I Drank The Kool-Aid

At first, I was upset about the Vazquez-Melky deal. (Yes, I know. We got Boone Logan too. I can’t wait for the crowd at the Stadium to go, “Boooooone,” if he should happen to strike out a batter.) I had nightmarish visions of Javy’s 2004 meltdown. I remembered how glad I was when we unloaded him. And, of course, I thought about the memorable moments Melky brought to the team. But then I read the comments here and on other blogs and realized maybe Cashman knew what he was doing.
The pros on trading for Javy:
* He strikes people out.
* He eats innings.
* He regressed in ’04 because he had arm trouble.
* He’ll be the #4 starter, not an ace, so expectations won’t be as high.
* He has a one-year deal.
The pros on trading away Melky:
* He’s a streaky hitter.
* He’s got a decent but not always accurate arm.
* He’s a below-average base runner.
* He was never going to be the next Bernie Williams.
So now that Cashman has taken two trips down memory lane, given the signings of Nick Johnson as well as Vazquez, I wondered who else he might be looking at from the old days. We don’t need another starter, but these guys are available for a return engagement if necessary:
Jeff Weaver.jpg
Oh, and Brad Halsey, another one of Vazquez’s former teammates, has been playing for the Long Island Ducks. He’d probably be willing to come back. Unfortunately, Esteban Loiaiza, Jon Lieber, Kevin Brown, Felix Heredia and Steve Karsay are off the radar.
What the Yankees really need, however, is a left fielder – now more than ever with the loss of Melky. Cashman told the beat writers today that he would continue to look for the missing piece but that it wouldn’t be “a big piece.” Was he ruling out expensive types like Holliday, Bay and Damon? If so, we might be taking another trip down memory lane.
Bubba Crosby, Tony Womack, Terrence Long and Kenny Lofton are all retired. So is Ruben Sierra. Bronson Sardinha is around. And Kevin Thompson would surely give up his stint with the Fort Worth Cats to return to the Bronx. But here’s the guy I’ve targeted for a comeback. 
Well? He never officially retired. He’d probably sign for whatever Cashman is willing to pay him. And he can play the outfield AND the National Anthem. Talk about a deal.


  1. raysrenegade

    But Javy was tremendous in the early part of that season, and earned his only All Star selection.
    Heck Ken Rosenthal, who loves kissing AL East booty even did a blog post telling basically the rest of the AL East to give up now.
    The wild part is that the Yankees are not finished yet…..
    They still got to consider a leftfielder and maybe another Bullpen arm.
    But, I wonder who got popped out of the 2010 starting rotation with this move………Joba or Phil?

    Rays Renegade


  2. wirishrose81@yahoo.com

    I too, was upset when I checked my email before lunch and saw that we traded for Vasquez. My jaw dropped to the floor and I immediately had flashbacks to 2004. However, at lunch after discussing it rationally with a few of my colleagues, I also drank the Kool-Aid. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll miss Melky. I have always had a soft spot for him and his goofiness. However, if Vasquez lives up to his potential we will be in GREAT shape. I say put Joba back in the pen and let Hughes start. It’ll be interesting to see who they pick up for LF though. There is still a little part of me that is wondering if this whole not a “big piece” thing is a typical Yankees ruse and they’re really in the mix for Bay or Holliday. Time will tell I guess!

  3. Jane Heller

    People do seem to love the trade, Renegade. That’s why I’ve started to embrace it. Vazquez said today in his press conference that his second half of 2004 was compromised because he had arm problems he neglected to tell anyone about. Not very smart of him to keep going out there to pitch if he was injured, but hopefully he’s learned from the mistake. As for Joba versus Hughes, Cashman said they’d fight it out in spring training and that no decision will be made until then. We’ll see.

    I felt the same way this morning, wirishrose: shock. But after talking to people as you did and reading more about the facts, I felt better about the deal. I’ll miss Melky too (I don’t know how I’ll break it to my mother that he’s gone, because she calls him “my Melky”), but he was bound to get traded. I never believe anything Cashman says (hello? Teixeira?), but I still don’t think we’re in the Bay/Holliday sweepstakes.

