State of the Yankees update – Javier Vazquez edition

Brian Cashman spent more than 20 minutes on a conference call with the Yankees’ beat reporters this evening, beginning by discussing Javier Vazquez – the first player traded for twice by the Bombers since Jeff Nelson, for whatever that’s worth. Here are the short hops on the state of the Yankees updates, as we summarize the new landscape:

No second half thoughts:
Cashman said that Vazquez’s second half of ’04 was not a major concern as the Yankees pulled the trigger on this trade.

“He’s a tremendous pitcher that has a long career of success and durability,” Cashman said. “Really, the second half of ’04 – which was poor – cannot erase the long success that he’s had as a Major League pitcher, both in the American and National Leagues.

“When you sit down and listen to the scouts and have them describe his abilities, and look at his production and how he’s performed, he is one of the better pitchers in the game. We look forward to having him join our staff.”

Back end rotation ripple:
Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes will now be in competition for the fifth spot in the rotation, “and whoever loses that competition either goes to the bullpen or goes to Triple-A.” Don’t forget, Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre have to be considered in that mix too. Toss Zach McAllister and Ivan Nova in as well.

“The main focus of what we’ve done today was to solidify, strengthen
and deepen our rotation,” Cashman said. “We went with a three-man staff
as we went for the jugular in the World Series. This staff, if it can
stay healthy, is a lot better equipped right now as we move forward to
not be in a position to have to give the ball on short rest to someone
too often.”

Dollars and sense for left field:
Last winter was “once in a lifetime” in terms of budget. The Yankees have Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann right now to play left field, in what Cashman called “an evolving situation.” They could upgrade (of course … and I’d be very surprised if Gardner is actually the Opening Day left fielder at Fenway Park), but Cashman downplayed the idea of getting a big-dollar free agent like Jason Bay or Matt Holliday.

“I will continue to look at any remaining piece, but it won’t be a big
piece,” Cashman said. “Any speculation about some high-end player who has big ability
and dollars attached on a large scale would be inappropriate.”

It sounds a lot like even Johnny Damon’s offer (two years, $20 million) could be too much. What about the Yankees’ offer of two years and $14 million for Damon? Does Scott Boras dare let his client take a pay cut of $6 million per year to play where it seems like he wants to be?

If not, maybe Mark DeRosa fits? Jermaine Dye’s name was out there in reports too. By the way, the Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson to play center field, so don’t get too creative penciling Gardner into center.

Pitching, pitching, pitching, and then left field”: Remember that quote from the Winter Meetings? You know, before the Yankees traded for Granderson (OK, and to be fair, before they re-signed Andy Pettitte too). Here’s a little more on the rationale for the Vazquez trade, and why it was OK to subtract Melky Cabrera.

“Trying to strengthen the rotation with quality pitching is harder to do than trying to find someone to play left field,” Cashman said. “Left field is an important portion of the team, but the pitching market is a lot thinner. There might be a lot of choices out there, but the amount of quality choices out there is certainly a smaller list on the pitching front.”

Turning the power down: I was among those who wondered what Granderson will do in Yankee Stadium, given that he hit 30 homers last year playing half his games in Comerica Park, not nearly the launching pad he’ll call home in the Bronx. Turns out, the GM isn’t looking for a whole lot more in terms of power production from the Grandyman.

“Curtis Granderson is not going to hit 40 home runs here,” Cashman said. “He’s going to be someone who’s going to track fly balls down in the outfield for us, he’s going to hit anywhere from 20 to 30 home runs. We know he’s got some power from the left side for us. He’s going to provide solid defense and great athleticism on the basepaths, and complement the rest of his teammates around him.”


The Yanks may have a problem…The Red Sox are getting desperate in their desire to beat the them…Boston might be willing to expand their budget and bring back Jason Bay…if that happens then the advantage the Yanks just got in the Vazquez deal is gone…will the Yanks expand past their self imposed budget restriction or can they make some moves to get better with other trades without breaking the bank or will they just stick to their plan and let the chips fall where they may…?
only time will tell but i hope they outdo the Red Sox…!!!


it seems like Xavier Nady might be back…unless the Yankees decide to expand payroll a little…i don’t think they can get Marlon Byrd Mark Derosa or Johnny Damon for 4 million a year…hope Nady’s arm is not a noodle and he has another good hitting year…


Maybe the can get o-dog to play some left field


I think the Yankees should go after Marlon Byrd. He had a few good years with the Rangers and he actually has really good numbers against a lot of the pitchers the Yankees have had trouble hitting against in the past. He hits well against guys like Lackey, Beckett, Cliff Lee, Matt Garza, Jeremy Guthrie & Justin Verlander. That alone is reason to pick add him to the roster. He would be a good addition and I’ve noticed in some of the Rangers games, he could be a real spark plug for them at times.


“The Yankees have Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann right now to play left field……” Please tell me this isn’t going to be the case next season. I’d rather have Melky in LF than either of these 2 guys. Hell, I’d rather have Shane Spencer & Ricky Ledee over the 2 current options.


It is also clear that this signing spells the end of Wang’s tenure in the Bronx. I honestly and sincerely hope that doesn’t came back to bite us in the ****….. Any ALE will be a cinch to sign him (or even, perhaps, the Dodgers??) for amazingly cheap bux and could just find themselves with a 20 game winner. I know I know, I may be wrong. Maybe his foot injury permanently altered his delivery. I don’t know. But the thought of him showing up in TB or Baltimore scares me. Even Fenway. He’ll go cheap enough to allow most any team to take a chance on him.


if the Yanks can get Damon for two years 14 mil….then the Yanks are in….i hope it all works out…


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