Former starting pitcher Javier Vazquez is mulling over a return to the big leagues, and has apparently been drawing interest from several Major League teams, according to reports. And even though the Phillies seem sort of disinterested at this point (according to ESPN's Jayson Stark), they'd be wise to keep Vazquez on their radar.
Vazquez, for what it's worth, is one of the great enigmas of the last decade or so. At times, he can be the among the best pitcher in the game (as evidenced by his 2009 campaign where he had a 2.87 ERA and 9.8 K/9 over 219 innings), or he can be among the worst (5.32 ERA with 6.9 K/9 in 157 innings in 2010).
For his career, Vazquez owns a 4.22 ERA in 450 games over 14 years. His best performance came in 2009 with the Braves, and for the most part, he's been a decent pitcher who has never had difficulty striking batters out. He's not a guy that you'd necessarily want to start Game 7 of the World Series, but if you need rotation depth, you can do a lot worse.
The question is whether or not Vasquez has any intentions on returning to the majors. He last pitched in 2011, when he tossed 192 innings for the Florida Marlins, so it remains to be seen how effective he could be after being out of the league for the year. And his return to The Show is far from guaranteed.
If he does make a comeback, the Phillies would be wise to continue to keep an eye out. He figures to be inexpensive (he made $7 million in 2011) and could still have enough in the tank to be effective. With Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels the only sure things in 2013 – at least until Roy Halladay proves to be healthy – the Phillies could certainly use another arm.