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.
Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.
Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.
Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.
Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit another jaw-dropping home run, victimizing Mets starter Robert Gsellman in the top of the fourth game of Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn’t even move. The ball traveled 457 feet and was hit 117 MPH off the bat, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues.
The home run moved Judge’s AL-best total to 37, putting him two ahead of the Royals’ Mike Moustakas. Along with the prodigious dinger total, he has 80 RBI, 90 runs scored, and a .291/.421/.616 triple-slash line in 499 plate appearances. Judge is on pace for 50 dingers. If it holds, that would give him the rookie record for home runs in a season. Mark McGwire currently holds the record, having hit 49 for the Athletics in 1987.