Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Minor Changes
2008-06-30 09:38
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

According to reports, outfielder Brett Gardner has been called-up to the majors.  David Robertson made his debut yesterday, allowing a run. He didn't have command of his curve ball but the heater looked lively.

According to Buster Olney:
I don't know what's wrong with Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui, but it would not be a surprise if he has a serious ligament issue. If this was a minor cleanup situation, the Yankees could keep Matsui out now and have him back sometime in August, but that is not how the Yankees are handling this. If Matsui is seriously injured and eventually requires season-ending surgery, it figures the Yankees will be poking around and looking for an outfielder -- or a first baseman.

With Godzilla on the shelf for who knows how long, there has been talk of Barry Bonds.  The fellas over at No Maas are all for it.  What do you think?  I don't imagine that it'll happen but it'd sure keep us busy with banter, man.

2008-06-30 09:52:37
1.   williamnyy23
If the goal is simply to win this year, you sign Barry Bonds and hope for the best. Because he wont go to the minors, you could try to sign him to a deal that could be voided after a set period if he appears unprepared to play.
2008-06-30 09:59:41
2.   monkeypants
Even if the goal is to win next year and beyond, you just sign Bonds, assuming no other considerations. But I do think that there are other considerations.
2008-06-30 10:15:35
3.   Shaun P
2 What are those other considerations?

If Matsui's on the shelf for a while, the Yanks should sign Bonds and be done.

2008-06-30 10:29:23
4.   ChrisS
In addition to my posts in the previous thread (I figured additional Gardner discussion belonged here), I think Gardner should be the starting CF. I'm one of the last of the Melky defenders, but he's just not getting it done with the bat. I don't think Gardner will be much better, but he's earned the shot, IMO.

If Matsui is out for the year, I think Bonds is an excellent replacement. If it were any other team that signed Barold J. Bonds, I don't think there'd a whole lot of hoopla. But if the Yankees sign him, it'll be weeks of the worst sportswriting you've seen condemning them for the heinous act.

And God forbid they make the postseason with Bonds at DH.

2008-06-30 10:42:57
5.   monkeypants
3 I'm not saying these are my considerations, but I have to think that the steroid haze is making teams gun shy. For all we know players in the clubhouse have expressed opposition to the idea. Signing Clemens last year not only did not produce much by way of results, but the Yankees looked silly, especially after the media circus they helped create. Frankly, I think Cashman is embarrassed by the Clemens deal. One cannot discount such personal factors. Also, Clemens name then pops up in association with PEDs. Overall, I think that teams in general, but the Yankees in particular want to avoid that kind of press.
2008-06-30 10:49:56
6.   Shaun P
5 I think those are all fair points, and I understand where you are coming from.

But I'd still sign him, and deal with whatever crap develops. As long as he hits and helps the Yanks win, nothing else matters to me. I'd bet most, if not all, of the guys on the team feel the same way.

2008-06-30 10:50:04
7.   cult of basebaal
what about seeing what the padres would want for brian giles? given rumblings out of padre-land, it looks like they're going to be having a dump-a-thon.

unfortunately, i think our cupboard is pretty damn bare of prospects that the padres would want (right now)((and that we can afford to give up)). i hate being a couple years away with the farm system (especially the hitters).

2008-06-30 10:51:57
8.   tommyl
I'm torn on the Bonds idea. On the one hand I think he's a despicable human being who I don't want on my team. On the other hand, I picture a lineup that looks like this:


and I sort of salivate a little. Still, I think I'd rather not have him, but its not an easy call.

2008-06-30 10:53:43
9.   Rob Middletown CT
Sign him.
2008-06-30 10:55:44
10.   monkeypants
6 "As long as he hits and helps the Yanks win, nothing else matters to me."

As I said, if it is only about winning, given the Yankees' injuries, lack of position depth in MiL, and financial resources, they sign him no doubt. But obviously other factors are coming into play and shaping Cashman's (et al) decisions.

2008-06-30 10:57:33
11.   tommyl
Another factor is how long Bonds would take to be ready. If he needs a month in extended spring training and the minors then will he be ready before Matsui comes back? Its not like if we sign him this morning he's ready to be in the lineup tonight. He hasn't hit a live baseball in almost a full year.
2008-06-30 11:00:33
12.   monkeypants
6 "As long as he hits and helps the Yanks win, nothing else matters to me."

Part Two--

I know what you mean, and here I will be a little facetious, but I am not sure that I would go so far as "nothing else matters." There are no limits? As long as a player helps the team it doesn't matter if he beats his wife or is an open and active member of the KKK or whatever?

