The Vazquez Deal

Failing to find a taker for Derek Lowe, the Braves went to Plan B today, trading Javier Vazquez to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera, Arodys Vizciano, and Mike Dunn. The reaction to this deal on Twitter has not been kind to Atlanta, with most people concluding that the Yankees got Vazquez for peanuts.

I’m not so sure. Melky Cabrera may not have superstar upside, but he’s a quality young player with little projection required. He posted a .331 wOBA last season, making him roughly a league average hitter, and he didn’t turn 25 until August. He’s got good contact skills and gap power, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see some of his doubles turn into home runs as he ages.

Defensively, he’s below average – but not terrible – in center, and he’d make for a quality defensive corner outfielder if that’s where the Braves choose to use him. All told, he’s roughly a league average player, with upside to develop into something a bit above average.

That has value, especially as a young player who will make far below his market value this year.

But it’s not Cabrera who makes this deal work for Atlanta – that’s Vizcaino, an underhyped 19-year-old who destroyed A-ball as a teenager. The classic projectable teenage arm, Vizciano throws a mid-90s fastball with a hard breaking curve, and has proven nearly unhittable in his brief professional career. He’s not close to the majors, but he’s a significant upside bet for Atlanta long term.

Vazquez is a quality pitcher and the Braves will miss him, no doubt, but they saved roughly $8 million in salary (once you account for Melky’s arbitration award), added a league average outfielder and one of the best young arms in baseball. Perhaps it isn’t the price that top flight starters used to command, but when viewed in today’s market, this is a pretty decent deal for Atlanta. This is a significantly better return than what Philadelphia got for Cliff Lee, for instance.

The Yankees get better, of course, but you already knew that. Don’t hate this deal for Altanta – they’ll come out of it okay as well.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

123 Responses to “The Vazquez Deal”

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  1. Matt Clement of Alexandria says:

    One thing – Cabrera’s not pre-arb. He’s arb 2, he made $1.5M last year and should see a pretty significant raise. The Braves only control him for two years, at a price not much below market.

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  2. sd. says:

    Wow this is really off. Melky is NOT pre-arb. He’s probably going to make around $3M and he is 2 years from free agency.

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  3. HalIncandenza says:

    He was a super 2 so it’s his 2nd year of arb but the Braves have him for 3 seasons.

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  4. BATTLETANK says:

    at least the phillies got guys with upside. melky is a known quantity, and he’s not that great.

    i don’t know what the braves are saving money for. they don’t have soriano or gonzalez to pay.

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    • bflaff says:

      It must be a prelude to another deal, in which ATL picks up something a bit tastier. The same way that the Cliff Lee deal has to be viewed in the context of the Roy Halladay deal.

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  5. zs190 says:

    Dave, Melky is not a pre-arb player. He’s in second year of arbitration and was scheduled to get a raise to about 3 million for next year, not close to minimum. Love Arodys but he pitched for SS Staten Island, there are a lot of things that can go wrong on guys like that. I don’t think it’s a steal like the Nick Swisher deal last year but I like it as a Yankees fan.

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  6. RKO36 says:

    I love this deal. Yanks stole Vazquez.

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  7. Nate says:

    So does atlanta bank this money or re-invest somewhere?

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  8. andrew says:

    the melky being arb 2 point is clearly being hammered home so I won’t reiterate that point. Vasquez is in the last year of his deal and can easily be a type A, if the yanks offer him arb and let him walk the draft pick compensation can somewhat recoup the loss of vizciano’s potential. Another way to do that would be to sign chapman. As far as melky goes he is getting expensive and in a couple years his defense isn’t going to play in center. His offensive production at a corner spot probably won’t be acceptable either.

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  9. Paul says:

    What a terrible deal for the Braves and absurd to say it’s a better deal than Lee to the Phils. Dunn = Carrasco; Viz = Knapp; Marson + Donald = crap = Melky + arb award.

    Vazquez is not going to dominate the way he did last year in Atl, but the ~ +1.00 to his “E.RA” will still be worth close to 20 wins on that team. Huge upgrade at the 3rd or 4th spot in the rotation over Joba or Hughes. Unbelievable deal for the Yanks. Cashman has just been sitting back waiting for the bargains to develop.

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    • Trevor says:

      I believe the author was referring to the second Lee deal, where the Phillies got Aumont, Gillies, and Ramirez. Personally, I think the Braves return is greater than either deal, but it’s more clearly superior than the second deal, although I like Aumont.

      Personally, I think this trade is ok from the Braves standpoint, they got decent value for Vazquez and cleared a lot of payroll, which was their main goal. I think maybe they trade Melky for a higher quality bat.

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    • Boxkutter says:

      None of those players you mentioned were in the Cliff Lee part of the trade. Lee was traded for Gillies, Aumont, and Ramirez essentially.

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      • Paul says:

        Yep, read it backwards and already had in my mind that Halladay to the Phils is obviously part of the valuation, so it’s not apples to apples.

