Javy Vazquez: The new Andy Pettitte?

CC Sabathia's better than expected changeup
The stats we use: wOBA

The Yankees and Andy Pettitte have a rather unique relationship. Every year for the last three years, Pettitte went into the offseason uncertain about his future. He ultimately came back each time, though it wasn’t until after some long deliberation. And the Yankees welcomed him back each time because they know what he brings to the table and he suits their needs perfectly. They don’t need him to be an ace, just an innings guy in the middle of the rotation.

That holds true for old-new pickup Javy Vazquez, who finished fourth on the NL Cy Young voting in 2009 and will be expected to do nothing more than solidify than the fourth spot in the Yankees rotation in 2010.  In an interview with the Puerto Rican newspaper La Perla del Sur (via MLBTR), Javy spoke about his future, most notably about his desire to go year to year. “I don’t have much playing time left,” said Vazquez. “I go year by year, and I don’t know if it will be one, two or three years, but I’m definitely not going to play until 40.”

The 33-year-old Vazquez (34 in July) is in the final year of a three year, $34.5MM deal he signed with the White Sox back in 2008. Despite being a 12-year veteran with nearly 400 big league starts to his credit, Javy was never once a free agent, always picking the security of a contract extension over the lure of the open market. Barring something completely unexpected, the Yankees will let him hit free agency after the season, and that’s where the similarity to Pettitte comes in.

If Vazquez is truly interested in going year to year at this point (B-Ref says he’s made over $80MM in his career, so he’s not hurtin’ for cash), then perhaps this turns into a “Are you going to retire? If not, we want you back on a one year deal” situation. There’s nothing better than having a quality pitcher in his mid-30’s on a one year deal to alleviate risk, and if he’s up for it, then where’s the downside? I’m certain someone will offer Vazquez a multi-year deal after the season, and it’s just a question of him a) wanting to win badly enough that he stays in the Bronx on a shorter deal, or b) following the cash. The latter almost always wins out, but stranger things have happened.

Of course this is all predicated on Javy pitching well enough in 2010 that the team wants him back, though I’m willing to bet that’s the case. The Yankees rotation is set up front for years to come, and at the moment all we can do is pencil Joba Chamberlain into the 5th spot next year. There’s definitely a chance he starts to figure it out and becomes a viable number three starter for the Yanks as soon as 2011, however right now we just can’t count on that. Javy Vazquez on a one year deal gives the team the certainty of innings while maintaining roster flexibility, and as long as he’s up for it, there’s very little reason not to do it.

Photo Credit: Pat Sullivan, AP

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CC Sabathia's better than expected changeup
The stats we use: wOBA
  • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

    Yes, please. Having Javy fill the role Pettitte’s settled into in the Bronx would be the best assett going forward. (Assuming Pettitte hangs it up after this year/the next.) I like that Cashman is committed to developing Joba and Hughes but he’s also doing all he can to keep from depending too much on the two young starters. I don’t believe that 2008 would be repeated because of the progress both young guys have made but Cash’s new strategy is damn smart to load up the pitching for success now and success in the future with Joba & Hughes.

  • Bo

    Tough to see any pitcher turning down 4 yr deals for 10+ mill a yr.

    Esp when hes just 33 and in his prime.

  • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

    I think Joba takes a huge step forward this season.

    • Drew

      First full season, it’s not going to be easy, but it’s a huge step into developing into that full-time MLB starter that we all want him to be.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        I can see Joba pitching 175 innings to the tune of an ERA in the low fours or even, dare I say it, below four.

        • Drew

          That’d be awesome but there aren’t many 24 yr old starters pitching to a 4 ERA in the AL East.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            There aren’t many 24 year old starters as talented as Joba Chamberlain.

            • Drew

              Very true. I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer, just realistic. I’d be more than happy with a 4.5 in what should be his first full season.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            Not many, but check this out from 08′:

            http://www.baseball-reference......jo01.shtml

            • jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis

              and 09. kid’s got a bright future

              • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                Very true. I was pointing out his age 24 season though, his first as a full time starter in the AL East.

            • Steve H

              Heh, see below.

