Was The Vazquez Trade Worth It?

Ever since Javier Vazquez made a name for himself in 2004, after giving up a grand slam to Johnny Damon in the American League Championship series, Yankee fans have dreaded the sight of the right-hander on the mound.

When the Yankees traded for Vazquez in the 2009 offseason, mixed feelings were going around. He was coming off an incredible, Cy-Young worthy season, during which he recorded a 2.87 ERA for the Braves, but Yankee fans still had a hollow spot in their hearts for Vazquez.

To everyone’s dismay––and to some, their surprise––Vazquez revived, and sealed those horrible feelings in the 2010 season. Finishing with a 5.32 ERA in 26 starts, Vazquez hurt the Yankees more than he helped.

For a trade that seems horrible for the Yankees at initial glance, you would think that Yankee fans––of all people––would be up-in-arms over the Yankees decision to bring Vazquez back to New York.

However, while Yankee fans may be very loquacious, they are equally intelligent.

When measuring the success of the trade, clearly you need to measure both sides: the players the team received, and the players the team lost.

On the Yankees side, they gave away Melky Cabrera, a very popular switch-hitting young outfielder who played the first five seasons of his career as a Yankee, and Arodys Vizcaino, a 19-year old prospect who pitched to a 2.13 ERA with the Staten Island Yankees, and who was ranked as the 69th best prospect in 2010 by Baseball America.

Cabrera, now 25, had a sub-par year for the Braves, ultimately ending in his release. Had he stayed with the Yankees, he would have served as a fourth, or maybe even fifth, outfielder. In other words, he would have made minimal difference.

Vizcaino, on the other hand, presents an interesting situation. Very successful, young stars, are always a point of interest. But in baseball, even a number one rank usually has little predictive value, let alone a 69th ranking. (Not to mention he was put on the disabled list in July with a torn elbow ligament, which is usually horrible news for a young pitcher.)

On the Braves side, they sent over Vazquez, along with Boone Logan, a 25-year old left handed relief pitcher.

Vazquez, as was mentioned earlier, did little help to the Yankees. He had one good run in June and July (when he pitched to an ERA just above three) but was otherwise atrocious.

However, if Vazquez were not there, we have little idea what the Yankees’ rotation would look like. Given what we saw in 2010, the Yankees wouldn’t have gotten anything much better from their minor league system, or bullpen. Yes, it is true that the Yankees may have been more inclined to go after Cliff Lee if Vazquez was not around, but that would have had its costs as well, probably including the Yankees young catching prospect Jesus Montero.

Logan, on the other hand, may have made the deal all together worth it. In 51 appearances, Logan had a 2.93 ERA, and struck out 38 batters in 40 innings pitched this season for the Yankees. At just 25, Logan can be a very valuable left handed pitcher in the Yankees’ future.

As quick as many may be to criticize the Yankees for this trade, or come up with reasons to hate Vazquez, it is important to weigh both sides of the equation. Yes, the Yankees gave up a young outfielder and a pitching prospect for virtually a useless starter, but the two pieces they gave up have questionable values. Furthermore, they gained an extremely valuable member of their bullpen that may succeed for years to come.

Trades are tricky, and they usually end up having unpredictable results. In this case, it may or may not have worked out, but it won’t be until years past until we truly know the value of this trade.

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8 Responses to Was The Vazquez Trade Worth It?

  1. Mindkind says:

    I think what the Yankees got out of that trade is Boone Logan, a fine young left handed reliever that can be part of the relief coprs for years. Losing melky hurt at the time, but he was released so the Yankees can pick him up again if they wanted to. Losing Aroldys was not to my liking and if he becomes a good starter then some will say the Yankees came out on the losing it of the trade. Not me Boone Logan helped the club when it needed it and that was 2010. The Yankees have some good SP prospects in the minors so they will survive losing Aroldys.

  2. Add one more name to the players sent to the Braves, left handed reliever Mike Dunn. Dunn finished the year working in the Braves bullpen and I believe he had a decent year.

    • Mindkind says:

      Oh absolutely I forgot Dunn, man i liked that arm. Well I just remembered why I hated that trade lol.

  3. To me, the trade was about the 4th starter in the playoffs. That's what Cashman wanted—an option for game 4. If Vasquez had been that guy, then the trade would have been worth it.

    We really wont know about the trade until Vizcaino pitches in the majors.

  4. Braves Fan says:

    Mike Dunn is a keeper. You did fail to mention him in your article. He is left handed and throws 96 mph. He is now part of a very young and powerful Braves bullpen. Melky was a throw in. He is fat, lazy and a defensive liability. Please resign him in NY. For the Braves, Vizcaino is the key to the deal. He pitched in the futures game earlier this year and threw 97 mph in relief. The Braves love good, young arms in their system and Vizcaino is just that. Without question the Braves got the better deal with this trade.

  5. Oh, there is no question the Braves won that deal. You can have Mike Dunn though. Relievers who have a 8.6 BB/9 rate are worthless.

  6. Tanned Tom says:

    This was one of those great deals that didn't turn out as good as hoped. Where Cashman went wrong was in taking Vazquez instead of Lowe who is much more the back of the rotation stalwart they were seeking. The Braves might have kicked in money to move Lowe. But otherwise this deal was a big so-what. And as for Cabrera, I hate that player! A .260 hitter with no power and no walks, who can't steal any bases? Exactly what is the appeal? And don't forget, he was dealt as much for his detrimental effect on Cano's attitude as his crappy on the field performance. A real cancer that way. For that reason alone this was a great deal, though cutting him would have been alright, too.

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