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Nats could make offer soon to righty Vazquez

Nats could make offer soon to righty Vazquez

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have expressed interest in free-agent right-hander Javier Vazquez, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The club could make an offer to Vazquez as early as next week.

Late last month, it was reported by MLB.com that Vazquez would be interested in playing for an East Coast team, including the Nationals, next season.

Vazquez has made it known over the years that he doesn't want to play on the West Coast, because he doesn't want to be far away from his family, which lives in Puerto Rico.

Vazquez had one of the worst years of his career in 2010, going 10-10 with a 5.32 ERA in 31 games (26 starts) for the Yankees. He was left off the postseason roster during the American League Division Series and AL Championship Series.

The Nationals are in need of starting pitching, and Vazquez could be a good fit if he came at a reasonable price. He made $11.5 million this past season.

The Nationals are not the only team that is interested in Vazquez's services. According to the Palm Beach Post, the Marlins would like to have him in their rotation. In fact, Florida manager Edwin Rodriguez met with Vazquez in Puerto Rico on Saturday morning.

At his best, Vazquez is a strikeout pitcher who could win his fair share of games. In 2009, for example, Vazquez went 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA and 238 strikeouts for the Braves.

Vazquez also has a history with the Nationals franchise. He played for the Expos from 1998-2003. After the '03 season, the Expos traded Vazquez to the Yankees for first baseman Nick Johnson, outfielder Juan Rivera and pitcher Randy Choate.

If Vazquez signs with the Nationals, he would be reunited with right-hander Livan Hernandez. The two pitchers were a 1-2 combination in 2003. They won a combined 28 games and struck out 419 batters for Montreal.

Besides the Yankees, Expos and Braves, Vazquez also played for the D-backs and White Sox. During his 13-year career, Vazquez is 152-149 with a 4.26 ERA and 2,374 strikeouts.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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