With Javier Vazquez’ recent demotion to the bullpen, I can’t help but ask myself if this is the end of the Vazquez in the Bronx. Two times Vazquez came to the Bronx among high expectations and two times now he has failed. He might even be done there for good.
After a great start to the 2004 season which saw him start the all-star game, Vazquez finished the season like a chump and was shipped off to Arizona. I personally had high hopes for the guy when he was acquired from Atlanta this offseason for Melky Cabrera. Vazquez was coming of a season which might have been his best ever as a pro. He was 15-10 for an Atlanta team that was at best an average squad. He boasted a career best 2.87 ERA and his second-highest career total in strikeouts with 238.
For his career, Vazquez even appears as a safe bet. Since 2000, his numbers are eerily consistent. He has not started less than 32 games or more than 34. He has won at least 11 games a season, but never more than 16. Excluding 2009 and 2010, his ERA was always between 3.42 and 4.84. His career record is 151-148 with a career 4.23 ERA while playing mostly for
Vazquez is 9-9 this season with a career-worst 5.05 ERA. Even worse, he has not won a start in 4 weeks and has not made it to the 7th inning since July. He has lost two of his previous four starts and has experienced an astounding drop in his pitch velocity, requiring him to pitch around batters and throw anywhere from 80-100 pitches in 4-5 innings. Not exactly the definition of effective pitching.
Don’t quote me on this, but I believe his contract is over at the end of this season and pitching .500 ball with a 5.05 ERA sort of makes him expendable. Newcomers Dustin Moseley and Ivan Nova have been more than willing to and seem more than capable of filling the roles left behind by Vazquez and the injured Andy Pettitte.
On September 1, the rosters of every team expand to 40. Unless Vazquez can reinvent himself as a member of the bullpen, he’ll just be one of the pitchers in the ‘pen that the Yankees never use. He won’t make a potential playoff or World Series roster and will find himself somewhere other than Tampa for spring training next season.
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