Fish Bites: Javier Vazquez Wants To Pitch, But Not For New Miami Marlins

Marc Serota

Last week, it was reported that former Marlin Javier Vazquez wanted to pitch in the major leagues once again. Vazquez got an opportunity with Miami in 2011, however now said that he wants to pitch for a contender. Plus links on Redmond and Stanton

As if it already was not already clear, the way veteran players look at the Miami Marlins franchise is now quite obvious. At the very least, very few view the Marlins as a competitive team, let alone a contender.

Last week, former Marlins starting pitcher Javier Vazquez was being scouted in his home town in Puerto Rico. Vazquez was signed by the Marlins in 2011, and had success. The veteran right-hander went 13-11 with a 3.69 ERA while pitching slightly more than 192 innings.

Several teams have expressed interest in Vazquez, who is 36 and making a comeback. Teams that are looking for starting pitching depth, including but not limited to the Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals, were among the teams that attended the bullpen session. The Marlins, though, weren't present.

Though he did not directly say it, the way Vazquez sees the Marlins franchise is obvious. Vazquez made two things clear. He said that he would like to join a contender, and that he will not join the Miami Marlins in 2013. Therefore Vazquez doesn't view Miami as a legitimate contender, and he should not.

Miami, like many teams often do, is going through the "rebuilding" phase. Adding depth via minor signings or trades and through the draft are keys to establishing a winning franchise. And that is exactly what the Marlins are now trying to do.

Aside from the front office and rookie manager Mike Redmond, there are not many players, coaches, or executives around the game that have said the Marlins are going to be competitive in 2013. There are many, though, that are convinced the team will lose at least 100 games.

Vazquez is not wrong for not wanting to re-sign with Miami. This time around, the ideal place for him to pitch is not proximity to his family (in Puerto Rico), but rather for a team that he considers to be a contender.

Following the mid-November blockbuster sale with Toronto, it was understood that free agents weren't going to want to sign with Miami. Most free agents seek a no-trade clause, which the Marlins refuse to offer.

There is a common theme among the free agents that Miami has signed this offseason. Both Placido Polanco and Juan Pierre are veteran players who are looking to have bounce back-type years (though Pierre also likely signed because of his familiarity with the organization).

It is hard to fault Vazquez for wanting to play for a contender. However, he is most likely not the only free agent to feel that Miami isn't going to be successful in the immediate future.

With victories comes universal appeal. Once the Marlins establish themselves as a winning franchise, free agents will sign in Miami, with or without a no-trade clause.

- Manager Mike Redmond has played under and learned from some of the best managers in baseball, including Jim Leyland, Jack McKeon, John Boles, and Ron Gardenhire. Those four have combined for over 50 years of managerial experience. "There are lots of guys that I learned from, but the biggest thing is that as a catcher, as a backup catcher, I sat there and I watched," Redmond said. "I sat there and paid attention. I'd watch what moves guys made, when they made them. I tried to learn."

- After a blockbuster trade, the Marlins will look to repeat the success of the 2006 team, which was expected to lose over 100 games but instead won 78 under Joe Girardi. "We're starting with a clean slate, and we're going to be able to go out there and develop these young players," Redmond said last month at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn. "Creating a winning environment, and winning the game the right way. Playing the game hard. Getting back to baseball. That's what we're focusing on, and that's why I'm excited."

- A pair of blockbuster trades in both the American and National Leagues may shape the 2013 division races. Miami's trade with Toronto can drastically alter the outcome of two division races, including those within the National and American League Easts.

- Expecting to be focused on pitching and consistent defense, the Marlins are hoping that their youth will serve them well and be successful in 2013. Miami will have a young starting rotation and several young prospects in the lineup, with veterans such as Placido Polanco and Juan Pierre to complement them. "This was just a redo," president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "This is just a reset. It's just sheer disappointment. There is a payroll component. But this is just, almost like, kind of starting over."

- As spring training gets closer, Miami will continue to listen to offers on Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins have said that they will seek many young prospects in any deal. The Mariners and Padres are among the interested teams, according to reports.

- Following a major November trade, the Marlins will look to rebuild in the years to come. Miami will look to build around Giancarlo Stanton, for now, though he has publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with the organization. Is Loria to blame?

-Despite reports suggesting that the Marlins would trade Stanton if the deal was right, a team source told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald that Miami hasn't discussed trading Stanton internally.

Around The League

- The Texas Rangers have signed Lance Berkman to a one-year deal. Many have called Berkman "the type of hitter that Texas never had."

- Pitcher Joe Saunders would like to return to Baltimore in 2013, though the Mets and Angels have also expressed interest. "Whether it is two, three, four, five, six, seven years, players can't really control that. That's up to the individual teams whether they go that route," Saunders said. "Every player that hits free agency would like to sign with a team and build on that. That's why players want multi years. You can establish yourself in the community."

- The Yankees claimed Russ Canzler off of waivers from the Cleveland Indians on Friday. Canzler, 26, appeared in 26 games for the Indians as a September call-up in 2012, hitting .269 with three home runs and 11 RBI.

- The Chicago Cubs have signed former Marlin lefty Dontrelle Willis to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, according to a report.

At Fish Stripes

- Who has the better prospects, the Marlins or the Mets?

- Despite all of the rumors, the Marlins are unlikely to trade Giancarlo Stanton.

- Here is an optimist's view of the Miami Marlins.

- The Miami Marlins are looking forward to moving on from 2012.

- Miami has cited the team's policy as a reason for listening to offers on Stanton.

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