Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
One Ringy-Dingy
2005-12-14 06:31
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

So far Joe Torre is 1-3 in his recruiting phone calls this winter (Farnsworth, check; Giles, Eyre, nope). Torre told reporters yesterday that he had a general conversation with free agent Nomar Garciaparra. Newsday is reporting that Torre also spoke with Johnny Damon. I don't expect either of 'em to end up in New York, do you?

Meanwhile, the Bombers aren't thrilled about Chien-Ming Wang pitching the WBC this spring, but they may not have a cherce in the matter.

2005-12-14 06:56:21
1.   Murray
I consider a transit strike in New York more likely than Johnny Planet of the Apes signing with the Yankees. Does Garciaparra have a lot of offers?
2005-12-14 06:57:56
2.   kylepetterson
According to ESPN Radio this morning, quite a few of the teams interested in Mr. Garciaparra were dropping out as the price started going up, leaving only the yanks and a few others with the financial fortitude to complete any type of deal.
2005-12-14 07:24:20
3.   Sliced Bread
If People magazine or US Weekly covered the latest Yankees hot stove "developments":

Russell Crowe is slightly more effective than Joe Torre when it comes to connecting with people via the phone (remember the Gladiator was arrested for hurling a phone at a NY hotel employee?), but I wouldn't be surprised if Nomar answers Jedi Joe's call to the Bronx.

I think Nomar's competitive nature will compel him to want to prove himself on the biggest stage in baseball alongside Jeter and Rodriguez.

I imagine Torre assured Nomar that there would be a place for him somewhere in the lineup everyday, and that he would be allowed to carve out a comfortable niche for himself on the Yanks.

I think the Yanks will nab Nomar.

Funny, I think the crazier BoSox fans would trade Beckett for Pavano today if it would somehow prevent their long-lost Nomar from signing here.

Damon prediction? Back to Boston for a 5 year term that will make Arnold's governorship look like an everlasting honeymoon.

Boston's re-newed wedding vows with Johnny will last about as long as Nick Lachey's marriage to Jessica Simpson, 3 years tops.

2005-12-14 08:02:07
4.   Dimelo
I actually have a good vibe that Nomar will sign with the Yanks. However, I'd like to see how he's used. I think he should be a super-utility player. I like the plans NoMass had for him. He can still run the bases well, he won't steal bases but he's not slow and can spell Giambi during the 8th or 9th innings. Last and not least, he'll piss off all the f'en Sawx fans.
2005-12-14 08:06:49
5.   Ben
My sympathies to Rob Gee, i just read that Milton Bradley was traded to the A's. Without knowing a lick about the guy, there was a strong case made for him on these pages. Oh well.

If they can get Nomar, however.... spell Sheffield in Right, spell Giambi at first, DH, wow. I'd much rather see him playing than Damon, who woud've been fun a few years back, but now just seems like a silly move.

staying tuned...

2005-12-14 08:13:05
6.   vockins
I'm interested how Vasquez is going to turn out with the White Sox. His performance this year will probably cement my wavering opinion on Mel.

site related:

The "Evil Empire" tshirt google ad doesn't work.

I'm not in the market for an evil empire tshirt, but I like to click the links a few times during every visit so you guys get paid in full. I wasn't sure if that happened if the link was broken.

2005-12-14 08:17:48
7.   unpopster
just a thought: Does Milton Bradley's trade to the A's open up CF in Dodgerland for a last minute attempt at Damon?

My preference is that Johnny Jesus leave the AL East all together. I would absolutely hate to see him on the Yanks and I can do without seeing him on the Sox too.

2005-12-14 08:22:53
8.   Cliff Corcoran
If the price is going up on Nomar, the Yankees should cut and run. There's no guarantee he's going to make it out of spring training with his legs still attached to his body. He may have a huge upside, but the Yanks, or anyone else for that matter, would be best to avoid anything other than an incentive-lade make-good contract. I smell Juan Gonzalez: a new team and a new injury every year.
2005-12-14 08:25:26
9.   Cliff Corcoran
unpopster, my question is does the Bradley deal free up Jay Payton or Mark Kotsay for the Yanks, and if so can the Yankees afford what Beane will demand and if so, should they?
2005-12-14 08:39:53
10.   Simone
I don't think that Nomar is signing with the Yankees, but having his bat in the line up would be a major plus. It would make Bubba in center (if that does happen) more tolerable.
2005-12-14 08:47:57
11.   joejoejoe
All the reports I see say Nomar only wants a one year contract. If that's the case I say roll the dice at any price. If Nomar becomes a heavy hitting Chone Figgins (sans SB) then the Yanks are going to be a juggernaut offense. And since it will drive Red Sox fans crazy, I'm all for it.
2005-12-14 08:48:05
12.   Sliced Bread
Mr. Corcoran,

Nomar's legs don't necessarily have to be attached to his torso for him to be better than 99% of the "utility players" out there (not named Figgins).