Hey, I have no problem with someone arguing that Bonds didn't do anything wrong, or that nothing was ever proven, or that what he did was wrong but not so bad, etc. But I do think that there are limits, and non-performance factors should sometimes make a difference in personnel decisions. It's a little irresponsible, in my opinion, to say nothing else matters so long as the YAnkees win.

2008-06-30 11:13:09
13.   Shaun P
12 Fair enough, and of course I wouldn't take it so far as to say, "Hey, that Hitler guy has a great curveball", or anything that crazy. Of course there's a limit.

But I did say that a little carelessly, so let me refine my statement.

I think Bonds has done nothing so horrible that he should never be on a baseball field again, or that the Yanks should avoid signing him. His past and current issues do not matter to me, as long as he helps the Yanks win.

If does something I find reprehensible, I reserve the right to change my opinion. For now, get that man some pinstripes.

2008-06-30 11:15:39
14.   tommyl
13 I hear Stalin had a hell of a changeup though.
2008-06-30 11:23:01
15.   Just fair
The thought of Bonds smiling and joking in the Yankee dugout with the current guys makes me nauseous. The assumption I get is that he would throw on a uniform and begin launching balls into the seats immediately. I just don't see it. Who's to say he'd be better than the current options. Maybe he's regressed to a left hand version of Duncan. I know that's a ridiculous comparison but the Bonds discussion fires me up. Stay away, Barry. Stay far away.
2008-06-30 11:23:38
16.   Sliced Bread
[13-14] Hey, we got Moose-olini going tonight.
2008-06-30 11:26:03
17.   monkeypants
15 Does Bonds actually smile and joke around with teammates?
2008-06-30 11:26:19
18.   tommyl
16 Zing!
2008-06-30 11:29:36
19.   mehmattski
I expect anyone who doesn't want Bonds to immediately start booing Jason Giambi. He was on the cover of Game of Shadows too, you know.

Everyone already hates the Yankees, and most of those people never will like them, unless they go 90 years without a title. This will do nothing to the public perception.

15 Barry Bonds hit .276/.480/.565 in 340 at bats last year. There is no evidence whatsoever to support your belief that he's become a left-handed Shelley Duncan. Of course he would need some kind of jaunt through the minors, which I'm sure the ticket takers in Staten Island, Trenton, and Scranton would love. If he signed today, he could be hitting balls over the short porch at Yankee Stadium by the end of July.

2008-06-30 11:31:06
20.   Just fair
17 That's my pie in the sky optimistic thought that he'd be on his best behavior and try to fit in if he were indeed signed, (BLEH!)
2008-06-30 11:40:27
21.   Just fair
19 That I understand. But there is also no evidence that at the age of 43 and not having swung a bat vs. major league pitching in @10 months, that he would be able to step in right away and duplicate those numbers. I don't believe in the "do anything to win" philosophy. I equate signing Bonds to a "selling of the soul." That's just my opinion.
I am willing to suffer through an Octoberless Yankee season.
2008-06-30 11:44:30
22.   vockins
Bonds in Yankee Stadium would be sofa king great.

Jesus H., A-Rod to Bonds, that's completely bonkers.

2008-06-30 11:46:32
23.   monkeypants
19 At the risk of opening up this can of worms, Giambi already did his public confession and penance--he (sort of)( apologized, and he suffered through injuries that (rightly or not) were associated with his steroid use. He was booed. And in the end, he will be a historical footnote--the steroid era's Don Mattingly, a very good player and winner of an MVP, but no record holder or HOFer.

Bonds OTOH has the appearance of someone who has flouted criticism, etc. He seems to have no remorse or contrition, he has not gone through (probably staged and possibly disingenuous) public apologia. Worst of all, he appears to have been rewarded for his behavior: possessing two of the most coveted records in sports and non-stop coverage of every AB as his inevitable march through the record book unfolded. Plus, Bonds has the appearance (rightly or wrongly) of being a very unpleasant individual.

The two cases are comparable, but only so far.

That said, there is little doubt that he would suddenly turn into Shelley Duncan. I do wonder, though, at what point age takes its inevitable toll. How long is needed to come back from basically a year away from the game?

2008-06-30 12:10:51
24.   horace-clarke-era
BB is a hugely complex matter, and I think being absolutist either way only trivializes the complexity.

I don't think 'contrition' is all that important, and the comparison to Giambi's semi-penance misses the bigger issue (to my mind): the likely VERY large number of players who have never been named or caught who are playing right now. If being clean going forward is the test for all the others, then absent failing a different kind of test, Bonds has a right to play the game, and locking him out IS close to collusion (or actual collusion).

Being the best steroid user is hardly grounds for being the only one kept from the game.

