If the offseason wasn't already a busy one, the Florida Marlins haven't quite finished running down their offseason wish list. After trading Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin and Dan Uggla in a span a week for a bullpen makeover, the Marlins are surprisingly at it again. Only this time they are targeting a household name, Javier Vazquez.
After Dan Uggla rejected the four-year, $48 million contract extension the Marlins offered, the ballclub was left with anywhere from $4-5 million after acquiring Omar Infante and signing John Buck to a three-year, $18 million deal.
Javier Vazquez was traded from the Atlanta Braves to the New York Yankees last offseason and disappointed, posting a 10-10 record with a poor 5.32 ERA to go along with a 6.9 K/per 9 innings ratio, the lowest he had since 2004 when he made his first stint with Yankees.
Vazquez earned $11.5 million last season, but after struggling in the Bronx, the 35-year old isn't likely to see an eight-figure salary in 2011, giving the Marlins a better chance to sign him.
He knows key members of the front office, which include Jeffrey Loria (when they were with the Expos) and he knows countryman and manager Edwin Rodriguez from Puerto Rico.
Reports are the Javier Vazquez has the Florida Marlins atop his offseason destinations if the contract offer is right.
For the Marlins, adding Javier Vazquez would arguably give them a starting rotation to rival that of the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves in the NL East and signal their stance on being in the postseason in 2011.
That would only happen if Vazquez can replicate a 2009 season when he went 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA and a 9.8 K/per 9 innings ratio. In his career, Vasquez has a better ERA as a National League pitcher (3.81) versus being an American League pitcher (4.75).
Here's a peek at what the starting rotation might look like if Javier Vazquez signs with the Marlins:
SP - Josh Johnson
SP - Ricky Nolasco
SP - Anibal Sanchez
SP - Javier Vazquez
SP - Chris Volstad
Vazquez is represented by the Levinson brothers’ ACES group, which ironically enough is the the same agency that represented John Buck when he signed his deal with the Marlins.
In order for Vazquez to sign with the Marlins, he may have to take a pay cut of nearly $5 million in order to match it with the Marlins remaining offseason budget. One possibility might involve the trade of Leo Nunez, who is set to earn anywhere from $2-3 million, in order to make up any gap in negotiations.
One thing is for certain, the Marlins haven't made the final trade this offseason nor the last big signing after going five years without a single one.