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Yankees counter the Lackey move

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 22, 2009 12:30 PM

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You knew this was coming. Once the Red Sox signed John Lackey, there was no way the Yankees would go into next season with a rotation of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and two question marks.

The trigger was pulled last night when the Yankees obtained right-hander Javy Vazquez from the Braves.

In return for Vazquez and reliever Boone Logan, the Yankees sent the Braves outfielder Melky Cabrera, minor league lefty reliever Mike Dunn and Single-A pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino along with $500,000 Brian Cashman found under the couch in his office.

Cabrera is a decent outfielder who the Yankees have spent the better part of the last three seasons trying to replace. Dunn is a 24-year-old converted position player with a big arm and control problems. Vizcaino is probably the key to the deal for the Braves. He's a 19-year-old who struck out 52 in 42 innings last season and has much upside according to people within the Yankees organization.

Vazquez was 14-10, 4.91 for the Yankees in 2004 before being shipped to Arizona for Randy Johnson. He is 52-46, 4.52 while pitching in the American League. He's 2-7, 4.23 against the Red Sox in his career and has a 4.26 ERA in six starts at Fenway Park.

Now the Yankees will probably pick either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain to be their No. 5 starter and put the other in the bullpen. They also need a left fielder. Mark DeRosa could make sense unless Johnny Damon decides to lower his expectations.

Remember after the World Series when the Yankees made their annual promise to stick by a budget? Adding Vazquez gives them 15 players under contract for roughly $195 million. So whatever that budget is, it's north of $200 million again.

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