Dec
22

When Last We Met: Javier Vazquez

By

When Javier Vazquez makes his first start of the season for the Yanks in April, it could very well be against the last team he faced in the Bronx. If the Yankees fit him into the third slot in the rotation, he will pitch against the Red Sox in Boston on April 7. More likely than not, though, the Yankees will give the ball to Andy Pettitte for that start, and Vazquez will pitch against the Rays in Tampa Bay over the weekend.

For Yankee fans, just the idea of Javier Vazquez and the Red Sox is enough to give us nightmares. While not the losing pitcher in Game 7 of the ALCS, Vazquez was on the mound when Johnny Damon hit a grand slam that effectively nailed shut the coffin on the Yankees that year. A few weeks later, Vazquez was unceremoniously dumped on Arizona for an aging Randy Johnson. Unfairly or not, Vazquez took the fall for a team-wide collapse and has since been demonized in the minds of Yankee fans since then.

What we forget though is Javier Vazquez’s All Star-worthy first half of 2004. Through his first 18 starts, Vazquez went 10-5 with a 3.56 ERA. He struck out 81 in 104.2 innings and sported a 3.12 K/BB ratio. In the second half, though, everything fell apart for the right-hander. He went 5-6 with a 5.79 ERA and found himself pitching in relief in the playoffs. He got the Game 3 win in Boston but was hardly stellar in the Yanks’ 19-8 trouncing of the Red Sox.

After that playoff series, Vazquez, Brad Halsey, Dioner Navarro and cash went west while Randy Johnson came East, and Vazquez has since flourished into what he was before the Bronx: a durable strike-out pitcher who can give a team quality innings from the middle of the rotation. He earned himself some Cy Young votes over the last few years and pitched well in the AL Central and NL East. In his 162 starts over four years, he has a 4.09 ERA and a 110 ERA+. He has struck out 1027 in 1062.2 innings while walking just 257 for a fantastic 4.00 K/BB ratio.

Vazquez won’t have an easy go of it with the fans at first in the Bronx. He’s going to have to earn his stripes again and push away the memories of a bad second half. Rumors of shoulder problems swirled around him in 2004, but those rumblings have been dispelled. He simply could not get his mechanics in line for a handful of starts during the second half of the season.

The Yanks never wanted to and probably should never have traded Vazquez, and now Javy and the Yankees get a second chance. Hopefully, it will end on a better note than Vazquez’s last pinstriped appearance. He won’t be expected to front the staff and will face far less pressure to deliver for the World Series champs. With this trade, either Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes will spend at least part of the season as a reliever, and the Yanks rotation and bullpen are stronger because of it. And so as the AL arms race continues, Javier Vazquez will reenter the fray.

Categories : Analysis

261 Comments»

  1. Steve H says:

    So Vasquez is only worth Melky, yet knocked Chris Carpenter off a Cy Young ballot? What an idito that Keith Law is.

    /Cardinals Fan’d

    • History Teacher says:

      I’m not in love with Vasquez considering I witnessed him serve up the fat one to Damon that dinked off the foul pole in game seven in person. However… if he is anything like he was last year, then…WOW WHAT A ROTATION! CC, AJ, ANDY, JAVY and (probably) Joba! Yikes, that’s scary good. I will miss Melky and Logan seriously just sucks. I’m surprised we traded Dunn, I thought he’d be our lefty.

      The biggest thing this deal means for me is that we CANNOT use Gardner and Hoffman for LF… we need to BRING DAMON BACK!

      • Keanu Reeves says:

        we need to BRING DAMON BACK!

        No, they don’t.

        • History Teacher says:

          Then you want HoffGard in left? Come on…

          • Keanu Reeves says:

            I never said that. I said they don’t need to bring Damon back.

            • History Teacher says:

              Fair enough, then who? Bay or Holliday? Oh wait, I have a better idea… Kareem Garcia! HAHA, why did we ever have that guy.

            • Mr.Jigginz says:

              I don’t understand how people can watch the Yankees go with Gard-Brera last year,win a championship,and now have an issue with “Hoff-Gard?”The Yankees have one of,if not THE most powerful offensive infields in baseball.They have as solid a rotation as there is in baseball,and their bullpen is bigtime if/when the Joba/Phil loser moves back into the 8th spot(which I think we all believe is currently the plan,love it or hate it)They can go with a small defensive platoon in LF and live with it.

              • History Teacher says:

                Because we’re greedy Yankee fans and we always want MORE!

                Seriously, I just think we owe it to Damon to bring him back. That double steal he made will go down in history (not to mention that at bat when he fouled off so many tough pitches). I love the way he plays and his swing is made for the stadium.

                Do I think we can live with a defense-minded left field and still win… yes of course. I like Gardners’ speed game too. I can’t help it though, losing Matsui hurts enough, I want Johnny back.

                • The Scout says:

                  “I just think we owe it to Damon to bring him back.” No, we don’t. He was paid $$$$ to perform last year, and he did so. That doesn’t obligate the Yankees to retain him. If they bring him back, it will be because of what he can do going forward.

      • Pete says:

        Vazquez was a victim of bad timing. He happened to be the starter of a game that pretty much launched the Red Sox to their first championship in 86 years – of COURSE he’s going to be reviled by the fans.

        Most of that was Brown’s fault, though – if that pinhead had pitched like he was capable, we’d *still* be talking about the Curse.

        And of course, Javy also symbolizes everything that was wrong with our front office between our last two World Series appearances. Traded on an angry whim along with Navarro to get Captain Grumpypants from the D-Backs.

