- Jayson Stark, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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Javier Vazquez isn't a Marlin yet. But contract negotiations to bring him to Florida have gotten "hot," according to one source familiar with those discussions.
Vazquez has been atop the Marlins' shopping list for a week, since the trade of Dan Uggla freed up money for a veteran starting pitcher. And sources within the industry told ESPN.com late Tuesday that the club's negotiations with the 34-year-old right-hander were "moving forward."
It's viewed as unlikely a deal would be finished until after Thanksgiving. But other clubs that have expressed interest in Vazquez are now saying they're pessimistic about their chances of signing him.
Vazquez has told people he's close to he wants just a one-year contract in "the right place." And it now appears Florida is that place. Reports last week said he recently had lunch with Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez. Both are from Puerto Rico.
Vazquez is coming off a difficult year in New York, where he went 10-10 with a 5.32 ERA for the Yankees. But the Marlins, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies are all known to have shown interest in him this winter.
In fact, there has been enough interest, sources told ESPN.com, that Vazquez has already turned down two multiyear offers -- one of which was believed by other clubs to be potentially worth $20 million over the two years.
It isn't known what the Marlins have offered, though it's unlikely it would approach $10 million a year. However, Vazquez has been portrayed himself this winter as being more concerned with finding the right fit than the most dollars.
At age 34, his preference for a one-year deal would also seem to indicate he has reached the stage of his career where he wants to go year-to-year and assess his future after he sees how he pitches in 2011.
Vazquez is a Type B free agent. He was offered arbitration by the Yankees on Tuesday, apparently with an informal understanding that he wouldn't accept. The Yankees are well aware he has no interest in returning, so offering arbitration assures them of draft-pick compensation when he signs elsewhere.
Jayson Stark is a senior MLB writer for ESPN.com.
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