Past Trade Review: Javier Vazquez, Part II

RAB's Top Ten Posts of 2011
Prospect Profile: Daniel Camarena
(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty)

TYA/Yankeeist readers may recall a semi-regular offseason feature I always greatly enjoyed doing, “Bizarre Moves from Seasons Past,” in which I’d examine a particular move or non-move the Yankees made and try to make sense of why they opted to go the way they did. For your reading enjoyment, here’s the full roster of previous “Bizarre Moves” posts:

I’d been racking my brain for some new entries in this series, but kept coming up blank until it finally hit me why: Brian Cashman and the Yankees haven’t really made any so-called “Bizarre” moves during the last few seasons. I won’t go so far as to say the transaction record has been flawless, but, for the most part, the trades, free agent signings and non-moves made by Cash since the 2008-2009 offseason have been understandable/defensible. Sure, we can all decry the A.J. Burnett contract now — and it certainly had its detractors back when it was signed — but the 2009 Yankees needed pitching, and though it may have been an overpay, Burnett filled an important need on the team that season.

Off the top of my head, the only flat-out terrible moves made by Cash — and here I’m defining flat-out terrible as “completely obvious to the entire world that they wouldn’t work out” — during the last couple of years were the additions of Randy Winn and Chan Ho Park. And even though they were pointless signings, it’s still hard to kill Cash for trying to bolster the bullpen and bench on the relatively cheap. I think we can all agree that nothing better underscores Cash’s restraint than his (non)activities during the previous calendar year (save Pedro Feliciano), which include remaining calm in the face of growing unrest regarding the pitching staff last January, and passing on unrealistic trades for questionable pitchers at last July’s trade deadline.

However, as quiet as Cash has been, we also know he won’t hesitate to pull the trigger on a deal when he thinks he’s found a good one. Being that the Javier Vazquez/Boone Logan for Melky Cabrera/Arodys Vizcaino/Mike Dunn deal was the last blockbuster trade Cash orchestrated, I thought I’d take a look back at it from RAB’s “Past Trade Review” perspective, as it really doesn’t fall under the “Bizarre Moves” heading. One other note — in fairness, Mike and Joe were a bit hesitant about me reviewing this deal seeing as how the book is still out on Vizcaino, but I think we can take a look at how the trade worked out given the other players involved while keeping Vizcaino in the backs of our minds.

Anyway.

Not content to rest on the laurels of the franchise’s 27th World Championship, Brian Cashman quickly went to work in the 2009-2010 offseason to bolster (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) the pitching staff, as the Yankees managed to win it all despite being just the second team in the last 20 years to utilize a three-man rotation throughout the entire postseason.

Noted workhorse and one-time Yankee Javier Vazquez — who Cashman had previously traded three players (Nick Johnson, Juan River, and Randy Choate) for in November 2003 following a superb season by Vazquez in which he struck out 9.4 men per nine, walked 2.2, and put up a pitcher triple slash 3.24 ERA/3.31 FIP/3.41 xFIP worth 6.0 fWAR, only to have Vazquez come apart at the seams in the second half of the 2004 season after an All-Star first half and subsequently get shipped out of town for Randy Johnson — was coming off a superb 2009 campaign with Atlanta, in which he racked up his fifth straight season of 200-plus innings (and 9th in the last 10 years), 2.87 ERA, and 9.77 K/9 and 1.81 BB/9, which led to a matching 2.77 FIP and xFIP, the latter of which led the entire National League.

With Brett Gardner showing that, at the very least, he was a reliable 4th outfielder if not outright platoon player, and the execrable Melky Cabrera coming off his 4th straight season of below-average offense (wRC+es of 98, 89, 69 and 94), the Yankees correctly made the no-brainer move of dealing from a position of strength in shipping the ever-underwhelming Cabrera to the Braves as the centerpiece of a deal that reunited Vazquez with the Yankees. Of course, Melky alone wasn’t enough (1.6 fWAR in 2009) to get a player of Vazquez’s caliber (fresh off a 6.5 fWAR campaign), and so the Yankees added the highly touted, right-handed, flame-throwing Arodys Vizcaino (who had just come off a 2.13 ERA/2.49 FIP season in 42.1 innings with Staten Island) and left-handed reliever Mike Dunn. The Braves also chipped in a lefty reliever of their own to complete the deal, sending Boone Logan to the Bronx.

