Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Who is to blame for the Javier Vazquez mess?

So the Yankees announced Monday that Javier Vazquez would not be making his upcoming start in Boston this weekend. And they're trying to figure out what to do to fix him. It irks me about how much of a pass Brian Cashman is getting from the media for trading for him in the first place, when plenty of people, including me and many of our readers, knew that it was a bad idea at the time.

Cashman told this to MLB.com Monday:
"I worry that his velocity is down and I worry that his fastball command is not there," Cashman said. "Those are usually things where something's going on, but he said, 'No.' He said right now, he feels [health] is not the issue." 
Gee, Cash, maybe Javy isn't being straight up with you about his health. I know that would be a big shock and all. It's not like he lied about being injured the first time around or anything. Oh, wait.

Cashman also said:
"I believe that when you start to struggle, especially in a bigger market, you can be your own worst enemy because you want something so bad," Cashman said. "All of a sudden, you get on the wrong side of the mountain -- it's hard to stop. It's up to us to find ways to stop and regroup. That's what we're trying to do.

"When you're struggling like this in a market like this, it's louder and harder. He's not running from it. You can see that it bothers him. It hurts. He wants success, he wants to do right by everybody. He's fighting himself while he's doing it."

How the heck did Cashman not see that this would happen? You have a pitcher who has a history of excelling with lousy teams, and having his worst years with contending teams. He is also the same person who didn't tell the truth about being injured the first time around with the Yankees. Oh, and he's also poorly remembered by fans for giving up that grand slam to Johnny Damon in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS.

So how in the world did Cashman think that Vazquez would excel in Yankeeland the second time around? Granted, I hate the Bomber fans booing at him. But geez, why couldn't Cashman think that this was going to happen?

Heck, I knew this would be the result at the time. As I said upon hearing the news that Vazquez would be a Yankee again, if he's the answer, then I don't want to know the question! Here's some of what I wrote on December 22, 2009, the day of the trade:
Brian Cashman appears to be systematically getting rid of the postseason stars/good personality guys/players able to handle New York on this team, like Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and now Melky Cabrera. It's one thing to trade Cabrera and get a pitcher in return - I can understand that. I just can't understand giving Vazquez another try. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

We all know how important it is for a player to be able to handle New York. It's why Johnny Damon was worth every penny of that $52 million contract - he's a winner. Hideki Matsui hit a grand slam in his first game as a Yankee and became a fan favorite - and MVP of the World Series. Javier Vazquez, not so much.
Granted, while I was right about Javy, I've been wrong plenty of times before. For example, I was completely against signing A.J. Burnett - I even wrote that I'd rather have Carol Burnett than A.J. Burnett as a Yankee. But he proved me wrong, and has become on of my favorite Yankees.

I'm not exactly thrilled to be right this time around. And I hope Javier Vazquez ends up proving me wrong. He's not a bad person - Vazquez is no Kevin Brown, personality-wise, and I've heard Javy is personally a very good guy. But he should never been put in this position to fail - again - as a Yankee. And Cashman ought to get more blame than he's been getting for acquiring him in the first place.

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Uncle Mike said...

Don't feel so bad, Lisa. I actually liked the idea of Vazquez coming back, and lamented the forfeiture of Melky Cabrera in exchange. Now look at Melky: He's got a batting average in the range of Nick Johnson and an on-base percentage in the range of most of the Orioles (their much-appreciated weekend sweep of the Red Sox notwithstanding).

And, of course, I was against trading for A-Rod. He proved me wrong. After six years.

I was also against bringing in all those ex-Mets: Joe Torre, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, David Cone. Had an entire henhouse worth of eggs on my face over that, and have been glad to take it.

But I was right not to want to give up Phil Hughes as part of a package for The Great Johan Santana!

lilitgr said...

My main concern about Javier is mostly in the impact it will have on Hughes- especially if he really does have an innings limit. When Joba became the defacto 4th starter it became a lot harder to manage his innings and you have the craziness that went on at the end of the season. I know Phil is a little mentally tougher and does have a higher limit but I don't think anyone wants to go through that again.

badkarma-one said...

I've been saying these very same things since the trade. Where was Cashman's head when he concocted those offseason moves?

Yeah, the team is winning, but I think they're winning in spite of the roster -- not because of it.

badkarma-one said...

Uncle Mike, I can cut Melky some slack. He's on a new team, with new strategies, and I'm not sure he's all that appreciated -- they only wanted him as a fourth OF, after all. Maybe his attitude took a hit -- going from the starting CF on the Yankees to a backup on the Braves is a real comedown -- especially since he was so clutch last year and was traded for one of the most un-clutch players I've ever had the misfortune to see in pinstripes.

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