If the mainstream media is to believed again, the Sox are shopping Javier Vazquez and the New York Mets are looking to buy. The Mets, as you will recall, have been mere inches away from the playoffs each of the past two seasons but ultimately fell short when their team just couldn’t put it together down the stretch or in the clutch.
So if you’re Omar Minaya, you have to ask yourself: is Javier Vazquez really the answer?
Minaya had Vazquez on staff while he was general manager of the Montreal Expos, and for those Expos #33 did pretty much what he’s done on the South Side: tank when the team was good, shine when the team was out of it. Minaya’s club ultimately lacked the funds to keep a contender together and traded Vazquez to the Yankees the same winter they let Vlad Guerrero leave after sending Orlando Cabrera to help the Red Sox win the World Series.
Minaya’s Mets have been done in by a lot of things, but none more so than their pitching staff. Injuries and lowered expectations aside, what the Mets of 2007 and 2008 lacked even from the beginning were a solid bullpen and a reliable back end of the rotation. Could Javier Vazquez be the solution to either of those problems?
Unless the Mets plan to spend $11 million a year for the greatest long reliever in history, the bullpen option is out in any direct manner; if Javier is to be their fifth starter things just might work out for the Metropolitans, except they already have one huge question mark there in Pedro Martinez. Javy would at least marginally improve by switching to the National League, but would it be enough of a swing in the positive direction? His AL-NL switches haven’t been entirely graceful, to say the least, but if he doesn’t have it figured out by 32 years old you have to assume that what you see is what you get.
In theory, by trading for Vazquez the Mets would probably not be helping their cause too much. In practice, he may be the only serviceable option out there; with an already massive payroll and a new stadium to pay for, it’s unlikely the Mets are in a position to pay up for a C.C. Sabathia and if they know what’s good for them they won’t pay A.J. Burnett the absurd amount someone else probably will.
The strikeouts are there, but as an actual pitcher, as a guy who’s going to make the difference between a staff that will win games and a staff that will lose them, Javy’s shown three different teams that he’s simply not what borderline teams need. Ask a Yankees fan. Ask a White Sox fan. Better yet, ask the last general manager of the Montreal Expos.