The Vazquez Trade

Since I usually wake up at 5:30 AM, I am pretty whipped by, oh, 8 PM. As a result, I really couldn’t process all of the moving parts of the Javier Vazquez-to- Atlanta deal last night, and I still probably need a couple cups of coffee to think about it this morning. I do have one deep thought however, and it’s this: Do any of the people on the Braves message boards who are so optimistic about Vazquez “coming to a neutral park” realize that he wasn’t harmed all that much by his home park in the three years he pitched for the White Sox?

Home ERA: 4.25
Road ERA: 5.10

Home ERA: 3.57
Road ERA: 3.92

Home ERA: 4.72
Road ERA: 4.96

Yes, Vazquez should be a good addition to the Braves rotation, and yes, he should benefit by moving to the National League. But it’s not as though he’s being sprung from some awful environment to one in which he’ll feel like he’s back in Stade Olympique circa 2001.

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  1. John Ziccardi said...

    Javier Vasquez has over 200 decisions and has just about as many losses as wins despite his stuff. Home runs sailed out of Yankee Stadium at record velocity whenever he pitched for NY and he continued to underachieve with the White Sox. He’s very inconsistent, why should he do differently in Atlanta?

  2. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Justin—Not sure.  Hampton’s $15M is coming off, and it’s possible that they won’t be paying either Glavine ($9M in ‘08) or Smoltz ($14M in 08).  Much of Hudson’s $13M for 2009 will presumably be picked up by insurance.  No one else besides Chipper makes any real money.

    Maybe it’s not super likely, but I could see it happening.

  3. MooseinOhio said...

    He’s a number four starter and headed toward a five but does give you lots of innings so not a bad pick up for the back end of the rotation.

  4. Dan Greer said...

    Craig, it’s possible you’re absolutely right about the park not being a huge factor on Vazquez, but check out these runs scored splits:

    U.S. Cellular Field

    2006: 1.054 (9th)
    2007: 1.084 (9th)
    2008: 1.122 (4th)

    Turner Field

    2006: 0.946 (21st)
    2007: 0.912 (24th)
    2008: 1.063 (9th)

    I’m not sure what the reason is for the huge shift in factor from ‘07 to ‘08 is for Turner Field, but previously it was a solid pitcher’s park – not “neutral” in scoring. It is also worth mentioning that U.S. Cellular was 2nd, 4th, and 2nd in HR factor over the last 3 years, and Vazquez has a reputation for giving up a lot of long flies with men on base (not sure this is literally true, but he does give up big innings).

    Also, the home/road splits are misleading because generally, pitchers have better numbers at home (so do batters, for that matter). This shouldn’t surprise, as the vast majority of teams are more successful at home than on the road in any given year.

    I think it would still be wise to assume Vazquez was, in fact, hurt quite a bit by his home park – and maybe just isn’t a very good pitcher on the road for some reason. And if the 2008 Turner Field factors are a one-year aberration, then I’d reasonably expect Vazquez to get that ERA under 4.00, if not into the 3.50 range.

    None of that makes him a better pitcher than he is, but I see him as a solid #3, not a back-end guy.

  5. pete said...

    I don’t get why anyone would assume the Yankees are the only team that would take Peavy’s contract. It’s very affordable for a pitcher of his caliber, and to this point I haven’t heard any rumblings that the Braves had any concerns about it at all.

  6. brad said...

    Hey Craig Calcaterra… check the facts, the Braves didn’t pay Hampton’s contract.  The Rockies and Marlins are paying a good portion of it.  The Braves did NOT pay $15mm a year for Hampton.

  7. themarksmith said...

    The Braves have $45M to spend (from most reports). 45-11=34M left. Peavy makes $11M next season. 34-11=23M. Hudson and/or Chipper could leave next season, giving the Braves additional room for Peavy’s growth in contract. So, I believe they have enough money.

    As for why Turner Field’s factor went up, it may have to do with Atlanta going from 6th in ERA to 21st. They aren’t the only ones pitching there, but they were much, much worse than the previous season.

  8. John Liotta said...

    Craig, not to harp on Hampton but . . .
    You are right and wrong.  They intended to pay those amounts, but insurance covered a lot of it as he didn’t play because of injuries.

  9. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Good point John.  I guess the important inquiry is whether the team entered 2008 budgeting to pay Hampton or if, alternatively, they anticpated insurance.  If the former, it’s possible that his departure is the mental equivalent of $15M coming off.

    That said, yes, insurance presumably played a role.

  10. brad said...

    “According to Cot’s, the Braves paid $48.5M of Hampton’s deal”  This is the point that I was trying to make… I didn’t do a good job of wording it.  It was a $100+M contact… that’s an awful deal, but the Braves only paid $48.5M over 6 years, that’s actually a pretty good deal… if he hadn’t gotten hurt.  I was reacting to this; “they freakin’ paid Mike Hampton’s awful deal”…  $8M a year for a starting pitcher ain’t bad.

  11. Justin Zeth said...

    Given what the White Sox got back, it looks like more or less a salary dump plus a lets-swap-some-failed-prospects deal. I like it for the Braves.

    This probably means the Braves are out of the Peavy sweepstakes; I would take anyone’s bet that Peavy ends up going to the Yankees in exchange for nothing more than a couple C- prospects and the Yankees’ being the only team willing to assume his entire contract.

  12. Craig Calcaterra said...

    I actually don’t think the Braves would have any problem with the contract—they freakin’ paid Mike Hampton’s awful deal—they just think that the Padres want too much for Peavy.  I like this deal because Atlanta can now truly take a “take it or leave it” attitude with San Diego.

  13. Justin Zeth said...

    Do you really think they’re still willing to take Peavy’s entire contract after taking Vazquez’s contract?

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