Requiem for a risky trade

Could Cervelli’s playing time be a good thing?
For the right price, earlier World Series starting times
Javy wasn't having too many nice days in pinstripes this year. (Photo by Amanda Rykoff)

Yankee fans went to sleep on the night of December 21, 2009 with rumors swirling. We knew that the Yanks were on the verge of acquiring a starting pitcher, but we didn’t know, until the next morning at least, that Javier Vazquez would return to the Bronx. Even though our last meeting with Vazquez was an infamous one and we knew Brian Cashman was rolling the dice on a risky trade, we liked the deal.

And how could we not? For Melky Cabrera, an overrated player on the verge of making more money than he’s worth, the replaceable Michael Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino, a live arm years away from making his Major League debut, the Yanks landed a lefty reliever and one of the top National League hurlers. Lest we forget with the bad taste of 2010 still in our mouths, Javier Vazquez won 15 games with a 2.87 ERA in 2009 with a 9.8 K/9 IP, a 1.8 BB/9 IP and just 20 home runs allowed in 219.1 innings. He deservedly finished fourth in the Cy Young voting.

What a difference a year makes. If last night was Javier Vazquez’s final appearance as a member of the New York Yankees, his season totals are abysmal. He’s 10-10 with a 5.32 ERA and a FIP even higher than that. In 157.1 innings, he struck out 121, walked 65 and gave up 32 home runs. His home run rate more than doubled over 2009 while he lost over three strike outs and walked two more batters over nine innings. He hasn’t won a start since July 26.

Vazquez couldn’t have been much worse for the Yanks, and few pitchers have. In two seasons six years apart, Vazquez has gone 24-20 with a 5.09 ERA. His rate stats — strike outs, walks and home runs per 9 innings pitched — than compared with his career totals, and he again seems to have lost the ability to get men out. No pitcher in Yankee history has made as many starts as Vazquez while being so prolific at giving up the long ball, and only Sterling Hitchcock, Tim Leary and Andy Hawkins have as many innings pitched with higher ERAs than Javy.

For a brief spell in the middle of the season, it appeared as though Javy had figured it all out. After starting the season 1-4 with an 8.10 ERA in his first six games, Javy went 8-5 over his next 16 games with a 3.39 ERA. He allowed just 13 home runs over those 95.2 innings and kept runners off base. His last 10 appearances though have seen him allow 11 home runs in 38.2 innings while opponents are hitting a Robinson Cano-like .302/.387/.549 against him while walking 4.5 times per nine innings. Somewhere it all went wrong.

Maybe it’s Javy’s head or maybe it’s something else. Maybe he can’t pitch in New York as many would have you believe or maybe he’s just not physically up to the task any longer. It’s not unheard of for 34-year-olds with 2500 innings under their belt to fall off a clip, and I think Javy’s problem can be summed up in graph form.

His velocity, as we can see, has dipped significantly this year. During his time with the Braves, he threw in the low-to-mid 90s; with the Yankees, he’s barely cracked 89, let alone 90. He stopped being able to blow hitters away, and he stopped being able to mix his pitches effectively. It was a long hard fall.

So as Javy has likely thrown his last pitch in a Yankee uniform, Joel Sherman threw an obvious pitch into the mix this morning. The Yankees, he says, will not offer Javy arbitration. The Yanks swallowed hard and traded Arodys Vizcaino last winter because they hoped to turn Javy into a first-round draft pick. Now that Javy’s been worth below replacement level according to Fangraphs’ WAR, the team won’t be offering him and his $11.5 million salary arbitration, and they won’t recoup some of the cost it took to acquire him.

The inevitable question then concerns the trade. Was it a good one? Without the luxury of hindsight or a crystal ball, there’s no way to know that Javier Vazquez’s 2010 would be this bad, and the cost to acquire him is high only if Arodys pans out. I can’t fault the Yanks for trying in December, but no one should whitewash Javy’s poor finish. One thing is certain: I’ll be calling this the Boone Logan trade from now on.

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Could Cervelli’s playing time be a good thing?
For the right price, earlier World Series starting times
  • The Evil Empire

    Is he better than Burnett?

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      No. Somehow, Burnett was worth 1 win above replacement level while Javy was below.

      • Dream of Electric Sheep

        Speaking of that, I looked up Jonny Gomes , my off season choice of Randy Wynn or Thames. Somehow that dude has accrued -.1 WAR value with 17 hr and 84 RBIs. What gives? I noticed Fangraph rated his defense as horrific. But what gives ? I think Fangraph value defense a bit too much sometimes.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Having a Jose Guillenesque .264 BA and .327 OBP helps.

          The 17 homers are nice, but the 84 RBI doesn’t mean he’s had a good year. It just means he’s been in a good offense.

