Posts Tagged ‘New York Yankees’

New York Yankees Add Marcus Thames

February 9, 2010

With the New York Yankees’ lineup and roster pretty much set, they didn’t have many holes left to fill. If they did need something, it would be a right-handed hitter off the bench.

GM Brian Cashman, not leaving any stone unturned this offseason, found his potential right-handed hitter off the bench yesterday.

According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Yankees have signed OF Marcus Thames to a minor league contract. If Thames makes the team, the deal would be worth $900,000.

Thames was signed by the Yankees

Thames, 32, hit .252 with 13 home runs and a .777 OPS in 87 games for the Detroit Tigers in 2009. The year before with the Tigers, Thames hit 25 home runs in 103 games.

What attracted the Yankees to Thames is Thames’ ability to hit left-handed pitching. For his career, Thames has a .516 slugging percentage against lefties.

With the recently signed Randy Winn and Brett Gardner still on the roster, I don’t expect Thames to get much playing time in left field in 2010. It’s not like Thames is Carl Crawford out there anyway. He has a -16.7 UZR in left for his career.

This will be Thames’ second tour of duty with the Yankees. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 30th round of the 1996 draft and had a cup of coffee with the big club in 2002. He hit .231 with one home run in 13 AB’s.

For his career, Thames is a .243 hitter with 101 home runs and a .306 OBP in eight seasons with the Yankees and Tigers.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Advertisements

The Five Best Free Agent Hitters Left On The Market

February 6, 2010

Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in less than two weeks. Can you believe it!!! It seems like yesterday the World Series was being played.

Despite the fact that spring training starts in less than two weeks, there are still a lot of quality major league hitters who still have not found a home. Due to the economy, teams are trying to wait out players as much as possible (unless you are the Houston Astros, who gave $15 million to Brandon Lyon).

Everyone is looking for a bargain these days.

Here are the five best free agent hitters remaining on the market.

Hitters

1. Johnny Damon, OF. Damon hit .282 with 24 home runs, 36 doubles, 12 stolen bases, and .365 OBP in 143 games for the New York Yankees last year. Damon priced himself out of New York and now his options are limited.

Damon is a terrible defensive outfielder and his power numbers were just a product of playing in a ballpark perfectly suited to his swing. His agent Scott Boras is trying to get the Detroit Tigers to bite on Damon, but I see the Atlanta Braves as a darkhorse for his services.

2. Felipe Lopez, 2B. It’s pretty remarkable that a guy who is only 29-years-old and is coming off a season where he hit .310 with 9 home runs, a .383 OBP, and played outstanding defense (7.8 UZR) can’t find a job. That is the dilemma that Lopez is facing right now.

Lopez should find a home soon

You don’t hear too many teams in on his services, but this guy is too good not to have a starting job in the major leagues. The St. Louis Cardinals might be a landing spot for him, if they don’t feel comfortable with David Freese at third.

3. Hank Blalock, 1B/DH. Blalock hit .234 with 25 home runs and a .277 OBP in 123 games in 2009 for the Texas Rangers. The 123 games were the most Blalock played in since 2006.

Blalock can hit a home run, but other than that, he doesn’t do anything else particularly well. He doesn’t get on base, he is injury prone, he is not a good defensive player, and he faded in the second half last season.

He did hit 19 of his 25 home runs off of right-handed pitching, so maybe a team can use him like Mike Scioscia did 2003 All Star Game. That being a left-handed power hitter off the bench.

4. Russell Branyan, 1B/DH. Coming off of a career year, Branyan thought he would finally get paid. So far this has not been the case.

Branyan could end up with the Marlins

Branyan hit 31 home runs last year in just 116 games, but teams have been mostly scared off by Branyan’s back. A 34-year-old with a bad back and no track record prior to 2009 is not attractive to most teams.

I thought he would end up back with the Seattle Mariners at some point, but now it looks like the Florida Marlins might be interested in him.

5. Jermaine Dye, OF. Dye has finished in the top-15 in American League MVP voting two out of the last four years, but his market has been really quiet this winter.

Dye hit .250 last year with 27 home runs and a .340 OBP. Which isn’t the worst hitting line in the world. However, there are a couple of things working against Dye this offseason.

He is 36-years-old, he can’t field a lick anymore, and he is coming off a second half where he hit .179 with just seven home runs. His options are limited, so he might end up on a team as a fourth outfielder or DH-type player.