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  10. SteveP says:

    Yeah, I’m surprised that Atlanta couldn’t have gotten more. I thought there could have been a few bidders on Vazquez, particularly the Angels and that the Braves could have tried to play these teams against eachother. Melky’s a borderline starting OF, Mike Dunn could be a quality middle reliever (however those are a dime a dozen) and Vizcaino could be something special, but he’s a long long way away.

    I was looking at some numbers today after I heard about the deal and found something interesting… Vazquez, Lackey, and Burnett all have career FIPs of 3.83. It’s interesting how differently those pitcher’s are perceived (i.e. with Lackey the Sox added a potential number one, with Vazquez the Yankees sure up the #4 spot but not much more..) when in fact all three are essentially the same pitcher.

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    • BX says:

      Vazquez had a NTC to all AL West and NL West teams. So Angels and Dodgers were out.

      Only non-West team I could possibly see getting involved would’ve been someone like the Brewers, unless the Braves were willing to ship Vazquez to the Mets, which is unlikely.

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  11. PL says:

    Um, was the 3rd best SP in all of MLB last year (based off FIP) just traded for Melky frickin Cabrera?

    You could argue this is basically collusion.

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    • Rob in CT says:

      You know that’s a really simplistic analysis, right?

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      • PL says:

        Didnt know that Vizcaino was involved, guess its not that bad. Its still a huge win for the Yanks though. Honestly, if you told me it was Melky+Hughes for Vazquez+prospect I’d believe it.

        People are still under-rating Vazquez huh? Dude is really really good at pitching, he’s one of the top 10-15 in the game. You dont trade him away for scraps.

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    • Jason B says:

      You could. It would be a woefully weak argument, but you theoretically *could*, I s’pose.

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    • parrothead8 says:

      Um, he was the 3rd best SP in all of MLB for the FIRST time in his career. He’s only ever come CLOSE to those numbers one other season in his career. We’re talking about a soon-to-be 34-year-old pitcher who just came off the best season he’s ever had…hello? Ever heard of selling high?

      This isn’t fantasy baseball, folks. Nobody’s giving up a proven stud bat for Javy Vazquez in real life.

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      • Teej says:

        It doesn’t count as selling high if what you get in return factors in the likely regression of Vazquez, and that appears to be what happened here. At least from my eye. (I’m no sort of prospect expert.)

        If they managed to get Phil Hughes in the deal, then I’d say they sold high. But a high-ceiling A-ball pitcher and a usable outfielder seems about right for Javy Vazquez when you’re trying to shed some salary. I have a hard time seeing this as an overpay by the Yankees. They know what they’re buying, and they didn’t pay the price that would be required to truly get the third-best pitcher in baseball.

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  12. Seideberg says:

    Brian Cashman has had a tremendous off-season so far. I hope he doesn’t ruin it by signing Jason Bay or something silly like that.

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    • Whartonite says:

      Agreed. Luckily, I don’t think he could afford it if he wanted to. If he were gonna do something like that, he may as well just get Holliday, but that borders on ridiculous. I’m hoping Damon will break down and take a Nick Johnson contract. If not, it’ll be fun to watch Gardner finallyplay every day.

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  13. Tim says:

    As a Braves fan I never knew quite what to think of Wren, but this trade coupled w/ his handling of Wagner/Saito, Gonzo/Soriano cements my view that he’s only slightly above the Minaya/Moore tier.

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    • Alex says:

      What about trading Renteria for Jurrjens? I’d say that one is working out pretty well. And how did he mishandle the Wagner/Saito, Gonzo/Soriano situation? The best possible outcome for the Braves would have been Gonzo and Soriano turning down arbitration, so they went ahead and signed their 8th and 9th innings guys to dissuade Gonzo or Soriano from accepting. Then the worst case scenario happens with Soriano accepting and the Braves are quickly able to move his whole salary for an intriguing piece in Chavez that’s under team control for another 5 years. What was the bad part here again?

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      • Kevin S. says:

        The part where Soriano + 20th pick in this year’s draft > Wagner + Chavez + $1 million. Wren blew his load before seeing what his own FA would do.

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      • MBD says:

        I’m still hoping Wagner does something special (and prefer him to Soriano), but Wren really did paint himself into a corner with his timing. Wagner is probably getting overpaid, just as he has been every year since 2002 (according to WAR here on FG), but Soriano will be worth even less.

        That said, Wren is much better than Minaya and Moore. Wren signed Lowe instead of Perez (Minaya’s pick) and traded for Vazquez. His terrible choice of Garrett Anderson was at least inexpensive and short (unlike Moore’s Guillen contract), and Bobby should get some of the blame for trotting Anderson out there so often. None of Wren’s moves will handicap his team for years to come, the way Minaya’s and Moore’s do.

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      • Alex says:

        No, Wren obviously valued Wagner more as a closer than Soriano (I agree with him on this), so he played it aggressive hoping that Soriano would decline arbitration knowing he wouldn’t close on the Braves. If Soriano declines arbitration, Wren looks like a genius. As it stands he got a pitcher in Chavez that is likely to contribute more than the #20 pick next year would have, and Chavez will certainly help a lot more than that pick in the short term.

