Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Well, They Can't Be Worse, Can They?
2006-02-27 05:38
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The special Negro League Hall of Fame vote will be announced later today (this article in the Times is worth checking out for the photograph alone)--here's hoping it'll be a memorable day. In the meantime, the Yankees begin their exhibition season this Thursday. Randy Johnson threw another bp session yesterday; Joe Torre is pleased with what he's seen from Al Leiter thus far. Tyler Kepner covers Carl Pavano in the Times:

Asked how important Pavano's recovery was to the Yankees, Torre did not hesitate.

"Major," Torre said. "I think he's major for us, and the reason I say that is because of his youth, for one, where he can take a good portion of the workload. That about covers it, really. He just never got into a groove of any kind, just never got there. But he's major for us."

Bill Madden has a piece on Bernie Williams in the News:

"Last year was a wake-up call for me," Williams said. "It seemed like I was breaking someone's record or passing some milestone and that was not my focus. Given my situation, with my playing time being reduced, it was very frustrating for me. When they signed me this winter, they were expecting me to accept a certain role.

"Last year it was more confusing. Once you get used to playing every day and (suddenly) they're bringing in this guy and that guy to see what happens. I wasn't used to that. This year, it's been made very clear to me: 'You're not gonna be the center fielder. That's the offer, take it or leave it.'"

The Yanks will be in good shape if Pavano and Bernie are even reasonably productive this year, no?

2006-02-27 06:31:24
1.   mikeplugh
Hey Alex. Nice post.

Funny that you mentioned the piece on Bernie because I read it too and decided to write a little something myself. Bernie was my favorite Yankee for a very long time and this year means a lot to me. I was prepared to fee the pain of watching him in another uniform this season, and often wished he would simply retire.

Thankfully, as he wants to play one more season he'll be doing it for us and I'm ready to throw all my feverish support behind him whether he produces or not. Check out my little hack piece on #51.

2006-02-27 06:40:18
2.   Rob Gee
Who thinks this team needs an identity?

Bernie does:

2006-02-27 07:01:17
3.   Alex Belth
Thanks to Rob for linking Tim Brown's article in the L.A. Times...which I'll liberally excerpt from here:

"I'm going to be completely honest with you," [Williams] said on a recent dank morning at Legends Field. "I think that this year marks the beginning of a slightly different attitude about this club. We were on somewhat of a downfall as far as playing with a killer instinct."

After their appearance in the 2003 World Series, won by the Marlins, the team character shifted, Williams said. It was subtle, so much so as to be unrecognizable in the moment. It all looked like a couple of fat sliders, a fluke four-game losing streak, a sore shoulder or two. But two more seasons and then a winter spent considering his future with the Yankees — and in baseball — brought him somewhat closer to the truth, as he saw it.

"The team was sort of taking for granted we were going to be there every year," he said.

..."What I think kept the team successful all that time was the attitude," Williams said. "We were able to enjoy the success, but put it behind us and then go do it again.

"Some people might not agree with it. I just see the answer to this, as far as the mental attitude."

2006-02-27 07:52:20
4.   jdsarduy
This is a key year for Pavano last yr he might have had a free pass from the press b/c he got hurt but he needs to produce. The Yanks will need him but it's always tough to say with the Yanks.
He didn't do anything for the Yanks last yr and they still won the division. They also didn't lose to the Angels b/c of him being out. Torre really made him go late into games last yr, don't know if he'll do that again in 06. If Pavano can stay healthy, a good yr for him would be winning 16 games.
After his useless 05 and bad off-season, if he doesn't produce he'll be gone, the Yanks will eat a part of his contract and be labeled as a guy who can't pitch in NY.
Jaret Wright might right behind Pavano.
Of course, as I write this, reports say Pavano might start the season on the DL, just great!
Don't know about Bernie I guess if he plays some OF, DH and pitch hits he could be an assent. Lets just hope his numbers don't decline from last yr.
2006-02-27 08:32:14
5.   Zack
I really hope Al does everyone a favor and decides himself to retire, because there is no way he should be on our roster come April. I mean, a) we already have a LOOGEY, and b) We have better and younger options in the minors (already rehashed) and c) we all know that if Lieter makes the team, which Torre will pull for, Torre will use him way way way too often, because he is a warrior.

Sigh...At least its early and he still has time to get lit up in actual games...

2006-02-27 08:37:18
6.   pmarcig
Off topic, but Yankee related; I thought you all might like to read this brief article on Philip Hughes if you haven't already. How long has it been since we've had someone like him in camp?

"He has the best arm in camp, no doubt about it. Better than all these guys," said Posada, pointing to a row of lockers which included Randy Johnson and Mariano Rivera. "I don't care how old he is. He's unbelievable. It's effortless the way the ball comes out of his hand at 95-96. He's that impressive. He's the best prospect we've got. It's fun to see."

2006-02-27 08:42:20
7.   pistolpete
I don't want to prematurely get excited about Hughes, but I'm pretty sick of hearing about all of Boston's pitching prospects - let's get him in there and see what he can do ASAP...
2006-02-27 09:03:11
8.   brockdc
I'm ambivalent on whether or not they should put Hughes on the fast track to the Bronx. On the one hand, he could really infuse the Yanks' staff with much needed youth and dominance; on the other hand, the kid's only 19 and probably should have the opportunity to refine his skills a bit more in the minors.
2006-02-27 09:26:03
9.   wsporter
Hughes is still a baby. He hasn't thrown 200 minor league innings, he hasn't finished a season healthy. Give him some time. No sense in rushing him and ruining him. If you want to rush him let's see if he can handle some innings at Columbus this August. IMO that's the absolute fastest the train he's on should be running. If he's lights out we'll need him more in 2007 anyway. He sounds like he's the goods, why take chances with him when there is no need to?
2006-02-27 09:31:22
10.   pistolpete
Well I wasn't suggesting a 180+ inning workload right off the bat - throw him into the ST games as much as possible, start him off in Columbus, then have him make an appearance or two in the middle of the summer when our 'ancient' starting staff could use a break.
2006-02-27 10:13:11
11.   sam2175
Here is quoting John Sickels from his amazing website which is listed on the right:


Ceiling: number one starter, combination of power and precision is very notable, similar to Prior or perhaps Roger Clemens when his command is on.

CAVEAT: Hughes has significant injury risk and is far from a sure thing. IF HEALTHY, should be ready by '08."

So, I think it is important to be patient. If he works out, the Yankees do not need to go after the annual Clemens-Brown-Johnson routine for quite a few years.

He will start AA, and depending on the number of innings that he manages, will probably move up to AAA sometime late this year. Then he perhaps start AAA in 2007, and joins the rotation/bullpen midway. Ready by 2008, when Johnson's contract expires.

2006-02-27 16:33:24
12.   wsporter
I didn't want to put this in the Buck O'Neal thread and I thought the Canyon of Heroes thread deserved to be on its own but this just cracked me up. It's so typical of the Rocket.

There is no way Clemens is leaving Houston. Can you even imagine buzzing your son? When they made this guy they broke the mold. Rocket you are something else.

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