Tomorrow, I will cover the five best remaining pitchers on the free agent market.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Yankees Sign Randy Winn, End The Johnny Damon Era In The Bronx

January 28, 2010

Whether you love the New York Yankees or despise them, you have to give them some credit this offseason. GM Brian Cashman had a budget and he stuck to it.

Albeit a big budget, but a budget none-the-less.

Usually when the Yankees talk about sticking to a budget, it means they are waiting in the weeds and then somehow come up with another $18 million to spend on a player. Not this year. The Yankees are sticking to their guns.

The only way Johnny Damon was going to come back to the Yankees was on the Yankees’ terms. Damon and his agent Scott Boras wanted a multi-year deal or a substantial one-year deal.

I am guessing Damon and Boras thought the Yankees would cave and come up with the money necessary to sign the outfielder. It never happened and the Yankees have moved on.

Since Damon was playing hardball, the Yankees decided to sign another outfielder. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees have signed OF Randy Winn to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Winn is the newest Yankee

Winn is an exceptional corner outfielder that is point in his career. Last year with the San Francisco Giants, Winn had a 7.9 UZR in left field. All winter Cashman wanted to get better defensively in the outfield and he has certainly done that with the additions of Winn and Curtis Granderson.

Offensively, I have always felt Winn has been vastly underrated. He usually hovers around the .300 mark, has a decent eye at the plate, and he can steal a base.

I think the reason he is underrated his because he has played relative baseball obscurity for most of his career. Eight of his 12 year career have been spent in Tampa Bay and Seattle. Not the PR capitals of the world.

Two out of the last three years, Winn has hit .300. Last year, Winn’s average dipped to .262. Because Winn had a down year in 2009, he will have to battle Brett Gardner in spring training to win the starting left field spot.

What is interesting is that neither Winn and Gardner hit left-handed pitching well. Gardner is a career .241 hitter against lefties and Winn only hit .158 against lefties in 2009.

Despite Winn being a switch-hitter, I would say it’s a safe bet that the Yankees might add another right-handed hitting outfielder in the near future. Look for them to sign someone like Rocco Baldelli to a minor league contract.

As for Damon, his market just took a massive punch to the gut. Now that the Yankees are out of the picture, his options are limited.

His realistic options are the Detroit Tigers, Oakland A’s, Atlanta Braves, or Seattle Mariners. The Tigers might be the best fit as they need a leadoff man and left-handed hitter to ironically replace Granderson.

Listen, we have no idea what Damon’s financial situation is. Despite making almost $100 million in his career, rumor had it that he has fallen on hard times financially. Allegedly, he was hurt in the Bernie Madoff scandal, which is why he is hell-bent on getting one last payday.

Whatever his financial situation is, I just have a hard time believing that the Yankees and Damon couldn’t come to an agreement. Seems very odd to me.

Winn will be entering his 13th season in the major leagues and has a career .286 average with 106 home runs, 209 stolen bases, and a .344 OBP with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Seattle Mariners, and Giants.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Cubs Add Outfield Depth, Sign Xavier Nady

January 27, 2010

Here is what I wrote about Xavier Nady in my free agent primer at the beginning of the offseason:

“Best Low-Risk, High-Reward Hitter: Xavier Nady. Last year, I correctly predicted that Russell Branyan would be the 2007 version of Carlos Pena–a journeyman guy, who finally gets a chance to start and has a big year.

Nady is that free agent this year. Let a small market team sign him to a one-year deal, let him play 1B/DH and watch him hit 30 home runs.”

I really believed at the time that if Nady got a chance to be a full-time DH or first baseman in 2010, he would have a year much like what Russell Branyan had last year. Now, I don’t think he is going to get that chance.

Nady signed with the Chicago Cubs

According to various sources, the Chicago Cubs have signed Nady to a one-year, $3.3 million deal. Nady can also make an additional $2 million in incentives.

Nady played in only seven games for the New York Yankees in 2009 before missing the rest of the season with an elbow injury that resulting in him having his second Tommy John surgery.

The Tommy John surgery was Nady’s second of his career. If Nady is able to come back from a second Tommy John surgery, he would be only the second player to do so.

Catcher Vance Wilson is the only other player to have come back after two successful Tommy John surgeries. Wilson signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals earlier this winter.