After putting up a 4.91 ERA/4.78 FIP/4.51 xFIP in 198 innings (worth 2.2 fWAR) for the 2004 Yankees, there were high evenly tempered hopes that Home Run Javy’s second tour of duty as a Yankee would turn out significantly better. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, as HRJ battled A.J. Burnett for much of the 2010 season to see who could be more historically awful. Javy wound up winning this ignominious battle with flying colors, putting up a 5.32 ERA/5.56 FIP/4.69 xFIP in 157.1 innings (worth -0.1 fWAR) and posting career-worsts in just about every major category.

However, for as wretched as Javy was in his second go-round with the Yanks, Melky was arguably even worse for the Braves, tying Carlos Lee for the least-valuable player in all of MLB in 2010. Somehow, both men found new employers for 2011 and each enjoyed an absurd amount of success relative to their 2010 failures, with Vazquez recording a 3.69/3.57/3.87 year in 192.2 innings (worth 3.2 fWAR) for the Marlins, while Melky had the year of his life in Kansas City, boasting a .305/.339/.470 slash in a season worth 4.2 fWAR. Suffice it to say, I don’t think either player would ever have put those respective seasons up at any point as members of the Yankees. Melky maybe, but Vazquez pretty clearly needs the National League to be a successful pitcher. In any event, if you look at the trade primarily as a Melky-for-Javy swap, I’d still say the Yankees wound up ahead even with Javy’s terrible season, as he out-fWARed Melky by 0.9.

What about the secondary components of the trade? For all the griping about Boone Logan, he’s actually been pretty effective as the Yankees’ sole left-handed reliever these last two seasons, putting up 0.7 combined fWAR across just over 80 innings (yes, I know fWAR is near-worthless in assessing relievers, but I’m using it anyway). Mike Dunn threw 19.1 frames for the Braves in 2010 (1.89 ERA/3.61 FIP) and walked 8.05(!) men per nine, before hooking on with the Marlins this past season and hurling 63 innings of 3.43 ERA/4.30 FIP ball, almost halving that absurd walk rate (though it still checked in at an unsightly 4.43 per nine) but not enough to provide positive value to the team (-0.1 fWAR). I’d say the Yankees got the better end of the left-handed reliever swap as well.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, while they may not regret losing Melky or Dunn, they almost certainly regret including Vizcaino — who ranked 16th on Baseball America’s midseason Top 50 list this past season, and currently checks in as the Braves’ second-best prospect overall on both BA’s list and John Sickels‘, behind only Julio Teheran — in the deal, as Vizacaino rocketed through the Braves’ system and reached the big league club this past August, throwing 17.1 innings of 4.67 ERA/3.54 FIP ball out of the bullpen with an 8.83 K/9. Vizcaino — still just 21 years old —  is expected to compete for a rotation spot on the staff come Spring Training. While the Yankees have their share of minor league pitching talent knocking on the door, having Vizcaino — who our own Mike Axisa would have slotted as #3 in between Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances on his  Top 30 Yankee Prospect list — in the mix for a potential rotation spot would certainly make the team’s 2012 starting rotation picture a bit less fuzzy.

email
RAB's Top Ten Posts of 2011
Prospect Profile: Daniel Camarena
  • DERP

    Remember when we were going to trade him at the deadline for Jayson Werth? Good times.

  • http://twitter.com/andrewjcalagna Drew

    Vizcaino absolutely kills this deal for the Yankees. I understand why they traded him, a high upside talent but has only proven it in the lower minors and yes the jury is still out on him, but it still makes me smfh. So much upside….so much upside…

    • Bavarian Yankee

      I’ve read on MLBTR that Vizcaino might never be more than a reliever (at least for the Braves) because of the injury concerns.

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

      It’ll hurt less if he winds up a reliever, but yeah, it still sucks.

    • Frank Defano

      Do the braves get credit for developing Viz? He were with the Yankees he’d just be hitting AA this year. Instead he’ll start the season in the majors having skipped AAA almost completely. Sure seems like the Braves know a thing or two about developing young pitching. Viz was a full year behind the Bs in 2009. Now he’s a year ahead of them. Worse, the Yankees have two or three guys ahead of the Bs that deserve MLB innings this year and who may never get them given the slop that fills the rotation.