    Soriano? Now there’s a name from the past, YHH. I haven’t thought about him in a long time. But the Fat Toad? LOL. I think he’s probably content to stay in Japan, far away from the Bronx.

  4. carrollj27@comcast.net

    Hi Jane – you know, I had the same reaction – I was heartsick when I first heard the news. I liked Melky a lot, and your post of a couple of days ago – Cash, please leave someone here – really resonated. After all, this is a world championship club here. My major concern over losing Cabrera is in the chemistry dept. To recap, we’ve lost Damon, Matsui, Coke and now Melky in terms of the big-league roster. Damon and Melky were huge in terms of chemistry and keeping the team loose. However, as today has worn on, the trade is growing on me. I have a funny feeling that Vazquez will do all right this second time around. I know that CC, Burnett and Andy will welcome him to their little fraternity (beats the heck out of the pitchers he had around him here in 04 – see Kevin “Yes-Its-My-Pitching-Hand-I-Punched-That-Wall-With” Brown); that will help a lot, in addition to having relatively little pressure this time around. If all of this results in signing Damon again (I do believe now that that will happen…just a hunch), then I suppose it’s not so bad.
    Wildcard: if Cano goes into a season-long funk because of it…
    – John

  5. Jane Heller

    That’s what happened to me, John. The trade grew on me as the day went along. I do agree about the chemistry factor, however. How do we win a championship and then sell off so many parts that made us successful? It’s unnerving. As somebody pointed out elsewhere, Cano went into a funk after Larry Bowa left. Imagine what he’ll be like without Melky. Now if we could keep Damon, I’d feel a lot better. I don’t love him in left field but I sure like his bat in the #2 spot. And maybe he’d loosen up Vazquez, who looks like he could use a good laugh.

  6. scofid

    Losing Melky didn’t bother me so much knowing that we had Curtis Granderson for center field, however, I hated to give up Arodys Vizcaino. I had been hearing so many good things about the guy, and was excited about his future. I was also curious to see what Michael Dunn could do in the bullpen after his brief stint last fall. With so many departures from the bullpen, the Yanks need more replacements than Boone Logan so I am in agreement with others that the Yankees aren’t done yet. Left field does concern me. Brett Gardner doesn’t hit well enough for the position, and it’s obvious that the team won’t make a play for a big name like Holliday, Bay or Damon. It even sounds like Mark DeRosa might be too costly for the Yanks. When I start hearing names like Reed Johnson, it’s tough to get excited so we’ll just have to see how this one plays out. Wasn’t there a player who once said that any idiot could play left field? Time will tell… 😉


  7. pinstripepride3

    Rickey Henderson also never officially retired. Maybe they could get him to come back.

    I still don’t like the trade, and I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid. I thought they could get more for what they traded away. In 12 seasons, Vasquez has only had 5 good ones and only one of those was in the American League.

  8. thefreak

    You can keep the kool-aid, I’ll take a beer instead.

    I hated the trade when it first broke, and this morning, I still hate it. Everyone downplays Melkys performance. Why? I don’t get it. I’m starting to think I’m watching the wrong team play.

    Defensively, Melky is a good outfielder with an arm. And that arm is far better then decent. ITS A CANNON! For someone that everyone says isn’t accurtate with his throws. I recall seeing quite a few assists come from center field. TO THE POINT they stopped testing his arm.

    His offense may be below average compared to some center fielders. But he’s a kid that was put into some situations where he could’ve buckled. What did he do? “WALK OFF!”

    Everyone gave Roy Halladay a pass for his poor performance last year because he was bothered by “trade talks”. Well if so, then how do you expect Melky to perform when he’s always looking at Girardi and Gardner over his shoulder.