          • Dream of Electric Sheep

            I think he also has 24 dbls and 3 triples. The point really is , I think the guy is an above replacement level player. His defense value contributed mightily to his negative WAR stats.He also plays in a bandbox of a stadium which masks his defensive flaws.
            I just think in a team specific context, the dude warrants at least 1 win and is above an replacement player.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              I’m still saying you’re overvaluing his offense a bit.

              Sure, the 44 XBH is nice, but it’s not otherworldly. It’s his inability to get on base at more than a 32.7% clip that drags his production down. His wOBA is only .328, his wRC+ is only 101.

              Give an average big leaguer 556 PA, and he’ll probably give you around 44 XBH. Like, for example, the aforementioned Jose Guillen, who is his statistical doppleganger this year.

              No, seriously, go look it up.

              • Dream of Electric Sheep

                I don’t think he swings a mighty stick by any stretch of imagination. But I think he is an above replacement level player offensively.

                But main problem is how Fangraph came up with -14.7 fLd where his previous worst is -6.1 in 2009. There lies my ultimate struggle in how truly does UZR accurately assess an player defensive value and in what proportionality is attributed to that player’s total value in a unified stat such as WAR.

                • Dream of Electric Sheep

                  I just looked Guillen’s stat , they are very similar except he has accrued .7 WAR with the help less atrocious fld of -1.5. I can only assume that is a direct result of him DHing in KC.

                  If that assumption is correct, I can assume Gomes has more value statistically as a DH rather than an every day Ofer.

  • Pete

    Was it a good one?

    yes.

    runs and hides

    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

      At the time, it was a good trade.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        It’ll be a bad trade two years from now when Arodys Vizcaino is Felix Hernandez reincarnate.

        /Bret’d

        • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

          Javy Vazquez : Pitcher :: William Howard Taft : President

          /Rose’d

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            #restoringhonor

            • king of fruitless hypotheticals

              has it come to using hashtags on blogs now?

              TJSC, please tell me you’ve at least ONCE hashtagged a work email…

              #imjustsayin

              The Boone Logan trade has been a pretty good one. He hit that homer for us in Game 7, and now to come back after–what was it, heart trouble–and to pitch, well, that’s pretty good.

              He still here next year?

              • Jon

                Unless youre being sarcastic..

                You must mean Aaron Boone, who played third base, and retired this year.

              • http://www.twitter.com/brandonholley B-Rando

                Please be joking. Either way this is one hilarious ass comment.

        • Thomas

          I could live with this horrible trade of the Yankees giving up Arodys, if they had a great young hurler coming up. But that fool Cashman passed up drafting Hellickson.

          • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

            I can’t tell if this is serious or making fun of Bret (because Bret always went on about Hellickson).

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              It’s making fun of Bret. He took the Yankees to task for passing on Hellickson (despite the fact that the entire league passed on Hellickson, due to his slight stature.)

              • Thomas

                Yeah, I was definitely mocking Bret.

                Though I will say I am a big Hellickson fan and have been for a few years, but at the time of his draft I had never heard of him.

                • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

                  Ahhh. Agreed, and agreed. Hellickson wasn’t a first-rounder, so everyone passed on him, not just The Idiot Yankees.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                  …but at the time of his draft I had never heard of him.

                  It’s baseball.

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

          Felix Hernandez had a 158 ERA+ in a dozen big league starts when he was Arodys’ age.

          • Observer283

            Check and mate.

    • ROBTEN

      In hindsight, as TSJC pointed out the other day, it would be useful to have Arodys back if for no other reason than to be available for another deal. This certainly hurts especially now that it is unlikely that draft picks will be part of the equation. However, insofar as the trade was designed to help the team get stronger in the short term without limiting their ability to get better in the long term by tying them up in a long-term contract for a 4-5th starter (considering the free agent market at the time), it is a risk that I think was worth taking.

      Sometimes these things work, sometimes they don’t.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

      They traded a promising young prospect for a veteran pitcher with warning signs out the ass…out of all Javy’s years in the AL when was the last time he turned in a performance half as good as his one in 2009? Furthermore, how often was he even above average in a value (i.e. RA) sense? I didn’t dislike it at the time…now, ugh…wish they coulda had that one back.

  • Rey22

    Honestly, I expected slightly worse numbers than he had in his years with the White Sox, which would have been fantastic for us this year as a 4th starter.

  • Dream of Electric Sheep

    Knuckler ballers and Jamie Moyers aside , I wonder there is a lower bound in velo ( say 85-89) ,where majority of pitchers start to lose their effectiveness unless they have pinpoint command.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    That graph makes Tommie the opposite of “very aroused”.

    • Thomas

      the opposite of “very aroused”

      I believe they call that the Roseanne Barr effect.

