Further backing Schilling's assessment, the conditions surrounding the 2010 signing of Javier Vazquez greatly mirror that of the 2004 signing. In 2003 Javier posted one of his two best seasons ever. Breaking out with Montreal, Vazquez posted a 3.24 ERA and a 1.105 WHIP, allowing only 198 hits in 230 1/3 innings pitched. Walking only 2.2 batters per game while striking out 9.4 over nine innings, Vazquez seemed on the verge of stardom. And then he arrived in New York.
In his one season with the Yankees, Vazquez has forever been considered a massive disappointment, despite his 1.288 WHIP. That season, he managed a 14-10 record based largely on run support, because his 4.91 ERA was his ticket out of the Bronx. Overall Vazquez allowed only 195 hits in 198 innings but his strikeout rate dropped to 6.8 per nine innings and his total Ks plummeted from 241 in 2003 to 150 in '04 in only 32 2/3 less innings pitched. While his peripherals weren't terrible that season, it was clear that Vazquez was far less effective in the AL East and the Yankees' brass wasn't exactly known for their patience during that period.
After one rough season in Arizona, Vazquez returned to the American League with the White Sox and — as aforementioned — saw limited success. Overall in his three years with the club, Vazquez went 38-36 with a 4.40 ERA. Again, his peripherals weren't bad — he carried a 1.249 WHIP, 3.57 SO/BB ratio, and surrendered 617 hits in 627 2/3 innings — but those numbers never translated into success. When Vazquez got hit he got hit hard and he gave up runs. High strikeout totals or low hit and walk totals don't make up for runs surrendered. If it was isolated to one season this may be considered bad luck, but Javy has made a career out of posting promising peripheral statistics that rarely translate to success on the field. He is essentially a sabermetric anomaly.
Now in 2010 Vazquez is once again coming off one of, if not his best, season. And once again the success came in the National League. But as Curt Schillings commented, there are "no Pittsburgh Pirates" in the AL.
And Javier is once again coming to terms with that reality. As Schilling once again so astutely commented, "He's a phenomenal National League pitcher. It's hard to say this without sounding disrespectful and I don't mean it that way — the National League is an easier league to pitch in, period. And some guys aren't equipped to get those same outs in the American League, and he's one of those guys."