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The Yankees' trade for Javier Vazquez, and the Mets' offseason approach

 Good job by Joel Sherman and then Jon Heyman for reporting the key details of this deal, which, I have confirmed, looks extremely likely to happen.

Quick take: This was a slam-dunk for the Yankees, given the asking price. Cabrera is a nice player, but easily replaceable. The same goes for Dunn.

If you look at Vazquez's numbers, you'll see that, in his four prior American League seasons, one (2007) was excellent and the other three (2004, 2006, 2008) were slightly below league average. He certainly takes the ball every fifth day, which has great value.

I'd still give the Red Sox the edge in comparing starting rotations, but I'd give the Yankees a larger edge in comparing lineups.

It will be interesting to see what happens come playoff time, as Vazquez has been called out by both Mel Stottlemyre and Ozzie Guillen as someone who can't handle the big moment. But we have 10 months to ponder that question. For now, the Yankees have completed anotehr big part of their offseason plan.

Did they open up a new hole in trading Cabrera? Sure. But maybe now Jamie Hoffmann has a better chance to make the club, as a platoon leftfielder with Brett Gardner. And surely, the Yankees will see if any bargains drop out of the free-agent market.

Can I see them now going for Jason Bay, Johnny Damon or Matt Holliday? No. I believe the budget talk, and Vazquez brings a healthy, $11.5 million salary aboard.

The other result of this, of course, is that, if everyone stays healthy, either Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes is in line to become Mariano Rivera's setup man. I'd bet that both men continue to prepare as starting pitchers. As Brian Cashman has said, it's easy to convert from a starter to a reliever. Not so much the other way.

 --Ed Price argues, on AOL Fanhouse, that the Mets should act more aggressively to sign the players they want this offseason, and I told Ed I disagreed.

What is the Mets' biggest current problem? In my opinion, it's a lack of roster depth. That's because, in their past, they've acted too aggressively, bidding against themselves to retain free agents like Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez. Consequently, they haven't had enough dollars left to pick up re-enforcements.

Just look at last year, when the Mets actually did stand their ground on Derek Lowe. The Braves trumped the Mets' three-year, $45-million offer with a four-year, $60-million pacakge, and just one year later, the Braves are desperately trying to trade Lowe.

The Mets' mistake, at that point, was that they didn't continue such a strategy of patience and sticktoitiveness.  If only they had waited out Perez for, say, a one-year deal - or just signed Randy Wolf or Jon Garland to the reasonable, one-year contracts those guys found with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, respectively _ then the Mets would be in far better shape now.

Jason Bay would be a really nice addition to the Mets' lineup. But not on a five-year deal.

IMO, that is.

New York Sports