Like a temperamental old Saab convertible with a quirky clutch, he'll run great, and turn heads when he's not in the shop for repairs.

He's no lemon, but, as you suggest, should be leased for 1 year, with incentives galore, and one of those bumper-to-bumper warranties.

Or, if you prefer something more practical, there's a reliable Camry named Cairo still available.

2005-12-14 08:54:14
13.   wsporter
Beane is usually the ultimate bargain shopper: when he buys he pays nothing, when he sells he gets top dollar. Count your fingers after you shake hands with the guy and check to make sure you are still wearing underwear when you leave the room, he's a slippery fellow. Kotsay has been puffed up into something special. I'm not sure why because he most certainly is not. If I were Cashman I'd stay away from Mr. Beane on this one. Somebody is going to overpay for Kotsay if he is moved, I hope it's not us.
2005-12-14 09:27:21
14.   Dimelo
vockins, How is Javy's performance and him going to the WS going to cement your opinion on Mel?

Did you see his numbers in Arizona?
4.423 ERA/215 IP/11 W/15 L/223 HA

With the Yanks:
4.909 ERA/198 IP/14 W/10 L/195 HA

Looks like the same crappy pitcher to me. Don't start blaming Mel for anything, pah-lease....we can turn that leaf over already. It's like when people leave my job and people feel the need to bad mouth that person in order to justify their shitty work ethic. Not saying that's what you were doing, vockins, but let's not blame anything else on Mel. He was the pitching coach when we won 4 championships, he was fine then and now we want to bad mouth him. Let us let Mel live in peace.

2005-12-14 09:28:34
15.   Dimelo
Kotsay's numbers are nothing to write home about. He doesn't have a great OBP, he'll be a bottom of the lineup kind of guy. I'd trade Melky for him straight up. Nothing more, nothing less.
2005-12-14 09:35:39
16.   YankeeInMichigan
I am sure that all MLB teams share the Yankees' concern regarding their pitchers participating in the WBC. The WBC needs to run under the assumption that the players will be playing March baseball, not April baseball. No one should be accelerating ones throwing program (or batting or conditioning program, for that matter -- it concerns me that A-Rod is hitting the batting cages two weeks ahead of schedule; does that mean the by October, he will be in November shape?).

This restriction should not be too onerous. After a winter with no baseball, exhibition-quality games can satisfy a fan's thirst. What scares me is that countries other than the US are going to take this thing too seriously and may preassure players and managers to go the "extra mile."

An additional concern with Wang (and Matsui) is the travel. These players will need to report to spring training in Tampa, fly to Tokyo for the first round and then return to the US. We saw what effects a spring visit to the Far East had on the Yankees in 2004.

2005-12-14 09:45:59
17.   Zavo
At 1 year and $4 or $5 million, I like the idea of Nomar's bat in the lineup, but what makes anyone think he can be a "super-sub" and play all over the field? He isn't Chone Figgins.

Nomar has played 34 career games at 3B (where the Yanks hopefully don't need him) 1 game at 2B, and the rest at SS. He has never played the OF or 1B, where the Yankees might need defensive upgrades the most. Add to that the fact he has been injured the past 2 years and has probably lost some speed and agility.

It might be worth the risk to see if he can do it, but my expectations for what he could do defensively all over the diamond would be low.

2005-12-14 09:48:30
18.   BklynBomber
Cliff, today's SF Chron is reporting Bradley will play right, Kotsay remaining in center, with Payton in left. Not a bad outfield, and Beane sounds pretty content with it...
2005-12-14 09:56:31
19.   vockins

I am well aware that Vasquez and Halsey sucked it up in AZ. In addition, I am not of the opinion that Mel was a lousy pitching coach. Mel did all right by any measure.

What will be cemented for me is how Mel compares to other pitching coaches in the league. Maybe the sample size is too small, and there are certainly many variables in the pitching performance equation, but if Vasquez returns to Expos form, it's safe to say that the White Sox have some serious pitching coaching voodoo going on. It's pretty safe to say that already.

