Marlins and Javier Vazquez Agree to Deal
|Chris J Nelson|
|Javier Vazquez with the Atlanta Braves in 2009|
Last year, Vasquez had a miserable season with the New York Yankees. He had a 10-10 record, a 5.32 ERA, and was left off the playoff roster for obvious reasons. In fact, he lost his spot in the Yankee rotation well before October; the 34-year old had lost his heat. But the Marlins need a veteran to clam down all those young arms -- and they have faith in Vazquez.
The team's front office and Vazquez have a long history together. When the pitcher played in Montreal, Jeffrey Loria owned the Expos. Marlins President David Samson and President of Baseball Operation Larry Beinfest were also part of the Expo organization. Vazquez was much younger back then, and his fastball clocked in around the low 90s; he averages in the upper 80s now.
But Marlins pitching coach Randy St. Claire might be able to help. With the Expos, the two worked together in 2002 and 2003. Though the Montreal team didn't make the playoffs either year, it did end both above .500.
In December 2003, Vazquez was traded to the Yankees and signed a four-year deal. It only lasted one season.After giving up a first pitch, second-inning grand slam to Johnny Damon during the 2004 ALCS, Vazquez was traded to Arizona. Again, it only lasted a year.
The White Sox picked him up after he left the Diamondbacks, and Vazquez spent three seasons in Chicago playing for Ozzie Guillen. In 2009, he was traded to Braves where he had an impressive 15-10 record and 2.87 ERA. He finished fourth in the race for the NL Cy Young. It was his best MLB season to date.
In his 13-year career, Vazquez has only been selected for one All-Star team and has never played for a World Series club. Will he have a 2009-like season? We hope so. But it seems the Marlins, who have been made profitable by being cheap, may have just blown $7 million.