With the possible addition of Cliff Lee, baseball's top southpaw, the Yankees would have formed the most formidable rotation in baseball, and perhaps one of the best ever.
Sabathia. Lee. Pettitte. Hughes. Burnett.
Four of their five starting pitchers would be headed to Anaheim for this year's All-Star Game.
But what about the sixth man?
With the addition of Lee to the front of their rotation, someone would have to be moved out. That man is Javier Vazquez.
Now, the Yankees are shopping Vazquez around. The first team to pounce on him should be the St. Louis Cardinals.
For Vazquez, this is the perfect storm. He would have the opportunity to head to a great baseball town, the home of the greatest pitching coach ever, and try to rekindle what once was.
He may not be able to revisit the success he had in Montréal, where he struck out 1,076 batters from 1998-2003, but he could help a Cardinals team that is hurting in the rotation.
Since Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse went down with injuries, the Cardinals have been forced to give Adam Ottavino and Blake Hawksworth turns in the rotation. The two are good prospects, and project as useful arms in the future, but for a team in the midst of a pennant race, this is simply not enough.
With Lohse out for the remainder of 2010, no definite time line for Penny's return, and Ottavino having been recently delegated to the disabled list himself, St. Louis should pounce on Vazquez as soon as possible.
Vazquez is not suited as a relief pitcher, so the Yankees may be willing to part with him for one or two nominal prospects. Brian Cashman is a smart man, and he is not willing to let Vazquez's $11.5 million sit in the bullpen.
A return to the National League might also bring improvement out of Vazquez. Not only was Vazquez a top-notch pitcher in Montréal, but he was quite successful as recently as last year for the Atlanta Braves, posting a 15-10 record with a 2.87 ERA. He finished fourth in Cy Young voting, behind Cardinals aces Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.
Under the tutelage of Dave Duncan, and out of the pitcher's hell of the American League East, Vazquez could be a very successful pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Should Lee not be moved to New York, it still seems Vazquez is on the market, and St. Louis would be wise to pounce.