Trade thoughts: Vasquez/Cabrera

25 12 2009

Everyone in the New York area freaked out after the trade that sent Melky Cabrera to Atlanta and Javier Vasquez back to the Bronx. Most of the freak-out centered around the loss of Melky. Besides getting rid of the “Got Melky?” T-shirts, I don’t think that’s a huge deal.

I’m more concerned about Vasquez being back in pinstripes. That sentence chilled me to write. OK, OK, I know he wasn’t a dreadful pitcher when he pitched for the Yankees in 2004 (he went 14-10 with a 4.91 ERA). Well, actually, those numbers are pretty bad. And the clearest memory I have of Vasquez is his part in losing the 2004 ALCS game 7 — two monster home runs given up to then-Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon. Vasquez told the Associated Press last week that “hopefully, (he) can erase those memories.” Javier, it’s New York. It’s a what-have-you-done-lately town, and fans hated and heckled Alex Rodriguez for years — even after he won the AL MVP. So, good luck with erasing those memories.

Vasquez gives up big hits. That’s something the Yanks don’t need, and that’s my biggest concern. Sure, he’s coming off his best season in the big leagues (In 32 starts, a 15-10 record with a career-best 2.87 ERA. He struck out 238 hitters in 219 1/3 innings.) Let’s make something clear, though, first. He was pitching in the National League. There’s a huge difference in lineup you face and the quality of hitters you pitch to on a regular basis. According to MLB Fanhouse, Vasquez’s ERA is a half-run lower when he pitches in the NL. Coming back to the AL East? Not gonna be pretty.

I guess I’m in the minority here. A lot of Yankees fans and blogs have been thrilled with the trade, and Atlanta blogs/papers are furious that the Braves gave up their “best pitcher for the Yankees’ eighth- or ninth-best player.”

Still, it’s definitely not a slam-dunk. I think in general, it’s good that New York is trying to solidify its starting rotation. You just have to be concerned about putting a guy on the mound who didn’t handle the bright lights of New York well once before. I’m also reading some rumblings about the rest of the players involved in the trade — the guys out of the spotlight.

This is the official Yankees press release: The New York Yankees today acquired right-handed pitcher Javier Vazquez and left-handed pitcher Boone Logan from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for outfielder Melky Cabrera, left-handed pitcher Michael Dunn, right-handed pitcher Arodys Vizcaino and cash considerations. It sounds like people are concerned that giving up Vizcaino was a big deal. Let’s go to the LoHud Yankees blog for more on Vizcaino.

Couple quick things before I stop rambling. My initial reaction to losing Melky was, eh, oh well. He isn’t irreplaceable, and hopefully, the Yankees can find a more consistent hitter down the line to take his place. If this trade means Johnny Damon stays, too, well, that’s also fine by me.

Basically, I’m being cautious before deciding whether or not I like this trade. It could be great, or it could blow up in our faces. I’m pretty nervous.

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2 responses

25 12 2009
Larry Fine

What do you know about Boone Logan? Will he be able to fill the lefty reliever’s slot or do things really go better with Coke. It seemed clear to me that Damaso Marte being unhittable in the post season made Coke expendable. But your point is well taken about the innings logged during the regular season by Coke. Do you think they are through wheeling and dealing? I still think Damon returns if he isn’t asking for 4 or 5 years. My preference has always been to have Hughes back in the starting rotation and leave Joba in the pen as the 8th inning guy and Mo’s eventual successor.

Regards to your folks. Your Uncle Bruce has been sick and throwing up in our bathroom all day so no bridge for us.

26 12 2009
baseballstobaselines

Here are some stats on Logan: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/l/loganbo02.shtml?redir Nothing really jumps out at me, except that really high 5.78 ERA. Still, it’s a small sample of work. I don’t know much about the guy even after looking at his numbers.

It seems like Cashman is enjoying the offseason this year, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees continue wheeling and dealing. I also think Damon will be in pinstripes next year (with a 1- or 2-year deal). The Yankees might want to go out and get another pitcher (preferably a reliever) or something as well.

And regarding guys they’ve already got, I think they need to switch up Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. Joba’s an emotional guy, so a 1- or 2-inning appearance works well for him — he’s been way more effective as a reliever. Hughes pitched well out of the bullpen last season, but he’s groomed to be a starter. I saw him in his first start in the big leagues in years (last April against Detroit), and he was fabulous. He didn’t tire, and he’s got multiple pitches that work well. He needs to start, and he’ll be a more consistent starter than Joba was last year. Hughes also doesn’t have those lame pitch count “Joba rules,” so he can pitch longer and deeper into games.

P.S. Thanks for the update on Bruce. That’s disgusting. Tell him I said that!

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