Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
"A" is for Lefty
2006-12-07 05:18
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

So the word from Andy Pettitte's camp is that the southpaw still wants to pitch in the big leagues. The Yankees are clearly hot for him and are reportedly prepared to pay him $15-16 million for 2007, and perhaps even give him a two-year deal when all is said and done. Now whether Pettitte's agents are using the Bombers simply to get a better deal from the Astros, only time will tell. According to The Houston Chronicle:

The Astros' excitement was a bit tempered by the realization that Pettitte hasn't decided where he will play.

"We certainly are motivated," [GM, Tim] Purpura said. "I think certainly Andy is motivated. I can only control our part of the process. They obviously will talk to other clubs and see what financial parameters they can glean from the other clubs.

"That part of it I can't really tell you. Certainly from our point of view, we're ready to move forward if we can make the right deal."

Meanwhile, Brian Cashman had dinner with Scott Boras, Mike Piazza signed with the A's, Freddy Garcia was moved to Philly, and the Cubs landed Ted Lilly.

Comments (134)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-12-07 05:48:00
1.   Simone
Like I said before, I suspect that Pettitte is just using the Yankees to leverage the Astros. The Yankees offered him a bigger contract when he ran off to the Astros the first time around so I don't see money swaying him to leave the Astros and Clemens.
2006-12-07 05:50:00
2.   Simone
"Without any reinforcements, the Yankees are counting on a healthy return from Pavano."

Kepner has a sense of humor.

2006-12-07 05:58:02
3.   Sliced Bread
A four hour meal with Boras The Spider? Ick.

Which set of his eight eyes would Cashman look into?

2006-12-07 05:59:02
4.   Yankee Fan In Boston
1 according to, the yankees didn't even offer pettite a contract when he signed with houston.

2 alright. i have a feeling that i might potentailly be in the minority, but i am predicting that carl pavano will pitch in at least 20 games this season. will he be wearing a yankee uni when he takes the field? i don't know. my guess is that he pitches and puts up average to slightly below average numbers.

(i have a tendency to be a "glass is half full" kinda guy.)

2006-12-07 06:00:49
5.   Yankee Fan In Boston
3 you don't make eye contact with scott boras. that is how he puts you under his spell, which eventually forces you to empty your wallet.
2006-12-07 06:06:41
6.   Chyll Will
"my guess is that he pitches and puts up average to slightly below average numbers.

(i have a tendency to be a "glass is half full" kinda guy.)"

Wowzers, what's in that glass?

2006-12-07 06:11:23
7.   Yankee Fan In Boston
6 this morning, it happens to be a thermos... equal parts coffee and whiskey.

...unfortunately, only one half is full. (that being the coffee half.)

2006-12-07 06:13:46
8.   jedi
6. "Sir, pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half empty, because 32% means it's two-thirds empty. There's still some liquid in that glass, is my point. But I wouldn't drink it. The last third is usually backwash."

2006-12-07 06:15:16
9.   mehmattski
3Now he's dropped onto the floor
Heading for the bedroom door
Maybe he's as scared as me
Where's he gone now, who can see

Boras the Spider... Boras the Spider...

There he is wrapped in a ball
Doesn't seem to move at all
Perhaps he's dead I'll just make sure
Pick this book up off the floor...

2006-12-07 06:20:14
10.   rbj
4 Those might be 20 "rehab" games with Trenton.
2006-12-07 06:20:55
11.   Yankee Fan In Boston
when i saw this, i thought the ny times was using a sarcastic headline...

2006-12-07 06:21:19
12.   Sliced Bread
9 creepy, crawly
creepy, crawly
creepy-creepy, crawly-crawly
creepy-creepy, crawly-crawly
2006-12-07 06:21:43
13.   domvjr
(9) Nice Who reference!!
2006-12-07 06:22:55
14.   Yankee Fan In Boston
10 that would still be an improvement... i will hold out hope. someone has to. (unless he's traded, but who would want him? the rockies even passed...)
2006-12-07 06:23:41
15.   mehmattski
11 Continuing on the The Who theme, and relevant to this post, even:

Pictures of Lily (on the Cubs) made my life so wonderful
Pictures of Lily (on the Cubs) helped me sleep at night
Pitcures of Lily (not on the Yanks) solved my childhood problems
Pictures of Lily (not on the Yanks) helped me feel alright

2006-12-07 06:25:06
16.   Sliced Bread
15 In other words, "We Won't Get Fooled Again"
2006-12-07 06:31:07
17.   Yankee Fan In Boston
so alex rodriguez would be the yankee connection to "behind blue eyes"?
2006-12-07 06:32:04
18.   C2Coke
The laughters I get from BB is way better than my fix of coffee in the morning.

The biggest year-end fight of 2006:
Boras the Spider v. Cashman the Brain.
Presented by Bronx Banter.

1 I also get a feeling that Pettitte wants a ring at the end to cap off his career. And I hate to say it but I think the Yankees might have a better chance than the Astros.

