Today the Yankee$ reacquired starting pitcher Javier Vazquez (pictured) for a prospect and namely spot starter Melky Cabrera who went to the Braves. Due to this, this day, December 22, 2009 may live in infamy since I think it has the potential to be a stupid, hasty move.
Consider that last year at this time, Traitor Tex, formerly of the Los Angeles Angels and Braves, signed his massive mercenary contract with the Bronx Billionaires-i.e. the Yankee$.
What a difference a year makes.
Not only did the Yankees reacquire a pitcher that didn't exactly light it up the first time he went there (14-10 4.91 ERA, including nothing in the postseason to speak of), but in doing so, they also added to their supposedly shrinking payroll.
Vazquez made $11.5 million in 2009 compared to Cabrera's $1.4 million so, in essence, considering both will get raises for 2010, they took on an additional $10.1 million in salary.
But wait, I thought they were supposed to be reducing payroll for next year? At least that's what the ESPN hype Machine and Yankee poster boy/love interest Buster Olney claimed.
To ESPN's credit, Jayson Stark is now reporting that this move may not be last for the team and it will allow the Braves and Yankee$ to each add other pieces, namely in the outfield should a Jordan Shaffer or Cabrera be flipped for more help in the Braves case or free agent Mark DeRosa in the Yankee$ case.
Okay, I get it, the Yankee$ didn't like the fact their hired-gun three man rotation which worked so beautifully in the playoffs SOBathia, Burnett, and Pettite, where 2/3 of their mercenary rotation's contract's ink wasn't even dry before they held up the trophy-may not be deep enough in the regular season.
But why bring back a failed loser like Vazquez? Not only is a free agent to be, but his numbers don't make sense for New York. 4-2 10.34 career postseason ERA including 1-0 12.46 ERA in 2008-his last appearance.
Apparently the Bankee$ are hoping he can turn it around the same way Fat-assbathia did last year for them after signing his contract and putting on the magical, but overrated pinstripes?
Not shy to giving up the homerun, 2004 he posted his second worst home runs allowed total 33 of his average career. And this was before the new $1.2 billion dollar wiffle ball park. I just don't see how this is going to work, but to be fair, I did predict the Yankee$ would fail in 2009 even if they signed SOBathia, Teixeira, Manny Ramirez, and Burnett. They showed me that they only needed to get three of the four to get it done, but then again, I guess 2009 was a rough year and even the Yankee$ have payroll limitations.
Whew! That was a good one! (pause for laughter)
Even Carbera's loss will be felt
Okay, seriously now, they've already given up World Series MVP Hideki Matsui who spurned my Orioles in 2003 by forcing himself to only play in New York's diverse, winning atmosphere. Godzilla hit .349, had a .1136 OPS and had 13 RBI in 15 games played. On top of that's he's a career .312 hitter.
In Yankeeland where October is the only thing that matters, what more do you want?
Finally, by hitting his 28 home runs in 2009 were his second highest ever in America meaning the career .292 hitter has hardly lost a step.
What does Cabrera have to do with Matsui? Consider the fact they both can play DH and outfield. What happens to their depth should a Brett Gardner or Granderson go down now?
Okay, maybe the 35 year old Matsui wore out his welcome (highly doubt it but still), I get that too. But how do you explain Damon who not only hit .364 in the World Series and very well could have been MVP himself, could soon follow him out the door?
Sure, I've read the reports that he still thinks he's worth $13 million and some people think the Yankee$ chose newly-signed Nick "$5.5M salary" Johnson over him, while others feel the Cabrera trade could allow him to stay in New York.
Whatever the case, if the Yankees let both he and Matsui go, in the same offseason no less, they are asking for trouble. In fact, I already previewed this possibility prior to the completion of the World Series when I said: "Watch how quickly the greedy Yankee$ abandon one of their own, after the free agent to be is let go this winter in favor of a younger player with a better arm."
They've already held true to Matsui and soon, maybe Damon. But that's not all. Cabrera with his good arm, improving defense, and relative youth—all rare assets on the team of high priced whores, now gets shipped out for a has been or maybe never was.
In recap: Damon with his weak arm? Possibly gone. Cabrera with his excellent arm? Definitely gone, just like their depth.
One more asset Damon bought was the relaxed atmosphere to the clubhouse that carried the usually corporate Yankee$ all the way to their 27th title.
The evidence could be seen no clearer than on the face of the normally militaristic Matsui who even looked like he was having fun after belting game winning home runs throughout the season and into the playoffs. If they lose this aspect, they're back to the same old, bland Yankee$ who just play for pay and how good did that work from 2001-2008?
I'm not even going to address the loss of Kate Hudson on A-ROID, who somehow figured out how to hit in the playoffs. But some say she really had him focused. I refuse to believe that, instead thinking a professional hitter, mixed with an infectious relaxed clubhouse, was finally able to do what his $33 million salary told him he was worth.
Read into it what you may, but the Yankee$ possible demise, one that had the early potential to be a small window of a run, may have started to crumble when they inexplicably traded Brian Bruney to the Washington Nationals in a move that got zero fanfare.
I'll type this again Yankee fans for those of you who may not even know he was gone.
Why does he matter? In a year that saw young studs like David Roberton, Alfedo Aceves, Phil Hughes, and Phil Coke emerge, Bruney was no exception. He averaged 13 holds in his last two years in the Bronx to go with a 1.84 ERA in 2008 and 3.92 ERA in 2009. Considering the 27-year-old showed he could handle the pressure of New York and will have no such pressure in Washington. His role and his numbers should only go up, and it will be another mistake the Yankee$ made.
Coke is already gone and the chances of the remaining Hughes, Aceves, and Robertson all duplicating or improving on their sucess unlikely again all in the same year, and I don't like their chances.
Oh, and I hear the Yankee$ may be shopping fellow-laid back clubhouse guy Nick Swisher.
Seriously, New York, am I going to have to write another article?
Statistics and information from MLB.com, ESPN.com, Anthony DiComo, Buster Olney, and Jayson Stark directly contributed to this article.