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Mr. Torre is on the Line
2005-11-17 05:26
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Whether or not it is a long shot, the Yankees appear to be serious about the possibility of bringing Brian Giles to the Bronx. Brian Cashman has spoken with Giles' agent six times in the past ten days, and Joe Torre has even picked up the phone, as he did with Mike Mussina and Jason Giambi in the past, to brief Giles on what it is like to play in New York. According to The Daily News:

"In those situations, I just want to talk to (players) about what it's like to come to New York," Torre said, speaking generally about his approach to these types of conversations. "It's not that complex. I remember when I did it with (Mike) Mussina, who people said he wouldn't want to come here. I just want to give them an idea of what's true about playing here and what's not."

Meanwhile, Michael Morrisey reports in the Post that Cashman spoke with Bernie Williams' agent, Scott Boras briefly on Tuesday:

"I told him, it's for another day," Cashman said. "In the event there's a role here for Bernie, it would be a secondary role, not an everyday situation.

"And how we approach that every winter is that doesn't get pushed up front. We deal with that after we tackle the other areas: our bullpen, if we can upgrade center field.

"That's all I can say. We haven't had any negotiations with Bernie at this point."

I like Bernie so much that I would be happy to see him return in Ruben Sierra's role. But as several fans have pointed out recently, Williams on the bench makes them nervous, mostly because they feel that Torre--who loves his veterans--would wind up giving Williams far more burn than he deserves.

Lastly, Matt Smith, a left-handed pitcher in the Yankee system has been discussed as a possible addition to the major league bullpen next season.

Comments
2005-11-17 06:18:22
1.   Rich Lederer
I actually think Bernie would be a good fit for the Yankees in the Ruben Sierra role. A switch-hitting PH is valuable. He could also DH and even play 1B or LF if, and when, players need a rest or get injured. I just think it's all about managing expectations on both sides. The more time that passes, the better off the situation will be.
2005-11-17 07:07:43
2.   Rob Gee
Honestly, Bernie is a terrible idea for the reason others have stated. Torre is an addict, and he'll scratch that "trusted veteran" itch over Bubba. Recall all the statements this Aug/Sept about "Bernie's time of year." What happened? Bubba didn't get regular playing time until it was too late and we know what happened in Game 5.

Instead, call me crazy, but I would love to see Milton Bradley in the mix. He's young (27 - Bubba's 29), cheap (arbit elig. but 2004 = 2.5mil), switch-hitter, and CRAZY. Yup, we need someone who's got the fire, even if it's psychotic. It's worth the minor risk. He's not so strong a personality as to ruin that clubhouse with guys like Shef, Jeter, and Randy around. Instead, he might just throw some passion into the mix. Ever since the A-Rod/Varitek mix-up, it has seemed like the Yanks have gone too corporate and sedate. I want someone to charge the mound and light a fire under their butts. Why not send Eric Duncan and another prospect their way? Worst case scenario: Bubba is the back-up. Best case: we got a legit outfield/DH rotation (Godzilla, Shef, (Giles), and Bradely) and got younger to boot.

2005-11-17 07:23:08
3.   tom yf
I'm torn on Bernie. I agree that he might be useful as a bench player at the plate, but I also like the idea of having another guy who could play a corner outfield position if necessary (I'm assuming the adjustment wouldn't be insane for Bernie, and I think that's where he should have been for about three years now). He doesn't help us get any younger, and I don't want the yanks to give away some sucky loyalty contract, even though I love BW to death. It's probably just time for him to go.

In other news: considering Andy Phillips, Bubba Crosby, and Matt Smith for the big club? I know not the team for which I root!

