While I Was Waiting For The Yankees To Sign A Pitcher….

…I went to a screening of “Sherlock Holmes” tonight. The movie itself was great (more on that in a second), but getting inside the theater was an ordeal. Warner Brothers is so paranoid that somebody will record the film and spread pirated copies all over the place that they sent black suited goons not only to confiscate our cellphones but give us the wand treatment in the lobby. It felt like going through security at an airport.
While the security woman was fishing around in my bag, pulling out all my personal stuff, she found the She-Fan Cam and said, “What’s this doing here?” Oops. I do take the Cam wherever I go in case I run into a baseball fan, but I had no intention of shooting footage of the movie. “It’s just a little video camera for my Yankees blog,” I told her. She gave me a nasty look (maybe she was an Angels fan) and said, “Get rid of it. Now.” So I had to leave the theater, walk back to my car, deposit the She-Fan Cam there, walk back to the theater, and go through security yet again. The good news is that “Sherlock Holmes” was worth the trouble. Written and directed by Guy Ritchie, Madonna’s ex before A-Rod was her ex, the movie is a fast-paced, high-energy romp. Robert Downey Jr. is terrific as Holmes and Jude Law is fun as his sidekick, Watson. The fight scenes are bloody but hilarious. My only complaint was the length of the movie – it’s 20 minutes too long – but I give it one thumb up.
Here’s the trailer. I hope Warner Bros doesn’t arrest me for pulling it off YouTube. Sheesh.
As soon as I left the theater, I checked my cellphone for Yankees updates, wondering if we’d signed anybody. All I found was LoHud’s post about a possible trade with the Braves for either Derek Lowe (yes, that rumor again) or Javier Vazquez. Excuse me? Javier Vazquez?


It’s one thing to bring back Nick Johnson, but Vazquez was a bust as a Yankee. It’s late and I’m going to bed, but if I wake up tomorrow morning and Vazquez is our #4 pitcher I won’t be happy about it.


  1. scofid

    The Yankees can’t be seriously considering either Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez. That would unwind all the good that Brian Cashman has done over the past few years. Neither pitcher makes sense for the 2010 Yankees. I still like Josh Johnson, but there really isn’t much out there. It will be interesting to see who Cash brings in…


  2. thefreak

    Correct me if I’m wrong. But wasn’t it Vasquez the one who wanted to get traded FROM NY? Didn’t he want to go some place closer to “home”?.

    Cross NY native Jason Marquis of the potential “gonna pitch for the yankees” list. He’ll be a Nat for the next two years.

    It seems that the main priority of the off season for the Yankees is dwindling away…. I heard Cashman is asking about Carlos Zambrono…..


  3. thegoodofthegame

    Just heard that the trade is official. It includes some other factors, possibly players, cash or picks, but the Yankees main piece is Melky Cabrera which makes absolutely no sense to me. If the club didn’t have so much money tied up in Damon and Matsui last season (which is why I’m guessing they played the field so much) Cabrera would have been an everyday guy. Granted I didn’t watch every game – no YES network in Reading, PA – he was more of a utility outfielder. Correct me if I’m wrong.
    I don’t agree with this deal at all. Maybe he’ll do better pitching in the 4/5 spot with less pressure on him. He came in with higher expectations the first time around and some guys can’t handle that, especially in NYC.
    As for the movie theater ordeal, I definitely feel for ya. In high school I worked at a movie theater and we had more than one occasion where an unhappy moviegoer was thrown out of the theater because he/she had a camera. You’re lucky though, technically a theater has the right to confiscate the camera and turn it into police. Again, laws could be different in Cali. As an aspiring Hollywood filmmaker myself, I have to say that I’m happy theaters are being strict. It’s a pain in the behind like getting into a Disney World theme park, yes, but piracy needs to be controlled. They make $5 on a crappy DVD and guys like me lose their jobs. It’s absolutely atrocious.


  4. travelingbballbabes

    If I have to choose between the two, I’ll take Lowe. He’s a work horse, never on the DL (which is a definite plus), and pretty reliable. That being said, neither man is going to make much of a difference in the Yankees’ current pitching rotation state.