        In my mind:
        Wagner > Soriano
        Chavez > #20 pick next year + the bonus to sign said pick

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  14. Will says:

    I keep going back and forth between this being a very good deal for the Yankees to a more even swap, as presented by Cameron. I am probably one of the rare breed who think Melky still has potential to improve, but the big question mark is Arodys. BP has him ranked as the Yanks #2 prospect, but he is only 19, so his future is far from certain. Meanwhile, the Yankees very well could recoup the talent/potential with two draft picks. In fact, the player they’d draft could wind up being closer to the majors than Vizcaino.

    Cashman definitely did well, but I don’t think the Braves got fleeced.

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    • bflaff says:

      “but the big question mark is Arodys. BP has him ranked as the Yanks #2 prospect, but he is only 19, so his future is far from certain.”

      Re: Vizcaino. If TINSTAAPP still holds true, then trading your ace for one of those, a league average 4th outfielder, and a reliever who has trouble throwing strikes seems like an unnecessarily large risk. Yanks, on the other hand, have a very good idea of what they’re getting in return. Huge, ridiculous W for them.

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    • People overrate the draft picks you get as compensation, because the only draft picks that are close to being equivalent to a top pitching prospect are protected from being lost via compensation, the top 5-10 picks overall.

      Though I suppose it could work for the Yankees since they can try to pick off those who have signability issues and fall to them.

      People are forgetting that it is not just talent for talent in trades, the Braves now get financial flexibility, in that the $8M might get them a player that together with Melky et al would outweigh what Vasquez might do for them. And, they have 6 valid starters and only 5 spots.

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  15. Pink Ribbon Scars says:

    I was sad to see Vazquez collapse in second half of 2004 (turned out to be arm fatigue… his avg. velo that season does not fit to that of all other seasons per graphs) and even more when he was traded to D-Backs even though he wanted to stay a Yankee. therefore, I welcome him back.

    I do not expect him to repeat his 2009 and probably the most realistic expectation would be FIP along the lines of his 2006~2008 White Sox days where it was consistently at 3.80′s posted with hitter-friendly US Cellular Field being the home. I could expect higher if New Yankee Stadium continues that high home run rate. Another change that i see from Javy’s 2009 is that he’s thrown less fastball and more off-speed so that could have contributed to that 2.77 FIP and it will be interesting if that does any good to him as a Yankee in AL East in 2010.

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  16. t-lonious munk says:

    I’m sorry, but betting that Viscaino turns into Vazquez 3+ years down the line based on A ball isn’t really worth trading for, you have the real deal! Melky and Dunn don’t make that worth it either. Does Melky or Dunn really have that much intrinsic value? I know the Braves needed a bat but Melky hardly qualifies, this has to be about the $$ for ATL, to make this work they have to sign someone with pop. Does Melky, Dunn, Arodys +(mystery free agent) = Javy? Depending on the free agent. But from the Yanks point of view this is a steel regardless, melky/dunn have limited value at best to them, and why wait for the next Javier to develop when he’s falling into your lap.

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    • Trevor says:

      See, the thing is, Vazquez just had his best season. He’s not going to improve, in fact he’s a good bet to do a good deal worse this season, from moving to the AL, pitching in the Yankees park, and simple regression. It’s not really a “steal”, although I love Vazquez. I think that a year from now this trade will be viewed as more even.

      And it was always about the money for Atlanta. Now they have the payroll freedom to either sign someone or trade for a better bat.

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      • Will says:

        Your point is key…the Braves are selling high, so in retrospect, the deal will not look as bad for them.

        As for the Yankees, they don’t need nor should they expect the 2009 Javy. Instead, they should be very happy with a league average 200 innings. If he does that AND nets a pair of picks as a Type A, then the Yankees still did very well. Now, if he has a season close to 2007 or 2009, then the Yankees did get a steal. The only way this deal backfires on the Yankees is if he underperforms AND doesn’t net the picks.

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      • nmh says:

        I’m not sure if 200 league average innings would be considered a success by the Yankees brass. As with the Granderson deal, the Yankees gave up talent, but it probably wasn’t a difficult decision given the return.

        The potential draft picks are what really interest me. After the Yankees 2008 horrible draft, they have been able to creatively balance signing high profile free agents without losing too many high draft picks (admittedly, losing out on Gerrit Cole helped net the Heathcott).

        All told, this is far from collusion-esque, but represents another move that would make you think the Yankees see their championship window beginning to close. Guys like Austin Jackson and Vizcaino are nice, but surrounded by overpaid, over-the-hill stars, they aren’t as valuable as Granderson and Vasquez are to the immediate future.

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    • BX says:

      And the upgrade from the Braves’ corner OF situation to having Melky is MUCH greater than the downgrade from Vazquez to Kawakami, not even factoring in the payroll flexibility to bring in a 1B.

      An OF of McLouth-Melky-Diaz actually looks pretty good, especially if Heyward supplants Diaz midseason.

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      • BX says:

        in other words, the Braves don’t get worse, while saving 9MM of bank to use on bringing in another bat.

