The Marlins signed veteran right-hander Javier Vazquez to a one-year, $7 million contract this winter, hoping that he might be able to return to form back in the National League.
Vazquez posted a frightening 5.32 ERA and 1.40 WHIP last season for the Yankees, but he earned NL Cy Young Award votes in 2009 with a dominant campaign in Atlanta and the Marlins believed that the 34-year-old had some of that magic left.
The experiment got off to a disastrous start this year as Vazquez registered a 7.55 ERA over his first eight outings, but a glimmer of hope arrived Saturday afternoon in the form of a seven-inning shutout against the cross-state Rays. The Puerto Rico native struck out seven Tampa Bay batters and issued just two walks while surrendering only three hits.
It was only Vazquez’s second quality start of 2011 and the seven strikeouts were a season-high. The Marlins, who just lost Josh Johnson to the disabled list, will hope for more of the same from Javy next week.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.