        I like the move (Melky will be missed, although Sterling’s HR calls won’t), and I wonder if Cashman’s somehow trying to prove a point here.

  2. Like I said earlier, the rotation, 1-4 is very strong and I think most teams would want Jophil Chamberhughes to be their fifth starter. While it’s doubtful they get this many innings, the Yankees now have four guys who can go 200+ IP. Nice.

    • Evil Empire says:

      I’m really excited about the rotation with Vazquez. 4 inning eaters that K a TON. The front 4 could very well have 800 IP and 700+ Ks amongst them, with a healthy K/BB ratio.

      I’d say the Yankees have two of the three most historically durable, reliable pitchers in the entire game in CC & Vazquez now. Doc being the obvious other one.

  3. Zack says:

    Javier Vazquez is their #4 starter, that’s freaking ridiculous

  4. theyankeewarrior says:

    Haha called the Gaudin/Mitre trade 2 hours ago.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....mitre.html

    So this would most likely shed 2-3 million and would give Melancon/and Logan a real shot at making the team as the final pen piece.

    With Javy, the Yanks sit at about 203M. If they got down around 200, they could look to nab a Damon/Byrd/DeRosa/Dye/Ankiel type for 2009 Abreu money.

    I know most of these guys are “hell no, we don’t want HIM” ytpes, but at the right price and one year, they are all solid upgrades over Gritner

  5. A.D. says:

    Cashman never wanted Johnson. He had solid information that Johnson would not be comfortable in New York, and he was right. But forces beyond Cashman’s control brought Johnson to New York, and the Yankees gave him $33 million for two years, plus $9 million to Arizona to help pay for Vazquez.

    The part I don’t miss about Big Stein

  6. Jake K. says:

    I’m not convinced our bullpen is stronger, unless you mean simply by virtue of this deal moving one of Hughes or Joba to the pen. Logan’s numbers are awful and I think Dunn would likely have been more valuable.

    • A.D. says:

      Logan’s numbers against lefties alone aren’t so bad.

      But I agree the pen is only stronger if Hughes/Joba goes to the pen and not AAA.

    • Keanu Reeves says:

      unless you mean simply by virtue of this deal moving one of Hughes or Joba to the pen.

      That’s what people mean. I don’t think anyone is trying to say Logan makes the pen better.

    • JonG says:

      He definitely means by virtue of moving Joba or Hughes into the pen. Joba/Hughes, DRob, and Marte is a solid bridge.

    • Steve H says:

      But the bullpen will be stronger because they will have to pitch less innings, which means less innings from your weaker links. As posted above, you could get 200+ innings out of 4 starters.

    • MattG says:

      1. he’s 24 years old
      2. he had an 8.8 k/9 in the minors
      3. he has a 7.2 k/9 in the majors
      4. in 3 years, lefties have hit .256/.308/.390
      5. in 2009, lefties hit .231/.318/.308

      That’s the resume of a second lefty in the pen.

  7. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    Well, now that the manager and pitching coach doesn’t consist of two guys sitting on the bench, talking about their glory days in the 1960′s, I could see Vazquez being helped out in the mechanics department if something were to go awry.

  8. terri girl says:

    now, what are we going to do about the outfield? I would love to have a right fielder with a cannon for an arm and move swish to left

    • Keanu Reeves says:

      LF in YS3 is pretty big. Swisher doesn’t really profile as the best option to play left there.

    • steve s says:

      A guy flying under the radar that could be had for cheap is Ryan Church. His propensity for doubles could easily turn into 20-25 HR’s in YS and I’m sure he’d love to show up the Mess in Queens.

      • Keanu Reeves says:

        I think 20-25 HR’s is a bit too optimistic.

      • Rob says:

        No one has mentioned Church. I was hoping his name would come up, solid player more athletic and potential now in his career than what JD could do. Cash go get him!

        • SamVa says:

          I did a while back and got respectfully (or as respectfully as you could get) denied by everyone on the blog. I have really always liked him.. I don’t know how he would do on the Yankees, but from what I have seen, I always thought he just had tough luck with injuries and could really turn into a major league average, maybe above average, outfielder (offensively)

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

      Two words. JEFF. FRANCOEUR. BOOOMMM!!! That just did not, thankfully, happen.

  9. RickRonRonRonnie says:

    The Braves had expressed some interest in Damon. By trading Melky to the Braves has Cashman further shrunk the market for Damon? Maybe get him on a one year deal now.

  10. Hey ZZ says:

    I have always been a guy who wanted Joba AND Hughes in the rotation next season. I just wanted them to pick up a guy like JDuch who could rotate into the rotation when Hughes hit his innings limit or if one of them was ineffective.

    However, I think I and others were taking AJ’s and Andy’s health for granted. AJ, no matter what has happened the past 2 seasons is still an injury risk and Andy was healthy for a whole season for the first time in a while last season. Add in the deep run into November for both of those guys and there is definitely reason for concern there. If AJ or Andy go down the Yankees would be in serious trouble.

    I honestly think this Vazquez move may be just as much about Andy and AJ as it is about Hughes and Joba. That is why although I am disappointed about Hughes not being in the rotation I am very happy about this move and think it is for the best.

    Hopefully the Yankees just handle Hughes the right way, so if someone goes down or Joba sucks he can step right into the rotation.

    • whozat says:

      That’s what some of the reporters have been suggesting, yeah. Which is totally reasonable…there’s plenty of evidence that a deep playoff run can negatively impact your starters the following year. Adding Javy as injury/fatigue/sucking insurance is pretty valuable.

