Alright, I see that the deal went down last night, I get up this morning, and I'm seeing people losing their mind talking about how terrible an acquisition this is for us.
Let's take a deep breath and consider who Vasquez is, what he's done, and what he's likely to do for us.
A quick look at Vasquez will show that his stuff is well above average and he's a near lock to throw 200 innings. He strikes out almost a batter per inning for his career, and watching him pitch, you can see why - he's a hard thrower with command of a classic four pitch mix. His fastball, coming in at around 92-94 MPH, has great movement down and in on right handers. He also has a tight slider which to be honest could be better, and a slurve that is very hard on the righties. His change comes in about 10 MPH slower than his heater and has similar movement. It's not a Pedro-caliber change, but he uses it very effectively versus left handed hitters.
For his career, Vasquez has per nine rates of 8K, 2.4 BB, and 1.2 HR. The home runs are a symptom of being a flyball pitcher (career GB/FB of .41 to 1) pitching in a series of parks (Yankee Stadium, Chase Field, New Comiskey) that give up an above average number of big flies. Considering his extreme flyball tendencies, his .310 career BABIP seems a bit unlucky. Playing in front of terrible defensive teams will do that to you.
Going forward, Vasquez is a durable pitcher with top notch stuff marred by a bit of a home run problem. Moving to the NL, an easier league, should help a little. Moving into a park that is frendlier to pitchers than any of his old stadiums will help a little. Playing in front of a competent defense will help a little. In short, we have a number of small things going on in Atlanta that should converge and make his ERAs look better going forward, probably in the 3.75-4.25 range. 200 innings of 4.00 ERA baseball is extremely valuable considering that last year the league ERA was a little over 4.5.
So, really guys, don't let the sour feelings from Chicago cloud our evaluation of this man. He's consistenty played in very tough environments and his ERAs show it. I'm not saying he's a #1 starter, but this guy isn't junk. At the worst, if he provides 200 innings of league-average pitching, he'll help save the bullpen from overuse. If he puts it all together for the first time in his career, this deal won't even be debated going forward.