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
In March, Andy Pettitte—seemingly done after sitting out the 2011 season—signed a one-year deal with the Yankees that few could have foreseen. Now, according to Peter Gammons, Pettitte’s former teammate, Vazquez, is reportedly itching to return to the mound, too.
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
The Indians brought in Terry Francona, the Marlins settled on Mike Redmond, and now the Rockies are closing in on filling their managerial opening, having trimmed their search to two candidates. According to Troy Renck and Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, general manager Dan O’Dowd’s shortlist no longer includes Giambi, bringing the race down to Matt Williams and Walt Weiss, who is considered the favorite.
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.
Dodgers interested in Anibal Sanchez
Even after adding Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett in a blockbuster deal with the Red Sox in August, the newly endowed Dodgers have abundant financial reserves, and general manager Ned Colletti won’t be shy about using them. Colletti is likely to do his due diligence on all of the top free agents, so it’s no surprise that Sanchez, coming off a strong year split between the Marlins and Tigers, has caught his eye.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark pointed out that the Dodgers already have five or six starting pitchers under contract for 2013, but Sanchez has the talent to be an upgrade over every member of their current rotation not named Clayton Kershaw, and Colletti has the spending power to reel him in and then ship Beckett, Aaron Harang, or Ted Lilly elsewhere before Opening Day. The 28-year-old Sanchez, who amassed 2.1 WARP in 2012, is arguably the second-best available starter after Zack Greinke, and his going rate may be a relative bargain compared to the nine-figure deal projected for the former Angel. The Tigers have shown interest in bringing Sanchez back, and a host of other teams are likely to enter the bidding over the coming weeks.