Every general manager makes mistakes. To Brian Cashman‘s credit, he has made very few over the years. When he has, he hasn’t been shy about defending his manager and taking the blame for the New York Yankees’ struggles. Fortunately for Cashman, Phil Hughes is currently the best starter in the American League with a 1.38 ERA, which has been good enough to cover up the Yankees’ General Manager’s mistake of the 2009-2010 off-season — bringing back Javier Vazquez.
I suppose to a certain extent I understand Cashman’s motivation for taking the risk of bringing back a pitcher who was — to say the least — shelled quite often as a starter for the Yankees in 2004 when he posted an ERA just under 5.00. The Yankees went into the off-season short on starting pitching, and if nothing else Vazquez has been a workhorse throughout his career, making over 30 starts every season since 2000. Cashman probably looked at it as a situation where the Yankees would improve their staff if they could get over 200 innings from him, and that’s not a bad way to approach a lack of starting pitching. However, that doesn’t appear to be a realistic goal for the right-hander at this point.
Maybe Vazquez is a National League pitcher. Maybe he has a confidence issue. Realistically, both of those factors have probably lead to a 2010 season that is off to a disastrous start — a 1-4 record with an 8.10 ERA to be more specific. With the exception of 2007 — when he was 15-8 with a 3.74 ERA for the Chicago White Sox — Vazquez has not been overly effective in the American League. He was never what I would call a “lights out” pitcher until last season with the Braves, when he posted a 15-10 record with an ERA of 2.87. It was no doubt that performance that inspired Cashman to give Vazquez another shot in pinstripes.