Multiple sources, including Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman and the Daily News’ Mark Feinsand are reporting that the Yankees and Braves have agreed to a trade in which the Braves will send starter Javier Vazquez and reliever Boone Logan to the Yankees in exchange for Melky Cabrera, lefty Mike Dunn and an as yet unnamed prospect. UPDATE: Joel Sherman tweets that the prospect is righty pitcher Arodys Vizcaino, who he says impressed in a short season for Staten Island this year. [random thought: with that name, how many Braves fans can I fool by saying that they got “Arod” from the Yankees?]
Instant analysis: the Braves and their fans would probably rather have Nick Swisher, but Melky may translate well to the NL, and Nate McLouth — despite his gold glove — could slide over to left field where he probably belongs. For the Yankees, Vazquez would help fill out a rotation that currently looks light once you get beyond Sabathia and Burnett. Pettitte is going to crater one of these days. I’ve never bought the notion that the Yankees would put both Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes in the rotation. Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre are not exactly championship starters.
The big question: did the Yankees buy-high on Vazquez? He’s coming off his best season and given his strikeout rate, there’s good reason to believe that he’ll be highly effective in 2010. But he does give up a lot of dingers, and that will only get worse in the bandbox that is New Yankee Stadium.
Ultimately, however, Melky Cabrera is eminently replaceable, and Vazquez solidifies the rotation, which was one of Brian Cashman’s top priorities, so it’s a good deal for New York, even if the talk radio freaks will be complaining about his performance in 2004 all day.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.