December 04, 2003

Yankees trade for Vazquez: The MSG Network is reporting that the Yankees and Expos have agreed to a deal that will send starting pitcher Javier Vazquez to the Yankees for 1B Nick Johnson and OF Juan Rivera. The Yankees and Vazquez now have 72 hours to agree to a contract extension or the trade will not go through.

posted by jbou to baseball at 02:29 AM - 35 comments

yankee fans on the nyy fan board don't seem too pleased with letting a young hitter like NJ go and are less thrilled about Giambi playing first. "And who's going to play first base? Obviously not Giambi (not more than 100 games, anyway). Let me guess... they'll sign ANOTHER oldster to fill in at first! " "I haven't been this angry at the Yankees since we traded Buhner for Phelps." "Its a bad baseball move and latest in the line of trading away good young players. This teams offense will be worse off and we trade away a player who could have been the next great Yankee. **** Steinbrenner." "Nick could have been the next great Yankee and the foundation of our offense for years. He would have been like a young Giambi with even more plate discipline. This is a horrible move and it will weaken our team, not improve it." "On the bright side, he supposedly has put a gag order on his inner circle, so it's possible, although not likely, that many of these rumors are bogus." "I'd do just about anything to keep Nick." "Crap!! Crap!! We need to protect Nick Johnson!! Trade Rivera, DePaula, Drew Henson, Soriano, I don't care, but we need to keep Nick Johnson and his high OBP." i'll wait til it's actually announced. is still reporting the yankees are investigating a potential deal, but they are going to work on it the rest of the week. there's been a lot of pseudo-announcements [from the press, and otherwise] that the Yankees have inked all these signings (Sheffield, Brown, etc) when they haven't completely yet. i guess people are really anxious to see what steinbrenner is up to.

posted by jerseygirl at 06:40 AM on December 04, 2003

Dammit, I wanted Nick Johnson for my team!

posted by jasonspaceman at 06:59 AM on December 04, 2003

Though it may be wishful thinking, I have the distinct impression that the Yankees are flailing around desperately this off-season and will make moves that end up hurting them. It's very '80s retro.

posted by rcade at 08:05 AM on December 04, 2003

GOD DAMN IT. Guarantee this turns out worse than the Ken Phelps trade.

posted by Bernreuther at 08:47 AM on December 04, 2003

I have to say that Yankee fans that think this is a bad trade are silly. Vazquez is one of the best young pitchers in baseball so yes they have to give up a good player to get him, but this is a much better deal then giving up Johnson and Soriano for Schilling. This trade makes the Yankees pitching staff younger and better.

posted by jbou at 09:14 AM on December 04, 2003

I'm going to go ahead and (gulp) agree with jbou here. Johnson's a decent hitter with some pop and he's young. He's not Babe Ruth, despite his fat body and skinny legs. It's not like Javier Vasquez is some over-the-hill shitbird.

posted by yerfatma at 10:50 AM on December 04, 2003

Who's Ken Phelps? Oh ... point taken.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:19 AM on December 04, 2003

AP is reporting Yankees will send Johnson, Rivera and left-hander Randy Choate. Deal is contingent on them passing physicals -- I'm guessing the extention is already in place. Sounds like Sheffield is going to happen also. He's getting a physical sometime in NY today and deal may be approaching soon. The AL East winter race continues...

posted by rosey8810 at 11:20 AM on December 04, 2003

I always thought he looked like Babe Ruth, too. I don't know how this will effect the offense though. NJ is an OBP machine. And defensively, bad-knees-Giambi full time on 1st doesn't seem like a sound option. ESPN is reporting that Johnson, Rivera, and Choate are headed to Montreal for Vasquez. Apparently, this deal is happening whether or not a contract extension for Vasquez comes to fruition, which strikes me as unbelievable and stupid on the Yankees part, if this is trye. If Steinbrenner does this deal without a contract extension... it's a foolish hasty George move, IMO. I'm going to go ahead and (gulp) agree with jbou here. Hah. Now if you wouldn't mind handing over your Red Sox cap and your Red Sox Nation membership card... great... and if you'll just step over here, we'll beat the secret handshake out of you.

