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.The site ranked Guerra 15th out of the top 15 prospects in the Twins' organization.
...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.
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.