Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Monster Mashed
2008-07-16 17:10
by Alex Belth

I know I'm late to the party on this, but man, what a drag about our ailing Godzilla. Could be that the Matsui is gone for the year. Steven Goldman takes a look in today's New York Sun.

2008-07-16 17:45:52
1.   vockins
Barry Bonds. Come on already. The arguments against getting the guy are inane.

Even if he sucks, at least at the end of the season I'll sleep at night knowing the Yankees did all they could to win.

2008-07-16 17:50:55
2.   JL25and3
And Damon keeps having setbacks...if the Yankees are going to have to keep trotting out Melky and Gardner every day, they might as well pack it in.
2008-07-16 18:06:29
3.   Schteeve
They won't make the playoffs this year. It seems clear that Cashman isn't about to trade any prospects who could bring back an impact bat.

So, the only hope for the post-season, is that they bring in Sexson and or Bonds on the relative cheap, and hope that Boston and Tampa have unforeseeable struggles.

2008-07-16 20:21:17
4.   Vandelay Industries
1 I agree. (Ok, no lightning, I can continue)

I hate to say it, but it simply isn't fair to blackball the guy for doing what hundreds of players did simply because he is the biggest ass hole and owns the HR title.

I am fully aware that I may go to hell for this.

2008-07-16 21:29:57
5.   monkeypants
4 I don't know if you will go to hell or not--that's not my department. But you are oversimplifying the equation some, don't you think? First of all, do we know that Bonds is being "blackballed"?

And why are teams avoiding him? IS it ONLY because he's an a-hole and has the HR title? What about the fact that he's 43, and hasn't played in a while, and has had some injuries the last few years, and may not be able to play in the field (that is the perception)...and he has the reputation of being an a-hole, et., etc.

Again, I a not arguing for or against signing him.

2008-07-16 22:37:12
6.   Gagne55
5 Generally the rule of thumb is if a guy can hit, somebody will sign him. Bonds is truely an exceptional case. I don't think the reason that he hasn't been signed has anything to do with his expected performence.
2008-07-16 22:58:06
7.   seattleyank
I think it's been a confluence of factors working against Bonds: he's old, he's been hurt, he hasn't played in a while, he can't play the field anymore and only a handful of teams need DHs, then you get to the fact that he's got a terrible reputation and would attract unwanted media attention. Just one of those reasons or even a couple probably wouldn't prevent him from being signed, but add it all up and I can understand why teams have decided to pass. (Although, for the record, I think the Yankees should give him a shot if he's serious about playing for the minimum.)
2008-07-17 02:41:38
8.   RZG
I'd be interested if Kenny Lofton is willing to sign.
2008-07-17 03:17:46
9.   williamnyy23
The baseball repercussions of signing Bonds and having him fail are minimal. When you are already carrying the likes of Gardner and Christian, the risks are pretty much zero. Apparently, baseball clubs are holding the line on Bonds as if they can erase the past by banishing him from the game. I truly hope this isn't some form of collusion, because if so a very large lawsuit will be forthcoming.
2008-07-17 04:54:06
10.   The Mick 536
Goldman says Bo Radly. I didn't know he was available.
2008-07-17 05:52:29
11.   monkeypants
7 9 And let's not forget the legal issues, which seemed much more pressing when Bonds first became a FA.

Remember, the Bonds situation is not static, but has unfolded over time. He was indicted in 2007, and the legal wrangling between his legal team and the federal gov't dragged out until February. So basically, during the peak FA signing period he was under a legal cloud. Moreover, it was not always the case that he was wiling to play for peanuts--that idea was only floated by his agent when demand proved to be low.

So, if you were a team looking to sign FAs over winter, you had Bonds at the height of legal uncertainty, probably commanding major money to play, and 43 y.o. Then, the longer teams stayed away, the longer he went without playing or training with a team. Thus, as the months passed, the doubts about how long it would take an aging player--even Bonds--to be ready for action.

In the end, as 7 points out, a confluence of factors--which have overlapped over time--have led to the current Bonds situation. And even then, frankly, no one would be floating his name if it were not for the Yankees' laundry list of injuries. So that is yet another contingent factor: if Matsui and Damon were not both hurt, AND the offense was not underperforming, AND the team was not lingering at the edge of striking distance,we would not be having this conversation.