2005-11-17 08:00:08
4.   Ben
I'm all torn up about Bernie, he's my favorite to zone in on during a game. But he just doesn't seem like a rah-rah bench type player. Do not go gently into that good night Bernie, sell your wares elsewhere and be yourself.
2005-11-17 08:00:39
5.   Cliff Corcoran
Matt Smith but not Colter Bean or Jason Anderson? What the frig? Smith's walk rates are very troubling. Anderson is the same age and has a far superior minor league track record. I'm just sayin' . . .
2005-11-17 08:07:35
6.   BxSparksNYC
With all the papers talking Manny to the Mets for the blue chipper OF kid Lastings Milledge, I wonder if Cash would be savy enough to sign Giles and trade Sheff to the Mets for the kid to play CF and say one of their arms (Heilman?)....Just a thought.
2005-11-17 09:05:05
7.   jedi
Now we are talking...

Anyone else dare to be creative? There's got to be more CF solutions than the usual talk of Giles and Crosby.

2005-11-17 09:47:54
8.   Alex Belth
Hate to be a killjoy but Steven Goldman reports that Buster Olney predicted that Endy Chavez will be playing center for the Yanks next year (http://www.yesnetwork.com/yankees/pinstripedblog.asp). Yikes.
2005-11-17 09:51:14
9.   Rob Gee
MIL-ton BRAD-ley, MIL-ton, BRAD-ley.

Young
Cheap
and
CRAZY

Give me the fire of a crazy man! Ours is not a fragile clubhouse that he can ruin. Let's get some CRAZY passion.

2005-11-17 09:51:34
10.   murphy
first: bernie. bernie will do no better than a fourth OF job anywhere in baseball. so if he is going to play part-time, he may as well do it here. i imagine we could get him for a hometown discount and it only seems like the gentelmanly thing to do to make him a decent offer. besides, if he retires as anything other than a yankee, i feel like the success of his glory days during the late 90's yankees dynasty will be somehow diminished in fans' (yankees and alike) minds.

second: why in the hell does ESPN insider have it that the yanks are talking to scott dumbass about damon?!!?!?

third: sign giles (3 years), play him in RF, DH sheff, let sheff walk next year, sign a great FA CF next winter. with the kind of firepower we would have like giles, all we would need is a solid CF with some speed (bubba) with a smidgen more plate discipline.

2005-11-17 10:41:18
11.   mhmitch
Murphy's strategy with Giles in right and Sheff as DH is very appealing. If Milton Bradley as CF is too scary, and Bernie Williams as 4th OF is too tempting for Joe, how about complementing Bubba in CF with Eric Byrnes? If the Orioles non-tender him, he could come fairly cheap. He's coming off a poor season, but he hits lefties well, can play all 3 outfield positions, has excellent speed, and gives Rob Gee the passion he's looking for. I believe his OF defense is somewhat erratic ranging from the spectacular to the awful, but I think his upside is intriguing. Plus, unlike Milton Bradley, his teammates seem to like the guy.
2005-11-17 10:50:42
12.   wsporter
Milton Bradley? Well jeez if its CRAZY we need why not get Dennis Rodman. His OBP would be at least as good as Bradley's and God knows he's way funnier. He did look CHEAP in that wedding dress, so we'd have that going for us too. Hell, 2 out of 3 ain't bad. Plus he'd kind of be a creature for the creatures.
DEN-is ROD-man.
2005-11-17 11:25:36
13.   pistolpete
Murphy touches on something I've been thinking about too - if the Yanks can't get anyone on the open market this offseason, just wait.

After a year like the one we just had, I've personally become more patient as a fan with rookies and whatnot, and I'd really like to see what Crosby could do for a year without any distractions. Bring up some other young'ins from the farm and plug them in too.

In no way did Melky get a fair shot last year - how does ANYONE perform when they're plopped into CF in the middle of a season-long dogfight for the AL East, with one of his first games in the most hostile of hostile territories - Fenway Park?

2005-11-17 11:40:29
14.   Rob Gee
Let's not be stupid. Rodman can't play CF and certainly not with a wedding dress on!

Seriously, in terms of cost/benefit Bradley gives a solid CF presence and an upgrade from Bubba offensively and he's younger! Now Joe has been known to tame wild creatures before or he'll get shipped out. Plus, I remember Bradley a) having trouble with the law (doesn't break new ground there as a Yankee) and; b) having trouble with Jeff Kent (also doesn't break new ground). If you really want use Rodman as an example, talk about how he came to play (5 titles!) when it mattered because he was surround by a team culture and superstars that demanded it. It's much more common for guys with those egos to put them in check when they're surrounded by beter players than when they're not. And you give Bradley a chance to win, and when teams are winning you rarely hear stuff. Finally, I want a player to charge the mound every now and again, and run over some people at second base. When's the last time a Yankee did either?

