Javier Vazquez killed his reputation in 2004 with the Yankees and then spent years building it back up again only to re-join the Bombers in 2010 to ruin it again.
Or maybe not?
The Yankees aren’t at all interested in bringing him back, but that hasn’t stopped other teams from being interested. The Nationals, Rockies, Braves, Marlins, and even the Dodgers have already expressed some level of interest (the Dodgers have since resigned Ted Lilly and Hiroki Kuroda making it unlikely they’ll still want Vazquez).
The point is, that’s nearly half a dozen teams that have shown interest (the Marlins are even at the point where they think they might be outbid) for this Type-B free agent. Where once the idea of offering arbitration to Vazquez seemed like an unnecessary risk, maybe the Yankees should consider it now.
The Yankees probably won’t reconsider as the possibility of getting stuck with his salary and this is all for nothing, but I thought I would take a second look.
Vazquez earned $11.5 million in 2010. That means that if the Yankees take him to arbitration and win he cannot make less than $9.2 million (or 20 percent less). Vazquez and his agent know this. They also know that other free agent starters similar to him have signed for nearly that amount or more. Like Kuroda who signed for $12 million or Jake Westbrook that signed a two-year $16.5 million deal. With so much interest in Vazquez it seems likely that he would get a deal of a similar value.
It might actually be in their interest to avoid arbitration. The Yankees definitely don’t want him back in 2011 so if he did accept arbitration they would have to go through the process of trading him and Vazquez, who has always been particular in where he ends up, would have no say in where he plays next year.
So not only would it be possible for Vazquez a similar deal without arbitration, he wouldn’t have a say in where he ends up next year. It seems that arbitration may not be that attractive for Vazquez after all.
For the Yankees if he did accept arbitration, unless he beat them for a sizable raise, with this much interest in Javy it seems like they would be able to trade him. They obviously wouldn’t get much in return, if they got anything at all.
In the end, Brian Cashman isn’t likely to put himself through any of this and will just avoid offering him arbitration at all. But accepting arbitration doesn’t necessarily seem to be in Javy’s best interest. They should at least reconsider this.
For the record, if the Yankees offered Vazquez arbitration it wouldn’t effect his value on the open market as Type-B free agents don’t cost the signing team a draft pick even though the Yanks would be getting a sandwich pick.