          • Steve H

            Hopefully he has learned from his experiences the last two years. Johan was bounced from rotation to bullpen for two full years, and in his 1st year as a starter, with no restrictions, won the Cy. I obviously don’t expect that from Joba, but he certainly could make a huge leap. Jon Lester made a similar leap too, and he also fought cancer in the middle of it. At 22 and 23 he made a total of 26 starts, then in his 1st full season as a starter was pretty much dominant.

  • Drew

    With his track record, I see him getting a serious multi-year deal. Especially if he performs in the AL East this year.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      I agree. It sounds lovely, but I’ll file the “Javy Vazquez will take annual one year re-ups from us over other offers he’d get as a FA” under the “I’ll believe it when I see it” category.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        I’ll have to agree on that one.

        • All Praise Be To Mo

          Let’s just offer him arb, we either get him on a 1 yr deal or we get 2 1st rounders. Either way we win.

  • A.D.

    I’m definitely not going to play until 40.”

    Guess he’s not going to sign that big 6 year extension

    • miketotheg

      reach for the stars javy!!

  • jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis

    awesome use of an expos pic. plus, this has to be andy’s last year right? at least with the yankees? and while i do not see javy taking one year here when there are multiple yr offers out there it would be nice. maybe they can work something out after the season during the exclusive negotiating window for a 1 yr with a player option? or mutual options for 2 or 3 years?

    • Drew

      Hopefully it’s not AP’s last year as a Yankee. In order for him to return he’d have to be pretty damn good in 2010.

      As far as Javy, he’s going to get guaranteed money. He’s the 2nd/3rd best FA starter next year.

      Lee
      Beckett/Javy
      Webb
      AP

      • A.D.

        Yeah and given he’s always gone with guarenteed money, it seems odd he’d stop now. He may personally take it year to year, but doesn’t mean he won’t have a guaranteed contract to easily come back to. After all he can always just Favre it.

    • larryf

      yes-the expos pic of Javy watching a long fly ball landing in the RF seats-that has been corrected of course and will rarely be seen in a Yankee uniform…

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        He could have been watching a young Vlad Guerrero or Milton Bradley making a great catch at the wall, or a smooth diving catch in the gap…

        • Steve H

          Or watching Rocky Biddle jog in from the pen to blow another win for him.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Or watching Bartolo Colon “pretend” to throw in the pen on his throw day when he was actually eating four Subway footlong meatball hero sandwiches.

            • Steve H

              Or watching Ugueth Urbina light the bullpen catcher on fire, then attacking him with a machete.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                Or watching Carl Pavano bruise his buttocks.

                • Steve H

                  Or watching Youppi bruise Carl Pavano’s buttocks.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  … nope, not gonna touch that one.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                  Actually, it’s…

                  “Montreal Expos starting pitcher Javier Vazquez reacts after giving up a three-run homer to Houston Astros’ Daryle Ward in the third inning Friday, Aug. 4, 2000, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)”

                • larryf

                  His facial expression definitely fits Mike’s answer and definitely does NOT fit the RABids’ answers..

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  Javy gave up 6 runs in 6 innings that day… and didn’t get the loss.

                  His SECOND homer allowed that day to Chris Truby (that’s right, in addition to the Ward homer, Truby took him deep twice) in the sixth inning tied it up at 6-6.

                  No, Steve Klein came in in the 7th and gave up a one-out triple to Julio Lugo and then a single to Lance Berkman to give the ‘Stros a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

                  Our old friend Octavio Dotel finished off the save for the Colt 45’ers.

                  http://www.baseball-reference......8040.shtml

                  Also, erstwhile Yankee farmhand (and the jewel of the John Wetteland trade) Fernando Seguignol made an pinch hit appearance for Les Expos in this contest.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  It’s fun meeting up with old friends who aren’t very good, especially when we’ve established that they’re NOT OUR PROBLEM.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Andy’s at 229 wins right now. Unless he has an absolute stinkbomb of a year, he’ll finish somewhere around 240-245.

      I bet he comes back for 2011 to go for 250.

