30 Sep 2010
I have to admit, I thought Javy Vazquez Round 2 would be a success. Now, I wasn’t expecting him to pitch like an ace, but I thought 200 innings of a low-4 ERA were a certainty. I ignored all the screams about his performance in 2004. I figured he would thrive in the non-pressurized role of a fourth starter and the Yankees would get exactly what they needed to round out the 2010 rotation. In short, I completely blew it.
Those of you who read this site know that I like to look at stats. I think statistics are one of the most important tools a GM can utilize when evaluating a team. On the other hand, I think some people go too far with them. My chief argument against the pure stats guys has always been that an offense made up of nine Ty Cobbs may be dominant on paper, but it would never get out of the dugout because they would all kill each other. A player’s personality and attitude matter and you will never see that in a statistics report. It is probably the biggest challenge facing teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, they have to not only find good players, but they have to find good players who can handle the cauldron that is Northeast baseball. Clearly, Javier Vazquez isn’t up to that. He lived down to the expectations of all the naysayers. I could not have been more wrong about him.
But, trading for Vazquez won’t join the ranks of the worst trades in franchise history because it produced two other results that are vital to the 2010 Yankees and beyond. First, the trade sent Melky Cabrera to Atlanta. Melky has hit .258/.319/.357 in Atlanta, or just about what you expected him to do. His absence in New York gave Brett Gardner a shot at playing everyday and he rewarded the Yankees with a .278/.383/.381 year. One wonders how much better he would have been if he hadn’t hurt his wrist at the end of June and it is worth noting he has hit .308/.357/.462 since he got a cortisone shot in that wrist last week. Gardner’s development is one of the big success stories of 2010.
The second part of the trade is Boone Logan. Logan has turned into a great lefty specialist this year, holding LHB to a .508 OPS. He is exactly what this team needed and with Damaso Marte on the DL, his presence saved the Yankees from having to go out and trade for another lefty.
The Yankees will delete the Vazquez mistake in the offseason. You will read about how they declined to offer him arbitration and that will be that. Arodys Vizcaino, the prospect they traded for Vazquez, may turn out to be something down the road. He pitched well in low-A ball this year before struggling in high-A ball. But this won’t be be remembered as the Jay Buhner trade. Despite Vazquez’s struggles, the Yankees still have reasons to like the deal they made.