Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
December 22, 2009
BASEBALL: Javy's Back

Well, the Hated Yankees may have looked a day or two ago as if they'd settled on Joba and Phil Hughes as their #4-5 starters and Melky Cabrera backed by Brett Gardner in left field, but accepting the Braves' generous donation of Javier Vazquez in exchange for Melky unsettles all that:

Pitcher Javy Vazquez was traded back to the Yankees by the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday for outfielder Melky Cabrera, a move that pushed New York’s payroll for next season over $200 million.

New York also got left-hander Boone Logan as part of the deal, and the Braves obtained a pair of pitching prospects, left-hander Mike Dunn and right-hander Arodys Vizcaino, along with about $500,000.

(As you'll see from following the links, Vizcaino has promising numbers in the low minors, but in small samples and is only 18; Dunn's numbers look unimpressive).

It would seem logical that this deal re-opens the Yankees to re-signing Johnny Damon, and if not it puts them back in the game for another serious left fielder (Vladimir Guerrero or Matt Holliday, I wonder? The AP's suggestion of Mark DeRosa seems ridiculous. But as the Mets are the only hot contender for Jason Bay at the moment, the Yankees may see an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone by pursuing Bay). And the Vazquez deal leaves them with four established starters (along with Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte), so either Hughes and Chamberlain will fight for a rotation slot, or one of them will be slotted again as a reliever or packaged in a deal.

For the Braves, this looks like cost-cutting. The Mets, of course, could have used Vazquez, but presumably Atlanta wanted to deal him out of the division. But it's still hard to believe, unless they have a very high opinion of Melky, that they couldn't have gotten a better package from someone else, given the short supply of durable power pitchers with excellent control (yes, Vazquez is somewhat inconsistent and gopher-prone, but he's still unquestionably a valuable property who can be a frontline starter in his good years).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 2:45 PM | Baseball 2009 | Comments (23) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Great pick up. Vasquez is a solid #2 borderline#1 and he is going to be a #3 or#4 for the Yanks. Strikeout pitcher.Granderson/Gardner LF/CF significantly better defensively than Damon/Melky combo. They have gotten younger, cheaper and have more roster/salary maneuverability after next year.

Posted by: dch at December 22, 2009 3:07 PM

Why would the Braves want Melky? Last season they got McLouth to play CF. Now they get Melky to play what?

Anyway, the rich get richer!

Posted by: lee at December 22, 2009 4:31 PM

I can't really see Melky as having any value at all if he's playing a corner. He's not a great defensive CF, but he is a good one, and hits tolerably well. Maybe the Braves don't think McClouth is really a centerfielder. If Lelky is going to play left or right, I'd think it would make more sense to have not cut Ryan Church.

Posted by: Jerry at December 22, 2009 7:30 PM

My second thought, the one after "The Yankees did it again," was that the NL Eastern Division just got a bit softer with Vasquez gone.

Posted by: DD at December 22, 2009 10:00 PM

Crank, you are missing the REAL big news!!! Yes, the Mets are on the verge of signing the final piece of their '10 vaugernaut! The the Mets are about to sign...R.A. Dickey!!!!!!! Look out NL, the Mets are coming hard.

Posted by: maddirishman at December 23, 2009 3:35 AM

Crank, you are missing the REAL big news!!! Yes, the Mets are on the verge of signing the final piece of their '10 vaugernaut! The the Mets are about to sign...R.A. Dickey!!!!!!! Look out NL, the Mets are coming hard.

Posted by: maddirishman at December 23, 2009 3:37 AM

Crank, you are missing the REAL big news!!! Yes, the Mets are on the verge of signing the final piece of their '10 vaugernaut! The the Mets are about to sign...R.A. Dickey!!!!!!! Look out NL, the Mets are coming hard.

