The Marlins have made a couple of questionable moves this offseason. This won’t be one of them.
A source told MLB.com’s Bill Ladson that the Fish are nearing a contract with free agent right-hander Javier Vazquez. The Nationals, Rockies, Cardinals and Cubs all showed interest, but Javy has a home in south Florida and that may have helped the Marlins win him over.
Vazquez is thought to be seeking an incentive-laden one-year contract in the hopes of revitalizing his career. A recipient of Cy Young Award votes in 2009, he posted an ugly 5.32 ERA and 1.40 WHIP over 31 appearances (26 starts) for the Yankees this past season.
Many believe that he’ll be able to bounce back with a move back to the National League.
Vazquez was offered arbitration by the Yankees and will net his old team a supplemental round draft pick once his new contract is signed.
UPDATE: Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com says the deal is done. As expected, it’s s a one-year contract, and probably packed with performance-based incentives.
UPDATE II: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the contract is worth between $6 million and $7 million. A bargain for the Marlins if Javy can turn things around.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.