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      • Tim says:

        The Braves just don’t need a player like Cabrera. They have Diaz/McClouth/Heyward and Cabrera is likely a downgrade from all of them. Unless they plan on trading Cabrera for a true upgrade in OF or a productive first basemen, I just don’t find much marginal value in Melky.

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  17. petejohn says:

    And Cashman does it again. That rotation added one of the best pitchers in baseball last year to be a mid-rotation arm for them, and even accounting for the bump that going to the AL will cause he should still be pretty good for them. He’s not making much, so this isn’t a player-buy. Add in Granderson and Cashman’s having a good run here.

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  18. Adam says:

    Would someone mind posting a link to the source that’s reporting Vizcaino is included in the deal? I’ve only seen ESPN’s report on the trade, and they don’t mention Vizcaino at all. Thanks guys.

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    • SteveP says:

      Various Twitter feeds as well as SI is reporting that Vizcaino is included, though I also read a report that said the Yankees were sending $500K to Atlanta with no mention of Vizcaino. If Vizcaino is not included this trade looks a hell of a lot worse for Atlanta.

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  19. EK says:

    The Yankees had very little need for both Bret Gardner and Melky Cabrera.

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  20. pjs24 says:

    Everyone is looking at this trade based on Javy’s 2009, but it’d be foolish to assume he’s going to be that good again in 2010. He’s 0.50 worse in the AL thus far posting a 4.52 in 853 IP against a 4.02 in 1664 NL innings. He was also a near-5.00 ERA pitcher during his first stint in New York.

    I love Javy and I’m not sure the Braves couldn’t have done better, but it’s not the bloodbath ripoff everyone is making it out to be either. Dunn is a very hard throwing lefty who can be very valuable if develops even a modicum of control. I’m no big fan of Melky’s, but you can do worse and at 26, he could improve, especially in the easier NL. I’ll defer to Dave on the Vizcaino kid.

    NL Javy and AL Javy are two vastly different pitchers thus far, so stop looking at this through the NL Javy prism and realize that the Yankees didn’t just add a sub-3.00 ERA SP for nothing. They likely added a 4.20 ERA guy for a major league OF, a very live lefty arm and a lottery ticket prospect.

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    • Sandy Kazmir says:

      He posted 3 straight seasons of sub-4 FIP in a similar ballpark with Chicago. He won’t be the guy he was last year, but he also won’t be the guy he was in his first go-around. 4.00 FIP #3/4 at almost a lock for 200 innings is quite valuable.

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    • Will says:

      While, I agree that he will be a different pitcher in the AL, it’s really not fair to compare him to his 2004 year in NY. As stated earlier, he was suffering from fatigue which showed in career low velocity. Also, he completely changed his approach. Last year he threw less than 50% fastballs for the first time in his career, coupled with 20% sliders, a pitch that he had hardly developed in ’04. Obviously his ERA will go up next year, but he will be far better than in ’04 especially considering his improved GB/FB ratio last year which will help in the hitter friendly confines of YS2.

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      • pjs24 says:

        @Will @Sandy Kazmir

        I’m not suggesting he’ll instantly revert to the Javy we first saw in NY, but who really cares what his FIP is if his ERA is 4.20+? FIP is great to judge his actual skills, but the Yankees and their fans care about the actual results.

        I definitely hope he’s better than he was the first go ’round in NY or any time in the AL save 2007, but his GB/FB last year was the same it was in 2005 in Arizona and he has a 4.43 ERA that season because he gave up 1.5 HR/9. Now that was because of anomalous 16% HR/F rate, but he’s going to a part that played like a bandbox in it’s first season. His key to success will unquestionably be the tandem of his GB/FB & HR/9.

        My main point was that fans needn’t look solely through the 2009 prism to judge this trade and assume the Yanks pulled one over on the Braves. Vazquez finally pitched to his xERA last year after several years of failing to do so. That stands as the outlier right now until he proves otherwise. The onus is on him. In the meantime, he’s tumbling down my SP list (from the #9 spot) due to an ERA that is sure to top 4.00, though he will still give a great K rate and stands to rack up several wins if things break his way with that lineup, but we know how predicting wins goes.

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  21. JK says:

    Can’t anyone else find projections? Chone has the following. Vazquez 4.6 WAR. Melky +6 batting runs -1 fielding run + 2.5 CF = 2.7 WAR. I’m not sure that this properly accounts for league differences but it should be close.

    Melky(2.7) + 9M + 2 prospects = Vasquez (4.6) + 2 draft picks. I see this as a win/win trade. Both teams deal from an area of depth to shore up an area of weakness. The Braves shouldn’t have any trouble getting 2 WAR for their $8-9M in extra payroll room.

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    • Rololo says:

      This trade only makes sense in the context of turning around and spending the cash saved on Vasquez’s salary, otherwise I think this is a complete disaster if I am a Braves fan in 2010. I guess they shouldn’t go do anything rash like jump out of a window, but I’d be furious given the other moves this team has made. By picking up Melky, they really are only netting $6mm. In the long run, I think there is a good chance the Braves make out fine, but a win next year is worth more than a win in three years.