    • Mike HC says:

      Also concern for CC. The guy is a human being. No matter what everyone says about him being a “different animal,” he isn’t, he is the same as everyone else. He also has to be considered an injury risk due to the extremely abnormal amount of innings and pitches he has thrown the past three years.

    • Mac1 says:

      Yep, Vazquez is a good signing regardless of how you look at it, although I think Plan A is as an experienced #4 with one of Hughes\Joba setting up – and I think its Joba.

    • Rockdog says:

      I agree. But this is a team that can win it all now (see: 2009), and I think the fans (and management) may be impatient. Let’s all rememeber that Joba and Hughes are very young; it may take time for them to develop. Also, this gives us some depth, as pitchers do get injured all the time.

      I like the trade. And Andy and Vasquez are both on one year deals, so its not like this blocks both our young pitchers for long. I do hope that they intend to use #6 as the backup starter instead of going to the pen in order to build innings, but lets see what happens — it’s not like Hughes or Joba in the pen is such a bad thing for now.

    • ecksodia says:

      Good point. It also doubles as insurance against injuries to AJ/Pettitte.

  11. Ace says:

    Might as well ask now – any chance Yanks offer Vazquez arb next year and try to get the 2 picks? If I were him I’d take it in a heartbeat.

    • Jake K. says:

      No way to predict. Depends on both his performance next year and how Cashman reads the market.

      • BklynJT says:

        I would definitely risk offering JV arbitration. Wolf got a 3 yr deal from the Brewers, you can’t tell me that in an improving economy (big assumption) that JV cant get that deal.

    • Zack says:

      sounds like a good plan, then you have him on a 1yr/14m deal as your 3rd starter with Joba as the 4th and Hughes in the 5th.

  12. Mike HC says:

    So, is there really an open competition for the 5th starter spot between Phil and Joba now? Or is it Joba’s job to lose? And does the loser definitely go to the pen (I would think so) or to AAA to work on starting?

    As for Javy, he did have his best year ever last year, so maybe the guy is truly improving or figured something out. While his recent AL past show that an ERA of above 4.5 is quite possible, if not probable, hopefully we get him on a good year. Keep your fingers crossed.

  13. Awesomeness says:

    vazquez didn’t win the world series with the white sox…

  14. DiggerTim says:

    How about Ankiel in left on a cheap deal with a chop on his shoulder and something to prove?

  15. Zanath says:

    Well, I guess I was wrong. I never thought Javy would be back in NY after 2004. But it seems like it was a pretty good trade. Sad to see Melky go (I really don’t know much about Arodys, but I guess that will hurt too, from what I hear). But the rotation is certainly much better, and I think Javy will be better as a #4 starter. As most have said, LF is now a bit of a concern. I don’t think they necessarily NEED Holliday, but I don’t feel comfortable with Brett Gardner as our starting Left Fielder. Maybe we can pick up somebody cheap.

  16. AeroFANatic says:

    https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AjJy1Bmwcyr_dGpwTzlEYzdVWnRVQ2toZlYwRDJHTHc&hl=en

    Current 25 man roster payroll = 194 million AAV. This considers Gardner is in LF, and we still have one bench spot open.

  17. To YankFanDave from the now-closedtrade thread: The problem isn’t my, or anyone else’s, sense of humor. Not one person responded to your comment by expressing approval of your alleged humor, the only responses you got were from people who didn’t see any humor at all in what you wrote. If your comment was meant to be a joke, then it was an awful joke. Sorry.

  18. E-ROC says:

    CC
    Burnett
    Pettitte
    Vazquez
    Chamberlain

    That’s a ridiculous rotation.

  19. Jamal G. says:

    Possible benefits of trade for the 2010-2011 off-season: The Yankees save money in that off-season with the departure of Melky Cabrera and Michael Dunn ($6M?), and are able to get Javier Vazquez, a well-above-average starting pitcher that is better than Andy Pettitte, without losing a draft pick.

    I am of the belief that the Yankees will not sign Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay or Josh Beckett because I do not think Brian Cashman will want to commit an average of $20M to three starting pitchers that are over the age of 30 (CC Sabathia; A.J. Burnett; one of Beckett, Halladay or Lee). With this trade, the Yankees can get (retain) a well-above-average starter in next year’s off-season; and with the hopeful progression of Joba Chamberlain, able to slot Phil Hughes in as a starter from the start of the 2011 season throughout, as he would be ready to go for ~180 innings.

    • Nady Nation says:

      Not to mention Vazquez’s approximate $14 million arbitration salary for 2011 will come off the books just in time for King Felix’s impending free agency.

    • Evil Empire says:

      Sounds about right, though I could see Lee or Beckett in pinstripes in 2011 actually.

      Still, not only did the Yanks save a draft pick, they’ve probably gained a couple in the long run as Vazquez projects to be a Type A when he hits the market.

    • westcoastyanks says:

      Vasquez is a free agent after this year, so unfortunately we can’t count on him to move up to the #3 spot if Pettitte retires. I also think your projections for Melky and Dunn are a bit high — they earned $1.8MM combined last year and I don’t see them as being in line for a 3x raise after just one more year.

  20. gxpanos says:

    I love this deal. Losing Arodys stings, but he was so far away. This is the correct way to deploy farm assets. I’ve wanted Javy back for a while, and Melky and Dunn are fringe guys.

