According to River Avenue Blues, the Yankees have parted ways with Melky Cabrera and Mike Dunn. That seems like a very low price for a starting pitcher, particularly one as good as Vazquez.
The Yankees sold low on Vazquez in 2004. He posted an ERA+ of 92 with the team. Since then he has been erratic, but mostly good. He's posted the following ERA+ scores, in order, since 2004: 100, 98, 126, 98, 143. That's very up and down, but since the Yankees traded Javier he has pitched at least 200 innings every season. A 98 ERA+ is better than what the team's 4th and 5th starters did in 2009. Also, he turns 33 next year.
The knock on Vazquez that I took away from his first stint in pinstripes is that he didn't respond well to the Big City. In 2004 Vazquez was meant to be a front of the rotation starter for the Yankees. The team doesn't need him to be that this time around. Cashman is apparently betting he'll respond better to the Big Apple with less of a spotlight on him.
My gut reaction to this trade is: Whoa! Vazquez is and has always been a good pitcher, particularly as a back of the rotation starter. He's coming off his best season as a pro. The Yankees either just fleeced the Braves, or there's something in the fine print the Bombers don't know about.
Mike Dunn has been listed as a decent prospect, but the biggest name the Yankees are parting ways with is Melky Cabrera. I've always been a big Leche fan, but only because he was home grown and affordable. I'd trade him every day of the week and twice on Sundays for a legitimate starter. This low cost is why I'm curious to learn more about the deal. It seems too affordable.
I now also expect the Yankees will resign Damon. Leche would have been a decent option in left, but Brett Gardner is not. The team can do better, and there seem to be no buyers for Johnny, certainly not at $13 million per year. Suddenly $10 million a season for a good hitting left fielder seems like a move the Yankees have to make.
The offseason is just getting started.