      They looked like a team that could compete with the Phils in the NL east, but I don’t think I see that happending with their aging starting pitching (Lowe, Hudson, Kawakimi) and aging back end of the bullpen, this seems like a whole bunch of injuries just waiting to happen.

      As an observor that doesn’t have a huge interest in the Braves I think this has been a telling off season, trade their best starter for a prospect and 4th OF, sign a bunch of old relievers to vert short deals. Looks to me the Braves are gearing up for 2012-2013 when Heyward and others are ready to break through and the Phils players (howard, Utley) maybe on a steep decline. Looks to me like they are taking a pass on 2010…

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  22. TWA says:

    “This is a significantly better return than what Philadelphia got for Cliff Lee, for instance.”

    Considering that trading Lee was part of a deal in which the Phillies got Roy Halladay and subsequently locked him into a long-term deal, I don’t think that’s true…

    What the Yankees gave up is more than what the Mariners gave up to get Lee, but that’s not a defense of this ridiculous move by the Braves.

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    • StevenEll says:

      The Roy Halladay trade had nothing to do with what they gave up for Cliff Lee. This was not a 3 way trade.

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      • bflaff says:

        The point was that the Lee deal cannot be understood outside the context of the Halladay deal. If Halladay doesn’t come to the Phillies, Lee doesn’t go to the Mariners. And the Phillies don’t ask for the kinds of prospects they got in return from Seattle unless they had a need because of who they dealt to get Halladay. The Vazquez deal is a laugher on its own, but assuming that there is another domino to fall, it might make more sense in a fuller context.

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      • Ruben says:

        You keeping telling yourself that, but it is shortsighted, without one deal there would not have been the other.

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      • pounded clown says:

        The Lee trade was a consequence of the Halladay trade in so far as the blue blood ownership put a budget chasity belt on Amaro. Once the Halladay deal went thru, Lee had to go as a per the manidate described in a 12/9/09 Daily News article “The Phillies mean business on their budget”. With earlier bench acquistions already made, supposedly no takers on Blanton….the Randolph and Mortimer Duke sphincter tightened at the mere thought of 1 year with Lee for 9 mill. The aforementioned article was also reported in FOX Sports.com and probably was in other national sports media for every GM to read. So the ceiling that was set by us with Halladay for two top tier propspects was moot for Lee who could have, as a proven post season ace commanded, at least 1 top tier prospect or a reliever/ 2nd tier prospect package. The point is ownership forced Amaro’s hand and he had to negoitate with a “my name is George McFly” name tag and “kick me” sign taped to his back. If anything, perhaps thru our past connection with the Marniers organization we were given 3 magic beans out of pity. It’s was certainly better than coming home with Crash Davis and Bobo the Elephant which is what any other GM would have offered for a piece of gold bullion we were putting in the trash.

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    • mattymatty says:

      Trading Lee wasn’t part of the trade the netted Roy Halladay. Those were entirely different trades.

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  23. MikeS says:

    It seems the Yankees are trying to become the 2008 White Sox for some reason.

    It’s also kind of an odd deal since ’04 was Vazquez worst season by ERA+ and the knock on him was that he couldn’t take the pressure of pitching in the Bronx.

    I guess it is a little different this time since he is being asked to be a number 3 or 4, not an ace. Also, the Yankees are buying high on a guy who is just leaving his prime, not entering it. Still, with all the pieces around him, it’s a good deal for the Yankees. Vazquez absolutely will eat innings which makes the bullpen better and with that offense, he could post an ERA+ right around 100 and still win 15 games or more which would look good to them regardless of his FIP. Heck, 200 innings, ERA+ of 100, FIP of 3.9 or 4.0 and 15 wins would look good to most teams for a fourth starter.

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  24. Paulie L. says:

    This should be good. As a White Sox fan, I have seen enough of Vazquez over the years to know what to expect. I don’t think it was a coincidence that Vazquez was very good in ’07 on a 72 win Sox team and outstanding this past year on a third place Braves team. When the Sox had pitching problems and needed him to step up in ’06, he flopped on a 90 win team. When the Sox were trying to win the division in ’08, he flopped and then against Tampa in the playoffs it looked like he was throwing batting practice.

    If Vazquez is anything more than league average next year I’ll be shocked. I fully expect to see the “Vazquez face” often. You know, when everything is going good and then he completely falls apart at the worst possible moment and he looks like he soiled himself.

    Welcome back to the AL Javier.

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  25. Bronn says:

    If the Braves’ goal was to be more competitive during Cox’s last season, this deal is a large step in the wrong direction.

    Maybe the goal was to be more competitive during Hanson’s final arb. years, when Vizcaino might arrive in Atlanta. But it’s tough to see what kind of team the Braves will field after Chipper retires and Jurrjenns becomes a free agent.

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  26. Ed Nelson says:

    I like Cabrera for a few reasons but it’s hard to accept that level of offensive production from a corner outfielder, even in the NL. The Braves need a legit bat in the middle of their order and Cabrera is not that guy. I think trading Vasquez was the right thing to do as his value will never be higher, but is this the best you can do? Why now? Isn’t it at least possible that as you waited out some of the teams on the fringes that a better deal might have presented itself?