On the other hand I am aware that that last statement means someone could or should go after Roger, and I wince in pain at the idea. I have also not thought through the implications of formal perjury charges here (have any of us?). Innocent till proven guilty, and dreadfully wrong to CUT a player for that, but to go ahead and SIGN him ...? To willingly take on that mess? Isn't that different?

And turning to a completely different issue, the man is 43+, his long career excellence was manifestly shaped by drug use, and he's a full year from swinging a bat. There is more than a whiff of desperation + hope for magic in taking on the media firestorm in the light of this.

It certainly does not 'make me nauseous' and I find the statement remarkable because it ignores all the evidence of steroids permeating the game. I could even manage to make a case that letting the man play the game is a 'good' thing because it refuses to allow the sport to single out one demon and hide behind banning him.

2008-06-30 12:19:01
25.   horace-clarke-era
I'm still thinking (kills a day). Sorry for a double post. I read the NoMass link.

Boy oh boy, you know if the man's agent has contacted every team and he is willing to play for the league minimum (or for free, donating his salary) then it is awfully hard not to flat-out conclude this is illegal collusion by the sport, locking one person out for the sins of possibly hundreds.

But I also draw the line at unsightly salivation ... he's 44 this month and will have to play clean on a body that had as many aches and pains as Giambi's.

2008-06-30 12:20:02
26.   monkeypants
24 Well said.

My point about "contrition" relates only to a prior post saying that if BB is booed, then so must Giambi. I disagree with this statement, because I do not think that the two cases are equivalent (or perhaps better, "equivalent enough," since in complex topics such as these two comparable cases are rarely exactly the same).

Thus, with regards to contrition, I do believe that people accept Giambi's apology (such as it was) and the penalties that he has suffered (such as they were) as payment enough for his transgressions, and those same people do not feel that BB has made even these token gestures to warrant "forgiveness". As such, they boo one but nbot the other. I am not convinced this is an unreasonable position to take.

2008-06-30 12:26:00
27.   Rob Middletown CT
19 Well said.

As for the rest... this team employs Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte. It has employed many other known users, from Clemens to Grimsley. It no doubt employs/has employed other unknown users.

The "our team is clean" ship sailed a long time ago.

2008-06-30 12:26:19
28.   monkeypants
25 "...then it is awfully hard not to flat-out conclude this is illegal collusion by the sport..."

Why? i do not follow your logic. The fact that he is willing to play for the minimum only betrays his own desperation, surely the outcome of a lack of interest on the part of potential employees. All this "proves" is that there is no interest in him, not that this lack of interest is collusion (a secret agreement between the owners of the clubs not to hire him). In fact, I would argue that Binds is so disliked, his situation is such a mess, his hiring such a potential PR black-eye, that teams are very likely to shy away from him on the own accord. Moreover, the longer he goes without attracting interests makes it even harder for an individual team to approach him. This is the constraint of social stigma, not collusion.

2008-06-30 12:31:38
29.   monkeypants
27 You oversimplify the issue and telescope chronology. Of course the ship is not clean. But look at the angst leading up to the Mitchell report that certain names would appear, then when Andy (for example) was named, look at the media circus and apologies that followed. The Yankees took a black-eye, rightly or wrongly. And that was for a player who was signed before rumors swirled that he was a user. And (with regards to Andy) his cover story was that it was a long time ago, and he apologized (sort of) for it.

Now imagine the press if they signed the most suspected and highest profile user, who has never shown even the slightest contrition?

2008-06-30 12:33:41
30.   mehmattski
This is the town where the paparazzi follows the team's best player to take pictures of him lounging in the park and going to strip clubs. This is the town where there are already approximately 4,000 beat writers, not to mention all the Japanese writers following Matsui, in the clubhouse every day. This is only team in the majors which could take up national sports shows discussing whether a 22 year old pitcher should be a starter or a reliever. Does anyone really think that Bonds-The-Media-Circus will make things any different? The team is already a Media Circus.

And I fail to grasp the Bonds-is-A-Bad-Teammate argument as well. Isn't this the team that just signed Sidney Ponson, who had been released from his previous team for (quoting the Ranger's GM) "disrespecting teammates and club personnel."

Also, what others have said about Giambi and more recently Pettitte.

If there's any team that can absorb a "PR black eye" quickly and without lasting effects, it's the Yankees. We're used to the circus, and everyone already hates us. What is there to lose, exactly?

2008-06-30 12:36:48
31.   monkeypants
30 "This is the town where the paparazzi follows the team's best player to take pictures of him lounging in the park and going to strip clubs. This is the town where there are already approximately 4,000 beat writers, not to mention all the Japanese writers following Matsui, in the clubhouse every day."

This argument could be turned on its head: yes, it is a circus everyday in Yankeeland, so imagine what it would be like when the real circus comes to town.

