Javier Vazquez: 5 Contenders That Are the Best Fits to Sign Him
Javier Vazquez last pitched in the majors in 2011 for the Miami Marlins. However, if the right team came calling, he could be persuaded to pitch once again.
Winning the World Series, quite simply, is the only thing (I’m interested in). It’s a team award, since I’m not interested in individual awards. In truth, what I’m missing is a World Series victory...If I decide (to play), it doesn’t matter for what team, as long as they have a good possibility to get to the championship. I’m not going to sign with a team knowing that I’m going to lose," said Vazquez (translation courtesy of Nick Collias).
If the Marlins were interested in bringing Vazquez, they would likely be rebuffed. It's clear Vazquez wants to retire as a winner if he indeed does come back.
Vazquez plans on pitching for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic in March and has been throwing for Puerto Rico's Ponce Lions this winter as well.
Teams who are looking to contend in 2013 have likely taken notice of Vazquez's comments.
Here are five of those teams who just might have interest in bringing Vazquez aboard.
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The Baltimore Orioles are fresh off their first playoff appearance in 15 years, yet they have done little thus far this offseason to upgrade their roster.
Adding a veteran arm like Javier Vazquez could be a smart play for vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette.
Vazquez will likely only require a one-year contract at reasonable money—he made $7 million with the Miami Marlins in 2011—and would give the O's a savvy veteran arm to complement youngsters Miguel Gonzalez, Steve Johnson and Zack Britton.
There's still a possibility that the O's could bring back Joe Saunders, but that doesn't mean Vazquez would be out of the picture.
Boston Red Sox
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The Boston Red Sox have certainly been active this offseason in their attempt to revitalize their roster after a 93-loss season.
However, even with their additions, there are still questions about the starting rotation.
As it stands right now, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, John Lackey, Felix Doubront and Franklin Morales make up the Sox rotation for 2013. Lackey is coming off Tommy John surgery, and Morales showed promise as a starter but in a very small sample size (nine starts in 2012).
Vazquez could give the rebuilding Sox added depth and a veteran arm with experience pitching in the competitive AL East.
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It might be a bit of a stretch to call the Milwaukee Brewers contenders, considering they've made virtually no moves this offseason and are looking to cut payroll.
However, adding Javier Vazquez wouldn't be a huge strain on that payroll, especially if just a one-year deal is all that's required.
Vazquez would join Yovani Gallardo at the top of the Brewers rotation. Along with younger arms in Mike Fiers, Marco Estrada, Mark Rogers and Wily Peralta, the Brewers would present a very intriguing starting rotation.
The Brewers would be much more of a long shot to sign Vazquez at this point.
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The Pittsburgh Pirates are lined up with some grizzled veterans in their starting rotation. A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald sit at the top, with Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton on the roster as well.
However, Morton won't be available until midseason while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and Liriano is certainly no lock either, considering the inconsistent up-and-down performance throughout his career.
While the Pirates have a few youngsters who could help out (Andy Oliver, Jeff Locke, Kyle McPherson), adding Javier Vazquez could be a very smart play for general manager Neal Huntington.
The Pirates are on the verge of breaking their long-standing record of 20 consecutive losing seasons. They've added catcher Russell Martin to add punch to the offense and feature a solid bullpen. The addition of Vazquez could help the Pirates finally get over that hump.
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To say the Texas Rangers have had a dismal offseason would be putting it mildly.
They lost free agents Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli, they traded Michael Young and they lost the bidding war for their No. 1 offseason priority, Zack Greinke.
Their starting rotation as it stands right now consists of Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando. Martin Perez and Robbie Ross could do battle for the fifth spot, and Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz won't be available until later in the season.
Adding Javier Vazquez could at least give the Rangers some additional depth and a very viable option for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.
In a division that has gotten much more competitive, any edge the Rangers can gain at this point is a plus.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.