Yankee fans seem to be split on how newly-acquired pitcher Javier Vazquez will perform this season in his return to New York.
Some fans hope that Vazquez will perform well under the New York spotlight, coming off the best season of his career. He posted a 14-10 record with a 4.91 ERA in his lone season with the Yankees in 2004. He’ll look to improve from that season, only this time around with a more sturdy staff surrounding him (sorry Kevin Brown, El Duque, Contreras, Jon Lieber and Mussina). Others are scared that he will collapse under the New York spotlight.
Yankee fans have a new reason to debate how he will do this year. The 33-year-old Vazquez told La Perla del Sur, a Puerto Rican newspaper (found via Bryan hoch at MLB.com), “I don’t have much playing time left,” Vazquez told the paper. “It is up to God. I go year by year, and I don’t know if it will be one, two or three years, but I’m definitely not going to play until 40.”
Now, does this mean that Vazquez will definitely retire after this season? No, but it is possible. So should Yankee fans fear his thoughts or look at them positively? You could look at it from two perspectives: Positive: Vazquez carries over his best pitching from last season, and dominates in the AL East. He adds the more curveballs into his range of pitches, as he said he will this season. He looks at his future retirement as a motive to pitch even better than the past to finish his career off on the right foot. Negative: Vazquez focuses too much on retirement and doesn’t perform to the best that he can. He liked the NL East better than the AL East, with the likes of the Nationals and the depleted Mets opposed to the new and improved Orioles and the rising Blue Jays.
Vazquez had the best season of his career, with a 15-10 record, a 2.87 ERA, 238 strikeouts and finishing 4th in the NL Cy Young voting. In his career in the American League (1 season Yankees, 3 seasons White sox), he’s 52-46 with a 4.52 ERA and a 1.258 WHIP. He’s expected to be the Yankees #4 starter to begin the season.