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Should Marlins beg Javier Vazquez not to retire?

     Javier Vazquez was named the NL Pitcher of the Month for September, and deservedly so. Vazquez went 5-0 with a 0.71 ERA in the final month and broke a 17-year-old franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched. As Jack McKeon aptly put it the other day, Vazquez went from serving as the No. 4 or No. 5 pitcher in the Marlins' rotation to their No. 1. That says something about the absence of Josh Johnson. But it also says volumes about Vazquez.

     On June 16, after he lost in Philadelphia to go to 3-7 with a 6.85 ERA, I was thinking Vazquez was finito. I was waiting for my phone to vibrate with the official notice from the Marlins that the 35-year-old pitcher had been released. But, for perhaps for lack of any better alternatives, Vazquez remained in the rotation, and a good thing for the Marlins he did. Vazquez not only went 10-4 with a 1.85 ERA over his final 18 starts, he did it at a time when the rest of the team was tanking in the standings. The Marlins won only 38 games after June 16 and Vazquez was the starter in more than a third (13) of them.

     But Vazquez, without actually saying so, has given every indication that this is his final season. He longs to spend time with his wife and children in Puerto Rico. He said he's pretty much made up his mind. I've spoken to other players, wondering whether Vazquez really intends to call it quits, and they have all said without a doubt he's hanging up his spikes.

      Vazquez is 35. He maintains a rigorous training program to stay in shape between starts. I see no reason why he couldn't pitch two or three more years.

      During Wednesday's season finale, the Marlins honored with a video tribute during the game, and Logan Morrison basically had to drag the modest pitcher out of the dugout to take a bow.

      If I'm the Marlins, I get down on my hands and knees and beg Vazquez to come back for one more season. Pay him another $7 million, or whatever it takes. Set up a college trust fund for his kids. Allow him to fly home to Puerto Rico between starts. Anything to keep him around another year.

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      The Marlins obtained 20-year-old right-hander Ricardo Andres from the White Sox to complete the deal for manager Ozzie Guillen. The Marlins sent infielder Ozzie Martinez and right-handed pitcher Jhan Marinez to the White Sox as compensation for Guillen.

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       MLB is talking about adding an extra wild card team to the playoff mix and could implement a new 10-team format as early as next season. Just think if had already been in place. The so-called "greatest night in regular season history" would have been just another night, with nothing more at stake than home field advantage. The Braves and Red Sox would still be kicking as those extra wild cards.

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       Saw Hanley Ramirez during yesterday's post-game ceremony. The shortstop, who had shoulder surgery a week ago, said he's having trouble sleeping due to the pain but was scheduled to begin rehab on Thursday. He said he'll be ready for spring training....In case you missed it, here's the all-time Marlins team as voted on by fans: 1B -- Derrek Lee; 2B -- Luis Castillo; SS -- Hanley Ramirez; 3B -- Mike Lowell; OF -- Gary Sheffield; OF -- Miguel Cabrera; OF -- Jeff Conine; C -- Ivan Rodriguez; SP -- Kevin Brown; SP -- Livan Hernandez; SP -- Al Leiter; SP -- Josh Beckett; SP -- Dontrelle Willis; SP -- Josh Johnson; RP -- Robb Nen; Utility -- Alfredo Amezaga. The only one surprised me was Pudge. One season in a Marlins uniform earns you "all-time" status? I would have thought Charles Johnson bags that position.

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Comments

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Villa26

Of course!!! Please!!!

Flagmarlinsfan

Bring on the Miami Marlins! Looking forward to a real ballpark and a new look team. Like the idea of allowing Vasquez to fly home between starts.

Jorge

Saw Javy's wife at last game he pitched....cant blame him for wanting to spend more time w/family...Muy caliente...

bob

At least ask him to go to Spring Training to see how he feels about it.

Also, agree about CJ.

DAP

Don't expect Vazquez to come back to Miami with Ozzie Guillen as the manager. the two didn't get along well in Chicago. Sorry, but you pretty much forced Vazquez out when you hired Guillen.

laurelbowie

Still wondering how Mark Buehrle and Ozzie get along. As I said before, Buerhle wouldn't be my first choice as the Marlins' lefty starter, but he is a free agent, and if he and Ozzie are bffs, the Fish could land him. Just a thought.

laurelbowie

Not sure what the criteria were for choosing an all-time Marlins team, but the fact is, Pudge was the greatest catcher ever to play for the Marlins. CJ was super (Thou shalt not steal) and may have contributed more to the Fish when longevity is taken into account. Then again, with Pudge there was that teensy-weensy World Series victory against the Yankees to consider. In my mind, it could have gone either way.

