The Long Shot Option

'Javier Vázquez' photo (c) 2010, Richard Eriksson - license: can’t say this option has much of a shot, as this player has been pretty solidly quoted as saying retirement is his number one option. The player, of course, is Javier Vazquez, but the last update heard from him was tracked by MLBTR back in early December. Originally, he was waiting to potentially return to the Marlins, but with that option gone it was assumed he would retire.

Of course, there has been no formal announcement and no note of Vazquez filing with the office to retire. That doesn’t mean he isn’t fully planning to retire, but perhaps he is still weighing his options and a signing is still possible; even outside of Miami. I’m sure fans in Boston think of the Vazquez who pitched in New York and cringe, but there is plenty about Vazquez worth liking in a Red Sox uniform.

Understanding FIP vs ERA

Back in another lifetime, I wrote about Vazquez on another site (unfortunately they have since removed the article — reason to always save you work to your own database). My analysis took a thorough look at why Vazquez could never match his FIP and his ERA was always a third of a run higher on average. While he had some poor defenses behind him a few years, the biggest problem for Vazquez was a poor makeup when pitching from the stretch.

In his career Vazquez has a K/BB of 3.32 and is excellent when the bases are empty at 4.04. When a runner is on base though his K/BB fell to 2.53, which is good, but troublesome for a fly ball pitcher. The league average pitcher in 2010 had a K/BB of 2.51 with no runners on and fell to 1.84 with runners on base. That is a 37% drop for Vazquez and a 27% drop for everyone else. This led to a rate of runners left on base that was often lower than league average as he gave up more hits and base runners when in the stretch.

His career numbers confirm he is continue to pitch poorly from the stretch and will almost always be worse than his FIP projects. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a useful number five in Boston.

Projecting Vazquez in Boston

The numbers in the AL have not been great for Vazquez, but there is still room for optimism in a return. He spent time in New York twice, as most around here know, and had a three year stay in Chicago with the White Sox. His overall ERA in the AL stands at 4.65 vs an ERA of 3.99 in the NL.

His time in New York was awful at best, and much of 2010 was moved back and forth from the pen resulting in more time spent in the stretch. He also had injury woes and was slowly removed from the rotation. He only totaled 157.1 innings that season, which was his lowest since 1999 with the Expos.

His time in Chicago was up and down, but had a solid total ERA of 4.40 with one season pitching very well to an ERA of 3.74. His career has never been consistent, but other than 2010 he has always been an innings eater and been a 3-6 fWAR pitcher. He’s in the twilight of his career at 36 years old, but in comparison to Aaron Cook, Carlos Silva or Vicente Padilla, I would give him first chance for sure.

His projection according to OLIVER gives him an ERA of 3.93 in 180 innings totaling 2.9 WAR. Also it’s worth noting that OLIVER gives Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt a projection of 2.6 and 2.9 WAR respectively. There would have to be some adjustment for signing back in the AL for any of these pitchers as well as moving to Fenway Park, but they all seem on equal ground according to OLIVER.


It’s very likely that Vazquez doesn’t even play in 2012, but the Red Sox hopefully have placed a call to see what interest Vazquez might have in playing in Boston. He would make a solid number five with the history to eat plenty of innings. That seems like a better choice than Oswalt at this point with injury concerns. The rumblings from the Red Sox is that they will pass on anymore starting pitchers and head to spring training as is.

The team will surely compete for the Wild Card as is and with more luck than we have seen in a few seasons compete for the division, but adding one of the available pitchers including Gavin Floyd by trade would make the team much more competitive in the AL East for 2012. Depending on the interest and contract needed to get it done Vazquez would be a surprising, but solid addition.

