Javier Vazquez Isn't Great, but Maybe Good Enough

Tom AuSenior Analyst IIMay 12, 2010

DETROIT - MAY 12:  Javier Vazquez #31 of the New York Yankees reacts after Austin Jackson #14 of the Detroit Tigers scores in the sixth inning to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead over the New York Yankees during the game on May 12, 2010 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers won the game 2-0 over the Yankees.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Javier Vazquez didn't exactly win his most recent start against the Detroit Tigers. However, he pitched a seven-inning quality start, giving up only two runs in the sixth for the wrong end of a 2-0 tally.

It's as well as he has pitched all season. That's including his nominally victorious 5.1-inning, three-run effort against the light-hitting Oakland As.

More to the point, it was about as well as Vazquez pitched most of last season, except for four of his last six games in which he pitched three seven-inning shutout starts and one complete game with only one run, thereby maximizing his trade value for the Atlanta Braves.

The dynamic is a bit like trading spouses or partners; the old one knows that the "run" can't last, and the new one hopes that it WILL last. Usually, it's the new one that is disappointed.

Taking the most recent game as Vazquez's ceiling, a realistic assessment is that on average, he might be able to pitch something like five innings for three runs as he did against the As.

That's not great, but it means that he may well win the majority of his forward-going games, given that he gets good Yankee run support.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

But first, Vazquez has to dig himself out of a 1-4 hole, having lost all but two games he pitched, including his last good one.

The good-hitting Bronx Bombers can stand such a performance from a fifth starter caliber pitcher. Phil Hughes has finally broken through, after several lackluster attempts in previous seasons. The front three, with CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Andy Pettitte, is solid.

On the other hand, the Yankees didn't give up much in the trade for Vazquez. Melky Cabrera, the main consideration, is hitting all of .196 with the Atlanta Braves. Boone Logan, a serviceable reliever, came in the same package as Vazquez as an offset to two pitching prospects.