The key for Nady will be–and always has been–health. He has only played in 140 plus games just once in his career, but when he is in the lineup, he usually produces.

In his last full season in 2008, Nady hit .305 with 25 home runs, a .355 OBP and knocked in 97 runs with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Yankees. So can Nady produce these number with the Cubs in 2010?

The answer to that question will be based on playing time. Right now, Nady doesn’t have a full-time position with the Cubs. Nady will start the season as a fourth outfielder and right-handed hitter off the bench.

Nady could also find himself in a platoon with Kosuke Fukudome. Nady crushes left-handed pitching (.308/.383/.471 for his career), so he could perhaps spell Fukudome (.242/.343/.324 vs. lefties in his career) against lefties.

While I usually crush Jim Hendry on the moves he makes, I can’t crush him on this one. I like this signing for the Cubs.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Starting Rotation: American League East

January 18, 2010

Update:

I would like to make a correction to this post. I would also like to apologize to Blue Jays fans for making this error.

Shaun Marcum will be starting for the Blue Jays in 2010, not Dustin McGowan. Both are coming back from injuries in 2009, but Marcum will get a chance to earn his starting rotation spot back in spring training.

Again, I apologize for this oversight.

Original Post

On the heels of our Starting Nine posts that debuted last week, I thought we would take a look at the other side of ball this week. This week, I wanted to take a look at each team’s starting rotation as presently constructed.

Like last week, each day I will look at one division in baseball until all the divisions are analyzed. And like last week, we will start this segment with the American League East.

The American League East lost one major pitcher this offseason (Roy Halladay), but also gained a pretty good pitcher (John Lackey). While the offenses in this division get most of the headlines, the pitching staffs are no slouches.

Here are the starting rotations for each American League East team as presently constructed.

New York Yankees

1. C.C. Sabathia, LHP

2. A.J. Burnett, RHP

3. Andy Pettitte, LHP

4. Javier Vazquez, RHP

5. Joba Chamberlain, RHP

Quick Take – The Yankees’ starting rotation got better in the offseason with the addition of Vazquez. He becomes a pretty impressive fourth starter. There is still some debate as to who will start in 2010–Chamberlain or Phil Hughes. I believe Chamberlain will start.

Boston Red Sox

1. Josh Beckett, RHP

2. Jon Lester, LHP

3. John Lackey, RHP

4. Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP

5. Clay Buchholz, RHP

Quick Take – Beckett might be the No. 1 starter, but this staff is really led by Lester. He will be a leading candidate for the Cy Young award in 2010. Lackey gives this staff incredible depth. Look for Dice-K to have a bounce back year.

Tampa Bay Rays

1. James Shields, RHP

2. Matt Garza, RHP

3. Jeff Niemann, RHP

4. David Price, LHP

5. Wade Davis, RHP

Quick Take – This rotation won’t miss the highly overrated Scott Kazmir in 2010. Garza has really turned the corner and has developed into a very solid No.2 pitcher. Starting rotation will only go as far as Price and Davis take them.

Baltimore Orioles

1. Kevin Millwood, RHP

2. Jeremy Guthrie, RHP

3. Brad Bergesen, RHP

4. Chris Tillman, RHP

5. Brian Matusz, LHP

Quick Take – The Orioles acquired Millwood to mentor this young staff and to eat up innings. Tillman and Matusz are two top prospects, who will have to earn their stripes pitching in the very tough AL East. The Orioles need Guthrie to really step up in 2010.

Toronto Blue Jays

1. Ricky Romero, LHP

2. Scott Richmond, RHP

3. Brandon Morrow, RHP

4. Brett Cecil, LHP

5. Dustin McGowan, RHP

Quick Take – Any time a staff loses a pitcher of Halladay’s caliber, they are going to experience a major drop off. It looks like Morrow is going to start in Toronto, so perhaps he can realize his potential. Romero (and I think he is good) becomes the Blue Jays’ No.1 starter by default.

So that’s it for the AL East. Tomorrow, I will take a look at the American League Central, home of the reigning AL Cy Young award winner Zack Greinke.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Starting Nine: American League East

January 11, 2010

I was rummaging through some articles last week and I came across a piece by Morgan Campbell of the Toronto Star. He gave an early look at what the Toronto Blue Jays’ starting lineup might look like in 2010.

