"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

So Long, Thanks for the Fish

Javier Vazquez has signed a one-year deal to pitch for the Florida Marlins.

No hard feelings. I always liked Javy, it just never worked out for him in the Bronx.

[Photo Credit: Picture of the Day]

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Hot Stove  Trade Rumors  Yankees

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1 Mattpat11   ~  Nov 28, 2010 7:14 pm


2 Bruce Markusen   ~  Nov 28, 2010 7:39 pm

Good riddance. Not only did this guy pitch the worst ball of his career in two stints with the Yankees, he seemed completely clueless about it. He whined a lot about having lost his fastball this summer, but didn't do much in terms of making actual adjustments to try to compensate.

I wanted to like Javier Vazquez, I really did, but his on-field performance was just so disastrously bad. The latest in a long line of failed Yankee veteran starters...Reuschel, Dotson, Whitson, McDowell, Rogers, Brown, Pavano...

3 Will Weiss   ~  Nov 28, 2010 8:47 pm

I never understood the lovefest for him heading into the 2010 season. It had all the makings of a recycled relationship -- dating someone with whom you broke up -- to see if you could make it work. Now he'll be successful, because he's back in the National League, where he's always belonged, and he can be under the radar. He'll also be very close to his native Puerto Rico.

[2] Unlike you, Bruce, I didn't want to like him. His performance in 2004 was enough for me to keep the skepticism way ahead of the optimism.

4 RagingTartabull   ~  Nov 28, 2010 9:20 pm

I never blamed him for 2004, to me that always seemed to be short-sighted and lazy...but I DO blame him for being sullen, inconsistent, and seemingly unwilling to make any sort of adjustment that would help himself and the team. Bottom line, Ozzie was right about him.

that said, you just know he's gonna go 16-8 with a 3.65 ERA and 200 innings pitched next year...its gonna happen.

5 Diane Firstman   ~  Nov 28, 2010 10:11 pm

and so long Leslie Nielsen, dead at 84 .... (sigh)

6 Mattpat11   ~  Nov 29, 2010 6:18 am

[4] I do think people went to the opposite extreme and tried to absolve him of all responsibility in that mess. And honest to God, I've never heard anyone other than Javier Vazquez confirm that he had an injury that year. I don't remember it coming up in the physical for Arizona.

7 Dimelo   ~  Nov 29, 2010 8:41 am

I was a big supporter of Javy, I was happy he came back and was given a second chance and boy was I f'ing wrong. I supported the deal Cash made for the man, so it would be stupid of me to ever criticize anything about Javy.

I am glad he's gone, really glad actually. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. I hope the Yanks don't even bring this guy back not even for old timers day 20 years from now. Just keep him away.

8 Raf   ~  Nov 29, 2010 1:02 pm

Velocity charts, courtesy of fangraphs;

When a pitcher loses their fastball, it's difficult to make the adjustment; especially when the rest of his "stuff" isn't up to snuff.

I still think it was a good deal to bring him back, and all it cost was an A-ball prospect (those never wash out), and a 4th outfielder. They tried to sneak a good year out of him, and was unsuccessful. Not that big a deal.

9 cult of basebaal   ~  Nov 29, 2010 1:11 pm

Javy Vazquez's 2010 should really be broken into 3 parts.

Let's call them "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly" for convenience.

For reference, here is Fangraphs Velocity Chart for Vazquez's appearances.

Javy came out of Spring Training down a couple of MPH on his fastball and promptly got destroyed.
Between 4/9 and 5/12, when it was announced he was being skipped from his next scheduled start (in Boston) to work on the side with Dave Eiland, he made 6 starts with a line of:
30IP 37H 17W 27K 8HR .962OPS 8.10ERA

After a 1 batter relief appearance in Fenway (getting the out and recording a win), Vazquez returned to the rotation on 5/21. Between 5/21 and 7/10 (All Star break), Javy would make 10 starts with a line of:
64.2IP 41H 21W 52K 7HR .584OPS 2.78ERA

Vazquez was probably the Yankees' 2nd best starter over that span, behind Pettitte. By the All Star break Vazquez had somehow managed to put together a totally cromulent 1st half:
90IP 78H 38W 80K 15HR .715OPS 4.45ERA

There was certainly some luck involved, as Vazquez's babip was .201 over the 10 game stretch and he did face a generally weaker set of opponents (including the NL), but, even though his velocity did not return to 2009 levels, all his peripherals were better than they were at the start of the season. Anecdotally, I also remember Yankees' announcers talking about Vazquez adding a slower curveball to establish a pitch to get better separation from his diminished fastball.

Overall not a great 1st half, but probably pretty close to what the Yankees were expecting from him and good enough to hope for another half with a similar overall line.

Except ...

Somehow, Vazquez managed to come back from the All Star break for his start on 7/21 with some sort of physical injury or impairment. If he was averaging 89MPHish before the break, now he was averaging 87. The drop in velocity was clear and significant and formed a new level of performance over the starts he made before being removed from the rotation on 8/21. By 8/7 the Yankees had announced he was suffering from a "dead arm". He made 7 consecutive starts after the All Star break, putting up a line that might just be worse than his beginning to the year:
35IP 49H 15W 23K 11HR 1.057OPS 6.69ERA

After being removed from the rotation to try and rest the "dead arm", Vazquez bounced from the bullpen to the rotation and back again. It's hard to determine anything conclusive from the appearances Vazquez made during this time. His velocity was mostly up again, but that includes bullpen appearances and even when starting, he was on extra rest. Having watched all of Vazquez's appearances in 2010 (and all but a couple of Yankees games, period) even though his velocity was more or less normal (for 2010), he still didn't seem right, like he was overthrowing to get velocity and losing movement and command.
7 appearances (3 starts):
27.1IP 28H 12W 18K 6HR .820OPS 6.59ERA

For an overall 2nd half line of:
62.1IP 77H 27W 41K 17HR .958OPS 6.64ERA

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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