White Sox fans everywhere are wondering whether anything else will happen this offseason. Is help on the way? Well, uh…apparently the White Sox were scouting Javier Vazquez in the Puerto Rican Winter League. As you can see from the link, they weren’t the primary team checking him out. Although Vazquez is “only” 36 to start the season, it’s interesting to think of what he could contribute to the White Sox and under what circumstances they would bring him in.
Javier Vazquez didn’t pitch at all in 2012, despite – stop me if this sounds familiar – once again turning in an above average ERA with lots of strikeouts, not many walks, and a few too many home runs. It had been my understanding that he had only agreed to pitch for the Marlins in the first place because he wants to be closer to his home in Puerto Rico.
After sitting out last year, Vazquez apparently looked really good, his fastball coming in at 95 mph and scouts were very excited. While sometimes guns read a bit hotter than they should, it could simply be that taking a year to rest did his arm a lot of good. There’s no doubt that Vazquez would be an asset out of the bullpen and nice insurance for a lot of the question marks in the White Sox rotation. Sale and Quintana are facing new ground in terms of workloads, and Quintana simply may not be good. Danks is coming off of a shoulder injury. Floyd had an injury-marred 2012. Jake Peavy is made out of Fabergé eggs.
The problem is, I just don’t see Vazquez wanting to come back with the White Sox. Granted, a lot of the bad blood coming with his departure involved dumb things that Ozzie Guillen said, but it’s cold, far away from Puerto Rico, and a bad pitching environment. I don’t think the White Sox are in a position to overpay for him, and I don’t think he’s going to bite on a minor league non-roster invitation.
Vazquez was actually pretty good for the White Sox, including a very good 2007 that was overlooked in an awful season for the team, and he fits the profile that the White Sox like: has played for the White Sox before. If they can make it happen, great, but it’s a real long shot.