Under normal circumstances, Javier Vazquez would do pretty well in this weak free agent market for starting pitchers. The 35-year-old right-hander was awful over the first two and a half months this past season, but finished with a 1.92 ERA and 115/19 K/BB ratio over 126 2/3 innings in his final 19 starts. Only Cliff Lee and Clayton Kershaw had a lower ERA over the same timespan.
Of course, these aren’t normal circumstances.
Vazquez indicated that he was leaning toward retirement at the end of the season. He hasn’t made an official announcement yet, so his plans for 2012 remain a mystery. Joe Frisaro of MLB.com hears that the Marlins aren’t expecting him back and are looking at alternatives for their starting rotation. Meanwhile, one MLB executive told Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com yesterday that he believes Vazquez will pitch in 2012.
If Vazquez decides to return, the options will probably be pretty limited. Not because the market will be thin, but because he prefers to pitch on the East Coast in order to make it easier to travel to his home in Puerto Rico.
Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera didn’t play in the Tigers’ season finale against the White Sox, but he has officially clinched the AL batting title with a .338 average following Sunday’s action. It’s Cabrera’s fourth batting title in his last five seasons.
Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon entered Sunday’s season finale with a bit more pressure. He was in a tight race with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper for the NL batting title, trailing only by rounding to the fourth place, .3307 to .3306. Gordon went 3-for-4 in a loss to the Phillies while Harper went 1-for-4 in a loss to the Mets. As a result, Gordon officially won the NL batting title with a .330 average. It’s the first batting title of Gordon’s brief career. Hanley Ramirez was the Marlins’ last batting champion, doing so in 2009.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are expected to announce Billy Eppler as their new general manager on Monday. Eppler had been serving as the assistant general manager with the Yankees.
Jerry DiPoto had been the Angels’ GM but he stepped down on July 1. DiPoto later joined the Red Sox in an advisory role, then was named the Mariners’ new GM last week.
The Angels lost to the Rangers in Sunday’s season finale, which eliminated them from contention for the second AL Wild Card spot. They finished 85-77. Most of their regulars are under contract for the 2016 season, but Eppler will have to decide whether to tender contracts to seven arbitration-eligible players while filling in the rest of the roster.