base, shortstop, and third base. His poor performance may have been related to a knee injury.
Huntington's plan when signing Vazquez in December of '08 may have been to find a credible back-up middle infielder in case the team traded Freddy Sanchez and/or Jack Wilson. But you have to question his $4MM commitment to Vazquez, a journeyman platoon player who still didn't hit lefties in his career year '08 season.