Mar
09

Then & Now: A Javy Vazquez Retrospective

By

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t help but laugh when Jimmy Rollins sent Javy Vazquez‘s first pitch of the exhibition season (his first pitch!) into the rightfield bleachers yesterday afternoon. “It was funny,” joked Vazquez after the game. “I’ve faced the Phillies a lot and Jimmy likes swinging at the first pitch once in a while, but my first time out in spring training, he should give me a chance to let it go a little bit.” The solo shot yesterday was like a gift from the confirmation bias gods, fueling the irrational hatred dwelling inside the lovers Javy scorned back in 2004. Of course, most realize that people change over time, especially when you’re talking about a period of six years. The Javy Vazquez we watched give up that grand slam to Johnny Damon is not the Javy Vazquez that suited up for the Yankees yesterday.

One thing that caught my attention following the game yesterday was that Vazquez said that he used to be “a little stubborn” in his younger years, trying to be macho by blowing his fastball by hitters. Believe it or not, this is not something unique to Vazquez. He claimed that he’s since changed his pitching style, steadily mixing in more offspeed pitches to keep hitters off balance. We saw some of those offspeed offerings at work yesterday, whether it was the changeup Chase Utley swung over or the bender Raul Ibanez watched drop in on the outer half.

Since we have the data at our disposal, I figured we should take a look at Javy’s pitch selection from 2004, and compare it to his pitch selection from last year. This info is begging for a pie chart, so here it is (remember to click for a larger view)…

You can clearly see that Vazquez has scaled back his fastball usage, and is now throwing his three offspeed pitches at near equal parts. The slider went from being his most ignored pitch to his second most utilized in that five year stretch, and that same changeup that got Utley yesterday went from his second most used pitch to the least used. With a guy like Javy, who throws upwards of 3,300 pitches per year, we’re talking about a difference of almost 230 fewer fastballs, 350 fewer changeups (think of that as ten fewer per start), and 520 more sliders (15 more per start) in a five year period (on average). Here’s a look at the year-by-year change, so you can see this has been a slow and steady process spanning the better part of a decade.

The change in pitching pattern isn’t just a superficial crutch, something the optimists among us are clinging to in hopes that Vazquez will actually pitch well this year. There’s evidence that the change has benefited him, just take a look at the pitch values to the right. Those values are runs per 100 pitches thrown, so last season Javy’s fastball was worth eight-tenths of a run above average for every 100 heaters he threw. As you can see, all four of Javy’s pitches were above average last season, and the improvement since 2004 is considerable. At least seven-tenths of a run per 100 pitches, and on average it’s closer to 1.70 runs across the board. Obviously not all of that improvement can be attributed to mixing up his pitches better, but it’s certainly part of it.

Of course, don’t let me fool you into thinking the Yankees are going to be getting the 2009 version of Vazquez. He had the luxury of feasting on National League lineups in a favorable ballpark during his one season in Atlanta, and he won’t enjoy those comforts in the Bronx. The 2009 season was one of the three best of Javy’s career in terms of WAR, and it’s unreasonable to expect him to repeat that kind of season when he’s less than five months away from his 34th birthday.

So on the surface, yeah, the Yankees did acquire the same Javy Vazquez in mid-December that they had in 2004. He’s still from Puerto Rico, still throws with his right arm, all that jazz. But no, this is not the same pitcher the Yanks had back then. This version of Vazquez is much more refined, much better at setting up hitters, and as a result, must more effective. That homer by Rollins temporarily brought back some bad memories, but don’t worry. Soon enough, you won’t even be able to recognize the guy when he’s on the mound, and I mean that in the best way possible.

Photo Credit: Kathy Willens, AP

Categories : Analysis

169 Comments»

  1. Jammy Jammers says:

    Mmmm….sliders…

  2. Rob says:

    Great analysis. One key take-away?: If a hitter went up guessing fastball against 2004 Javy, they were guessing in the right direction. But against 2009 Javy, they were simply guessing.

  3. Steve H says:

    That’s pretty amazing that he uses his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th pitches almost the same amount of time. That really keeps the hitters guessing. Even some great pitchers only use their 3rd pitch 5-10% of the time (which makes it devastating when located correctly), nevermind their 4th. Is there any way to tell what pitches were thrown in what counts, to see if there is a pattern? Or can he truly throw any of 4 pitches at almost any time?

  4. A.D. says:

    Very interesting how big a jump the slider has made in the arsenal.

  5. Michael says:

    I think he could be a lot better than hen was in 04 if he stops throwing the grand slam pitch that he’s so fond of.

    • Steve H says:

      I’m guessing sarcasm.

      But if not, Vasquez has given up 5 grand slams in his career in over 2500 innings. I don’t think he’s very fond of the GS.

      • Michael says:

        Um, yea, I was kidding. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a huuuuuuge risk, and I wish to God they didn’t bring him back, but what’s done is done.

        • Rob says:

          Sure, a huuuuuuge risk as the #4 and on a one-year deal. Counting on both Joba and Hughes was a bigger risk, so does that make it ginormous?

          Now watch as he has a better year than Burnett.

        • The Three Amigos says:

          Of course that makes sense! What would have been your preferred method for a 200 inning pitcher and middle rotation workhorse?

          • Michael says:

            Getting him back is like Groundhog Day. The guy has trouble with pressure, and we’ve seen that. AL East isn’t the NL East.