Posted by: maddirishman at December 23, 2009 3:42 AM

Vasquez will give them innings which is always just about what the Yankees need with that line-up. Vasquez has only had one year of an ERA+ over 100 while pitching in the AL and, discounting his first 2 years in the bigs at ages 21 and 22, has never had an ERA+ under 100 while pitching in the NL. Again, taking out his learning 2 years as a kid, his ERA is almost a whole run higher as an AL pitcher. He's not close to being a number 1 in the AL. He's a good-ish 3 or 4 though. He'll pitch into the 6th most times, have the occasional very good game, get shelled by teams with good line-ups but mostly give up less than 5 runs each outing which is about all the Yanks usually need to be in the game. Considering they got him for an average outfielder (although his projected WS once made him the projected best player in the AL East) and some hot minor league prospects (oooh) I will rate this deal an 8 on the Red Sox Suck-O-Meter.

Posted by: jim at December 23, 2009 12:22 PM

I'm happy the Yanks got another decent starter. The fact that Red Sox fans are unhappy about it means it must have been decent trade.

By the way, happy holidays everyone.

Posted by: MVH at December 23, 2009 7:12 PM

dch,

Do you seriously beleive that "Vasquez is a solid #2 borderline#1"? You seemed, even for a Yankees fan, reasonable on baseball. But that? He is a number 2 in the Eastern League, a number 1 in the Carolina League. I hope the Yankees continue to reasemble the 2004 team; who's next? Kevin Brown?

Posted by: magrooder at December 23, 2009 9:39 PM

Look at his numbers dude. I am not saying he is in the Halladay, Santana, Lincecum, Sabathia, Greinke class. You don't think he is in say the top 25 pitchers in the majors. There are around 30 teams-he would be a number #1 on at least a few of them. He had 238 Ks last year -that number will go down in the AL. But say he gives you 190 ks, ERA around 4 and 180-200 innings-thats pretty good.
The Kevin Brown comment BTW really hurt.

Merry Christmas all.

Posted by: dch at December 24, 2009 11:23 AM

Javy Vasquez is not one of the Top 25 pitchers in baseball. If Javy V is your number 1 pitcher your team sucks. As a #4 for the Yankees though? That's good stuff. Certainly better than some of the garbage they paraded out there for awhile last year. He's a vet, he's durable and he'll pitch 200 solid innings for the most part. The only upside to this trade was all the replays of that massive grand slam he gave up in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS (aka The Game That Sealed The Greatest Collapse In Team Sports History).

Posted by: jim at December 24, 2009 12:36 PM

OK guys this took all of 1 minute on line-Javier Vasquez NL Pitching stats for last year
2nd most strikeouts in the NL
3rd Lowest WHIP in the NL
5th Lowest BAA in the NL
Tied for 4th in Wins
Lower ERA than Matt Cain, Johan Santana, Dan haren, Josh Johnson to name a few.
Pitched 200 plus innings-he is a top 25 pitcher.

Last year I believe he was 4th in the CY voting in the NL.

Will his numbers go down in the AL-of course-but with this team-figure 16-10/200ks/ERA around 3.90

Posted by: dch at December 24, 2009 4:35 PM

Javy V had the best year of his mostly average career last year. He's a nice pitcher. Durable, fairly solid, decent stuff. If you think for one second he is even in the discussion of those guys you mentioned then I wish you were the Yankee GM. One game to win: Do you want Vasquez or any of those four guys you named? He's a top-60 guy for sure. Maybe top-50 depending on criteria. However, to say because he had one good year last year that makes him in the echelon of Santana, etc. is foolhardy.

Posted by: jim at December 24, 2009 5:04 PM

I am not saying that-aaargh. Their is about 10-12 elite pitchers in the league-Halladay, Lincecum, Greike, Sabathia, Verlander, Santana, etc-he is not in their league. The next group of 15-20 pitchers-he is somewhere in that. If he was say on the Mets -he is a number #2, On a young or crappy team-Orioles, Blue Jays, Nationals, Pirates, Padres he is probably a #1. All I am saying -he is probably the best #3 or 4 in MLB.

