New York sent outfielder Melky Cabrera, left-hander Mike Dunn and Minor League right-hander Arodys Vizcaino plus cash considerations to the Braves in exchange for Vazquez and left-hander Boone Logan.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had been looking for an experienced arm to add to the rotation, and Vazquez fits the bill in terms of being affordable as the club looks to come in under $200 million in payroll for 2010. Vazquez is owed $11.5 million for 2010 in the final year of his contract.
The 33-year-old Vazquez was 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA in 32 starts for Atlanta this season, allowing 181 hits while striking out 238 and walking 44 in 219 1/3 innings and finishing fourth in voting for the National League Cy Young Award.
Since 2000, Vazquez has recorded at least 10 wins and 150 strikeouts each season, making him just the 10th pitcher in Major League history to accomplish the feat according to the Elias Sports Bureau; eight of the other nine pitchers are in the Hall of Fame.
Vazquez has thrown 198 innings or more in each of the past 10 seasons. He was an American League All-Star during his one season with the Yankees in 2004, going 14-10 with a 4.91 ERA in pinstripes before being dealt to the D-backs in January 2005 with Brad Halsey and Dioner Navarro for Randy Johnson.
The Vazquez deal will move either Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes back to the bullpen, as the Yankees have CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte already installed to head their starting rotation. Chamberlain is set to be free of innings limitations in 2010, while Hughes is subject to rules because he did not reach a 150-inning mark this year.
The 25-year-old Logan was 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA in 20 relief appearances with Atlanta after being acquired from the White Sox before the season. Logan should figure into a Yankees bullpen that has already shed right-hander Brian Bruney and left-hander Phil Coke from the World Series roster.
Cabrera, 25, was the Yankees' regular center fielder in 2009, batting .274 with a career-high 13 home runs, 68 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 154 games. The arbitration-eligible switch-hitter was the poster boy for the Yankees' walk-off victory rush in '09, collecting three such hits, and hit for his first career cycle on Aug. 2 in Chicago.
Dunn, 24, is a hard-throwing converted outfielder whom the Yankees had considered a candidate to move into a setup role at some point. The hurler had a 6.75 ERA in four September relief appearances after splitting most of his season at Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Vizcaino, 19, had a 2.13 ERA in 10 starts for Class A Staten Island this year. The Dominican Republic product was recently named the Yankees' third-best prospect by Baseball America.
By removing Cabrera from the Yankees' outfield mix, the club may be preparing to reopen negotiations with free-agent outfielder Johnny Damon, who had been one of its first choices to return as a designated hitter before it moved close to a deal with Nick Johnson.
Via his agent, Scott Boras, Damon had at one point been reportedly willing to accept a two-year contract worth approximately $20 million from the Yankees, who countered with a $14 million pact at the same length.
But by that time, the Yankees' talks had already warmed up with Johnson on a $5.5 million agreement that has yet to be officially finalized, pending the results of Johnson's physical taken on Monday.
The Yankees have shown some level of interest in free agent Mark DeRosa, a New Jersey product who offers the flexibility of playing not only the outfield but also backing up at the infield corners. Jermaine Dye has also been floated as a possibility.
Cashman has said that the club's budget for 2010 is set in concrete, and that he will not exceed it.
That would seem to make a run at a big-ticket free-agent outfielder like Jason Bay or Matt Holliday less likely, with Cashman noting last week that he is not enamored with this year's free-agent crop over the 2010-11 set.
The Yankees decided to play in a better market last year -- shelling out $423.5 million for Sabathia, Burnett and Mark Teixeira -- because they favored it and knew they would not be inclined to splash in this year's pool.
Yet Cashman, speaking at the Curtis Granderson news conference last week, would not completely close the door on a run at a player like Holliday.
"I didn't say we're not, I'm not saying we are," Cashman said. "There's always talk. That's the great thing about the Hot Stove. A lot of things get debated, and you hear a lot of different things. Some of them are more realistic than others. I'm not saying yay or nay. I'm just saying we're going to operate within this number, and that's that."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.