My point: it's worth a try especially if it meant a rotation with Giles, Matsui, Shef, and him in the OF and DH slots. MIL-ton BRAD-ley, MIL-ton BRAD-ley...Let's get MEAN and CRAZY!

2005-11-17 11:43:04
15.   vockins
I willing to put money on Milton Bradley shooting someone in the press corps if he came to New York.

http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/articles/1705006.html

No thanks.

2005-11-17 12:04:27
16.   Rob Gee
Beats his pregnant wife??? Not that's the kind of guy we need. No more timid walks to 1st after Timlin plunks somebody. The man's got a bat in his hand! I'm sick of us acting like bitches - shoot Shef gets punched in Fenway and he walks away!? What happened to him?

We need - MIL-ton BRAD-ley, MIL-ton BRAD-ley

Crazy is as Crazy does. If all hell breaks loose then you get rid of him. The positives (Young, Cheap, Talented, Crazy) far outweight the negatives (Crazy). Crazy will help, Crazy will hurt. But cross that out and cary the one, and you're left with good times all around esp. a great OF/DH rotation and an injection of some energy. Seriously, where have the ghosts of Munson and Pinella gone?

2005-11-17 12:36:58
17.   Shawn Clap
Milton Bradley? Ugh. This guy sounds like the ghost of Luis Polonia.

But I guess there's an upside. The NY press will be so busy writing about his off-field antics, that they'll never get around to reporting that he's just not any good. Never really has been either.

2005-11-17 13:44:49
18.   randym77
I'm not sure we need someone that crazy. If we wanted a headcase, we could have kept Raul Mondesi. :-/
2005-11-17 13:53:06
19.   wsporter
This might be a better way for Mr. M. Bradley Esquire to help us out: let Boston pick him up and benefit from all that wacky insanity. Golly gee he could be another Carl Everett for them, just without all that annoying talent.
2005-11-17 14:23:29
20.   Rob Gee
Lots of haters -

Shawn Clap:
What!? He's not the second coming of Mantle but he'll get the job d-u-n. Check the stats yourself:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/stats?playerId=4245

And keep in mind he was hurt offensively playing at Dodger Stadium. Check the home/road splits (.799/ .861 OPS).

randym77:
Mondesi was BAD, he wasn't crazy. Lazy is more like it.

wsporter:
Actually, I don't think you want that. Big Papsmear would put MB in line. Egos are tamed by better players. Everett - he just won a World Championship. One more thing that quells egos - winning.

Bottomline: the potential benefits of MIL-ton fall outweighs any cost (Young, Cheap, and Talented, + CRAZY). This team is too damn passive and MIL-ton is too good to pass up for Duncan and another mid-level prospect.

2005-11-17 15:44:30
21.   Zack
Rob Gee, I hope you are joking about trading Duncan for Bradley. In no way shape or form should we do that. It is a far better plan to wait another year if we can't do better than him.

And by the way, any updates on if Duncan is shifting positions and if so, how its going?

Maybe a better option for our bullpen is to just stock it with former starters a la Sturtze and this kid they are talking about. That way, when the inevitable happens and Torre starts to horribly mismanage and overwork the bullpen, at least they will have starter arms...

2005-11-17 15:49:29
22.   Simone
I second Milton Bradley for center. He is a solid young player whose natural position is centerfield. He would be fine in the Yankee clubhouse. There would be no one to pick on him or antagonize him.

Jeter could be a role model for him. Jeter just needs to take Bradley out as his wing man for a night out on the town and Bradley will fall into line immediately.