2008-07-17 05:59:50
12.   Sliced Bread
Please note the following revision in the 2008 New York Yankees Promotional Schedule:

On Friday, July 18th, the first 25,000 fans in attendance will not receive a Hideki Matsui Bobblehead, but will instead be gifted with a copy of "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee."


2008-07-17 06:11:10
13.   ChrisS
Forget Bonds, they may as well bring up Ajax now and slot him in. I'm confident he can meet or exceed Gardner or Melky's .600 OPS.

At Baseball Think Factory they have the AL leaders at the break with Off/Def combined and Bobby Abreu is not pretty on the Def side.

2008-07-17 06:14:18
14.   Shaun P
9 Something tells me Mr. Bonds has gotten his fill of the legal process, and isn't going to file a lawsuit over this one. But that's just a guess on my part.

11 All true, and so here the Yanks are . . . so what are they waiting for?

Of course, the sad thing is, even Bonds isn't enough. Giambi has to keep hitting like he did in May and June; Jeter has to keep hitting like he's done for the last month; Posada and Abreu have to start hitting again; AND Cano and Melky both have to catch fire. .950 OPS fire.

I think its unreasonable to expect all of those things to happen. Still, I'd like to see them give it a shot. The worst outcome (missing the playoffs) stays the same, with Bonds or without.

BTW - how come Sexson hasn't been signed yet?

2008-07-17 06:25:56
15.   williamnyy23
11 All true, but the Yankees need him now, so what is holding them back?
2008-07-17 06:30:19
16.   Shaun P
15 Let the record show that on this day, william and I are in complete agreement on something!
2008-07-17 06:37:22
17.   ms october
11 once bonds' court date was set and it was clear he would not have a trial and/or face jail time during this season, it seems that should have removed one of the biggest concerns of signing him this season

13 all the reports on jackson still have him as pretty raw - if bringing him up now hampers his development i would be opposed to that; but if it would help him to face ML pitching then i could see the benefit

14 when will sexson clear waivers - he was released 7/10 (does mlb have a freeze on transactions during the all-star break?)

2008-07-17 07:02:24
18.   ChrisS
14 Why should he be signed? He's a RH power hitter with no power the last couple of seasons. He can only play 1B or DH. Where the Yankees have two switch hitters and a lefty that has a career OPS of .857 against southpaws. Sexson has a career OPS of .867 against lefties. Woooo! Get that man a contract!

Signing Sexson is like mopping up water on a sinking ship. However, if he can play LF (or RF) then I'm all for it.

17 He's still kinda raw, but not so much anymore. Ajax was a great athlete playing baseball, now he's morphing into a great baseball player. He had a minor set-back in AA in May and part of June and then adapted. It's kind of hypothetical anyway. He's got legitimate skills and has shown, in his 3 seasons of pro-ball, that he adapts to the league pretty quickly. But there's little out there for the Yankees to pick up and improve the team without getting taken to the cleaners.

2008-07-17 07:22:07
19.   Vandelay Industries
Seriously guys? Right or wrong, he is obviously being blackballed. There is nothing nore to it. His trial isn't calendared until well after the 2008 season and the guy is willing to play for league minimum.

So, he had a great year one year ago, regradless of age, and every MLB team would rather play some minor league bum with an OPS of .400? 95% of them with absoutely no future! Give me break and stop making a simple situation more complicated.

2008-07-17 07:49:24
20.   Yankee Fan In Boston
19 if every team independently decided that they wanted no part of the drama he would bring, it wouldn't really be collusion or blackballing.

the man would likely help a team's offense after he got back up to speed, but if GMs feel that the negative PR might outweigh the run production (regardless of the validity of that belief), you'd still need to find that all 30 teams got together and agreed upon excluding him.

2008-07-17 07:51:16
21.   Rob Middletown CT
If the Yanks still really want to contend this season, they should sign Bonds (and Sexson, I think, for use solely against LHP).

I like Cashman and all, but unless he's under strict orders from on high regarding Bonds, his refusal to sign him pisses me off.

