It’s been thought that the strength of the Oakland Athletics is it’s starting rotation, a group of young and talented arms that all seem to be developing into bonafide Major League starters at the same time. Those young arms carried the load down the stretch in 2012, and may be expected to do the same in 2013. But it may be wise for Billy Beane to seek some insurance for those young pitchers. It isn’t necessarily something that is a pressing issue for the A’s, but it still bears consideration.
Sep 11, 2011; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Florida Marlins starting pitcher Javier Vasquez (23) throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE
Peter Gammons of the MLB Network, and Ralph Pagan Archeval of ESPNDeportes.com hinted that Javier Vazquez was looking to return to the Major Leagues after retiring last offseason. Reports out of Puerto Rico in the winter league are that Vazquez is looking refreshed and that he is throwing well according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (Who spoke with a Nationals scout who watched him pitch). Vazquez could be an intriguing option for the Athletics should they decide they want to add an extra arm. The problem though would be if too many teams showed interest and a bidding war ensued, that might price Vazquez out of the reasonable range.
At this point 4 of the 5 rotation spots are all but secured with Jarrod Parker, Brett Anderson, Tommy Milone, and Bartolo Colon already in place. That 5th spot in the rotation would likely go to either A.J. Griffin or Dan Straily depending on their performances during Spring Training. What happens though if both of them struggle during the Cactus League and the 5th spot in the rotation becomes a problem? Certainly another prospect could leapfrog them, like Brad Peacock or even Sonny Gray, or someone like Andrew Werner could take it, but that’s an even bigger risk. Vazquez is proven, and if he can simply give the A’s league average innings at the back end of the rotation he would be a shrewd signing.
Previously Vazquez seemed to be very picky about the location of where he pitched, often preferring either east coast or gulf coast teams that are nearer to his native Puerto Rico. At this point, as his comments to Archeval indicated, he simply wants to win. He wants to win it all. The A’s are a team potentially poised for a special 2013 season. It seems like a match.
I highly doubt signing Vazquez would require more than a 1 year guarantee, perhaps an option year if bidding escalated, but could possibly sign on a minor league contract as well. The risk of signing the 36 year old would be extremely low, so it makes sense. As he’s shown already this offseason with the acquisition of Chris Young, Billy Beane is not afraid to add to a position of strength for the sake of depth. So don’t be shocked if the A’s jump in on Javier Vazquez.