Javier Vazquez has been traded five times, a fairly stunning number considering he’s been a productive pitcher throughout his career. He seems to be the kind of player a lot of teams want, but that no team is unwilling to deal. Good but not great. Valuable but not priceless.
Here’s the company Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino are joining in the fraternity of players traded for Javier Vazquez.
December 16, 2003: Traded by the Montreal Expos to the New York Yankees for…
Randy Choate — Fairly young lefty reliever who went on to bounce from Triple-A to the big leagues. He’s had solid numbers at both levels.
Nick Johnson — Young first baseman stuck behind Jason Giambi. He’s been awfully good when healthy. You know where he’ll be next year.
Juan Rivera — Young outfielder on the rise. Within 11 months of this trade, he was traded again, this time to the Angels, with whom he’s had a nice big league career. Still a good, not-too-old big leaguer.
January 11, 2005: Traded by the New York Yankees with Brad Halsey, Dioner Navarro and cash to the Arizona Diamondbacks for…
Randy Johnson — Second in the Cy Young voting the year before, Johnson was supposed to do what Vazquez could not and get the Yankees back to the World Series. He never got out of the Division Series.
December 20, 2005: Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Chicago White Sox for (a few of these names should be familiar)…
Orlando Hernandez — Coming off a bad season, the aging Hernandez would ultimately be traded again just six months and nine starts later.
Luis Vizcaino — The journeyman reliever had pitched well for the White Sox, and he pitched well for the Diamondbacks. Then he was traded to the Yankees in the deal that sent Randy Johnson (see above) to Arizona. Apparently, baseball’s circle of life always comes back to Javier Vazquez.
Chris Young — The hot prospect in the deal, Young had hit for power as a Double-A center fielder in 2005. The White Sox could afford to lose him because they had Brian Anderson and Ryan Sweeney. Within two years, Young hit 32 home runs as a rookie center fielder in Arizona.
December 4, 2008: Traded by the Chicago White Sox with Boone Logan (same extra pitcher who came to New York) to the Atlanta Braves for…
Tyler Flowers — Good power and a terrific on-base percentage as a High-A catching prospect in 2008, he went all the way from Double-A to the big leagues in his first year with the White Sox. Very legit prospect.
Brent Lillibridge — Very good defensive shortstop, but his bat was always a question. Still is after he hit .158 with Chicago this season.
Santos Rodriguez — Baseball America called him the “wild card” in the trade because he had good stuff but no polish. The lefty could hit 91-93 with his sinker, but his control was bad. He’s still very low in the White Sox system, but had 50 strikeouts and 18 walks in 31 innings this season.
Jon Gilmore — Third baseman who was a supplemental first-round pick in 2007. Gilmore had been terrific in short-season ball with the Braves, but had struggled when sent to Low-A. The White Sox sent him to A-ball this season and he was OK, but not great.
Where does the Yankees’ package fit? It seems to be more or less in keeping with the past two Vazquez trades, but it’s impact will ultimately depend on Vizcaino’s development. To get Vazquez, the White Sox gave up Young and the Braves gave up Flowers, two prospects who were a year away from the big leagues. Vizcaino is the top prospect in the Yankees package, but he’s much, much farther away. The reward could be higher, but so is the risk.
And the Yankees could still get two draft picks out of the deal.