posted by jerseygirl at 11:20 AM on December 04, 2003

trye = true.

posted by jerseygirl at 11:21 AM on December 04, 2003

I think this is a very good deal for the Yankees if they can get Vasquez signed. Johnson is a fine young hitter, but he's unable to stay healthy, and neither Choate nor Rivera is anything special.
The Yankees are an old team, true, but Vasquez is an excellent (and not old) arm -- plus, that yelp I just heard may be Johnson's latest injury. All this means is the Yanks have to find find a cheap, young first baseman. I think this helps their pitching much more than it hurts their offense. I hope I'm wrong, but there it is.

posted by jeffmshaw at 01:15 PM on December 04, 2003

I believe this trade takes the Yanks out of the Kevin Brown running. All the trade scenarios I've heard have revolved around Nick Johnson and Jeff Weaver for Brown.

posted by lilnemo at 01:17 PM on December 04, 2003

Yankees fans. What about this: Giambi for Brown, (if giambi would waive his no trade clause, which he won't) and then the Yankees sign another 1B.

posted by djacobs at 02:33 PM on December 04, 2003

Yankees fans. What about this: Giambi for Brown, (if giambi would waive his no trade clause, which he won't) and then the Yankees sign another 1B. What's the motivation? Certainly not dumping salary. Giambi makes more than Brown. You lose a pitcher with a history of back problems and you gain a part-time 1st baseman and professional DH (useful the NL) with a history of knee problems. As is, the Yankees must be exploring the idea of picking up some 1B backup.

posted by jerseygirl at 02:39 PM on December 04, 2003

I HATE this trade. Hate hate hate. Even more now that there's no contract in place. Vasquez is good but still a gamble. He's not outstanding, and he posted those numbers in obscurity in montreal. He could just as easily be the next Jeff Weaver - good but can't handle NY. I think it's more likely that he'll be utterly average - 14-10, 4.00 or something like that. Which to be honest isn't that much worse than a typical Pettitte year, but there's a difference between going and getting your own guy back and giving up your team's OBP leader. On the other hand, Nick led the team in OPS, is cheap, is 25, and was just about to make huge leaps under mattingly (I strongly believed this and Nick was the main reason I liked the Mattingly signing). I was thinking 1.000 OPS as very possible (.950 a sure thing). Plus he has a glove. Moving Soriano down and hitting Jeter leadoff and Nick at 2 would have been absolutely incredible with the bats coming behind them. Now we've got Giambi gimping around full time at first and maybe Bernie as a DH, on his way down, giving us little flexibility if Giambi needs to DH. I preferred a much simpler route - sign Sheff, sign a pitcher (settle for Colon or trade weaver for brown), swap Bernie and Matsui, and work on the bullpen. The bullpen work has been brilliant but they're now complicating things a lot. Ultimately, I still just plain don't trust Vasquez anyway - I think his value was exaggerated by hype over the past 2 offseasons. I really don't like Colon anymore but they could have signed him and gotten roughly the same production, kept Nick, and then maybe chased Vasquez as a FA next year. This is the angriest I have ever been as a Yankees fan.

posted by Bernreuther at 03:41 PM on December 04, 2003

I hear Mo Vaughn is available.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:41 PM on December 04, 2003

I don't see why Yankee fans are so upset about the lack of a contract. In a twisted way, doesn't it makes more sense for them to acquire the guy without locking him into a longer deal? If he plays well next season and they want him back, they can outbid any rivals for him. If he plays poorly, they'll be free of the guy sooner. The other scenario -- he plays well and someone else snatches him up -- never happens to the Yankees.

