Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported yesterday that the Pirates have designated Ramon Vazquez for assignment. Though the move allows the team ten days to attempt to trade Vazquez, it is more likely that the infielder will be released. In that case, a new club could acquire Vazquez at a reduced cost, with the Pirates on the hook for the remainder of the $2MM he is owed in 2010.
Trade rumors surrounded Vazquez for most of the winter, with the Orioles and Rangers mentioned as possible suitors. Both teams have added utility infielders of their own in recent weeks, meaning any interest they had in Vazquez has probably diminished. However, there are still clubs that could be in the market for a cheap utility man. ESPN.com's Rumor Central points out that the Mets or Mariners might have a place for Vazquez, if or when the Pirates release him.
Vazquez signed his current two-year, $4MM deal following a 2008 campaign in which he hit .290/.365/.430 in 347 plate appearances with the Rangers. While his career numbers (.254/.328/.350) suggest lesser offensive production, Vazquez still has some value coming off the bench and playing second base, shortstop, or third base. Freed of his $2MM price tag, Vazquez should be able to catch on with another club looking to add versatility to their bench.