Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hypothetically Speaking: The Javier Vazquez Contract Extension

For the past few weeks, fans and baseball people have been suggesting that the Braves will trade Javier Vazquez this offseason. Even though Vazquez is coming off the best season of his career, the Braves have a surplus of starting pitching and are in dire need of a power hitter. Vazquez, who will be a free agent after the season, is one of the Braves most attractive trade pieces and seems to the logical choice for the Braves to move.

But are the Braves actually looking to extend Javier Vazquez? David O'Brien writes:
"Vazquez, coming off arguably his best season and one of the best by any pitcher in the majors in 2009, is owed just $11.5 million in 2010 before he can become a free agent. If they had their druthers, the Braves would like to keep him, maybe re-sign him to a long-term deal. He’s a fine pitcher and teammate and a great example for the other pitchers, and Vazquez has made it known he’d prefer to stay in Atlanta, where he always wanted to pitch and where his first season was everything he’d hoped it would be (well, except for the Braves not making the playoffs)."
So is a contract extension possible? What would it take for the Braves and Vazquez to come to an agreement on a contract extension? Let's take a look at the goals for each side:

The Braves

1. Keep their ace at a reasonable price

2. Retain their rotation depth for 2010 and beyond

The Javier Vazquez Camp

1. Financial Security

2. Stay in Atlanta (where he wants to be)

So how about this deal for Vazquez and the Braves?

(3 years/$36 million) with limited no trade clause restricting what teams he can be traded too

Here is the contractual breakdown:

2010: $14 million
2011: $11 million
2012: $11 million
2013: $16 million (team option)

Why it works for the Braves:

1. Keep their ace under contract

2. "hometown discount" (makes only $22 million from 2011-2012 when he could make much more on the free agent market)

3. Contract expires in 2012 along with Tim Hudson's contract and Derek Lowe's contract. (Just in time to extend Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson!)

Why it works for Vazquez:

1. Financial Security

2. Stays in Atlanta long term

3. Gets an extra $2.5 million in 2010 just for signing the extension

If the Braves fail to sign Vazquez to a contract extension, then I could see the Braves turning around and dealing Vazquez for either a power hitter or salary relief.


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Peter said...

If the Braves move Derek Lowe it could work. Otherwise, I believe they'd probably prefer to back-load the contract and save money to spend in 2010

Jorge Says No! said...

Peter: I think I'm in the opposite end here. Either way, the Braves will be spending at least $11.5 million on Vazquez this year, so I would rather tack on a few million this season in return for some salary relief over the next two years. I'm a big fan of payroll flexibility so if the Braves can actually reduce Vazquez's salary (from $11.5 million to $11 million) just by giving him a few extra million this season, i think they have to do it.

Remember, giving Vazquez some money up front is an incentive for him to sign the contract, which would give the Braves a hometown discount.

Jorge Says No! said...

Just a quick note: I added a fourth year option to this deal to make it even more appealing to Vazquez...thoughts?