    On the subject of Holmes, a movie with sexy, sexy Robert Downey Jr. can’t possibly be THAT terrible. : )

  5. cheshirecat9

    Hi Jane. It looks like you should have stayed in bed, we just traded Melky and Mike Dunn (the guy we wouldn’t give up for Granderson) for Vasquez. I am with you and not happy about it. People always seem to be down on Melky but I was always a fan. I liked his enthusiasm and I thought he had a great name. Now we have a hole in left field and a choker for our #4. Well, maybe this means they will bring back Damon.

  6. mikeeff

    no chance in hell huh?

    listen Jane you have to put 2004 behind you. Javy is a K machine–i’m thrilled about this deal. Melky is what he is– a 4th outfielder or a starter for an NL team. the Braves made a bad mistake today. lowe would have been a disaster in the AL east now. he barely survived in the NL this year.

  7. dschaub@gpo.gov

    Jane, I’m with you in the Disaster Camp. This is awful news. Javier Vasquez is a Worthless **** — I still remember how he got blown away in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, and he can’t pitch in big games OR in New York. And goodbye to Melky. This really really sux. Other than that, have a nice day!

  8. diane.anziano@gmail.com

    Wow. I fully expected for Melky to be gone but I’m still a bit surprised. He was a very positive force in the dugout and frequently on the field but let’s hope for the best. I have not followed Vasquez’s record since his departure from NY but I have to assume there was a reason to bring him here. We shall see. What kind of sedative are they using on Cano for him to get through this separation from his buddy, The Melk Man?

    Thanks for the positive review on the movie, Jane — it looks great and we’re looking forward to seeing it. I have always adored R.D. Jr. as an actor and its nice to see that he survived his rough years and is heading in a very positive direction. “Tropic Thunder” is one of my all-time favorite comedies and he is the primary reason for it.

  9. paulemack@aol.com

    15-10 with a 2.87ERA translates into a 14-12 record with a 3.87ERA in the AL East. Can we still get Sheets? Duchscherer? Writers say Holliday has always wanted to play for the Yankees as did Texeira. I’d still take Damon back though. Bay?

  10. mhugill@verizon.net

    What the hell is Cashman doing?
    Melky for Javy?????? I am sickened.
    Johnson for Damon???? Oh brother.

    This is a bleak Christmas for me.
    We need to fill holes yes. We need them to make better sense not just fill them.

    I have to go drown myself in strong strong egg nog.
    I am really sick to my stomach over these moves.

  11. Jane Heller

    No chance in hell, Paul?

    Just shows what happens when you go to bed here on the West Coast and allow things to happen while you’re sleeping, Scott. The deal was done and they didn’t wait to consult us!

    Mike, Vazquez did say he wanted to play closer to home in Puerto Rico, so I guess that’s why he wouldn’t approve a trade back to the West Coast. But why throw in Dunn if we were so intent on holding onto him for Granderson? Not that I was so attached to him. I’m trying to love this deal but it’s not happening – yet. Maybe by the time I finish reading the comments….

    Scott, Matsui was strictly a DH for the Yankees. He didn’t play the field at all. And Melky was our everyday CF-er for the most part, not a utility outfielder. Maybe Vazquez will be coming in with lower expectations this time, as you say, and maybe he’s improved. I hope so. As for the security I complained about, I hear you on piracy. But I see screenings as part of the Santa Barbara Film Festival. These screenings are for members only. Last night felt like having a security invasion in a private home. Afterwards, the director of our group apologized, saying Warner Bros was way off base.

    Well, we don’t have to worry about Lowe anymore, Serena! And yes, Robert Downey Jr was absolutely fabulous in “Sherlock.” He’ll get an Oscar nom for sure and you’ll love him in the role.

    Cheshirecat, I felt the same way at first. But I’m starting to thaw. As I said in a previous post, I figured Melky was going, although now we really need a LF-er. And if Vazquez really did come in fourth in the Cy Young balloting last year he must have improved a lot since he played for us. I just hate change! And I want Damon back!

    That’s what I keep hearing, Jeff – that Vazquez has been good with the Braves. So he’s either improved big time since he left New York or he thrives outside of New York. I really hope it’s the former, not the latter.

    I’m trying to put 2004 behind me, Mike, and I realize Vazquez had a lot of K’s. But can he make the transition back to the AL and to NY? Yes, there will be less pressure as a #4 starter. But how much less? I’m trying to like this deal. I am. I am. I am.

    I still don’t think they’ll go after Bay, paulemack. And Holliday? I doubt it. Damon? I guess it could still happen. The way Cashman is talking (“it’s much easier to pick up a left fielder”) gives me the impression he’s not looking to make a splash with the next signing.