            He has a lot to prove. I hope he’s matured, because it’s clear that he’s got high upside, but he was chased out of NY, and Chicago because management felt he wasn’t up to the challenge.

            That’s his rep, and that change.

            And by risk, I wasn’t implying anything to do with money. The Yankees don’t have to deal with financial risks. They never have, or Kei Igawa would have been in the rotation last year instead of a huge free agent signing.

            • Big Juan says:

              Ya, Ozzie Guillen also had no place for Nick Swisher.

              • Steve H says:

                And Vasquez was great in the 1st half, before pitching thru injury. He’s shown he can succeed in the AL East, and now he’s a better pitcher, with a better team behind him.

              • Michael says:

                Good point, but consider that Guillan didn’t bench Swisher for a lack of fire, he benched him for hitting .200, and in the same situation, we would, too.

                Guillan can be pretty abrasive, but when he calls out a guy for not having heart, he’s usually right on the money.

                • JGS says:

                  you know who else doesn’t have a whole lot of fire? Mariano Rivera

                • Steve H says:

                  I coudln’t disagree more, I take every Guillen says with a huge grain of salt. He ends up apologizing for half the stuff he says, he shoots from the hip and is often wrong.

                • Michael says:

                  He’s been in a pennant race twice, and twice he wasn’t up to it.

                • Steve H says:

                  Couldn’t you say the same about CC pre-2009?

                • Michael says:

                  I think you have to judge guys based mainly on their time here. CC was ready for the AL east when he got here.

                  Vazquez wasn’t ready physically or emotionally. A lot of guys aren’t NY guys, and it takes them longer to settle in, and deal with the pressure.

                  By the time CC got to NY, he had matured enough that he was ready for the pressure.

                  Hopefully, Vazquez is ready this time around. Clearly he was in over his head the first around.

                • Steve H says:

                  How was CC ready though, he’d sucked, in the playoffs that past two seasons? That makes him more ready for the pressure? Of course not.

                  You can’t look at the tiny sample sizes of Javy and CC and say that they weren’t pressure pitchers, you just can’t.

                • Templeton "Brendog" Peck says:

                  Vazquez wasn’t ready physically or emotionally. A lot of guys aren’t NY guys, and it takes them longer to settle in, and deal with the pressure.

                  first half of javy’s “adjusting” after coming over and “not being ready emotionally”

                  10-5 3.56 era 1.154 whip 2.97 so/bb

                  then as he said he hurt his shoulder and tried to pitch through it because he didnt want to let down the team.

                  so yeah, he obviously wasnt “mentally prepared” he shouldve gone 15-0.

                  and in 3 starts against boston he pitched 19 innings and gave up 9 earned runs. he only won one of those but the tow he lost were one where he only gave up 2 earned runs and another where his subpar defense gave up 2 unearned runs

        • Riddering says:

          I don’t see acquiring Vazquez to be any greater of a risk than any other pitcher poses, ie health and moving to a tougher division. It’s not like the Yankees moved Sabathia and Burnett to put Javy in the front of the rotation.

  6. ROBTEN says:

    So on the surface, yeah, the Yankees did acquire the same Javy Vazquez in mid-December that they had in 2004. He’s still from Puerto Rico, still throws with his right arm, all that jazz. But no, this is not the same pitcher the Yanks had back then.

    Maybe the Yankees could just get him a pair of glasses and say that he’s “Xavier Vasquis,” a crafty veteran hailing from the rough and tumble forests of Québec. I mean a similar approach fooled all of Metropolis, didn’t it?

    http://lh6.ggpht.com/_NPaCuwJ_.....erkent.jpg (SFW)

  7. Rose says:

    I think Vasquez will be the acquisition of the offseason. A lot of people are talking about Granderson, Nick “The Stick”, etc. but I think Vasquez will be the silver tuna…

  8. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    I think you’re on to something. Instead of XN6, the Yankees have XV31.

  9. Joe D. says:

    “I think he’s a huuuuuuge risk, and I wish to God they didn’t bring him back, but what’s done is done.”

    I still don’t get that so many commenters (here and elsewhere) consider Javy a huge risk.

    The beauty of this signing is he’s about as “unrisky” as a pitcher his age can possible be. His floor at this point is that of a league average pitcher, while his ceiling is much higher. How does this not get through to people?

    By ERA +, Javy has been essentially league average or better in every single season since 2000:

    Below Average
    2004 (ERA+ of 92)

    About Average
    2005 (100)
    2006 (98)
    2008 (98)

    Above Average
    2000 (119)
    2001 (130)
    2002 (108)
    2003 (139)
    2007 (126)
    2009 (143)

    I saw massive jizzing-in-pants when Pettitte was resigned for 2010 at basically the same salary Vazquez will be making this season. Performance-wise, Vazquez has matched or clobbered Pettitte three seasons running. **And he’s four years younger!**

    Are there really that many people out there who can’t get past one pitch they didn’t like? One bad half-season? In the face of a decade of above-average hurling? Really?

    • Michael says:

      The difference is that this is NY, and only thing people care about here is Championships.

      Who cares what he did in Montreal and Atlanta when no one was watching, and he was pitching in meaningless games? And it wasn’t just one bad half. Boston cleaned his clock that year. The whole year.

