Giants fans will remember Jack Taschner as a left-handed relief pitcher with good stuff but not enough command to be good major league pitcher. Giants’ management seemed to be enamored with him, though, and he hung around for a few years with the Gints in the hopes that he would find his command. He never did, and the Giants finally traded him away to the Phillies for catcher Ronnie Paulino after the 2008 season.
Taschner split 2009 between AAA Lehigh Valley and the Phils, with a 4.91 ERA in 24 major league relief appearances, a pretty typical performance for Taschner.
He’s 32 this year, and his major league career lives on. He pitched extremely well for the Pirates this Spring (1.50 ERA in 12 IP, with seven hits and five walks allowed and 15 Ks) and has made the team entering the season.
The Bucs have designated back-up middle infielder Ramon Vasquez for assignment to make room for Taschner. Vasquez’s name had been out there this past Winter and Spring as a possible trade candidate to a team that needs another back-up middle infielder. The thing that perhaps prevented any such trade from happening was that Vasquez is owed $2 million in 2010 as part of an ill-considered two-year $4 million contract the Pirates gave him before the 2009 season.
It’s unlikely that the Bucs will release Vasquez or that another team will claim him on waivers. That means he’ll either start 2010 at AAA Indianapolis or the Pirates will trade him to another team. The Pirates will almost certainly have to include more than a million dollars of Vasquez’s 2010 salary as part of any trade. However, that’s better than paying him $2 million to play AAA ball.
Vasquez isn’t much of a hitter, but he definitely has some value because his career .328 on-base percentage is fairly good for a back-up middle infielder.