    OK, Dave. I was feeling the same way a few minutes ago. But having read a few of the beat writers’ comments, I’m warming to the deal a little. They all seem to think it’s a win-win for the Yankees. It seems that Vasquez has turned himself into a premier pitcher. The problem, as I’ve said above, is will he be able to handle NY the second time around? And what’s with all these Yankees coming back for another tour of duty? Who’s next? Jaret Wright? LOL.

    Melky was such a part of the Yankees’ success, Diane. I know he wasn’t the greatest outfielder who ever lived, but I’ll never forget his walk-offs. Cano must be devastated. But that’s baseball. They’ll see each other in the off-season. Sob. You’ll love the movie. It’s action packed and very funny. Some of the lines are rushed and in heavy British accents, so you end up missing stuff. But it all works in the end.

    Holliday may want to play for the Yankees, paulemack, but I don’t think Cashman wants to pay for Holliday.

    OK, I see I have to talk you down too, mhugill. Try to tell yourself that Melky was going one way or the other. We knew that. It was either him or Joba/Hughes. And maybe Javy is a better, wiser, less fragile pitcher. And if that pep talk fails, drink more egg nog. LOL.

  12. stonebutch99

    I’m wondering how I should take your review of Sherlock Holmes. I mean, you didn’t like “The Hangover” and I thought that was freaking hilarious. πŸ˜‰ Could it be because you have never had a night like that? You haven’t woke up the next day and wondered whose house you were in and why that chick is wearing your shirt? Or is that just me? πŸ˜‰


  13. Jane Heller

    I seem to be in the minority on “The Hangover,” Austin. A friend of mine just posted his Top Ten Movies of the Year on Huffington Post and he put “The Hangover” on the list. So what do I know? I thought the idea of the movie was funny – three guys going to Vegas and trying to figure out what happened the next day. I just didn’t think the guys themselves were very interesting.

  14. Jane Heller

    Yeah, maybe I set the bar too high on that movie since it was #1 the weekend it opened, Austin. Happy Holidays to you!

    I’m having trouble getting the 2004 Javy out of my head too, Ryan. Supposedly, he was having arm trouble then so maybe he gets a pass. I just don’t have good memories of him in pinstripes. That said, from what I’ve been reading he’s been a terrific pitcher the last few years. Let’s hope it works out. I’m sure Cano is sad to lose his buddy. But baseball is a tough business and trades are part of it. So Gaudin or Mitre are next to go? I’d better not leave the computer today.

  15. ryan_lee

    I, too, hope this isn’t the 2004 Javier Vasquez…we all remember that. I’d like to think he’s matured since then as a pitcher. Still, I’m going to miss Melky. I wonder how Robbie Cano is handling it? Oh, and word is that the Yankees might move Gaudin or Mitre….please move Mitre, though I don’t know what we could get for him.

  16. baseballisms

    Jane .. from someone who watched a lot of Braves baseball last year, you might be pleasantly surprised by what you get from Vasquez (of course there is no telling what NYC pressure will do to someone’s head) .. that being said, you may be happy to here that Vasquez had one of the highest swing & miss ratios in baseball last year. That certainly helps to keep the ball in the park.

    My question is what are the Braves getting in Melky? Seeing him dancing in the dugout while not playing due to injury in WS, and the fake ball tosses to the bleacher fans in Philly make me wonder about “head in the game” attributes.


  17. Jane Heller

    Thanks for the scouting report on Javy, Joe. I appreciate it. There’s no question he was terrific with the Braves. My concern is how he’ll deal with the bright lights of NY the second time around. As for Melky, he was the Yankees’ walk-off king last season – a very clutch hitter. Yes, he has a lightheartedness with all the dancing around, but he had lost the everyday CF job in spring training to Brett Gardner and won it back by playing good baseball. I think the Braves will be happy with him. I’ll miss him.

  18. fryingpan

    I’m glad that Sherlock Holmes was good. I’ve been looking forward to seeing it for a while now. Sorry about the Vazquez deal Jane. The Yankees should have checked that it was approved by the She-Fan before going through with it.


