New York Yankees

Trade of Melky Cabrera Leaves New York Yankees in Need of an Outfielder

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 28:  Melky Cabrera #53 of the New York Yankees gestures as he walks towards the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game One of the 2009 MLB World Series at Yankee Stadium on October 28, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Jordan SchwartzSenior Writer IDecember 22, 2009

They just keep trading away young talent.

After sending Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy to the Tigers and D-backs in a three-team deal that netted the Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson, New York has reportedly once again returned to its old ways, acquiring Javier Vazquez from the Braves in exchange for Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino.

Atlanta is also sending right-handed pitcher Boone Logan to the Yanks.

Vazquez, 33, will apparently fill the No. 4 starter's role, pushing Joba Chamberlain back to No. 5 and bumping Phil Hughes back into the bullpen.

I would've rather given Hughes, who is coming off an outstanding year as a reliever, another shot at starting, but it appears the Yankees have no intention of doing that.

But if that is your thinking, why not try to sign a free agent back-end starter like Justin Duchscherer or Doug Davis, instead of trading away a 25-year-old outfielder who helped you win the World Series and two more prospects?

Vazquez arrives in New York coming off his best season in the Majors, going 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA and finishing fourth in the Cy Young voting.

But that's the National League. The American League is a whole different story.

During his eight seasons in the NL, the right-hander has a 4.02 ERA. In his four years in the AL, Vazquez has a more pedestrian 4.52 mark.

That includes the 2004 season in pinstripes, when the pitcher went 14-10 with a 4.92.  That postseason, Vazquez surrendered 12 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings.

So why trade away a great character guy like Cabrera, who was one of the most improved players in baseball this past season? He had an outstanding season, hitting .274 with 13 homers and 68 RBI, including a bunch of walk-off hits, all while playing outstanding defense in the outfield.

The Yankees also give up Dunn, a lefty, who went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in 12 relief appearances at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2009. This is the same 24-year-old pitcher New York reportedly wasn't willing to part with in the Granderson deal.

Finally, New York parts with Vizcaino, 19, a right-handed pitcher who was recently named the organization's third-best prospect by Baseball America.  Vizcaino had a 2.13 ERA in 10 starts for Class A Staten Island this year. 

According to MLB.com, Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman has said Vizcaino throws 96 mph with "a hammer of a curveball" and "really good stuff."

Logan, 25, was 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Braves.

The only way this deal makes sense is if the Bombers can ink free agents Matt Holliday or Jason Bay to complete a projected outfield with Granderson and Nick Swisher, but the Yankees have made it seem that they aren't very interested in either of those two guys, which could leave the team with Brett Gardner starting in left field.

If New York winds up re-signing Johnny Damon after all this, that would make even less sense.

 

Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison .

Jordan Schwartz is Bleacher Report's New York Yankees Community Leader. His book "Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man" is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.

Jordan can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com

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