posted by rcade at 04:21 PM on December 04, 2003

What's the motivation? Certainly not dumping salary. Giambi makes more than Brown. You lose a pitcher with a history of back problems and you gain a part-time 1st baseman and professional DH (useful the NL) with a history of knee problems. Giambi's on the way downhill, but he's better than any other LA has. He'd be an upgrade for them. But yeah, I forgot about the DH thing.

posted by djacobs at 04:36 PM on December 04, 2003

it might happen next week. The drawback to that is if the market goes up it could end up costing them a lot more. Apparently there's not even minimal concern about this anymore. (before they at least tried a few smart moves and avoided blatantly wasting money... not anymore.) I'm more upset about the lack of a Johnson. Fucking hell. He is going to be great this year.

posted by Bernreuther at 04:36 PM on December 04, 2003

Why the whining? The Yankees aren't predicated on monster hitting, they live on their arms. Their pitching was going to take a huge hit this year, so they got more. I would take the good young starter over a good young position player (especially one in a power hitting position with no pop so far) anytime. Pitching wins championships. Pitching is the main reason for the Yankees current run of success, it got the Marlins a ring, it got the Dbacks a ring. Lack of pitching kept Bonds from getting his ring. Besides, isn't their some kind of thing with Expo's pitchers after they leave Montreal? A few of them seem to do OK...

posted by pivo at 04:38 PM on December 04, 2003

I would argue that horrible Yankee hitting had just as much to do with the Marlins title but there's no way to prove that it was one or the other. It comes down to the fact that I'm not sold on Vasquez as a star, especially not in NY. And NJ getting on base nearly half the time from the 2 hole takes us back to 1998 with two good OBP guys up there and a very very effective offense.

posted by Bernreuther at 06:04 PM on December 04, 2003

Why the whining? aw, he wasn't whining, at least not to me. as much as i am required to hate the yankees, i feel for you bern. i know how it feels to have your team frustrate you and piss you off.

posted by jerseygirl at 08:41 PM on December 04, 2003

This is the angriest I have ever been as a Yankees fan. Hmm, I'm assuming you've never sat through an Expos game in its entirety. I've sat in the Big O to watch two games last year that he was on the mound and I watch most Expos games which are on the tele. Vazquez has nasty, absolutely nasty stuff. He's a big strikeout pitcher and might be one of the top 10 starters in the league right now (of course, he'd never get recognized for it because he plays in Montreal). He's way, way further along in his maturity than Weaver was and should be able to handle the big lights well. As well, you have to remember that Johnson has an injury-riddled past. There have been a lot of great hitters out there who just couldn't stay in for a full season and I certainly get the feeling he's going to be one of those frustrating coulda-beens.

posted by oem at 09:27 PM on December 04, 2003

Oh the whining bit wasn't directed at any one person, it was the Yankee's nation as a whole kind of a thing. I still say I'd rather have a good starter than a prospect first baseman any day. Give it a shot though Bern, first baseman are a dime a dozen, but good starters are hard to come by, and Vasquez is good. I'll wager he be fine in NY. He's got good control, 3rd in MLB in K's a good K/BB ratio (3.9). This deal would upset me only if I were living in Boston. As to the horrible hitting, funny thing that...On paper Yankees had the series wrapped up: Yanks - Marlins Hits: 54 - 47 HR: 6 -2 BB: 24 - 14 R: 21 - 17 Well maybe not wrapped up but if their hitting was horrible what was the Marlins? I guess timely, but point is the pitching (of both teams) got them past the weak hitting.

posted by pivo at 09:38 PM on December 04, 2003

Oh, and what OEM said as well.

