Second to last edition for 2011, so lets get right to it. On Friday night Javier Vazquez pitched a complete game shutout against the Nats, capping off a remarkable turnaround to his season. After a horrendous start he’s been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past 4 months. He peaked at an ugly 7.09 ERA on June 11, but has pitched to a glittering 1.97 ERA since then, with a 107 SO and just 18 BB in 119.2 IP. The only pitchers with a lower ERA during that period are Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum and Justin Verlander (h/t Hardball Talk). Kudos go out to Jeffery Gross of THT for calling the turnaround in June citing his velocity, unintentional walks and SO rates as portending better things to come for Javy. He nailed it, and the he had the good fortune of publishing the article just before the about face occurred. Despite his terrific pitching of late, it sounds like Javy wants to go out Mussina-style, on top. Here’s a recent quote:
“My family and the people close to me know what I’m going to do in the offseason,” said Vazquez, a father of three kids between age 3 and 8. “I don’t want to be definitive because the season hasn’t ended. I’ll make the final decision after the season. I don’t want to say something now and then change my mind, but yeah, the time is close.”
“From the time I had my kids, one of the things my wife and I discussed was that we didn’t want them to be big and me not be able to enjoy them. From the time my first girl was born, we’ve talked about that. I don’t want to play so many years in the big leagues that I wasn’t there for them.”
In other ex-Yankee news, the Royals have a decision to make on Melky Cabrera writes Bob Dutton of the KC Star. The Melkman is under team control for one more year and his value has never been higher. The Royals have a replacement ready in Lorenzo Cain, who hit .312 with 18 HRs in AAA this year. GM Dayton Moore has publicly stated he is willing to trade position players for pitching help this offseason. The Royals farm system is stacked with hitters, but some of their top pitching prospects took a step back this year. Buster Olney speculates that there’s a good match for the Royals with the Rays where they send James Shields to Kansas City to make room for Matt Moore. Shields has a very team friendly contract, with options that take him out to 2014 at 7M, 9M and 12M.
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