      Also, two more full years of 33-ish starts would allow Andy to pass both Red Ruffing and Whitey Ford to become the all-time Yankee leader in Starts. Andy’s got 375 starts in pinstripes (or Yankee greys), Ruffing’s at 391, Ford is at 438.

      (Andy needs 39 wins to catch Ruffing and 44 to catch Ford, so he’s probably not getting those without playing for three more seasons, but the Starts record is doable.)

      • jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis

        i dont see him ocming back just for a silly start record if he has any type of injury or if the yanks win again.

        • Drew

          What about a silly start record + 10 million dollars!?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            TEN MILLION
            TEN MILLION
            TEN MILLION DOLLARS!

            TEN MILLION
            TEN MILLION
            TEN MILLION DOLLARS!

            /Spike’d

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Well, he’d mainly be coming back to get to 250 wins and burnish the Hall credentials. Being the all-time leader in starts made for the preeminent franchise in North American team sports is just a cherry on top.

          • jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis

            touche

          • Steve H

            And he doesn’t have the PED stain that Clemens/Bonds/McGwire have, so 250 wins in the steroids era would boost his credentials.

            /wait a minute, Andy used PED’s???

            • jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis (and is with CoCo)

              once, to recover from an injury.

              well, twice…

              well, it was because his dad gave em to him and he felt bad and didnt want to make his dad feel bad

              well, clemens made him do it…

              • larryf

                can’t Andy come back 10 more years just to get a lefty or two out in the late innings? An Orosco-fied ending to a great career???

                Sincerely,
                Dave Righetti

          • Chris

            Mussina had the chance to do that too, and opted for retirement. It’s not inconceivable that he’d pass up the chance for a few more wins.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              It’s not inconceivable, no, but Andy Pettitte isn’t Mike Mussina. Don’t forget that.

      • pat

        Dammit u just brought a tear to my eye because I remembered there won’t be anybody in the Yankees booth to bring up Red Ruffing and Mordecai Three Finger Brown :(

        • jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis (and is with CoCo)

          instead we’ll have to listen to john flaherty. ugh

          • king of fruitless hypotheticals

            i listen to little suzy homemaker and her partner waldman for every game. xm>>>>>>nothing

  • CountryClub

    It would be ironic if Cash offered him arbitration at the end of the year, because he was sure that he’d sign a deal elsewhere, just to have Javy accept and cost the yanks 14 or 15 mil.

    Cash has shied away from arbitration recently because most of the players were older and past their prime and he was afraid they’d accept. Now he has a guy who is still in his prime (at the end of it) who may be more than happy to take a one yr deal at a big pay day.

    • Steve H

      Abreu and Damon were coming off much bigger contracts, and had regressed immensely in the field. As corner OF’s, they were much more replaceable than a Vasquez. Despite the economy and the downturn of contracts, pitching has still gotten paid the last two years. 35 year old OF’s have not. Derek Lowe is a year older than Bobby Abreu. Abreu got 1/5, Lowe got 4/60. There’s where the difference in philosophy will come in.

      • CountryClub

        I understand that he’ll have no problem getting a big offer. My comment has to do with the fact they he may be very happy to take the arb raise he would get for one year.

        I’m not saying this will happen…just saying it’s possible based on his quotes in the post.

        • Steve H

          You’re right.

    • whozat

      …and I’m sure the Yankees would be fine with taking him on that one year deal.

      • CountryClub

        Probably (I know I would be as a fan…assuming he does well this yr); but maybe the Yanks are really counting on the 2 draft picks.

        • pete

          nobody in their right mind would “count on” 2 draft picks. That’s a perk of getting a guy who is in his walk year and may not be a necessity the following year, but I’m quite certain it’s not anything the yanks were “counting on”. It’s probably unlikely that two draft picks will equal a single year of age-34 Javy Vazquez in value anyway, crazy as that may sound.

          • CountryClub

            Most people will tell you that teams are now overvaluing draft picks and also players in the minors. My comment said that I would be fine if, in this hypothetical scenario, Javy accepted arbitration. I’m not saying that the picks are more valuable.