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  27. Xeifrank says:

    Yankees trade a 4th outfielder + TINSTAAPP to the Braves for a 5 WAR pitcher who will be a Type A free agent. Brett Gardner is a better player than Melkey Cabrera, so the Yankees not only improved their rotation by around 3 wins but their LF by 1/2 win. We are looking at around a 107+ win team barring major injuries. The Yankees couldn’t have scripted a better trade than this. Cameron should be calling for Yankee fans to be “dancing in the streets”, or “chucking batteries”.
    vr, Xei

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  28. dickey simpkins says:

    So the Braves trade Tyler Flowers for one fantastic season of Vazquez, then sell high for Cabrera and Vizcaino while shedding salary. This isn’t that terrible of a deal for them.

    As for the Yanks, you can safely assume Javy Dent will return to White Sox form, namely a guy who gets torched by crazy fans and the media for not being an elite pitcher, yet will eat innings and be a playoff starter.

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  29. Ian says:

    Hmm…Im going to guess the author is a Braves fan?

    Cabrera is NOT an average player, though he would be if he was a better defender in CF. His bat doesn’t come close to being playable at a corner OF spot and his arm, while strong, is very inaccurate. He has below average plate discipline and is *forever* chasing breaking pitches away that average hitters wouldn’t swing at. Hes also very streaky and isn’t particularly fast. Melky is a prototypical “tweener”, and as such doesn’t have a ton of value at any position. You can find similar players in the rule 5 or waiver wire of every season thats ever been played.

    Dunn is a non-prospect. He lacks the control needed to pitch in the MLB, hence why he was considered trade-able even after trading the other young lefty reliever, COke.

    Vizciano might amount to something, but hes so far away from the big leagues that there is just way too much growth needed to say what he might become or when. Lots of hurdles to clear yet, no doubt hes shown the raw ability to clear them though. Given 2 more years of solid development, he might become a frontline starter. He also might be flipping burgers in 2012.

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    • Sky Kalkman says:

      “Hmm…Im going to guess the author is a Braves fan?”

      Bingo.

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    • don says:

      Remember the Braves were batting Frenchy in a corner outfield spot as recently as the middle of last season. Their outfield seriously sucked last year.

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    • Will says:

      While Cabrera isn’t anything special, it’s ridiculous to assert that you could find similar players in the rule 5 draft every season thats ever been played. Everth Cabrera the “success” of last years rule 5, only posted a WAR of 0.8. I’m not sure another batter selected even made a major league roster.

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      • Ian says:

        Ok Will, maybe not “every season thats ever been played”, but thats nitpicking. The main point was, there are players cut/waived/non tendered every year that would provide the same or better value to the 2010 Braves as Melky will.

        MBD, no need to be a condescending troll, now is there?

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      • MBD says:

        I don’t see how “troll” applies. And I didn’t mean to be condescending. I just thought Sky’s comment was ambiguous. What’s left unsaid is that Dave (the author) is a big Mariners fan.

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      • dovif says:

        There are better players the braves let go for nothing (church) and he is much better than a poor man’s church (Cabrera)

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  30. R M says:

    Are the Yankees paying the league to give them all-star players for free? Melky Cabrera is never going to help the Braves win. He was worth 1.6 (!!) WAR last year. He should enter a mediocrity contest, he would win. He might as well not even count in the analysis, because you can get roster filler fluff for less than a Vazquez-caliber player. This is essentially a prospect who has the upside to be Vazquez in maybe 3 years, something that will take a lot of things going right, for Vazquez. This is worse than what the Yanks gave up for Granderson.

    The Braves just found a clever way to trade Brent Lillibridge, Tyler Flowers, Jon Gilmore and Santos Rodriguez into Arodys Vizcaino, all the while paying $11.5 mil and handing the Yankees a great SP for pennies on the dollar.

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  31. MBD says:

    Please tell us this was about the money, Frank, and sign a decent first baseman for just a couple years. How many corner outfielders who can’t get on base or hit for power can one team cycle through? Melky is better than Anderson who was better than Frenchy, but “better” doesn’t mean “good”. You can’t find one F’ing corner outfielder or 1B who can hit more homers *for this team* than an aging 3B, a catcher, and a CF? You clearly don’t give a crap about OF defense, so how hard can it be to find one oaf who can crush the ball?

    And you gave up Boone Logan, too? Why didn’t you throw in a couple more players? Maybe no other team needs an SP who has averaged 5 WAR over the past 4 years. You should have rectified last year’s mistake and tried to trade for a different Dunn, even within the division. You were supposed to use Vazquez’s best year to get MORE than he was worth. And to get something we friggin need.

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    • MBD says:

      OK, maybe not Dunn. Is the guy trying to run with his hands and catch with his feet? But there HAS to be someone who can hit and pretend to play the OF.

      And if you sign Jermaine Dye, I’m going to find a way to ruin your life.

