Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Randy Aprobados
2005-01-04 08:34
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

So says the headline on the back cover of El Diario this morning. And it's true, Bud Selig signed off on the Randy Johnson-Javier Vazquez deal yesterday. Players still need to take physicals and the Yanks now have until the end of the week to work out a contract extension with the Big Unit. From what I've been able to tell reading the papers, nobody expects anything to trip things up at this point.

Interestingly, it looks as if the Yankees are not aggresively pursuing Carlos Beltran. According to Murray Chass:

The Yankees will not sign Carlos Beltran, the most attractive, and expensive, position player on the free-agent market. But it's not just that the Yankees will not be signing Beltran. The story would be that the Yankees will not even try to sign him.

That was the surprising signal from a baseball official over the weekend. The official, who is in a position to hear such things, heard last week that the Yankees did not plan to pursue Beltran.

"Someone told me the other day, if they get Johnson they wouldn't go after Beltran," the official, who refused to be named, said. "Even the Yankees have to have a limit."

Omar Minaya and Fred Wilpon, on the other hand, courted Beltran in Puerto Rico yesterday. Lee Jenkins reports:

Beltran has met with the Mets and the Yankees, but there are critical differences. George Steinbrenner played host to Beltran in Tampa, Fla., but Wilpon went to Puerto Rico and, along with Minaya, visited him on his home turf. Such a minor move could foreshadow a major one.

The Yanks not interested? Chass thinks it could be the story of the off-season. The Mets out-bidding The Boss? Say it ain't so. My feeling is that Beltran will return to Houston, but never underestimate General Von Steingrabber...right? While I can understand the Yankees' reluctance to sign a player to a six or seven year contract, the truth is, Beltran would make them younger, and better, at a key position. Dayn Perry writes:

Any number of teams can use a potent offensive center fielder, but the Yankees especially need him. Bernie Williams hasn't been able to pass muster defensively for about three years now, and the Yanks badly need to shift him to DH. Beltran would be a mammoth defensive upgrade and add another quality bat to the lineup.

Larry Mahnken agrees:

Brian Cashman has said the Yankees aren't necessarily going to go all-out to sign Beltran. Please think again, Cash, they need to go all-out for Beltran. They need to overpay him, if that's what it takes. They need a young, good player at a key position, who plays good defense. They need Carlos Beltran. Give him $18 million if that's what it takes, this is something that the team needs to do to win long-term.

Hey, at least this week won't be boring. The newest member(s) of the Hall of Fame will be announced this afternoon. Other than Boggs, does anyone else get in? (I think that Ryno has a shot and hope that the Goose makes it but I ain't holding my breath.)

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