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.
First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.
Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.