      What are his stats in Chicago and NY?

      • Steve H says:

        Boston cleaned his clock that year. The whole year.

        Simply not true.

        • Michael says:

          After he beat them on the 2nd day of the season how did he do against Boston? If it’s not true, that’s news to me.

          • Steve H says:

            He sucked in the 2nd half, he was injured. You said Boston cleaned his clock all year.

            In the 1st half, Javy faced the Sox 3 times, and pitched very well in two. That’s simply not getting his clock cleaned, especially against the best team in baseball.

          • ROBTEN says:

            After he beat them on the 2nd day of the season how did he do against Boston? If it’s not true, that’s news to me.

            1. He actually “lost” the second game of the season.
            2. He also “lost” his second start against Boston, but that was despite pitching quite well as the Yankees were shut out.
            3. He “won” his third start against Boston, again pitching well.
            4. He “lost” his final start against Boston, when it was fairly well accepted now that he was injured.

            2 good starts, 2 bad starts. Not really “getting his clock cleaned.”

            In this day and age these things are fairly easy to look up:

            http://www.baseball-reference......;year=2004

      • Jack says:

        If I was the Yankees, I’d look at what he did in 2004 and wonder “Are we getting that Javy, or the Javy from the other 11 seasons of his career?”

        http://riveraveblues.com/2010/.....nks-24426/

      • Templeton "Brendog" Peck says:

        javier vasquez 05-09 against Boston:

        36 and 2/3 ip and 14 er

        this includes LAST YEAR when he went 8 ip[ and only gave up 1 er when he was pitching for the braves.

        • Michael says:

          04, my friend. How did he do in 04?

          • Steve H says:

            in the 1st half, when healthy, he pitched well in 2 of 3 starts.

          • Templeton "Brendog" Peck says:

            see above. 04 pre allstar break he had 3 starts against them and won 1. the ones he lost were one where he only gave up 2 er and the other he gave up 4 earned runs ZOMG OH NOESSS!!!11!1!!!11!1!!1 (also, he went 6 eac in the 2 losses and 7 in the win)

            the only other game he ptiched against boston that yr was after the allstar break and he went 5 ip and 5 er, but again he has said he had a shoulder injury but tried to pitch through it.

            seriously, if pettitte had the same identical numbers it’d be oh he is a fighter. it is such bullshit

      • Riddering says:

        Give me the stats for his last five starts in 2004!!!1!

        You’re leaning far too heavily on intangible evidence. According to you, when Vazquez pitches well it’s because he’s playing meaningless games for teams out of contention (which is false, as the Braves were in the mix for the NL wild card for a period of time last year. But of course Javy’s great season there had nothing to do with that, right?)

        You’re asking us for stats–where are yours to back up generalized statements?

        • Michael says:

          The Braves have not been a contender for years.
          Give me a break.

          • Steve H says:

            That didn’t answer her at all. Where are your stats to back up generalized statements?

          • Riddering says:

            Break me off a piece of that…fancy…feast…

            But seriously, I see that you have your own opinion on Vazquez and all the evidence that doesn’t fit with your view is just ignored.

            • Michael says:

              Show me a pennant race where he excelled.
              In Chicago, the White Sox made the playoffs,
              and Vazquez was benched during their run.

              Why?

              • Templeton "Brendog" Peck says:

                you have. no. idea. what. you’re. talking. about.

                he was never benched and even started the last game of the season. seriously, talking to you is like talking to a brick wall.

                he started 6 games in september/oct

                CG loss against boston giving up ONE RUN and striking out ELEVEN

                7 inning loss to cleveland giving up 2 earned runs and striking out TEN

                6 inning loss to oakland giving up 3 earned runs and still striking out 5 in only 6 innings

                7 1/3 inning loss to seattle giving up 3 earned runs and striking out TWELVE

                MY GOD THIS GUY SUCKS. IT IS TOTALLY HIS FAULT HIS OFFENSE COULDNT SCORE ANY RUNS!11!1!!ELEVENTY!11!!11

                his last 2 startes weren’t the best but second to last he went 7, gave up 6 and struck out 12 for the 2nd consecutive game. the sox got shut out so it didnt matter he gave up 6.

                in his last start he only went 4 2/3 and gave up 4 earned runs but still k’ed 7.

                seriously, do you have any idea what youre talking about?

              • bexarama says:

                Vazquez was benched during their run? Was that why he was the Game 1 starter in the playoffs?

                • Michael says:

                  Because they had to play a one game playoff to make it in, and he was all that was left. How’d he do? Oh, he lost. Right.

                • Michael says:

                  You honestly think Guillan gives Vazquez the ball over Mark Buerhle??

                • bexarama says:

                  Fun fact: Mark Buehrle ALSO lost his playoff start that year. Hmmm it’s almost like you can’t judge players based on the smallest possible sample size.

                • Michael says:

                  Funny, they kept Buerhle and traded Vazquez.
                  Too much of a pussy for Chi Town, imagine what he’ll do here?

                  Oh yea, I don’t have to imagine it. The nightmares are real.

              • Michael says:

                10.34 era in October is solid evidence.

                Not opinion.

        • Michael says:

          Career post season era: 10.34

          He was 37-36 with the White Sox. He had an era in the mid 4s.

          The guy has a one good year in Atlanta, and all of the sudden he’s great?