      • Bavarian Yankee

        Vizcaino started in A+ in 2011 and ended up in the MLB. He had a total of 97 IP in 2011. He didn’t struggle at any level but I’m not sure if that’s smart development. He also never started in AAA, they just used him as a reliever there (probably to get him ready to help in the pennant race).

  • Bavarian Yankee

    I still think the 2nd Javy trade was a good one. Nobody could expect Javy to turn into the broken version of Chien-Ming Wang. Just strange that he pitched lights out last season in the 2nd half for the Marlins.

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

      Couldn’t handle Florida, I guess. Also: http://www.fangraphs.com/pitch.....8;pitch=FA

      • CP

        It seems wrong to say “Vazquez pretty clearly needs the National League to be a successful pitcher”, when that shows he’s a successful pitcher if his fastball is over 90. For some reason he lost about 2MPH on his fastball for a year and a half – which happened to mostly be his time with the Yankees.

        • MannyGeee

          must have beeen the elevation.

          Or something

  • Dan 2

    I would appreciate it if you would not mention Javy when crazy randy levine is admitting he has a hole burning in his pocket!

  • Frank Defano

    That’s quite some bar for flat out terrible. By that standard everGM is above average. After all many folks in Chicago thought Betemit was good return for Swisher and his contract.

    As for the deal you left out two important asides. One, it enabled the awful non-competition between Hughes and Joba. Two, the braves have developed Viz much better than the Yankees would have. Viz was a full year in devopment behind the Bs and now he’s already made a very good debut.

    • JohnnyC

      As a reliever.

      • Frank Defano

        Yeah some how I don’t expect the Braves to make a 20 year old a reliever without ever using his options in AAA.

  • Bronx Byte

    The 2nd time as a Yankee, Javy Vazquez morphed into a Burnett.

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

      And yet another Burnett related comment.

  • Gonzo

    That was an interesting one. I guess selling high on Viz really wasn’t selling high.

  • http://yankeeanalysts.com Matt Imbrogno

    I remember thinking at the time that this was a short sighted trade that totally killed the idea of Joba-as-starter, but as I thought about it more, it made a lot of sense. A replacement level outfielder and a dude who hadn’t pitched in a full season league yet for a consistently 200+ IP starter. Sure, hindsight made it look awful, but at the time, it wasn’t as bad as I first thought.

    • Frank Defano

      The problem is opportunity costs. As we saw in 2011, you can’t develop young pitchers if your rotation is filled by below average dreck and old dogies with no upside. The opportunity cost on Joba and Vizcaino are worth much more than one year of a league average innings eater.

      • candyforstalin

        poor nova.

      • Ed

        The thing is, in 2009 Vazquez pitched well enough to come in 4th in the Cy Young voting. 219 IP, 2.87 ERA, 1.026 WHIP, 143 ERA+. I doubt they expected him to repeat that, but they must have expected him to easily be above average.

        • Frank Defano

          Oh you mean like how the expected above average performance in 2004?

          • jsbrendog

            oh you mean like his allstar performance in the first half before fatigue and having pitched 200+ innings every yr of his career finally caught up with him? learn. the. facts.

            • CP

              It wasn’t simply fatigue. He was pitching with an injured shoulder.

            • http://twitter.com/AnaMariana42 Ana

              Learn the facts? Never. Javy Vazquez is Satan incarnate and Cashman should not be allowed to procreate for trading for him.

              In all seriousness, though, I liked the trade when it happened. Pulling the trigger on a bad OF + low minor leaguer for a guy like Vazquez is always a good idea… just didn’t work out in this case. Regardless of how Vizcaino turns out in the future, it wasn’t a bad trade at the time.

    • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I think I was part of those initial “yeah, not so happy about this” conversations with you, and I remember you coming around to it more. I came around a bit, but I think that was more wishful thinking, on my behalf, than anything.

      One point though… Sure, Javy was, at the time, a ” a consistently 200+ IP starter”, but he was also a 33 yr old starter who, from the year when the Yanks initially got him through the year prior to his outlier 143 ERA+ season in Atlanta, had 3 seasons with an ERA+ below 100 (all in the AL), 2 seasons with an ERA+ north of 100 (1 in the AL, 1 in the NL), and a cumulative ERA+ of 102.

