Yesterday, Jay Jaffe, took a detailed look at Vazquez over at BP:
Taking a more dramatic route, if not necessarily a smarter one, the Yanks could also start Sergio Mitre in Vazquez’s stead, though it’s tough to imagine Mitre’s lone supporter (Girardi) subjecting a pitcher with a career ERA of 5.48 to such brutality even given Boston’s recent struggles. More elaborate solutions are unlikely, at least at this juncture, given that the Yankees have few places to stash an $11.5-million pitcher in a funk. In years past, struggling pitchers like Jeff Weaver or Jose Contreras have been sent to the team’s spring training facility to work with pitching guru Billy Connors, taking the so-called “Tampa Cure.” But that would require a DL stint, and thus far, nobody has suggested Vazquez is injured. Short of a serious injury which could shelve the struggling starter for awhile, the one thing the Yankees almost certainly won’t do is haul Chamberlain back to the rotation, particularly given the concerns they have about their set-up corps, with Chan Ho Park lost to a hamstring injury and David Robertson and Damaso Marte just lost, period.
So the Yankees and their fans will have to endure Vazquez for the foreseeable future. Which shouldn’t be so hard, given that they sit at 16-8, with the second-best record in the AL, and that despite the weight of his personal history in the Bronx and in the league, Vazquez’s current rough patch still amounts to only five starts. In recent years, upstanding hurlers such as Sabathia, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Justin Verlander have overcome similarly ugly season-opening patches to wind up ranking among the majors’ top pitchers, and a change in Vazquez’s fortunes may only be a mechanical tweak or two away.
Even with his patchy situational stats, it’s simply too early to resort to panic over a pitcher not expected to carry the team, one whose overall track record is as long and as solid as Vazquez’s is. Expect Cashman, Girardi, and company to resist the temptation to resort to more drastic measures—firing squad, stoning, trepanning, or Clockwork Orange-style loops of the 2004 ALCS—while riding out the storm for a while longer.
[photo credit: YOM]