  19. dschaub@gpo.gov

    Jane, your sincere reappraisal of C.D. (Choking Dog) Vasquez is a bit comforting, but so is novocaine before a lot of serious dental work (zzzzZZZZZ!)…right now I trust him as much as, oh, Kevin Brown, or Randy Johnson, or Carl F. Pavano — hey, maybe we can trade another outfielder to get one of THEM back! What happened to Cashman? Did Peabody and Sherman stick him in the Way-Back Machine and send him back to 2003? If so, then the ridiculous possibilities that I just mentioned…just…might…happen!
    Off the diamond, I am SO glad that you loved the Sherlock movie…that’s all the recommendation I need…stay well, and savor EVERY holiday!! (Even Matt…??)

  20. mel.tmottbg@gmail.com

    I hear good and I remember bad. I guess we’ll just have to wait until spring to see how this pans out. Give us one more thing to look forward to (I hope. Well hey, it’s always interesting to see how a trade plays out.)

    I’m very sad about Melky. I liked his hustle and his sense of fun. And he was one of the dimpled guys. I have a theory that the Yankees have the highest number of players with dimples.

    My husband just wondered what was up with Nady. Is he still officially part of the team? Wasn’t he supposed to throw this week or something?

    Just got back from Xmas shopping, so my mind is a blurr.

    Glad to hear about Sherlock Holmes, the trailer looked interesting and I like both RD Jr. and Jude Law.


  21. bgalaxy@verizon.net

    i remember being really excited the first time we got vasquez. then again i remember being overjoyed when we got jeff weaver and sang the song dream weaver over and over out loud and then in my head when my people around me (read red sox fans) had enough. so how did that work out? what makes us think this time around will be better?
    how will cano be without melky? what will we do without the melkman delivers phrase? i for one will miss it. yes we needed a pitcher more than an outfielder. no i don’t care about johnny damon like many of the rest of you (i’ve been too busy working and stressed to actually submit to the blog but of course i read it at some point each day). yes i loved the double steals but maybe it’s just that i disliked him for so long as a red sox that he never quite got in my heart.
    oh this hot stove time is crazy. i did really like nick johnson so i was happy about that but i don’t get it. he is a good first baseman, but we have a first baseman. i like matsui but maybe it was time to let him go before he gets older and his knees fall off.
    ok so let’s assume that vazquez is great wouldn’t this be a wonderful day.

  22. sox4life13

    Melky was great for you guys. An average fielder, but a clutch hitter to say the least. It would have been a good idea for the Yankees to keep him. As a Red Sox fan, I prefer having you guys take Vazquez over Melky. Vazquez has a less than stellar career against the Sox and I think I’m still cheering from that grand slam he gave up in Game 7. Melky on the other hand always came up with a big hit in a clutch situation or a great play in the field. I’d rather the Sox take their chances with Javy over Melky, for sure. But then again, I feel like if Javy performs in New York like he did last year in Atlanta, everyone will warm up to it quickly. Afterall, everyone in Boston hated to see Garciaparra leave town but all was well after Cabrera settled in. Either way, this is shaping up to be one heck of an exciting season in the AL East.

  23. Jane Heller

    You’re so right, Al. Why didn’t the Yankees check with the She-Fan before making this or any deal? The nerve of them. As this day moves along, I’m hearing from people that it’s a good deal after all. I’m just not 100% sold yet.

    It does feel like the way back machine, Dave. First Johnson. Now Vazquez. Who’s next? Jaret Wright? Ayayaya. But let’s look on the bright side. Javy strikes guys out. He’ll be coming to us with all the confidence in the world. And he’ll be #4, not the ace of the staff. Theoretically, this SHOULD work out. I think you’ll really enjoy Sherlock. It’s rollicking entertainment.

    Oh, Melissa. You brought up Melky’s dimples. Now I’m sad all over again. But we knew he wasn’t going to be a Yankee forever. He was almost gone last year. Nady is a free agent and the Yankees haven’t made a move to sign him, so I guess his status is like many others: limbo. RDJ and Jude Law make a very good team in the movie – sort of like Butch and Sundance (maybe I’m the only one old enough to remember that one)!

    It’s been a very exciting off-season so far, sox4life. Lots of changes on both sides with more to come. Melky had many clutch hits for us but he was getting traded for a pitcher one way or the other. The fact that the pitcher turned out to be Vazquez instead of Lowe was a surprise, but given the choice I’d pick Vazquez, just because of the year he just had. I only hope he keeps up those strikeouts in the AL.