Posted by: dch at December 24, 2009 7:14 PM

BTW-I need 1 Yankee pitcher to pitch a must win game-Sabathia, then Pettite

Posted by: dch at December 24, 2009 7:28 PM

You are saying that based on one season. Would you have said he was top-25 after his craptacular 2008 season or his career-to-date at the time? No, of course not. Without even looking at rotations or thinking too terribly hard about it I can name 20 guys in the AL better than Vasquez. C'mon, he's a Yankee and this is why you think this. Remember how shitty he was first time around with them? He's not much different now. He's nice but not elite. Any pitcher can have one good year. The history of baseball is littered with decent guys who found one year where they pitched over their head. That's Vasquez. He's fine but fine ain't top-25.

Posted by: jim at December 24, 2009 8:28 PM

Dude he had a great 2008 also. 20 in the AL??-dude do you play roto-Trust me there is slim pickings on most teams after the #1.

Posted by: dch at December 24, 2009 11:31 PM

Look at his career. In the AL he's a sub-100+ ERA+ guy for his career. He'd be the number 4 or 5 guy for the Sox,Yankees and Tigers. Number 3 at best for the Mariners and Angels.That's only 5 teams and at best he's somewhere between 14-16. Who is he a number 1 for? The Pirates? He's barely a .500 pitcher and has many sub .500 years with ERAs in the high 4s. He's fine. Wish he was the Sox 4 or 5 guy but a top-25 guy he just is not. Think that if you want.

And, no, I don't play roto-baseball or any sort of fantasy sport and if you think that roto-baseball and real baseball are relateable in reality I really wish you were the Yankees GM. The Sox had a guy like that, Dan Duquette and it was a horrible mess of a team.

Posted by: jim at December 25, 2009 12:50 PM

His "spectacular" 2008 season?

12-16 with a 4.76 ERA.

Please apply for a job working with Cashman.

Posted by: jim at December 25, 2009 3:28 PM

My mistake I meant 2007 (15-8)not 2008. Guys basically 10 years in a row of over 200 innings. 200ks in 5 or 6 of them, pretty good WHIP in most years. In most years you have maybe 10 pitchers who break 200ks. His ERA will go up in the AL but how much of his ERA is from having bad defensive teams behind him. His strikeouts will take pressure of an aging left side of the infield. All this and he is going to be the #3 or #4 pitcher.
BTW-Cashman is a great GM. See Granderson trade, see Swisher trade, see this trade

Posted by: dch at December 26, 2009 1:01 PM

All I'm saying is that eating innings, striking out 200 hitters and being consistently ok enough to be run out there every 5 days does not make him one of the best 25 pitchers in baseball. His ERA+ in the AL has generally been below 100. He's basically above average making him a top-50 or 60 guy. He's a great fit as a #4 or a good fit as a #3. Anything above that and you probably are a bad NL team.

My implication, also, was not that Cashman was a bad GM (although I don't know that he's that terrific either as it is easier to be in his position in a way than anyone else's as the margin for error is massive) but that if you think roto-baseball is a map for creating good baseball teams you should take his job. It's tongue and cheek meaning that I suspect Cashman is decent at what he does and I would prefer it if someone went in there and mucked it up.

Posted by: jim at December 26, 2009 5:44 PM

A. The Braves were dumping a SP. They had 6 & apparently no one wanted Derek Lowe. Gonna miss Javy.

B. The Braves have no one to play RF. Matt Diaz has been given every opportunity to play anywhere & has never been able to follow through. Great in a platoon role, not good or injured as a starter. After handing over Frenchie for someone who was later waived, there is no front runner for RF. I'd say right now there's a Melky/Diaz platoon in RF, if G. Anderson is healthy in LF.

The Braves got worse & the Yankees got much better. Oh, but the Braves dumped millions in salary, which is why so many people contend that the Yankees are able to buy championships: because they ARE buying championships.

Not good for baseball, guys, not good at all.

Posted by: RW at December 26, 2009 10:38 PM
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