What Does This Mean For Joba and Hughes?

From Keith Law: For the Yankees, adding Vazquez means either Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes will start the season in the bullpen. It probably also signals that the Yankees feel one of them belongs there, most likely Hughes at this point. If the organization believed that both pitchers eventually would work out as starters in the majors, it would be more willing to give both rotation spots and back them up with a lesser option than Vazquez, who was, as you might have heard, the second-best pitcher in the National League this past season. I do not agree with Keith’s Continue reading What Does This Mean For Joba and Hughes?

Yanks reacquire Javy Vazquez

Looks like Cashman’s trying to get the band back together!

The Daily News has learned that the Yankees will acquire the righthanded pitcher from the Braves along with lefthanded reliever Boone Logan, sending Melky Cabrera, lefty Mike Dunn and another minor leaguer to the Braves. [EDIT: other player appears to be Arodys Vizcaino]

Vazquez pitched for the Yankees in 2004, going 14-10 with a 4.91 ERA before being traded to Arizona for Randy Johnson – in a deal Brian Cashman didn’t want to make at the time. Now, Cashman is reacquiring the 33-year-old, adding him to a rotation with CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain.

This is a great ‘for-now’ trade but did the Yanks give up too much young talent, though? Dunn was rumored to be included in the Granderson deal and is a real thrower. Yanks also sending Arodys Vizcaino the #3 in NYY system by Baseball America, along with possessing the farm system’s. “Best Curveball”.

Yanks fans might remember Javy serving up a nail-in-the-coffin grand slam to Johnny Damon in Game. Seven of the 2004 ALCS. They’d be better off remembering that he’s struck out 1,027 batters over the last five years since he left. As well as pitching at least 198 innings every year since 1999 when he started only 26 games in Montreal.

With that, let’s go back to 2004 and take a deeper look at Vaz’s monthly splits as clearly there was something wrong with him in the second half (Mark Feinsand claims that Vazquez was indeed hurt in the 2nd half of 2004, although Tyler Kepner, back in 2008, said that Vaz wasn’t hurt at all and it was simply mechanics. Thanks to RAB for the Kepner tidbit):

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So what does this mean for the defense?

I’ve been campaigning for Brett Gardner to start in the outfield as long as I’ve been blogging (ok, so that’s all of 6 months). Thus, it should be no huge surprise that I’m not bummed to see Melky Cabrera moving on to the Braves. There’s been this odd perception around the interweb that Melky Cabrera is:

  1. Much better offensively than Brett Gardner; and
  2. a better fielder than Brett Gardner, largely on his arm strength.

Let’s go in order. It’s tough to really compare Melky and Gardner at the major league level, largely because Gardner doesn’t have enough of a sample size to really base a conclusion on (though it’s clear he’s been largely ‘blah’ during that small sample). Melky does have the sample size–and it’s pretty ‘blah’ too. In his four full seasons, he’s reached the average level for hitters (a .330 wOBA) twice, both times just barely (2006, 2009). That’s pretty decent for a CF, especially one who can field the position at least competently. Unfortunately, he’s also sprinkled in a .317 wOBA (2007) and a .285 wOBA (2008). Which, of course, means we can’t send him to the Japanese leagues, because over there they make you commit seppuku if you perform that terribly.

Gardner has only two seasons to discuss, and those include 280 ABs in 2009 and 140 ABs in 2008. In 2008 he was terrible, putting up a .282 wOBA. In 2009, he was pretty good, putting up a .337 wOBA. It’d be easy to try and argue that we should put more weight on his longer sample (especially given my ‘free Gardner’ stance), but in reality neither of those samples are large enough to conclude anything. So we’re stuck on the Gardner/Melky comparison.

Except they did both spend five years in the minor leagues. And we do have THAT data, and it’s more than enough to make a comparison. Let’s go to the video tape:

Melky’s 5 years slash to .296/.349/.420/.769
Gardner’s 5 years slash to .289/.389/.383/.772

Sure looks to me as though Gardner’s a lot more patient, and a chunk less powerful than Melky. The OBP, especially combined with his ability to turn walks into doubles by stealing bases, is a lot more valuable than the upgrade in power that Melky represents. The issue with this analysis, of course, is that Gardner’s five years are from ages 21-25, while Melky’s are from ages 18-23 (he spent all of his age 22 season at the major league level).

So what does this data tell us about Melky and Gardner offensively? It certainly doesn’t show that Gardner’s the better player, much as I’d like it to. What it does show is that there’s not a big edge one way or the other. These guys are both aiming to be league average each year (which is slightly above average when playing in CF, or a bit below average when playing a corner spot).

Where we can highlight a big difference, however, is defensively. For the purposes of this analysis, we’re going to look at both players’ performance in CF, because there’s where we have the biggest sample size of data. First off, let’s look at Melky.

Continue reading So what does this mean for the defense?

Yanks reacquire Javy Vazquez

Looks like Cashman’s trying to get the band back together!