      I get why people liked the trade at the time, and I get why they still defend it to this day. It’s defensible. I still don’t agree with it. Javy just wasn’t ever really that great that I thought it was worth it to trade a good piece like Arodys for him (and while Melky and Dunn weren’t ever going to be impact players for the Yanks, they were certainly pieces that could be moved, as evidenced by, if nothing else, the Javy trade). Arodys was a premium prospect back then, even if he was at the lower levels. I just don’t think Javy, given the context of the situation (roster construction/needs, etc.), was the kind of guy you trade a premium prospect for.

      And you’re right – and I think we discussed this back then – about the effect it had on the roster. The Javy trade felt, and feels, to me, like the final nail in the coffin of Joba’s aborted career as a starter. (Which hopefully can be resurrected, yadda yadda.)

      • CP

        Over the 10 seasons from 2000 – 2009, he averaged 4.9fWAR per season, with 216 IP and an ERA+ of 113. Of course things will look worse if you exclude his best years.

        The big question is whether there is anything that could have been done to predict his drop in velocity. I don’t know that there is any reason that such a drop should be expected – particularly since he regained it in 2011 (roughly in June).

        • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Any sampling of seasons is going to begin and end with arbitrary endpoints, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable, when deciding whether to acquire a picther, to look at his most recent trends over a multi-year sample. It’s not like I contorted myself and cherry-picked seasons to make that argument. When the Yanks re-acquired him, you’ve got his one great season in Atlanta, and then 5 seasons before that in which he was intermittently below average, average, or pretty good, with results fluctuating season-by-season.

        • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          “Over the 10 seasons from 2000 – 2009, he averaged 4.9fWAR per season, with 216 IP and an ERA+ of 113. Of course things will look worse if you exclude his best years.”

          I should add… And of course things will look better if you include seasons as far back as 10 years before the Yanks re-acquired him.

          And if anyone in this conversation is cherry-picking, it’s you. If you want to say it’s not ok to pick out a sampling of seasons, then point to his entire career and include 1998 and 1999 instead of starting your sample, for no reason other than to make the numbers look better, in 2000.

      • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Just to annoy the Javy lovers… Javy/Yanks is Ken Phelps/Yanks, the pitching version. Except Ken Phelps was a better player when the Yanks acquired him.

        • Gonzo

          Ken Phelps was the better player when acquired?

          Javy was coming off of 6 fWAR, or better, seasons BOTH times the Yankees acquired him.

          • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            I like this idea of choosing who to acquire based on the one season prior to the decision. I think the Yanks should acquire Javy Vazquez for the 2012 season.

            (And relax, I was obviously saying that with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. Note the “just to annoy the Javy lovers.”)

            • Gonzo

              You chose the parameters “when the Yanks acquired.” I didn’t.

              No worries.

              • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Ha, what? And you apparently chose to equate “when the Yanks acquired” with “this means only the previous season is important,” I didn’t.

                So I chose the terms of my stupid joke, and you chose to interpret those words as meaning something weird.

                This is fun.

                • Gonzo

                  I didn’t know it was a joke. I didn’t think I came off snarky. I clarified my interpretation. Then I said no worries. What’s the problem?

                  Fun indeed!

                  Before this gets Ted Nelson style out of hand, what the heck do you think I’m saying?

                  • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                    This right here is why the RAB comment threads are indispensible.

                    I think you said [fart].

                    • Gonzo

                      This is getting more fun. This is better than Ted Nelson style!

                      I have no idea if you are trying to insult me or not. The mystery is what brings out the enjoyment. It’s toasted!

                    • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                      (No no, no insults. Just bowing out of the convo with a fart, real classy-like.)

                    • Gonzo

                      Smooth! I usually just tell someone my SAT score, use a fancy word like abscond, then bolt for it. Real smooth like.

                    • jsbrendog

                      FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAART noises WITH my mouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuth

                    • Gonzo

                      Cupping armpit and mouth pressed up to my elbow pit.

                      Wait for it…

        • CP

          In what way was Ken Phelps better? His best season prior to coming to the Yankees was 2.8 fWAR. Javy had 9 seasons better than that, and only 3 worse (2 of them were his first 2 seasons in the majors).

          • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            He was better at farting.