Categories: Alfredo Aceves Boston Red Sox Javier Vazquez

After taking an interest in sabermetrics and statistical analysis Troy began trying to use it to an advantage in fantasy baseball. He started the website and also spent time at and After a few years the interest in the Red Sox drew him to start a Red Sox-oriented site (Yawkey Way Academy) with fellow writer Lee Perrault. A short time later he joined Fire Brand. Writer from: December 14, 2009 – July 24, 2010, March 3, 2011 – May 10, 2012.

30 Responses to “The Long Shot Option” Subscribe

  1. ChipBuck February 2, 2012 at 8:13 AM #

    I really like the idea of Javier Vazquez. I know few will agree with me, but his troubles in New York weren't due to "poor mental makeup" or "collapsing under the pressure." I don't think we should expect the Javy that we saw for the Marlins during the second half of the season last year. He was pitching over his true talent level at that point. Still, I think a solid 2 win pitcher with a 4.25 ERA is pretty reasonable; especially out of the four slot. His fly ball tendencies may actually help him in Boston due to the deep power allies and excellent outfield defense (expect when Cody Ross is playing RF). As long as he can avoid the long fly balls down the foul lines, he should set. Plus, as a low risk deal, it's hard to say no. Sure beats Cook, Padilla, and Silva.

  2. TroyPatterson February 2, 2012 at 8:54 AM #

    I forgot to include that the home run factors from Chicago to Boston would predict an ERA in the low fours. I agree 4.25 is a fair target.

  3. Matt Imbrogno February 2, 2012 at 9:25 AM #

    I always wanted Vazquez to succeed in New York, and really thought he would in 2010. But, when your curve is flat and you're throwing an 89 MPH nothing-ball, you're going to get hammered in the ALE. That's a good point about the power alleys, though, Chip. For funsies, I ran over to Katron and it showed Vazquez picking up four homers to LF from Dolphin Stadium while losing none to RF, but that's overly simplistic, considering it doesn't take anything but pure distance into account. Either way, food for thought.

    • ChipBuck February 2, 2012 at 10:09 AM #

      Yeah, Matt. That was Vazquez's issue with the Yanks in 2010. His velocity was way down when he was starting. Somewhere in the 87-88 range, but picked up during his stints out of the bullpen. It was a drop of about 2-3 MPH off of what he was throwing in Atlanta the year before. He didn't stand a chance. Last year with Florida, his FF velocity jumped back up to 90.4, and was up to 91.1 from July through September. 2-3 ticks off your fastball doesn't sound like much, but really it's huge. I don't know if he was hurt or if he was mechanically out of whack in NY, but something was definitely off. Had he exhibited the kind of velocity in 2010 that he did in 2009 and the second half of 2011, he probably would have been much better for the Yanks.

  4. marcos February 2, 2012 at 9:54 AM #

    I heard Padilla got arrested in Nicaragua. They should definitely get another starter now. Not that Padilla was much of a starter to begin with.

  5. john silver February 2, 2012 at 10:17 AM #

    As much as I enjoyed watching Vazquez pitch for the Fish last year (and have a bang up season no less) am not so sure he can do it again, nor do it in the AL East if he wanted to.

    That is why he announced his retirement.. To be one of the few to go out with a nice season and also.. He did it in an extreme pitcher's park.. Land Shark Stadium which Fenway is not.

    Can see why there is a want to bring him in on some kind of really economical deal, but honestly.. Padilla probably could do just about as good once he gets these legal problems settled in Nicaragua and one thing clear.. I am a fan of the Fish also and he DID do a good job last year.. Nothing against him.

  6. marcos February 2, 2012 at 10:27 AM #

    This fucking lack of urgency is pissing me off. Now they don't seem to be in on Jackson or Oswalt. The same lack of urgency that was displayed by Fran-coma, now it's being displayed by Cherrington and the frugal FO. They keep bringing up the fact that they were phenomenal for 4 months last season. But guess what? the rest of the AL has improved dramatically. With the probable addition of a 2nd wild card the Red Sox need to worry even more about teams on other divisions. The Red Sox need to keep up with the rest of the AL otherwise it's gonna be another wasted season.