2005-12-14 10:04:48
20.   kylepetterson
Not that the yanks listen to me, (and history has proven that to be fairly prudent) but I still don't know that I like the idea of Nomar @ 1st and Giambi @ DH. I do, however, like that Jeter CF, A-Rod SS, ? 3B rumor more and more....
2005-12-14 10:38:38
21.   sabernar
I'm not sure how healthy Nomar could be, but after he got back from his injury last season, he had over 170 AB with an OPS of around .900. Not bad. Granted the sample size is a little small, but it's promising. He just needs to stay healthy.
2005-12-14 11:17:49
22.   Alex Belth
Bill Mueller just signed a two-year deal with the Dodgers...
2005-12-14 11:23:48
23.   Rob Gee
As I begin my travels I couldn't resist one last attempt to connect with the BB crew.

After I had some time to think about it... the MIL-ton trade is driving me f'in insane. That man Beane got two legit, talented, and cheap ML'ers for a freakin AA prospect. The best part - neither will be free-agents for at least two or three years. They aren't going anywhere.

Am I the only one in both awe and rage?

Think about it for a nanosecond. You have a stock that shows signs of high value but really isn't proven and you trade it for two establish commodities. Besides again the obvious character issue, the Yankees couldn't swing a deal for Crazy Uncle MIL-ton? The price was oh so right, esp. since we didn't need to trade even a Pavano, or Wang, or Cano. And he was on an arbitration one-year contract. And he was talented. And we was young. And we was a starting CF with pop. And he has a throwing arm. Where was this a bad deal? Cashman: with all your newfound power - get some testicular fortitude, biatch!

This non-move will haunt me all next year. Prediction: Milton has a solid season (.850 OPS, 25, 110). And if we're still looking for a CF in July, after three years, Cashman needs to be fired. Any idiot can sign A.Jones or Beltran. The best FO minds create value from what they have. Trading a AA prospect for 2 ML'ers is amazing. There's risk, always is, but you minimize it and take an informed leap-of-faith when the prospects can really get you something. The last time the Yanks did that was the A-Rod deal, and then it looked like Soriano was a superstar (he wasn't). But I'm not even sure that qualifies because Sori was a full-time ML'er.

This off-season has shown nothing close, unless you live in Boston. In the immediate past, between the Vasquez and Johnson trades, we've lost a ton of value - please someone with time break it down. For Unit, if you include the Vazquez deal, we lost at least 5 prospects. In return, we got a very old top of the rotation starter. We lost big-time value there. And any chance for a apprentice catcher, which we're going to need very very soon, was also lost.

During the Cashman tenure, besides the A-Rod deal, can anyone name an instance where we brought back more than we gave? Even after a national best-seller documented how Beane does it (i.e., it's no secret), how is it that he does it again and again? Don't believe me? Don't worry. I'll be sure to track and share Milton's season. I've been driven so insane I'll have to. And if I'm wrong, I'll learn to like the taste of crow.

If we overpay for Kotsay and Payton (and Beane does it again), I may just move to India, play cricket, and keep an eye out for our starting CF in 2025.

Happy holidays!

2005-12-14 11:33:03
24.   kylepetterson
Rob Gee was really MIL-ton all along!

"And I would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!"

2005-12-14 11:38:44
25.   Rob Gee
All work and no play makes Rob a dull boy. All work and no play makes Rob a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Rob a dull boy.

Baseball America chat right now on
Ohad (Oakland)
Andre Ethier was traded away for Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez. What's your view on this trade, and what can we expect from each of these players next year?

Good way to start, it's been such an active trade market. This one's a head scratcher for me. Bradley for Ethier makes sense; the Dodgers just had to move on with Bradley, and Ethier is a solid prospect, great year, kind of a tweener. Why Antonio Perez was thrown in by the Dodgers, with nothing in return there, I don't know that answer. I was surprised. Ethier was in the A's top 10 prospects (still will be, the Prospect Handbook is so close to going to press, we have to stick to our transaction deadline) and will not make the Dodgers' top 10. Perez could be in Oakland's 2B mix in '06, and Bradley probably hits in the middle of their order. On paper, the A's come out ahead here.

2005-12-14 11:41:07
26.   Dimelo
Beane did fleece the Dodgers.
2005-12-14 11:50:14
27.   standuptriple
Yeah, I don't know how BB pulls this stuff off. I must admit though, I do enjoy watching the A's scrap it out every year. It's hard not to pull for young unproven players to succeed. Then when the Yanks come to town they win the series and I'm content. I do find it surprising that MB will play RF after his complaining about not getting the CF starts when JD was healthy. As far as I know the A's don't have a clubhouse jerk (ie Kent) in the clubhouse and the East Bay media is pretty tame. MB shouldn't have too hard of a time adjusting/blending in.
I have to express that I think Vasquez is an NL guy only. Look for similar, if not worse, stats from him than his Yankee days.
2005-12-14 11:53:23
28.   Sliced Bread
No Milton Bradley. Damn. So this means the Yanks will have to look further for a center fielder, and a crazy malcontent.

