Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Hello, I Must Be Going
2005-07-16 14:08
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

During a rousing 7-4 victory at Fenway this afternoon, the Yankees acquired Al Leiter from the Florida Marlins. Leiter looks as if he might just end his career where it started. I have gone back-and-forth in my appreciation of Leiter over the years, but I generally enjoy watching him pitch. He knows what he's doing, is animated on the mound, and is a real pro.

The Yankees are desperate for starting pitching. In Leiter they get the kind of cagey veteran they had in El Duque or even David Cone before him. Part of what makes watching him enjoyable--and alternatively agonizing--is knowing that his margain for error is so thin. He might keep the Yanks in the game, but he'll throw 126 pitches over five innings doing it. The tank is almost empty for Leiter, so what does he--or the Yankees--have to lose? He may be shot, who knows? But I'd gladly take my chances with him over Tim Redding. Look, if the Yankees are going to be successful in the second-half of the season, they'll need a little of that old bullcrap Pinstriped magic to help them along. It would be a Made-for-YES story if Leiter came in and won a half-a-dozen games.

I'm looking forward to watching him pitch tomorrow night. Welcome back, Al.

2005-07-16 14:41:59
1.   Simone
Good win for the Yankees. They got their split so I'm satisfied. I keep hoping that RJ is just having a shaky season. If not, the next 2 years are not going to be pleasant.

I've seen Leiter pitch a couple times this season so I'm not looking forward to tomorrow. He is done. I've always gotten the impression that Leiter has resented the Yankees and their payroll. Now both turn to each other in desperation.

2005-07-16 14:55:26
2.   brockdc
Nomo was just DFA'd by the Rays. I'm just sayin'...
2005-07-16 14:59:14
3.   Simone
The Yankees should pick up Nomo pronto. He may not be good, but he can actually have a decent outing once in a while and would be good against lesser offenses.
2005-07-16 15:01:34
4.   brockdc
"One thing is I'm showing I'm not afraid to try anything," Cashman said.

After signing T.Womack, I think that just goes without saying, Cash.

2005-07-16 15:04:45
5.   brockdc
Agreed. Leiter's weak-ass cutter is going to get obliterated by AL lineups. At least we know that Nomo can still sit guys down once in a blue.
2005-07-16 15:10:29
6.   Simone
I just read a rumor that the Red Sox are trading Arroyo and a couple other players for Burnett. If true, wow.
2005-07-16 15:33:10
7.   murphy
you're killing me, simone. why talk split? show some faith in homegrown talent (even if its 15 yrs after the fact).
2005-07-16 15:40:19
8.   Nick from Washington Heights
where'd you read that rumor, Simone? I've read that the Orioles and the White Sox are the favorites to land him.
2005-07-16 15:59:49
9.   Simone
murphy, I'll hope that the Yankees hit Wakefield.

Nick, I was lurking on a Yankee message board and saw the rumor. The person claimed they heard it on ESPN Radio. I so hope it isn't true.

2005-07-16 16:17:48
10.   Alex Belth
Yeah, I know, Leiter can be brutal. Nibbling like crazy cause he doesn't have the good stuff anymore. Just ask Mets fans. But still, I like him over Nomo, that's for sure.
2005-07-16 16:46:14
11.   Murray
Besides, it will be much easier for Leiter to work on his Senate campaign from the Bronx than it was from Florida.

Leiter may be annoying to watch here in his old age, but I enjoyed him when he was younger and I hope he can still help. I also think he's way more thoughtful than the average ballplayer, and was the best guest analyst Fox ever used on playoff broadcasts.

2005-07-16 17:29:51
12.   Matt B
As maddening as he can be to watch, I've always rooted for Al Leiter. Welcome back.

How great was Giambi's surprise bunt single?

2005-07-16 18:28:17
13.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
C/mon Matt, the guy's slugging like a bajillion over the last 10 games, and he lays down a bunt!

He should executed by a firing squad of Bill James, Billy Beane, and our boy Cliff for that stunt.

2005-07-16 18:56:02
14.   Marcus
So the rumor is that Burnett and Mike Lowell go to the Sox in a three way deal with Florida and San Diego. Sox give up Brandon Arroyo, LHP minor leaguer Abe Alvarez. San Diego gives up Sean Burroughs to the Marlins and gets Alvarez. Apparently they are waiting to announce the deal after Brandon's concert at Fenway tonight. Of course, this is all a rumor, so take it with a grain of salt.

The Yankees don't have much history against Burnett, but one team member has had some success against him:


Who's that? Tony Womack. No joke, but it is only 11 PAs.

2005-07-16 19:22:41
15.   sabernar
Burnett to the Sox would suck, but if they are giving up Arroyo, who has been their #2 pitcher this year, then it's only a small gain. Plus Burnett has a bad injury history, so maybe that will come into effect.

But just imagine if Lowell starts hitting again. Imagine that lineup! Damn! I'm assuming Bellhorn and his 106 K's sits on the bench and Mueller moves over to 2B.

2005-07-16 19:22:53
16.   Chucksax
About Al Leiter: can he possibly be any worse than Redding & May? I think that that'd be difficult, if not impossible.

About Giambi's bunt single: that's the second time he's done that this year, and he should do it once per GAME, if they're going to do the shift. Heck, if he'd bunted it a little slower, he'd have been on second base instead of first.

