The Yankees came to terms yesterday with free agent relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth to a three-year deal worth $17 million. Farnsworth is much younger than Flash Gordon, but, as Tyler Kepner reports in the New York Times, there are questions about the young gun's mental and emotional make-up:
In his conference call with reporters yesterday, Farnsworth was asked how he knew he would be able to adapt to the intense environment of New York. He answered candidly.
"I really don't know," Farnsworth said. "That's another reason why I wanted to come to New York and really test how good I really am. I think I did good enough last year to be able to pitch anywhere."
The Yankees have stated that Bubba Crosby will be the starting center fielder in 2006, but quite frankly, that's just hard to believe. Steve Lombardi takes a look at the possibilities. Perhaps there will be some movement this coming week in Dallas at the Winter Meetings.
It should come as no surprise that our pal Steven Goldman is wary of Florida's diminutive center fielder, Juan Pierre. Over at the Pinstriped Blog, Goldman opines:
Pierre is not a great player. Last season he was not even a good player. He has no power. Neifi Perez has a higher career slugging percentage. Luis Rivas has a higher career slugging percentage. Deivi Cruz. Scott Bloody Podsednik. He is, EMPHATICALLY, not a better leadoff man than Derek Jeter. Yes, he steals more bases. He also gets caught quite frequently, and doesn't get on base very often. Thought a .305 career hitter, he doesn't walk. He ranks 89th among active players in OBP (Jeter is 21st). He is also not a good outfielder. Baseball Prospectus has him as six runs below average in 2005, 11 runs below average in 2004, 14 runs below average in 2003.
The Yankees got nothing from their center fielders last year. As such, almost anyone would be an improvement. Unless Pierre hits .330, which he has never done, not even in Colorado, he will not help the situation dramatically. If the Yankees make him their leadoff hitter and give him over 700 plate appearances, he will actually hurt the team.
There is no logical reason, no matter how fast a player is, to give him over 10 percent of the team's offensive playing time when he will never hit a home run and get on base at, at best, an average rate. Further, let us throw down this gauntlet: any sportswriter reporter or columnist who writes that the acquisition of Pierre would give the Yankees the "pure leadoff hitter" they have been missing is guilty of dereliction of duty and of disseminating misinformation to the public.