    • Dave February 2, 2012 at 1:19 PM #

      Cherington is bluffing. He is saying we don't intend to add a starter to make our offer of $5million appear more enticing to Oswalt and Jackson's agents. the less we appear to care the more they will be willing to take our low offer in the absence of a good landing spot.

      Jackson- take a multi year deal for more money in a terrible place like Baltimore? or take this pillow deal from the Sox and get some wins to go back on the market with next year?

      Oswalt- Take a deal in Texas or St. Louis where there isn't room for me? Or take a deal in Boston where I'm really needed for about the same money?

  7. marcos February 2, 2012 at 1:45 PM #

    Let's get Lannan

    • TroyPatterson February 2, 2012 at 1:53 PM #

      I can't see that as a good idea. It would have been a better idea to sign Joe Saunders since thay are very similar pitchers and Lannan is going to cost prospects of some kind in a trade.

      • marcos February 2, 2012 at 3:00 PM #

        I figure i would take Doubront and Bowden. It would definitely not take much to trade for him because he is not an ace. Chip i think one would have to be delusional to count on Cook and/or Padilla.

        • ChipBuck February 2, 2012 at 3:29 PM #

          Who said anything about Padilla? If you look a the peripherals, Lannan and Cook are comparable players.

          • marcos February 2, 2012 at 3:45 PM #

            I point is we cant count on Cook cuz he is injury prone. Lannan has thrown 180 inning or more 3 of the last 5 seasons. Cook is not reliable

          • TroyPatterson February 2, 2012 at 4:06 PM #

            You still missed the point. Saunders cost the same amount and no prospects. Even if we say it's just Doubront or Bowden…that's more than Saunders cost and I repeat "they are exactly the same pitcher"

    • ChipBuck February 2, 2012 at 2:16 PM #

      Yeah, I'm going to pretend you never said that. Troy is right. Also, Aaron Cook is already on our staff. I don't want a second version of him on the roster as well.

  8. Walt in Maryland February 2, 2012 at 2:59 PM #

    I don't think Vazquez would do it, and I don't think the Sox should do it

    • TroyPatterson February 2, 2012 at 4:07 PM #

      Vazquez might be reluctant, but can't see why the Sox wouldn't do it.

  9. marcos February 2, 2012 at 7:28 PM #

    idk call me crazy but i think it would be inexcusable to start the season with only 3 established starters. Sspecially taking into account how the AL has improved as a whole. These days we are going to have to worry about other divisions even more since a 2nd wild is probably going to be implemented.

    • TroyPatterson February 2, 2012 at 9:11 PM #

      Why would the second wild card make things harder?

      • marcos February 3, 2012 at 12:35 AM #

        it makes things harder because AL is becoming a super league and the Red Sox seem to be regressing

  10. Sean February 2, 2012 at 9:37 PM #

    The second Wild Card would have helped last year, but the problem is at BEST the Red Sox are the 6th best AL team in terms of talent. 4th & 5th starters don't matter much in the post season, but they pitch every 5th day during the 162. Beckett is likely to regress from his performance last season, Clay should be better neutralizing that, and Lester is consistent. Right now Crawford should improve but with wrist issues and last season we can't COUNT on anything. Left field in fenway is not a spot for a speedster, moving Ellsbury there killed him before the injury and Crawford was awful there last year. Baseball is alot about confidence and speedsters gain that by making great defensive plays that there is simply no room to make in LF in Fenway. Even should Crawford improve somewhat, that should only offset expected regression with Ellsbury and his MVP caliber season of 2011. Youkilis' healthy return should help (assuming he stays healthy) but will only offset a likely regression on the part of Ortiz. Pedroia and Gonzalez should have similar seasons as should production from the Catching position, and Right Field should be slightly better (league average) while shortstop slightly worse (league average). The Bullpen is a much bigger question mark, especially if we need to use Aceves heavily in the rotation. Last year 2-10 and September happened because it was a balance to the true talent of the team that also was red hot in between, not because of some curse or injury alone. This team was at best a 93 win team last year and they won 90 games. With the improvements made in Texas (Darvish will suitably replace Wilson whether Texas gets Oswalt or not), Anaheim, Detroit and New York as well as the young talent arriving in Tampa, it is tough to see this team truly contending in 2012. If Ellsbury truly doesn't sign long term, this team could be pretty bad for a long time.