Stan M

There was a story I read someplace that was discussing Ozzie's relationship with his players. It specifically mentoned that Buehrle was walking onto the field and he noticed Ozzie spouting about his contract with some reporters. He was heard to mumble, "Oh, shut up!"
DAP above is right about Vazquez and Ozzie according to another article. It stated that Ozzie proclaimed that Vazquez was not a big game pitcher and that he was subsequently traded to the Braves (where he excelled). It sure looks like the Marlins gave up even more than 2 of our top 10 prospects when Ozzie was signed. Personally, I thought the prospects alone were way too much.

laurelbowie

Stan M,
The Marlins could have gotten Ozzie without giving up anybody at all because the Sox were sick of him. And I think the day will come soon when the Fish are fed up to the gills with him as well. But I don't think Vazquez would come back, Guillen or no Guillen. He wants to spend more time with his family and he's going out at the top of his game. As much as I'd love to see him in one of those fancy new Marlins uniforms next year, I think he'd be nuts to come back.
Someday the Marlins will regret handing over Martinez for a windbag skipper.

Stan M

LB,
Did you see my post of 2 days ago. Said essentially the same things but took a lot loger to say it. Didn't the Dodgers give Brown a contract where he could go home between starts. Also Clemens on the Yankees. Puerto Rico is close enough that he could almost commute. I'd even go so far as to move his family to Miami area during season. He's too good to lose.

Settled down to watch first playoff game but the announcers were so horrible that I turned it off after 3 innings. Anyone else find too much vanilla with those guys.

laurelbowie

Stan M,
Just got back from Oregon a couple of days ago so I missed what you had to say. I'll go back and check it out.
I also would make concessions to get Vazquez back, but when do you get to the point of alienating teammates by giving Javy special treatment? Don't know if that would be a problem or not.

Mr. B

CJ also won a championship with the Marlins and obviously played here longer. He is the Marlins all-time catcher IMO.

Stan M

Some thoughts on coming off season:
1)A fromt line starter is top priority. Probably Wilson will be unattainable, unless he blows another playoff game and then who knows? Therefore Buehrle is probably best bet out there barring a deal.
2)In addition to a front line starter, at least two "cheap" pitchers with present problems but a high upside could be available; namely Zambrano and/or Sanchez from SF. It would be good to secure one. Zambrano should be very cheap and cost little or nothing. Sanchez would need a trade if he is tendered. He is injured and somewhat of a question mark. So is our Coghlan. That sounds like a good trade to me. (more on Coghlan later)
3) If we go for a big name hitter, I'd rule out Pujols as too expensive, probably too old (he could be 35-36 now) and too long a contract needed. Fielder is questionable on his weight and also contract size and length would be prohibitive. How about a trade for Votto? He might be available because of Reds great prospect to replace him who can only play 1B. Also too expensive for Cinn when he's a free agent at the end of next year. Cinn. desperately needs a SS. Sooooo...Hanley and whatever else it takes for Votto. He's only just 28 a few days ago and has the best upside for the long term. That we could dump a major headache in the bargain is another huge plus.
4) With the Infante signing, someone has to go. If a combination of Dominguez and Dobbs hold down 3B as anticipated for next year, where does that leave our second best regular...Bono. We have Coghlan, LoMo, Peterson and Bono all for only 2 outfield positions. Assuming Peterson is great for 4th outfielder, and LOMO has too much potential to trade, either Coghlan or Gabby is expendable. That's why I kind of like a Coghlan for Sanchez trade even thhough between the two, I like Coghlan's upside over Gabby's, But something seems to be cooking with Coghlan and the front office
5) Could the team possibly admit their mistake and move Buck. It's not just that he can't throw, is below average defensively in general, the staff fell apart with him catching, it's also that when batting, his outs are nearly always unproductive. If kept, he should never hit higher than eighth. If team can't make a big splash for a hitter any other way, how about Buck for Jason Bay of the Mets? They would love to get rid of him and he was a premium player until he hit NY. A gamble but with an excellent upside and little risk with Buck leaving and Mets helping with salary.

