The Vazquez Rumors
Rumor has it that Ken Williams is looking to deal Javier Vazquez, partially because of his dropoff in performance and partially because of manager Ozzie Guillen’s disgust for the righthander. Guillen publicly expressed his displeasure with Vazquez on several occasions last season, particularly down the stretch. For example:
“Javy is a consistent pitcher sometimes, and we haven’t scored enough runs for him. [But] sometimes he hasn’t pitched well enough. I don’t have an ace here.”
”He hasn’t been,” Guillen said Sunday of Vazquez as a big-game pitcher, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “That’s the bottom line.”
Naturally, if the Mets can trade Luis Castillo straight up for Vazquez, it would be great — but it’s completely unrealistic.
Despite Guillen’s indictments, starting pitchers who consistently throw 200+ innings and strike out 200 do not grow on trees, so prying Vazquez away from the ChiSox would take a considerable package. Don’t be fooled by the nonsense that the White Sox are “on the hook” for two years and $23M — that’s a BARGAIN in this market (for example, try getting Derek Lowe for that kind of deal). So it’s going to take a heckuva lot more than the balky-kneed Castillo to bring back Vazquez.
And as much as the Mets would welcome the 200 innings that Vazquez brings, those comments by Guillen are disturbing — particularly to a team that has collapsed down the stretch in consecutive seasons. While Vazquez would no doubt be an integral part of helping the Mets “play meaningful games in September”, what if it’s another close race? Will he blow the big games? This franchise can’t handle another “close but no cigar”.
Personally, I’ve always been a fan of Vazquez, and believe a workhorse such as he is an addition the Mets need to make this offseason. If not Vazquez, then Lowe, or a similar innings-eater. I fear that John Maine will not be a 200-inning pitcher in 2009, and there are already holes at the back end of the rotation.
How about this: trade Luis Castillo and Carlos Delgado for Javier Vazquez and Paul Konerko? You dump Castillo’s bad contract in return for Konerko’s bad contract (2 years, $24M), and you sell high on Delgado in order to get the workhorse starter you need. Konerko’s RH power bat is much needed in the Mets’ lefty-heavy lineup. From the White Sox’ point of view, they shed $17M over the next two years, can move Alexei Ramirez to shortstop, and get the lefthanded power bat they’ve been seeking for their righty-heavy lineup.
I know, I know — Konerko was awful last year, and Delgado was the Mets’ MVP. But you have to give up something to get something, and I truly believe that Konerko at age 33 has a better chance of rebounding than Delgado at 37 does of repeating the second half of 2008. But hey, look at it this way: would you trade Delgado straight up for Vazquez? If so, then you might also trade Castillo straight up for Konerko, right? In addition, I like Konerko’s leadership skills (he’s the White Sox captain) and the fact he owns a World Series ring. The trouble is, he has the right to veto any trade, and may not be interested in leaving Chicago.
What do YOU think?