Last month, a team source for the San Diego Padres told me he believed that the Atlanta Braves will try to trade Javier Vasquez in the off season according to some rumblings around the league. I really didn’t give it much thought at the time because I didn’t really see any reason why the Braves would move Vasquez who is arguably their best starting pitcher. I actually forgot about it until this morning when I learned that the Braves are on the verge of signing veteran starting pitcher Tim Hudson to a three year deal.
The Braves are by no means a low market when it comes to payroll, but they have always managed to keep it a tad below $100 million for the last five seasons. They have some big decisions to make regarding bringing back Adam La Roche, and going to arbitration with Rafael Soriano and few other key players who are expected to get big raises.
Currently, they have the following pitchers slated for their rotation, and I’m going to leave Vasquez out for the time being.
1. Tim Hudson (2 wins, 3.61 ERA)
2. Derek Lowe (15 wins, 4.67 ERA)
3. Jair Jurrjens (14 wins, 2.60 ERA)
4. Tommy Hanson (11 wins, 2.89 ERA)
Hudson and Lowe give the Braves a solid veteran presence, and Jurrjens and Hanson are two of baseballs best young pitchers with each being projected to be top of the rotation starters.
With Javier Vasquez entering his walk year and due to make $11.5 million dollars, maybe my source was right and Vasquez could really be on the trading block. His no trade clause only blocks teams from the AL and NL West. The Mets have already made a deal recently which would suggest that Frank Wren and Omar Minaya have a good working relationship.
The 33-year old righthander would certainly fill the bill as the number two starter the Mets desperately need to backup their ace, Johan Santana. Javier Vazquez went 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA and a 238/44 K/BB ratio over 219 1/3 innings in 2009. He is one of the games best workhorses, making 32 or more starts for ten straight seasons.
He may not cost as much in terms of prospects as the sought after Roy Halladay, and that might be a good thing for the Mets. Currently, the Braves could use help at first base, especially if La Roche departs for greener pastures in free agency. The Mets seem to have some depth at first base in Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Nick Evans and Chris Carter. Neither of them would be enough on their own to land Vasquez, but would be a significant piece of the puzzle.
It may be worth looking into.