    I also think that Cashman will blow up the budget and that Holliday will be the Yanks’ #5 hitter next year. And even if he doesnt, Gardner in CF and Granderson in LF is a very nice defensive outfield (and will help Javy the FB pitcher).

    I just hope the right field porch isnt TOO unkind to Javy.

  21. Jay says:

    I’m sure this has been covered in the many posts, but, FWIW, I don’t really have a problem with this deal. Advantages: It leaves the door open for Damon to return in 2010 (just in time to keep LF warm for Carl Crawford in 2011); saves the bullpen a lot of wear and tear; and stabilizes the rotation.

    Possible drawbacks: How will Cano react to Cabrera’s trade? (Will he regress and become petulant? Or will he mature and work harder?); Will Vizcaino blossom into a superstar? (Did the Yankees give up far too much for Vazquez?)

    2010 will be interesting.

    Best to all.

    • ecksodia says:

      Interesting point on Cano. I don’t think the vets will let him lose focus that easily though.

      To add; how will this affect young Phil Hughes’s confidence? Maybe he never had a guaranteed spot in the rotation to begin with, but unless he and Joba split starts in the #5 spot, I don’t see how else he is going to get starts.

      • Jay says:

        ecksodia: I immediately thought of how the trade would affect Cano when I heard Melky was involved. I like Cano a lot, but, in my opinion, he is among the most immature Yankees. (Joba is another.) Robinson needs to grow up a bit.

        I think Chamberlain and Hughes are best in the pen. Hughes displayed velocity that never was evident when he started.

        By the way, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Damon were to re-sign for a two-year contract.

        Happy holidays.

        • I think Chamberlain and Hughes are best in the pen. Hughes displayed velocity that never was evident when he started.

          Come on. Velocity =!= results.

          • Jay says:

            Matt: Come on. Velocity =!= results.

            I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. When I said velocity, it was, in essence, a shorthand way of saying that Hughes blew away hitters when he worked out of the pen last year.

            Have a good day.

            • Keanu Reeves says:

              He’s saying that velocity alone is not enough to say someone belongs in the bullpen.

              As many others have said, good starters make good relievers. Any starter would have more velocity in the pen, it’s not like this is unique to Hughes.

              • Jay says:

                “As many others have said, good starters make good relievers.”

                Keanu: Yes, for the most part, that’s true. However, I give you a case in point: Jimmy Key. He was an average reliever who became a dominant starter. If you want a more recent example, Brandon Morrow would be a good one. He is an above-average pitcher who is far better as a starter than as a reliever. Perhaps the Blue Jays will use him well.

                Aloha.

        • ecksodia says:

          Cano’s one of my favorites as well; and hopefully he matures with age, and gets over his best buddy leaving.

          Best in the pen? Maybe so, but I hope they at least give them a full season, once “fully stretched out”.

          • Jay says:

            ecksodia: I agree with you about “stretching out” Hughes and Chamberlain. Unfortunately, the Yankees are in a tough (toughest?) division. The margin for error is slimmer in the AL East as opposed to say, the NL West.

            Best wishes.

  22. gxpanos says:

    Also, from Talking Chop:

    “This trade is about as awesome as shoving tree bark down my pee hole.”

    (Granted, they dont seem to know how much upside Arodys has, but their despair is still encouraging.)

  23. ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

    I really liked the deal that got Vazquez to NY in 2004 at that time. Giving up Nick and Rivera was hard, but I thought the had a major building-block in the rotation for years to come. It’s sad it didn’t work out then, but I hope Vazquez can show the doubters why we got him in the first place.

    Welcome back, Javy!

  24. Sean A says:

    Somewhere David Ortiz is dancing for Joy, Manny is hoping he gets traded for Lowell. and, Johnny Damon is envisioning playing 1st base in Fenway.

  25. kevin says:

    another great gift from cashman right before Christmas

    Now we can hopefully get a pre new years left fielder next week

  26. Lance says:

    Any chance of a Trade Reaction afternoon chat?

  27. JobaWockeeZ says:

    If either Joba or Hughes goes to the bullpen will they actually be the 6th starter this time or are they going to leave them in the bullpen again?

  28. TLVP says:

    I think this means we’re done – i doubt they’ll go after a replacement for Cabrera – Gardner will have to do. Don’t get gready

    The rotation is as strong as you are ever likely to see

    The infield is possibly the strongest in the history of baseball

    The outfiled is good defensivly and has two potential 30 HR hitter

    I’ve honestly never been more bullish on an offseason than this one – last year it was all about the money which is cool if you are the Yankees, but this year they are really smart

    • Evil Empire says:

      The crazy thing is that you still could sign Damon or some relief depth and be under last year’s pay roll.

    • ecksodia says:

      Spending all that money, IMO, isn’t the complete no-brainer people make it out to be. But sure, this year they’ve shown that they can make trades, too (the rest of Granderson’s contract is team friendly, but the Yankees financial might allowed them to take Vazquez’ contract, so meh.)

  29. DP says:

    Jeez. You go get drunk on a Monday night and wake up to this. I don’t even know what to think I am so hungover.

  30. Keanu Reeves says:

    Feinsand seems to think DeRosa is a pretty likely candidate for left:

    http://twitter.com/BloggingBom.....6933447814

    If the price is right, I’m fine with that move. Especially because he can move around if they want to give someone a day off.

  31. MattG says:

    Like Mike Pop said, I’m not as excited about this trade as I should be.

