Nationals “continue to monitor” free agent Javier Vazquez

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has the scoop:

The Nationals and others continue to monitor Vazquez, who is recovering from minor knee surgery. Washington’s interest may be piqued by revelations of Gio Gonzalez’s links to the Miami anti-aging clinic and PEDs. The Nationals believe Ross Detwiler could emerge as a successful lefty after going 10-8 with a 3.40 ERA last year in 33 games (27 starts). But Vazquez would give them depth.

Vazquez first wants pitch for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic before deciding whether to return to MLB. He sat out the entire 2012 season despite posting a strong 3.69 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 162/50 K/BB ratio across 192 2/3 innings with the Marlins in 2011.

The 36-year-old should be recovered from his recent knee procedure by the start of the 2013 WBC.

Report: Mariners sign Juan Nicasio to a two-year deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Mariners have signed pitcher Juan Nicasio to a two-year contract, pending a physical.

Nicasio, 31, spent last season with the Pirates, Phillies, and Cardinals, putting up an aggregate 2.61 ERA with a 72/20 K/BB ratio in 72 1/3 innings. He appeared in 76 games, leading the National League.

Nicasio will help bolster the Mariners’ bullpen behind closer Edwin Diaz. It’s not known exactly what role he’ll have but it seems reasonable to assume he’ll handle mostly the seventh inning while Nick Vincent will set up for Diaz. Nicasio does have plenty of starting experience so he could also spot start in a pinch.