Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Yankees Sign Matsui
2005-11-16 06:36
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

As expected, the Bombers inked outfielder Hideki Matsui to a four-year deal, worth $52 million. It is a steep price to pay, but even if Matsui doesn't give the Yankees great value on the field for the duration of the contract, his stature as Japan's greatest star means big bucks for the team. Matsui was a relative bargain for the past three years and has been a solid, and exceedingly affable player.

The Yanks also excerised their option on Taynon Sturtze, who will make $1.5 million in 2006.

2005-11-16 07:23:38
1.   vockins
I am happy that I'll get to see four more years of Japanese tourists dressing up in foam Godzilla costumes at Yankee Stadium. Not the most sabermetric measure of the value of a player, but baseball's entertainment, and that's pretty entertaining. My wife likes him, too, although her affections have been divided between Matsui and Cano after Cano wore a tone on tone ensemble during a postgame interview that she found stylish.

These are the intangible values of a player that don't show up in the box score.

MAT - SU - EY!

2005-11-16 07:25:37
2.   jdsarduy
I wonder now that Matsui has a big contract, will he be held to higher standards?
Will the media and the fans scrutinize his performance?
Don't get more wrong Matsui has been great, one the best the Yanks have but I would love a little more pop in his bat then 23 home runs. I know he hit 31 home runs in 04, and that's what I would love to have in 06. His playoffs against the Angels wasn't very good and he wasn't criticized like A-Rod was. I wonder with this contract that some consider over paid, when he fails will he hear it, from the press, fans and maybe even George?
2005-11-16 07:29:34
3.   Rob Gee
It's not all that steep considering the Japanese revenue stream. Even at 2mil/year there, the outlay comes out to 44 mil which is easily in line with his production, and we did get quite a bargin on his last contract.

The bigger question is how this money affects Shef. No word on deferred money here, but who wants to bet Shef will want: a) his option picked up; b) an extension; or c) both? With the Giles hunt on, we could always plan to ship out Shef for full-time CF. No doubt why Giles is a great target - Flexibility of options (CF/DH rotation, ship Shef, etc.)!

2005-11-16 08:00:48
4.   Bill
I find the Tanyon situation disturbing. When the team declined Tino's option and made some noise about Andy Phillips being a suitable replacement, I was hopeful that there might be a new way of doing business. Now they are back to the "keep them around because they've been here and Joe likes them" mode. Does Cashman not think he can find an adequate and cheaper replacement for Tanyon? Is re-upping Flaherty next?
2005-11-16 08:13:42
5.   Matt B
The Sturtze situation really bugs me, too. Why oh why do we waste our time and money with this guy?
2005-11-16 08:15:31
6.   Peter
I think it makes sense to bring back Tanyon. The bullpen has no depth and he was one of the better relievers. I figure the thinking is that he was just worn down by the second half of the season so if they can upgrade other parts of the pen, Torre won't have to go to Sturtze as often.
2005-11-16 08:17:25
7.   Alvaro Espinoza
Did Boras put his pinky to his mouth when he made this request?:

"The Yankees were discouraged by Scott Boras' asking price of $84 million over seven years for Johnny Damon, so they will look seriously at signing Brian Giles with the thought of using a rotation in centerfield."

I'm on record: (1) Giles is a fine player, and (2) signing another pricey free agent in his mid-30's and playing him out of position isn't the solution to anything.

If there's a simultaneous deal on the table for a true CF'er I would have to assume it involves Sheffield who we all know won't go quietly if at all. Therefore, I am flummoxed.

2005-11-16 08:18:15
8.   susan mullen
I'm very happy they signed Tanyon Sturtze.
He's been very valuable, and is said to have
had some injuries last season. We have no other
relief pitchers in our system. He's been on the
team and given us a chance to see he's not one
of the many over-paid head cases floating
around. The few relief pitchers available are going to be fought over by 30 teams and over- paid.
2005-11-16 08:23:23
9.   wsporter
Maybe the point is they feel they can't find a comparable replacement for Sturtze for less money and one the Manager will be comfortable with. Given that this year's free agent class is described as relatively weak and that its 'strength' is found in the available relievers it seems probable that salaries will be inflated for that group. Sturtze was overused early in the year which may have led to his tired shoulder complaints. He pitched well in 04 and at the beginning of this year. He doesn't seem like a bad guy and the manager likes him. I think we could have done worse and probably would have.

Everyone has a lot of affection for Tino but after May he was a soft spot in the lineup. I think they made the right move there as well. He seems like a bright articulate guy. It would be nice if he could do some broadcasting, if he doesn't play that is. I don't live in NY so I don't get YES and have to watch the games on my computer. Listening to Tino sure would make that a lot easier I think.