2008-07-17 07:56:34
22.   monkeypants
20 Yes, thank you.

19 I do not believe for a second that he will play for the minimum. That is a PR move being floated by his agent in response to a very cold market for his client.

2008-07-17 07:56:48
23.   vockins
19 No kidding. If the dude's OBP drops one hundred points from last year because he's rusty, which I honest to God believe he won't be, he's still sitting at .380. It's absurd at this point that he isn't playing for someone.
2008-07-17 08:06:22
24.   Raf
At the very least, a team signs him to a contract, sticks him in the minors for a couple of weeks, then calls him up when he's ready.

Negative fan reaction? I bet any game he attends will be sold out.

2008-07-17 08:11:23
25.   OldYanksFan
I say get Bonds. For all the old, hurt and rusty, the guy had a 1.045 OPS LAST YEAR, while playing 126 games, ALL IN THE OUTFIELD. That's a pretty solid year. But he will need a month to get going, so there is NO TIME TO WASTE.

Steve's assessment was good, but still based on many variables that could change.

"To truly enter the playoff picture, the Yankees would probably have to win no fewer than 95 games.":
This is based on TB's current Win%. Will TB keep it up and really win 95? Oakland, next in line, is on pace for 91.

"...or two trades: one for Albert Pujols, and then another for Pujols's secret, Boo Radley-like, more powerful brother."
Steve does not believe 1 impact bat is enough. Well, that is true IF Cano and Melky continue to absolutely suck, AND Jeter and Abreu continue to have an OPS .100 pts below career AND Gardner continues to hit his weight. Mats is out for the year but JD should be 90%+ in 2 weeks. Even though ARod and Giambi have hit well, neither has done so with RISP. So the question is, is our second half offense the same as the pathetic underperformance we have seen so far? Or will these guy start to hit at least to their 'average' ability?

I still say JASON BAY would be the easiest impact player to get NOW. He is an FA after 2009 and his salary will represent some 30% of the total Pittsburg payroll.

Marte($2.1m), McLouth($min) and Nady($3.3) are all very/reasonably cheap. What is Pittsburg's motivation for dumping these guys except in an absolute steal? But they will lose Bay in a year anyway (he will be worth $13-$16 on the open market). What is their motivation to turn down a FAIR deal for him?

Again, it can be a '1 from column A, 1 from Column B, 2 from column C' kind of trade. We can pay the salaries of the guy we give up, just as a little sugar on top.

2 of ANY of our non-touchables.

And get Sexson. It is a 100% no lose proposition.

(Our best lineup)

(games against LH pitching, rest Giambi)

(to Rest Bonds, Giambi off the field)

These are ALL pretty deadly lineups, no?
Bonds and Sexson are easy to do. VERY easy.
Bay will cost us real talent, but he is a keeper and can finish his career here.

2008-07-17 08:17:14
26.   OldYanksFan
"I do not believe for a second that he will play for the minimum."
OK.... We pay him $5m plus incentives for ONE Year. Think the Yankees can afford it? Last year, they paid Roger $18m to improve the team a little.

How about offering Melky a $1m bonus if his OBP is > .370 this year? Might he walk more?

I am a frugal guy, but we have more then $100m coming off the books in the next 2 years. Have you seen ticket prices in the new stadium? Let's not quibble over a few million.

And EVERYBODY knows it's always a good deal to BUY BONDS!

2008-07-17 08:29:46
27.   monkeypants
26 Money is not an issue with the Yankees. That was not what I was getting at. I was trying to make the point that it is bogus to use the "he will play for free" as proof that Bonds is being "blackballed" or colluded against.

25 I am intrigued by your Jason Bay suggestion, though he is 29 y.o., so we would be getting the back end of his career. That said, it would be a good gamble.

2008-07-17 08:33:52
28.   monkeypants
25 Babe Ruth had a pretty solid year in 1934, playing 127 games all in the OF and batting 161 OPS+.

Sooner or later Father Time catches up to all athletes, no matter how well they keep up their, er, training regimen.

But agree with you. From a strictly between the lines perspective, given the Yankees plight and resources, he would be a very good, high-upside, low-risk signing.

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