By Jeff Louderback
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said he would like to add a left-handed hitting first baseman who can play another position. The 38-year-old Abreu (who will be 39 in March) fielded grounders at first base during his workout with Boston, but he has never played the position during his 17-year Major League career.
In 257 plate appearances between the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers last season, Abreu hit just .242 with a .693 OPS accompanied by three home runs and 24 RBI, but he posted a .350 on-base percentage.
Likely, the Red Sox were performing their due diligence on Abreu since they need a more productive option who can play first base and left field (to platoon with Jonny Gomes).
As for the 36-year-old Vazquez, who did not pitch in 2012, he takes the mound on Friday for Caguas in the Puerto Rican Winter League playoffs. According to WEEI.com, his fast ball velocity has recently reached 92-93.
Known for his plus command, Vazquez is 165-160 with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP over 14 Major League seasons. He was 13-11 with a 3.69 ERA anda 1.18 WHIP in 32 starts and 192.2 innings for the Marlins in 2011.
Should the Red Sox sign Vazquez, it would be as a depth option since they already a rotation featuring Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Ryan Dempster and John Lackey. The club plans on stretching out left-hander Franklin Morales as a starter during spring training, though he will likely serve as a reliever and a spot starter in 2013. Alfredo Aceves also provides rotation depth at the Major League level, and the Red Sox will have Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and knuckleballer Steven Wright at Triple-A Pawtucket.