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Rich Gettin' Richer: Yankees Trade for Javier Vazquez

Reports this morning indicate that the Yankees and Braves are nearing completion of a trade that would send SP Javier Vazquez to the Yankees, along with Boone Logan, for Mike Dunn, Melky Cabrera and a prospect.

The Yankees add Vazquez, coming off a great 2009 that saw him the subject of minor controversy when ESPN's Keith Law had the audacity to vote him second on his Cy Young ballot, joins the Yankees already ridiculous starting rotation. It probably means that one of Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes will remain in the bullpen, too. The main loss is Melky Cabrera, who previously fit into their opening day lineup, but he shouldn't be too tough to replace for a team with the Yankees resources.

The Braves get Cabrera to slot in their outfield, though my immediate reaction is that Vazquez probably could have netted them a little bit more coming off of such a good year. They will save over $10M in salary, however, which does allow them to go fill some other holes.

The real impact of this trade - asides from further cementing the Yankees great off-season - is that it does quite a bit to change the outfield free agent market. The Braves have extra cash to spend, and the Yankees now have a spot to fill. The Yankees could conceivably jump right in and swoop up Jason Bay or Matt Holliday, or they could wait out the seemingly tiny Johnny Damon market and re-sign him at a more reasonable price later in the off-season.

When I ranked the top-five teams thus far in the off-season over the weekend, I did actually debate slotting the Red Sox ahead of the Yankees, feeling that while their moves had been less publicized, they were still great moves. Adding Vazquez to the Yankees easily changes that, and throws the Yankees back ahead.

Theo Epstein, it's your move now.