Where would the Yankees bullpen have been last season without Alfredo Aceves? Probably right about where they are right now without him. And LHP Manny Banuelos is one of the top pitching prospects in the organization. What do these two players have in common? The Yankees signed both of them out of Mexico.
They actually have a third player they signed out of Mexico and he could do for the bench what Aceves did to the bullpen. Jorge Vazquez, 28, was signed by the Yankees on December 7, 2008 and has been in the minor leagues ever since, but that could change soon. He started out with Double-A Trenton last season where he played in 57 games hitting .329 with a .935 OPS. This year he missed a lot of time thanks to an appendectomy in spring training, but he’s back and playing for Triple-A Scranton. In 22 games there so far this year he has a .307 average and a .913 OPS.
Statistically speaking there isn’t much of a reason to keep him in the minors any longer so a call-up could come any day now. The Yankees could really use him too. He plays both first and third so he could spell Alex Rodriguez at third every once and a while and could also serve as a part-time DH until Nick Johnson comes back.
With all of the trade talk surrounding Ty Wigginton, Vazquez might be able to duplicate his numbers on the field. He doesn’t provide quite as much versatility, but with Marcus Thames back from the DL the Yankees don’t have as much a need for an outfielder, Wigginton doesn’t play shortstop, and Robinson Cano never really needs a day off.
Calling up Vazquez could be the best thing for the Yankees to improve their bench and keep the prospects that would be necessary to land Wigginton, who probably won’t keep up his first half numbers anyways.
Vazquez’s numbers are certainly no lock to carry over to the major leagues, but with the success they had with Aceves last season the Yankees should at least give him a shot. If they did it now they could even have a couple of weeks to evaluate him before deciding whether or not they need to make a trade for further bench help.
One thing I know is that his numbers are too good to not at least consider him right now. I think he has a real shot at getting called up any day now. It’s likely only a matter of time.