By the end of the 2011 season, Javier Vazquez had become the Florida Marlins' best pitcher. Over the second half of the season Vazquez amassed an ERA of 2.15, among the best in MLB, striking out 9 batters per 9 innings and holding opposing hitters to a .194 batting average.
Vazquez had been planning to retire after the 2011 season, but the Palm Beach Post reported Monday night that Vazquez is considering returning for one more season in 2012, so long as he can sign with a playoff contender.
The Marlins are gearing up to make a run for the playoffs as they move into their new stadium next season, and pitching depth is among their top needs this offseason. Resigning Vazquez, a free agent, could give the starting rotation some much-needed stability.
There is only one obstacle standing in the way of Vazquez' return to the Marlins: new manager Ozzie Guillen. The two have a history dating back to Vazquez' three-year stint with the Chicago White Sox from 2006-2008, when Guillen was manager.
Statistically, those were average years for Vazquez. He went 38-36 with a 4.40 ERA and 8.6 strikeouts per 9 innings.
But Vazquez does not appear to have fond memories of his stint in Chicago. When he was traded to Atlanta after the 2008 season, he told the media it would be "good to get away from the negativity" in Chicago.
"Negativity" in this case is a code-word for "Ozzie." Shortly before Vazquez was traded, Guillen had criticized him for coming up short in big games, and Vazquez was ready to play for a team whose manager would not criticize his own players in the press.
Nonetheless, the Marlins will make an offer to Vazquez, according to the Post. Whether he can stomach the thought of another season under the outspoken Guillen, however, remains to be seen.