Breaking News: Yankees Deal For Javier Vasquez

Published on: 22nd December, 2009

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Breaking News: Yankees Deal For Javier Vasquez  | read this item

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New York — The New York Yankees have acquired right-hander Javier Vazquez from the Atlanta Braves for outfielder Melky Cabrera and left-hander Mike Dunn.

The move pushes the Yankees’ payroll for next season to more than $200 million.

What It Means

The Yankees had the dollars to take on Javier Vazquez’s contract, and they get the second-best pitcher in the NL last year. And the Braves at least get a solid pitching prospect and the knowledge that they’ve done well with those once or twice before.

Can Vazquez to repeat his 2009 numbers with the Yankees? Tristan H. Cockcroft looks at the fantasy implications of the trade.

The Braves also are sending right-hander Boone Logan to the Yankees, and the Yankees are sending the Braves right-hander Arodys Vizcaino and $500,000 in the transaction.

Vazquez, with a 15-10 record, ranked second in the National League last season with 238 strikeouts and sixth in ERA at 2.87 as the No. 2 starter in the rotation. This is his second time around with the Yankees, having pitched in New York in 2004, when he went 14-10 with a 4.91 ERA and made his only All-Star team.

His first stint in New York ended miserably, when he relieved Kevin Brown trailing 2-0 in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against Boston and allowed a first-pitch grand slam to Johnny Damon.

Vazquez, 33, joins a pitching rotation that includes CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte. The Yankees’ top four starters will combine for $64 million in payroll — more than four teams paid their entire rosters last season.

With the trade and including the still-unfinalized signing of free-agent designated hitter Nick Johnson, the Yankees’ payroll for next season stands at $200.9 million for 16 signed players. That includes two not expected to make the opening-day roster: pitcher Andrew Brackman and infielder Juan Miranda.

Vazquez

Vazquez

Logan

Logan

Cabrera had been the Yankees’ starting center fielder for most of the past three seasons. After losing the job to Brett Gardner during spring training this year, he quickly regained it and hit .274 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs, helping the Yankees win the World Series for the first time since 2000. He is eligible for free agency after the 2012 season.

This move opens the door for outfield moves for both teams. The Yankees now are expected to explore both the free-agent and trade markets for a left fielder. But they’ve continued to portray themselves as uninterested in anyone in the price range of Matt Holliday, Jason Bay or Damon.

One name that has been on their radar screen is Mark DeRosa, whose $6 million asking price is in the dollar area they appear willing to allocate.

The Vazquez deal frees up about $9 million for the Braves to spend on upgrading their offense — Vazquez’s $11.5 million salary, minus the $3 million or so Cabrera figures to earn via arbitration, and getting the $500,000 in cash from the Yankees.

Cabrera

Cabrera

Dunn

Dunn

They’ll now look to use that surplus on an outfield bat, a first baseman or possibly both.

Damon is one possibility, particularly because his home in Orlando is within minutes of the Braves’ spring training complex. Another option is free agent Xavier Nady, who could play first or the outfield and would come at a relatively low base price because he is recovering from his second Tommy John surgery.

Or the Braves could look to deal an outfielder — either Cabrera or possibly Jordan Schafer — for a bat. They’ve been linked in trade rumors to Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, who could potentially slide to first base.

Logan, acquired by the Braves from the White Sox in the Vazquez trade in December 2008, was 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA in 20 relief appearances. He held left-handers to a .231 average and figures to fill the hole created by the departure of Phil Coke, who was sent to Detroit in a deal that brought the Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson.

Atlanta had a surplus of starting pitching after giving Tim Hudson a $28 million, three-year contract in November. The trade left the Braves with a rotation that includes Hudson, Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami.

The 24-year-old Dunn had a combined 99 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre and Double-A Trenton, going 4-3 with a 3.31 ERA in 38 relief appearances. He made his major league debut on Sept. 4 and had a 6.75 ERA in four appearances.

Vizcaino, who is 19, was 2-4 with a 2.13 ERA at Class A Staten Island, striking out 52 in 42 1/3 innings.

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