Javy Vazquez: The new Andy Pettitte?


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

Categories : Pitching


  1. Riddering says:

    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.

  2. Bo says:

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

    Esp when hes just 33 and in his prime.

  3. Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

    I think Joba takes a huge step forward this season.

  4. Drew says:

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

  5. A.D. says:

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

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

  6. jsbrendog officially approves signing Fernando Tatis says:

    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?

  7. CountryClub says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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.

    • whozat says:

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

      • CountryClub says:

        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 says:

          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 says:

            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 says:

              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 says:

                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 says:

                  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 says:

                  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 says:

      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 says:

        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.

      • 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) says:

          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 says:

        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.

  8. Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

    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.


    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.

  9. Frank says:

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

  10. Mike HC says:

    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.

  11. miketotheg says:

    this is an easy one;

    Javy Vazquez: The new Andy Pettitte?


  12. Hawkins44 says:

    Phil Hughes please over Joba….

  13. NC Saint says:

    “rather uniques”?

    You’re better than that, Mike.

  14. David S says:

    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!

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