2006-12-07 06:38:20
19.   Knuckles
Dare I say, that's because "Cash Can See For Miles and Miles and Miles and Miles and Miles"?
2006-12-07 06:43:33
20.   mehmattski
You know I never did understand why they used to play Baba O'Reilly (Teenage Wasteland) when Paul O'Neill came to bat. Is it just the irish name factor?

And of course, to Karim Garcia: "Who are you?"

2006-12-07 06:44:46
21.   Yankee Fan In Boston
i realize that the following remark is a contradiction of my earlier optimism, but i can't resist:

carl pavano's "quadripligia"

2006-12-07 06:53:49
22.   C2Coke
20 I thought the players may choose the song if they wish.
2006-12-07 06:55:06
23.   Sliced Bread
22 I think you're right, and as I recall they also played "Tenth Avenue Freezeout" for O'Neil.
2006-12-07 07:03:01
24.   Dan M
Pavano is more of a "Can't Explain" guy.
2006-12-07 07:06:55
25.   Simone
4 Other media reports at the time had the Yankees reaching out to Andy and letting him know what their offer would be if he returned to the Yankees. One report even stated that the Yankees had Derek Jeter call Andy to find out what he was thinking. There is every indication that Andy didn't sign with the Astros because of the money.
2006-12-07 07:08:53
26.   Simone
18 We'll just have to wait and see what Andy decides. I hope that he returns, but I'm not getting my hopes up until he commits.
2006-12-07 07:17:53
27.   Count Zero
20 I believe the reason behind the Baba O'Reilly song was the first two lines:

Out here in the fields
I fight for my meals

2006-12-07 07:21:59
28.   alsep73
So Cashman picked up Josh Phelps from Baltimore in the Rule 5 draft. Thoughts? Is he an upgrade on Andy at 1B?
2006-12-07 07:24:39
29.   kdw
Phelps, 28, was signed to a minor league deal by the Orioles last month. The former Blue Jay hit .308/.370/.532 with 24 homers in 464 at-bats for Triple-A Toledo last season. He'd make sense for a team with a left-handed-hitting platoon guy at first base or DH, but the Yankees aren't there yet. Phelps' defense is pretty rough, so even though he could surprise with the bat, we're skeptical he'll get a chance to win the starting job at first base.
2006-12-07 07:29:45
30.   monkeypants
28 29 Phelps' career big league numbers are probably about what Andy projects to. So yeah, Phelps gives some depth, but I am not sure he is the RH 1B solution. On the other hand, the team could use him and Guiel as a 1B platoon (Warning: Assumes Torre understands how to platoon players without reverting to Proven Veterans or Miguel Cairo). Also, for a generally impatient organization, at least they know that Phelps has put up a career OPS of around .800, rather than to keep speculating on Andy. Phelps is also 'only' 28-29--a veritable youth movement!
2006-12-07 07:32:19
31.   monkeypants
30 To continue...I still don't know why they didn't give Wilson another look. I mean, if you're going to whisper names such as Hillenbrand and Phelps, then you might as well give Wilson a legitimate shot as a platoon 1B (Warning: Assumes Torre understands how to platoon players without reverting to Proven Veterans or Miguel Cairo).
2006-12-07 07:42:18
32.   RIYank
Oh man, I can't resist.

Pavano's theme song: "Miracle Cure"
Motif for Rob, Melk, C-M: "The Kids are Alright" (or "My Generation")
A-Rod: "(Can You See the) Real Me"
Ca$hman: "(I Call That a) Bargain"

2006-12-07 07:56:09
33.   standuptriple
When I think Pavano I can't help but think "Substitute".
2006-12-07 07:59:46
34.   Jim Dean
The most recent post on LoHud says that Cashman is going into the Spring with Nieves and Chavez as his backups at C. Let's really hope that this isn't another learning experience for Cash. I'd hate to chicken little but we saw last year with the SUx what happens when your catcher goes down for any length of time and there's no suitable replacement in place. And Mirabelli, even at age 35, is a step up from Nieves and Chavez. Let's hope that Cashman is bluffing to prevent other teams (Sux) from dipping itno the same backup pool. But the Sux at least have a prospect, however marginal, in Kottaras.
2006-12-07 08:04:30
35.   rbj
To keep with The Who theme, does this mean the Yankees have to get Kris Benson for "Momma's got a Squeezebox"?
2006-12-07 08:06:03
36.   mehmattski
Cashman must see something in Phelps that Rotoworld doesn't though, because it means that Phelps has to be on the 25 man roster for all of 2007. If Phelps doesn't make the team, he has to be offered back to the Orioles for $25,000 (half of what Cash owes Baltimore for the Rule V claim).

Phelps 1203 .268 53
Phillips 264 .218 -4

They both played extensively in the International League as 28 year olds:
Phelps: .308/.370/.532 24 HR
Phillips: .300/.379/.573 22 HR

Have we seen what Phillips is truly capable of at a major league level? Probably not... but Phelps is so far the better hitter in the bigs.

As an added bonus, Phelps has played catcher extensively in the minors and briefly with Toronto. It's going to be tough for Phelps to get the nod over Phillips, but competition is good, right?

2006-12-07 08:06:20
37.   Yankee Fan In Boston
ken rosenthal says that gil meche is headed to KC.

2006-12-07 08:10:10
38.   Yankee Fan In Boston
also... the astros are about to announce the acquisition of a starting pitcher...

not andy pettitte, but jon garland....

hmmmm.... a good sign for thos in favor of andy's return to the bronx?

2006-12-07 08:10:50
39.   kdw
And Pete Abraham says the Astros are close to getting Garland from the White Sox, which could mean that Pettitte isn't a part of the Astros' plans any longer....
2006-12-07 08:13:18
40.   dianagramr

Is that some sort of prison furlough program?

2006-12-07 08:27:00
41.   standuptriple
40 That's about the best place for Meche's skill-set.
36 If he's played the 2 then I would consider that an upgrade. Pena seems to be an excellent teacher.
2006-12-07 08:32:12
42.   Schteeve
So, is it official that Craig Wilson isn't coming back?
2006-12-07 08:36:44
43.   pistolpete
Phelps looks pretty solid when he gets enough AB's, but who knows...
2006-12-07 08:39:17
44.   Yankee Fan In Boston
from today's boston globe:

While general manager Theo Epstein maintains his posture of no public discourse on the state of negotiations, there is increasing anxiety on Yawkey Way that Matsuzaka's agent, Scott Boras, is posing an unreasonable, and immovable, obstacle to their bid to add Matsuzaka to their pitching staff.

According to sources with direct access to the Sox' view, there is an increasing feeling that Boras is setting the stage, both privately and publicly, that there is not going to be a deal. "Unless he's being less than honest," one source said, "there isn't going to be a deal."

heheheh... and it could be argued that the sox's bid was the catylist for the market explosion, making a signing of matsuzaka costlier...

my fingers are crossed.

2006-12-07 08:39:27
45.   Zack
I think Cashman's reaasoning with phelsp is: if he works out, great! If not, oh well, back to the O's you go for basically nothing. Its a low risk, meh reward type of move, that costs little...

Man, the ChiSox are suddenly trading like crazy...

And why would any pitcher in their right mind want to go pitch for KC?

2006-12-07 08:40:29
46.   Zack
44 See, by all accounts, it seems like the Sox are being the unreasonable ones, offering less than 10/, which is just insane. I do like how its never about them, they are always the good guys in beantown...
2006-12-07 08:43:29
47.   kdw
YFIB, someone on Pete Abraham's blog says that Chicago radio stations are saying that the Garland deal has fallen apart. Have you seen anything more one way or the other? Am hoping it didn't fall apart because Pettitte told them he's headed back to Houston.
2006-12-07 08:44:04
48.   Yankee Fan In Boston
46 its never about them, they are always the good guys in beantown

it is infuriating.

(also, the globe has a stake in the red sox, so i never expect non-biased coverage there.)

2006-12-07 08:47:21
49.   Yankee Fan In Boston
47 i haven't found anything on the garland trade collapsing...

but yeah, the first thought there would be AP pulling strings...

i'll keep searching.

2006-12-07 08:49:07
50.   kdw
44 It's not like Boras is an unknown negotiating quantity either. To say he's unreasonable and immovable -- seriously, did they expect anything else? Should have factored that into the bidding process as soon as Matsuzaka chose Boras.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-12-07 08:50:45
51.   Yankee Fan In Boston
47 the latest i can find (posted about 40 minutes ago)has rosenthal still painting it as a distinct possibility...

2006-12-07 08:52:34
52.   Schteeve
As much as we all paint Boras to be an eight legged monster, I would bet you dollars to donuts that if anyone on this blog needed an agent to help them negotiate their salary, Boras would be the first guy they'd call.

He's really good at what he does.

2006-12-07 08:52:35
53.   standuptriple
50 Well, one thing is for sure, D-Mat's reluctance only drives up Zito's price. Of course, Boras knows that. If D-Mat doesn't sign isn't it pretty much a given that the Sox HAVE to bow down to the $100M Zito deal? Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part.
2006-12-07 08:52:42
54.   Simone
44 As soon as I heard Lucchino say that the Red Sox offer to Matsuzaka was fair and reasonable, I knew that the deal was in trouble. Lucchino absolutely HATES to pay players what they are worth. However, I can't see Henry embarassing himself and his organization by letting the Matsuzaka deal fall through, especially if the Yankees sign Igawa with no trouble. Lucchino will probably get overruled at the last minute and the deal will be done. Ugh. I hope to be wrong though.
2006-12-07 08:55:49
55.   Yankee Fan In Boston
54 Lucchino absolutely HATES to pay players what they are worth.

unless he pays them more. (jd drew)

i think that they were banking on cutting a deal with the lions. it's fantastic that this appears not to be going on.

2006-12-07 08:57:26
56.   mehmattski
53 Stop it, i'm already daydreaming about The Robbies (Abreu and Cano) drilling Zito's hanging yakker over the short porch or around the Pesky Pole. Between Zito and Beckett, new Sox outfielder JD Drew would get a nasty case of whiplash...
2006-12-07 08:57:46
57.   kdw
52 Absolutely, his obligation is to get the best package for his client, and in this market that means ponying up a lot of money. I just think it's disingenuous for the Red Sox to express surprise/disappointment/anger that he's not rolling over. That's not his job, especially not in this market with this player. Now it might be a different story with a player like oh, say, Bernie.
2006-12-07 09:05:27
58.   Jim Dean
42 I think you never can tell with Cashman. If they're willing to bring Phelps in, then for a short, cheap contract they could be willing to bring Wilson in too. We'll only know when he signs, and if not with the Yanks then because he was overpriced or they didn't want him. But even if Wilson gets last year's salary (3.3 mil), with the luxury tax (pushing 5 million). Is Wilson worth that? Maybe if it's just one year. But it doesn't seem like they'd spend the money if he can get more than one year elsewhere.

That's maybe why they're holding firm with Shea at one year. That may say something about what they're thinking. Get a flexible solution, and if not, go cheap. The latter means they still have room to make a trade later for Sexton or Teixeira.

The other aspect though is that they really don't need a backup 1B all that badly. Giambi certainly could play there and with his positional splits probably should be playing there for a good chunk. I wonder how much of this is "show" for Torre. I wonder if he's the one that doesn't want to play Giambi there but also feels he has little choice to play a Wilson or Phillips. Remember, he started the year playing Cairo (!?) at 1B ahead of Andy. And it's not like Andy really proved anything when he finally did get his playing time.

More importantly, if Giambi is playing 1B somewhat regularly that gives them much more roster flexibility with Melky as the uber-OF. Shoot, if each of the OF's DH's 40 games a year, that's 120 games for the Melk-man right there. Where's that leave the backup 1B's playing time?

So, shouldn't backup 1B be much further down the priority list? Maybe even last?

Seems like it should be, in terms of importance:

1. Frontline Starter, if available
2. Utility IF, Cannizaro?
3. Backup Catcher, if not Nieves or Chavez
4. LHRP, Villone?
5. Backup 1B, if not Wilson or Phelps
6. 5th OF, if not the Kevins

It's just weird that so much emphasis in the rumors has been placed on the backup 1B.

2006-12-07 09:13:35
59.   Jim Dean
BTW: Isn't the Rule 5 essentially the cheapest players available? So the Yanks owe at most $25k, and at that to the Orioles.

By contrast "free" agents cost whatever the market will bare and if the player makes the team they owe at leas tthe MLB minumum.

The point is: If Phelps is the equivalent of the freebie table at the supermarket, what's that make Andy Phillips?

2006-12-07 09:15:54
60.   JL25and3
45 Agreed. I've thought for a long time that the Yankees should try to get something out of the Rule V draft. Worst-case scenario is that it costs them $25,000, and they've probably dropped that much behind the cushions of the couch.

But I don't know why this is the guy they'd take. I'd look for any halfway decent arm and make him the 12th pitcher - Joe never uses that guy, anyway.

2006-12-07 09:18:02
61.   JL25and3
59 If you keep the Rule V player, you still have to pay him.
2006-12-07 09:18:27
62.   kdw
60 Memo to self, apply for housekeeping crew at Yankee stadium.
2006-12-07 09:20:40
63.   mehmattski
58 I'd make some adjustments... I'm not sure who else other than Cairo is available for the "utility infielder" role, though I've heard Mark Loretta's name mentioned. I don't think Cannizaro is the answer. He opened some eyes with his booming home run, but it doesn't answer why he only hit nine of them in 2,105 minor league at bats. His minor league line of .274/.350/.351 leaves him looking up at Tony Womack, let alone Miguel Cairo.

I think backup catcher is more critical, though. Catcher is by far the most important position on the field, and to have a guy there hitting like Raul Chavez (minor league career: .258/.309/.338) or Wil Neives (.288/.335/.398). I don't care if they call the best game in the history of baseball, they will cost the Yankees games with their bats if Posada goes down.

Finally, I don't think "Frontline Starting Pitcher" is a specific need. There isn't one on the free agent market (Zito and Pettitte are #2/#3 at best), and a trade would involve giving up multiple prospects, which Cashman seems reluctant to do. Trading them for Willis would be a mistake, I think... and really, which pitchers would you think are both "Front Line" and attainable via trade?

I would be okay if the Yankees signed no more pitchers, but Pettitte's a good (if expensive) insurance policy against the possibility that all of the young kids (Rasner, Karstens, Sanchez, Hughes) choke on the big stage.

2006-12-07 09:20:48
64.   Schteeve
58 I agree with everything you wrote, except I might flip 2 and 3 in your priority list. If Posada goes down, well, I shudder to think what happens if Posada goes down.
2006-12-07 09:21:41
65.   Jim Dean
61 I'm sorry that's true - what I meant is it's just a really cheap way to try someone out, almost like rent-a-room. They get brought in for a 50K tryout. If it doesn't work they get 25k back and they owe no minimum.
2006-12-07 09:30:14
66.   Jim Dean
63 & 64 I should have put backup Catcher at #2 based on what I wrote. I was also thinking about the ease of acquisition. A utility IF would be easier to get than the backup catcher. But I didn't write it that why - in terms of importance to the Yanks, it's the BUC. Indeed, deep shite if Jorge goes down. This isn't a corner OF position we're talking about or even shortstop. Werid since Jorge did miss a little time last year with a torn ligament.

Utility IF = Chris Gomez. He had a stoopid year last year with the O's OPS-wise (.800), but overall has a good OBP and can play all the infield positions in pinch. He's RH and can even play first - indeed that's what the Jays are looking at him as. Oh, and he only made $850k.

As for Pettitte/Frontline, that's who I was thinking of, but I didn't want to name names so as to not re-live the discussion from yesterday. I agree - he would work nicely and if he doesn't then they still have the kids.

2006-12-07 09:32:22
67.   YankeeInMichigan
I don't see what Phelps can add. The Yanks are looking for a right-handed first baseman who can start 100 games (when Giambi DHs) and serve as a late-inning defensive replacement when Giambi starts at first. Even if Phelps rediscovers his 2002 bat, you wouldn't want him at 1st base with Wang on the mound. He'd basically be a right-handed DH/lead-gloved 1st baseman to go along with their left-handed DH/lead-gloved 1st baseman (Giambi).
2006-12-07 09:43:31
68.   Shaun P
67 Pair Phelps with the lefty-hitting Guiel though, and let Guiel serve as the late-inning-defensive-replacement on days either Phelps or Giambi plays first, and maybe that's something though. And you can't beat the price.
2006-12-07 09:44:27
69.   Zack
I don't think the Phelps move has any baring on their hunt for a RH1B, its independant. Phelps will compete with Phillips for the role of "left handed first baseman whose names are basically the same so Torre can just think they are the same person while they sit on the bench and never play."
2006-12-07 09:47:24
70.   YankeeInMichigan
58 I think the feeling is that Giambi's body is breaking down and his time in the field needs to be limited. He'll provide 100 starts at first at the maximum, and 60-80 is more likely. That leaves too many starts to entrust to a no-hit first-baseman (i.e. Phillips or Wilson during a slump).

To complicate matters, playing Giambi at first not only wears down his body but also opens a defensive exposure. Therefore, the "backup" must not only be a near-league-average hitter but must also be an at-least-league-average fielder. That way, the "backup" guy's starts could include all Chien-Ming Wang outings, and he could also serve as a late-inning replacement.

The irony is that either Phillips or Wilson, if they could hit consistently like they do in their "good months," would fit the job description perfectly. Phelps, even if he could get his bat to return from its 4-year vacation, will never satisfy the defensive requirement.

2006-12-07 09:47:50
71.   Yankee Fan In Boston

meche got FIVE years out of the royals!

masochistic son of a gun...

2006-12-07 09:49:54
72.   C2Coke
71 So far it seems all teams are going all out this off-season except the Yankees.
2006-12-07 09:54:31
73.   wsporter
If the Garland deal goes down will Williams need another mid-rotation arm? I can't help this but that may add yet another interested buyer to the Pavano sweepstakes.

That sound was me falling on the floor laughing as I reread that. Maybe if we kicked an ambulance in on the deal they'd go for something.

Although I do wonder if Chi would become a player in the Zito madness.

2006-12-07 09:57:08
74.   YankeeInMichigan
68 Hmmm. So now you are carrying 3 first basemen, though at least Guiel can double as a 5th outfielder (seeya Bernie). With 4-1/2 outfielders, 2-1/2 first baseman 4 other infielders and 2 catchers, you still have room for 12 pitchers. And Phelps (if he remembers how to hit) could be a legitimate enough righty on the bench to protect against a LOOGY being brought in to pitch to Matsui or Cano. So you may be on to something. My only concern is that, with Phelps and Guiel on the roster, Giambi would end up as a full-time DH and Melky would ride the pine.
2006-12-07 10:01:57
75.   monkeypants
74 Melky is gonna ride the pine no matter what, at least for this season. However, if he can play any CF, he'll get a bunch of starts rotating in for the OFers, especially Damon. He'll also PR (I don't even know if he's fast, but Torre probably thinks he is) and fill in a defensive replacement on occasion, especially when the inevitable injuries that show up throughout year take Damon or Guiel out for a couple of weeks.
2006-12-07 10:11:09
76.   Zack
Yeah, lets not pretend that Torre is going to suddenly remember what a platoon is, or how to use bench guys. Melky is the 4th outfielder, so he will play, at most, 3 times a week, if we are lucky. Joe has never been very good at that type of thing, especially at the expense of the vet with a belly full of guts. Just hope Bernie is gone, or Melky will really never play...
2006-12-07 10:16:31
77.   Shaun P
Bernie has to be gone. There is no room for him. In fact, there is no room for a 5th OF at all on this team, unless that person also happens to catch or play 2B, SS, and 3B as well. Or plays first base.

I'm sure Melky will get a fair share of playing time. Its not like the regular OFs won't need a day off here and there, and some days Giambi will play the field so one of the OFs can DH, putting Melky in the field.

2006-12-07 10:19:13
78.   Zack
From a Globe article on teh whole DM thing:

To date, there has been no movement to bridge the difference in how both sides value Matsuzaka, the 26-year-old Japanese pitcher who has been drawing raves in an informal survey of baseball people gathered here at the winter meetings. For Boras, it's cut and dried: Matsuzaka is one of the best pitchers in the game and should be paid accordingly. Estimates of what Boras is seeking have generally fallen in the range of $12 million a year for six years, while in talks with the Sox he has been known to cite the name of Astros ace Roy Oswalt, who recently signed a five-year, $73 million deal, with a $16 million option for 2012.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, maintain the position that they were willing to post $51.1 million to Matsuzaka's Japanese team, the Seibu Lions, to retain financial control over Matsuzaka for the next six years. He is not a free agent, they remind Boras, one who has yet to throw a pitch in the major leagues. For that reason, his situation should not be considered much differently than a Johan Santana, but a Santana with less big league service time: an outstanding pitcher, to be sure, but not one free to peddle his services to the highest bidder on the open market.

Santana, the two-time Cy Young Award winner with the Minnesota Twins, was a season away from free agency last February when he signed a four-year deal for $39.75 million. Should the Sox have to pay Matsuzaka even that much, on top of their initial $51.1 million investment? But that would fall far short of what Boras expects for his client.

That to me, shows the Sox as being the unreasonable ones...

2006-12-07 10:26:41
79.   JL25and3
78 Red Sox have another week to pull this off. It will be interesting to see if someone blinks.
2006-12-07 10:26:33
80.   Yankee Fan In Boston
78 "unreasonable"?!?

there is no way that anyone should have to pay $51.1M just because they said that they would.

...and then pay the guy on top of that? was that part of the deal? 'cause nobody really said that... and why on earth should they pay this guy what he's worth?

you're a commie.

2006-12-07 10:29:48
81.   Knuckles
The Sox seem to think that the $51M is a down payment towards 6 years of DM, while the rest of the world understands that it is a payment to ensure that they have sole negotiating rights to him, a year ahead of him becoming a free agent. From what I'm reading, they cannot seem to separate the fact that the posting fee is not going to the same place as the eventual salary.

It's like paying $6.9M to a developer for a vacant lot in a neighborhood of $7.0M houses, then being shocked when the contractor you call laughs in your face when you ask him to build your 5,000 sq ft McMansion for $100k.

2006-12-07 10:30:16
82.   yankz
80 Is that sarcasm? Because paying the bid of the posting fee is a little bit required.
2006-12-07 10:36:05
83.   C2Coke
82 Somebody should have told the Red Sox about that a month ago.

Why play if you are not willing to pay the real price? Apparently, it requires more talent than we think to be the Evil Empire.

I still think they will end up paying 100 million in total to get Matsuzaka though, otherwise the situation will be uglier: bad relation with Japan, extra millions with no starting pitcher left available in the market (of course they can spend the same amount to acquire Zito), endless mockings from all over...

2006-12-07 10:38:54
84.   Yankee Fan In Boston
82 all i'm saying is, rules should only apply if they can be circumvented at the very least, and ignored in best case scenarios.

i think this matsuzaka guy should play for free for his first two seasons. (at least.) then, after you get a better idea of his worth, you decide how much you feel like paying him.

(if at all.)

...otherwise, signing him is a risk. especially if they are forced to pay an outrageous sum like $51.1M in its entirety.

2006-12-07 10:40:05
85.   Jim Dean
79 Yup.
2006-12-07 10:40:54
86.   kdw
Sounds more and more like the Garland to Houston deal won't happen but not clear whether that relates to Pettitte sending signals he'll return. Speculation seems to be that Meche going to KC may force Toronto to deal Wells. It would make sense for Kenny Williams to prefer getting Wells even if he has to give up more than just Garland.
2006-12-07 10:41:05
87.   Yankee Fan In Boston
80 82 84 (complete and total sarcasm, by the way.)
2006-12-07 10:41:17
88.   Jim Dean
81 Excellent.
2006-12-07 10:47:21
89.   Raf
72 If the deals made this offseason are any indication, I am glad the Yanks aren't going all out.
2006-12-07 10:48:31
90.   jayd
I forget the last time I saw giambino's stats as DH and 1b -- quite a significant diff though. I haven't seen anything better than jason and andy yet.

A pitching deal will be made. Someone nobody has mentioned...

Pettite didn't turn up great numbers in the weak NL, not enthusiastic about his return at the money that's being mentioned. Better spent elsewhere.

2006-12-07 10:49:30
91.   C2Coke
89 By all means.
2006-12-07 10:50:58
92.   mehmattski
86 To recap: A below average starting pitcher going to the worst franchise in baseball causes another team to want to deal it's franchise center fielder? This offseason is insane. And the Yankees most radical move ($26 million post on Igawa) looks pretty tame by comparison. Will it get worse? Stay tuned...
2006-12-07 10:56:29
93.   kdw
92 At least it keeps things entertaining.
2006-12-07 11:18:18
94.   Shaun P
79 Well, if Boras is the most stubborn agent in the world - which he probably is - I'd expect the Sox to dig in just as deep if only to try to make Scottie B blink first.

No way he does.

I think all the media stuff, especially anything out of the part-owners-of-the-Sox-Globe, is just to help the Sox in the bargaining process. You try everything when you fight the best, right?

The Sox will blink at the absolute last possible second and give Boras the 3 or 4 year deal at 15M/year he wants. They ultimately have more to lose.

2006-12-07 11:20:59
95.   Sliced Bread
I've never rooted for Boras the Spider more than I'm rooting for him right now.

I truly hope Boras demonstrates how ruthless he is next week when the timer finally pops on Theo's little geisha dance.

It's time for the Kimono Kid to pay up, and for the Red Sox to finally shut the eff up about the Yanks spending.

Oh, the warm sake buzz has worn off on Yawkey Way, and it's time for what those bastards do best: panic and vomit.

Pay up Matsu'suckas! or he'll be our ace in 2008!

2006-12-07 11:23:48
96.   Sliced Bread
95 ... that's if Hughes isn't already our '08 ace
2006-12-07 11:23:58
97.   Yankee Fan In Boston
95 Theo's little geisha dance.

that is easily the most disturbing imagery i've encountered in a while.

2006-12-07 11:27:12
98.   C2Coke
95 Sliced, did you just watched Thank you for smoking ?
2006-12-07 11:28:38
99.   Sliced Bread
95 Haven't seen it yet. Heard it's a hoot.
2006-12-07 11:32:29
100.   Sliced Bread
97 Yeah, I introduced the Theo as geisha image here a few weeks ago.
It's disturbing, but fun to think about Theo playing coy behind his paper fan, white pancake makeup etc.
The Kimono Kid.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-12-07 11:38:28
101.   yankz
P-Abe says Cash and the Kimono Kid are friends. The friend of my friend...?
2006-12-07 11:46:17
102.   standuptriple
But Ca$h just took Boras out to dinner. Maybe enemy of my enemy?
Anybody know if Josh Phelps is related to Ken? At least we didn't trade Buhner for him. Frank Costanza would approve.
2006-12-07 11:49:50
103.   C2Coke
99 Regardless of how the film is, there is a Hollywood producer character who is a bit obsessed with all the Japanese themes. In one scene, he was awake in the middle of the night wearing a kimono at his office...
2006-12-07 11:53:54
104.   mehmattski
102 A quick wikipedia search does not say they are related, but I got this tidbit from Josh's page: "Phelps attended Lakeland High School in Idaho where he was named the Team's Most Valuable Player as a Senior."
Most valuable on his high school team? I should certainly hope so. Unless Lakeland, Idaho is some kind of hotbed of baseball talent.
2006-12-07 11:56:35
105.   mehmattski
Aw, darn... Daryle Ward, my darkhorse for Yankees first baseman has been scooped up by the Cubbies, in what certainly ranks as their smartest decision this offseason (the bar is low).

2006-12-07 11:56:41
106.   Sliced Bread
103 Well, Theo does have Hollywood in his blood, as well as a flair for drama, and a penchant for playing dress up.

Was "thanks for..." any good? Worth a rent?

2006-12-07 12:00:15
107.   wsporter
95 I agree. Where is the leverage the Sawx can employ against Boras in this. "We don't do a deal and you have to stay home for another year and repost"? "We don't do a deal and you have to buy your self out or you wont be a free agent for 2 years"?

I think Boras had excreted chunks of leverage of that quality out his contractile vacuole on an anual basis for years and made lots of money doing it. I don't see him blinking on this one.

Ah the Kabuki,
most honorable day
joy to take part

2006-12-07 12:01:53
108.   Yankee Fan In Boston
107 how long until the who haikus start flowing?
2006-12-07 12:04:06
109.   mehmattski
107 Are you suggesting that Scott Boras is an ameoba? I thought we were going with the spider imagery. Spiders have chelicerae, and only ingest liquids.
2006-12-07 12:05:23
110.   mehmattski
Glorious Banter
Keeps hot stove interesting
Karim Garcia
2006-12-07 12:09:52
111.   Simone
81 Exactly. I don't know why the Boston media keeps suggesting that there is some scheme that the Red Sox can come up with to avoid paying or reducing that $51.1 million.

The Matsuzaka situation reminds me of how Henry et al. tried to hold the MLBPA up to reduce/restructure Alex Rodriguez's salary when they were attempting to trade for him from the Rangers. Henry, Werner, Lucchino et al. don't like to pay up what the market demands unless their hand is forced. Stick it to them, Scotty!

2006-12-07 12:15:11
112.   Sliced Bread
ah, haiku!

The Kimono Kid
All dressed up for Scott Boras
Deal or no deal, punk

2006-12-07 12:15:27
113.   ric
what is a proposed fair contract for Igawa? with the $26 mil posting fee, wouldn't it be just a little ridiculous to pay over $10 million per year for a possible relief pitcher (according to cashman)?
2006-12-07 12:21:19
114.   C2Coke
111 Especially when they, the papers, have revealed all the schemes...

106 I thought the film was actually pretty hilarious without any prior expectations, it should be a good weekend rental.

2006-12-07 12:22:22
115.   wsporter

an amoeba,
I can't say the way
a spider craps

2006-12-07 12:25:14
116.   C2Coke
113 Have you been paying any attention to all the baseball developments lately? Originally, I admit I also thought that 26 mil bid was high, now it looks like a bargain in this crazy offseason.
2006-12-07 12:33:02
117.   Zack
113 They are saying prob. around 4-4.5 mill per year. And the only way he becomes a reliever is if he is a total bust, in which case, ANY amount is too much money...
2006-12-07 12:46:01
118.   Yankee Fan In Boston
carl pavano
two thousand seven
cy young ace
2006-12-07 12:50:33
119.   Yankee Fan In Boston
also, the garland to houston deal is dead.

there have been a bunch of leaks and erroneous stories about players failing physicals that the players say they didn't take...

i was waiting until i could find two stories that matched up, but now that pretty much all of the stories say that it is dead, i thought it was safe.


2006-12-07 12:53:37
120.   mehmattski
119 A poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
2006-12-07 12:57:07
121.   wsporter
118 YFB It's precisely that sort of thinking that has caused the Haiku to fall from favor in the West.
2006-12-07 12:57:31
122.   Shaun P
113 What Zack said.

You can also bet the Yanks are not counting the $26M against Igawa - because, after all, that's not salary.

I don't blame the Sox for trying to get the best possible deal for themselves done. But this is the same team that just signed Julio Lugo to a 4 year $36M contract.

2006-12-07 12:59:07
123.   JL25and3
113 The Yankees also have the luxury of being able to walk away from the Igawa negotiations if they want. They don't have all that much at stake.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, will suffer great loss of face if they don't sign Matsuzaka.

2006-12-07 13:00:21
124.   Yankee Fan In Boston
120 don't tell me...

...toby keith?

2006-12-07 13:01:53
125.   Yankee Fan In Boston
121 what? i combined the haiku with the art of infalible prediction...
2006-12-07 13:12:51
126.   C2Coke
Is it that I am incredibly slow, or did Alex and Cliff just modified the sidebar yet again?
I like it the new order of arrangements even more.
Thanks a lot, Cliff and Alex!
2006-12-07 13:28:20
127.   Yankee Fan In Boston
from jon heyman:
"The Red Sox and three or four others were pursuing "Game Over'' closer Eric Gagne. The Yankees inquired whether Gagne would set up for Mariano Rivera but were told no."

ca$hman tried to steal a bit of thunder.

2006-12-07 13:28:27
128.   Raf
91 Not to mention that the last time the Yanks went "all out" they wound up with Pavano, Womack, & Wright.
2006-12-07 13:35:15
129.   C2Coke
128 Just let me enjoy this show of crazies not involving the Yankees without having to go down memory lane, which would likely bring nightmares.
2006-12-07 13:54:56
130.   Yankee Fan In Boston
go pitch in japan
then the bronx
2006-12-07 14:05:19
131.   yankz
120 I love Shakespeare.
2006-12-07 14:07:47
132.   standuptriple
130 I hope that wasn't an attempt at haiku. Please refrain if you can't adhere to the rules.
2006-12-07 16:17:20
133.   OldYanksFan
Josh Phelps. Cashman is shopping at K-Mart. I love it.

The Sox will get DM for 4/50.
Cashman will do his shopping mid-season, after he sees how Moose, RJ and the Kids hold up.

If the Cubbies don't make the WS this year, heads will roll.

2006-12-07 16:21:11
134.   OldYanksFan
P.S. Since the Royals are nowhere near a winning team, why would they overpay for Meche and commit for 5 years? 11m per for a league average guy. I don't get it. Its not like then are under pressure to do anything.

A lot of these guys will be available in a few years for 70 cents on the (2007) dollar.

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