            • CP

              And I thought that was just the crack of the ball off his bat…

      • Andrew

        Who do you trade 1 premium low-level pitching prospect for, then, if not Vazquez? The asking price for starting pitchers through trades has been pretty high in recent years and I think one arm such as Vizcaino (one with great potential, but a bit far from being a factor at the big league level for the Yankees at the time of the trade) going in a deal for a pitcher of Vazquez’s ilk was a pretty reasonable price. All the data you provide to show that Vazquez wasn’t that great has two sides, as I think it’s important to remember the fact that guys with Vazquez’s aggregate performance aren’t readily available. Yes developing them (i.e. Vizcaino, Joba, etc.) is the ideal course as the market or pitching continues to get drier and drier, and I support that, but I also think it can be worthwhile to deal from the lower levels of the prospect pool when it’s only 1 guy and the team is getting back something valuable–even though, obviously, it failed horribly for the Yankees in this case.

        • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          That’s fine… That’s why I stipulated that your position (liking the trade) is certainly defensible. I’m not telling anyone this is a black and white issue, there’s no definite right and wrong here.

          I think I’m probably a bit more bearish than most when it comes to trading premium prospects for veterans, and I understand that there are probably plenty of reasonable people who disagree with me there. To answer your questions, I think, if I had to formulate a theory off the top of my head, I’d say that I just don’t like the idea of trading a premium prospect for a player a few years on the wrong side of 30 who is not a consistent impact player (and I understand many people disagree with me there, but I didn’t consider Javy to be that kind of player). When you consider the context – that the Yanks were already a strong team going into the 2010 season with a couple of young pitchers in MLB and prospect arms close, if not yet ready to jump into MLB – I didn’t see the need to make that trade, and I didn’t love what it did to the roster.

          • Andrew

            I liked the trade from the cost-for-return perspective, and the fact that it should have helped in the short term while not hurting the organization’s depth or flexibility in the long haul. But the residual effects on the roster (Chamberlain never starting again, having to get starts out of Mitre and Moseley as a result) I did not and still don’t enjoy. They were a strong team heading in to 2010 and I thought the move made them stronger–it wasn’t a need like, say, signing 2 starters after ’08 was a need, definitely. Though I also don’t think it was clear at the moment of the trade just what impact it would have on the rest of the roster construction. Which, now in hindsight, was a negative given the lack of one pretty obvious potential SP that the organization has had and not used for a while.

  • candyforstalin

    solid, solid trade. i’d sign him again, though i understand cashman can’t.

    • http://twitter.com/andrewjcalagna Drew

      That shit cray!

    • ChooChoo

      such a solid trade that the Yankees opted NOT to include Javy on their 2010 post season roster.

      • candyforstalin

        yeah, completely forgot about that.

  • Frank Defano

    The awful part of this trade was giving up six years of team control of a frontline pitching prospect for a neglible upgrade over Joba, who would have started. You can’t simply gloss over Vizcaino. He was clearly the key to the deal for the Braves. How they’ve developed him shows exactly why.

    I also disagree on the need for Burnett. The problem in 2008 was the hitting and the complete failure in developing their pitching prospects was self-made. Cashman promised after Pavano and Wright that they would develop their own. Burnett and Vazquez both represented the same old choice when given that option.

  • http://none Favrest

    f’n awful trade. Quite possibly the worst high priced Yankee ever.

    Right there with Kevin Brown, Ed Whitson, Carl Pavano, Britt Burns, Mike Witt, Danny Tartabull and Kenny Rogers.

    • Frank Defano

      Tartabull doesn’t belong on that list. He put up a 133 OPS+ in his first three Yankee years and 7.6 fWAR. His bad last year does negate that. As usual for the Yankees, see also Teixeira, they overpay in years for past performance.

      • Gonzo

        Yeah, Tartabull always gets a bad rap, but he was never a 5 fWAR player. His second best season in his career, in terms of fWAR, came in his first seaason as a Yankee. His fourth best season was his second year as a Yankee.

        Some would say, the Yankees got what they saw with Danny.

        • Frank Defano

          That’s his combined fWAR over those three seasons. It’s not Tartabull’s fault the Yankees consistent overpay in years. Mark Teixeira will be cashing $20m checks well in his .780 OPS stage.

      • http://none Favrest

        I watched him play. Numbers lie. He packed on the home runs after the Yankees were eliminated. It was our first really big free agent signing after Winfield was traded. Yanks at that time were one of the dumbest organizations in the game. Tartabull had a great contract year in 1990.

        • jsbrendog

          oaktag.