That piece got me thinking. With all the moves that happen during the free agency period it’s hard for a casual fan to keep up with their favorite team. Why not take an early look at each lineup in baseball as presently constructed?

So what I will do give each team’s starting lineup by division for the next six days. Obviously this will change as the offseason progresses, so I will do an update to these posts as the season approaches.

We will start in the American League and with the best division in baseball, the American League East.

New York Yankees

1. Derek Jeter, SS

2. Nick Johnson, DH

3. Mark Teixeira, 1B

4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B

5. Jorge Posada, C

6. Robinson Cano, 2B

7. Curtis Granderson, CF

8. Nick Swisher, RF

9. Brett Gardner, LF

Quick Take – Best and deepest lineup in baseball. Could made even better if Johnny Damon accepts a one-year deal to play left. Cano and Posada could flip-flop between fifth and sixth in the order.

Boston Red Sox

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, LF

2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B

3. Victor Martinez, C

4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B

5. David Ortiz, DH

6. Adrian Beltre, 3B

7. Mike Cameron, CF

8. J.D. Drew, RF

9. Marco Scutaro, SS

Quick Take – Not a classic Red Sox lineup. Not a lot of high OBP guys and nobody jumps out and scares you. Terry Francona is loyal to Ortiz, so he bats fifth ahead of Beltre in the lineup.

Tampa Bay Rays

1. B.J. Upton, CF

2. Carl Crawford, LF

3. Evan Longoria, 3B

4. Ben Zobrist, 2B

5. Carlos Pena, 1B

6. Pat Burrell, DH

7. Kelly Shoppach, C

8. Gabe Kapler, RF

9. Jason Bartlett, SS

Quick Take – This lineup will go from very good to great if Upton and Burrell come back strong in 2010. Kapler will find himself in a platoon situation with Matt Joyce to start the season.

Baltimore Orioles

1. Brian Roberts, 2B

2. Nick Markakis, RF

3. Adam Jones, CF

4. Luke Scott, DH

5. Nolan Reimold, LF

6. Matt Wieters, C

7. Ty Wigginton, 1B

8. Garrett Atkins, 3B

9. Cesar Izturis, SS

Quick Take – First four in this lineup is very good, but after that, this lineup gets very weak. Orioles are still looking for a first baseman, so don’t expect Wigginton to be a starter for too much longer.

Toronto Blue Jays

1. Jose Bautista, RF

2. Lyle Overbay, 1B

3. Aaron Hill, 2B

4. Adam Lind, DH

5. Vernon Wells, CF

6. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B

7. Travis Snider, LF

8. Alex Gonzalez, SS

9. John Buck, C

Quick Take – My lineup is a little different than Campbell’s as I have Overbay hitting in the two-hole. This lineup has the potential to be good, but Gonzalez and Buck represent too many automatic outs to be really dynamic.

Tomorrow, I will cover the American League Central.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

The Great Randy Johnson Announces His Retirement

January 6, 2010

On a conference call straight out of “The Office,” Randy Johnson announced his retirement last night.

Not wanting too much attention and not wanting to take away from the announcement of who will be elected into this year’s class of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Johnson decided to hold a conference call to say he was hanging up his spikes at around 7:00 pm ET on Tuesday.

Johnson announced his retirement on Tuesday

I say it was a scene out of “The Office” because when the call first started, it was complete chaos. Johnson started his speech and then stopped and then had to start it again. Reporters were dialing into the conference call at different times, so all you heard for the first five minutes were beeps.

I was like what is going on here?

But things got settled and Johnson went into the reasons why he was retiring. Johnson said he accomplished everything he wanted to in the game (I’ll say) and he wanted to retire on his own terms.

A lot can be said about Johnson, the pitcher. Here is what I wrote about Johnson when he won his 300th game last June:

“When he was on top of his game, there was nobody as intimidating and as dominating as Johnson. He is without a doubt a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer.

“Is he the greatest left-handed pitcher ever?

“That I can’t answer. I certainly never saw Eddie Plank, Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn or Carl Hubbell pitch. And I only saw Steve Carlton towards the end of his career when he was hanging on with Phillies, Indians and Twins.

“What I can tell you is that he is the best left-handed pitcher in the last 25 years. His only competition would be Tom Glavine and I would take Johnson any day of the week over Glavine and twice on Sunday. I am not even sure that is an argument.