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    • Paul says:

      Jeez, I completely forgot about Logan. Even though I don’t think Grandy does anything more than replace Damon for less money (which doesn’t matter to them), now you throw in Logan coming back to them in this deal, who is a LOOGY upgrade, and Cashman’s offseason is just silly. Does he have an ownership interest in the team yet?

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    • Alex says:

      Yeah what a huge mistake it was to not sign Dunn to a $10 million a year deal, then watch him go out and perform at or below a league average level once defense is considered. We really should have rectified that mistake by paying him $12 million this year (backloaded contract) while giving up prospects to the Nats to get him.

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      • MBD says:

        i’m pretty sure my follow-up is visible above, so this reply seems gratuitous.

        the mistake was signing Anderson, clearly a useless offensive addition, when the team desperately needed offense from its OF.

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      • Alex says:

        Didn’t see your follow up until I made my post. My bad, though that comment was directed as much towards Braves fans who still seem to think we made a huge mistake by not signing Dunn last season as it was towards your particular comment.

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  32. Don’t understand this move at all. Braves deal one of the best pitchers, get nothing that really excites and Yanks get a FB pitcher at a hitters park. Remember 2004? Oh well…

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    • Rob in CT says:

      Honestly, what I remember about 2004 was a great first half, followed by shoulder soreness and ineffectiveness. I thought they stupidly gave up on Javy after 2004. I’ve seen some accounts that strongly suggest that Cashman was pushed aside and Javy traded against his advice. Now, with Cashman wielding more power in the organization, he has brought Vasquez back. We’ll see how it works out.

      If Yankees fans expect/demand Javy to go out and put up an ERA that matches his FIP in the NL (mid 3s) they’re going to be disappointed again. I’m hoping/expecting a ~4.25 ERA. He has consistently put up ERAs higher than his FIPs. Add in New Yankee Stadium/the AL East, and it’s definitely fair to expect him to be less effective. I’ll happily take ~200 IP with a low-4s ERA.

      The only problem is what this might mean for the development of one of Joba/Hughes.

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  33. Xeifrank says:

    Why didn’t the Braves trade Derek Lowe’s bloated contract instead?
    vr, Xei

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  34. Don Sharp says:

    BX: Do you know that Diaz is a .315 career hitter and Cabrera a .269 hitter? Why would Heyward replace Diaz when he is ready? Braves NEED A POWER HITTER, not a mediocre sigles hitter with more K’s than RBI’s in his career.

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  35. Joel says:

    This is like the Beckett trade, except if the Red Sox had traded A. Shitbum instead of Hanley Ramirez for Beckett’s services.

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  36. cowdisciple says:

    Here’s the thing about his ERA being so much higher than his DIPS:

    ‘04 Yankees — -11.7(!) team UZR/150
    ’05 Dbacks — -6.9
    ‘06 Sox — -6.9
    ‘07 Sox — -7.8
    ‘08 Sox — -3.3

    That’s some absolutely brutal defense. This is why we love DIPS.

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    • cowdisciple says:

      ’09 Braves were -2.1 UZR/150, and ’09 Yankees -4.9 UZR/150.

      I’d think the Yankees in ’10 will likely be a slightly better defensive team than the ’09 version — somewhere in the -1 to -4 UZR/150 range for an off-the-cuff estimate. That could be the best defense Vazquez has had behind him since the ’03 Expos.

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      • Dirty Water says:

        Last 3 years, UZR:
        Teix: 2.5 -trending down
        Cano: -1.9 -trending down
        Jeter: -8.9 -trending up
        Arod: -9.2 -trending down

        and then there’s Posada..

        In fact, isn’t INF defense a major weakness of this team?

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  37. zylwer says:

    OMG what a bad deal for the Braves..

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  38. d'backs fan in Taiwan says:

    Melky Mantle is going to be in the HOF!!!

    Just take a look at those whom began their career as a 20 years old teenager and took the starting job when they just turn 21.

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  39. R M says:

    Think of the collection of young players they would have at hand if they didn’ make the Teixiera deal or the Vazquez deal. The Braves are the anti-Red Sox. Who needs prospects? Trad’em all for a year of an all-star that brings you absolutely nothing.

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    • MBD says:

      At least with the Teixeira deal (made under John Schuerholz), the Braves were going for it. Teixeira was awesome for them, but it turns out pitching sorta matters. But why didn’t they hang onto him until the end of 2008, offer him arb, and take the picks? Unlike Soriano, he was guaranteed to say no, so there was no risk of an expensive one-year deal. Instead they got Kotchman to resume their parade of powerless 1Bs.

      So then they traded for pitching, brought in Vazquez, whom they supposedly coveted for years and would have for 2 full seasons, and he was awesome too. And they get rid of him for a crappy return. I don’t get it. Who needs 6 SPs when you can have a back-up outfielder? Maybe Hudson is now secretly unbreakable, Lowe is younger than we thought, and Kawakami is guaranteed to improve in year 2. As stated previously, there had better be a solid 1B coming out of the money the Braves are saving.

