November 7, 2012
Wednesday, November 7
With all eyes on the election, Tuesday was yet another quiet day on the hot stove. But for the second time in as many offseasons, we might be in for another blast from the past.
Javier Vazquez considering return to the majors
Vazquez last pitched in the majors in 2011, logging a 3.69 ERA over 32 starts for the Marlins after a rocky stint with the Yankees the previous year. Gammons’ tweet suggests that the 36-year-old will pitch for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic before deciding on his major-league future, but come March, teams in need of rotation depth should have Vazquez’s agent on speed dial, with a rare opportunity to add a talented, veteran starter after most of the free-agent dust has settled.
Vazquez’s WBC outings will serve as an audition for interested teams. Evaluators might be most interested in his fastball velocity, which dropped from its usual average of 91-92 mph down to 89.5 mph during his time in the Bronx, when the righty served up 32 home runs over 157 1/3 innings of work, before rebounding in Miami in what looked like his last season. If the WBC radar gun readings show Vazquez back in the low-90s again, he should be an adequate back-end starter, especially in a pitcher-friendly environment. From that standpoint, the Padres, who are expected to join the bidding for a slew of free agent starters, might offer a mutually beneficial fit.
Jason Giambi will not be Rockies’ next manager
Giambi, meanwhile, must now decide whether to continue his playing career or pursue a different coaching opportunity. The 41-year-old made just 113 plate appearances in 2012, serving almost exclusively as a pinch hitter, and he managed only one homer, posting a .225/.372/.303 triple-slash line that doesn’t exactly jibe with his powerful track record. Nonetheless, with his plate discipline intact, even if some of the pop Giambi once possessed has been sapped by age, the lefty could still be a useful bench bat or part-time designated hitter.