The Royals searched high and low for starting pitching options. By now, they've re-signed Jeremy Guthrie and traded for James Shields, Wade Davis, and Ervin Santana. Prior to those moves, they were linked to Kyle Lohse, Anibal Sanchez, Shaun Marcum, R.A. Dickey, Jon Lester, and even lower impact pitchers like Carlos Villanueva.
In 2009, Javier Vazquez finished fourth in the National League's Cy Young vote. The Yankees traded for him for the 2010 season, but he struggled and signed with the Marlins, where he was last seen in 2011. He didn't pitch in 2012 and most assumed he'd retired at 35 years old.
Now, he's going to pitch in the Puerto Rican Winter League and intends to pitch in the World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico as well. He says he's been staying in shape and is ready to pick up where he'd left off, according to ESPN Deportes. He's drawing interest from teams, including the Boston Red Sox.
I think he could help.
Vazquez pitched from 1998 to 2011, reaching 32 or more starts in all but two seasons. The two outliers saw him make 26 starts. In nine of those seasons, he walked 2.5 batters or less per nine innings. He reached 200 innings in nine seasons. He strikes batters out. I like pitchers like that.
He's not perfect, of course. First, he hasn't pitched in 15 months. Second, he'll turn 37 in July. But pitchers can come back after long stretches of time off sometimes and older pitchers aren't necessarily completely done. Now, both of those conditions together is pretty scary, and explains why there hasn't been much said about him this offseason. I doubt many expected him to try to return and even if someone had, there are questions about how effective he can be.
Market Fresh: Javier Vazquez
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