Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Stocking Stuffers
2006-12-21 09:32
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

While the Yanks put the final touches on Kei Igawa's contract, and continue to hunt around for a first baseman, here are a couple of few things for ya:

Murray Chass on the Yankees and gambling; Pat Jordan on Lenny Dyktra's third career; Tim Marchman on the Yankees' off-seaspon thus far, and Steven Goldman on Richie Sexton. Lastly, Bart Clareman conducted a Q&A with me about the nature of the Met-Yankee rivalry. Pop over and check it out if you have a minute. Otherwise, happy holidaze to you are yours.

2006-12-21 09:49:29
1.   OldYanksFan
Shootgun.... Cool!
The rivalry is officially international:
2006-12-21 10:20:33
2.   mehmattski
Ah, a new thread. So fresh and so clean, clean.

I enjoyed the Yankees 2000 interview, Alex... it's amazing how Mets fans don't understand why Yankees fans don't hate, and that it's more of a big brother/little brother type relationship. And you're right to say that everybody wants to be the Yankees' rival... it makes them feel important (and gets people more interested). I make this comparison a lot, but it's kind of like how lots of teams claim to be a rival of Duke basketball... Maryland for instance, but also other ACC teams. In reality, Duke fans care about one rivalry only. Same with Yankees fans: we appreciate your desire and dedication, Mets fans, but it's all about beating the Sux.

2006-12-21 10:21:29
3.   Youngstown Yankee Lover
Something else to do while Hot Stove League hibernates for the winter and leaves us to think about fantasy trades. Just read a novel by Sam Moffie entitled SWAP. It's based on the infamous Yankees trade of Fritz Peterson's wife for Mike Kekich's wife. For more go to

PS I would love to see Richie Sexton playing in the Bronx!

2006-12-21 10:45:27
4.   Bama Yankee
I knew my post of that Gambler parody would finally break that other thread...

Anyone interested in the Loretta option at 1B?

2006-12-21 10:56:22
5.   rsmith51
4 Not if it's going to cost more than Andy Phillips, which it would. Whatever happened to Julio Zuleta?
2006-12-21 11:00:46
6.   monkeyball
From the Marchman piece:
"You can imagine every pitcher in the team's prospective rotation doing a bit worse than they're expected to, and the team still has a fine staff. It's an improvement on such Cubs-like schemes as positing that Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright will be healthy and effective."

It's even better than that, Tim. The Yanks are actually helped if Wright is neither healthy or effective. BECAUSE HE'S ON THE ORIOLES NOW.

2006-12-21 11:17:49
7.   Shaun P
2 And, for those of us who are Yankee fans but not from NYC/the surrounding area, there is no Mets/Yanks rivalry of any kind. Outside of the "Mayor's Cup" series they used to play, I never knew there was anything between Mets and Yanks fans until I went to college and roomed with a Mets fan from Staten Island.

4 Schteeve brought this up the other day, how having some high contact guys in the lineup might be useful, especially come playoff time. Loretta happens to be that kind of hitter (not many strikeouts, generally good AVG) but also knows how to take a walk. I think it might be worthwhile - especially because he could fill in at 2B, SS, or 3B for 2+ weeks and it wouldn't hurt as much as, say, playing Cairo all that time.

And if Loretta essentially served as the part-time 1B and the backup MI, you could even keep Phillips and Phelps around. (Or whatever two other 1B options you prefer.)

2006-12-21 11:20:38
8.   monkeypants
4 5 Loretta at 1B? No. But Loretta instead of Cairo might be interesting, since he COULD play 1B in a pinch and not be a total cripple offensively (yeah, I know, Torre started Cairo at 1B last year), and he could back-up the other IF positions. He would certainly be an offensive upgrade over Cairo, since even if his slugging continues to decline he should still post an OBP of around .340 or .350.

So, I would sign him to a one or two year contract, limited money, to be the primary back-up IF, and stick with the Phillips/Phelps experience (until or unless something real presents itself).

The key is to Torre-proof the team. Melky must be kept to prevent Bernie from returning and getting 400 ABs; Cairo must somehow be eliminated so doesn't get 200 or 300 ABs.

