Javier Vazquez to Yankees

Javier Vazquez made his only All-Star team during his 2004 stint with the Yankees; he tossed 198 innings. Had he completed just two more innings, he would have ten consecutive seasons of at least 200 innings. Impressive.

Vazquez is coming off a season in which he finished fourth in the National League Cy Young Award voting: a 2.87 ERA over 219.1 innings with a sparkling 1.03 WHIP, 9.8 SO/9 and 5.41 SO/BB.

Coming to the powerful American League East, Vazquez’s numbers will surely rise. But slotting him into the number three spot in the Yankees’ rotation behind CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett will absolutely help him. Not having to be the ace, allowing other starters to take some of the burden and having perhaps the greatest offensive lineup in the history of the game will allow Vazquez to have a stellar 2010 season—a fitting follow-up to a career year with the Atlanta Braves in 2009.

Jason Bay Got A Fair Deal

Newly signed New York Met Jason Bay received a four year $66 million deal. Some say that he is overrated and getting too much money. These people are wrong.

Numbers show the entire story.

Over 162 games Bay averages:

33 HR, 107 RBI, 34 2B, 102 R, 12 SB, .280/.376/.519

Again, those are his 162 game averages—not his seasonal averages; Bay has played 162 games once over seven seasons.

If you put a guy in your lineup with those numbers, he will of course make your lineup better. There are certainly other outfielders that will put up superior numbers, but you cannot put a price on health.

Bottom line: Bay is durable. $16.5 million is a lot per season. But this is your three or four hitter. If you are a big market team (as the Mets indeed are), you can afford that price tag.

All that being said, why would Bay go to New York? I would’ve opted for less money and an actual chance at winning.

What is Baseball Stud Poker?

Someone recently asked us about a game called Baseball Poker – a card game (poker variant) that’s supposedly related to baseball. Here’s what we could gather on the subject.

To put it simply, Baseball Poker or Baseball Stud Poker is a variation of traditional Seven-Card Stud with some baseball-related twists and special rules. It’s definitely not a poker variant you’ll find at Vegas casinos, but it’s a fun game that’s sometimes played it in small-stakes home games, so it might serve you well to know the basics.

The main difference from regular Seven-Card Stud is that Baseball Poker involves wild cards. 3s and 9s are the usual wilds, and players who are dealt a face-up 4 get an option to buy an extra card (or it’s given free depending on the rules). In some games the queen of spades also holds special significance as it’s called a rain out that ends the hand.

Night Baseball

There’s also a poker variant called Night Baseball. Like in Seven-Card Stud all players receive seven cards in total, but they are all dealt in the first round, face down, and the players are not allowed to look at their cards.

Just like in Baseball Stud, 3s and 9s are wild and 4s allow you to buy an extra card. The dealer starts by turning up the top card from the deck and play continues clockwise. Each player must in turn beat the previous hand with their own – turning over one card at a time. Players who can’t beat the previous hand are out of the game. If they do beat it, however, they are allowed to bet, and then all remaining players must call, raise or fold.

Ben Sheets Deserves More Attention

ESPN.com is reporting today the Yankees have Ben Sheets on their radar. He should be. He should be on most teams’ radars.

Sheets is 31 years old with a career ERA of 3.72. More impressive, however, is his career SO/BB of 3.85. When healthy, Sheets has top of the rotation kind of stuff. This is a guy who struck out 18 batters in a nine inning game before, don’t forget.

He missed all of 2009 due to recovery from elbow surgery. Having not played in over a year, Sheets is not deserving a massive contract. We’re talking a one year deal here with a base salary around $5 million and some incentives. Look at Rich Harden’s deal, for example, as a reference point. Harden is constantly injured, like Sheets. But he did not miss all of last season and is therefore slightly more deserving a larger base salary.

Sheets makes sense for a lot of teams. He’s not a guy the Rays should go after, but teams that lose out on Roy Halladay and John Lackey should give Sheets a look. As well, teams that need a fourth starter and have the financial flexibility to take a risk, i.e. the Yankees, should definitely give this guy a try.