          • Steve H says:

            Using the tiny postseason sample size and quoting W/L explains a lot.

            Were you against the Sabathia signing? In his 2 postseasons before signing with the Yankees he was 0-3 and era’s of 10.45 and 12.27.

            • Michael says:

              Vazquez stunk here.

              • Jack says:

                Six years ago.

                • Michael says:

                  All that I’m saying is that he’s a risk, and he is a risk.

                  Kenny Rogers stunk here in 96-97, and got rid of him. Some guys are not NY guys.

                  The Mets took a risk with him, and learned the hard way.

                • Templeton "Brendog" Peck says:

                  by him oging 5-1 and having a 110 era+? to help them get into the playoffs? and then having a small sample size meltdown?

              • Templeton "Brendog" Peck says:

                take that shit to lohud

              • ROBTEN says:

                Vazquez stunk here.

                Well, with encyclopedic knowledge and rapier wit like that you’ve certainly convinced me. Let it be proclaimed from this day forth from every hill and dale that Javy Vazquez “stunk here.”

              • Steve H says:

                Way to ignore the question. Were you against CC signing?

                He stunk in the playoffs right before he got here.

                • Michael says:

                  Hell no.

                  However, if Sabathia had pitched a year in pinstripes with 4.91 era, I doubt he’d be handed a 170 million dollars.

                  the guy won a CY award

                • Riddering says:

                  The Yankees risked less trading for Vazquez than they did in signing CC.

                • Michael says:

                  Riddering, they signed a CY winner.
                  How is that risky?

                • bexarama says:

                  It’s not as simple as “He’s a Cy Young winner.” Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz are currently available. They are Cy Young winners. You want to sign them?

                • Steve H says:

                  The Yankees risked less trading for Vazquez than they did in signing CC.

                  That is 100%, undisputable fact.

                • Michael says:

                  The risk isn’t about money, it’s about bringing him back, and having to rely about him.

                  Why are you comparing Vazuez to CC? Compare him the other pitching options that were available.

                  Try John Lackey. Try Roy Halladay.

                  Apples to apples. CC was already a Yank.

                • Michael says:

                  Bex, why not mention Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens?

                  Since you’re dropping the names of 40 year olds.

                  How old was CC when we signed him?

                • bexarama says:

                  Lackey: I like John Lackey, but he’s a pitcher in his thirties that’s been plagued by injuries. We already have one of those. I would’ve liked to get him, but I understand why we didn’t. Plus, we would have had to give him a lot more money and years than Javy took.

                  Halladay: There was probably no way the Blue Jays were going to trade him to an AL East team without absolutely cleaning out the prospect vault. I wouldn’t be surprised if they asked for Montero, Joba, AND Hughes for Halladay. We did make an offer – Montero for Halladay, straight up – and it was rejected. It was probably unlikely he was going anywhere else in the AL East.

                  (I highly recommend everyone look at John Lackey’s BB-Ref sponsorship. Heh.)

                • Riddering says:

                  Michael:

                  The Yankees signed CC to an enormous deal, wanting him to be the #1 guy in the rotation for years to come.

                  The Yankees traded Melky, Dunn and a promising prospect for Javier’s cheap salary, wanting him to be the #4 man in our rotation for 2010.

                  I’m not comparing Javy to CC–you were. I’m trying to explain that the Yankees have much different expectations for the two. And this team didn’t want to sign Lackey or Halladay because their price was too high for the team’s needs.

                • ROBTEN says:

                  Why are you comparing Vazuez to CC? Compare him the other pitching options that were available.

                  Try John Lackey. Try Roy Halladay.

                  Lackey cost 5/$82 million

                  Halladay required three teams, 7 prospects, and Cliff Lee, as well as 3/$60 million

                  Vazquez cost Melky, 2 prospects, and 1/$11.5

                  Lackey was brought in as a #3 and, potentially, as a #2 to replace Beckett if an extension can’t be worked out. It is a long deal for a pitcher with some question marks about health.

                  Halladay was brought in as a #1 to replace Lee and required the Phillies to give up several prospects.

                  Javy was brought in to be a #4. He’s not being asked to pitch like Halladay or Lackey, and on a one-year deal the team still has flexibility in the roster to either resign him next year or go after someone like Lee.

                  So, “apples to apples” indeed.

                • Michael says:

                  Since when is cost ever an issue for the Yankees?

                  The risk in trading for Javy Vazquez isn’t a cost risk, it’s a pitching risk.

            • Michael says:

              What’s his record in major markets?
              Slightly above average.

              • Mike Axisa says:

                And that’s exactly what the Yankees are asking him to be.

                • Michael says:

                  Mike, with all due respect, he’s the 4th starter, and MLB is not going to give the Yankees the same gift as last year, where they allowed us to use only 3 starters.

                  The 4th starter is going to be more than a filler.

                • Steve H says:

                  So are the Phillies taking a huge risk with Halladay, since he’s never pitched in a major market before? He just might not be a major market pitcher after all.

                • Michael says:

                  Are they taking a risk with Halladay? I don’t there is more pressure on any pitcher in all of baseball.

                  The Phillies traded the most dominant pitcher in the 09 post season for Halladay.

                  Halladay, is widely considered to be the best pitcher in the game. Certainly by me as well, but if he doesn’t at least equal what Lee did, he’ll hear it in Philly.

