Today the Yankees acquired Javier Vazquez from the Braves, giving up only utility OF Melky Cabrera and, on the surface, weakening probably the second best team in the NL East.
Vazquez this past year went 15-10, 2.87 while Cabrera had a .716 OPS in a major hitters park. Keith Law of ESPN even voted Vazquez second on his NL Cy Young ballot.
I also considered the quality of opponents each pitcher faced — not just their slash stats, but my own scouting take on the teams they faced. The NL East had better offenses and better-quality hitters than the Central or the West, which boosted Vazquez to 2nd on my ballot where he might otherwise have been third.
How does this deal help the Phillies? Easy. You get a big time pitcher out of a division they already controlled strongly. The Braves blog Talking Chop assesses the move as a straight salary dump on the part of the Braves.
All of this salary conservation has led up to this final purge from the books, and now the team must make a move that brings a big bat here, and they should have the salary room to do so. Perhaps with $15 million to spend, they can aim higher than Johnny Damon or Xavier Nady, and zero in on Jason Bay or Matt Holliday. For some fans, that’s the only way the team will win them back after another tumultuous off-season of questionable moves.
So, the way we see it, good deal for the Phillies. Which brings us to an interesting tweet we received from a fan named Scott:
Think bigger. It’s not much of a break for Phils when they’d win the div anyway. It means Phils chances of winning WS are low.
So, thoughts from the gallery on this tweet? We say you’re too far away from analyzing potential World Series match-ups. Point well taken, but so much can happen that first you want to make the playoffs, then from there, let the chips fall where they may. At least as it stands now, the chances of making the playoffs have improved. Good day for the Phillies.