Veteran right-hander Javier Vazquez voluntarily retired following the 2011 season, but has expressed interest in making a comeback to Major League Baseball. Numerous teams have expressed potential interest in the now 36 year old who has been pitching well in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He made his latest start on Wednesday evening in Puerto Rico, a playoff game, and once again pitched above expectations – allowing just one run on 6 hits with 10 strikeouts over 6.0 innings of work.
According to MLBTR, representatives from multiple teams – including Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and scouts from both the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox – were in attendance at the game to watch Vazquez pitch. Washington is one team that has been linked to the veteran already, as he specifically cited them as a place he’d have interest in playing, but they likely would not offer him anything more than a minor league deal given the current makeup of their projected starting rotation (notably Dan Haren’s injury history, which causes a number of people to have concerns about his ability to remain in the rotation for the full season). Rizzo is searching for depth to give the team added protection in case they are forced to overcome injuries during the 2013 season.
The White Sox and Red Sox have both reportedly expressed interest in upgrading their rotations this winter, but appear to have a more passive interest level in Vazquez at this point in time.
ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden has reported that as many as 15 teams have contacted Vazquez’s representatives about his potential availability but he prefers to join a contender. It would seem that Vazquez will not sign until after the upcoming World Baseball Classic, in which he’ll pitch for team Puerto Rico.
Vazquez went 13-11 with a 3.69 ERA in 32 starts (192.2 IP) during his last season in the Major Leagues, adding a 1.183 WHIP and 7.6 K/9 for the Florida Marlins in 2011. For his career he holds a 165-160 mark with a 4.22 ERA over 2,840.0 innings of work (450 G, 443 GS).