The AL East SlugFest, More on Gonzalez

Cubs-Braves
Haymakers and The Vazquez Deal Punch. Then counter punch. The Sox signed John Lackey. Then the Yankees added Javier Vazquez. While not a knockout punch by any means, the move is a big blow by any measure - maybe a rib-buster or a deep cut above the left eye. Still, the move looks like another excellent trade by Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman, who always seems to acquire stud players at excellent prices. Vazquez looks to be no different, as the team ceded expendable pieces in Melky Cabrera, and minor leaguers Arodys Vizcaino and Mike Dunn. Marc Hulet made a great breakdown of the prospects in his profile of the Yanks’ top 10 prospects, with Vizcaino 4th and Dunn 6th. Vizcaino, 19, has quite the ceiling, as evidenced by his 11.06 K/9 in 2009 at low-A. His fastball ranges from the high 80s to mid 90s...
Cubs-Braves

Haymakers and The Vazquez Deal

Punch. Then counter punch.

The Sox signed John Lackey. Then the Yankees added Javier Vazquez. While not a knockout punch by any means, the move is a big blow by any measure – maybe a rib-buster or a deep cut above the left eye.

Still, the move looks like another excellent trade by Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman, who always seems to acquire stud players at excellent prices.

Vazquez looks to be no different, as the team ceded expendable pieces in Melky Cabrera, and minor leaguers Arodys Vizcaino and Mike Dunn. Marc Hulet made a great breakdown of the prospects in his profile of the Yanks’ top 10 prospects, with Vizcaino 4th and Dunn 6th. Vizcaino, 19, has quite the ceiling, as evidenced by his 11.06 K/9 in 2009 at low-A. His fastball ranges from the high 80s to mid 90s.

Dunn, 24, is a bit closer to the majors, posting huge strikeout rates (99 Ks in 73.1 innings) in relief at AA and AAA last season and ending the year with 4.0 IP for the big club. He needs a lot of work on his command, however, as he walked 46 last season.

John Manuel of Baseball America has a bit of a different take, ranking Vizcaino 3rd, leaving Dunn off his top-10 list. Still, while the Yankee’s system will miss both players, but they were not forced to give up their best prospects, especially catchers Jesus Montero and Austin Romine – who, by most accounts, are numbers 1 and 2 in their system.

Montero, in particular, is an exemplary prospect, who hit 17 home runs in A-ball as an 18 year-old in 2008, to go along with a .326/.376/.491 line. He got even better last year, slugging 17 again in just 347 at-bats between high-A and AA. A scary batsman, at least he struggles with the glove behind the plate.

What has been termed by some as a salary dump – or a deal to free up cash at the very least – the Braves, apparently, thought that $11.5 million was too steep a price for a pitcher who posted WAR values of 6.6, 4.8, 5.1, and 4.8 in the last four seasons. Still, they want a bat for the middle of their order, and credit must go to the Yankees for finding an excellent, durable pitcher from their organizational depth.

But, ahh, such are the deals that can be made with seemingly limitless financial resources. For a team with pockets as deep as the Yankees and Red Sox, the departure of a few prospects can be made up for by both supplemental picks (that should come from Vazquez departing via free agency) and from signing above-slot picks in the later rounds. With more money to go toward their farm system, teams with large budgets can sign players who drop due to signability concerns – in essence, adding additional first-round caliber players.

So, even though they part ways with players of considerable talent, they won’t be missed as much as most teams.

Now, the rotations for both teams look quite formidable. As FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal puts it, the rest of the AL East ought to “just give up.”

Yankees: C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Javier Vazquez, Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain

Red Sox: Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Daisuke Matsuzaka

Now, those are some serious guns in the rotation.

The Plot Thickens on Adrian Gonzalez

And, in what seems to be a never ending cycle of Adrian Gonzalez rumors, the plot thickens. With the Braves now in command of two additional prospects, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution speculates whether the team will now make a push to acquire Adrian Gonzalez.

An additional suitor for Gonzalez would certainly push up the asking price for Gonzalez, though there are questions as to whether the asking price is already too high for the Red Sox to come to terms with San Diego and GM Jed Hoyer. The Mike Cameron deal certainly sparked some rumors of its own, as some expect that Jacoby Ellsbury would, in turn, become the centerpiece for any deal that would bring in Gonzalez.