      • nsalem

        Opposite of very aroused soft off

  • Benjamin P.

    [T]he cost to acquire him is high only if Arodys pans out.

    That’s not quite right. The Yankees didn’t just lose Arodys’s upside, they lost the chance to trade him for something better.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Six of one, half a dozen of the other. Had we kept Arodys, we still need him to pan out in order to trade him for something better than Javier Vazquez.

    • UncleArgyle

      Didn’t Arodys blow out his elbow and needs Tommy John? Maybe I’m thinking of someone else….

      • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

        It’s partially torn, when it happened they said they were going to rehab it. Obviously if rehab doesnt work then its TJS

  • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

    If you were to chart Javy’s WAR over the course of the season I bet it would look something like a Bell Curve. He started awful, was awesome for a couple months, then declined into awfulness again as the summer wound down.

    As awful as he is now and how bad he was to begin the season shows how good he must have been in the middle months to have a WAR that sits around replacement level. Too bad he couldn’t turn it around again.

  • MikeD

    Is it a good trade? No. Yet that’s only because we now know what Javy delivered. We’d have been better off with Joba remaining in the rotation instead of being used as a 7th-inning man. I’m quite comfortable in believing that Chamberlain would post an ERA below 5.30 and would have given us more innings.

    Yet I’m not knocking the trade. Sometimes trades just don’t work out, no matter how good they look on paper. Javy has always delivered 200-innings and he has pitched well pretty much every year. Even his off seasons have brought value. He’s never pitched as well in the AL as in the NL, but it seemed reasonable to expect 32 starts, 200 innings and 4.00 or lower ERA. Fantastic for a 4th starter, and then we’d get a top draft pick in a very rich upcoming draft. No one could predict a loss of 3 to 4 mph on his fastball.

    Melky doesn’t matter. Neither does Dunn. Fungible. Years from now this deal will be based on what Arodys Vizcaino ends up doing, or if Boone Logan (also fungible) ends up contributing something significant to a Yankee championship team.

    If a similar situation popped up again with a different pitcher, I’d hope that Cashman tries it again.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      If a similar situation popped up again with a different pitcher, I’d hope that Cashman tries it again.

      Yup.

      Perspective FTW.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      “We’d have been better off with Joba remaining in the rotation instead of being used as a 7th-inning man. I’m quite comfortable in believing that Chamberlain would post an ERA below 5.30 and would have given us more innings.”

      That’s the same thing I think about which is how different would if be if Joba was pitching instead of Javy. From the outside looking in it seemed like a good trade because of the yr that Javy was coming off of but he didn’t live up to it and Joba spent the yr in the pen. He went from 8th inning guy to middle reliever which are a dime a dozen

  • Dream of Electric Sheep

    btw, I never thought Melky was ‘overrated’, I like him because he produced a few walk off wins and is kind of scrappy (meaning : a small dude who does everything marginally) . But I always thought he was a fourth Outfielder .

    • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

      You believing he was just a 4th OF doesn’t mean he wasn’t overrated- a large portion of the fanbase believed he was much more than that, making him overrated by the fans/media.

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

        The next Bernie!

        Remember that movement? Good grief was 2007 awful.

        • Dream of Electric Sheep

          I remember the hype, then I saw him play. He was no next Bernie, not even close.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            I know Bernie Williams.
            I saw Bernie Williams play.

            You, sir, are no Bernie Williams.

            /Bentsen’d

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            He would have been Bernie but was missing one huge element:

            teh fear!

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          No beer and no TV make Homer… something something.

      • Dream of Electric Sheep

        I am little out of touch with what the general public thought of him, my friends and I like him for the above reasons.

    • Jorge

      Many of us also simply miss his antics. I’d love for the team to have him back as the fourth outfielder at some point. Money and perceived ability put aside, he was a likeable player(or, if you’re my wife, hard not to like his dimples.)

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I did enjoy when he politely invited the opposing team (or pitchers, or fans, or just general public) to suck his nuts.

        • Jorge

          Who wouldn’t? I wish he would have high-fived that confused umpire in pinstripes….on a minimum MLB contract after he gets non-tendered by the Braves.

          The “he was set to receive much more than he’s worth in arbitration” argument also falls deaf on my dimple-and-Sterling-loving mother-in-law’s ears.

  • TERPSandYANKSfan

    Melky has been less valuable than Vazquez this year (according to Fangraphs). Logan has been solid. Dunn is a non-factor and is due to get hit really hard any day now. If Arodys turns into anything, then this is a loss for the Yankees. If he busts, this trade really wasnt that big a loss for the Yankees.