The Daily News has learned that the Yankees will acquire the righthanded pitcher from the Braves along with lefthanded reliever Boone Logan, sending Melky Cabrera, lefty Mike Dunn and another minor leaguer to the Braves. [EDIT: other player appears to be Arodys Vizcaino]

Vazquez pitched for the Yankees in 2004, going 14-10 with a 4.91 ERA before being traded to Arizona for Randy Johnson – in a deal Brian Cashman didn’t want to make at the time. Now, Cashman is reacquiring the 33-year-old, adding him to a rotation with CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain.

This is a great ‘for-now’ trade but did the Yanks give up too much young talent, though? Dunn was rumored to be included in the Granderson deal and is a real thrower. Yanks also sending Arodys Vizcaino the #3 in NYY system by Baseball America, along with possessing the farm system’s'”Best Curveball”.

Let’s go back to 2004 and take a deeper look at Vaz’s monthly splits as clearly there was something wrong with him in the second half:

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Tuesday open trade rumor thread

I don’t often run an open thread for trade rumors. There are other places we all go to for that. However, since there’s a ton of chatter out there right now, let’s get it started.

Joel Sherman, via Twitter:

#Yankees working hard to re-acquire Javier Vazquez, I have learned

Sherman, again

#Braves have always liked Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera, but haven’t been able to determine yet who #Yankees would surrender

Sherman, continuing

#Yankees traded Nick Johnson to get Vazquez, and now might have both on team

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Was Vazquez Lucky in 2009? Or Just Better?

In case you have been under a rock for the last 12 hours, the Yankees have reacquired RHP Javier Vazquez and LHP Boone Logan from the Braves for OF Melky Cabrera, LHP Michael Dunn, and RHP Arodys Vizcaino.  Yankee fans probably remember Vazquez best for his shaky 2004 season, which saw him get off to a strong first half start (even making the All Star team) and struggle mightily in the 2nd half of the season, including the playoffs (giving up an infamous grand slam to Johnny Damon).  Based on his 2004 season, the criticism of Vazquez was that he Continue reading Was Vazquez Lucky in 2009? Or Just Better?

The taxman cometh

The Taxman cometh, via longtime FOTB Maury Brown of the Biz Of Baseball cartel/syndicate:

For the seventh straight year, the New York Yankees have broken through Major League Baseball’s soft cap, also known as the Luxury Tax, and in doing so, will pay $25,689,173 in penalties. Since the collectively bargained tax designed to stop clubs from lavishly outspending on player payroll was put in place, the Yankees have paid a total of $174,183,419 of $190,275,477 in total dollars paid into luxury tax, or 92 percent of the total since the tax was put into place.

The only other clubs that have paid the tax include the Red Sox (2004-’07), Angels (2004), and Tigers (2008).

Luxury Tax Figures: 2003-2009
Club
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
Total
Yanks $11,798,357 $25,964,060 $33,978,702 $26,009,039 $23,881,386 $26,862,702 $25,689,173 $174,183,419
R. Sox $3,148,962 $4,148,981 $497,549 $6,064,287 $13,859,779
Angels $927,059 $927,059
Tigers $1,305,220 $1,305,220
Total $11,798,357 $30,040,081 $38,127,683 $26,506,587 $29,945,673 $28,167,922 $25,689,173 $190,275,477

[Was wondering if I could rewrite “Enter Sandman” to “Enter Taxman”, but after my Marquis shenanigans, I am not ready to make another go of it this morning…If anyone else feels the creativity, send it to me!]

Continue reading The taxman cometh

There's awesome quotes and then there's this…

We don’t often get quotes that are completely devoid of a filter, completely funny or not carrying an attorney’s blessing, so when I read something like this, particularly from a “friend”, I have to laugh pretty loudly (emphasis mine):

UPDATE, 12:25 a.m.: I know that Josh Johnson is a name that has been mentioned and bandied about both tonight and over the past month or so, and it’s interesting to hear that Johnson was apparently very angry about the Marlins reportedly offering a five-year deal to Aroldis Chapman.

That said, Florida has Johnson under control for two more years and has indicated previously that they aren’t interested in dealing him. Back in November, Johnson’s agent, Matt Sosnick, gave this fantastic quote to Fox Sports: I’d be less surprised if Elijah showed up at my parents’ house this Passover than if they trade (Johnson) before the start of the season.

+1 for Sosnick.

UPDATE (9:02am, 12/22/09): Buster tweets:

Brian Cashman’s M.O. is to go big-game hunting (Vazquez, Weaver in 2003, etc.) — and the best young SP to grab is Josh Johnson. We’ll see…

Continue reading There's awesome quotes and then there's this…

Yankees Acquire Javy Vazquez for Melky, Dunn, Vizcaino

[image title=”javier-vazquez-230×300″ size=”full” id=”13388″ align=”center” ]MLBTR reports that the Yankees will acquire Javy Vazquez for Melky Cabrera, Michael Dunn, and Arodys Vizcaino. They will pay the entirety of Vazquez’s 11.5 million dollar salary. I’m at work, so this will have to be pretty brief. Melky leaving clears the way for some kind of left field situation involving Brett Gardner. Dunn being traded pretty much commits the Yankees to only having one lefty out of the bullpen. Arodys Vizcaino is a very good prospect, but also an entirely expendable one. Overall, its a great trade for the Yankees. Vazquez was an Continue reading Yankees Acquire Javy Vazquez for Melky, Dunn, Vizcaino