2005-07-16 19:33:36
17.   JeremyM
I loved the bunt. It's one more thing for the pitcher to think about with Giambi up there. That said, is there anyway Gimabi keeps playing like this? I would say that he's back, except I remember Tino having his improbable streak earlier in the year and that didn't last. Granted, Tino was hitting a lot of homers to short left-field porches that were barely clearing the wall while Giambi has hit some shots.
But Giambi truly seems to be pretty close to what he was, and his body language is 100% better. He looks confident and determined at the plate now, not some guy begging to be walked. What do you guys think?
2005-07-16 19:38:43
18.   NetShrine
Alex, thanks for making me thing of Groucho today!
2005-07-16 19:58:58
19.   BklynBomber
JeremyM — spot on. Giambi's whole vibe is confidence now, I'm also diggin' his defense lately and wondering if Joe is pulling him for Tino's 'D' a bit too soon in some cases. Gotta admit, 2 months ago I thought Giambi would never see the other side of .250 again, but boy is it good to be wrong sometimes.

Here's hoping Leiter keeps it close tomorrow and we pull it out against Shill once again. I'm thinking MatsZilla is due for a big hit.

2005-07-16 20:11:49
20.   Jen
Pull it out against Shill? Hell, I hope they pound Wakefield into dust.
2005-07-16 20:14:41
21.   Peter
I think Giambi's back for good. Don't forget he was hitting well during spring training, so the early part of the season was probably more psychological than anything else.

As for Leiter, I always liked him but Torre's going to have to go to the bullpen early whenever he starts.

2005-07-16 20:33:40
22.   Jen
Well, thankfully Torre had the presence of mind to rest Sturtze today.
2005-07-16 20:49:01
23.   Jay Jaffe
Leiter is possibly the best baseball analyst I've heard in recent memory. The flip side of it is that he's something of a poor man's Curt Schilling, a clubhouse lawyer who's very calculating when it comes to media relations (recall the very public drama of the Mets declining his option seven months ago). Red Light Al. I can't blame Cashman for grasping at this straw, as he costs nothing but a little pocket change. But looking at his recent pitching record, I'm not terribly optimistic it'll turn out well. A lefty flyball pitcher in Fenway sounds like a ticket to another double-digit shellacking -- good thing they're playing with house money after Saturday's win.

Suffice it to say that if Leiter keeps his ERA around 5.00 long enough for the rest of the staff to get healthy and put him out of a job, I'll be damn impressed.

On a separate note, nothing at all wrong with the Giambi bunt. Bunting into an unnecessary out is bad, bunting for a sure base hit is good.

2005-07-16 20:51:03
24.   BklynBomber
Jen — I'm thinkin' it would be far more fun to sent Shill into the night with another L, but I will definitely take a pounding of Wakefield. I guess I shouldn't be too greedy given our arms situation, though.

What a season.

2005-07-16 21:09:00
25.   Rich
The O's offer for Burnett is far superior to the that of the Sox.
2005-07-16 23:40:29
26.   Cliff Corcoran
I'll be rooting for Leiter, for sure, but I want you all to bear one thing in mind when watching this evening's game. Leiter's K/BB Ratios from 2001 to 2005:


Al has four quality starts in sixteen attempts this year, two of which came in April. Still, he's a better option than Redding, May, Sean Henn or just about anything they have in Columbus right now, and if he tanks, they can add him to the YES team, no loss.

I'm just really happy that the Yanks won the two games they had to have in this series, though the fact that this team is winning when it has to only makes the fact that they're crippled by their crippled pitchers all the more heartbreaking.

2005-07-17 08:12:43
27.   jdrennan
Baltimore Sun and Miami Herald are both reporting Lowell and Burnett are headed to the O's, but that the Sox (white) may be able to put together a better package.
2005-07-17 08:46:50
28.   Simone
I was about to comment that is better the Os get Burnett than the Red Sox, but either way this just Yankees' hopes of making the playoffs even more difficult.
2005-07-17 09:34:48
29.   Alex Belth
Burnett has a great arm. His stuff is scary good. But he isn't a great pitcher yet. He throws way too many pitches and doesn't know how to pace himself. That said, like Clement, his stuff is so good that he can dominate a team on any given day.

Leiter's walk-to-whiff ratios are even scarier. Especially against a team like Boston. Good thing they are starting the game at six tonight, cause it doesn't promise to be a crisp, and quick one, does it? (Too bad Leiter couldn't go against the Rangers tomorrow; he's better suited to deal with a free-swinging team like that.)

Man, I don't want Mike Lowell to be a Red Sox. I can deal with him being an Oriole, but please, not a Red Sox. They already snagged Edgar Renteria. I hate it when players I like go to Boston.

2005-07-17 12:44:41
30.   Cliff Corcoran
I'll be honest, I've not been paying much attention to these rumors, but per Alex's concern over Lowell, he's been terrible this year:

.227/.280/.350 (.226 EQA)

Bellhorn has a .245 EQA and if the plan is to move Mueller to second and dump Bellhorn, they'll be losing offense and playing a man out of position. I also won't bet against Burnett getting hurt.

Of course the upside to those two guys is huge.

Getting back to Leiter, Boston leads the majors in OBP because they're third (behind the Yanks and Phillies) in walks. Gulp.

2005-07-17 13:32:21
31.   Rich
The trading of Burnett to the O's or the Sox will not affect the Yankees' ability to make the playoffs. He is not a difference maker.
2005-07-18 00:09:16
32.   BklynBomber
Anyone catch this?

I didn't see it, but according to a friend, right before the ESPN broadcast went off the air, a camera was on Joe and A-Rod on the field in front of the dugout in what he described as an 'animated conversation' — with Joe being the animated one and A-Rod having a look of 'I don't know what you're talking about'...

Probably nothing, but just asking. My bud is a hardcore baseball fan, but I know it's not Torre's style to get into a player's face — on national TV, no less.

Just wondering if anyone saw this or heard anything on local radio, post-game, etc. (I'm on the Left Coast, so very little 'Inside (Yankee) Baseball' here...) Thanks!

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