                  And Steve, how is Halladay a risk because he hasn’t pitched in major market? He great every season. Where’s the risk?

                • Steve H says:

                  And Steve, how is Halladay a risk because he hasn’t pitched in major market? He great every season. Where’s the risk?

                  He’s not. The major market nonsense is something you made up with regards to Javy, who was great with the Yankees (a big market) before trying to pitch thru injury. He should have just gone on the DL.

                • Michael says:

                  37-36 in chicago. Was he hurt then, too?
                  Maybe it was frost-bite?

                • Steve H says:

                  When you can’t argue the facts, pound the table.

              • Steve H says:

                What was CC’s record in major markets before 2009?

                • Michael says:

                  0-0.

                  Kinda hard to judge, eh.

                • Steve H says:

                  Yeah. My point exactly. You make up a meaningless statistic, with a ridiculously small sample size, and use to support your flawed argument.

                  Where on Baseball Reference do I find “Record in major markets”? Or do I need to go to Fangraphs?

                • John Smoltz, career record in major markets: 0-0

                  Bust.

                • Mike Axisa says:

                  I was going to point out that Smoltz was 2-5 with Boston, but then I remembered that they are only the 19th largest market in baseball.

                • Michael says:

                  Sorry, but I don’t think it’s so crazy to point out that the guy was chased out of NY and Chicago.

                  But that’s only because he was chased out.

                • Riddering says:

                  Javy was chased out by George Steinbrenner and (allegedly) Ozzie Guillen: the two most reasonable men in baseball.

                • I don’t think it’s so crazy to point out that the guy was chased out of NY and Chicago.

                  A) He was “chased out of NY” because he played in NY during the dark ages of 2004-2007, when the team made by far the longest string of horribly stupid roster construction decisions during the Cashman administration–decisions borne largely out of Big George’s irrational impatience and the ongoing civil war between the Cashman NYC faction and the Ernslie/Connors Tampa faction.

                  He was chased out of NY not because he sucked, but because the Yankee front office made an incredibly impatient, shortsighted, and stupid overreaction that only looks all the more foolish in retrospect.

                  Vazquez’s short, one year stay (half of which was marred by injury) isn’t proof of any inability to hack it in NYC, it’s proof of how incompetent the team’s management structure was at the time.

                  B) He wasn’t chased out of Chicago either. Chicago unloaded him after the 2008 season for the same reason the Braves unloaded him after the 2009 season: They believed they had enough pitching depth to deal one of their veteran starters and still contend; they wanted to clear room in the rotation for highly regarded prospects; they wanted to shed one of their expensive starters to free up money to reinvest in the team at other (i.e. offensive) areas of need; Vazquez presented by far the greatest potential prospect return of all the pitchers they were interested in trading.

                  Vazquez was traded to the Braves for a package fronted by Tyler Flowers and Brent Lillibridge. Those two were (and are) premier prospects. If Vazquez sucked and was merely “chased out” of Chicago for sucking, the Braves would never have surrendered premium prospects for him, and the Sox would never have received premium prospects for him.

                  Being “chased out”, just like all the other unsupported claims you’ve made over the past few days (or the week before that, since I’m still not 100% convinced you’re not Jake) is pure bullshit.

                  AnalysisFAIL.

                • Michael says:

                  Most of that isn’t true, and I think you know that.

                • “since I’m still not 100% convinced you’re not Jake”

                  He’s either Jake or lives in the same house.

                • ROBTEN says:

                  This guy told me I was crazy, I need anger management. Shut the (expletive) up. You don’t know, you don’t know my life. You went to (expletive) Harvard, and you’re gonna spend time talking to Ozzie Guillen, who got eighth grade? You should feel embarrassed. You know what? How many employees you got in your office? Let’s trade (expletive) jobs for a week to see who handle it better. Just because I called one guy that?

                  Sincerely,
                  Ozzie Guillén
                  The most reasonable (expletive) man in baseball

                  Yes, it’s an actual quote.

                • bexarama says:

                  I love how tsjc writes a smart, factual rebuttal to everything Michael says and Michael is just like “NUH-UH!!!”

                • Michael says:

                  WE chased him out, too.

                • Michael says:

                  “He was chased out of NY not because he sucked”

                  Right, that had nothing to do with it.

                • He’s either Jake or lives in the same house.

                  Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, comments like a duck.

                • bexarama says:

                  yeah, you should probably read the first part of what tsjc wrote up there. Javy (and A-Rod, but that’s another story for another time) got unfairly scapegoated for what was a team effort TOTAL FAIL from 2004.

                • ROBTEN says:

                  WE chased him out, too.

                  Actually, I wasn’t chasing him; I was running after him, trying to give him a big hug.

                • Templeton "Brendog" Peck says:

                  he was chased out by ozzie guillen! agreeing him is worse than agreeing with bo!

                • Steve H says:

                  Michael, how did Javy pitch, in big market NY, when healthy?

                • WE chased him out, too.

                  We chased out numerous people during that time period that we should NOT have chased out. We chased them out because we were dumb. Our team management structure sucked and we allowed too much roster control to too many people who acted stupidly, irrationally, and impatiently.

                  I’ll repeat that for emphasis:

                  We chased them out because we were dumb. Our team management structure sucked and we allowed too much roster control to too many people who acted stupidly, irrationally, and impatiently.

