Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Javier Vazquez trade: Does NL East have mercy rule for Mets?

The only good things that have happened for the Mets this offseason are the Phillies getting rid of Cliff Lee and the Braves getting rid of Javier Vazquez. Thanks to their rivals, the Mets have at least some chance of competing in 2010.

Granted, the Phillies are still heavy favorites to win the NL East, but if they had held on to Lee, there would have been a lot of debate in NYC about making 2010 a rebuilding year.

As for the Braves, I know Squawker Lisa and many Yankee fans are outraged over the Vazquez trade, but even if Home Run Javy, as Lisa likes to call him, can't pitch in NYC, he is certainly able to pitch well in the NL East - last year with the Braves and earlier with the Expos. The Mets are much better off with Vazquez gone, especially when the only immediate return is Melky Cabrera.

The Melkman may be a fan favorite, but he would not even be starting for many teams. And it's not as if the Braves have been smart lately when it comes to acquiring outfielders - their last big outfield acquisition was Ryan Church, who has already been non-tendered.

So the Braves only have Melky and some prospects to show for dealing Vazquez and Jeff Francoeur. The best prospect, Arodys Vizcaino, just turned 19, so it will be some time before we learn whether this trade ever pays off for the Braves.

The only player left in the Twins organization from the Johan Santana deal is Deolis Guerra, who was a couple of months away from turning 19 at the time of the trade. Guerra was hot prospect then and a key to getting the trade done.

Here's what a Twins site said about Guerra last month:
The young right-hander from Venezuela has loads of potential, but is still a long way from re-discovering his status as a top prospect.

...We shouldn’t worry about when we might see Guerra in a Twins’ uniform. More important right now is that the young right-hander re-discovers himself and becomes relevant again.
The site ranked Guerra 15th out of the top 15 prospects in the Twins' organization.

Guerra is still only 20, so he may yet pan out. But you never know what you will end up getting with a teenage pitching prospect, and if that is the main price to pay for a Vazquez or a Santana, it is well worth the risk.

So thanks, Phillies, for creating at least the illusion of a pennant race by trading away Lee. And thanks, Braves, for another dubious trade.

At least there has been some good news out of Philadelphia and Atlanta. Now if only we could get some good news out of Queens.


Riddering said...

It's been amusing to see the reaction of certain Yankee fans who treasure Melky as though he is the next Mantle due to his personality and a few walkoff hits.

I think it's an excellent deal. 2010 is not 2004 and Vazquez is not being asked to front the Yankee rotation. Will he outperform last year's fourth starter, Wang? I certainly think so.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to acknowledge the Phillies getting one of the best pitchers in baseball in Roy Halladay. BLOGFAIL

Uncle Mike said...

Melky Cabrera is not the next Mickey Mantle. There will never be another one of those. I was satisfied with him being the first Melky Cabrera.

If the Yanks hadn't gotten rid of Vazquez in the first place, they never would have gotten Randy Johnson, who gave them the two most meaningless 17-win seasons any pitcher's ever had, and blew it in not one but two ALDS Game 3s.

Would Vazquez have been any worse in those situations? Probably not. Would the Yankees have won in 2005? Probably not, as the White Sox did have a "team of destiny" things going on. But Vazquez might have made a difference in 2006: The World Series proved that the Tigers were hardly an overwhelming team, and they swept the A's in the ALCS (I still say a fool is someone who calls Billy Beane a genius), and the Cardinals only won 83 games in the regular season (but were still good enough to beat the Mets for the Pennant).

As for the Mets, when are they going to wake up and realize that they are a New York baseball team? The Yankees are not embarrassing them, nor are the Phillies, nor the Braves: The Mets are embarrassing themselves, and are treating their fans like suckers. And all my usual partisan kidding aside, Met fans have not just the right but the duty to be furious at the House of Wilpon.

You know what Presidential candidates say in a recession: Unemployment only has to go up by one more person for the recovery to begin. And in the Mets' case, Omar Minaya is that man.

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