Tim Marchman must watch a different sport than I do. How else could he justify his latest article on SI.com, where he says (among other things):
"In theory he should be in the second tier among major league starters, not ranking with Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum but in the group behind, with the likes of Josh Beckett and Mark Buehrle."
Here are some career stats you should know about Javier:
* .505 winning percentage
* 7 of his 12 seasons with an ERA over 4.00
* ERA+ of 107
* Cy Young votes only once (finished 4th last year)
And other mediocre stats in addition to these.
There is one thing that I will give credit to Javier for: he is a monster innings eater. The guy is durable to be sure. He has thrown 26 complete games and has started an average of 34 games a season for his career. That in itself is a great thing. But for my money, I would much rather Buehrle or Beckett on the mound (to use two that Marchman named).
But this does not make him a second tier pitcher. If you look around the league right now, you have some immense talent starting in the 2nd spot of the rotation. Let's take a look at some current #2 starters in the MLB:
Matt Cain: 12-4, 2.39 ERA, 133 K's
Adam Wainwright: 15-7, 2.50 ERA, 157 K's
Cliff Lee: 12-9, 2.62 ERA, 146 K's
John Lackey, Jon Lester or whomever the BoSox trot out for the #2 job (assuming Beckett is the #1 guy).
I could go on...
Bottom line is, Vazquez had a great year last year. But a couple good years over 12 seasons does not make you a 2nd tier pitcher. Please, let's not confuse a good season or two with consistent ability.