|ESPN.com: Baseball||[Print without images]|
|Tom Candiotti's Take|
Vazquez is only 27 years old and has a great arm. His command is his biggest asset. The right-hander hits his spots and keeps the ball down, displaying tremendous control. His 2003 numbers are All-Star caliber: just 57 walks in 230 innings with 241 strikeouts. A strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 4-1 is impressive.
I believe Vazquez's personality also will be a good fit for the Yankees. In fact, the pressure of playing in New York should make him a better pitcher. It's an opportunity for him to dial up the intensity. I've talked to Vazquez a handful of times, and I've been impressed with him.
One plus for Vazquez is that he won't be expected to be the savior. With Joe Torre's Yankees, it's all about the team. Remember the 1998 Yankee team that won 114 games and then won the World Series? No one star stood out.
How did the Yankees do in terms of keeping pace with the Red Sox and their recent acquisition of Curt Schilling? Well, for next year, Boston has the advantage on paper, because Schilling is a dual ace alongside Pedro Martinez. He's a veteran with a proven track record (and the 2001 World Series co-MVP).
But because Vazquez is 10 years younger than Schilling, this deal has tremendous upside for the Yankees. It bodes well for their rotation for years to come.
ESPN baseball analyst Tom Candiotti was a major-league pitcher for 16 seasons.