    I’m aware, Vig. Thanks. Still processing all this.

  24. kozmo

    Good call on that one, Paul. You sure nailed it!

    As we’ve discussed via e-mail, Jane, I like this trade. Vasquez pitched the second half of 2004 with a bum shoulder, and it showed in the results. In the last decade, he has gone 198+ innings every year, so historically he’s reliable. I don’t expect that he will post a 2.87 ERA in the AL, but 15-10, 4.20 ERA, 200 IP, and a K/IP is wholly reasonable and would be terrific from a 4th starter, especially in the AL East. It may also benefit the Yankees that Javy is entering a contract year, so he has no shortage of motivation. If he thrives, the Yanks can re-sign him. If not, he walks anyway and they are not committed to him long-term as they are to C.C. and A.J.

    Personally, I liked Melky but won’t miss him much. He has a terrific arm but is spotty at the plate. .274/.367, with 13 HR and 68 RBI, was good in 2009, and he had some clutch hits, but I wasn’t convinced I would see that from him in 2010. He also lagged in the second half, and could have sat more as the season wound on. Plus, if the Yankees had re-signed JD, which might happen regardless, Melky was the odd man out. They may well obtain someone now instead of working Gardner/Hoffmann into a platoon, and I’d prefer acquiring Jd, DeRosa, Byrd, or someone as long as it wasn’t too onerous a contract.

    With these moves, including re-signing Pettite, Cashman has had a very good hot stove, despite my missing Matsui tremendously.

    Jason from The Heartland

  25. enternight

    Hi Jane,I’m actually totally okay with this trade. It was a shocker, definitely, but I think Vazquez for one year fits in nicely behind Sabathia, AJ, and Andy. Gonna miss Melky, of course, but I’m still kind of in camp Gardner … Gardner and Granderson in the outfield gives us PLENTY of defense, and Gardner as the 9-hitter is by no means the worst thing in the world.Of course, this does mean that one of Philba Chamberhughes starts the season out of the rotation, which sucks for them developmentally, but, looking at the bright side, at least the pen gets reupped, right?I like the way Cashman works. Can’t wait for the season to start :)Later,Ana

  26. mel.tmottbg@gmail.com

    Granderson has dimples also Jane. I tried to see if Vasquez does, but he seems like a bit of a cranky pants. I couldn’t find one picture of the guy smiling! Maybe he’s obsessed with looking like a strikeout pitcher. Doesn’t seem to bother CC, he’s always smiling.


  27. Jane Heller

    Barbara, I remember being excited when we got Vasquez, Weaver and Contreras and none of them worked out in NY. But Cashman must think it’ll be different with Javy this time around. (I love that you went around singing Dream Weaver. LOL. How about a song for Javy?) What will we do without the Melkman? I know I’ll miss him, but I also know he’ll be a part of Yankees lore forever. And we’ll find new players to love, including Granderson.

    Ana, I agree that Gardner isn’t a terrible alternative to Melky. I love his speed. But has he played any left field? I don’t see the Yankees moving Granderson over. I still think we’re getting an outfielder. And I like the idea of Joba back in the back and Hughes starting. Should be very, very interesting.

    Maybe Javy is one of those guys who’s too busy concentrating to smile, Melissa. I think he needs Swisher to lighten him up.

  28. Jane Heller

    First of all, apologies once again for the crazy order of these comments and responses. I’m so exasperated by this. Perhaps MLBlogs will work on technical issues next year.

    Jason, as usual you bring intelligence and sanity to the conversation. I may not always agree with you, but I love hearing your thoughts. You make a great case for Javy. I just hope he’s ready to come back to NY from a mental standpoint. The one year deal makes sense. And while I loved Melky, I knew he was expendable.

  29. Jane Heller

    The photo is, indeed, of Javy, artofthepalehose. It was during the Indians’ epic thrashing of the Yankees – the score was 22-0 – in 2004.

    “Above-averageness” would be just fine, Joe, although I wouldn’t mind if he turned out to be “way above average!”

  30. hehe

    Just wondering, how do you put the pictures on your posts? I can’t seem to find out how and I, unlike some people, find your pictures funny.

  31. Jane Heller

    To insert images on your blog, hehe, you hit the “image” tab while you’re writing your post. You’ll be asked which image you want to upload. You choose the image from your desktop or from the assets on your dashboard. And there you go.

  32. 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

  33. 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.

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