Blog Entry

Is Vazquez the pitcher the Yankees needed?

Posted on: December 22, 2009 1:59 pm
As general manager Brian Cashman rightly pointed out last week, the Yankees still have every starting pitcher they used on the way to a 52-22 second half and eventually a 27th World Series title.

As Cashman rightly showed with Tuesday’s trade for Javier Vazquez, the Yankees still badly needed to add another pitcher.

Is Vazquez the right guy?

That depends on the answer to two questions: First, will Vazquez handle the pressures of New York better as a 33-year-old number four starter than he did as a 27-year-old presumptive ace? Second, was Vazquez’s outstanding 2009 season an indication that he has figured things out, or a sign that he was just a lot more comfortable pitching in Atlanta for Bobby Cox than he has been at other stops?

No matter what, the Yankees are getting a pitcher who can be counted on for 200 innings. They’ve added veteran depth to a rotation that already has CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte, and they’ve set themselves up to allow Phil Hughes and/or Joba Chamberlain to go to the bullpen.

They’ve given themselves a potential fourth starter for the postseason (which they didn’t have in 2009), and a little protection in case one of their big three gets hurt. Remember that the durable Pettitte will be pitching at age 38 by the end of 2010, and the not-always-durable Burnett is coming off pitching 234 1/3 innings and working into November for the first time in his career.

Expect both Hughes and Chamberlain still to go to spring training as starters, but unless someone gets hurt, there’s only room for one of them -- at most -- in the Opening Day rotation. The question of who goes where will likely be asked for months to come.

Other questions must be answered a lot sooner than that -- for both teams involved in Tuesday’s Vazquez-for-Melky Cabrera swap (and for one team that wasn’t). The biggest ones:

-- The Braves always intended to trade either Vazquez or Derek Lowe for a much-needed bat. Cabrera could help them, but he’s not really that bat. So the Braves will take the approximately $9 million they save and keep shopping. They say they still can’t afford Matt Holliday or Jason Bay (and probably not even Johnny Damon), but who does that leave them with? Jermaine Dye? Marlon Byrd? Or another trade?

-- If the Braves believe that the 25-year-old Cabrera can be a long-term answer in center field, does that mean they’d make Jordan Schafer available in a trade?

-- With Cabrera out of the picture, the Yankees will shop for a better left-field option than Brett Gardner. But who will that be? Will they break their promise to cut payroll this winter and jump in on Holliday or Bay? So far, they’re suggesting they won’t, but their history says don’t count them out. Would they reverse course from last week and go back to Damon? Unlikely. So far, the only suggestion is that after adding left-handed hitters Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson (to replace Damon and Hideki Matsui) this winter, they’d prefer a right-handed bat.

-- And what to make of the Angels, who earlier in the offseason lost out on top targets Roy Halladay and John Lackey? They were considered a prime suitor for Lowe, and possibly even Vazquez (although they would have had to buy him out of a no-trade clause and a longstanding desire to remain on the East Coast). They seemed to have a match, with Juan Rivera available to trade. Yet sources said they never truly joined the talks.

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2012 4:28 pm

Is Vazquez the pitcher the Yankees needed?

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 15, 2012 4:24 am

Is Vazquez the pitcher the Yankees needed?

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 31, 2011 6:11 am

Is Vazquez the pitcher the Yankees needed?

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 24, 2011 5:48 am

Is Vazquez the pitcher the Yankees needed?

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 11:24 pm

Is Vazquez the pitcher the Yankees needed?

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 10:41 pm

Is Vazquez the pitcher the Yankees needed?

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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 2:50 pm
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Since: Jan 4, 2010
Posted on: January 23, 2010 12:21 pm

Is Vazquez the pitcher the Yankees needed?

He might not be the best pitcher out there, but he is an incredible pickup for the Yankees, a #4 starter who eats innings and has great stuff, with more confidence that tour in NYC.  Playing in october takes pitching lots of it and the yankees , phillies, red sux, angels, all ready know . I liked Melky alot and he going to be missed, but he is easier to replace than a above average starting pitcher. Cash land a left fielder and let Joe leed us to the promise land # 28 here we come

Since: Apr 6, 2008
Posted on: January 19, 2010 11:00 pm

Is Vazquez the pitcher the Yankees needed?

Can you say "Game 7 '04 ALCS?"  He's proven his choking ability.  Vaszquez = Lackey?  Wake-up YANKEE MORON!

Since: Jul 1, 2009
Posted on: December 24, 2009 3:07 pm

Is Vazquez the pitcher the Yankees needed?

What is it rdskinz, is Buchholz good or is Buchholz bad? One sentence you tell us he can't pitch in pressure situations and in another sentence you say if he's traded away it lightens the SP rotation.

Buchholz has a 6-2 lifetime record in September with one no decision, the no decision game he gave up 1 run in 7 innings. He has one of the 260 no-hitters pitched in MLB history. Had a pretty nice start against the Angels in game 3 of the 2009 play-offs. Where did you get your information that Buchholz doesn't pitch well under pressure.

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