Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Happy New Year
2004-12-31 09:51
by Alex Belth

The Yankees and Diamondbacks agreed in principle to a trade yesterday that would bring Randy Johnson to the Bronx and send Javier Vazquez, Brad Halsey, Dioner Nararro and between eight and nine million in cash to Arizona. There will be plenty of "The Rich Get Richer" articles wailing about how unfair, or just plain absurd it all is. And why not? These kind of pieces while obvious and easy are based in truth, especially when you consider that the Yankees' pitching staff will make more than the entire payrolls of some teams. Here's Murray Chass, for starters:

This is what happens when the Yankees don't win the World Series for four consecutive years. Losing breeds big eyes and bigger paychecks for other players. Steinbrenner's soldiers are ordered to find superstars who will enhance the team's chances of getting to and winning the World Series. Damn the dollars, full speed ahead.

Ever since Ban Johnson introduced the Highlanders, spending and spending some more has been a time-honored Yankee tradition. And so has bitching about it.

If the Johnson signing becomes official next week, the Big Unit will be reunited with his former Seattle teammate, Tino Martinez, who apparently will be back with the Yanks next season. Martinez is close with Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. According to Buster Olney, he was a legitimate clubhouse leader during the 96-01 championship run, even though his coaches and manager were never especially in love with him. I have to admit I feel funny about Tino's return. While I always liked him, I wonder if this is a "You Can't Go Home Again" scenerio. Maybe, I'm reading too much into it, but is bringing Martinez--a hyper competitive player--back going to undermine Jason Giambi's attempts to get his career back in gear? Perhaps the Yankees are still hoping that they can rid themselves of Giambi before the season. How I don't know. Maybe they think that Tino will help motivate him. Who can say. I know that Martinez is probably as good a back-up as Tony Clark was last year, even though Tino has never been a bench player before. What do you guys think, will Martinez have a positive, negative or benign impact on the 2005 team?

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