laurelbowie

Stan M,
The notion of sending Hanley to Cincy for Votto got my heart racing (it doesn't take much these days). Actually, the Reds have Votto locked up for two more years, so they (or whoever gets him) won't have to worry about free agency until after 2013. Trouble is, I think Ozzie has his heart set on kicking some sense into Hanley and turning him around, so the Fish aren't likely to give him up, even for Votto.
Also, Ozzie loves speed and the Marlins are clearly lacking in that dept., so they're likely keep anybody with any kind of zip. If Hanley's surgery is a success and he doesn't have to baby his shoulder all the time,
maybe he can run a little more and help the team that way.
For the same reason, I'd just as soon play Boni at third next year, keep Dobbs as a lefty pinch hitter and ship Dominguez back for more seasoning. Dominguez didn't impress anybody during his brief appearance in Miami last year and once he reaches base, if that ever occurs, he creates a massive logjam out there. The State Police may not agree, but I believe lack of speed kills.
Zambrano? Ordinarily, I'd say no way. But we're desperate & maybe Ozzie can control him. As you say, he should be cheap. But keep an eye on him and the minute he strays even a little, boot him out before he destroys everything he touches. Still it's scary. Team after team thought they could make something out of Milton Bradley and he kicked them all in the teeth.

laurelbowie

I've read that the Marlins are considering a trade for Ozzie's crony Bobby Abreu if the Angels will pick up most of his salary, but I can't figure what the hell they would do with him or who they would trade for him. He'll be 38 by the time next season starts. Doesn't seem like the kind of "new blood" the team needs.

Eduardo

Marlins should beg Javy to come back so Ozzie doesnt talk them into signing his lunatic ,mental case buddy Zambrano...

Glags

Hey everyone, the Marlins should give Vazquez whatever concessions his heart desires. Right now we r looking at a rotation with JJ, who is made of glass; Nolasco is as inconsistent as anyone in baseball; Sanchez could be a fourth starter on a Mediocre team so he fits right in; and Volstad, I'm not sure where to start. Not very promising.

As for Zambrano, he has another year with the cubs at $18 mil. If the fish get this guy and not if but when he implodes, the FO will be a laughing stock. Point is these guys are gonna have to shell a lot of $$$ if they want to compete next year. I'm not sure that Prince or Albert alone can help this team win an extra 30 games.

laurelbowie

Glags,
As I've said before — and I believe Stan M and several others have said the same thing — I hope the Marlins forget about Pujols and Fielder altogether and spend the money they'd command to acquire at least one really good arm and a couple of good bats to add some meat to that lineup. I believe Prince and Alberto each hit .299 this year. That, combined with their power numbers, could add some pop to the batting order and give a boost to those hitting ahead of them. But, as you say, it's not going to be enough to turn this team around. And what happens when they put all their eggs into one basket and the guy gets hurt? Then the Fish are right back where they were this year — floundering on the rocks and gasping for air.

Flav C.

Suggestion (which I already posted some other place): Send Cogs and Gaby to the A's and trade for Gio Gonzalez. The A's are in desperate need for offense power and are loaded with young pitching. Its a win-win for everybody. Gio has proven to be a young talent in the AL and would be a lot cheaper than signing for CJ, Edwin Jackson or Buhele, for a few years (next season is his first one elligible for arbitration). Also, he is a lefty. Another option: LoMo to the Brewers in exchange for Shaun Marcum and an OF prospect or pitching prospect.

laurelbowie

Great idea, Flav C, if the Fish could pull it off. The Hialeah boy pitching in Little Havanna sould stir up the natives. And he's one of those guys who's gonna get better and better over the next 10 years if he stays healthy. Trouble is, the Yankees are chasing Gio and as usual, they've got more to offer.

laurelbowie

I meant "should" and "Havana." I don't want people to think I'm eliterat.

Ex Season-Ticket Holder

Hialeah is broke,having to lay off 40% of it's Fire Dept, wouldnt expect them to spend Big $ to watch something they get for free...Besides, Samson said publicly that he wants a whole new fan base...Preferably those that dont know him , Loria, their history or anything about Baseball, seeing that they destroyed the previous fan base in a short period of time...

Marlins Fans are Suckers

Marlins FO will disappoint all you Marlins daydreamers with little upgrade to the team they have now.

Flav C.

Hey "Marlins Fans Are Suckers", I guess you're writing to the wrong audience here; there are no daydreamers here, as far as what this FO can do to improve this team.

laurelbowie

I've tried twice now to issue a somewhat lengthy response to "Marlins Fans Are Suckers" and each time it has appeared for a few seconds and then disappeared into cyberspace. I don't have a clue whether I'm being censored or whether something truly supernatural is going on here, but in either case I'll move to a forum where things are a little less complicated.

Marlins Fans Are Samson Suckers

Poof...Ur Marlins comments are like a fart in the wind...just like their team.

BigVic

I think the Marlins need to make Javy an offer he can't refuse get him to stay on another year at least since it looks like he has found his sweet spot for pitching at least. Yeah family is important but so is baseball and retiring at this age for him I think would be a huge loss given his recent performance for us.

fish rock

I think Zambrano'd be great for Miami... and so would Reyes.

fish rock

Abreu deal, Im not thinking about him going to the Marlins.

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