Vazquez, Dobbs, Lopez officially free agents
Righty likely to retire; Marlins hope to re-sign third baseman
MIAMI -- The Marlins' most effective starting pitcher and top situational player in 2011 are now officially free agents.
As of 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday, Javier Vazquez and Greg Dobbs joined a list of 148 MLB players who have formally filed for free agency. Infielder Jose Lopez rounds out the eligible members of the '11 Marlins who will test the market.
By league rule, free agents have a five-day period to negotiate exclusively with their most recent clubs. So the Marlins are able to talk exclusively with Vazquez, Dobbs and Lopez through 12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday.
The Marlins certainly would like to retain Vazquez, who was 13-11 with a 3.69 ERA in 32 starts in 2011. But the 35-year-old has indicated to the team that he intends to retire. A native of Puerto Rico, he spoke during the season about walking away from the game to spend more time with his family.
Vazquez, signed for $7 million in 2011, paced the Marlins in victories last year. The right-hander, who began his big league career in 1998, was the National League Pitcher of the Month in September.
If Vazquez doesn't have a change of heart and indeed retires, he'll exit with a 165-160 career record and a 4.22 ERA, including 2,536 strikeouts. The right-hander has a string of 12 straight seasons with at least 10 wins.
While Vazquez doesn't appear to be part of the Marlins' plans in 2012, the team is hopeful to bring Dobbs back.
Dobbs batted .275 with eight home runs and 49 RBIs in 134 games. He made the team as a non-roster invitee and initially was used as a left-handed hitter off the bench. But Dobbs ended up being a valuable performer and a regular at third base.
Lopez, meanwhile, saw limited playing time, hitting .226 with five home runs and 22 RBIs in 106 at-bats.