The Florida Marlins have agreed to a one-year contract with free-agent starter Javier Vazquez worth in the $6 million to $7 million range, major league sources told FOXSports.com on Sunday.
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Vazquez struggled with the New York Yankees this past season, going 10-10 with a 5.32 ERA. But the right-hander has a stronger track record in the National League, with an average of 208 innings and 4.02 ERA over eight seasons there.
The Yankees will receive a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds of the 2011 draft as compensation for losing Vazquez. The team ensured its rights to the pick by offering salary arbitration to Vazquez, a Type B free agent. Vazquez was set to decline the offer as part of a gentlemen’s agreement with the team.
Because the Marlins cannot offer salary arbitration, they will enable Vazquez to be an unrestricted free agent next offseason and also will forfeit any right to draft-pick compensation.
A source also said Vazquez turned down two, two-year deals, one of which was for about $20 million. The Washington Nationals were known to be interested.
Vazquez’s most recent season in the NL East was arguably his best. He went 15-10 with a career-low 2.87 ERA in 219.1 innings with the Atlanta Braves in 2009; he finished fourth in the Cy Young Award balloting that year.
In the past 11 seasons, only one pitcher has thrown more innings than Vazquez — Livan Hernandez. Vazquez has averaged nearly 211 innings in that time.
The Marlins have been among the most active teams in the early weeks of the offseason. Their payroll is rising in advance of their new ballpark opening in 2012, and the Dan Uggla trade with Atlanta enabled them to reallocate money to multiple players.
The Marlins aren’t losing a significant free agent this winter but have signed Vazquez and catcher John Buck. Second baseman Omar Infante and left-handed reliever Michael Dunn, obtained in the Uggla deal, are expected to have key roles in 2011.
Florida also traded center fielder Cameron Maybin for two capable relievers, Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb.
Vazquez is joining what should be a strong starting rotation. Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad and Ricky Nolasco are slated to return. The Marlins also have right-hander Alex Sanabia, 22, who was impressive as a rookie this year.