    • Frank Defano

      doesn’t negate that

  • Andrew

    I don’t think it’s fair to say Vazquez needed the National League to succeed. He was a 5 win pitcher for the duration in Chicago despite the bad things Ozzie had to say about him prior to his departure. For whatever reason everything that could possibly go wrong did for the majority of his 2 stints in NY. I don’t buy the cause being AL vs. NL, but it’s hard to totally ignore “the NY effect” for him given just how horrible he was for long stretches in ’04 and ’10.

  • ABS

    This is a terrible analysis. First, you can’t just look at one year of Melky, since the Yanks would have had him for longer than one year. The fact that the Braves let him go doesn’t mean the Yanks would have – he just brought the Royals Jonathan Sanchez. Same with Dunn, who got traded to the Fish, and significantly outperformed Logan in 2010, with WAY more upside. No doubt in my mind the Yanks would prefer to have Dunn right now to Logan.

    Most egregiously, on the flip side, you complete forgot the biggest win for the Yankees in this deal, and that is Vasquez essentially bought them Dante Bichette, Jr. So the best comparison is Melky vs. Vasquez and Dunn v. Logan assuming the Yanks kept both Melky and Dunn or factoring in what they’d get in a trade, and Viscanio v. Bichette. More even than it seems at first glance, but definitely a win for the Braves right now.

    • Larry Koestler

      I didn’t just look at one year of Melky — he was a below-average player every year he played for the Yankees, and therefore completely expendable. And saying the Yankees would prefer Dunn makes zero sense — Logan’s been worth 1.1 fWAR to Dunn’s 0.0 during the last two seasons.

      • ChooChoo

        Below average in 2007? Below average in 2009? Look again

        • thenamestsam

          2007: 0.5 fWAR
          2009: 1.6 fWAR

          Looks pretty darn below average to me.

          • ChooChoo

            There’s more to baseball than Fangraph’s WAR. Melky had decent years in 2007 and 2009, regardless of what you want to believe. In 2009 he was decent enough to give Gardner slivers in his ass.

            • thenamestsam

              Before he was average in those years, now he is decent. There is no way to dispute the claim that he was decent since that is a subjective word, average on the other hand has meaning. A guy who was below average as a hitter, a medicore centerfielder and consistently poor on the basepaths is not average. Of course there is more to life than WAR, but it makes a pretty good shorthand for an argument. You haven’t even made a case other than “because I said so” except for relaying the (irrelevant) fact that at the time he was favored over a guy in his first full season in the majors who actually outhit him that year and who had a higher fWAR in half as much playing time. So the Yankees made a bad decision on playing time in 2009. Doesn’t make Melky average.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

                You enjoy arguing with the wall, eh?

                • ChooChoo

                  You say you played ball, Joe? Me, too. You like Gardner’s stroke? You like the way he rotates his hips and gets his ass into the ball? The way he transfers his weight? The way he matches up against lefties? The way he winds up like a 99 cent mechanical toy before he uncorks that devastating arm?
                  How’s your wall doing?

                • thenamestsam

                  Lol. A little maybe. Depends on what my work day looks like.

                  • ChooChoo

                    what a shocker to learn that you have idle time during your work day

                    • thenamestsam

                      Lol. Sick burn dude.

              • ChooChoo

                I never said average. The writer of the article cited below average. Don’t testify in court–you’ll be led out in handcuffs.

                • thenamestsam

                  “Below average in 2007? Below average in 2009? Look again”. You don’t think that disagreeing with the statement that he was below average is tantamount to saying that he was above average?

                  • ChooChoo

                    are you even slightly coherent?

                    • thenamestsam

                      Alright, one last try. Larry says “Melky is below average every year”. You say “Below average in 2009. Look again.” The clear implication of that is that you believe he was above average in 2009. Is that not what you were trying to say?

                  • ChooChoo

                    I took issue with the description of below average. I still do. I chose to use the term decent. I still do. That is my subjective perogative, jackass

    • AndrewYF

      “since the Yanks would have had him for longer than one year”

      Actually, they most likely would have cut him completely after (or even during!) his execrable 2010 campaign. And who knows what would have happened to Gardner if Melky were still on the team in 2010. I very much like the way things have turned out in regards to Melky.

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

        They were probably going to non-tender him that offseason. There was nothing about Melky that said “pay me $3M next year!”

