The Yankees completed a two-year, $3.5 million deal with right-handed pitcher Jon Lieber yesterday according to a report to espn.
The deal, which the Yankees have not yet announced, calls for a signing bonus and the minimum $300,000 salary this year. New York gets an $8 million club option for 2005.
There was noise about the Yankees screwing the Red Sox again, which proved to be exaggerated. According to Joel Sherman in the Post:
As with luring Jose Contreras and steering Bartolo Colon to the White Sox, the Yanks thwarted a Red Sox effort to land a pitcher. But a Boston official said the Red Sox had made no offer to Liever and were not willing to make a serious investmnet in a plyer with considerable health issues. Also, Lieber's agent, Rex Gary, while acknowledging Boston's interest, said, "it would be wrong to make this a Yankee vs.Red Sox thing. The Yankees got to the forefront and stayed there weeks ago. This was not a situation in which we were going back and forth between the Yankees and the Red Sox."
I asked some National League friends what they made of Lieber. Christian Ruzich, who runs The Cub Reporter said:
Lieber is a very good pitcher. Average stuff, yeah, but great control. Great K/BB ratio, sucks up a lot of innings. He's coming back from surgery, but he'll only be 33 this year, so it could be a nice pickup for the Yankees. I had really hoped that the Cubs would find a way to bring him back. He's been one of my favorites, and not only because he's almost exactly my age (4 days younger).
I also asked my cousin Gabe, the Mets fan, if Lieber was a better version of Steve Traschel, and he replied that Trashcan never won twenty games pitching in Wrigley Field.
I'd say Lieber's more like Bob Ojeda than Steve Trachsel. He's a great fourth or fifth starter, and even a decent three guy if you play in a weak division.
As for Pudge Rodriguez, he turned down a 3-year deal from the Orioles and signed a 1-year, $10 million contract to play for the Florida Marlins in his home town, Miami.
Jim Beattie, Baltimore's executive vice president of baseball operations, had been trying to sign Rodriguez. "I thought Ivan was a very good fit for us, playing in the AL, where he could be a designated hitter when he wasn't catching," Beattie said. "But he lives in Miami, and I'm sure those were among his considerations. We spent most of the day talking about a three-year deal, but I guess he wanted to go with more money and a shorter term. I would have been discouraged if we paid more money than we were comfortable with. The offer we made was what we thought was an appropriate amount of money."
Dave Hyde, columnist for the Miami Sun-Sentinel gives his take on the signing here.
For what it's worth, the NL East now sports a nifty group of recievers in Pudge, Piazza, Mike Lieberthal, Michael Barrett, and uh-hum, Maddog's boy, Javey Lopez.
SPOILED JOCKS BETTER THAN LOUSY WRITERS
Michiko Kakutani reviewed Norman Mailer's new book on writing, "The Spooky Art: Some Thoughts on Writing" yesterday in the New York Times. Next time you hear someone killing celebrity jocks, consider the emis* according to Stormin' Norman:
People are always complaining in sports about how much money these athletes get. At least those athletes can answer, 'I'm getting that money because I'm the best in my field.' In literature it's exactly the oppostie. It's the mediocrities who make the mega-sums. That was always true to a degree, but it's intensified considerably.