Florida Marlins: Javier Vazquez a $7 Million Mistake and Here's Why

James BondmanCorrespondent IMay 15, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15:  Starting pitcher Javier Vazquez #23 of the Florida Marlins reacts on the mound after giving up two runs to the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Nationals Park on May 15, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Another day, another Javier Vazquez start.

The result? A six run deficit that the Marlins could barely overcome against the Washington Nationals which ended in another loss. 

Is it too early to call this signing a disaster? Perhaps, but this signing is already a disaster of sorts and brings back memories of the last veteran signing the franchise made back in 2005 when the team signed Al Leiter. 

In the offseason, after the Marlins had extra money to use since Dan Uggla rejected a contract extension from the team, the team chose to bypass other alternatives on the market like former Marlins Dontrelle Willis and Brad Penny, and current Los Angeles Dodger Jon Garland. 

Through his eight starts, Vazquez has 2-4 record with a 7.55 ERA. Batters are hitting .321 off him and Vazquez has walked 24 versus his 20 strikeouts. 

After Sunday's disaster of an inning, the 34 year old Puerto Rican has a 15.75 ERA in the first inning of each of his eight starts.

At this rate, the Marlins don't have much of an alternative in the minor leagues and even if they did, the Marlins aren't going to place their seven million dollar investment in the bullpen, nor will they demote him because the team has been trying to fix his mechanics already.

What about a trade? Forget it. Not only does Vazquez have a full no-trade clause, but what team is going to trade for him at this point?


Minor League Options

 Going back to the Marlins options down in their farm system, their prime replacements, Sean West (shoulder) and Alex Sanabia (elbow) are both out with injuries.

The Marlins do have Tom Koehler (2.67 ERA) and Ellh Villanueva (5.67 ERA), but because neither is on the 40 man roster, I'd doubt the team would exhaust that route unless they have no where to turn to.

One emergency option is perhaps flip-flopping Clay Hensley or Burke Badenhop with Vazquez in the rotation and either demoting Vazquez, or placing him in the bullpen.


The Free Agents They Could Have Had

So, how well are the pitchers the Marlins "could have had" playing? Well, not all are having tremendous starts to the season, but they are putting up solid numbers thus far.

Brad Penny: 4-3, 4.11 ERA, 1.21 WHIP (nine starts); signed for $3 million  in 2011 

Jon Garland: 1-2, 3.66 ERA, 1.16 WHIP (five starts); signed for $5 million in 2011 

Dontrelle Willis: 3-1, 2.66 ERA, 1.37 WHIP (seven starts in minor leagues); minor league deal

Heck, the Marlins could have had both Garland and Penny in their rotation at this point, and even though Willis has yet to prove if he is "back" in the major leagues, the Marlins should be hitting themselves for not at least signing him to a minor league deal to see if a return to SoFlo could spark him back.

The bottom line, even if Vazquez bounces back, this seems like a huge mistake the Marlins shouldn't have gotten themselves into.

After all, he did struggle with the Yankees last season and even with slowing velocity, the franchise went after a not-so-sure thing when they could have been safer with sure bets in Penny (3-4, 3.23 ERA in 2010 with Cardinals) and Garland (14-12, 3.47 ERA in 2010 with Padres).