        • ChooChoo

          Since you’re wrong, Mike, on approximately 80% of the transactions that the Yankees make, we all believe you on this hypo0tetical one three years later.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Interesting to compare Javy’s stuff (the most recent unsuccessful stint with the Yanks) and Freddy Garcia’s. Both low velocity but Freddy’s craftiness more successful than Javy’s. Freddy don’t need no stinkin’ heat!

  • Mike

    Worth noting that as compensation for HRJ, we got a supplemental pick which was used for Dante Bichette Jr. I don’t think I would trade Arodys for DBJ straight across but it does take away some of the sting.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    I can remember hundreds of pissed off comments towards people who thought Vazquez was an NL only pitcher when we was acquired. Funny times.

    • CP

      The idea that he’s an NL only pitcher is still silly.

  • steve s

    Well, choosing Nick Johnson to replace either or both of Damon/Matsui wasn’t a particular HOF move by Cashman and the expected injury result was very predictable.

    • Mattchu12

      But if Johnson hadn’t have been hurt, imagine that OBP. That would have been sweet. I’m still okay with that decision because you can’t honestly say Damon/Matsui wouldn’t have gotten hurt either, Johnson is just extraordinarily unlucky.

      • steve s

        Of course OBP was the Johnson mantra but the “bizarre” part was to think the guy could make it through the season in any meaningful way (you didn’t need a Phd in baseball to come to that correct conclusion).

        • Mattchu12

          I can’t speak for everyone else, but I HAD to be believe he was finally going to get a break (no pun intended). Who gets hurt that often? Even Pavano got healthy eventually. Johnson really is made out of glass, it’s insane how often he gets hurt.

          • Gonzo

            According to Scott Boras, Nick Johnson has the exact opposite DNA as Johnny Damon.

            • Bubba

              Classic

        • Eric

          Plus, they eventually got that OBP from Gardner that year, with much more speed to boot. Nick Johnson would’ve gotten on base but would have clogged it up going from station to station.

    • candyforstalin

      he did not choose, though. matsui signed right away and damon rejected 2/14m.

      • steve s

        My recollection was that Yanks had little to no interest in signing Matsui (which is why he signed so quickly after that was communicated to him) and were pretty lukewarm and not showing any love to Damon before the Johnson signing went down. Also, there was plenty of talk at the time that the Yanks needed flexibility in the DH spot which added to the bizarreness of the Johnson move.

        • candyforstalin

          the yankees wanted damon. they simply drew the line at 2/14m and moved on.

  • thenamestsam

    I loved this trade when it was made, but a couple subsequent factors mitigated my love, one within the Yankees control, one not.

    The one that was within their control was my assumption that the loser of the Hughes/Joba competition would go to AAA, remain stretched out, and be the 6th starter, which they ended up desperately needing given the major sucktitude of Javy, Burnett, and 2nd half Phil. I figured that given you always need at least 6 starters and that both Hughes and Joba were somewhat inning capped they would have seen that there were plenty of innings for both of them. Obviously not, and the fact that the move pushed Joba permanently to relief was a major failure.

    The second factor is that Vizcaino kept getting better. When you trade away a kid in a short-season league you’re always talking about giving up a lottery ticket. When you give away the one that hits it always hurts more, but I’m not sure the Yankees could really have done anything about that part of it.

  • ChooChoo

    2011 was a tough swallow for all you Melky haters. Merely write it off as a career year–that will get you through. The reality you won’t acknowledge is that he is still a young guy–younger than Gardner who will be out the door with another year like 2011. A .713 OPS player has never received such high praise. There is absolutely no reason to believe that Melky can’t repeat 2011. Afterall, he’s in the NL West where all the dregs play–like Ian Kennedy. You can use that for your reasoning after this year when Ian wins 20 again, has an ERA under three, strikes out 200, pitches 220 innings and is the ace of the staff and a Cy Young finalist once again. While Melky hits .290, 15 homers, 180 hits, 80 rbis’s and has an .800 OPS and makes so many haters look foolish.
    Keep deluding yourself.

    • Jim Is Bored

      “There is absolutely no reason to believe that Melky can’t repeat 2011″

      You’re right, after 3-4 straight years of proving how consistent he is, there’s no room left for doubt.

      It’s really lucky he wasn’t the worst player in the entire MLB the year before, otherwise, boy, I’d probably start doubting.

