Juan C. Rodriguez of the Florida Sun Sentinel reports that “Javier Vazquez has told associates he would love a return engagement in the National League, particularly with the Florida Marlins due in part to the proximity to his native Puerto Rico.”
Rodriguez notes that Vazquez also “has a relationship” with Puerto Rico-born manager Edwin Rodriguez and “several members of the Marlins front office” were working for the Expos when Vazquez began his career in Montreal.
And it’s seemingly a good fit from an on-field perspective too, as Vazquez has fared much better in the NL and is a fly-ball pitcher who would benefit from Florida’s power-suppressing ballpark. Beyond that Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest has previously said that he’s looking to add a veteran starter to the rotation.
So what’s the holdup? Well, according to Rodriguez “he’s already received some hefty offers, the kind the Marlins would have trouble meeting.” Vazquez is coming off a three-year, $34.5 million contract, but had a career-worst 5.32 ERA in 157 innings for the Yankees and at age 35 seems unlikely to get more than a two-year deal.
Derek Jeter, part-owner of the Marlins, met with Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez on Tuesday afternoon at Marlins Park, Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald reports. They discussed potentially removing the home run sculpture from the ballpark, something that has been on Jeter’s to-do list since he took over.
Gimenez said of the sculpture, “I just don’t think they’re all that crazy about it. I’m not a fan. We’re looking at it. … We’ll see if anything can be done.”
According to Hanks, the sculpture is public property because it was purchased as part of the Art in Public Places program, which requires art to be installed for the public in county-owned buildings. Michael Spring, the cultural chief for Miami-Dade who was present with Jeter and Gimenez on Tuesday, had previously said that the sculpture was “not moveable” and was “permanently installed” because it was designed “specifically” for Marlins Park. On Tuesday, Spring said, “Anything is possible. But it is pretty complicated. And I wanted the mayor and the Marlins to understand how complicated it really was. We got a good look at it today, and they saw how big it was. There’s hydraulics, there’s plumbing, there’s electricity.”
With Jeter having traded Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon this offseason, the home run sculpture is arguably one of the last remaining interesting things about the Marlins in 2018. Naturally, he wants to get rid of it.