2008-06-30 12:43:12
32.   mehmattski
31 My assertion is that, within the last few years, the veterans on this team have reached the saturation point on Media Circus-itude. Adding any more Circus will not increase whatever angst such Circuses cause.

The relationship between Media Circus level and affect on team performance is uncorrelated at best and logistical at worst.

2008-06-30 12:53:35
33.   monkeypants
32 Ah, you assume that the only consideration is whether circusness has a bearing on performance. I have contended all along that non-performance issues come into play here. I do think that the Yankees FO is weary of the "hatred" (as you put it) of "everyone." I am convinced this is why Cashman has tried to reduce payroll--not because the team can't afford a $200+ million dollar payroll, but because such a payroll is unseemly.

Similarly, having Giambi and Pettitte on the team is bad enough. I am pretty sure that the FO does not want to add Bonds, who (rightly or wrongly) is seen as a worse transgressor.

Again, having a team laden with superstars is bad enough. Adding Roger Clemens at however many millions per start last year was bad enough. But adding the B-word at the first hint of injury to Matsui, this strikes the FO as unseemly (I believe).

2008-06-30 12:58:22
34.   Shaun P
25 h-c-e, I've got a little beef with your last sentence:

"But I also draw the line at unsightly salivation ... he's 44 this month and will have to play clean"

Unless Bonds was taking designer drugs last year - and you'd think that the Feds would have him dead to rights if he was - we know he was not on detectable steroids (he has never failed a drug test) and we know that hGH does nothing. So if Bonds could play clean at 43, why not now?

At the very least, what does it cost to find out? $390K and media attention? This is an easy question AFAIC.

2008-06-30 14:01:28
35.   Rob Middletown CT
30 responded to 29 as well or better than I would have. Exactly.

This is the Yankees we're talking about here. Media circus? Check. Hated by everyone? Check.

Sign him.

2008-06-30 14:19:41
36.   long time listener
Here's a random thought - Bonds is at 2,935 career hits. So if they Yankees signed him, he could be the first guy to get to 3,000 hits in a Yankee uniform (though time is running short - I'm not sure he can get 65 hits in the time that will be left in the season). Jeter is on track to be first to 3,000 in a Yankee uniform now. I don't think that's a reason to not sign Bonds, but the idea that he'd take that away from Jeter makes me a little queasy.
2008-06-30 14:57:25
37.   Vandelay Industries
Look, if Matsui misses the remainder of the season with his left caliper ailing him following replacement of his right which has exaserbated the pressure on the left, any argument against signing Bonds is moot. Unless the team is actually going to let a minor league guy play, and I mean someone like Gardner who might someday make a roster, not just some fill-in career MiLb guy, then you sign Bonds. I don't understand the blackballing given what we now know, and see in the numbers, concerning how many guys were cheating. What is the worst thing that could happen, he stinks and you release him and pay him $390,000? Why not take a shot? The Yankees have almost zero chance of making the playoffs as currently constructed without a healthy Posada, and Matsui, Wang, and Hughes out for what amounts to the entire season.

Cashman can go on and on all he wants about the kids, but until anything he does results in a Championship, he has proven nothing to me. How many years does is he permitted to ride Watson and Stick's coattails and produce nothing?

2008-06-30 15:06:27
38.   horace-clarke-era
I have a lot of time for the last few comments, disagreements, yes, but my original post in this thread was that people considering it HAVE to be aware this is challenging.

Shaun, my main point is the being 44, plus a full year out of the game. I accept that he was probably clean last year, though his 'never failing a test' tells us ... what? That he's a maligned innocent? Not sure you'll get a lot of support for that one. 44 year olds coming back? I dunno.

On the other hand, my point about collusion ... monkeypants, you make several good points, but I'll stand by drawing the inference I did: that in a season with amazing parity, many injuries, it is hard NOT to see taking a shot (or at least discussing it!) at what might be a superb left handed bat. When every single GM (every single GM, I'll say it again) comes to the same conclusion, in a sport where people take chances on ... Sir Sidney P ... or Jeff Kent ... or a great many other 'toxic' players ... universal backing off on this one suggests at the least a tacit agreement.

If he wanted big bucks, it could be argued that at 44 he's not worth the risk. If he'll play for lunch money then it starts to feel like singling him out to be the ONE banned scapegoat. (And that, as I see it, is Shaun's point: what does it cost to find out?)

One last thought on the above comments ... there are circuses and circuses. Having just revisited 1978 via The Greatest Game it is unquestionable that the players were hugely messed up by the toxic environment Billy created (filtered through George). It feels too easy to say 'the media are already all over the Yankees' ...

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