ESPN's Rob Neyer recently posted a mailbag question about the Javier Vazquez–Chris Young trade between the White Sox and Diamondbacks. On December 14th, 2005, the White Sox sent Young and the unwanted salaries of Orlando Hernandez and Luis Vizcaino to Arizona for Vazquez and cash. Neyer's reader began his question with:
Kenny Williams was roundly criticized back in 2005 for trading highly regarded 5-tool uber-prospect Chris Young to D-backs for often underachieving Javier Vazquez.
Cue the sound of screeching brakes…was Williams really roundly criticized on December 14th, 2005? This is where the MLBTR archives come in handy. It's cool to see how we evaluated trades the day they were made. Here's the post. I liked the deal as a win-now move for the Sox. MLBTR was only a month and a half old, so the post only has 15 comments. But there was no criticism of Williams.
How about South Side Sox, which opened its doors in April of '05? They seemed in favor of the deal, as did Ken Rosenthal in an excerpt found here. Sox Machine also liked the trade, and both blogs noted that Vazquez was a bargain compared to A.J. Burnett's newly-signed five-year, $55MM deal. Let's get an opinion from the other side with AZ Snakepit, which also started in 2005. The post's author, Jim McLennan, was "both enthusiastic and somewhat concerned" about the trade.
It seems to me that this trade was mostly properly evaluated when it was made. The Sox would eventually miss Young, but not in 2006. I think Neyer's commenter's general point was that Young hasn't been quite as good as advertised, with a career OBP of .301 in two-plus seasons.