      • ChooChoo

        I know one thing–Gardner will never have a year like Melky did in 2011.

        • thenamestsam

          This is just so so so wrong. Brett Gardner has already had a year better than Melky was last year, and I’m talking just about offense.

          2010: Brett Gardner 120 wRC+.
          2011: Melky Cabrera 118 wRC+

          So if baseball was only offense your “argument” (I use qoutations not to mock but because I’m not sure an argument that is easily demonstrated to be 100% wrong is really an argument) would be only factually incorrect. Once you remember that defense and baserunning also exist, it isn’t even close.

          • candyforstalin

            oh, come on. walks are not cool and you know it.

          • ChooChoo

            Batting Average, Hits, Doubles, Homers, Runs Batted In, Slugging, Runs Scored—versus some abitrary nonsense that some geek in a lab cooked up with a slide rule and graph paper. Assigning whatever credit the Geek saw fit to matters that don’t amount to a row of shit.
            Go to Cooperstown–see what is measured there

            • thenamestsam

              Ah, the appeal to authority. And not even an effective appeal to authority since the hall of fame is such a joke.

              I have a lot more faith in a “geek” who explains exactly how he comes up with his offensive value and that thousands of smart people have reviewed and agreed upon than I do in your argument that Melky was better because he had more of the stuff that you want to count (ignoring other stuff that you don’t feel like counting).

              • ChooChoo

                Hall of Fame is a joke? That’s brilliant. Maybe Gardner with his .713 OPS from last year is on his way. I know what and who the real joke is here.

                • thenamestsam

                  Wow, getting a little touchy are we? Yes, the Hall of Fame is a joke. Luis Apparacio and his lifetime .654 OPS is in there. So is Ray Schalk, career .656. So is Rabbit Marranville, .658. I would never in a million years argue that Brett Gardner is a hall of famer. But you can’t claim that the Hall of Fame is the ultimate arbiter of what makes a good player in one breath and then mock Gardner’s low OPS in the next.

              • ChooChoo

                Hall of Fame is a joke? That’s brilliant. Maybe Gardner with his .713 OPS from last year is on his way. I know what and who the real joke is here.

    • Bavarian Yankee

      “There is absolutely no reason to believe that Melky can’t repeat 2011.”

      Melky had his worst BB and K percentages in 2011 and he also had the highest BABIP in his career. He’s also an extreme groundball hitter. Very hard to believe that he can repeat 2011. For a team like the Yankees he’s still a 4th outfielder and I guess most if not all people prefer Andruw Jones in that role.

      • Kosmo

        Jones is a 4th OF making as much as 3.4 million this coming season. Melky is due to make how much as a starting OF for the Giants ? Is it less than 3 million ?

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

          MLBTR, using a formula, predicted Melky’s 2012 salary at $4 mil.

          • Kosmo

            Thanks Joe !

        • candyforstalin

          and matt joyce is making 0.5m as a starting of for the rays. stupid cashman.

      • ChooChoo

        He had 201 hits–no matter how you shake it. Hit more homers last year than Gardner has hit in his career.

    • candyforstalin

      Gardner who will be out the door with another year like 2011

      too funny.

      • ChooChoo

        what really is funny is watching Gardner swing a baseball bat

  • mike

    if the trade was for Player X, not Vasquez, it would have been be more than a fair deal for both sides. I think his prior NY experience soured people on him at the time of the trade, and while they were proven correct it had more to do with his loss of velocity than the trade itself

    The Yanks would have paid more for that Player at the trade deadline anyway

  • CJ

    Especially after winning it all in 2009 it seemed totally unnecessary. It’s the kind of move I would expect to see now in desperation.

  • David K.

    It was a lousy trade b/c everyone with any baseball instincts knew that Vasquez would get his butt kicked around again in the AL east. We gave up a kid who is throwing smoke. If that kid develops, we will really kick ourselves. Cashman is a number cruncher extraordinaire with no idea how to evaluate baseball talent. As far as Melky, I don’t understand the Melky bashing around here. He was a decent player for us, helped us win the 2009 World Series. I don’t think he was really serious about developing his skills here as he was too interested in having a good time with his buddy Robbie Cano. Now it seems he has finally got his head screwed on straight and he is living up to his potential. When he first came up, I thought he had a very quick swing from both sides of the plate and thought he might be a .300 hitter or even better.