    Javy Vazquez has a career FIP of 3.83, but he’s been under 3 just once. Give him 2 innings in 2004, and he’s pitched > 200 innings for 10 straight years, but his high in wins (I never thought I’d reference wins) is 16.

    These things really bother me: over the last three years, he has allowed a very pedestrian .424 slugging vs lefties, he’s moving to YSIII, and he’s a fly ball pitcher.

    Also bothering me is it didn’t work too well the first time.

    If you could take out 2004, I think I would feel a lot differently, so I guess I should just chalk this up to bias and be happy.

    • Zack says:

      “Also bothering me is it didn’t work too well the first time.”

      Too be fair, he didnt suck the entire season. His 1st half / 2nd half splits were given

      • vin says:

        Also, it’s important to note that he’s not expected to be the Yanks #1 or #2 (or maybe even #3). He’ll be matching up against the likes of Dice-K, Saunders, Bonderman, Snell; or young guys like Buchholz, Matusz, Price, Liriano, and Holland.

        There’s major value in a guy who you can safely pencil in to pitch 200+ innings. His durability has been remarkable.

        • DP says:

          “He’s in X spot, so he’s pitching against so and so”: HUGE fallacy. Once off days, rainouts, injuries, etc. happen, any starter is just as likely to pitch against certain guys than any other starter.

    • Thomas says:

      Javy Vazquez has a career FIP of 3.83, but he’s been under 3 just once.

      That is one high standard to have. A sub 3 FIP is crazy good. Mussina, Burnett, and, Jon Lester, Josh Johnson have never had one and Sabathia and Beckett have had just one (though some of these guys may get more).

    • DP says:

      Is .424 SLG even high for the side you’re supposed to be bad against?

    • Mike HC says:

      Yea, I agree with all that, but I don’t think the Yanks gave up much for him. Melky and Dunn can be replaced in a blink of an eye, and probably upgraded at that. I don’t know anything about the third pitcher, but he is only 19, and would probably be 4 years away from actually making any impact at all in the majors.

      Javy is not that good, but we got him on a one year deal, and can get two first round picks if he leaves after next year. We also basically gave up little to nothing.

  32. Accent Shallow says:

    I’m not thrilled about the return of Home Run Javy, but assuming he’s healthy, this is a deep rotation.

    I’m curious as to see what happens with Joba/Hughes.

  33. westcoastyanks says:

    I like the addition of Vasquez on paper, though the price seems steep to me ($11.5MM contract + Melky + Dunn + good prospect). I know you can’t get something for nothing, but Cashman must not have really not liked what he was finding in the FA market. I also recall that Vasquez had more than just mechanical issues in ’04 — he seemed to really not enjoy playing in NY, even before his season went into the toilet. Hopefully the last five years has brought him a bit more confidence.

    Ironic, though, that the two players involved in possibly the franchise’s most nauseating moment (the Damon grand slam) are later brought in and asked to help the team win a title. Maybe Cash will bring in Luis Gonzalez to play left…

    • Mike bk says:

      well you have to also remember the price for Vaz includes 2 1sts if we let him walk in 12 months.

      • westcoastyanks says:

        True, though RAB has done a good job of pointing out how much of a crapshoot the picks can be. I actually assume the plan is to retain Vasquez beyond this season if at all possible (assuming he works out, of course).

        Still, you’ve got to wonder just how much Ben Sheets was demanding if the Yanks are willing to pay this price for Vasquez. If Sheets is healthy then he is a very similar pitcher to Vasquez. Obviously that is a significant “if”, but you also are paying less and don’t have to part with three other players. Don’t get me wrong, I like the deal – Boston showed last year what can happen when you try to count on injured pitchers for your starting rotation – but am very curious where Sheets ends up going.

        • Mike bk says:

          “This price”

          the price was basically Viz for Vaz. Melky is expendable. I expect this move has a 2nd part and it includes a deal of either Joba or Cano get moved for a young outfielder.

  34. Mike bk says:

    how long before the cano to la in a kemp deal starts?

  35. Rockdog says:

    The more I think about this deal, the more I like it. Here’s my main point: the Yankees are trying to balance short and long term goals, and having both Hughes and Chamberlain in the starting rotation right now is probably too risky. By adding Vasquez, they can now stagger then, with one (probably Chamberlain) as the #5 this year, and (if all goes well) the other as the #5 next year. This is a much lower risk strategy that gives the Yank the best chance of winning the World Series while continuing to develop good young pitchers. As an added bonus, the team ends up with a plus arm in the bullpen or a very strong #6, depending on how they play it. I like it.

    • Mike HC says:

      Exactly. As long as who we gave up to get Vazquez are expendable, as Melky and Dunn surely are, but I don’t know about the Arodlys guy. People claim his is very good, albeit very young too.

      • Rockdog says:

        Fair point. Gotta give up something to get something — that is what makes a GMs job so difficult. Overall seems reasonable to me, as lots of good young arms never make it to the show.

        • SamVa says:

          Kazmir is a long way off from the majors, I should trade him while his value is at its highest.

          /Steve Phillips’d

          • Mike Pop says:

            Wasn’t Steve Philips.

          • Rockdog says:

            1. Was Duquette, not Phillips
            2. Kazmir was in AA
            3. Kazmir was the Mets #1 prospect when he was traded
            4. Kazmir was the #15 pick, had been Baseball America’s High School Player of the Year 2 years before the trade and was widely viewed as one of the best lefthanders in the minors.

            Also, and obviously, some prospects DO develop into good pitchers, but comparing a projectable highly regarded AA player with a good young prospect from short season A ball is a stretch.

