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Welcome Back, Ramon Vazquez(?)

This is as yet unconfirmed, and it's not something that really matters a whole lot anyway, but it seems the Mariners have signed or are close to signing infielder Ramon Vazquez. Vazquez was dumped by the Pirates a week ago after failing to impress during camp, and nothing screams 'potential difference-maker' quite like getting dumped by the Pirates.

I have a soft spot for Vazquez, because nine years ago he posted a .397 OBP in Tacoma as a shortstop. Of course, those were also the years of Jason Grabowski, so it's been a long time, but unlike Grabowski, Vazquez is still kicking, and even had himself a successful season in 2008. He didn't do much with Pittsburgh in 2009, and at 33 he's not about to get any better, but we're talking about a middle infielder with a career .267/.344/.381 batting line against righties over 1800 trips to the plate, so he's not worthless. Interesting to have a middle infielder that bats lefty and throws righty.

If this is true, what purpose would Vazquez serve? Depth, mainly. This isn't a Major League deal - it's a minor league contract that will have Vazquez work out in Arizona before reporting to Tacoma. Tacoma already has Josh Wilson, Chris Woodward, and Travis Denker splitting the middle infield (edit: and, for a little while, Jack Hannahan, too), which makes things difficult to figure, but Vazquez is at least better than the first two, as the lefty bat helps him stand out. So he's a nice guy to have around.

Big news? Hardly. Vazquez may never appear in a Major League game. But there are worse things to have in the system than utility infielders that bat from the left-hand side and know how to draw a walk. I want to emphasize again that this is unconfirmed and may not even go down, but I wouldn't write this post if I were skeptical, so take it for what you will. It's good to have depth.

Update: I should note that Jason Grabowski is still kicking. Just not in baseball. I'm pretty sure he isn't dead.