  • Jerome S

    If we win the WS, no one will care about this down the line.
    If we don’t, we’ll look back on this trade again and again and irrationally curse ourselves, forgetting that he really didn’t cost us more than 5-6 games this season and kept us in about 4-5 games over the summer.

  • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    I don’t think you can say, unequivocally, that this was a good trade when it was made. There were plenty of people who, when the trade was made, weren’t so crazy about it – for reasons other than an insane overreaction/lack of perspective about the 2004 season. Like you said in the post, they Yankees traded for a 34 yr old pitcher with 2500 IP under his belt (and, I’d add, a not-wonderful track-record in the American League). Did I want the Yanks to hold onto Melky? No. But Arodys was/is a really good prospect, and Dunn is, at the very least, a guy who will probably spend some seasons as a LHP in an MLB bullpen. So… Look… I’m not killing the trade, nor did I kill it when it happened… But let’s not act like it’s a black-or-white issue and that it was definitely a good trade when it was made. I totally get the reasoning behind the trade and why people liked it, but I didn’t like it when they made it and I’m not totally surprised with how it’s turned out.

    (And before anyone accuses me of practicing revisionism, go back to the RAB posts about this trade from last offseason and I promise you’ll find me, and some others, expressing the same sentiments back then.)

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Like you said in the post, they Yankees traded for a 34 yr old pitcher with 2500 IP under his belt (and, I’d add, a not-wonderful track-record in the American League).

      Nah, he really only had a not-wonderful track record for the second half of one season with the Yankees in the American League. His three years in Chicago were solid. Two league-average campaigns (’06 and ’08), one stellar campaign (’07), 32 starts and 200+ IP in all three of them.

      He had a 106 ERA+, a 1.249 WHIP, and a 3.57 K/BB in his three years on the South Side. The concerns about him not being an AL pitcher were overblown, IMO.

      • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        That’s totally fair… Really, I know this is very arguable… But look at his AL seasons (I’m just using ERA+ because it’s easy, I’ll leave it to others to delve into the numbers if they’d like to):

        04: 92
        06: 98
        07: 126
        08: 98
        10: 81

        The ’07 season skews the numbers you provided (his numbers with ChiSox).

        I get that we don’t know why his AL seasons don’t look so great in comparison to his NL seasons, etc. But the argument against my line of thinking isn’t that he actually has been good in the AL, I think that argument has to be against cherry-picking seasons, stuff like that. He just hasn’t been so good in the AL, for whatever reason.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          And as noted below, those ’04 and ’10 seasons have some medical asterisks on them. That’s not Javy at his full complement of powers.

          It sucks that some of his injuries have coincided with his AL stints; people gloss over that and assume correlation = causation.

          • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Well ’04 does, we don’t really know about ’10 (even if he’s hurt it does just seem that he passed his prime this season). Either way, take out ’04 and ’10 from my comment and I still stand by it (I actually regretted including ’10 anyway, since my point was that he had a poor track-record in the AL coming into ’10, so including ’10 was really a mistake).

            You’ve still got 2 average to meh seasons, and 1 good season. Point still stands, in that regard.

            • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              And again, just to clarify (not that you’ve mistaken my point, just clarifying where I’m coming from in general)… I get why people liked the trade, and I get why people disagree with me on this… And I got it back then, too. All I’m saying is that it’s unfair for people to say, unequivocally, that this one of those ‘well it was definitely a good trade when they made it’ situations. I think this is a much closer call than some people allow for.

        • MikeD

          We shouldn’t include ’10 in the assessment since the trade had to be based on what he did prior in the AL. (2010 seems like he just hit the wall). He pitched well in ’04 the first half, until he had some medical issue. ’06 and ’08 are just at league average ERA+, and since he pitched quite a few innings, he was better than league average on the overall impact to the team/bullpen. ’07 was his best. I’ll take it.

          Not that any of us are really disagreeing on this.

          • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            “We shouldn’t include ’10 in the assessment since the trade had to be based on what he did prior in the AL.”

            Totally, that was my bad, way ahead of ya: http://riveraveblues.com/2010/.....nt-1171450

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      I don’t think you can say, unequivocally, that this was a good trade when it was made.

      Totally agree with this. It was, at the time, a very fair trade from both sides. It wasn’t unequivocally good or bad. It made sense, even if it wasn’t a Swisher for Betemit fleecing.

      • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Yeah thanks, that’s really all I’m trying to say here. I’m not killing the trade of Javy (at least I didn’t intend to). This trade had enough risk attached to it that it wasn’t a slam-dunk when it was made, I think everyone has to admit at least that much.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        What if you remove “unequivocally”?

        I won’t say “unequivocally” that it was a good trade, but I will plainly say it was a good trade. There’s reservations, sure; the balance of the risk/reward and utility to the 2010 season made it a good trade on balance.

        • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          That’s fine, and I’m fine disagreeing on this topic with you and other people whose opinions I respect.

          Just saying there are some situations where there are clear, slam-dunk answers that cannot be questioned – but this is not one of them. When you trade a far-away prospect for an All-Star at a decent age at a position of need, yadda yadda (clearly I’m going for an unrealistic slam-dunk here, but you know what I mean). This trade, though? This wasn’t one of those trades. There were good arguments for and against this trade, when it was made.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            I’m good with that.

  • http://twitter.com/j_yankees j_Yankees

    I’ve never been one to ride the ‘he can’t pitch in NY’ train…i certainly didn’t when the Yankees traded for him. Though i was surprised he was the mystery guy we had been speculating about for hours on end. But He was coming off a GREAT year and as you noted Ben, Melky was due a raise and wasn’t worth it. He was/is grossly overrated but some fans and i didn’t mind trading Vizcaino.

    With that said, if there was ever a guy i believe can’t handle New York, it’s Javier Vazquez. Twice now the Yankees have traded for him and twice now it has ended poorly.

    3 times in his career Javy posted +6.50 ERA second halves. His rookie year and BOTH his years in pinstripes.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      And both of those two years in pinstripes, he’s dealt with physical issues that have hampered his production. The first time he was pitching through injury for the second half of 2004; this time he’s had dead arm periods and a marked loss of velocity (which probably lead to the mechanical issues/tinkering and thus the control).

      Javy not being able to handle NY is much more physical than mental, IMO. He can deal with the pressure; his body is betraying him.

      • http://twitter.com/j_yankees j_Yankees

        Can’t argue with the injuries playing a factor in his first stint here. But by his own account he down played an injury that he really shouldn’t have been pitching with. In doing so he put the Yankees in a bad spot. I guess we can debate whether that’s admirable or really stupid and selfish.

        This year he sucked something wicked when healthy at the start of the season. So i’m not going to give him an out. Dude sucked this year. He was able to string together some good starts against some sub par hitting teams but other than that he sucked.

        and i disagree with him being able to handle pressure. There is nothing in his body of work that tells me he can pitch well under pressure.

        • Observer283

          How about the fact that he made it to the major leagues and succeeded their for over a decade?

          I don’t know about Javy’s background, but I would guess he didn’t grow up wealthy. Meaning, he’s probably never pitched under more pressure than when he was pitching for scouts as a young kid.

          All of this is to say that what fans view as “high leverage” or “pressure situations” aren’t that much pressure packed than the situation elite baseball players have been dealing with since they were in their teens.

          That’s why if you have a large enough sample size, you will find that players perform eerily close to their career averages in “clutch” situations.

          If you don’t believe me, why don’t you compare A-Rod and Jeter’s playoff numbers to their career averages. Not much daylight.

    • ROBTEN

      With that said, if there was ever a guy i believe can’t handle New York, it’s Javier Vazquez. Twice now the Yankees have traded for him and twice now it has ended poorly.

      I still think that it is an unfortunate case of circumstance rather than causation. Given that the results were the effect of injury in 2004 and what seems to be diminished abilities this year, I think that in both cases he probably would have had similar struggles regardless of what team he pitched for.

      For instance, we could go further and speculate that in 2004 if he had pitched for a team out of contention rather than in NY and thus was not called upon to be the workhorse on staff, he might have been put on the DL instead of feeling like he had to continue to pitch through an injury.

      • Chris

        A large part of the problem in 2004 was also Kevin Brown. If he doesn’t pitch like crap and leave with the bases loaded, then Javy doesn’t have the opportunity to give up that grand slam.

        If the Yankees had won that game, I think everyone would forget about his crappy second half of the season.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          If Mo had closed out either Game 4 or Game 5 with one of his usual Mo-saves, maybe in the post-coital championship bliss Javy would have been given a reprieve for his injury-marred second half and we wouldn’t have hastily traded him away for Randy Johnson and this entire story is different.

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

            Same deal with Tony Clark’s ground rule double. If that thing stays in the park…

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              I don’t wanna hear about no motherf@#$n’ ifs. All I wanna hear from your ass is, “You ain’t got no problem, Jules. I’m on the mother&#$er. Go back in there, chill them n#$%&s out and wait for the calvary, which should be coming directly.”

        • http://twitter.com/j_yankees j_Yankees

          It’s not even about game 7. It’s about the start of this season, it’s about the end of the 2004 season, it’s about his postseason starts.

  • Anthony Murillo

    Apart of me is disgusted with Javier Vazquez, apart of me is extremely sadden for him. When we re-acquired him this off-season, I was all for it. I wanted him to do well, to prove he could pitch well in New York and be an anchor to our starting rotation. But his performance this season is quite possibly the worst season I’ve ever seen from a starting pitcher of Vazquez’s caliber. He’s been awful this season and, sadly, all of us will remember him as one of the biggest failures in Yankee history.