Under this scenario, Cameron would move to his natural position of centerfield, though it is uncertain who would man left field. Though an underdog, for certain, Jason Bay continues to be connected with the Red Sox. As reported by MLB Trade Rumors and Bill Maddon of the New York Daily News, Bay’s agent, Joe Urbon, even returned to the Sox’ front office to entice the team to reexamine his client.

If Bay’s market has dried up like many believe it has – leaving only the Mets as legitimate suitors – then his price tag could certainly come to a range satisfactory to the Red Sox.

Even so, such a move must be considered a long shot as a number of dominoes would have to fall before such a scenario could play out. Even so, Gonzalez would be quite the addition to the team. And, with the punch count this off season at 2-1 Yankees, maybe the Red Sox front office is planning for a knockout blow. Gonzalez would certainly be just that.

Categories: Adrian Gonzalez Boston Red Sox Javier Vazquez New York Yankees

23 Responses to “The AL East SlugFest, More on Gonzalez” Subscribe

  1. bob December 23, 2009 at 8:18 AM #

    Vasquez is a great pick up for the Yankees. It's really sad as someone who roots for the Braves (after the Sox of course) to see them have to trade away their best pitcher because they signed someone as mediocre as Kenshin Kawakami last year. If the Braves start getting aggressive on Gonzalez the Red Sox need to move quickly. Atlanta has just as many prospects as the Sox although I think they'd hesitate to deal Heyward.

  2. donna December 23, 2009 at 10:28 AM #

    man oh man… the Yanks just paid what ~ 27 mil luxury tax, then get a seemingy great trade done?

    my first thought was will they quietly slurp up J Bay to man LF, even at an overpriced salary/length? ( images of Jaba the Hut licking his face)

    i still like our RS, even with Mikey Lowell and esp w/ Ellsbury ( who i would absolutely rather overpay now than J Bay).
    and no one is mentioning Nomar at all… since we have been in habit of picking up folks and giving them a shot, why not give Nomar a chance here again? he could be a great backup IF with some pop

  3. Sean O December 23, 2009 at 1:14 PM #

    It's not going to make that big of a deal. The Yankees were making the playoffs anyway, so this is just depth for the playoffs. It will improve them, but going from a 96-98 win team to a 99-101 win team won't make the difference.

    • evanbrunell December 23, 2009 at 6:32 PM #

      So what? The fact remains that they got 2 elite players in two separate jokes of a trade. And apparently, it's impossible for Theo to do it. When was his last impact trade in which he actually wanted to do it? Manny forced his way out. He wasn't the GM for Beckett. He traded AWAY the name in Nomar. He has Schilling to his name and…. that's about it.

      • Dante December 23, 2009 at 7:48 PM #

        I dont know…I wouldnt classify Granderson or Vazquez as elite players…Teixeira and Sabathia are elite players…Granderson and Vazquez are good to very good, but both have question marks and I dont fear either as a Sox fan…

        I will agree that Theo should be more aggressive in trading his second-level prospects…its fine to keep Westmoreland and Kelly, but everyone else should be available i think…for as 'creative' as everyone seems to think Theo is, I havent seen many creative moves lately

        • bob December 23, 2009 at 10:24 PM #

          Vasquez was one of the four best pitchers in the NL last year and even at his worst he'll give you 20 league average innings he has a career SO/9 of 8.1 and he's had a K total less than 150 2 times in his career and those were his first two seasons in the league. He has a career K/BB of 3.48. That's elite production out of a pitcher.

          • Dante December 23, 2009 at 10:44 PM #

            yeah, there's no doubt that Vazquez is a good pickup for the back end of the Yankees rotation, but i just have a higher standard for 'elite' i guess…its all subjective really

            here's my guess on his 2010 stats: 13-10, 4.35 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 175 K's…something like that..

            IMO, definitely a good pickup, but not an elite, ace-type that strikes fear in my heart, by any means

            i still like Beckett, Lester, Lackey, Dice-K, Buchholz better than CC, Burnett, Pettitte, Vazquez, Hughes/Joba…though it is admittedly very close

          • William December 25, 2009 at 4:45 PM #

            I don't know about that. Here's y matchups:
            #1's Sabathia is better than Becket
            #2's Burnet is worse than Lester
            #3's Vazquez is better than LAckey
            #4's Pettite is better than Matzuzaka
            #5's Chamberlain Hugh's versus Bucholz is a tossup

          • William December 25, 2009 at 4:50 PM #

            And, without BAy, the red sox have a far inferior lineup.

