I don’t think Josh (the Yankee Truth) likes the deal due to the 2004 memories, but I’ll have to e-mail him about it later.
I like it.
Today the Yankees shored up their rotation by trading Melky Cabrera to the Braves for Javier Vazquez (the Yanks also get Boone Logan in the deal while giving up Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino).
Vazquez went 14-10, 4.91 for the Yanks in 2004, and was an all-star that year. He had a poor postseason, and gave up the curse-killing grand slam to JD in Game 7 of the ALCS that year. He started that year 10-5, 3.56 then went south after July 9th.
One thing, though. That year, Vazquez was supposed to be the ace, more or less. The Truth is, (sorry, Josh) that the Yanks really didn’t have an ace in 2004, which is why the ALCS collapse occured. Vazquez was 14-10, 4.91; Jon Lieber 14-8, 4.33; Kevin Brown 10-6, 4.09; Mike Mussina 12-9, 4.57; Jose Contreras 8-5, 5.64 when traded at the deadline; El Duque was 8-2, 3.30 after coming back. Only Vazquez gave 30 starts. Vazquez led the 2004 Yankees with 198 IP.
Now, (and I think this is huge), Vazquez doesn’t have to be the ace. Nor 2 or 3. He comes in as the #4 pitcher. A #4 who has been through the NY experience before. A #4 who won 15 games last year with an ERA of 2.87. The 33 year old is 142-139 in his career, 4.19 (ERA+ 107). But he eats innings. That 2004 campaign is the only year since 2000 that Vazquez did not pitch 200 innings. He throws heat (Josh does like the power pitchers). Now he joins Hughes, Joba, CC, AJ, Robertson as guys who can strike batters out (238 last year, 5x over 200 in his career). Not to mention Mo.
We aren’t talking ace here. We are talking a guy who is a legit #2 on most teams (and ace on some) coming in to be the #4 guy. Meaning the Yanks now have four starters who all could win say 14-15 games a year (and in some cases more).
…and it also means this. That #5 guy could come from a batch of Hughes, Joba, Aceves or Gaudin with the other three going to the bullpen. Say Hughes is the #5. You still have Aceves and Gaudin as long men and Joba and Robertson set up Mo.
How can you not like that?
The Yanks also get Boone Logan, a 25 year old lefty. HIs stats aren’t impressive, 1-1, 5.19 in 20 games for the Braves last year, 5-5, 5.78 in his career, but he’ll have the chance to take over the spot Phil Coke (traded to Detroit a few weeks ago in the Granderson deal) had last year. He looks like purely a LOOGY. Hey, the 6’5″ Logan is still young.
On the flip side, the Yanks do lose an OF. Personally, I don’t think Melky will hit as many HR in Atlanta as he did with the Yanks. There won’t be any “Melk” to go with AJ’s pies so we’ll have to see what other moves Cashman has up his sleeve.
Melky hit .274-13-68 with 10 sb (OPS+ 99) for the Yanks in 2009. The 25 year old OF is a .269 hitter, career OPS+ still only 88. His 162 g. average is .269-10-65, 13 sb. Nice little OF. But for a #4 starter who can possibly win 15? Expendable.
Of course for now, Brett Gardner is a winner. But somehow I see Gardner as the 4th OF (PR/Def. replacement) next year.
So if Granderson is in CF and Swisher in RF, who’s in LF?
I don’t see Bay or Holliday. Could JD return even though it’s been ruled out? Is there enough in the budget (now back over $200 M) for JD? Can you picture this?
Granderson CF (yeah, I know…I really don’t like him here at 5 but…)
Johnson (who had a .426 OBP last year) and whose 162 g. average is .273-19-80 with 102 walks hitting 9th? How insane would that be? ..and don’t forget, Nick Swisher, despite the .249 average, had 97 walks last year. Insane.
I hear DeRosa talk for LF. DeRosa is 34 (35 in Feb.) and looking in the $6M range. I don’t know how low JD will come down to in his negotiations. I don’t think he’ll be back (he said as much, but as that James Bond movie said, Never Say Never Again). DeRosa went .250-23-78 for Cle/StL last year. OPS+ 99. He is versatile.
I, however, would suggest someone else. Move Granderson to LF and go after Marlon Byrd for CF. Byrd is cheaper (just a bit over $3M last year) and at 32, a little younger than DeRosa. He hit .283-20-89 last year (OPS+ 106). His 162 game average is .279-12-69, OPS+ 99. The HR and RBI were career highs as he never had more than 10 HR before but in the past three seasons Byrd hit .307, .298 and .283.
DeRosa has a 162 game average of .275-14-68, OPS+ 97. The numbers compared to Byrd are similar. DeRosa is older. Byrd allows Granderson to go to LF (or vice-versa) and allows for better OF defense. Byrd, a righty, I think complements Gardner. Both are CF and Granderson switches to LF. With DeRosa, Gardner is pushed more in the background since DeRosa plays LF, Granderson CF.
So if JD, Holliday and Bay are off the radar for monetary reasons, and Byrd fits the plans, how would you like this (and in this case, my lineup puts Granderson back at #2 since no JD).
Johnson DH (that OBP in front of Posada, Cano and Swisher)
All in all, not too bad.
Cashman has another trick up his sleeve. OF, specifically a LF. The question is when does he pull the rabbit out of the hat and who will that rabbit be?
The other thing I wonder with the deal of Melky is this—how high are the Yanks on that Rule 5 player, Jamie Hoffmann?
Also going to the Braves were Michael Dunn (the 24 year old lefty had a cup of tea with the Yanks in 2009, 4-3, 3.31 in AA/AAA) 99 K in 73 1/3 minor league innings) and 19 year old Arodys Vizcaino, who in short season Staten Island was 2-4, 2.13 in 10 games and a top prospect.
Update: I really think this deal is the straw that broke the camel’s back regarding Wang coming back or even the Yanks possibly signing Ben Sheets as a reclamation project (really, both would be). Now to see what Cash does for LF.
I wonder if the onus is on JD. Looking at the makeup of the team, JD has to be salivating for another ring. But does he (like A-Rod) do his own deal and basically tell Boras to stick it? Granted JD may have to come back at less than he would want.
In other words, the money elsewhere….or the RING here?