Bryan Hoch of MLB.com provides an interesting bit of trivia in his latest article: Javier Vazquez became the first player the Yankees traded for twice since Jeff Nelson. Here are Hoch's other Yankees-related updates, via GM Brian Cashman:
- Vazquez's second half in 2004, when he posted a 6.92 ERA after the All-Star break for the Yankees, was viewed as an aberration, rather than any sort of concern.
- Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, among others, will compete for the fifth rotation spot. The loser(s) of that competition will end up either in the bullpen or Triple-A to start the year.
- The Yankees' budget was "once in a lifetime" last winter, so a surprise mega-deal like the Mark Teixeira signing a year ago is unlikely. Cashman's quote: "Any speculation about some high-end player who has big ability and dollars attached on a large scale would be inappropriate."
- Hoch speculates that, while Johnny Damon is probably too expensive, Mark DeRosa and Jermaine Dye could still be left field possibilities. Last we heard on DeRosa, he was leaning toward accepting an offer from San Francisco.
- Despite Curtis Granderson hitting 30 homers in 2009 and shifting to a smaller park, Cashman doesn't expect the center fielder to hit more than 20-30 long balls in 2010, pointing out that power is just one of Granderson's many strengths.
One more piece of Yankees news courtesy of Joel Sherman of the New York Post: Sherman hears that the Yankees are having regular discussions with Reed Johnson's representation. It's hard to imagine Johnson being the missing final piece for the Yanks' outfield, after all the names we've seen pop up, but he would fit in well with the team's current group of primarily left-handed bats. The 33-year-old has hit .313/.378/.463 in his career against lefties.