“For my money, if I had to pick one pitcher in his prime to win me Game Seven of the World Series, Randy Johnson would be that pitcher. I am sure the Johnson detractors (Mostly Yankee fans who saw Johnson crumble in the postseason when he was with them) will point to his 7-9 postseason record and say Johnson didn’t do it in when it counts.

“That is the biggest bunch of Tom Foolery I have ever heard.

“In 1995 with Seattle and in 2001 with Arizona, Johnson single handily beat the Yankees in both series. He went 3-0, won the World Series MVP in the 2001 World Series, and even pitched in relief on one day’s rest.

Period. End of argument.”

Seven months later, I still stand by Johnson has the best left-handed pitcher of the last 25 years and the one pitcher I would take to win me a Game Seven.

He was truly one of the all-time greats.

Johnson will finish his career with a record of 303-166 with a 3.29 ERA, 100 complete games, 4,875 strike outs, and five Cy Young awards in 22 seasons with the Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees, and San Francisco Giants.

His 4,875 strike outs rank second all time to Nolan Ryan’s 5,714. His five Cy Young awards also rank second to Roger Clemens’ seven.

Johnson will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Fantasy Impact: Arizona Diamondbacks’ Edwin Jackson

December 28, 2009

I think I am going to make today a very fantasy focused day on The Ghost of Moonlight Graham.

Earlier in the day I talked about the fantasy possibilities of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Brandon Wood. Now I will talk about Arizona Diamondbacks’ RHP Edwin Jackson.

Jackson should do well in the NL West

Jackson came over the Diamondbacks in the big three-way trade that sent Curtis Granderson to the New York Yankees and Max Scherzer to the Detroit Tigers. While many–including myself ripped the trade from a Diamondbacks perspective–I want to take the time to look at the fantasy impact of the key player the Diamondbacks got in the trade.

This will Jackson’s second tour of duty in the NL West. While many people just remember Jackson as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Tigers, he actually started out his career in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization.

Jackson didn’t have great success with the Dodgers, but I expect him to have a much better go around in the NL West this time around. My logic is pretty simple for this–the NL West is the most pathetic offensive division in baseball.

Any time you can pitch against the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants and pitch in AT&T Park, Petco Park, and Dodger Stadium the majority of the time, your numbers will improve. There is a reason why nine out of the last 11 National League Cy Young award winners are from the NL West.

Over the last two years, Jackson is 27-20 with a 3.99 ERA and 269 K’s in 397.1 innings in the AL. However, Jackson has really slipped in the second half over those two years.

In the second half over the last two years, Jackson has a 5.11 ERA. What is really concerning is that Jackson has played on two contenders the last two years and has faded when his teams have needed him the most.

The Diamondbacks could be a dark horse contender in 2010, so I wonder if the pressure will get to him for a third year in a row? While I don’t like the fact that Jackson has faded the last couple of years, there is a lot of things I do like about Jackson in 2010.

Like I said, he is going to the AL from the NL, which is always a plus. The Diamondbacks should improve upon their 70-win season in 2010. And I also like the fact that he is going to be a No. 3 starter in 2010, which means he won’t be facing other team’s No. 1 or No. 2 starter.

I expect Jackson to go 13-10 with a solid 3.40-3.50 ERA in 200+ innings. Jackson has never been a big strikeout guy, so expect around 150-160 K’s in those 200+ innings.

With those numbers, Jackson should be a very solid No. 3 fantasy starter in most fantasy formats in 2010.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

New York Yankees Only Team To Pay Luxury Tax

December 22, 2009

To the surprise of nobody who closely follows the game of baseball, The New York Yankees will be paying baseball’s luxury tax yet again. However, this year they are alone in that honor.

According to the Associated Press, the Yankees will be the lone team paying baseball’s luxury tax in 2009 and will pay nearly $25.69 million in tax. The Yankees must pay the tax to the office of the commissioner by Jan. 31st.

The Yankees paid Sabathia and the luxury tax

New York’s payroll was $226.2 million for the purpose of the luxury tax and the Yankees pay at a 40 percent rate for the amount over $162 million. To compute the payroll, Major League Baseball uses the average annual values of contracts for players on 40-man rosters and adds benefits.

