Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Consider Javier Vasquez a True Ace

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin has confirmed an evaluation that crossed the Cooperstown Sports Desk many weeks ago: SP Javier Vasquez's inflated 4.42 ERA last year was not the result of diminished capabilities, but of his move to the thin air of Arizona and to a mediocre team with a poor bullpen and weak outfield defense. Vasquez will be the best No. 4 starter in the majors when he pitches for the White Sox this year. The Sox knew what they were doing when they gave up top OF prospect Chris Young to get him, as did the Yankees when they gave him a four-year $45 million contract to get him from Montreal. As good as Randy Johnson is, the Yankees were foolish to empty their pockets just to give up on Vasquez when they traded him to Arizona for the Big Unit. This will be the year when Vasquez begins to make New York regret the decision, as Vasquez will begin to excel and will continue to do so long after Johnson is retired. Mark the young pitcher's words to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner at the time: "If you trade me, you'll be sorry."