  • Avi

    Fans were happy with the trade??
    Anybody who was happy with the trade clearly wasn’t following the Yankees in ’04.
    Cashman traded for Vazquez while another pitcher name Curt Shcilling was available; Arguably the single biggest move that contributed to the yankees loosing to Boston in ’04.
    Vazquez was so bad that Cashman and the yanks had to pay the D-backs millions of dollars just to take him and his $45 million contract off their hands. A contract that BTW Cashman gave him before he ever threw a pitch for the yankees!
    Even if Vazquez wasn’t a Yankee catastrophe it still wouldn’t have made any sense. I mean a right handed, EXTREME fly ball pitcher is not exactly the type a guy you want making HALF his starts in Yankee stadium. Furthermore, he’s a career .500 pitcher. So while it would have been possible for him to have an effective season (OUT OF yankee stadium) he was just as likely to pull off a stinker as he had done for the D-backs and White Sox in three separate recent seasons (’05,’06 and ’08). Vazquez was an AWFUL acquisition even if the Braves had given him for FREE (no players back).

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      /Bo Corollary’d

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      I stopped reading pretty early, but wanted to point out that Theo preferred Vazquez to Schilling.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        What about Shcilling, though? What about him?

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Schilling wasn’t available to the Yankees for what he was to the Red Sox, because the DBags were still angry about what Wells did to them, saying he’d go to them and then going to the Yankees. Oh, and in 2004, Vazquez was a young guy with a decent chance of anchoring the rotation for a while, especially because Pettitte had left. Schilling didn’t appear to be that. Didn’t work out, obviously.

      And Javy didn’t stink in 05, 06, or 08. And him being a “career .500 pitcher” speaks more to the shitty, shitty Expos teams he was on than anything with Javy himself. Him being a RHP fly ball pitcher is a decent concern; “he’s a .500 career pitcher” really isn’t.

    • Chris

      Schilling wasn’t available. At least not to the Yankees.

    • It’sATarp

      I like part where you ignore facts and logic.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        And grammar/punctuation/syntax, don’t forget that. The lack of linguistic sophistication adds a certain something to it, don’t you think?

    • dan genovese

      finally somone who makes sense……everyone else stop defending this loser.he stole 12 million .the season is over.release him

    • Mike

      King Felix is a .500 pitcher this year. Maybe the M’s should get rid of him

      • It’sATarp

        Hughes is also a righty Fly ball pitcher…Trade him too

  • larryf

    If we win the series and Javy doesn’t throw another pitch from here on out, the man will get a full share.

    With all the frustration about our lineup not being able to hit good changeup pitchers, it is also frustrating that other lineups seem to hit Javy the changeup specialist so well. To me, the 2-4 mph slower fastball and inability to control the inside part of the plate is/was his downfall.

    • Chris

      it is also frustrating that other lineups seem to hit Javy the changeup specialist so well.

      It’s not quite the same when your fastest pitch is a changeup.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I’ve got my slowball, my slowerball, and then my circle-slowerball.

        • king of fruitless hypotheticals

          Should I go with the off-speed stuff?

  • Dream of Electric Sheep

    I had reservation about Javy.

    But my reservation was how he performed down the stretch in 2008 with the White Sox. He had a 4.8ish era that year in AL Central and imploded in the last six? starts.In thinking always with playoff in mind as a Yankee fan , I definitely had reservation about him down the stretch and in a big spot.

  • At Work

    If Javy doesnt come to NY via this trade, then who is the 5th starter? Who is the lefty in the bullpen? While the lefty is no big deal, Logan has been a stud and replaced Marte pretty well. Thus far Cash gave up nothing but hopes and received Javy and Logan who helped the club right away. So, who would it have been in the 5th spot? (or 4th as it was at the beggining of the year with Phil 5th).

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I’d say Joba, but it’s clear the team didn’t want that insecurity going into the season.

      That’s the other side of this coin: for the people who didn’t want the team to trade Arodys/Melky/Dunn for Javy/Logan, who would you want us to trade for? Because clearly, we were going to trade for a starter come hell or high water; we weren’t going to give 2 spots to Hughes and Joba with no veteran fallback plan.

      It’s either trade for Javy, trade for some other innings-eating 4th starter (preferably on a one-year, low-risk contract) or sign John Lackey. Simply keeping the prospects and rolling with Phil and Joba in the rotation together was eliminated as an option.

      • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        I hear you, but asking someone to answer that question is asking someone to practice speculative revisionism (if that’s not a real term, I’m trademarking that shit). We have no idea who else might have been available, who else the Yanks could have traded, etc. It’s an impossible question to actually address.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Indeed. Furthermore, their trade proposals would have sucked.

          • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

            You mean the Mariners weren’t going to give us Felix Hernandez for Wordkemper, Melky, and six “HIP HIP JORGE” t-shirts? Lies, tsjc.

      • Thomas

        Looking back at the first post that a trade/acquisition was coming and the player the Yankees were getting was unknown. Some of the players mentioned were:

        Sheets
        Duscherer
        Zambrano
        Lowe
        Harang
        Piniero
        Garland
        Arroyo

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          I remember the rumor was Swisher for Lowe which… yeah I know Lowe’s been fantastic the past month but that’s a horrifyingly bad rumor.

  • Dick Whitman

    Melky Cabrera is an inferior baseball player relative to other major league baseball players.

    He also has inferior potassium.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I laughed. Not.

      /Borat’d
      /THE_ADAM_JONES’d

      • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

        I did see you laughing….not.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          OH, IT BURNS, DOESN’T IT!

  • JohnathanCold

    Bad trade? No.

    Did I want to see him pitching for the Yankees again? Hell no.

    I’m sure he will settle in very nicely with the Marlins next season.

    A dream would be for Boston to pick him up. Wait, that won’t work. They’d have SIX aces now!

    • dan genovese

      seven remember the great kelly that espn loves……vomit!

  • Dick Whitman

    Javier Vazquez is a better baseball player than Melky Cabrera.

    Boone Logan has performed better in the year 2010 than Melky Cabrera, Javier Vazquez, Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino, combined.

    • JohnathanCold

      Melky is sooooo clutch though.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        HUEVOS!!!!

        • Dick Whitman

          Rancheros?

          • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            (Salivates.)

            (Eats highlighter.)

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              (Eats highlighter.)

              Bart: Bad news, Dad. We’re out of food. We’re even out of the basic elements of food. You ate all the tarragon and you drank all the soy sauce!

    • It’sATarp

      We should make Boone Logan go the CJ Wilson route and make him our 4th starter.

  • Dick Whitman

    Arodys Vizcaino has never pitched a day above high-A ball.

    Melky Cabrera has been in the major leagues on and off since 2005 and has a career wRC+ of 90 and -11.1 UZR in over 700 games.

    Javier Vazquez has a career 51.6 fWAR, where the established number is around 60 WAR for HOF consideration.

    • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I hear you, but one nitpick that I think is kinda substantive… You weren’t trading for Javy Vazquez’s career 51.6 fWAR, you were trading for version 2010 Javy.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Javy had put up 4.8, 5.1, 4.8, and 6.6 WAR campaigns the four years prior to this one.

        Was there an inkling of a shadow of a specter of a reason to suspect that the wheels would fall off? Sure, he’s a pitcher with a lot of miles, collapse is around every corner. Let’s not act like Javy Vazquez looked gassed and ready to implode, though. He was still producing at career-prime-WAR levels when we traded for him.

        • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Oh I’m not saying anything close to Javy ‘looked gassed and ready to implode.’ Just making the point that you were trading for the future Javy, not the guy who put up those numbers earlier in his career. I don’t think anyone, even fans of this trade, thought you were getting 5 WAR Javy in 2010.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            I figured I was at least getting 3.5 WAR Javy, though. Maybe 4.

      • Dick Whitman

        Yeah, I agree. I just can’t stand the ZOMG in 2004 he sucked too!

        Logic would tell you that the Yankees were trading for 2009 Javy + regression.

        It didn’t work out that way. Oh well.

        • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Yeah… I think ’09 was a bit of an aberration, so I’d call it ’05-’08 Javy + regression, but yeah, I hear you.

  • Dick Whitman

    Arodys Vizcaino FIP 2010:

    A ball: 1.99 in 71 2/3 IP
    A+ ball: 3.42 in 13.2 IP

    Graham Stoneburner FIP 2010:

    A ball: 2.46 in 39 IP

    A+ ball: 2.83 in 103 IP

    Melky Cabrera still sucks.

    • Thomas

      Just to point out, Stoneburner is 22 and Vizciano is 19 that is a huge gap.

      • Dick Whitman

        That’s a good point.

        But that’s just more years Vizcaino could spend toiling away in the minors being lazy.

      • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        And we’re apparently putting a check in Stoneburner’s column by comparing his A+ stats against Vizcaino’s, even though Viz only pitched 13.2 innings in A+.

        I mean, I get the point… But come on. Not the best argument that could be put out there.

        • Dick Whitman

          No, the best argument is that Vizcaino could be the greatest thing since Strasburg or he could be Mark Prior or he could be Kerry Wood or he could be Daniel Cabrera or he could be Ubaldo.