2005-11-16 08:28:31
10.   Matt B
I'm sorry, I can't believe we can't find some hard-throwing kid who can be just as INeffective as Sturtze for a lot less money. How long can this guy ride his hot September '04?
2005-11-16 08:36:05
11.   Shawn Clap
I like the Matsui signing and think it's a bargain for such an all-around strong player. Compare with some others I've been reading about:

Magglio Ordonez - 5y/$75M
J.D. Drew - 5y/$55M
Adrian Beltre - 5y/$64M

Godzilla is a steal compared to these jokers!

2005-11-16 08:43:34
12.   Dimelo
Shawn Clap, I'd like to know your opinion on ARod, is he a steal at what he's being paid?
2005-11-16 08:45:17
13.   Nick from Washington Heights
and Dimelo, you should clarify that A-Rod is getting paid 2/3 of his total salary by the Yanks, with the Rangers picking up the rest of the tab (how did Cashman pull that one off?).
2005-11-16 08:48:13
14.   jalexei
Holy sh*t - Who's going to pay Johnny Damon $84 mill over 7 years?
2005-11-16 08:52:08
15.   Upperdeck
I saw Matsui on the street a few weeks ago. I normally don't get star struck. But this time I was. I said, "hey matsui!" He replied with a very cool nod of the head and a "what's up" as he kept walking by. Happy to have him back on the team even at those inflated prices. The Yankees must be making tons of money in Japan.
2005-11-16 08:55:07
16.   Dimelo
Yeah I know, Nick. Clap has a thing for our boy ARod.
2005-11-16 09:10:57
17.   Shawn Clap
Oh, I don't think ARod needs the money from playing baseball.

He demanded $10,000 from the makers of 'Viva Baseball' (a documentary celebrating Latinos in baseball) for a 10 minute interview. Cool article in this month's Radar magazine, don't know if it's available online but:

Stay Classy Alex!

2005-11-16 09:13:14
18.   Shaun P
Alvaro, Boston radio stations were reporting this morning that the Sox's opening offer to Damon was going to be 3 years, $24-$27 million.

This is going to be fun to watch (so long as the Yanks stay uninvolved). What sucker will cave in to Boras's demands this time?

2005-11-16 09:19:37
19.   Shaun P
I guess I'm OK with Sturtze as long as he's kept on a short leash. If he's there to provide depth in a weak free agent market, fine. But at the first sign of extended trouble - buh-bye. The Yanks can afford to eat the $1.5 million if push comes to shove.

Also, it should go without saying that Tanyon ought to be about 6th on the bullpen depth chart by the time Opening Day rolls around, behind Mo, BJ Ryan (hopefully), Colter Bean, Jason Anderson, and whichever of Aaron Small and Jason Wright isn't the long guy/spot starter (presuming the 5 starters are healthy of course). I don't know if I trust Torre to do that, though . . .

2005-11-16 09:39:55
20.   wsporter
Shaun P. do you really think its going to be Bean and Anderson? Both? I've seen Bean and he's fun to watch but …. And Anderson , man ,I don't know either. Haven't we been there before? I'd just hate to be scuffin around in August and bitching because we didn't spend some of the money we saved on Brown on two or three Big Arms, even if its just bringing Gordon back, which I'd like them to do. If we can get it back to a 6 inning game rather than 7 or 8 (or 9 when Mo is down) this long cold winter comm'n up might seem a little shorter. Might make Gator sleep a little better too.
2005-11-16 10:00:28
21.   YankeeInMichigan
NO NO NO. Please, no more "Big Arms" in the bullpen. No more Quantrill, Stanton and Karsay. And no more Gordon either, especially not at his current age. He fades late in the season and is a disaster in the playoffs. Let him earn his "closer money" for 3-4 months of quality service elsewhere.

The bullpen can be set with one stopper (Mo), one more solid veteran (Ryan or Farnsworth) and a bunch of young, cheap replaceable parts who just might get hot and who can be optioned or traded if they are not. (What, by the way was the TOTAL salary of the Angels' bullpen in 2002?)

I'm not crazy about the Sturtze signing, but in Yankee terms, 1.5 million is pretty cheap. He is still tradeable.

2005-11-16 10:09:24
22.   KJC
// Holy sh*t - Who's going to pay Johnny Damon $84 mill over 7 years? //

Nobody. But if anybody actually were to pay him that (and could afford it), George would be the only guy who might be crazy enough to do it.

2005-11-16 10:16:34
23.   Nick from Washington Heights
KJC, because the Yanks are the only team in all of MLB with albatross contracts?
2005-11-16 10:34:47
24.   BxSparksNYC
Anybody hear Cameron went to the Padres? Just wondering if someone could confim that...
2005-11-16 10:40:06
25.   KJC
// KJC, because the Yanks are the only team in all of MLB with albatross contracts? //

Nope -- just a joke on George's occasionally crazy meddling. (Plus the Yanks might be the only team not to let albatross contracts stop them from signing whoever they want anyway.)