                  That’s the point.

                • Templeton "Brendog" Peck says:

                  yeah but he only went 34-37 in chicago!!11!!

                  \michael’d

                • yeah, you should probably read the first part of what tsjc wrote up there. Javy (and A-Rod, but that’s another story for another time) got unfairly scapegoated for what was a team effort TOTAL FAIL from 2004.

                  A team effort total fail that notoriously involved the great untouchable beatified St. Jeter and St. Mo in critical roles of failure, a fact that nobody who bashes Javy or ARod ever seems to mention.

                  FACT: Javy Vazquez never has a chance to allow a grand slam in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS (a grand slam that Kevin Brown loaded the bases for, mind you) if Mariano Rivera doesn’t blow series-clinching saves in Game 4 and Game 5.

                • Michael says:

                  Who knows? You’re gonna tell me he’s so tough he pitched hurt. They all did. These guys all play through injuries. Arod played hurt in 06, and the fans almost cut his balls off because they didn;t know.

                • bexarama says:

                  If Andy’s not my favorite Yankee, Mo is, but: yuuuup. (though I don’t blame Mo for that Game 5 thing. If Torre puts in Mo to begin the inning and pitches him two full innings like he originally planned to do – or heck, just puts him in for that inning to get the middle of the Sox order and lets someone else deal with what would have been the bottom of the order in the ninth – he probably gets the save.)

                  And A-Rod’s line during that series was better than Derek Jeter’s. BY A LOT.

                • bexarama says:

                  Arod played hurt in 06, and the fans almost cut his balls off because they didn;t know.

                  Please don’t lump us all together. While I recognized it was a down year for A-Rod, he still hit 35 home runs with a .914 OPS and a 134 OPS+ and 140 wRC+. That’s pretty damn good. I am not going to, as you put it, “cut his balls off” for it.

                • Javy Vazquez, career: 385 starts, 4.19 ERA, 1.245 WHIP, .256/.307/.420 (.727) against, 3.48 K/BB

                  Javy Vazquez, NYY 2004 first half: 18 starts, 3.56 ERA, 1.154 WHIP, .233/.289/.404 (.693) against, 2.97 K/BB

                  Javy Vazquez, NYY 2004 second half: 14 starts, 6.92 ERA, 1.487 WHIP, .286/.350/.495 (.846) against, 1.96 K/BB

                  —————–

                  Javy Vazquez’s 14 starts in pinstripes after the 2004 All-Star break: a massive statistical outlier

                  Stories about Javy Vazquez’s bum shoulder that he pitched through during the second half of 2004: an easily explicable rationale for why his second half was a massive statistical outlier

                  The predictive value of Javy Vazquez’s 2004 second half: next to nil

                • Michael says:

                  Bex, read more carefully. I didn’t say me. I said the fans.

                  “And A-Rod’s line during that series was better than Derek Jeter’s. BY A LOT.”

                  Um, what? ADD?

                • Again: We don’t give a shit about what the fans think. The fans are rife with rank idiocy. The fans booed two honest, hardworking men for wearing a number. Screw them.

                  “And A-Rod’s line during that series was better than Derek Jeter’s. BY A LOT.”
                  Um, what? ADD?

                  Jeter, 2004 ALCS: 30 PA, .200/.333/.233, 5 R, 5 RBI, 1 XBH (2B)
                  ARod, 2004 ALCS: 31 PA, .258/.378/.516, 8 R, 5 RBI, 4 XBH (2 2B, 2 HR)

                • Michael says:

                  Yet it is the fans who have the power to cheer and boo whomever they like.

                • Michael says:

                  Um, honest Arod?

    • CountryClub says:

      The dislike for Javy doesnt make much sense. He’ll be a plus to the team, even if he’s just league average.

      The reason why people like Pettitte so much is pretty simple, he’s earned most Yankees fan’s trust. It was the same thing with Cone and El Duque. Nobody expects him to be perfect, but they’d give him the ball in a big game any day of the week.

      • bexarama says:

        Well, it makes sense, but it’s totally irrational.

      • Michael says:

        “The reason why people like Pettitte so much is pretty simple, he’s earned most Yankees fan’s trust. It was the same thing with Cone and El Duque. Nobody expects him to be perfect, but they’d give him the ball in a big game any day of the week.

        Like I said above, then only thing New Yorkers care about is Championships. They could a rats ass about your stats, your mvps your whatever.

        Win, or get out.

        • Mike Axisa says:

          Fun Fact: Andy Pettitte had a 6.16 ERA and more walks than strikeouts in his first FIVE career postseason starts spanning two seasons. Why wasn’t he run out of town?

          • bexarama says:

            Well, he nearly was. (sobs) If it was up to just Steinbrenner, I’m pretty sure he would have been.

            • We tried to trade Andy so many times, it’s damn near a meme in the making. Virtually all of those attempted deals were for older, more established, bigger name veterans that ultimately pitched far worse than Andy went on to pitch, so the non-deals benefited us way more than the actual deals would have.

              Those trade propsals were invariably spurred by a Big Stein overreaction. Which is also what caused us to trade the young, good, effective Javy Vazquez (along with a valuable catching prospect named Dioner Navarro) for the older, not as good, not as effective Randy Johnson.