      • Sean O December 23, 2009 at 11:46 PM #

        Is this creeping displeasure with the wunderkind I see?

  4. _Marcos_ December 23, 2009 at 2:08 PM #

    The Braves signed Troy Glaus to play 1B.

  5. C'Mon Man December 23, 2009 at 8:16 PM #

    You have to wonder if the Braves knew something about Vasquez that the Yanks don't. Why would they unload their top of the rotation starter from last year for Melky? Something stinks, and I can only hope this means that the Yanks just traded for damaged goods. Besides, last thing I remember of Vasquez in pinstripes was a grandslam he gave up in the Bronx in '04 to one Johnny Damon! :)

    • bob December 23, 2009 at 10:19 PM #

      They needed to free up salary to sign a bat and no one was biting on Derek Lowe. Apparently the ankees are the only team willing to take on salaries in trades.

      • C'Mon Man December 23, 2009 at 10:39 PM #

        I see what you're saying, I'm just not buying it. You don't dump salary using a guy that had one of the best swing & miss rations in the game as well as a guy with so many strikeouts who by all accounts was there ace (Hanson and Jurrjeins will have their year this year). Furthermore I doubt that the Yanks were the only team willing to part with an expendable piece for Vasquez. I just don't buy it. Its too lopsided, I get what you're saying Bob, I just don't agree.

        • bob December 23, 2009 at 10:52 PM #

          I'm sure the Angels were willing to part with a similar or better package than the Yankees, but it's well known that Vasquez has an aversion to teams West of the Mississippi. He basically forced his way out of Arizona after one season. I don't know that he had veto power with the Braves, but he definitely did not want to go to Anaheim and would probably have demanded a trade had he been sent there.

  6. jim December 23, 2009 at 8:53 PM #

    vasquez is most like these semi-elites:

    Tim Belcher (938)
    Brad Radke (933)
    Kevin Tapani (930)
    Andy Benes (926)
    Jon Lieber (914)
    Woody Williams (914)
    Todd Stottlemyre (914)
    Pedro Astacio (912)
    Kevin Millwood (912)
    Doug Drabek (912)

    great trade, Sox stack up. Should they have traded Ellsbury for Vasquez?

    • C'Mon Man December 23, 2009 at 10:42 PM #

      Ellsbury isn't nearly as expendable as Cabrera. Let's face it, Melky has an arm and decent range, a marginal bat from either side, not particularly quick. I'm not saying the Sox should've traded for Vasquez. I just find it hard to believe that no one else could have given the Braves what they wanted (or would accept!) for him. this just doesn't seem right that's all

    • Dante December 23, 2009 at 10:46 PM #

      no i dont think so…ellsbury, warts and all, should be able to fetch more than pricey Vazquez, no?

      • C'Mon Man December 24, 2009 at 12:48 AM #

        agreed

        • William December 25, 2009 at 4:49 PM #

          You guys to realize Vasquez was 4th in the Cy young, right. VAzquez is better than lackey, and 5 mil cheaper. VAzquez was doing great with the YAnks (all-star) before paying through a torn shoulder the 2nd half of the season and postseason. Plus, Vazquez has less pressure on him now as the Yank's #3 starter, as oposed to being their young ace in 2004.

  7. bob December 23, 2009 at 10:25 PM #

    sorry meant to say 200 league average innings. he's an extremely consistent pitcher

  8. _Marcos_ December 26, 2009 at 4:29 PM #

    Vasquez vs Captsin Caveman

    <a href="http://www.survivinggrady.com&quot;” target=”_blank”>www.survivinggrady.com" target="_blank"&gt ;http://www.motionbox.com/videos/7a97d0b1181ee1c7f…" target="_blank"&gt ;www.survivinggrady.com

  9. C'Mon Man December 23, 2009 at 10:39 PM #

    I see what you're saying, I'm just not buying it. You don't dump salary using a guy that had one of the best swing & miss rations in the game as well as a guy with so many strikeouts who by all accounts was there ace (Hanson and Jurrjeins will have their year this year). Furthermore I doubt that the Yanks were the only team willing to part with an expendable piece for Vasquez. I just don't buy it. Its too lopsided, I get what you're saying Bob, I just don't agree.