  36. JMK THE OVERSHARE's Glenn Beck Complex says:

    A few things:

    *I’m bummed it was Melky that left, not Gardner.

    *I really hope the Yankees move Hughes to a role where he can build innings and develop pitches, not throw 65 innings as a set-up man throwing mostly fastballs.

    *It seems like a high price to pay for one guy that will be an FA next year when Sheets is on the market, though Javy is a much better bet to throw you 200 innings with many Ks. Safer, but a lot to give up.

    *LF is now pretty undefined. I’d be very, very worried about Gardner starting the whole year. Dare I say we bring (gulp) Damon back? Holliday will absolutely kill payroll and another trade would kill our farm depth. We really shouldn’t make more trades.

    *If we let Javy walk next year, he’ll probably be a type A, so we can recoup some picks.

    Overall, I think this makes us a much stronger team, but a lot of this depends on the role of Hughes and if we’re done making moves in the outfield. If not, I’m not sure we improved enough in the short term to disrupt the possible moves long-term.

  37. larryf says:

    Puerto Rican connection….Jorge Jose Javy…..

  38. claybeez says:

    I can see the upside, but I’m far from thrilled. Now, I’m not as statistically inclined as others, but I read and try and digest the stuff, till it starts to repeat. I believe I read that Javy’s only posted an ERA+ over 100 twice in the last 5 or 6 years. Most of his success has come on the weaker league. His success in the toughest division in baseball seems a greater question mark than when we 1st signed him.

    If he turns out to pitch well in the AL East, we only have him under control for a year. It makes it pretty much a rental. While that could be a positive if it means Joba and Phil step into next year’s rotation, it still seems like little given the quality of the prospect (Arolydis) coupled with the amount of service time Melky had left.

    If our starting OF is Granderson/Gardner/Swisher I think it’s pretty diminished, offensively, from Damon/Melky/Swish. Does the improvement in defense make up for my perception of lessened offensive might? Anyone got the numbers?

    I liked the RAB plan better:

    Sign Sheets/Duke
    Sign Chapman
    Head to Spring Training

    • V says:

      He doesn’t require advanced stats.

      1) Pitches a lot of innings.
      2) Limits hits.
      3) Limits walks.
      4) Ks like a MOFO.
      5) Gives up HRs, but nothing outrageous for a flyball pitcher.

      That’s all a pitcher can control. That’s ALL a pitcher can control.

    • ecksodia says:

      We can offer him arb after this season, and get some picks back.

      The OF is now very solid defensively, at least according to the metrics (which rate Swisher as above average, and Granderson/Gardner a notch higher). Granderson basically replaces Damon’s bat in terms of offense, which leaves Gardner to try and achieve the same production as Melky.

    • Mike HC says:

      I think both plans could work, but I prefer this one. Jazy is more of a proven commodity. We are not expecting him to pitch any better than a 4.0-4.5 era. I think that is reasonable to expect and we gave nothing. This 19 year old pitcher is far off from having an impact on the Yanks, if he even has the ability to do so. And we get two first round picks if Javy leaves next year.

  39. Marcus says:

    I’m actually looking forward to John Henry’s next Tweet:

    “Curse of JV?”

  40. Craig says:

    Is it crazy of me to say why not bring back nady on a one year deal on the cheap to fill the hole in the OF ?

  41. Gaug says:

    hughsie is now the heir apparent closer

  42. Drew says:

    Happy to get Vasquez, sad to see Melk go. He’s going to do really well in the NL East.

    As for Vasquez, I haven’t really watched him pitch in a while but I love the periphs. His FIP this decade is sick, except for the go round with us. Time to change that.

  43. MikeD says:

    I just realized we got Nick Johnson AND Javier Vazquez back.

    Not sure what’s not to love here. We gave up a good prospect who is all of 19-years-old and is a long way a way, if ever, of reaching the majors; a converted OFer who is now a fungible lefty reliever with control issues; and a league-average MLB OFer who was banished to AAA in August ’08 and had diminished trade value. A year later Melky’s a key piece landing a front-end rotation starter that the Yankees have slotted as their #4, replacing the dynamic duo of Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin.

    He gives 200-plus innings EVERY year, strengthening our rotation and reducing the wear on the bullpen, while allowing either Hughes or Joba to go to the pen, making the bullpen that much better. He’s struck out 200 or more batters for three straight seasons, including his last two in the AL. He misses bats.

    The Yankees rotation is so strong now, that our 4th and 5th starters (be they Javier and one of either Joba or Hughes) could end up producing results that place them toward the front of the rotation. By September we might be debating if either Pettitte or AJ is our number five.

    This has the potential to be one of the best Yankee rotations ever. It’s easy to replace a league-average OFer.

    It’s not easty to get a Vazquez in your rotation. Nice move by Cashman.

    • Evil Empire says:

      Agree 100%, well stated.

    • League average? Please, this is Melky Cabrera we’re talking about here.

      Did you not see his hand full of clutch hits?

      Were you not aware that he has a higher than league average amount OF assists?

      For what? Javier Vazquez?

      Should have traded Brett Gardner. He just doesn’t look right out there. And he doesn’t have as many clutch Yankee moments.

      Brett can’t start every day in LF! Melky could!

      Don’t you get it?

      • JMK THE OVERSHARE's Glenn Beck Complex says:

        Gardner will be completely exposed. You’ll see. (By the way, no one is saying Melky is an above-average player, just that Gardner will not even get that far.)

