Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vazquez Signs One Year Contract with Marlins

Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports reports that the Florida Marlins and Javier Vazquez have come to terms on a one year deal worth around $6-7M.  I have to admit I'm a little perplexed by this one.  Last week, there were several reports indicating Vazquez had turned a couple of multi-year offers.  One of those offers came supposedly came from the Washington Nationals at 2 years $20M.  It's possible that the Nationals offer was bogus (this is the Hot Stove Season after all), but if it wasn't, I'd be very interested to find out why he turned down multi-year deal with a larger annual average salary.

Just two seasons ago, Vazquez was one of the most effective pitchers in the National League (with the Atlanta Braves) going 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA (2.82 xFIP), 9.77 K/9, 5.41 K/BB, and 6.5 WAR.  His performance earned him a controversial fourth place finish (ESPN Insider subscription only) in the NL Cy Young award voting.*

*Personally, I loved Law's decision to put Vazquez on his ballot.  If he'd received better run support, no one would've complained about Law's decision to put Vazquez on his ballot ahead of Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter.

Prior to the 2010 season, Vazquez was traded to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera and a couple of minor leaguers.  Throughout the season, Vazquez struggled mightily seeing huge spikes in his walk, home run, line drive, and contact rates, which was mostly likely caused by a corresponding drop in fastball velocity from 91.1 MPH in 2009 to 87.7 MPH in 2010.  Vazquez was so ineffective that he was not only demoted to the bullpen twice during the season, but also left off of the Yankees playoff roster in both the ALDS and ALCS. 

Assuming Vazquez can rediscover his fastball velocity, he should be a pretty nice addition to the Marlins.  He'll fill the role as the Marlins fifth starter slotting behind Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez, and Chris Volstad.   If Vazquez should falter, the Marlins have a more than capable replacement in Alex Sanabia.  At $7M per season, we can't really consider Vazquez a low-risk signing (especially since $7M is a lot to the Marlins), but it certainly does have the potential to be high-reward.  If Vazquez can rebound, and become a 2-3 WAR pitcher in 2011, this signing could have a huge impact on the Marlins ability to reach the playoffs.  That is, if they can overcome some of their bizarre personnel decisions this winter (i.e. the Uggla/Infante trade and John Buck signing...

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