              When Big George overreacts or fixates on some shiny bauble of another organization, we often “chase people out of town”, to use a Jake/Michael phrase. We almost always live to regret that overreaction.

              • bexarama says:

                I thought the deal that almost went through, maybe in early 1999 when Andy was really struggling, would have traded him to the Phillies for… a couple of prospects that never ended up going anywhere. Now, maybe they go somewhere in the Yankee system, I don’t know. But clearly, seeing how things turned out, we were lucky that we didn’t trade him for that, either.

              • Michael says:

                Like Kenny Rogers. Man I wish we didn’t trade him for Scott Brosius.

                • Seeing as how Mike Lowell was thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiisclose to joining the big league club and being our 3B of the future and Scott Brosius’s acquisition and contract extension caused us to trade Lowell for Ed Yarnall (who busted)…

                  … yeah, you probably should be pissed we traded Kenny Rogers for Scott Brosius. We probably would have been better served just riding it out. Brosius’s upgrade wasn’t that significant, and it fucked up our future roster construction plans.

                • Michael says:

                  He was the 1998 World Series MVP.
                  THAT was a damn good trade.

                • He hit .239/.303/.394 (77+) during the next two seasons. We made the playoffs those years in spite of him.

                  Oh, and in the 45 postseason games he played for us AFTER that 1998 WS MVP?

                  .201/.239/.342.

                  Am I happy that Scotty Bro hit some key home runs for us during the title years? Yes.

                  Did Scott Brosius suck balls and could we have benefited from a different, better 3B during the title years? Also yes.

                • bexarama says:

                  Brosius had a great 1998, including the postseason. However, after that:
                  .254/.316/.411/.726, 86 OPS+

                  We probably were better off trading Kenny Rogers for Brosius, just because I dunno if Rogers would have been as good as Brosius was in 1998. But like tsjc said, giving Brosius an extension after 1998 was kind of silly, because we could have kept Lowell.

                • Michael says:

                  What a lot people here don;t consider is that you need role players to win. You put a star at every position, and you wind up with the 06 Yankees.

                  Balance was what won this year. Arod with power, Melky with defense. Gardy with speed, Jeter with a high average.

                  Just going out an getting everyone is why they didn’t win for 10 years. Brosius is a an example of what Cashman did well when he got here.

                  He built a team.

                • bexarama says:

                  You put a star at every position, and you wind up with the 06 Yankees.
                  You mean a team with 95 wins that won its division – the best record in the AL and the second-best record in baseball – that got unlucky in the playoffs?

                  Also, the 2006 Yankees had Melky playing and some sort of weird rotating situation at 1B that gave Andy Phillips decent playing time. It didn’t have “a star at every position.”

                • What a lot people here don;t consider is that you need role players to win. You put a star at every position, and you wind up with the 06 Yankees.

                  No. The problem with the ’06 Yankees wasn’t that they had All-Stars at every position, the problem with the ’06 Yankees was that they didn’t have ENOUGH All-Stars, particularly in the rotation.

                  Jaret Wright, Cory Lidle, Shawn Chacon, Sidney Ponson, Jeff Karstens, Aaron Small, Darrell Rasner: not All-Stars.

                  Balance was what won this year. Arod with power, Melky with defense. Gardy with speed, Jeter with a high average.

                  No. What won this year is the same thing that won back during the title years: having All-Stars at nearly every position AND having All-Stars in the pitching rotation.

                  Talent >>>>>>>>>> chemistry.

                  Just going out an getting everyone is why they didn’t win for 10 years.

                  Why we ACTUALLY didn’t win for 10 years: A decrease from our “insanely amazing good luck” during the 90′s to mere “occasional good luck mixed in with healthy doses of bad luck” during the 00′s. That, and dramatically inferior starting pitching.

                  Seriously, Jake/Michael, you believe in way too many logical flaws and idiotic media tropes. What Mike Lupica and George King III and John Harper tell you isn’t true. It’s bullshit, and it’s wrong.

                • Michael says:

                  They didn’t get unlucky in 06. They got housed.

                • Michael says:

                  “No. What won this year is the same thing that won back during the title years: having All-Stars at nearly every position AND having All-Stars in the pitching rotation.”

                  Like Randy Johnson. Right on. An all star in 04.

                • Like Randy Johnson. Right on. An all star in 04.

                  Also an All Star in 2004: Javier Vazquez.

                  But that’s not the point: the 2009 Yankees had All StarS, as in plural, (or at least All-Star caliber guys) in the 2009 rotation, from top to bottom. The 2004-2008 Yankee rotations may have had one or two good All-Star caliber guys at the front, but the back ends were utter dreck.

                • Michael says:

                  The point here is that greed failed.
                  Andy Phillips wasn’t in the line up against Detroit.
                  Neither was Cabrera.

                  No role players. They could have used one.

              • Joe D. says:

                When Big George overreacts or fixates on some shiny bauble of another organization, we often “chase people out of town”, to use a Jake/Michael phrase. We almost always live to regret that overreaction.

                But tsjc, my baseball people kept saying, “Ken Phelps! Ken Phelps!”

                • Michael says:

                  George hasn’t made up for a few bad trades by buying 5 championships?
                  Idiots bring up up Ken Phelps for Jay Buhner and ignore the half dozen ridiculous one sided trades he made that went in our favor.

                  Without George we don’t even make the playoffs last year.

          • Michael says:

            One reason: Game 5.

            Agree?

        • I’d appreciate it if you didn’t lump the rest of us in with your opinions.

        • Templeton "Brendog" Peck says:

          Like I said above, then only thing ignorant casual fans who don’t really understand how the game works New Yorkers care about is Championships. They could a rats ass about your stats, your mvps your whatever

        • ROBTEN says:

          Win, or get out.

          Cake or Death!

        • Win, or get out.

          If you’re not first, you’re last.

          Sincerely,
          Reese Bobby, Unrepentant Idiot and Drunkard

        • Steve H says:

          Win, or get out.

          Explain the love for Don Mattingly please.

  10. Riddering says:

    That pie chart is sweet. It’s nice to have tangible evidence for what Vazquez, Jorge and co. have been saying about his pitching maturity.

    I don’t understand at all the sentiment that Javy is going to regress five years to the poorest half season of his career but, hey, different strokes. I think trading for him was one of the best moves in baseball this offseason and it’s going to pay off.

    • Gary says:

      I loved the trade. Can’t wait ’till he proves all wrong and gets resigned.

      • Templeton "Brendog" Peck says:

        i would accept either him accepting arb or netting 2 draft picks. i hope they don’t do an extension and just go the arb route if he is a type a. if he isnt then an actual contract might make mroe sense since he can prob be had for less

  11. bexarama says:

    I just wanted to say something, from back when Steve was talking about Javy’s “grand slam pitch”:
    But if not, Vasquez has given up 5 grand slams in his career in over 2500 innings. I don’t think he’s very fond of the GS.

    Javy has given up: 5 grand slams in 2500 innings (0.00200)
    Mariano has given up: 3 grand slams in 1090 innings (0.00275)

    Your mind: maybe blown.

    • Michael says:

      Javy and Mariano comparisons.
      Now, I have seen it all.

      Try Ed Whitson.

      • Michael:

        Just because somebody compares two people for similarities in a particular area/sense does not mean they are comparable in all areas/senses.

        Mo doesn’t give up grand slams. Neither does Javy. That’s all bexy was saying. Don’t freak out about it.

        ————-

        That being said, the point of the comparison is this: Maybe, just maybe, Javy Vazquez isn’t quite as shitty as he’s being portrayed. Here’s an interesting statistical comparison to illustrate that idea. There’s several other comparisons that can be illuminating in this way, I’d warrant. The more you dig into the numbers, the more you find numerous similarities between Javy Vazquez and any number of non-shitty pitchers in Major League Baseball.

        • Michael says:

          I hear you, but I need to see him do it here. And he’ll get this chance. Happy to eat my words.

          • Templeton "Brendog" Peck says:

            no you won’t. becayuse everytime i have showd you statistics that bprove you wrong you ignore them, dont answer, or generalize worthlessness.

            you did see him do it here if you watched the first half of 2004. if you didn’t then you need to see it AGAIN

          • I hear you, but I need to see him do it here.

            No, you don’t. What you need to do is be patient and keep rational perspective as your unflagging ally. If you do that, things will make more sense to you.

      • Steve H says:

        Michael, you keep bringing up Javy’s record in Chicago, like W/L means something. It doesn’t. But since you are bringing it up, Javy was 14-10 in NY. That’s a 95 win pace for a team. Javy is our #4 starter. If ou can get a 95 win pace out of your #4 starter, you’re in great shape.

        He made 32 starts, than Yankees won 19, putting them on a 96 win pace. I’ll take that out of my #4 starter all day long (again, if you consider pitcher wins important, which you do)

        • Michael says:

          You want to hang on his era in Chicago and NY, be my guest.

          • bexarama says:

            I am not the biggest fan of FIP because I feel it pretty constantly underrates and overrates certain kinds of pitchers, but he had a 3.80 FIP (suggesting he was getting unlucky and indeed he was, as he had a .321 BABIP in 2006, a .297 BABIP in 2007, and a .328 BABIP in 2008. The 2007 BABIP is average but the other two are very high.) and a 3.57 K/BB ratio. That’s pretty darn good.

  12. Rob in CT says:

    The 2004 Yankees were lucky as shit to even be *IN* the ALCS. Their run differential was nowhere NEAR as good as their record:

    Scored 897 runs, Allowed 808 runs. Pythagorean W-L: 89-73

    They got there riding the arms of Tom Gordon and Mo (and Quantrill, but the qualify dropoff there is big), with a dash of good luck. Gordon and Quantrill were cooked by the time the playoffs came around (in Quantrill’s case it might not have been fatigue – it could have been that he just wasn’t very good). The rotation was a shambles. Moose-Lieber-Brown-El Duque. Ugh. Javy was, of course, supposed to be part of that. But he was in the midst of an injury-induced period of suckage. The defense was awful. Their “all-stars at every position” got that mess within a few outs of the world series. They’d have been there, but Mariano walked Kevin Millar. It’s like a morality tale: don’t walk dreck like Millar, or you’ll end up paying for it.

    Javy had a bad year in 2004. That’s true. The idea that it means he cannot pitch well in NY is silly, though.

    Adjust for the difference in league, home park, team defense and regression to his likely true talent level (he was probably over his head in 2009), sure. He’s still good and I’m glad to watch him pitch for the Yankees.

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