    Vasquez decided he was going to say he’s hurt and THAT is why his performance was poor the second half of the ’04 season. THEN was bellyaching that he wanted to play ball closer to home. So they traded him to AZ for the Big Unit. So NOW New York is a cool place where he wants to play? Wait, he was traded. Which means he has no choice but to come here. Nothing like a disgruntled employee to take the mound every 5th day.

    BARTENDER!!!!!!! Shot of Jager please. Make it a double.


  9. redstatebluestate

    Haha, bring back Bernie. I like it. If nothing else he can swoon the crowd with a jazz tune. As for Melky, he was more of a fan favorite than a Major League force. I’ll miss him coming to Sox Park to get heckled by the infamous “Melk Man”. Seriously, there’s a dude here in the Chi who sits behind homeplate who’s purpose in life is to heckle Melky. You’d hear him screaming “Hey Melky, Melk Man, Melk, Hey! Swing, Melky, Swing!” during his every at bat. Hilarious stuff.

  10. yankees200910

    We’re not getting Bernie Williams back. His range wouldn’t be good enough and there’s no way he can hit at major league levels now.

  11. peggy3

    Happy Holidays to Jane and my fellow baseball fans…

    I always liked Melky but there are others that can replace him easily. They still have Swish to keep the team loose ..actually he is the main reason they were so loose last year. I still have hopes of bringing Johnny D back for a year or two. Stranger things have happened.

    As for Javy …someone said his first stint was a nightmare but he really didn’t have an awful season with the Yankees …it was the last impression that people have in their head…the granny to Johnny in the playoffs. He gave the Yankees just about 200 innings…went 14-10 with a 4.91 and had 150 K’s (even while injured the 2nd half). The only problem I have is his homerun total. He’s prone to giving up the long ball. What people have to realize is that he’s the 4th starter ..not the ace. He will probably be the best 4th in the business. I liked him the first time he was here and I’m hoping he’s better the second time around. Keep the faith Yankee fans ….I’m liking the changes on the team. The only head scratcher for me was Matsui/Johnson but with Johnson basically being the fulltime DH this just might work out perfectly…less chance of him being injured this season. I will miss Hit-decki tho’ … :o(. Sayonara Godzilla

    Once again …Happy, Happy Holidays and a very healthy, happy, safe New Year. If you are going to drink bring extra for the cab fare or a buddy who doesn’t drink (like me !!).
    The Best in 2010 …especially for the Yankees !!!!

    Go Yankees 2010 !!!

  12. bgalaxy@verizon.net

    i drank the kool aid too and i’m on board with the trade. i love the idea of bernie! but i’ll be fine with gardner. we have a great rotation (if andy still has it.) and more than enough offense to handle gardner in the order. i love his speed. barbara

  13. Jane Heller

    Paul, the first stint wasn’t a nightmare. Vazquez had a bad second half. He was an All Star who threw a lot of innings but was a huge disappointment late in the season. For a back of the rotation guy, he’s a whole lot better than Gaudin or Mitre.

    I’m not as worried about the bullpen as you are, Scott. We’ll have either Joba or Hughes to set up for Mo. Hopefully Marte will produce the way he did in the postseason. We’ll have Aceves, Robertson, Melancon (if he figures out how to stop hitting batters), Logan (if he’s any good), and the above mentioned Gaudin and Mitre (plus others I can’t think of at the moment). I’m more worried about left field. Gardner is probably fine there, batting ninth. I honestly think Cashman is holding a place for Carl Crawford in 2011.

    Pinstripe, what a great idea getting Rickey to come back! LOL. I bet he’s still faster than most players. Vazquez doesn’t have to win 20 games! It would be great, but he just needs to stabilize the back end. I’m willing to give him another shot.