posted by pivo at 09:40 PM on December 04, 2003

Relax Bern, some experts think Vazquez will be great in NYC.......................... The Yankees need to retool their rotation, and Javier Vazquez is a stellar fit. Vazquez is only 27 years old and has a great arm. His command is his biggest asset. The right-hander hits his spots and keeps the ball down, displaying tremendous control. His 2003 numbers are All-Star caliber: just 57 walks in 230 innings with 241 strikeouts. A strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 4-1 is impressive. I believe Vazquez's personality also will be a good fit for the Yankees. In fact, the pressure of playing in New York should make him a better pitcher. It's an opportunity for him to dial up the intensity. I've talked to Vazquez a handful of times, and I've been impressed with him. One plus for Vazquez is that he won't be expected to be the savior. With Joe Torre's Yankees, it's all about the team. Remember the 1998 Yankee team that won 114 games and then won the World Series? No one star stood out. How did the Yankees do in terms of keeping pace with the Red Sox and their recent acquisition of Curt Schilling? Well, for next year, Boston has the advantage on paper, because Schilling is a dual ace alongside Pedro Martinez. He's a veteran with a proven track record (and the 2001 World Series co-MVP). But because Vazquez is 10 years younger than Schilling, this deal has tremendous upside for the Yankees. It bodes well for their rotation for years to come. ESPN baseball analyst Tom Candiotti was a major-league pitcher for 16 seasons

posted by jbou at 09:43 PM on December 04, 2003

oem, I get the exact opposite feeling. He's going to post a 1.000 OPS next year for Montreal and he'll do it cheaply. He's the perfect glove to spell Giambi at first - all the other 1B out there have no glove, or glove but no bat. Nick has both, and as a #2 hitter would be ideal. Candiotti, Montreal never had any pressure games so you can't really say that with any degree of confidence. I still think it'll be a shock to him. And he's wrong about the expectations - expectations are the cause of all the pressure in NY, and after a trade like this the expectations will be huge. WRT the 114 win team, they got that far because they were an awesome team - there's something to be said for clubhouse chemistry, unity, etc (see 2003 Red Sox as well) that makes a team excel beyond any reasonable expectation (114 wins). The teams of the past 2 years and next year are more and more just hired goons from many countries who can't even speak each others languages or get along (though Sojo as a bridge for all the latin guys is genius. Sojo is awesome). That's a problem. Not saying that Vasquez is like that but that's a small thing that irks me about this team. Anyway, I hope he is all he's cracked up to be. I'm just skeptical.

posted by Bernreuther at 07:49 AM on December 05, 2003

He's going to post a 1.000 OPS next year for Montreal He may. But I don't think he has the power to consistently post those kind of numbers. Vasquez is a much more proven commodity (in my mind). Johnson had the advantage of hitting in a decent lineup in a park that's very friendly to lefties. Vasquez had the advantage of pitching for Montreal.

posted by yerfatma at 09:58 AM on December 05, 2003

Given the choice between a good young hitter and good young pitcher, I'll take the pitcher. But that only applies to single-year gambles. In the long run, I'd much rather have the good young hitter. They tend to last longer. Of course, in this case we have an "injury-prone" hitter. But I'll come out and admit that I am a HUGE fan of Nick Johnson (I have him in my perpetual baseball fantasy league), so in the end I think this is a wash. I give points to Montreal for getting some real value Vasquez. If Juan Rivera can turn into a decent 3rd/4th outfielder, it may be in Montreal's favour. If they saved enough cash to help sign Vlad, then it's a win for sure.

posted by grum@work at 11:10 AM on December 05, 2003

Things that would concern me, if I was a Yankees fan hahaha. ;) pitcher abuse points raise the risk of injuries. they didn't get him for more than a year.

posted by jerseygirl at 12:47 PM on December 05, 2003

This doesn't fit anywhere, but...

posted by dusted at 01:05 PM on December 05, 2003

dusted, how the hell do you do that?!? and I love Fuzzy.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:06 PM on December 05, 2003

View source and you'll get the answer: <img height="202" width="600" src=""> I took out the vspace attribute so no one can say I'm teaching deprecated HTML

posted by yerfatma at 03:55 PM on December 05, 2003

Oh, is it deprecated? My web skilz are strictly 1995.

posted by dusted at 04:07 PM on December 05, 2003

Get Fuzzy: good sports related gag. Boondocks: bad sports related gag.

posted by lilnemo at 04:20 PM on December 05, 2003

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