Let’s analyze the trade:
The Yankees traded Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn (L) and 19 year old minor league pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino (and $500k) for Javier Vazques and Boone Logan (L).
I have received a lot of questions about why we would bring a retread back, such as Vazquez, who was part of the biggest collapse we have seen and someone who had an ERA over 4.65 in 2 of his last 3 years in the AL (with the White Sox)? In his one year with us he had an ERA of 4.91. “He is a classic NL pitcher” are the comments I received.
The above is hard to argue with as the numbers do speak for themselves.
I must say that back in 2004, (I didn’t have an official blog back then) I was a fan of getting Javier. He was young and coming off some impressive seasons for the Expos, I thought he would be a nice piece of our puzzle. He had a very good 1st half of the year going 10-5 with an ERA of 3.56! Unfortunately, the wheels came off the bus as he was so bad in the 2nd half that the Yankees didn’t start him in the playoffs. His ERA in the 2nd half was 6.92 as he allowed a ton homers. You may have the bad memory of him making sure the Yankees wouldn’t come back n game 7 against the Red Sox when he allowed a grand slam to Damon in the early innings (I think 2nd?).
Some people said that he was pitching through an arm injury that year as his total innings was below 200 innings for the only time in his career since 2000. This is one of the reasons the Yankees like him…he is an absolute innings eater. Of course, quality innings are important, but as a number 4 starter he is a really good one (or at least we should think he is a really good one).
So what do I think? I have to admit I didn’t see too much of him this last year and I know with the White Sox that we hit him very well. In fact, when I looked it up it was very surprising to see that the Yankees have hit Vazquez MUCH better than any other team. The Yankees OPS against him is a whopping .996 (that is sick) with an ERA of 7.09. Surprisingly, every other team had an OPS below .800. Against Boston his ERA is 4.23.
Back to what I see… I always liked the way he pitched in that he does not give free passes and throws a lot of different pitches. For the most part he was a fastball and 12-6 curveball type pitcher and he worked in his change as well. He always let up a lot of homers and that most likely will not change. However, he obviously made some great changes to his game in Atlanta as he had the best ERA of his career, an impressive 2.87 ERA, was 4th in the CY young award voting and once again threw a lot of innings (219). The other good indicator was that he struck out a career high 238 batters against only 44 walks. Last year he was awesome. Supposedly he threw his slider a lot more last year and worked in more changeups as well and had excellent results.
One could say that Atlanta sold high on Vazquez, although their first choice was to trade away Derek Lowe, but they had no takers. Javier has one year left before he is a free agent and he is making 11 mil.
So what did we give up? Dunn is a decent lefty arm, but I don’t see him as being some great pitcher and was not dominant against lefties so that is something expendable. Those of you know that I think Melky is very expendable as he is a backup player who doesn’t hit well enough for a corner OF spot and doesn’t play defense well enough to be a CF’r. He is still young and could develop, but, while I am in the minority, I believe Gardner is better than he is. We also gave up a good pitching prospect in Arodys Vizcaino. He is ranked in the top 3 of Yankee prospects according to a few sources. He is 19 and has a lot of work to do, but he can throw 94 and has some good ability, although is still raw (these are from what I have read and not my own opinions).
Conclusion: Basically, we gave up some depth and a very good prospect who is years away and may never be anything, or may be very good, for an established innings eater (has started 32 games for 10 straight years) with one year left on his contract, who is coming off an excellent year. I think this was a good trade for the Yanks. The downside of Vazquez should still be decent for a 4th starter and the upside is that he could very well be the 2nd best pitcher on our staff.
I hope this sets us up for Hughes to be in the rotation and Joba to be in the pen. While a starter is worth far more than a reliever and I may be pulling the plug on Joba as a starter too soon, he seems to have the mentality of a closer to me. Maybe as he matures that would change, but I would leave him in the pen.
The Yankees will probably get some more OF depth, but I hope they let Gardner possibly develop into Jacoby Ellsbury as they are similar players. I am not in favor of signing Damon for LF and unless the Yanks decide to break their budget, they most likely won’t get Bay or Holliday either.
One last note, Rivera and Jeter are both in the last years of their contracts. Surprisingly, they both are still going strong. I wonder how this will play out? Cashman has said that winning is all that he cares about and he has let others go (as I think he should), however, certain players get the benefit for me and these two guys would be at the top of the list for paying them as a thanks. Neither should ever wear another uniform.
The Genius Maker tm is a tribute to Mariano Rivera who makes coaches look a like a genius...