Vazquez wisely skipped in Yankees' rotation

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vazquez watching homer.jpgYankees manager Joe Girardi made a calculated move Saturday in an effort to protect Javier Vazquez’s confidence, bumping the righty from his next scheduled start. 

Vazquez pitched a solid seven innings of two-run ball last Wednesday against the Tigers and was in line to take on either the Red Sox or Rays this week.  But Girardi made the decision Saturday to have the struggling starter avoid both high-powered offenses.  Vazquez, 33, will take on the Mets at Citi Field on Friday instead.  From the Newark Star-Ledger:

“We talked amongst ourselves and discussed it,” Girardi said Saturday. “I know
Javy wants to pitch. But that was what we thought was the right
decision at this time.”

Some Yankees fans might want to call it “babying,” but this is a smart move for both the club and Vazquez himself.  He is 1-4 this year with an 8.10 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP over six starts and the Yanks continue to battle for the top spot in the American League East with Tampa Bay.  They need their best starters on the mound right now and Vazquez — for the time being — is not one of them.

Red Sox owner: “spending money helps”

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The other day Rob Manfred said, as he and other owners have said often in the past, that there is no correlation between payroll and winning. He said that defensively, in response to criticism of the slow free agent market of the past two offseasons.

As we have noted in the past, Manfred is not being honest about that. While, yes, in any given year there can be wild variation between payroll and win total — the Giants stunk last year, the A’s won 97 games — common sense dictates otherwise. What’s more, a recent study has shown that there is a pretty strong correlation between winning and payroll over time. Yes, you can fluke into a big season with a low payroll — Deadspin compared it to a cold snap occurring during a time of climate change — but if you want that “sustained success” teams claim they want, the best way to ensure it is to spend more money over time.

If you know anything about baseball labor history, though, you know well that the Commissioner and the owners will continue to mischaracterize the dynamics of the business as it suits them. Mostly because — present lefty sportswriters notwithstanding — very few people push back on their narratives. Fans tend to parrot ownership’s line on this stuff and, more often than not, baseball media acts as stenographer for ownership as opposed to critic. That gives owners a far greater ability to shape the narrative about all of this than most institutions.

Which makes this all the more awkward. From David Schoenfield of ESPN:

In apparent contradiction to his own commissioner, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry said Monday that, while there is not a perfect correlation between a bigger payroll and winning, “spending more money helps.”

Which is right. The correlation is not perfect — teams can spend a lot of money on a bad team if given the chance and a low payroll team like the Rays can bullpen their way to 90 wins — but you’re way more likely to win year-in, year-out if you’re spending than if you go cheap all the time and hope for a miracle season.

Which is not to say that Henry is some labor activist owner. He and his fellow front office officials have a long history of backing the league office on just about everything that matters and will no doubt do so with labor matters in the runup to the next CBA negotiation. The owners tend not to have a solidarity problem.

But Henry does seem to draw the line at peddling baloney, which is a shockingly necessary thing when the league and the union’s relationship turns acrimonious.