      But I’m not sure they gave up anyone for Teix or Javy they’ll really miss outside of Neftali Feliz (in the Teixeira trade). Saltalamacchia and Flowers are catchers, and the Braves have McCann. Andrus may be awesome at short, but Escobar isn’t too shabby either (at least offensively) and was ready earlier. Brent Lillibridge was not helping at short. I don’t think the other guys were close to being ready yet, but I don’t know anything about them so…

      Anyway, I agree that the Braves keep acquiring excellent players and then dropping them without having anything to show for it. Frustrating.

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  40. dorsal says:

    Remember: Javy had a solid, respectable first half of 2004 and made the all-star team. In the second half he hurt is shoulder and didn’t tell anyone….gave up the infamous GS to Damon.

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  41. Rick says:

    Doesn’t this mean McLouth or Melky have to be traded for somebody better; they are like the same player except McLouth has a little more power. Melky, Freeman, Tehean, and a A ball player for a superstar would make just about any team happy!

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  42. Felonius_Monk says:

    Here’s something no-one seems to be considering (and I add this as merely food for thought, and not a total justification of the trade from The Braves’ POV, as I think finding some way to dump Lowe would’ve been more beneficial to them, even if they had to eat a year’s worth of his salary):

    Vazquez is projected by CHONE to be a 4.5 (ish) win pitcher next year. That’s pretty good.

    HOWEVER, the Braves have at least SEVEN above-average SP on their roster. Their 6th starter is Kawakami who was (pro-rated) slightly above average last year, and didn’t seem especially lucky by his peripherals (i.e. we can probably predict he’ll be slightly above average again). Their 7th starter is the excellent Kris Medlen, one of the most under-rated prospects in baseball, who was superb in both AAA and MLB last year and projects to have a sub-4.00 FIP this year by every projection system.

    30 starts from Vazquez is worth a projected 4.5 wins, but 20 starts from Kawakami plus 10 starts from Medlen (or thereabouts) is projected to be worth in the region of 3 wins.

    At worst, therefore, this trade shaves 1.5-2 wins off their final total next year, whilst freeing up $8-9m and adding Cabrera (who is probably worth at least 1 win above what they’d have been trotting out into the OF next year if they hadn’t acquired him).

    I think they could perhaps have got more for Vazquez, but the actual value next year they’ve lost isn’t as great as it first appears due to their pitching depth. They’ve also added two guys who are probably slightly better than the draft pick compensation they’d have got for Vaz (Vizcaino => late 1st rounf pick, and Dunn => supplemental pick) plus Melky Cabrera. Framed in that perspective, it’s not a bad trade for them, especially if they’re tight on budget and spend that $8m upgrading first base.

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    • Dirty Water says:

      If they could have received more for Vasquez they would have. That’s makes the most sense to me. Apparently, no team with $11 mil to spend on pitching was willing to pay more than what Wren received.

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    • MBD says:

      Good point re Medlen. I got used to thinking of him as a reliever based on how they used him in ’09. Now if he can get his walks down.

      Just can’t get my head around why they need another OF who doesn’t really contribute at the plate. Isn’t there anyone out there who can hit? Please, not Bay for 5 years in the NL.

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      • Felonius_Monk says:

        Yeah, I don’t think Melky’s a great fit for them either, I guess he’s maybe keeping the seat warm for Heyward for a year.

        That said, maybe he makes sense as a platoon partner for Diaz (although their career split vs RHP is similar, Melky’s been slightly better of late and is probably better in the field) and he’s another warm body, so that sort of makes sense.

        It also gives them another guy who can play CF, just about – judging by last year, Schaeffer seems a questionable every-day guy for a team that’s looking to contend, and Nate McLouth really should never be in centre with his “golden” glove. Melky’s kinda useful as he offers them another handy solution to slot into multiple OF roles, and he IS only 25, so maybe another bit of power will come. If so, he’ll be an above-average switch hitter with an above-average glove, not bad. That said, I’m not sure they couldn’t just have got the same production (for the same $ price, or less) by just signing Gabe Gross and Reed Johnson or something.

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  43. PhD Brian says:

    A couple of years ago Vazquez was practically run out of town by CWS. They saw him as lacking any clutch skills,and useless in the post season. One year seems to have changed the minds of this crowd here.

    My view is this is a fair trade. if Vizcaino turns in into a superstar, then 10 years from now it will make a “one of the worst trades ever” list (similar to the Expos Colon deal). And if Vazquez turns out to be the vazquez of his late 20s then the Yankees got screwed and seriously overpaid. Cabrera is cabrera. He is young enough to improve some, and will. At that point he will be an average quality player good enough to start for but not carry any team. And he will be fairly paid if not a tad cheap. I think this is solid deal for both teams.

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  44. Cheers for the article, do you mind if I quote it on my blog? I’ll make sure I link back.thanks

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  45. extamax says:

    Very interesting and informative post

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  46. Hi just thought i would certainly tell you something.. This is 2 times today i’ve landed on your website in the last 3 days searching for completely unrelated things. Spooky or what?

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  47. Kenny says:

    Braves won this trade even with Cabrera being -9 WAR

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