        • There’s no evidence to prove that. Until he is exposed, I have to believe otherwise.

          No one is saying Gardner is the second coming of Rickey Henderson. But he’ll play a plus-plus OF, and produce around league average offensively.

          And he has gotten that far.

          They have equal 3.6 WAR in totally different service time.

          Gardner > Melky as of Dec 22, 2009

          Facts say so.

      • Captain Bawls says:

        This seems like it’s toeing the line of blatant sarcasm, but never is quite obvious enough.

  44. Mark says:

    One thing to add is that the competition for the 5th spot will challenge our two young pitchers in Hughes and Chamberlain. If I recall correctly, some Yankees front office people believed that Joba kinda took things for granted last year.

    Making Phil and Joba earn their way into the rotation = good move.

  45. TheZack says:

    Well, trading IPK AND Melky in one offseason, in different trades!

    Can we just say that IPK + Melky=Curtis Granderson and Javier Vasquez? Cash, you are pure genius :)

  46. JMK THE OVERSHARE's Glenn Beck Complex says:

    Holy shit, how much of the farm/young guys have we traded? Viz, Dunn, Melky, IPK, Coke, Ajax. The only guy I’m really disappointed we gave up is Nobody Beats the Viz. The others are relievers, fringe starters, average-to-good outfielders, which of course are valuable pieces, but aren’t guys deemed untradeable. But with another good season, Vizcaino would have been a big deal.

    Still, he’s far away and we got two potential all-stars in Vazquez and Granderson. Oh well. Not bad, especially considering we haven’t given Montero, Joba, Hughes up for anything.

    • Evil Empire says:

      FWIW, Vazquez is good for two picks when he becomes a Type A FA after 2010, so the farm isn’t even too badly diminished with this deal in the long run.

      • JMK THE OVERSHARE's Glenn Beck Complex says:

        http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-729791 (last paragraph).

        • Evil Empire says:

          Yeah, I hope we keep Hughes in AAA as a starter. If someone gets hurt, he comes right in, and if everything is going smoothly, call him up sometime in the 2nd half to be a reliever, after he puts in 80+ IP as a starter.

          • JMK THE OVERSHARE's Glenn Beck Complex says:

            Yup, that’s how I’d do it. So we in all likelihood get some top picks for Vazquez, let Hughes develop and fill in if/when a starter is injured for a period, let him finish the year relieving to keep innings limits down. He’s ready for 2010. I just really, really would hate to see him lose another year of development.

            • Evil Empire says:

              Eh, I don’t see it as him losing another year of development. If anything, being in AAA lets him fuck around with secondary pitches more without meaningful games on the line – times when he’d have to stick with what he already knows.

              As long as we keep building up his innings, I’m totally fine with Hughes being depth in the first half and a reliever in the 2nd half.

  47. JMK THE OVERSHARE's Glenn Beck Complex says:

    Melky will somehow find himself on an episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Book it.

  48. Drew says:

    I wonder if Hoffman is the LFer now.

  49. Mike HC says:

    This move has to annoy the shit out of Boston. They just sign Lackey, thinking that gives them the leg up on starting pitching for 2010, and then Cashman goes out and gets Javy for three players that in all reality probably had no future on the Yankees anyway. For all the negatives we see, we had an era of under 3.0 last year. It was in the NL, but come on, that has to be worth something.

    I’m just seeing it from Boston’s side, and they must feel like they can’t catch a fucking break.

  50. JMK THE OVERSHARE's Glenn Beck Complex says:

    So do you guys think we’re done with LF as a Gardner/Hoffmonster platoon? If not, what do you see as the next move?

  51. Sal says:

    Well, its official now going into the 2010 season the Red Sox have a much better pitching staff than the Yankees. Beckett, Lester, and Lackey are all better than any of the so called number 2 starters we have whomever they may be. I have absolutely no confidence in Vazquez come playoff time. We need to sign Holliday now and we will have to out slug them.

    • JMK THE OVERSHARE's Glenn Beck Complex says:

      We should get Bay too, just in case Holliday gets injured. I have absolutely no confidence in Holliday staying healthy come playoff time. We need to sign Bay and have our bench outslug theirs.

      • jddzip says:

        I laughed so hard. And I seem to be the only one who’s happy we traded Melky and not Gardner. I think Gardner in the 9 slot brings a nice advantage to the Yankees. You’ve seen how fast he runs and when he gets on base he makes it so much easier for say, Jeter, Damon(Johnson), Tex, or A-Rod to get fastballs that they can hammer.

        Jeter/A-Rod can still run but not nearly as much as they use to. Gardner is our speed

    • Mike HC says:

      CC is better than all of them, and AJ and Pettitte can hang with any of those guys too. It would come down to who is pitching better on that day. There is really not that much of a discernible difference for a single game. Plus, add Javy and Joba on the back end, and I like the Yanks chances. Not even considering the offense.

  52. Rockdog says:

    I would also be ok with giving Gardner or Hofmann a shot in the #9 hole and then amking a trading deadline move if that did not work out.

  53. Bryan says:

    cano is trapped in a glass case of emotion

  54. Sal says:

    C’mon now all these guys that are throw out all these great accolades for Javy are the same guys who said 7 years ago Curt Schilling is past his prime and we made out much better getting Javy and he going to be our ace for years to come. Is history going to repeat? Is John Lackey Curt Schilling this time around?

