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.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.