    Maybe you’ll be at the bar while you’re reading this, Mike, but here goes. I’m with you on Melky. I’m not dissing him at all. I think he played a good outfield and certainly got a lot of key hits for us. I’ll really miss him. But would you rather give up Melky or Joba/Hughes/Montero? These trades always hurt. I hate that we had to give up the Vizcaino kid too, as Scott mentioned. As for Vazquez and his bellyaching, if he were a genuine pain in the butt in the clubhouse Cashman wouldn’t bring him back. Cash has made a point of saying what a great group of guys we have, and I can’t believe he’d be dumb enough to add a malcontent to the mix. But what do I know?

    I’d take Strawberry, Jonah. He would be magic in the new Stadium. Shane Spencer? Not so much. He was one of those one-hit wonders – great for a while, then nothing. I wonder what he’s doing now.

    That’s what I was thinking about Bernie, Jeff. He could play AND serenade us at the same time! As for the heckler, as Renegade knows all too well, there’s a guy at the Trop whose sole purpose in life is heckling opposing players – really loud. You can always hear him on TV. He’s a riot.

    I was kidding about Bernie, yankeefans. I do that sometimes.

    Hey, Peggy. Always glad to read your cheerful greetings. The truth is, I hated the trade at first because all I could think of was Javy’s second half in ’04. But I’d rather have traded for him than Lowe, and that seemed to be the direction Cashman was going in, as opposed to Sheets or others. So I think we’re getting a pitcher who’s not perfect, not an ace, but pitched well for the White Sox and NL teams and will be fine for us. (Positive thinking is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?) I don’t get the Nick Johnson signing either, and I’ll miss both Matsui and Damon. I do not like SO many changes! But I’m hoping for the best and wishing you Happy Holidays too.

    I love Gardner’s speed too, Barbara. He makes things happen when he gets on base. The trick for him is to GET on base and hopefully we’ll see him do just that. I still think Cashman has another LF-er in mind, but we shall see.

  14. dschaub@gpo.gov

    Still not buying what they’re selling…trying HARD to think of ANY situation where a player returned to his former club and was actually better…ESPECIALLY a pitcher…maybe a guy came back as a reliever and was better than he was as a young starter, but for example…? Can’t think of any. What will the outfield look like next year? Absolutely no idea. Now, to be fair, even when Mantle & Maris were in the OF together, there was no everyday left fielder year to year, as I recall…and I was NOT very excited to get AJ last winter, being positive that he would get injured again; he always did, just like…um…Nick Johnson. So where do all these moves leave us? Beats the heck out of me. But keep on stirring that Kool-Aid, Jane…throw in some more sugar, and maybe it’ll taste good if we’re all thirsty enough…

  15. mhugill@verizon.net

    Bad day at work here…..just tuned in and as always this blog made me smile.
    Mmmm……I’d love me some Bernie.
    (ok not necessarily in the OF but none the less I’d love me some Bernie!)

    The rest just isn’t sitting well with me.
    I’ve been a very good girl this season and Santa does not seem to be cooperating with me at all. It can make a girl cranky.
    I will just have to get used to this and they will have to prove me wrong come spring time.

    Happy Holidays Jane.

  16. Jane Heller

    Dave, you’re usually such an optimist! Yes, love is not necessarily better the second time around and it’s possible that Vazquez will absolutely stink. But he’ll be going up against other teams’ #4 starters, not their aces. And think about how you were dead set against signing AJ last winter. He didn’t get injured and, although inconsistent, was a big reason why we won the WS. So drink the Kool-Aid. We have no other choice.

  17. Jane Heller

    Sorry you’re having a bad day at work, Peg. Just think about the Yankees winning the WS and you’ll feel better. I know a lot of people are upset about the trade. I’m nervous about disrupting the chemistry of the team with all the changes. But we just have to go with them and know that it’ll all work out – or not! Save some of that gin for me and Happy Holidays to you.

  18. yankeeinutah@comcast.net

    Hi Jane,

    I’ll throw in my vote to bring bring Bernie back. Every time I hear him play, “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”, I get a bit misty eyed. My hubby gives his vote to Aaron Boone. Remember Boone earned a new middle name from the Red Sox fans for a single swing of the bat.

