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Analysis of the Javier Vazquez Trade

By Mike Silva ~ December 22nd, 2009. Filed under: Mike Silva.

Earlier today the Yankees pulled off a trade with Atlanta, not for Derek Lowe, but former Yankee Javier Vazquez. This is the type of pitcher the Yankees rotation needs. He can give you innings, misses bats, and has only a year left on his contract. This trade also can be viewed with skepticism. There is a certain amount of been there/done that with Vazquez and the Yankees. Remember, he was traded after a terrible 2004 season. There have been questions about his “fortitude” in the past which, according to Joel Sherman, gave the Yankees reason for pause. In the end this can go either way as statistically Vazquez is a “league average” pitcher in the American League, but also is one of two pitchers (Johan Santana is the other) that tout 1,000 strikeouts in over 1,000 innings since 2004. That may be ok because, unlike his first stint, Vazquez is not asked to be the ace of the Yankees staff.

This trade doesn’t come without cost. Arodys Vizcaino was a top three prospect according to Baseball America, Melky Cabrera’s departure leaves a hole in left, and Michael Dunn was well regarded as a lefty out of the pen. In just a month the Yankees have dumped all three of their promising lefty relievers in Coke, Kroenke, and Dunn. Boone Logan can take over as the second lefty, but he clearly doesn’t have the upside of the three kids. Down the road this trade could hurt especially if the pitchers turn out how some think.

The biggest indictment is really on Joba Chamberlain. You get the feeling that he is ticketed back to the eighth inning and the “fast track” as Rivera’s replacement. The Yankees can now solve their bullpen hole inexpensively and put Chamberlain in a position where he excels: all out pitching for one inning. All along I had my doubts that Joba had the baseball intelligence and makeup to consistently excel as a starter. I did believe he would be a top notch reliever. Phil Hughes is the big winner now that he could develop in the low pressure fifth spot. Realistically you couldn’t expect the Yankees to go with an untrustworthy Chamberlain in the four spot and Phil Hughes, innings limitations and all, as a fifth starter.

Finally, what does this mean for left field? If the season started today Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann would be your tandem in the corner. We still hear no shot at Jason Bay or Matt Holliday. Is there a chance for a Johnny Damon reunion? Unlikely, since he would also raise their payroll over $200 million. You also get the sense there is some bad blood on the Yankees side. Mark DeRosa’s name comes up as someone whose price is dropping and is from the area. He also provides the Yankees with versatility as he could play the entire infield and both corner outfield positions. I probably would sign DeRosa over Damon from a cost perspective and also balance out the lineup with his right handed bat. Perhaps two years and ten million can get the deal done.

In the end the Yankees get what they needed – a quality starter who can eat innings. Javier Vazquez isn’t Roy Halladay, but he fits what the Yankees need for less money and years.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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3 Responses to Analysis of the Javier Vazquez Trade

  1. dale

    mike do u ever have a post where u dont take a shot at joba or wfan?

  2. Ben

    i dont see the part where joba is a dominant reliever as being a bad thing or anything

    how is that bad? The guy is a dominant reliever. Let him continue to flourish there

  3. Kevin C

    Vasquez is a loser. The Yankees don’t need a fifth starter. They need pitchers who can rise to the occasion under pressure in the playoffs. This clown had his shot and blew it.

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