What to Expect from Javy Vazquez

Yankee fans seem to be split on how newly-acquired pitcher Javier Vazquez will perform this season in his return to New York.

Some fans hope that Vazquez will perform well under the New York spotlight, coming off the best season of his career. He posted a 14-10 record with a 4.91 ERA in his lone season with the Yankees in 2004. He’ll look to improve from that season, only this time around with a more sturdy staff surrounding him (sorry Kevin Brown, El Duque, Contreras, Jon Lieber and Mussina). Others are scared that he will collapse under the New York spotlight.

Yankee fans have a new reason to debate how he will do this year. The 33-year-old Vazquez told La Perla del Sur, a Puerto Rican newspaper (found via Bryan hoch at MLB.com), “I don’t have much playing time left,” Vazquez told the paper. “It is up to God. I go year by year, and I don’t know if it will be one, two or three years, but I’m definitely not going to play until 40.”

Now, does this mean that Vazquez will definitely retire after this season? No, but it is possible. So should Yankee fans fear his thoughts or look at them positively? You could look at it from two perspectives: Positive: Vazquez carries over his best pitching from last season, and dominates in the AL East. He adds the more curveballs into his range of pitches, as he said he will this season. He looks at his future retirement as a motive to pitch even better than the past to finish his career off on the right foot. Negative: Vazquez focuses too much on retirement and doesn’t perform to the best that he can. He liked the NL East better than the AL East, with the likes of the Nationals and the depleted Mets opposed to the new and improved Orioles and the rising Blue Jays.

Vazquez had the best season of his career, with a 15-10 record, a 2.87 ERA, 238 strikeouts and finishing 4th in the NL Cy Young voting. In his career in the American League (1 season Yankees, 3 seasons White sox), he’s 52-46 with a 4.52 ERA and a 1.258 WHIP. He’s expected to be the Yankees #4 starter to begin the season.

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6 Responses to What to Expect from Javy Vazquez

  1. I've heard Vaquez compared to Andy Pettitte since this quote and I feel that is the type of situation he is talking about here. I don't think he is saying that he intends to retire, but that he doesn't expect to play for a long time. If that's the case, like Pettitte, he'll pitch the season and then he'll see how he feels and go from there. This could work in the Yankees favor though because that could mean that like Pettitte he'll only want one-year deals from here on out. That provides a lot of roster flexibility and gives them incentive to keep him because one year deals are much more appealing for pitchers than multi-year contracts.

  2. She-Fan says:

    I'm with Jeffrey. I hope his recent success wasn't just the result of being in the NL but rather that he's matured with time and doesn't get rattled. That said, he'll be coming back to NY – and it's easier to get rattled here!

  3. Jeffrey says:

    I think that the base case for Vasquez is an ERA of a bit over 4.00 which isn’t bad in this market.

    However, I saw him pitch a few times last year and came away very impressed. Whereas he used to have one bad inning and you could see him coming apart when things weren’t going his way, he always seemed to know what to do to limit the damage. Maybe this comes with experience, maybe it was the National League, I don’t know. But I am hopeful that he can do substantially better than the base case.

  4. I'm hoping for something under a 4.00 ERA, but I'm with Rob. I don't think he has to be dominant to be a good no. 4 starter.

  5. If he throws 190+ innings and has an era below 4.25, I’ll be happy.

  6. Dan Reiner says:

    I’m with all of you. I’m more looking forward to seeing if mixing in more curveballs to his repertoire of strikeout pitches can put him at/above the 238 from last season, which would be nice..