  55. Rod says:

    I really don’t get the hole in left field talk. The Yankees now have a really solid starting rotation and an absurd offense. Stick one of Gardner or Hoffman in LF and let them shag fly balls and put up not awful numbers in the 9 hole and be happy with it. The Yankees are going to win an absurd number of games next season, another bat in LF won’t make much of a difference.

  56. nycornerstones says:

    ITS NOT A VERY MELKY CHRISTMASS FOR CANO LOSING HIS BOY , BUT MAYBE CANO WILL REALLY MATURE NOW AND THAT BATTING TITLE,IM JUST THINKING THEY ARE GOING TO MISS HIM IN THE CLUBHOUSE,NOW ALL WE NEED IS 30 HR LEFTFIELDER TO BAT NINTH LOL ,,, GOOD LUCK MILKMAN THANKS FOR THE HUSTLE

  57. pete says:

    I like this move a lot. Hoffman + gardner is a weak LF, no doubt, but Hoffman will likely only take on tough lefties, and both of them are so terrific defensively that I really don’t mind either batting 9th. What makes me happiest about this is that Javy could be anywhere between 2nd best and 5th best arm in the rotation, and he has a history of 200 Inning, 200 K seasons. I could tolerate a 4.50-4.75 ERA with 200 innings if its out of the 4th spot in the rotation. If Joba improves as most of us believe he will, then our rotation is going to be very, VERY strong.

    I hope two things though: one, that girardi doesn’t let Gardner’s or Hoffman’s weaknesses get overexposed or exploited, and two, that the following plan is employed with respect to hughes:
    1. start in the ‘pen, basically for april, and into may if nobody else is stepping up
    2. when the rest of the pen begins to shape up better (aka, robertson/marte get hot), send him down to AAA to prepare as a starter
    3. Have him work on his cutter, changeup, and location in AAA
    4. If a major leaguer gets injured or starts seriously sucking, replace him with Hughes
    5. If the starting 5 works out all year, that’s awesome, keep Hughes in AAA and shut him down at ~150 innings, which would give you 3 unlimited guys for 2011 and one with a limit around 180, 2 of whom are not going to be expensive, meaning there’d be money for somebody like beckett/lee.

  58. Dillon says:

    How the hell did we just give up one of our best young arms in Vizcaino, and melky/dunn. You don’t give up your best young arm for a year of Vazquez. Terrible move!

    • Rod says:

      Viz, while having a ton of potential, is years away. His changeup could easily never develop and he turns into a bullpen arm. With any modicum of health, the Yankees are in awesome shape to repeat.

  59. I’m surprisingly pumped that they traded for Vazquez. I’ve always liked him, and thought he’s gotten a really bad rap over his “struggles” in the American League. 2004 wasn’t a good year, but it was also his first in the senior league, and clearly an outlier in his career.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/stats.....P#advanced

    Once he got to Chicago, he was mostly plagued by poor defense and bad luck. His HR rate is worrisome though.

    • Eric says:

      HR rate is worrisome, though he decreased his flyball rate last season and increased his GO/AO ratio, so it’s possible he actually made changes to his approach. His 2009 BABIP and HR/FB were more or less in line line with his career numbers, so his success in 2009 can’t just be explained by luck.

  60. Mason says:

    I am going to have to question this call, to say the least. I admit, it does strengthen the rotation but they gave up far too much. Vicaino is only 19 and already the organizations 3rd best prospect. And Melky is a solid defensive outfielder with a steady bat. Not to mention irreplaceable in the clubhouse. I guess this move fits for the win now mentality New York geneally has, but im not sure this is a very smart move in the long run

  61. I will miss Arodys :(

    Other than personal feelings, cool.

  62. Joseph M says:

    Horrible deal. Vazquez was 4 games under .500 the day he arrived from Montreal (64-68), with the Yankees he was 14-10 getting getting him to .500 for his career. Today 5 years after he left the Yankees he’s 142-139 0n his career (64-61 since leaving). He’s appeared in three post season games and got pounded each time. But it get’s worse, he’s aquired from the Braves, what a pedigree. Try these names on for size, Wright, Farnsworth, Hammonds, Karsay.

    Good pitcher last year, no doubt about it, in the National League. Look at his numbers the year before in the American League.

    The Yankees now have to make a move for a big time left fielder to make up for this, bring back Damon or go for Bay but they can’t go into next season with Gardner and Hoffman.

    I’m not a Ganderson guy, I think he has peaked as a player and on both sides of the ball, and believe Yankee fans will hate his play in center.

    • ecksodia says:

      Using win-loss statistics isn’t very convincing. So is using a 3 game sample.

      • Joseph M says:

        If he was 20-17 you might have a point but he’s not, he has 281 decisions in his career and he’s barely a .500 pitcher. If he’s so good would you mind explaining why teams are constantly trading him. Yankees after just one season, Arizona after one season, Chicago after three seasons, the Braves after one season. Look at the numbers last year, pretty impressive yet he’s on the move again and for Melky . Melky is a serviceable player but he’s not bringing you back a 15-10 2.87 pitcher unless the numbers don’t tell the story. Let’s say it’s a salary dump, are you telling me that the Braves couldn’t get a better package.

  63. [...] River Avenue Blues believes that this gives Vazquez a second chance to get it right in New York, but he may have to face the demons of his last game in pinstripes in his first start. [...]

  64. [...] Cabrera, Mike Dunn, Arodys Vizcaino and Boone Logan, the Yanks had found their starter. With a healthy skepticism of Vazquez’s previous tenure in the Bronx, we thought Cashman was taking a big gamble but [...]

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.