Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Melky for Vazquez? I LIKE IT

I woke up this morning to the news that the Yankees traded Melky Cabrera and two prospects to the Braves for Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan. I proceeded to log onto Facebook, where I saw many of my Yankee-fan friends complaining about the move. Why?

Yankee fans remember Javier Vazquez from his unsuccessful stint with the club in 2004, where he lost Game 7 of the ALCS that allowed the hated Boston Red Sox to reach the World Series after being down 3-0. And since he was in the National League last season, most of these same fans don't realize he posted the best season of his career with 15 wins, a 2.87 ERA and 238 strikeouts in 219.1 innings.

I don't live in the past. The 2010 baseball season is not the 2004 baseball season. And Javier Vazquez is a much different (read: better) pitcher than he was six years ago. It's difficult to expect a sub-3.00 ERA moving to the American League, but I don't understand why Yankee fans hate this move so much.

As much as I like Melky Cabrera, he is nothing more than an average major-league outfielder. With the trade for Curtis Granderson, Cabrera became expendable. He was slotted to start in left field if the Yankees made no other moves, but his bat doesn't match up to what most teams look for in a corner outfielder.

If the Yankees stand pat and don't sign Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, Brett Gardner is not much of a downgrade from Cabrera. Gardner has game-changing speed that will bring a new dimension to New York's lineup, while Cabrera is solid in many facets of the game but spectacular in none.

The difference between Cabrera and Gardner pales in comparison to the difference between Vazquez and whoever the Yankees would have used as their fourth starter (Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre), assuming they move Joba Chamberlain back to the bullpen.

I also can't agree with the application of the "can't play in New York" label to Vazquez. He was here for one season, and he was awesome in the first half. For those of you who forgot, let's check the splits:

First half: 118.2 innings, 10-5 record, 3.57 ERA, 95:32 K:BB ratio, .233 average
Second half: 79.1 innings, 4-5 record, 6.92 ERA, 55:28 K:BB ratio, .286 average

His first-half production that season represents the kind of season I expect from Vazquez. He has had a sub-4.00 ERA just once in his four seasons in the AL but, like I said before, I don't live in the past. And anybody who follows baseball knows Vazquez is much more 3.57 than he is 6.92. Can you say aberration?

Vazquez looked awesome last season and, while a slight statistical dropoff should be expected, 2010 will not be a repeat of 2004. Excellent trade for the Yanks.


  1. Great deal...Vazquez was hurt that second half, and he is only a number four for us. He has a one year deal, so we don't have anymore long term contracts precluding us from signing Cliff Lee, Joe Mauer, Carl Crawford etc. Also, he'll be a Type A free agent, so we will get good picks back for him, replenishing our system from this and the Granderson trade.

  2. True when you think about it Javier is a good replacement for Chad Guardin its no contest between those two. The only thing I will never understand is why people blame him for 04. The red sox had so much momentum going into that game 7 and Vasquez came in with the bases loaded nobody out down by two thanks to kevin brown it was a really tough position for a young pitcher to be in. When your team loses a series they were up 3-0 you have to blame the entire team because other than matsui and sheffield nobody was stepping it up.