I hope they find one soon.

I also hope Bill Mueller uses his "change of address" form to correct the spelling of his last name.

2005-12-14 11:56:00
29.   Eric
Jeter was on WFAN w/Mike & the Maddog and when they asked him about playing centerfield, he started to laugh.
2005-12-14 12:10:08
30.   wsporter

"...(T)he As don't have a clubhouse Jerk"?
They do now.

2005-12-14 12:14:25
31.   yankee23
Klapisch just came out with an article on with this little tidbit:

"The Bombers are poised for an intense courtship of Roger Clemens beginning in January, and are so intent on stealing Damon away from the Red Sox, Joe Torre personally called the free-agent center fielder on Tuesday, according to Newsday."

I can't say I'd mind having Clemens again, but I'm vehemently opposed to having Johnny Damon. Unless maybe it's a 1 or 2 year deal, but we know how Boras is about that...

2005-12-14 12:45:51
32.   jalexei
For everything negative I've heard about Milton's temperment, a man who has a problem with Jeff Kent is man I can get behind.

Damon: I have to admit I like the guy. Ever since that time Mo returned mid-game from Panama after the family tragedy and Damon gave him a tip o' the cap from center I thought he was classier than I would have given him credit for. But I sure as heck don't want him on my team at anywhere near the dollars Boras must be looking for.

Nomar? If it's a short, incentive-laden deal I say bring it on. What's the worst that could happen, other than mentally damaging all the kids who witness his legs literally fly off his body whilst running to first. It'll be this generation's Joe Thiesman moment...

2005-12-14 13:07:11
33.   Robert Daeley
Dodgers fan here sneaking in from Dodger Thoughts...

Milton's personality difficulties and risks aside (don't forget he's coming off a serious knee injury, too) the side story on Antonio Perez is that he took a ball to the face in the Dominican League a few weeks ago and fractured his cheekbone. That combined with his uneven play and reported bad attitude last year makes the Oakland deal less of a fleece than it might at first appear.

Now, on the subject of ex-Sox, I wonder if our boys in blue can expect both Damon and Garciaparra in our stocking this Xmas? ;)

2005-12-14 14:14:30
34.   Dimelo
This is reason #1 why Torre wasn't ready to leave the Yanks. If he had, he'd realize it isn't as nice being a "regular".

Lastly, me being the nice guy that I am...I thought I'd share this nice piece about John Daly. I don't like golf, but I thought this was nice to read (err, look at) while on the company's dime.

2005-12-14 14:27:10
35.   joejoejoe
"The Bombers are so intent on stealing _____ away from the _____, Joe Torre personally called the free-agent ______ on Tuesday, according to Newsday."

I would imagine on any deal over $5m/year Torre gives a call as standard procedure, per Cashman, not as any kind of grand gesture. It's a phone call and the papers act like Joe Torre personally knit a Yankees jersey with free agent _____'s name on it. Is it that big a deal to make a phone call? What is Joe Torre doing in December that he can't make three or thirty phone calls for the employer that pays him $6 million dollars a year. Alexander Graham Bell got less good press for making phone calls.

2005-12-14 15:17:57
36.   wsporter

Same thing struck me. I'll go bumper to bumper with anyone in my admiration for Joe Torre but that stuff is a bit much. I'll bet he's laughing his ass off if he's seen it. BTW, nice line on A.G. Bell. I may borrow it. I'll footnote of course.

2005-12-14 15:56:30
37.   Zack

Klapisch's article is rediculous on many levels, which is too bad as he is normally at least somewhat decent, but please, hold off on the Yankees are not doing anythign and looking inert crapola. If these journalists took the time to actually do their work, look realisticly at whats going on, and check sites like this, they would realize that signing Damon just to try and one p the Mets is the last thing the Yankees need to be doing. Let me know when the Mets actually put together a solid season, then we can talk...

2005-12-14 16:10:10
38.   Simone
The Klapisch article is the typical off season dribble. He didn't even seem to know what he was trying to say. It was like he wanted to commit to the Mets being the biggest thing in town now, but just couldn't bring himself to put his neck out there.
2005-12-14 16:26:42
39.   rsmith51
The Yanks offered Sheffield for Cameron? I don't think so. Maybe in a package...
2005-12-14 16:46:40
40.   Stormer Sports
I think it is absolutely ridiculous that the Yankees are entertaing a deal to sign Nomar. What is Cashman's philospohy, if it doesn't work, continue passed Go and do it again?

1. Giambi's average is night and day different when playing the field.
2. Hey, he is still a better choice defensivley than Carlos Del-gaffo.
3. We do not need him, we need a DH. Sierra and Bernie wont cut it. If we cannot locate a viable DH, well, then we play with what we have next year.
4. Nomar is too risky. We have minor leaguers who can play 1st, Outfield etc, and it is high time we find the next Bernie, Po, Mo, or Jete and give them a chance to play. Another thirty-something has been aint the answer.

If it doesn't improve the team, don't do it Cash. Giambino is a no brainer at first! Sometimes the best course of action is to do nothing at all.

2005-12-14 17:02:16
41.   Nick from Washington Heights
Nomar's certainly a risk, but is he really a ridiculous risk? All reports indicate that he's looking for a one-year deal, so if it doesn't work out, he's out the door in 2007. He'd be blocking the way of probably only one viable young player in our system (Phillips, who is 27 or 28 and, at this point, not very young). As a stop-gap you could do a lot worse (like putting Bernie in the role of DH/positional replacement and relying on Escalona to back up infield positions-incidentally that would be playing with what we have next year). The sad truth is that right now at the triple A level there are no future Jeters, Bernies or Pos. There are certainly pitchers, such as Henn, Hughes, Matt Smith, etc who could be useful players on the staff, but no positional prospects that could match Nomar's potential value.
2005-12-14 17:04:31
42.   Levy2020
You know who I'd like to see DH for a year? Frank Thomas. He still has the power.

I don't know why everyone's down on Bubba. I think he should be judged by his Sept. & Oct. numbers when he was finally getting regular playing time.

In Sept. & Oct, Bubba had a .339 OBP. Bradley had .350 over the whole year and is a nut. Yeah, Bradley has a higher slugging percentage, but I can't believe anyone out there is saying that the Yankees should have traded (that is to say given anything) for ADDITIONAL power. The whole goal this offseason should be to shore up the bullpen and rebuild the farm system.

And if they can get Rocket - score.

2005-12-14 18:05:18
43.   vockins
Johnny Damon in Sept/Oct. - .290/.337/.366

Bubba Crosby in Sept./Oct. - .321/.333/.410

Regular play Bubba looks good to me. If he walks a little more, then look out! Give the guy a chance.

2005-12-14 23:09:21
44.   Stormer Sports
Levy, You do not want Frank Thomas, no, no, no. There are far too many reasons why that's a bad idea than I can even explain. Good, yes. Is he a team guy, umm, no. I have put out a "No Punks" sign outside 161st.

I agree with you about Bubba. It is in line with what I am sayng: Start Bubba, start Giambi (his Avg/Pwr are much better when he also plays defensively) and stick with what we got. We do not need Nomar to replace Giambi, just say that out loud a few times "Nomar instead of Giambi." Think about what Giambi did for this club last year, come on. He was under incredible almost immeasurable pressure, both internal and external, from the press and public, AND he did what? He stepped up big time and carried us for over a month!

Stop all this Nomar talk.

Further, do not underestimate the Yankees positional player pool in the Minors, I have a good feeling we have at least two solid Outfielders and am optimistuc of others.

Boston has been shrewd to be sure, picking up Lowell, Beckett and Mota recently. They may also add Miguel Tejada.

We do not need to do something just to do it. We can beat them with what we have.

2005-12-14 23:10:22
45.   Stormer Sports
They are not going to get the Rocket. I cannot believe the press is taking that seriously.
2005-12-14 23:21:13
46.   Stormer Sports
"The Mets could've made a deal. They could've taken the Yankees up on their offer of Gary Sheffield for Cameron. But the trade was nixed at the highest levels in Queens, where one Met executive told a go-between, "Why should we help the Yankees get over the top? Why?""

I find it hard to beileve that anyone credible at the Mets believed, or said, that Mike Cameron for Gary Sheffield would actually help the Yankees more so that the Mets, come on Klapisch.

2005-12-15 04:13:46
47.   joejoejoe has a great take on the Cashman & Torre phone call racket. It's got more insight into how Cashman actually operate than you will ever read in the dailies. Go read the inaugural comic "The Adventures of Ca$hMoney". It's milk snorting funny.

2005-12-15 22:38:21
48.   Stormer Sports
"Give Sheffield 20 games at DH and stick Nomar in RF. Give Matsui 15 games at DH and stick him in LF. Give Giambi 50 games at DH and stick Nomar at first. Give Rodriguez 10 games off at DH and stick Nomar at third, Give Jeter 10 games off at SS and stick Nomar at short. Give Cano 10 games off and stick Nomar at second. That's 115 games in the field.

All I can say is wow. Then what do you give Nomar, a pat on the ass. That is an awful lot to ask of someone.

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