PITTSBURGH -- Five days after designating Ramon Vazquez for assignment, the Pirates have given the veteran infielder his unconditional release. The team had up to 10 days to trade Vazquez, but they never found a willing trade partner.
For now, the Pirates are on hook for all of Vazquez's $2 million salary. If another team picks Vazquez up during the season, that club would owe the infielder just the Major League minimum, which is $400,000 for a full season of service time. That amount paid by the new team would then be subtracted from the $2 million owed by Pittsburgh.
The Pirates left Vazquez off the Opening Day roster in order to open up a spot for Rule 5 pick John Raynor and reliever Hayden Penn. Vazquez, who signed a two-year, $4 million deal with the club prior to the '09 season, hit .230 in 204 at-bats with the Pirates last year.