As promised, here’s my opinion on the trade reported today.
First, toss out Mike Dunn and Boone Logan. That’s a push. They’re both lefty. They both can’t get big league batters out, consistently. It’s six of one and a half-dozen of the other.
This trade breaks down to Melky Cabrera and Arodys Vizcaino for Javier Vazquez. Actually, it’s for “one year of Javier Vazquez” since he will be a free agent after 2010 (assuming the Yankees don’t extend his contract – which is a safe bet…’cause they’re not extending him while ignoring Derek Jeter’s possible extension).
Now, when Melky Cabrera first came up, I thought he was exciting. And, I was a huge fan of his potential. But, the scouts were right about Leche – he’s a .280 hitter who doesn’t walk and has almost no power. Basically, he’s a swell 4th outfielder – and someone who deserves to play in the major leagues. But, he’s not a star and should not be a full-time player on a contending team. Losing Cabrera, at the worst, hurts the Yankees in the sense that he was Robinson Cano’s “primo” and now Cano will have to find someone else to spoon with when he’s feeling low. (Luckily for Robbie, K-Hud and A-Rod just broke up and Alex Rodriguez is available.)
Arodys Vizcaino is one of the Yankees best pitching prospects. But, is he the next Pedro Martinez or the next Octavio Dotel? We don’t know because he’s yet to pitch above the short-season Penn League. Basically, we have years before we know what Arodys Vizcaino is all about, etc.
On the “risk” scale, in terms of what the Yankees gave up in this deal, the needle is much closer to the abstinence side of the meter than it is to the glory hole side of the scale.
So, how about Javier Vazquez? Well, first, as mentioned, he’s a rental player. And, you always have to be concerned about a guy who is traded five times in six years. That’s a red flag, for sure. Blistering red, if you ask me.
But, the big thing with Vazquez is: Can he pitch in the American League? If you look at his career, in terms of his component skills, Vazquez is pretty consistent. Yet, for some reason, his bubble-gum card stats, outside of 2007, are much better when he’s in the N.L. than when he’s in the A.L. (where the Yankees play). In the Senior Cicuit, he’s a Cy Young contender. In the Junior Circuit, he’s a league average pitcher. Perhaps it’s the A.L. ballparks that do him in? (By the way, his lifetime ERA while pitching in the Bronx is 7.09 over 6 games.) But, even at his worst, Javy should be good for close to 200 innings pitched and somewhere around 12-14 wins.
In a sense, Vazquez should give the Yankees what they get from Andy Pettitte and A.J. Burnett in 2010 – meaning 30 starts, 200 IP, and around 13 wins. Is that good news? To me, that puts a lot of pressure on CC Sabathia to post a W-L record that’s at least 10 games over .500. Can he do it? Sure, he’s done it in the past. But, can you count on it? I dunno…
Bottom line, is this a good trade for the Yankees? Well, it’s not the worst trade they’ve ever made…but, I don’t see a ton here to get excited about it…it’s not like dealing for Roy Halladay or something. And, as I said, if Sabathia does not shine in 2010, and Burnett/Pettitte/Vazquez pitch to the reasonable expectations from them, it could mean the Yankees don’t win 95 games in 2010 – which is what they will probably need to make the post-season.