2005-11-17 16:20:54
23.   strangeluck
Cliff,

I think its fairly obvious why Matt Smith instead of Colter Bean or Jason Anderson. His main qualification can be summed up in three letters LHP. The only excellent left handed relief out there is BJ Ryan, who would obviously be wasted as a lefty specialist. The value of a mediocre lefty specialist is debatable, but if you're going to have one, you might as well take the one making league minimum. A couple of more relevent questions are why Smith instead of Sean Henn? (I guess they don't want to give up on him as a starter?); and, of course, why god, why Tanyon Sturtze instead of Bean or Anderson? (I guess they just like torturing me?)

2005-11-17 17:08:23
24.   wsporter
You guys are right, Milton's really Willie Mays with lousy impulse control. What were those crazy Cardinals in Rome thinking about anyway? German Pope my eye. What a waste of good white smoke. They could have had Milton Bradley. Maybe Saint Francis could turn him around if Milton plays his wing man for a night out in Vatican City. Just a couple of crazy kids looking for fun in all the right places. Its really a shame, guess the College of Cardinals doesn't subscribe to Baseball America, they could have had a real keeper there. Well their loss is the pharmaceutical industry's gain.
2005-11-17 17:34:44
25.   Rob Gee
Hold on Zack, what makes you think that Duncan has a place on the team? Where are you going to play him? The only value a prospect without a position has is trade bait. Last I looked we had a glaring hole in CF and the Dodgers had a glaring hole at 3B. Now I'm not too bright, but two holes and two studs (cue kinky music) means we've got a love, ur, trade connection. Now we can debate all the better trade possibilities, but I already have and this is the one. MIL-ton = Young, Cheap, Talented.

Ordinarily, others would be advocating acquiring him without hesitiation. Except for the teensy fact that he's certifiably nuts. Now, I think that's a good thing for this team (recall all the bitch slaps over the past few years). I want a little craziness, in the intense, pregnant wife-beating, kind of way. Who else on this team provides it? He wouldn't damage that clubhouse. He would thrive (thanks Simone for the back!) with the superstars around him and the constant winning.

BTW: I lived in Pittsburgh for a few years and word then was that Giles got shipped out because he was a crappy teammate. Do you not sign him because of it? As my grandmother says - Healll noo. If malcontents produce and we win, everybody's happy, including them.

2005-11-17 17:47:34
26.   Rob Gee
wsporter -

Poo, poo, all you want but you'll be better served by the platter at a good Chinese restaurant near you.

Look, MIL-ton BRAD-ley is the best option to be had. Young (27), Cheap (2.5 mil with a raise in arbit), and Talented (look up the numbers). Now of course he's CRAZY. But am I the only one that thinks that's a good thing for this team?

2005-11-17 19:07:22
27.   Zavo
The fact that Damon's name is even being mentioned as an option is making me very nervous. Hopefully the Yanks are just pretending to be interested and driving up the cost for the Sox because if he is patrolling CF for the pinstripes next year I will be EXTREMELY disapointed.

If that is the type of GM Cashman is going to be when he has the control then I want someone else.

2005-11-17 19:14:00
28.   brockdc
Rob Gee,

Bradley's OPS is fairly mundane, though I agree that he has some upside.

Still, I think you're confusing a Ty Cobb/Dick Butkus I will fuck you up two times and giggle at your crippled carcass hyper-intensity type of crazy with Milton Bradley's stammer out into CF in front of a packed stadium wearing nothing but stirrup socks and a jock strap - while mumbling "So tired, so tired..." type of crazy.

Tempting, but no thanks.

2005-11-17 20:05:05
29.   Rob Gee
Whoa, MB is a bit better than mundane, not extraordinary, more like above average. Top 5 CF, no. Top 10, perhaps. But certainly top half.

Now, all I'm saying is for the cost, upside, age, and availability, he's our man. That doesn't change the fact he's ooglie-googlie. But in our clubhouse he'll be fine. And he is a mound-charger - definitely. In fact, that what has me hyping him. When was the last time a Yank charged anyone? He adds an element the roster lacks. And frankly I'm sick and tired of the staid corporate attitude.

2005-11-17 20:10:09
30.   strangeluck
Rob, I think you're misreading the Dodgers' situation. Their hole is for a major league third baseman, while Duncan is a AA third baseman. The Dodgers already have two very good AA third basemen in Andy LaRoche and Joel Guzman, so I can hardly see them giving up Bradley for a third one.
2005-11-17 20:36:21
31.   Rob Gee
Even still, strangeluck, MB can be had cheaply (1 high-level or 2 mid-level prospects) as the LAD are expected to non-tender him in Dec. which would make him a free-agent. Rather than have to bid on the open market, and thus driving up his price and years, the time is now.
2005-11-17 21:10:48
32.   brockdc
Bradley, Damon, Rowland, Giles, et.al. Just wait a friggin minute - see, this type of crap happens every off-season. What happened to shoring up the bullpen and letting Bubba man CF until the big free agent crop in '07?

Having Bubba over Bradley/Giles in CF won't be the reason we miss the W.S. in 2006, I can tell you that much. It's going to be the lack of bullpen depth that will have yet again failed to be addressed sufficiently that will prevent this team from getting another ring.

2005-11-18 03:56:27
33.   randym77
MB's charging the mound doesn't concern me too much. But I fear he's more likely to charge the umpire, the fans, or his own teammates. Doesn't matter how good he is if he's suspended or in jail.

I'd rather give Bubba a chance.

2005-11-18 08:03:54
34.   Zack
Rob,
its a simple matter that Duncan is one of our top three prospects, and trading him straight up for Bradley isn't a good trade...for us. A guy with a .261 career average, which is aided by his one season of hitting over .300, his highest by a lot. An OBP of .350 isn't all THAT bad, except that hes only got 54 HR and 54 SBs. He can't stay healthy (never played a full season), and doesn't have enough pop or speed to justify his insanity. A guy who beats his pregnant wife, attacks fans, and brings that kind of distraction to the team better have TO like skills or all he is doing is making life difficult for Joe.

While Duncan has no place at 3B, I remember them talking about moving him to 1B, where we have a hole. And even if we do trade him, it should be for a younger, up and coming player, not a guy like Bradley, who, while not too old, hasn't shown enough to warrent trading for.

2005-11-18 09:03:57
35.   Rob Gee
brockdc -
The TO comparison is again apt. Here's another ego that was placated by winning, even this season, and worked to get back for the Superbowl - why? - to win. Rodman was the same way. If we don't win, you get rid of him, it certainly won't be MB's fault. But he'll help us to win, moreso than any other option out there, esp. for the cost (1 prospect and 3 mil). And if our clubhouse is so fragile to let MB (not a superstar like TO) run wild, again we have more problems than just MB.

Zack-

Even if Duncan were shifted to 1B, and got the back-up role (a big if with Phillips and Vento and etc. in the organization), he'd still be a very part-time player, and for a few seasons at that. Again, I'm not too bright but "a maybe back-up 1B" for a "solid, above average, young CF" seems like a great deal to me. The only reason Bradley is even on the market is because he's bonkers. My point is we should be willing to take that risk for a) the cost (dollars and prospect); b) the need; and c) the TUP.

Now the numbers:
He's 27 - two years younger than Bubba. His first regular playing time (100 games), at the age of 25, had a .922 OPS in Cleveland. Traded to LAD in 2004, his numbers drop because he plays in an extreme pitcher's park (splits = .740 OPS home/.823 away). Yeah, last year he got hurt, BUT he had 13 HRs in 283 AB and home/road split (.799 OPS/ .861 away) shows marked IMPROVEMENT in line with TUP.

Nothing says just cause we get him , all hell breaks free. Bubba is still our insurance (i.e. as Torre says - a guy that catches fly balls). If MB gets hurt, you play Bubba. If he spanks an umpire, you play Bubba. If he makes videos of Shef and his wife, and trys to use them for blackmail, you play Bubba. The fact is we have little use for Duncan except as trade bait, and Bradley is worth the risk. 3rd grade math: (Cheap + Young + Talented + Crazy) - Crazy = Cheap and Young and Talented.

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