Thursday, December 09, 2004

Javier Vazquez - Looking Back

I happened to see recently what I had written when the Yankees first traded for Vazquez. I think I was pretty much on target. What do you think?
Frank Costanza, "How could you trade Jay Buhner?"

George Costanza (10 years from now), "How could you trade Nick Johnson?"

Vazquez is a stud pitcher and at this moment he is the Yankees ace. However, there are a couple of considerations to think about:

1. Being in the AL and facing a DH instead of pitchers will naturally drive up his ERA. Having the Yankees' porous defense behind him will also drive up his ERA. Being a flyball pitcher in a park with a short right field porch may also drive up his ERA.

2. Vazquez' numbers (with the exception of strikeouts) are very similar to what Weaver's numbers were for the year and a half prior to Weaver joining the Yankees. There is no guarantee that Vazquez will not be overwhelmed by playing in NYC and the special pressure of playing for the Yankees.

3. Power pitchers like Vazquez often are prone to injury at about this stage in their careers. Just saying.

4. The Red Sox filled a need without giving up much when they acquired Schilling. The Yankees created another hole (back-up 1st base and DH) when they traded for Vazquez. They may have been putting too much hope on Giambi's bone on bone knees.

The Yankees will be lucky if Vazquez is able to replace Clemen’s productivity (all indications are that this should not be a problem). As a Red Sox fan I also keep in mind that as good as Vazquez was last year – he wasn’t even the ace of the staff. That was Livan Hernandez. Vazquez has never been the staff ace. First he was behind Colon and then Hernandez. Now he has to go to Yankee Stadium and be the man? Good luck with all that.
Bonus observation:
The other day David Pinto from (one of my favorite web sites) mentioned that Vazquez might actually be the baseball player’s name worth the most Scrabble points in history. Normally I’m not this anal but the question bothered me because I believe Yastrzemski is the true Scrabble baseball name champion because in Scrabble there is only one “Z” tile (so you would have to use a blank for the second “Z”). Thus Yaz would be worth 32 points and Vazquez only 27 points. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

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