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Javier Vazquez Requests a Trade

Citing family concerns, Javier Vazquez informed the Arizona Diamondbacks that he would like a trade back to the East Coast in order to be closer to his family. Interestingly enough, if Vazquez is not traded by March 15, and he still keeps his claim in, he will become a free agent. Talk about a present for a team who loses a starter in spring training in 2006.

Vazquez was a dominant force in Montreal in 2001 and 2003, but high pitch counts brought down his effectiveness in his first season in the American League. This year, he was still on the leaderboard for Pitcher Abuse Points, but he finished 22nd overall rather than at the top.

Vazquez 2005 Number of Pitches: 3,322
Max NoP: 122
Average NoP: 100.7
Pitcher Abuse Points: 45,577

Livan "I'm not really sure if he is a human being or a cybernetic droid from the future" Hernandez finished first (again) with 499,885 Pitcher Abuse Points. To put this into even more perspective, his Max PAP for one start was 125,000...or more than third place finisher Mark Prior's season total of PAP. I'm going to assume that was his start with 150 pitchers. Back to Vazquez though.

His peripherals have all improved from his disastrous (for Vazquez) 2004 season in New York. His strikeout rates are still down from 2003, and his homerun rates are still much too high, but he appears to be capable of being a good #2 starter in the right environment. Putting him in a park that limits homeruns would increase his effectiveness greatly. With the Red Sox trying to move both Manny Ramirez and David Wells, and with the obsession the Red Sox showed over Javier Vazquez for the past few years, a deal may be worked out to some degree between those two clubs. David Wells wants to return to the west coast, and Arizona is a step closer to that. The value is not even really that far off; Vazquez was 5.9 Wins Above Replacement Player in 2005, while Wells was 5.0 Wins Above Replacement Player. Arizona has not disclosed what they want in return for Vazquez as of yet, so I am just throwing this out there on a hypothetical level. Arizona needs less outfielders, not more, so Ramirez is not really the answer for them. I'd expect Vazquez's 2006 season to look very much like this 2005 season. The only real differences of course coming from whatever park he winds up in; Bank One Ballpark is a bandbox compared to the East Coast parks (excepting Philadelphia's) that he could wind up in, so he might perform better in 2006 due to that. Fenway reduces homeruns slightly by the way (which is one more reason Paul Konerko should not sign there), and that could help Vazquez in the future.

Best case scenario for the rest of the league? Arizona cannot figure out a trade by March 15, Vazquez becomes a free agent, and a new team resigns him for below his current contract value. He is slated to make $11.5 million in 2006, and $12.5 million in 2007. If A.J. Burnett makes $12 million a year as expected, Vazquez can expect to pull in slightly less. Especially if a front office plays hardball in the spring knowing he has nowhere else to go. The Yankees won't get involved in the bidding war, so the Red Sox and Mets are most likely the places where the highest salaries could come from. Vazquez's trade demand will be another interesting trade point for this winter. I'll add on updates as the winter progresses and we learn more about both Vazquez and Arizona's demands.