          We won’t know for a while. And judging the trade on Javier Vazquez versus the future possible value of Arodys Vizcaino 3 years from now is silly.

          I’m not saying Stoneburner is as good a prospect as Viz, not at all. I’m just saying Viz hasn’t proven anything yet. He’s proven as much as Stoneburner at this time. His tools are better, absolutely. But that means nothing at the end of the 2010 season.

          • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            You’re right and I agree, that’s a better argument.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Judge:Do you have any evidence at all?
          Lionel Hutz: Well, Your Honor, We’ve plenty of hearsay and conjecture. Those are kinds of evidence.

  • Big Stein

    Moral of the story: Beware of NL pitchers

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Moral of the story: Beware of NL pitchers

      Fixed.

    • Dick Whitman

      Javier Vazquez’s 4+ win average in the American League over 4 seasons says hello.

      Plus, I’d totally take Josh Johnson or Adam Wainwright for Greg Golson, Hector Noesi (ehh, couldn’t think of better comp) and Royce Ring right about now.

  • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    When the Yankees made this trade I looked at Javy and said “eno enoa juang.”

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      How jejune.

      • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Haha. /Blast from the past’d

  • UncleArgyle

    Can’t believe I’m saying this, but would it have made more sense to make the same trade for Derek Lowe? Yankees probably could have kept Arodys too, and put in a lessor prospect. Then again, I could see that trade having an equally disasterous outcome.

    • Dick Whitman

      I can’t believe you just said that either. Wow.

    • Johnny O

      Javy was a 1 year commitment, which turned out poorly. Lowe was a 3 year commitment which would have turned out 3x as poorly.

      • Johnny O

        I know as fans we like to second guess Cashman (we could all do better than him of course), but when we’re complaining about an older pitcher with diminished stuff who succeeded only because he was in the NL…the alternatives shouldn’t be an older pitcher with diminished stuff who succeeded only because he was in the NL WITH 3 MORE YEARS ON HIS CONTRACT (at $15M per).

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Supposedly the trade there was Lowe for SWISHER, which… no thank you, for the reasons others have stated.

      • http://twitter.com/joero23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        He clearly wasn’t talking about an actual rumor but a hypothetical ‘well this is what we gave up for Javy, so maybe we could have given up a depleted version of that package for Lowe.’ His comment has nothing to do with this Swisher rumor (which I don’t even remember, maybe I’ve repressed the memory).

        • UncleArgyle

          Thank you, thats exactly what I was thinking out loud about. Funny but Lowe probably has the better fastball at this point. Anyway he sucks too. But its hard to suck more than Javy did this year

  • Dick Whitman

    Vazquez + Cervelli + left handed Pendleton for Santana?

    Huh? Huh?!?!

  • Icebird753

    Javy has been awful. It seems like whenever he pitches, batters crush the ball as though it were Ted Williams’s head. Okay, crude reference, but you get the picture.

    • dan genovese

      even his frozen head could be batted over centerfield with this guy…….can we just bury the talk about this guy

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Feel free to never mention Javy again on your blog.

  • toad

    Besides the question of what else the Yankees could have gotten for Vizcaino there is the question of what else they could have gotten for $11.5 million.

    Their supply of money is large, but not infinite. In evaluating the deal you have to consider the financial cost as well as the obvious player cost, because the money could have been spent on another player(s)

    Was it a good trade from that point of view? I don’t know, but you can’t leave the money out when evaluating it.

  • EndlessMike

    Let’s not forget Vizcaino had a shoulder injury this year and Boone Logan has been one of our best bullpen options. You can also make the claim Javy has been pitching bette then Pettitte and Burnett.Since Pettitte has done nothing in over a month besdides one good outing and Burnett has been worse then Javy.

    Even Hughes hasn’t been good untkil he’s last two starts.If Javy pitched for the Mets inn that big stadium he would have pitched way better.

  • king of fruitless hypotheticals

    Final thought on this trade? It was crap. It kept us from making the playoffs.

    #waitwhat

  • Jerome S

    Vazquez has a 0.0 WAR this year. meh?

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Nope. He has a -0.5 WAR.

  • Chris

    Cashman should be fired if Vizcaino turns out to be a stud He should have known Javy would turn out to be a dog. After all, Javy already bombed out the first time with the Yankees and then had a lousy year in Arizona and 2 of 3 mediocre seasons with the White Sox during which his own manager accused him of not being a big game pitcher. Any novice baseball man knows not enough to be fooled by stats pitchers put up in the NL. Right now, Vizcaino would be the yankees number 1 pitching prospect if he were still with the organization and Javy was so putrid, the Yanks can’t afford to offer him arbitration to get something back.