Javier Vazquez has been pitching in winter ball as he tries to work his way back into Major League Baseball and the Yankees have been among the teams that have been watching his starts, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
The Yankees rotation is set right now with five starters plus David Phelps in place, but the expectation was that they would bottom feed for extra depth. It’s been reported that Vazquez has been sitting in the 92-95 mph range this winter so it seems like he’s still in shape, but after sitting out a season he could potentially come cheap which makes him a potential fit.
The problem is that he’s Vazquez and he’s made himself quite infamous with Yankees fans after his two failed stints in the Bronx. First was when the Yankees traded for him before the 2004 season before he posted a 4.91 ERA after a terrible second half. Then again when they traded for him before the 2010 season and he posted an even worse 5.32 ERA both times severely hurting the Yankees championship aspirations. To make things worse, both times the Yankees gave up solid prospects to land him, Nick Johnson in 2004 and then Arodys Vizcaino in 2010.
This time around the Yankees would practically have to land Vazquez on a minor league deal to get any support from fans. Especially considering the state of the organization where the fans are already upset over the cutting of payroll amidst record profits and exorbitant ticket prices.
So while the Yankees continue to monitor his starts it seems very unlikely that they could justify to their fan base signing one of the least popular players of the last decade. It might spark a full on revolt if they didn’t re-sign their only starting-caliber catcher over $3 million only to turn around and spend that money on Vazquez.