            But it doesnt mean the Yanks don’t think they are. They may be looking forward to those picks to replenish the system.

            • Zack

              I think you’re overthinking it.
              I mean when was the last time Yankees actually got draft picks from a Type A/B FA? I think Tom Gordon was the last one, and that was what 5-6 years ago.

              Cashman isnt/shouldnt/cant believe that those picks will be there. You go about your business and if you do get those picks then it’s a bonus, but also means you lost a very good pitcher.

              • CountryClub

                I made a whimsical comment about a hypothetical situation. I’m not overthinking anything.

                I think you’re right about Gordon being the last player…and I think Hughes was one of the players they drafted. Or did he come from Pettitte leaving??

                • Chip

                  I believe Joba was taken with that pick in the supplemental round after they took IPK with the first pick. Hughes was taken in 2004?

                • Chip

                  Interestingly, the pick for losing Pettite I believe was Jon Poterson while both Huston Street and some midget shortstop that Boston picked up were both on the board. It’s kinda fun to play the what-if game

    • pete

      eh, you have to offer Javy arb next year. Worst comes to worst you slightly overpay for a quality pitcher because he was so good in 2010 (works for me). More likely scenario is you pay him an appropriate amount or (even more likely) he declines and takes a 3-year deal elsewhere, despite what he said above. He may not want to play till he’s 40, but I don’t think he’d mind playing till he’s 36 if it’s for another 30 million dollars or so. Remember Javy Vazquez is not Johnny Damon or Bobby Abreu. Both of those guys were entering highly limited markets where they’d be valued at half what they’d get in arbitration. Chances are, if Javy pitches to his usual numbers, he’ll either get about $10 million in arb, or $10 million/year elsewhere. Somehow I don’t see Vazquez being forced into a 1-year/$5 million contract. Everyone always needs pitching. It’s rare that a declining player with average power and terrible defense with enough of a track record to garner an “expensive” label will have a lot of suitors. Until he’s not a virtual lock for 200 quality innings, there will always be competition for Javier’s services. I’m sure Cash will bank on that.

      • Drew

        Vasquez will get over 11.5 million(his 2010 salary) through arbitration. Probably between 13 and 15 million. Assuming he pitches well this year, that wouldn’t be overpaying for his services on a one year pact.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Agreed.

        Worst case scenario for an arb offer is they accept and you overpay them for one year. All things considered, I’m much more comfortable with 2011 34 year old SP Javy Vazquez making 12-14M than I would have been with 2010 36 year old LF Johnny Damon making 14-16M or 2009 35 year old RF Bobby Abreu making 17-19M.

        Compared to our other two big-name arbitration non-offers from the past two offseasons, Vazquez next year represents a far smaller risk. He’ll be younger, with less obvious signs of decline (presumably), and not only will he be cheaper, but he’ll also be more closely in line with his actual market value.

        • jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis (and is with CoCo)

          and much easier to trade if the need arises. seriously his middle name is “pack your bags”

          this is where DBHOF would come in and say some nickname like there has to be a reason javy pack your bags-quez has been traded so much. no one wants the guy. i’ve seen him pitch and your stats can’t tell me he is a bigtime pitcher because he fails when it counts. ozzie guillen said so.

      • CountryClub

        I agree with all of you guys. I was just saying that Cash probably thinks he finally has a no doubter here when it comes to offering him arb and it would be funny if Javy jumped on it.

        • Zack

          Bigger Question: Do you offer him arbitration if he has a bad year?

          • Steve H

            Yes. He’d likely still get a multi-year offer (at lower $$), and at worst he’s here on a 1 year, $12 million or so deal. If you couldn’t stand him, he’d still be a very tradeable commodity, especially to the NL. You’d likely have to eat some of the salary, but not Renteria/Lugo-esque amounts, since it’d only be a 1 year committment.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              We could trade him back to the Expos. By the time his agent figures out that they don’t exist anymore, all the paperwork will have been signed.

          • CountryClub

            As long as he’s still at least a Type B, absolutely.

  • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

    I’m sorry for the off topic, I really am, but I have to give a shout out to Axsia for shooting down that ludicrous article on LoHud. It’s ridiculous. One may even call it Francessa like. The person who wrote it had no idea what they were talking about and likely had never actually looked into real advanced statistics. I’m amazed it was posted.

    http://yankees.lhblogs.com/201.....rosenberg/

    I’m sorry, I know it was off topic, but it was so outrageous I really wanted to mention it (though I accept the probable deletion of this post.

    Back to your regularly scheduled Vasquez discussion.

    • Jose
      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        I know, I know…you’re totally right, but this just seemed SO outrageous…I mean, wow…

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Open thread, holmes.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            I know but…WOW. Wow.

            I was utterly floored.

          • A.D.

            Agreed, the post in question will be just as ridiculous in a few hours.

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              It was stcuk in my head. I could not wrap my mind not only in the mindnumbing stupidity of it, but the fact that ANOTHER blog posted it as a good piece of analysis! It makes me cringe.

              • jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis (and is with CoCo)

                worst part. the comments of great job, or well said, etc.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      So basically you’re saying “I know the guidelines and the proprietors desire to keep comments on topic, but screw it, I’ve got my own agenda.”

      Okay, I get it.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        No, you’re right, but I could not get this out of my head…

        It’ll be deleted shortly.

        • pat

          It’s going to be a rocky road to redemption for you buddy. Best make a sacrificial offering to Mo, Melvin and the Jesus to appease the Holy Baseball Trinity.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            I always thought the baseball holy trinity was Joe, Ben, and Mike?

            /Apologetic’d

            • pat

              Nope, Ben Joe and Mike are the Apostles. They take the stories, legends and achievement of the Baseball Trinity and make them into Gospel for all the followers to read and worship.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                And Jamal G is like Caine from Kung Fu. He walks the earth, meets people… gets into adventures.

    • A.D.
      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        I like to think of Jesus as a mischievous badger.

    • MatyRuggz

      /kanye west’d

  • Frank

    Forget Vasquez. The Yanks will go after Cliff Lee if he hits the FA market.

    • pat

      Fuck it, we should just make Lee an offer now.

      • Steve H

        Linecum too.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      I agree. Anyway, Vasquez is going to get a multi year deal most likely. I’d rather have Lee.

      • CountryClub

        Lee is the better pitcher, no doubt. But if Javy has a good 2010, is it really a no brainer to give Lee 5/100 or 6/120 instead of Javy 3/45??

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          That’s true. But that’s also assuming nobody else makes Javy a better offer.

      • AndrewYF

        I’d like both of them. This is probably Pettitte’s last year, and I’d rather have either one of them than Pettitte.

        • CountryClub

          Lee over Andy, sure. But let’s see how this year plays out before we say Javy over Andy.

          • radnom

            Going into next season, gun to my head, I would take Javy over Andy.

  • Mike HC

    This is the year for Joba. If he struggles again this year, it is time to start re thinking how much the Yanks want to count on him for the future. Personally, I believe in Joba, and I think he will have a very good year and will clearly progress in his development. But who knows. If he can’t get it done, time to do something else, or give someone else a shot.

    As for Javy, maybe this new attitude can be help for him his second time around with the Yanks. He is not coming to take over NY and be the next big thing, but just to be a solid contributor toward the end of his career. Maybe the new mindset will prevent him from going too hard in the first half of the season, to the detriment of the second half.

    Overall, the Yanks are obviously very deep at SP and things look good.

  • miketotheg

    this is an easy one;

    Javy Vazquez: The new Andy Pettitte?

    HELLLLLLLL NOOOOOOOOOOO!!

  • Hawkins44

    Phil Hughes please over Joba….

  • http://theenlighteneddespot.com NC Saint

    “rather uniques”?

    You’re better than that, Mike.

  • David S

    I hope Andy plays a few more years. No matter how good he is most people keep on underrating him.
    Lets not forget his 4-0 record in the playoffs and clinching each series! He is actually number two on the staff no matter what the rotation actually is. Who would you rather see pitching in a big game, Andy or AJ? Its not even close. One can only dream but maybe he will even try for 300!