    • TroyPatterson February 2, 2012 at 11:30 PM #

      "the problem is at BEST the Red Sox are the 6th best AL team in terms of talent"

      I stopped reading there. You want to argue there are six or seven teams that could contend based on talent I'll agree, but in no way are they 6th at best.

      • Sean February 3, 2012 at 3:10 PM #

        I am just saying that on paper there are 5 teamsthat should win more games than Boston. Tex, LAA, Det, TB and the NYY. If the Sox were to add another serious starter that would change immediately, but as is, that is where they stand. As to these rehab guys for every '11 Garcia and '11 Colon there are 500 every other year Colons Brad Pennys and John Smoltzes. The odds of hitting on one are not high.

        • TroyPatterson February 3, 2012 at 4:57 PM #

          Don't agree at all. Tampa is not in the group right now and the rest are all so close to say Boston is last is silly.

    • ChipBuck February 3, 2012 at 7:50 AM #

      For starters, you're overvaluing the importance of LAA and DET in acquiring Pujols and Fielder. Are they huge pieces? Sure. Do they add wins to their overall total? Absolutely. I think you're forgetting that both teams have big time flaws. The pitching is great, but the lineup in LAA outside of Pujols is not at all scary. Hunter, Abreu, and Wells are past their primes (and all terrible defensively); Trumbo and his sub-300 OBP negates much of his power output; Morales has been out for two years, so he's a question mark; and Kendick looks good but tends to get hurt. As for DET, that defense is going to be terrible. Three DH quality defenders are all playing in the field. Plus, the SP outside of Verlander and maybe Scherzer is woefully underwhelming. TEX has injury woes and no clear ace. NYY has an aging core, but a very deep pitching staff. TBR has a great young pitching staff and defense, but an average offense. I'm not saying you're wrong, but claiming that five teams are clearly better than Boston seems to be pretty foolish.

      • Sean February 3, 2012 at 2:53 PM #

        When you take into account the divisions, it isn't. Detroit should have the most wins simply because the AL Central is SO weak. LAA and TEX have better pitching than the Red Sox from top to bottom and get to play lopsided schedules against each other and Seattle and Oakland (both of whom seem to be terrible teams) whereas the only real cupcake the Red Sox face is the Orioles while they have to face BOTH TB and NYY. Injuries could cause something weird to happen but for preseason picks (for what they are worth) I would be shocked if over 20% of national baseball writers and analysts even picked Boston to make the post season.

        • TroyPatterson February 3, 2012 at 9:33 PM #

          "picked Boston to make the post season"

          That is much different than a clear 6th placed team, also national writers are not exactly who I want to listen to predict baseball outcomes.

          • TroyPatterson February 3, 2012 at 9:50 PM #

            CAIRO, Marcel and OLIVER all currently have Red Sox with 89-93 wins with CAIRO projecting a division win. All three have the team in the playoffs.

            I am more likely to put my trust in a projection system than a national writer.

          • ChipBuck February 4, 2012 at 6:39 AM #

            You took the words right out of my mouth Troy.


  1. Most ING Miami Marathon runners are visitors too - February 2, 2012

    [...] The Lengthy Shot Option I can&#39t say this alternative has significantly of a shot, as this player has been quite solidly quoted as saying retirement is his quantity 1 choice. The player, of program, is Javier Vazquez, but the last update heard from him was tracked by MLBTR back in early … Examine a lot more on Fire Brand of the American League [...]