By now, you have all heard about the Yankees deal for Javier Vazquez . Around the blogosphere, everyone has thoroughly analyzed Javier Vazquez and what we can expect from him. The general consensus is that the guy is pretty damn good, so I'll spare you my analysis. Instead, I'd like to take a look at what the Yankees gave up and how much value that package had.
The most notable name involved in the trade on the Yankees end is Melky Cabrera . He's been a regular outfielder for the team for the past four seasons. He's had his ups (2009) and downs (2008), but has always had a vehement fanbase due to his youth and personality. While the fans loved Melky, it's always been clear that the Yankees weren't his biggest fans. Every time there were trade rumors surrounding the Yankees over the past few seasons, Cabrera's name showed up.
The Yankees never seemed to have any problem dealing him, and I think they dealt him at the perfect time. Melky is not a bad player; he's certainly useful, but his time as a good value was dwindling. He's averaged around one WAR per season since he broke into the big leagues and is pretty much a known quantity at this point. The fans have projected him for 1.4 WAR in 2010. It's unlikely that he significantly improves his skill set in the upcoming years; sure, it could happen, but it is unlikely.
Cabrera is under team control for three more seasons but is entering his second year of arbitration right now. He should make around $3 million in 2010, and that salary will increase in the following years as well.
When a player like Melky Cabrera starts making real money, instead of the relative peanuts a player makes his first three seasons in the majors, that player loses much of his value. Melky was a useful guy, but he didn't have much trade value, and Cashman did a good thing by trading him at this time.
The second name in the deal was left handed reliever Michael Dunn . The recently converted outfielder is known for ability to light up the radar gun. This year in the Arizona Fall League, Dunn topped out at 96.7. As a lefty with that kind of arm, he'll get an unlimited number of chances. There are two things that hold him back from being a top prospect, though. First, he's a reliever, which limits his ceiling. Second, the walks.
Mike Dunn's control is very iffy, and it results in a ton of walks. In the AFL, he showed just how tantalizing this can be. In only 10.1 innings, he struck out 20(!) batters but walked ten in the process.
Walking a batter per inning against minor leaguers does not bode well for a future against major league hitters. However, Dunn only started pitching in 2006, so he has a fresh arm and the chance to harness his stuff. If he can do that, he'll be a very dangerous left handed reliever.
When news of the trade first broke, the word was that the Yankees had received Vazquez for Dunn, Melky, and a prospect. At that point, the trade seemed like an absolute steal for the Yankees. Then the news trickled in that the aforementioned prospect was Arodys Vizcaino .
This stung a bit. There is no doubt that Vizcaino was a top Yankees prospect. I ranked Dunn as the Yankees' 23rd best prospect and had Vizcaino ranked seventh. I even admit I probably sold Arodys short a little bit at the time of my rankings.
Recently, Baseball America ranked him the Yankees' fourth best prospect and best overall pitching prospect. Baseball Prospectus ranked him even higher, as the Yankees' number two prospect. Adding Vizcaino to the deal made it not such a steal anymore—instead, it's an even trade. He had the highest ceiling of any pitching prospect in the system and could have even made the jump to Tampa to start the season.
The scouting report on Vizcaino is a good one. After sitting at 91-94 for much of his time with Staten Island, he started building up arm strength. By the end of the season, he was sitting at 94-96 with good movement. Vizcaino is one of those pitchers who has an easy motion, and then the ball just flies out of his hand.
His second best pitch is a legitimate curveball that sits in the high-70s. As his curveball reaches the plate, it has a sharp bite when he is on. He also throws a changeup, but that is a big work in progress. Right now, it comes in at around 85 with little-to-no movement.
For the Braves, Vizcaino was the coup of the deal. He will only be 20 years old in 2010 and has a long way to go before he reaches the majors. That's the reason I can't blame Cashman too much for including Arodys in the deal. If he continues to progress as he has been, though, he is the guy who will make the Yankees regret this trade. It won't be Melky Cabrera or Michael Dunn.