2005-11-16 10:50:50
26.   pistolpete
"I guess I'm OK with Sturtze as long as he's kept on a short leash. If he's there to provide depth in a weak free agent market, fine. But at the first sign of extended trouble - buh-bye. The Yanks can afford to eat the $1.5 million if push comes to shove"

My thoughts exactly- Sturtze can be very effective as long as he's limited to 2-3 appearances a week (3 is pushing it)...

2005-11-16 10:58:25
27.   rbj
Sturtze is ok at that price; didn't his decline really begin after he had a start, going 5 innings? No more starts for you, Tanyon.
The Matsui deal is fine, when I saw the Yanks play at Comerica this summer there were a bunch of Japanese (tourists I suppose, maybe locals) wearing his jersey. It's about extending the brand.
2005-11-16 11:25:11
28.   wsporter
If we have B Donnelly and K-Rod down stairs I'm all for the Columbus Shuttle. Gordon, Ryan and Farnsworth make a nice sounding setup for Mo. I wouldn't call Quantrill, Stanton and Karsay big arms anyway. 97 mph with movement can cure a lot that ails you in the eighth inning. Seems to me we haven't had enough of that around here in a while. Smart management doesn't mean winning on the cheap it means spending it where you need it on assets that are likely to yield positive returns. This isn't the time to turn cheap. Christ I don't think I could bear to hear Lupica's bleating next year when it goes smash if we try to rely on the Columbus Shuttle anyway. Just imagine that for a minute. Ugh. Gordon wears down because he's overused just like Sturtze. He's good and knows how to pitch. If we can spread him out because we put talent around him he'll be pretty good through October. We can get the payroll down if your worried about it and still make smart moves on major leaguers who can pitch. I'm not saying Bean or Anderson can't or shouldn't be part of the mix but we shouldn't have to rely on them. We don't have to.
2005-11-16 12:56:26
29.   Alex Belth
4:00 pm

Yo, not for nothing but my brother lives in Inwood, which is sometimes referred to as Upstate Manhattan. There are a series of baseball fields directly across the street from his apartment. His wife just called to say that Hideki Matsui is pitching bp to some kids Japanese team there right now as part of some kind of filmed promo. Dude, Godzilla is in Inwood. How dope is that?

2005-11-16 13:17:20
30.   Nick from Washington Heights
To think! I played SS in little league on those very fields. I hope he's not fielding any groundballs. Those fields are bumpy.
2005-11-16 13:23:46
31.   Shaun P
Godzilla pitching BP to some kids in Inwood? Reminds of Mantle's stickball home run in the "Me & Julio Down By the Schoolyard" video. Nice.

I mentioned this elsewhere, but isn't KC saying they've got lots of cash to spend this year? Damon did come up with the Royals . . . wonder if they'd be dumb enough to shell out 7 yrs/$84 mil (or even say 5 yrs/$60 mil)?? Not that Damon would go there, but I wonder.

2005-11-16 13:25:07
32.   Simone
Good news about Matsui. Given the revenues he generates for George, Matsui is worth every penny.

The one thing I don't like is vibe I've seen in a few articles about tension with Sheffield due to Matsui's salary. Kepner of the NY Times said that the Yankees could ease that situation by picking up Sheffield's option for 2007 during Spring Training. To which I respond, "hell no!" The log jam at DH will probably be out of control by the end of 2006.

I don't mind the Yankee picking up Sturtze's option. He is an arm.

2005-11-16 13:26:00
33.   jalexei
"Yo, not for nothing but my brother lives in Inwood, which is sometimes referred to as Upstate Manhattan."

My Mom was born and raised there...

2005-11-16 14:49:42
34.   YankeeInMichigan
By "big arms," I meant Big Name Arms with Big Pricetags to match. The problem with that approach is that, beyond the really small elite class, relievers are a volatile bunch who can lose their stuff or get hurt on a moment's notice. If you have spent $3-4 million a year on a multi-year contract on such a reliever, your cost is sunk, since such a player can be neither optioned nor moved. Kyle Farnsworth is certainly worth more than James Cox, but not 5 million dollars more, as Farnsworth may become next year's Brad Looper and Cox may become next year's Huston Street.

As for Gordon, he is 38 (a year older than Quantrill), and he has thrown more innings in his career than any reliever not named Mulholland, Swindell or Frasero. 89 innings at age 36 was too much for him. 80 innings at age 37 was too much for him. What can we expect at ages 38 and 39 (and 40 -- I read somewhere that he is seeking a 3-year deal)? As a multi-million dollar bullpen stud, his days are done.

2005-11-16 15:47:58
35.   randym77
Wow, Hideki can pitch? No wonder they're willing to pay him $50 million. ;-)
2005-11-16 16:51:37
36.   Zack
"Anybody hear Cameron went to the Padres? Just wondering if someone could confim that..."

It hasn't been completed yet but is very close...that might pull the Mets out of the manny situation, no?

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