    Happy Holidays Yankee Universe, may 2010 bring number 28!

  19. mattpeas

    what a rotation! good to see Bernie on the guitar. I think it was a Cavs-Knicks game earlier this NBA season when he was on the court playing the national anthem. not quite the Jimi Hendrix version but his skills are very great


  20. Jane Heller

    Aaron Boone. Why not? I like your hubby’s suggestion, yankeeinutah. Happy Holidays to you and here’s a toast to #28!

    It’s great that Bernie has another career beyond baseball, Matt. He’s genuinely talented on the guitar and I really enjoy listening to his music. Now if Curtis Granderson is as good a CF-er, I’ll be really happy!

  21. diane.anziano@gmail.com

    If we are going for old players, I want Gator and Tino. I know, we have a fully staffed infield, he was just such a great part of the team.

    I’m not going to be positive or negative on the deals thus far. They could be brilliant moves or they could be disasters. We’ll have to wait and see.

    Wishing everyone that celebrates a very happy Christmas – I don’t think I’m going to be able to get back to the blog until Saturday earliest but, Jane, you and your blog have been one of my best presents this year and I look forward to a great 2010.

  22. crzblue2

    Jeff Weaver did great for the Dodgers, but you know both times that he was with the team, he came thru in big games. I wish you would use a better picture of him.
    I am drinking eggnog with a little spirit instead.

  23. Jane Heller

    You’re perfectly within your rights to reserve judgment on the trade, Diane! We’ll all have to wait to see how it turns out. In the meantime, I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas. Your participation here has been one of the highlights of 2009 for me.

    Same to you, Peter. I hope you have a great holiday!

    I wish I had better memories of Jeff Weaver, Emma, but most Yankee fans don’t remember him fondly. He had a disappointing stint in NY. Enjoy your eggnog!

  24. fryingpan

    I’m glad the Vazquez trade has grown on you a little more. I think it was a smart deal and it has more pros than cons. If you’ve got Vazquez as your possible #3 or 4 pitcher, you know you’re doing something right.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Jane! Hope the Yankees don’t do anything to ruin your holiday.


  25. Jane Heller

    It does have more pros than cons, Al, so I’m feeling better about it – even though I still have bad memories of Javy! Happy Holidays to you. And you’re so right about the Yankees not ruining anything by making some crazy trade in the next couple of days. They’d better not!

  26. yankeebaseball

    Great Trade! We got a very solid pitcher for a lovable 4th outfielder and a couple of “prospects” (Vizciano is the one I hate to see going in this deal).

    I like what Cash is doing, but Boston is going to be tough this year with that superb rotation. We need a REAL left fielder. Gardner will be perfect as a 4th outfielder/pinch runner/defensive replacement, but frankly, he isn’t going to cut it as a starting corner outfielder. I expect when all is said and done, we’ll have Nady, DeRosa or Damon patrolling LF.

    Then resign Hairston as the super utility guy. He covers so many areas in case of injury and in the meantime can be rotated to rest the regulars.

    I’d trade MeatTray for a prospect (or if that’s not possible, send him to AAA), but hold onto Gaudin who is Flexible and performed quite well last year.

    Also wouldn’t mind Hinske back as a bat off the bench. He also adds flexibility at minimal cost.

    Then I’d say we’re good to go… for ~#28~!

    Merry Christmas to All!


  27. Jane Heller

    I like your assessment, Jim. And I agree that while Gardner has great speed he’s not what we need in an everyday left fielder. I’m not sure Nady is our guy either. How effective will he be after two surgeries? And DeRosa? I know people admire his versatility, but I’d rather have Damon back. Hinske was good off the bench, and we need a bench! I’d bring him back. Hairston too. I’d wait to see what Mitre can give us before shipping him off. He could be OK, given that he’s another year removed from his surgery. Anyhow, the pieces are fitting together. Just a tweak here and there and we’re good. Merry Christmas to you!

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