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The First Cut's the Weakest
2006-03-06 11:41
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The Yankees made their first cuts of the spring on Sunday, reassigning catcher Jose Gil and pitchers Jorge DePaula, Stephen White and Kris Wilson to minor league camp. Of the four, only DePaula saw game action this spring, surrendering three runs on a walk and a pair of homers by Ryan Howard and Aaron Rowand (the latter of whom had been hit on the wrist by Jaret Wright in his previous at-bat). Gil is a low-minors prospect who could use to play more often than he would have with the big boys this spring. White is a mid-level prospect coming off an injury-plagued season who could likely use same. Wilson, 29, is a never-was who won't be, the Yankees having used up their miracle juice on Aaron Small last year. DePaula, now 27 and nearly two years away from his Tommy John surgery, has just reached that status.

Elsewhere, it appears that Al Leiter doesn't really have any designs on breaking camp with the Yankees, but rather signed his minor league deal so that he'd be available for the World Baseball Classic (not that he needed the contract to make the Classic, but that, unlike Roger Clemens, he wasn't guaranteed a roster spot and needed a place to stay in shape and keep his name in the mind of US manager Buck Martinez). Some choice quotes from Senator Al: "This could be the last thing I do, very much so." "My mind was more on this than the other [making the Yankees]." "When this is over, Roger will pitch. For me, this could be it."

For all intents and purposes, this means that Al's minor league deal is something of a sham, and that we can more or less place him on the cut list with DePaula et. al. The primary beneficiary of this revelation is Matt Smith, who looked sharp striking out two in a 1-2-3 ninth in Thursday's opener.

Comments
2006-03-06 14:06:39
1.   rsmith51
Can someone explain why the Yanks offered Leiter arbitration?
2006-03-06 14:09:03
2.   Voxter
I thought Republicans hated welfare.
2006-03-06 15:32:17
3.   Start Spreading the News
Am I wrong? But if you offer someone arbitration and they turn it down and sign somewhere else, you get a draft pick? Don't you also get more time to negotiate with them?

For example, Yanks offered Bernie arbitration with the understanding that he would turn it down so they would have more time to negotiate.

But I could be wrong. This is all from fuzzy memory.

2006-03-06 16:16:09
4.   joejoejoe
Does anyone have any info on the relative defensive skills of Kevin Thompson, Bubba Crosby, and Kevin Reese?

And any thoughts on signing Pokey Reese? I think he'd be a great pick-up and add some quality depth in case of injury.

2006-03-06 16:52:30
5.   Jeteupthemiddle
I imagine that at some point out pitching staff will go from 12 to 11. Last year we started out with 12 as will (I think?) and it got trimmed down.

I like what they are doing with the bullpen right now. Throw lots of people at the wall, and see who sticks.

Personally, I think that both Sturtze and Villone will be released at some point this season, with Cox and a position player taking their spots.

I wouldn't mind signing Pokey Reese to be a bench player, unfortunately that will mess with the "throw them at the wall" bullpen...unless Reese is willing to sign a minor league deal.

2006-03-06 17:09:11
6.   Cliff Corcoran
Pokey Reese is a hell of a glove, but he makes Miguel Cairo look like Babe Ruth at the plate. Reese also appears to be having some personal problems that might prevent him from contributing to any team right about now.

SSTN has it right about arbitration. I explained it all at the time in this post:

https://bronxbanter.baseballtoaster.com/archives/298991.html

At the arbitration deadline, the Yankees had niether signed Myers, nor traded for Villone, thus they offered arbitration to Leiter to give him a shot at the LOOGY job, recognizing that he was likely to retire and, quite possibly, with an off-the-record agreement that he would not accept.

2006-03-06 21:00:08
7.   strangeluck
from what I've read/heard, Reese would be a Hideki Matsui kind of center fielder; passable, but not that good. Thompson's pretty good, as he's got some excellent speed, but he sometimes takes bad routes.

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