The Yankees’ regular payroll — using 2009 salaries and prorated shares of signing bonuses — finished at $220 million. That was a drop of $2.5 million from 2008 but more than $77.8 million higher than any other team — a gap larger than the payrolls of the bottom 11 clubs.

Here is my take on the luxury tax. Why have it?

It’s pretty clear the Yankees don’t mind paying this tax. So if the team that it affects the most doesn’t mind paying the tax, what’s the point of having it?

In order for this tax to really have an affect, then it has to be significant enough where the Yankees or any other team thinks twice before going over the tax.

$26 million to the Yankees is like $10 to you and me. It really doesn’t matter.

And you are probably asking where does this money go? Well, it doesn’t to small market teams. The money that the Yankees pay in luxury tax goes to an “industry growth fund” which is used to improve player benefits and to promote the game overseas.

I think baseball has two options going forward. Either increase the luxury tax, so teams hesitate before going over it or just get rid of it and implement a salary cap of $162 million.

I know the later is easier said than done because the Player’s Union will never agree to a salary cap. But until a change is made, the Yankees’ will have no problem paying the luxury tax.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

New York Yankees Steal Javier Vazquez From The Braves

December 22, 2009

As if there is anymore reason to hate the New York Yankees.

According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Yankees have acquired RHP Javier Vazquez and LHP Boone Logan for OF Melky Cabrera, LHP Mike Dunn, and RHP Arodys Vizcaino.

So let me understand this and I think I do.

The Braves had a surplus of pitching and were looking to trade either Derek Lowe or Vazquez to acquire a much needed bat. Vazquez had more value because he is younger than Lowe and only has one year remaining on his contract, while Lowe has three more years.

Vazquez returns to the Yankees

So the Braves trade the guy with the most value to the Yankees and are only able to get a fourth outfielder in Cabrera? My head is going to explode.

I have watched Cabrera for the last three years and I don’t need to see any stats telling me how good he is. Cabrera is a mediocre, fourth outfielder.

If Cabrera played on the San Diego Padres or the Cincinnati Reds nobody would ever hear a word about him, but because he is a “Yankee,” people think he is a good baseball player. If you think he is good, then you are just a Yankee homer, or well, that would be the only reason.

I can’t believe the Braves–a pretty smart organization–fell for it.

Like I said, I have watched Cabrera on a regular basis over the last three years and he has ZERO baseball IQ. He has zero baseball IQ and has limited ability–that is a bad combination. He was just an extreme product of the powerful Yankee lineup.

I will say one positive thing about Cabrera. He does have a very good arm.

He is going to go to the Braves and hit .265 with nine home runs and have an OPS around .700. Those are stats someone like Ryan Church could have put up.

The Braves also received Vizcaino, who was the Yankees’ No. 3 prospect according to Baseball America. Dunn hasn’t been ranked in the top-10 of Yankee prospects over the last two years by Baseball America, but was so prized he couldn’t be included in the Curtis Granderson trade.

Dunn is nothing more than a left-handed reliever. Once again, the Yankees’ hype machine of prospects does its job.

For the Yankees, this is one steal of a trade. I know Yankee fans have negative thoughts about Vazquez because he faded at the end of the 2004 season and gave up the grand slam to Johnny Damon in Game 7 of the ALCS.

But the Yankees traded for Vazquez in 2003 to be their No. 1 or 2 starter in 2004. Now they have traded for Vazquez in 2009 to be their No. 4 starter in 2010. This time Vazquez is coming here with very little pressure on him.

Think about it. There are only two pitchers since 2004 to pitch 1,000 innings and have 1,000 strike outs and Johan Santana is one. The other one is now the No. 4 starter on the Yankees.

And for those of you Yankee fans who are concerned with Vazquez going from the National League to the American League, here is a juicy nugget for you.

In eight years in the NL and four years in the AL, Vazquez has the same K/9 rate (8.1), almost the same HR/9 (1.1 to 1.2), the same hits/9 (8.9), and almost the same WHIP (1.24 to 1.26).

As you can see, there is virtually no difference between AL Vazquez and NL Vazquez.

This deal also now opens up the left field spot for the Yankees. The Yankees could bring back Damon, or of course, sign Matt Holliday or Jason Bay to really stick it to the rest of baseball.

The Yankees acquired Granderson and Vazquez and didn’t have to give up Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Jesus Montero, or even Austin Romine.

The World Series champs have gotten even better this offseason.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg