Javier Vazquez Rumors

Javier Vazquez May Return, Wants To Join Contender

Javier Vazquez is pitching for Puerto Rico’s Ponce Lions this winter and is planning to pitch for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic in March.  Peter Gammons of MLB Network reported in November that Vazquez would gauge things during the WBC and see if he wants to make a comeback, but comments made to Ralph Pagan Archeval of ESPNDeportes.com indicate that he is heavily leaning towards a return.

Winning the World Series, quite simply, is the only thing (I’m interested in). It’s a team award, since I’m not interested in individual awards. In truth, what I’m missing is a World Series victory…If I decide (to play), it doesn’t matter for what team, as long as they have a good possibility to get to the championship. I’m not going to sign with a team knowing that I’m going to lose,” said Vazquez (translation courtesy of Nick Collias).

Vazquez was ranked as No. 19 in the 2012 free agent class by Tim Dierkes last winter and fielded phone calls from a number of clubs.  The right-hander stopped short of announcing his retirement, leaving the door open for a comeback at some point.  Vazquez, now 36, showed in 2011 that he still has a lot left to offer as he pitched to a 3.69 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 32 starts for the Marlins.  The veteran may prefer to spend 2013 with his family, but if he does, it won’t be because of his health.

My [physical] condition is very good. The most important thing is to keep count of the pitches and get that as high as I can. I’ve felt very good; better than I thought I was going to feel. I’ll continue pitching and see what happens.

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NL East Notes: Mets, Phillies, Vazquez

The Nationals and manager Davey Johnson continue to work toward a new contract for 2013, and based on the most recent reports it sounds as though the sides have a good chance of reaching a deal. Here's more from the NL East…

  • The Mets aren't close to completing extensions with David Wright and R.A. Dickey, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports. The Mets remain hopeful that they can complete long-term deals with the players instead of trading them away. 
  • Todd Zolecki of MLB.com explains why Angel Pagan and Torii Hunter could be solutions for the Phillies this offseason. Zolecki doubts that Michael Bourn will return to Philadelphia this offseason and points out that B.J. Upton's far from a perfect player.
  • Former Braves and Marlins starter Javier Vazquez will pitch in the upcoming World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico and see if he wants to make a comeback, Peter Gammons of MLB Network reports (on Twitter). The right-hander didn’t pitch in 2012, but pitched quite well for the Marlins in 2011, posting a 3.69 ERA in 192 2/3 innings.

Quick Hits: Vazquez, Oviedo, Acosta, Montero

Happy Memorial Day! Here are today’s links…

  • It doesn't sound as though Javier Vazquez has baseball at the forefront of his mind.  When asked what he's up to, friends of the pitcher told Peter Gammons of MLB.com (via Twitter) that he's playing semi-pro tennis.  In April, the right-hander said that he's not planning on playing but also wasn't ready to announce his retirement.
  • MLB announced an eight-week suspension for Juan Carlos Oviedo, the right-handed pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez, for engaging in age and identity fraud (Twitter link). Oviedo is making his way back to the Marlins after a prolonged absence.
  • Mike Puma of the New York Post wonders if Manny Acosta's days with the Mets could be numbered (Twitter link). Acosta has an 11.86 ERA after allowing three runs to the Phillies this afternoon.
  • The Diamondbacks were willing to pay up to keep Miguel Montero’s two-way play on the roster, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes. While Montero isn’t hitting much so far this year, he has thrown out 39.2% of potential base stealers since the beginning of the 2011 season. He recently signed a five-year, $60MM contract with Arizona.

Quick Hits: Cain, Lester, Bumgarner, Votto, Vazquez

We saw not one, but two historic contract extensions handed out today. Here's the latest from around the league…

Spanish Links: Vazquez, Wandy, Jorge Vazquez

Links in Spanish about three jugadores who don't know where they'll be a year from now…

  • Javier Vazquez received calls from two general managers this offseason, and his agent received calls from others, the pitcher told Esteban Pagán Rivera at the Puerto Rican paper Primera Hora. Vazquez says he was frank with his suitors, saying, "I haven't felt the slightest itch to play. But I haven't announced my retirement because who knows if, three months or a year from now, I get the urge to play again."
  • Wandy Rodriguez is approaching this offseason's trade rumors as if he were a soldier and the Astros were his army, the 33-year-old lefty told Juan Mercado from the Dominican daily El Día. "Wherever they send me, that's where I'll go, since I don't have any city in particular (in mind)," Rodriguez said. The Astros originally signed Rodriguez as an international free agent in 1999, and he says he appreciates the team that "opened the doors" for him to make it to the majors. "Now, if they decide to trade me, the only thing to do is accept it and leave."
  • Slugging Yankee prospect Jorge Vazquez is growing impatient with the minor leagues and would like to try Japan or Korea if there's not a place for him in the major leagues, according to the president of the Mexican League's Tigres de Quintana Roo, where Vazquez played in 2007 and 2008. "If they don't give him an opportunity this year, he wants them to trade him, or to go to [play] baseball in the east," Cuauhtémoc "Chito" Rodríguez told Fernando Ballesteros at Puro Béisbol. "He doesn't want to continue on in Triple A anymore, not just with the Yankees, but with any other organization as well." Vazquez made a case for being MLB-ready in 2011, putting up a .262/.314/.516 line with 32 homers at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Cafardo On Lannan, Bourjos, Cespedes, Vazquez

Jason Varitek is facing a very difficult decision, and the catcher has been considering the very difficult reality of retirement, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  Varitek, who turns 40 in April, would seem to be a good fit in Minnesota.  The Twins will likely carry three catchers as Joe Mauer will need time to DH and rest and Ryan Doumit will mostly DH while also backing up Mauer.

Varitek isn't the only veteran wondering about his baseball future.  Ivan Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, Magglio Ordonez, and Vladimir Guerrero also hope to continue playing in 2012.  Here's more from Cafardo..

  • There is a lot of speculation that the Nationals will deal John Lannan to the Angels for Peter Bourjos, with the Halos putting Mike Trout in center field.  The Nats beat Lannan in arbitration last week and were said to be aggressively shopping the left-hander.  
  • Alternatively, the Nats could move Jayson Werth to center and sign a right fielder.  Cafardo adds that it now appears that Yoenis Cespedes is not in their plans and they have cooled on B.J. Upton.
  • Javier Vazquez is retired for now, but Cafardo wonders if a team could convince him to play.  An AL GM remarked that Vazquez would be a perfect fourth or fifth starter on a contending team and believes that the pitcher looks as good as he's ever been.
  • Scott Boras is no longer representing Manny Ramirez.  Ramirez signed on with Boras in early 2008 and the agent negotiated the slugger's two-year, $45MM contract with the Dodgers the following year.
  • Boras wound up receiving eight offers in total for Prince Fielder, including the winning bid from the Tigers.
  • A couple of agents are frustrated after dealing with the Red Sox front office/ownership lately as compared to what they were used to in the past.  However, there has been quite a bit of praise for GM Ben Cherington.
  • Right-hander Brandon Webb hasn't given up on pitching and according to one American League executive, the plan is for the 32-year-old to throw for teams sometime in March.
  • Mark Prior is also looking to attempt one more comeback.  The right-hander, who spent some of last season with the Yankees, had surgery for a sports hernia and the problem isn't completely corrected.  Like Webb, Prior could work out for teams as early as March.
  • Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger was supposed to be in Red Sox minor league camp but instead ripped up his elbow long-tossing over the winter.  The veteran will unfortunately miss the season.
  • Cafardo feels that the Red Sox missed an opportunity to sign Edwin Jackson to a good value deal at one year, $10MM and shouldn’t let Roy Oswalt slip away now.

Damon, Oswalt, Vazquez Only Remaining Top 50 FAs

We're still over a week away from pitchers and catchers reporting, but 47 of the players on Tim Dierkes' list of the top 50 free agents have already found homes for 2012.  Only three (very notable) names remain, so let's check in to see how close each player is to finding his next team…

  • Johnny Damon.  The veteran is looking for a contract in the neighborhood of $5MM per year, but with several other DH types (Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez, Raul Ibanez, Hideki Matsui, etc.) on the market, Damon may have to lower his price in order to stand out amidst the crowd.  The Yankees, Mets, Tigers, Rays, Orioles, and Athletics have all been linked to Damon at one point or another this winter, though most of those teams have already filled their designated hitter/bench needs.  The Mets and other NL teams are unlikely options since Damon wouldn't be able to DH.  My guess is that Damon will end up back with the Yankees on a $2MM contract, splitting DH duties with Andruw Jones and going for another World Series ring in the Bronx. 
  • Roy Oswalt.  The Cardinals and Red Sox both made Oswalt offers in the area of one year/$5MM, but Oswalt is looking for $10MM in 2012.  St. Louis is reportedly trying to deal Kyle McClellan to create payroll space for Oswalt but if Boston were to balk at the price, Oswalt may lose his leverage with the Cards.  Oswalt prefers to pitch for a team close to his Mississippi home, which is why he has turned down the Blue Jays, Indians and Tigers.  Oswalt's problem is that his two preferred choices (the Cardinals and Rangers) don't have a pressing need for starting pitching.  The Rangers showed interest and team officials met with Oswalt earlier this week, but we heard earlier tonight that a deal was unlikely since Texas wants to use Matt Harrison as a starter and Oswalt doesn't want to pitch out of the bullpen.  My prediction is that Oswalt will end up with the Cardinals, though for less than a $10MM salary.
  • Javier Vazquez.  Vazquez has said for months that he was likely to retire this offseason and said he'd have a final decision by December.  While his deadline has come and gone with no official word, the right-hander is still expected to hang up his cleats after 14 years in the majors.  The Marlins have added Mark Buehrle, Carlos Zambrano and Wade LeBlanc this offseason so they've clearly moved on even if Vazquez did wish to return.  Since Vazquez has expressed a preference to pitch on the east coast to be closer to his family in Puerto Rico, it limits his potential choices.  The Red Sox, Orioles, and Mets have available spots in their rotations but the latter two aren't contenders and given how Vazquez struggled as a Yankee, he might not want to return to the AL East.  It's probably safe to presume that Vazquez will retire as planned.

Quick Hits: Fielder, Vazquez, Trumbo, Rockies

Links for Thursday night, starting with a pair of notes on the offseason's top remaining free agent… 

NL East Links: Marlins, Vazquez, Braves, Nationals

Twelve years ago today, the Mets traded Octavio Dotel, Roger Cedeno, and Kyle Kessel to the Astros for Mike Hampton and Derek Bell. Hampton pitched to a 3.14 ERA in 217 2/3 innings during his one season in New York, then signed his monster eight-year, $121MM contract with the Rockies that winter. Here's the latest from continually improving the NL East…

Overnight Links: Wright, Astros, Cardinals, Rockies

The Winter Meetings are here, and that means 24/7 coverage is here at MLBTR as well. I'll be doing overnight shifts throughout the duration of the Winter Meetings, so feel free to stay up late for your fix of Hot Stove news. Here's some overnight quick hits: