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2005-12-01 05:44
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

"We offered a three-year deal and were prepared to stay engaged in the negotiations, but we were told that he had decided to go to New York as a setup guy."

Braves general manager John Schuerholz on Kyle Farnsworth

Still no definitive word on the Farnsworth deal, though it appears that it is simply a matter of time now. Steve Lombardi points out that while Farnsworth may not be great, he won't be horrendous either. The Bombers are still interested in Flash Gordon too. Gordon's agent says that he's likely to make a decision in the coming days.

As for center field, it looks as if the Yankees are sticking with their Bubba for now. According to Tyler Kepner in the Times:

"Center field is not easy to fill," Cashman, the Yankees' general manager, said yesterday. "That's why I continue to say that Bubba Crosby could very well be that guy. I know he's sitting at home somewhere saying, 'I hope they don't do anything.'"

Bubba must be pleased to hear that Brian Giles has reportedly come to terms with the Padres.

Comments (58)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-12-01 06:28:58
1.   Rockbox
Alex, I'm glad that you adressed the pitching situation today, for it is the really weak point of the Yankees.

Mussina, and Johnson are shadows of their former selves, and Pavano and Wright are jokes. One can only hope that Chicon and Smalls are able to keep up what they were only able to keep up for a whole season. Wang is the only real sure bet, and if the Yanks want to make some real trades they may have to give him up.

Gordon is going to the Phillies. They have to replace Wagner, and will not only throw money at him, but also the closing role. I'm not sure who else is going to set up for Mariano?

What good is all the offense if the pitching gives up 20 runs a game?

2005-12-01 06:32:46
2.   David
Sorry to hear that Giles likely won't be signed. The Yankees need a DH who is a real hitter.
2005-12-01 06:43:08
3.   rmd0311
I'm happy with Bubba in center. I like Bubba. Hopefully we can get another halfway descent reliever and a good DH and/or RF adn we will be set. Wright I think has a good year in him, like the one he had with ATL, Pavano is a BUM (trade him), Chacon I think will bring more of the same), Wang is solid, Moose and Unit are both good for their ages, and Small will more than likely get re-assigned to long relief.
2005-12-01 07:16:02
4.   ChuckM
I can definitely see Torre trying to use Small in the old Mendoza role...
2005-12-01 07:17:01
5.   bp1
I personally like Bernie as DH. He can still be a productive hitter. Of course, as everyone warns, the big risk will be Joe using him in the field if Bubba or someone else slumps (or gets hurt). I think Bernie can still give us a .280/25/85 year, which is certainly more than we got last year.

Everyone is freaking out over the non-deals this winter. I look at it this way - the Yankees I saw in the 2nd half of last year were far better than the Yankees of the first half. IF we go into the '06 season as the 2nd half Yankees, I feel ok. We've made a couple small moves so far this winter that have only helped, both in bringin players to the club and letting others go.

Middle relief is a weak spot - but that's generally true of all ball clubs. If Bubba can vaccuum up fly balls, he makes our starting pitchers better. Give them an easier shot at three outs each inning and maybe we'll get to the 7th and 8th innings more often. I don't know if Bubba is spectacular in the field, or just average, but I think he can grow into a good fielder and a good-enough hitter.

Spend Johnny Damon money on one more arm for the bullpen, and I think we're in good shape.

BP

2005-12-01 07:57:30
6.   Alvaro Espinoza
The crowes may come home to roost in October 2006 but, so far, I like Cashman's approach. There is no perfect CF fit in the free agent market so the Yanks are passing instead of taking on yet more aged players/hamstring-inducing contracts. In the last 13 months, the Yanks have showed flashes of "born again" fiscal responsibility; some wise (passing on Giles & Damon) and some curious (passing on Beltran). At the end of the day, is there any reason not to expect the following lineup to win the division yet again:

Jeter
Arod
Shef
Giambi/Phillps
Matsui
Posada/Stinnett
Cano
Crosby

If Bubba fails fantastically, so what? That lineup is supposed to produce in spite of it. Go out and get someone else.

2005-12-01 08:09:48
7.   Ben
I agree with the last two posts. Forget about CF, the chance to sign a big name occurred last year. At this point, the Yanks payroll is only an issue in my eyes in that it increases expectations. They could afford just about whatever they want I'm sure, but I don't think that makes for a more successful team on the field.

The problem with CF is, well it's CF for the Yankeess! It's a prestige position. It'll take a lot of restraint to allow just a decent player to roam there this year. I believe it would be restraint well spent. Anyone know if Bubba is liked in the clubhouse? Is he a guy that jeter and the like will be rooting for, or shaking their heads about saying, just quit runnin' into me A-hole.

2005-12-01 08:13:38
8.   Dimelo
Ben, I'm pretty sure Bubba is liked a lot. Did you see the game in September when he hit the walk-off shot? ARod and Jeter were the one's with the biggest smile on their face.
2005-12-01 08:29:54
9.   Rich Lederer
Farnsworth undoubtedly has great stuff. I just wonder if he has the makeup to pitch well in New York, especially if things don't go his way from the outset.
2005-12-01 08:42:40
10.   Murray
Maybe they now they will stop playing that song at sports events:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4454486.stm

2005-12-01 09:18:03
11.   nycfan
You're all expecting way too much out of the current team. There is no way Bernie hits .280 or hits 25 homeruns, he is done as a productive hitter or fielder. Chacon is definitely not a sure bet given his K/BB. And how can people think Bubba is a major league quality hitter? The guy has a career OBP in the majors of .250, and last year hit .230/.306/.362 in AAA.
2005-12-01 09:37:22
12.   sabernar
I'm fine with the team if Crosby is CF most of the time. The problem is that we don't have a DH. Phillips is fine as a 1B sub for Giambi when he needs rest from the field, but the Yanks can't afford to stick a weak bat (like Bernie's) into the DH slot for 500 AB. Maybe check out Frank Thomas or someone like that. I don't know if there are really any guys out there that can fit into the classic DH role. Most guys don't like to admit that they can't field (Preston Wilson and Juan Encarnacion, while they claim to be CF, they actually really suck out there - both their Rate2's are REALLY low, but they also aren't great with the bat, either). I say, try and sign Thomas as your full time DH, knowing that he's going to be injured part of the time, then use Giambi and Phillips (or another AAAA player) until you can get a real DH.

I'm also hoping the Yanks pursue Michaels from the Phillies, but I haven't heard anything more about that since the initial buzz.

2005-12-01 09:41:41
13.   JohnnyC
Bernie as an OF in 2005: .239/.308/.342 in 389 ABs

Bernie as a DH in 2005: .294/.362/.459 in 85 ABs.

It's a small sample but it is directional.

2005-12-01 09:44:06
14.   ChrisS
Chacon can be effective, some pitchers buck the trends. Andy Pettitte was and has been tremendously effective even though he gave up a hit/inning with lowish K totals. Chacon increased his Ks since coming out of the light mountain air. I don't think it's unreasonable to think that he can come close to 2:1 K:BB this season. I have more faith in Chacon putting up a decent season than Randy Johnson or Mike Mussina.

However, I don't think that Bernie qualifies as a good major league hitter anymore. It pains me to say it, but it's true. And as cool as it must be for Bubba Crosby to be considered for the starting CF in Yankee freaking Stadium, I really don't think he's an adequate everyday player.

But, there's not much available to help. This is still a good offensive team, provided Sheff doesn't disappear. The pitching is still a guess at this point, with advanced age being a huge factor.

2005-12-01 09:48:40
15.   ChrisS
It's a small sample but it is directional.

It was distinctive last year, but not a trend. His splits for the last three years are just about equal, rate wise.

2005-12-01 09:50:55
16.   JohnnyC
A little context, of all DHs (batting as DHs only) with 300 ABs or more in 2005, only Hafner and Ortiz had a higher OPS than Bernie did as a DH (.821). If you lower the threshold to 200 ABs, only those two and Gomes, Sweeney, and Dellucci are above .821. I'm not saying give Bernie 600 ABs. But he's still useful as a part-time DH, I believe. I would not use him in the field except as alast resort though.
2005-12-01 09:56:31
17.   JohnnyC
He had 25 ABs as DH in 2002, 11 ABs as DH in 2003, 189 ABs as DH in 2004, 85 ABs as DH in 2005. You can discount 2002 and 2003 and his 189 ABs in 2004 were due to his injuries not a strategic decision by Torre. Still a small sample but 2005 is more probative.
2005-12-01 09:58:51
18.   Dimelo
Someone mentions Bernie as a possible DH then...BAM!!!....someone spits out his splits as a DH vs. outfielder. I never knew there was such a disparity. That's a good reason enough to at least warrant a consideration of using Bernie as a DH. Plus...it is Bernie!!!

I was just listening to Buster Olney on WFAN and he said something interesting about Bernie hurting Damon's chances of getting serious money because of Bernie's rapid decline. Since both players are so similar as far as defense is concerned.

2005-12-01 10:05:44
19.   murphy
i have said all this before. if bernie is gonna play a part-time (DH/4th OF) role somewhere (cos who is gonna start him? answer: no one), i would like to think we have enough respect for the guy and everything he's done ehre to give him a job. it would pain me deeply to see him end his career on another team's bench. if i thought he could get a job starting in LF somewhere next year, i prolly wouldnt let me nostalgia get the best of me, but he should retire a yankee. we should throw a few bucks in his direction and give him that option.
2005-12-01 10:20:41
20.   debris
Dimelo,

There are many indicators suggesting Damon is not a good long term investment. Personally, I'd like to see the Sox sign him for four years, two real good ones, one so-so one, one to eat in payment for all he's done for the franchise. I think the Yanks would be nuts to go more than three and, as such, I don't see him there.

On another note, a friend is telling me of a rumor of a deal involving Sheffield, Cano and Small for Willis and Castillo. I told him that I read far too much for this to have totally escaped me. Has anyone here seen anything of the sort? It's an interesting idea, though the Yanks would clearly have to pay almost all of Sheffield's contract for this to come off.

2005-12-01 10:27:13
21.   JohnnyC
I'd believe that one only if either Peter Gammons or Ken Rosenthal says it's true. They both know the guy who cleans the washroom at the IHOP near Legends Field. It's not what you know, it's who...
2005-12-01 10:27:57
22.   wsporter
http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=olney_buster

Buster Olney had this yesterday. Nomar a utility man? Wow. Its hard to believe he was spoken of with Jeter and A-Rod as the big three. It shows how fleeting this baseball life is. What if Derek's shoulder had been worse and a couple of the HBP's to his hand had left broken bones rather than bruises? It could have been him instead. Garciaparra, Veriteck and Meuller were the Red Sox I wished were Yankees, but most of all Nomi. If he can't find a job as a starter I'd take him in a heartbeat. Nomar at third, A-Rod at short and Jeter in center? I'm sure we can find something that will keep him busy in October.

Debris, I haven't seen that. I don't know that I hate it though. Although I'm not sure I like it either.

2005-12-01 10:29:24
23.   jedi
"Ben, I'm pretty sure Bubba is liked a lot. Did you see the game in September when he hit the walk-off shot? ARod and Jeter were the one's with the biggest smile on their face."

Dimelo, I think the reason why there were smiling is because Bubba did an out of the norm homerun pose ala Ken Griffey style after the hit. I think everyone got a little chuckle with that little show. It's like seeing the fat kid on your little league team steal 2nd base safely and then releasing the dirt under is belt, while after vigorously clapping his hands in appreciation of his GI Joe move.
You can't help but chuckle that he thinks he is Ricky Henderson.

As for the DH problem. Simple. Kill two birds with one stone. Sign Piazza for one year. He can be full time DH and spell Posada on off days. Cashman then can work his majic and find a replacement for 2007 for DH and Catcher without any pressure instead of rushing decisions because everyone in yankeeland wants to see moves by tomorrow.

2005-12-01 10:31:57
24.   BxSparksNYC
2 cents on that Sheff, Cano Small for Willis and Castillo -

Would love to pick up Willis - a bulldog that can anchor the rotation when Moose and Johnson finally pass out. But giving up Sheff means you have to find something anything to pick up that production...

2005-12-01 10:34:10
25.   standuptriple
I can't see how giving Bernie a token (low-ball) contract will be anything but disrespectful to him. His best years are behind him and he can't play defense anymore. Who in their right mind wants him manning LF (a power position)? KC? Plus the Yanks have plenty of DH's, they don't need a full-timer. I think the comparisions of Bernie to Damon are completely valid.
I wouldn't mind getting Nomar for a cup of coffee, but his frail body is not something I'd like to rely on.
2005-12-01 10:36:28
26.   alterity
I can't see anyone making that trade. I thought that the Marlins were rebuilding with Willis and Cabrera as the cornerstones. As good as Cano might be, he is no cornerstone-type player. Small is almost inconsequential (face it, if we get a 4.50 ERA out of him this year in 40-50 appearances we're going to be lucky). And why would they want Sheffield, who would help a contender but not a team that's rebuilding. As for the Yankees, it would be nice to have Willis. Castillo would be okay, but he's not going to be a difference maker in the right direction when we'd be giving up a major part of our offense. Also, who would play RF/DH? We already have a hole in center (JA-son Mich-aels!). Why create two holes in the outfield to essentially pick up a SP. Despite how good he is, we already have too many. If Pavano was involved in this trade rather than Sheff, maybe I could see it, except for the fact that the Marlins would be downgrading their staff seemingly without reason. If I were the Marlins, and I was thinking about trading Willis, I would at least wait until midseason and pry some really really good prospects off of someone. I bet the Mets would send Milledge over for him, especially if they're intentions to send Beson to the Orioles for middle relief help are sincere.
2005-12-01 10:44:33
27.   jedi
Still can't believe they traded Kazmir away for V. Zambrano.
2005-12-01 10:46:33
28.   Ben
That sheffield trade sounds very implausable. Good chuckle though. Guidry would have his hands full trying to sort out Willis' mechanics.
2005-12-01 10:51:43
29.   Shawn Clap
At this point, why would Florida even want Sheff? If they're clearing house, it's going to be for youth, picks and cash (like they did after the '97 win).

But...That would be sweet for the Yanks.

2005-12-01 12:07:05
30.   bp1
standuptriple,

You said the Yankees have plenty of DH's?

Who?

We let Ruben go. Tino's gone. Sheff is still in right field. Matsui is in left. A non-hitter is in center (at the moment). You really think they're gonna DH Giambi and play Phillips at 1st? That experiment won't last as long as the Melky Cabrera experiment. Giambi has a career long aversion to DH. It ain't likely gonna change.

Given today's roster - who's the DH?

Bernie might not be ideal - but he's not Ruben Sierra, either. He can still hit. There aren't many David Ortiz types available.

BP

2005-12-01 12:24:03
31.   wsporter
Cashman did a nice job in not buying into that phony Giles free agent chase. I know Bick's job was to get the combination highest dollar and best situation for Giles but he did tell some whoppers. Nice job in picking up an extra 4.5 mil for his client. I bet he burned every ounce of credibility he has around here. I'm probably pissed because I bought in. I wonder who helped Giles squeeze the Padres.

I still think we could use another warm bat in the LF/RF/DH mix. I would like us to stay away from DH types who have no position. With all due respect, I just don't see Piazza as a catcher anymore. Sierra, Bernie and Frank Thomas I think are the same deal. Anyone have any ideas?

BP1 I've seen Phillips play some, against AAA pitching, I think that kid can hit and he won't embarrass you with his glove. I think he's earned a shot.

2005-12-01 12:44:41
32.   JohnnyC
Phillips will hit left-handers and he's a good fielding first baseman. Logically, Torre will never give him more than 50 ABs in the majors. Next?
2005-12-01 13:01:16
33.   jedi
Hey JohnnyC,

What about the Colter Bean situation. heh

2005-12-01 13:08:12
34.   wsporter
JohnnyC:

How's that logical? Tongue in cheek, yes?

2005-12-01 13:27:42
35.   Dimelo
Has anyone thought about using Tony Womack as the permanent DH? He should bounce back and hit at least on dinger this year.
2005-12-01 13:36:09
36.   wsporter
We should bring Weaver back. He was that good.
2005-12-01 13:36:37
37.   Peter
#31, It's not ideal and won't help the Yanks get any younger but Reggie Sanders is a free agent. He was injured last year, so they could probably get him for less. He can provide some pop with his bat and split RF/DH with Sheff.
2005-12-01 13:49:36
38.   standuptriple
BP,
What i was saying is that they have the type of guys that will easily fill in the DH role. Sheff will get aches and pains, Giambi will need a rest, Posada and his every 5th day off etc etc. I just find it hard to believe that A) that Yanks won't make any additions and B) Bernie is the best option at DH. His approach in the playoffs was horrendous. My main problem with him is that I still see him swinging for the fences when he's a slap hitter with deteriorating speed.
2005-12-01 14:13:05
39.   wsporter
Yeah I'm thinking of guys like Jacque Jones, Preston Wilson, Juan Encarnacion and Regie Sanders. Of that group I like Encarnacion the best. In a pinch he can play all three outfield positions, the corners pretty well and he'll hit. If not, let Phillips split 1b/DH with Giambi. The only position-less DH I'd pay a dime to is Durazo and not many dimes at that.
2005-12-01 14:41:01
40.   sabernar
The problem with Encarnacion and Wilson is that Torre will end up playing them in CF, cause they have in the past. They SUCK in CF. They both have really low Rate2's (lower then Bernie's). I wouldn't mind having Jones cheap, but he's only a platoon player. Sanders would be nice - I forgot about him - he still hits well AND he is a decent fielder in RF (or LF). I'm for signing Sanders - he doesn't walk much, but he definately has some pop left. Then again, he's only good for about 120-130 games per year maximum.
2005-12-01 14:51:44
41.   standuptriple
I wouldn't mind Encarnacion or Jones (in that order).
2005-12-01 15:00:57
42.   wsporter
Don't you think the idea of signing one of those guys is that it will give us a good outfield/dh rotation so no one will get worn down by September/October (i.e. Matsui and Shefield). We can let them DH a couple of times a week and replace them in the field with a competent glove and stick. If Shef only plays 110 to 120 games in the outfield but manages to play 150 total with DH time his risk of injury decreases and hopefully his effectiveness in October will increase because in theory he'll be rested. Same with Matsui. I think Torre is smart enough to figure this out. I'm not sure he's had the players to run this kind of platoon system in years past. Or if he's had them he hasn't had the need. He did it in the infield pretty successfully in 96. Its just one way to look at it though.
2005-12-01 16:38:54
43.   strangeluck
Another good sign regarding the Damon non-signing, from the Boston Herald:

Thats why Damon's agent Scott Boras sent the Yankees a booklet entitled "New York Yankees Leadoff Analysis," a three-page statistical look at how much better the Yankees and current leadoff hitter Derek Jeter could be, if Damon were batting leadoff and Jeter went back to the No. 2 hole, where he thrived with Chuck Knoblauch hitting leadoff from 1998 through 2001. The stat pack shows that when Jeter was a No. 3 hitter from 1998 to 2001, his batting average was .331 and his on-base percentage was .398, 25 points higher respectively for each stat from 2004 to last year, when he hit leadoff.

Boras goes on to point out that in the last two years, Damon advanced from first base to scoring position an average of 172 times. Jeter did it just 115 times. And Chuck Knoblauch, the leadoff hitter from 1998-2001 while Jeter hit No. 2? He advanced an average of 151 times.
Yankees manager Brian Cashman was not initially wowed by the information.
"I cannot agree that Jeter is better hitting second rather than first, because he does both very well," Cashman said in an e-mail yesterday.

Hallelujah

2005-12-01 16:39:13
44.   strangeluck
http://redsox.bostonherald.com/redSox/view.bg?articleid=114804
2005-12-01 18:40:12
45.   singledd
BP1 - I love Bernie... was a fan when he first came up. But his last 3 years: .263, .262 and .249... with an OPS under .800, last year under .700. He hasn't hit 25 HRS since 2001.

It's OK to love the guy, and those numbers would due for a 2nd baseman or catcher, but not a DH. With our pitching, we are going to need all the offense possible!

2005-12-01 19:00:43
46.   joejoejoe
I like the idea of signing Nomar. People get injured and come back. Griffey gave the Reds almost 500 AB and a .945 OPS last season after more injuries than Evel Knieval. And part of assembling a team is entertainment. Slotting Nomar in 5 games a piece at 3B and SS and having Jeter or A-Rod DH would be great entertainment and a good rest for two key players. If Nomar can spell 20 games a piece at 2B and OF that's 50 games. Add 80 games of DH and you have 130 games and 500 AB.

04/05 Nomar 551 AB .298/.346/.466

Maybe you catch lighting in a bottle and the internal competition between the 3 SSs pushes all of them to elite seasons. What is the market for Nomar? 2yrs/15M? That's not bad and it sure would be fun.

2005-12-01 19:07:49
47.   brockdc
Signing Jones would be a decent idea, I agree. It's already been said, but you could stick him at DH and in the OF corner rotation to keep Matsui and Sheffield fresh and he's an okay bat.
2005-12-01 19:10:43
48.   brockdc
JoeJoeJoe,

I agree it would be fun, but for 7.5 mil a year, I'd prefer another bullpen arm or outfield/DH bat.

2005-12-01 20:09:57
49.   yankee23
I don't know if anyone's gonna read this, but "noooooooooo!":

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/5131914

2005-12-01 20:49:27
50.   wsporter
Exactly when the hell are we going to sign Farnsworth anyway? Lots of people are claiming its been done without confirmation from the folks who count, very responsible stuff. Gordon is gone, this could be very bad.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-12-01 20:50:34
51.   kdw
espn is reporting same, plus that rangers have been told they are in the running for farnsworth, who wanted gordon to sign first in order to increase potential value as one of few remaining options......
2005-12-01 20:53:07
52.   Rich
http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-spyanks1202,0,4317625.story?coll=ny-sports-headlines

[...]

The Yankees believe they are only "micro-meters" away from reaching an agreement with the hard-throwing reliever on a three-year deal worth more than $17 million, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

2005-12-01 21:03:03
53.   yankee23
Just read this note in the ESPN report about Farnsworth and the Rangers:

The Yankees held a lengthy internal conference call, with team president Randy Levine and general manager Brian Cashman in New York and Florida-based officials participating from Tampa. The Florida group was believed to have included owner George Steinbrenner along with top aides Mark Newman, Billy Connors, Damon Oppenheimer and Bill Emslie.

I haven't really been keeping up on things and I realize this is just the rumored group, but is Gene Michaels totally out of the consulting picture?

2005-12-01 23:51:06
54.   brockdc
Seriously, though: How long will this season be with Sturtz setting up for Rivera?

I swear, if Mo throws 120 innings this year I'm gonna be pissed.

2005-12-02 02:23:16
55.   debris
The Yanks can probably get Urbina for $5 M per year over three years, plus $2 M for bail, making him no more expensive than Farnsworth and only slightly less stable.
2005-12-02 04:43:39
56.   debris
The Hartford Courant is reporting this morning that the Farnsworth talks have hit a snag. Two possible reasons:

1. Farnsworth might have received a better offer from Texas.
2. The Yanks are holding off on the signing until after December 7, the arbitration date. If the Yanks sign him now, they lose their first round pick in June. If they wait until after December 7 AND Atlanta does not offer arbitration, they do not.

2005-12-02 07:45:53
57.   pistolpete
I find it incredibly funny and ironic that for once in the last 5 seasons, the Yankees are playing it cool in the offseason, and now all of a sudden there's something seriously 'wrong' with the team.

I guess everyone expects (and wants) George to step in and make a bunch of silly, impulsive signings so they can all continue to mock the $200 million team.

$160 mil, here we come!!!! ;>)

BTW, I vote for Bubba in center - not that much worse than Pierre offensively, and I definitely subscribe to the theory that with the long history of the Yankees CF position, there is a HUGE amount of pressure to get someone who can hit, cover a lot of ground and have a cannon for an arm as well. Sometimes you don't need all that in one player - a balanced team will win more games than a 'Murderer's Row' lineup who can't field...

2005-12-03 04:26:06
58.   Toxteth OGrady
#10
"Maybe they now they will stop playing that song at sports events:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4454486.stm "

Surprised it's taken so long, he was done here back in '99

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