The Atlanta Braves have traded starting pitcher Javier Vazquez and reliever Boone Logan to the New York Yankees for outfielder Melky Cabrera and minor league pitchers Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino.
Atlanta had tried to trade Derek Lowe, but the three years and $45 million remaining on his contract proved too difficult to move. So general manager Frank Wren had to deal Vazquez, who was fourth in the National League Cy Young voting in 2009.
"We appreciate the great year that Javier Vazquez had for us in 2009," Wren said in a prepared statement. "However, with the depth of our starting pitching we were able to make a trade for Melky Cabrera that improves our club in another area, as well as adds two top prospects to our organization."
The 25-year-old Cabrera hit .274 with 13 home runs and 68 RBI for the Yankees last season. He hit .391 in the ALCS, and on August 2 hit for the cycle, becoming the 11th player in Yankees history to accomplish that feat.
Atlanta has been looking for a power-hitting outfielder. Cabrera's 13 home runs were the most he's ever hit in his pro career in one season.
Defensively, Cabrera has been very solid. Over the last four seasons (2006-2009), Cabrera ranked third in the American League and tied for seventh in the majors with 38 outfield assists.
Cabrera mostly has played in center field (330 starts in his career) for the Yankees, but he's also played in left field (149) and right field (27). The Braves could move Nate McLouth to left and place Cabrera in center. If Jason Heyward starts in right, Cabrera could occasionally start there as the right-handed part of a platoon.
Dunn is a 24-year-old left-handed reliever, who made his big league debut with four games for the Yankees this past season. Dunn split 38 games between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. He had a 3.31 ERA with 99 strikeouts and a .216 opponents batting average in 73.1 innings.
Dunn was in the Arizona Fall League this year and pitched in 10 games. He had 20 strikeouts in 10.1 innings of work.
Vizcaino just turned 19 in November. He was recently rated the top pitching prospect in the Yankees' organization. Vizcaino made 10 starts for Staten Island of the New York Penn League and went 2-4 with a 2.13 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 42.1 innings pitched.
The Braves acquired Vazquez and Logan a year ago in the same trade from the Chicago White Sox. Vazquez quickly became a big force in the Atlanta clubhouse, and he was even more important on the field. Vazquez had the best season of his career, going 15-10, with a 2.87 ERA, and 238 strikeouts in 219.1 innings.
Logan pitched in 20 games for Atlanta and had a 5.19 ERA. He mainly pitched in Triple-A Gwinnett last season, but Logan was expected to battle for a bullpen spot in spring training next March.
Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on
WFSM Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, Georgia and The Braves Show Talk Show. Shanks writes a weekly baseball column for The Macon Telegraph and is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team. You can email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billshanks.