2006-12-21 11:21:42
9.   monkeypants
7 Blast you Shaun--you type faster than me!
2006-12-21 11:23:46
10.   jakewoods
Loretta would be the perfect UTL player to replace Cairo. And be part of the righty-lefty platoon at 1b.

And the Yanks and Mets have no history together. The mets are a relatively young franchise here. Not many years in the 40 years have they both been good. We are just now starting to get it.

2006-12-21 11:28:20
11.   thelarmis
Great interview, Alex! As one of the commenters there pointed out, Gonzo's arms are completely Popeye. That seems to be more than adrenaline. I'm still in physical pain from 2001...

Growing up a Yankees fan, my Godfather was the VP of the Mets. Mookie was also my favorite player (even though I was a die-hard Yankees fan! I know, I know...). Anyway, I got all kinds of major perks and spent a lot of time at Shea Stadium. Was in Joe Torre's office, hung w/ Mookie & Hubie Brooks quite a bit and certainly noticed that Lee Maz had his "Italian Stallion" locker full, even in the offseason.

Only time I ever rooted for them was the '86 World Serious. Otherwise, I would say there was only ONE NY team and cheer for the Yanks. I would go to Shea and root for the other team. Good times.

I still have a bunch of Muts gear in NY at my folks house and it makes me none too happy, but it's cool nonetheless and I can't throw things out. At least most of it is hidden away, whilst the Yanks are well represented everywhere you look! : )

2006-12-21 11:54:30
12.   Peter
I think it's sad that a Mets blog would name itself after some imaginary curse on the Yankees. I have nothing against the Mets. As long as they lose to the Yankees, I really don't care about them. That said, it is good for New York when both teams are playing well.

I used to be indifferent towards the Red Sox as well, believe it or not. It was only in the past few years that I began to actively root against them, mostly to spite Boston fans for their pathological levels of Yankee-hatred. It wasn't that long ago, though, when I actually disliked the Orioles or Mariners more than the Red Sox.

2006-12-21 11:55:05
13.   Shaun P
9 Maybe so, but you brought up something I didn't mention - the valuable goal of "Torre-proofing" the team by keeping Melky (so no Bernie) and getting rid of Cairo.

I think the bullpen is finally "Torre-proof" except that Proctor might pitch 150 innings this year. ;)

2006-12-21 12:00:56
14.   jakewoods
Well lets hope the starters can actually pitch well so Torre doesnt need to go to the pen every single day

Its a 2 way street

2006-12-21 12:02:10
15.   mehmattski
13 150 innings? Super Proctor scoffs at your mortal ignorance. EDSP will be the first pitcher to throw 200 innings... with each hand. And at night he will escape into a parallel universe so that he can pitch another 400 innings for the New Amsterdam Highlanders.

Superman wears Scott Proctor pajamas.

2006-12-21 12:10:57
16.   Bama Yankee
7 That's exactly what I was thinking Shaun. Loretta is the kind of guy that I wouldn't mind seeing in our lineup. He handles the bat well (Schteeve is right, we could use more of that) and can play several positions (better than Phillips and maybe even better than Cairo). However, I would worry that signing Loretta would mean the end of my homeboy Andy's career in pinstripes...
2006-12-21 12:29:14
17.   yankz
Would Loretta actually take a backup job? Is there no team out there that can offer him more playing time?
2006-12-21 12:54:06
18.   Rob Middletown CT
If you take a good look at Loretta's numbers last year, he looks more like a backup than a starter. I can't think of too many teams that would be improved by signing him to play 2B. So I like the idea of at least investigating the possibility of him coming to NY to be the utility guy.


"Superman wears Scott Proctor pajamas."


2006-12-21 12:58:33
19.   Shaun P
18 Even if the way to get him to be the utility guy for the Yanks is to given him 300 ABs at first base? I say yes but I wondered what you thought.

You know, we might joke about Scott Proctor - more accurately, Torre's use of Proctor - but I like him. I always disliked Sturtze, because he was a bad pitcher and Torre overused him. At least Proctor is a good pitcher - when Torre doesn't overuse him, of course.

2006-12-21 13:36:50
20.   Shaun P
More data points on why trading Melky would be a bad thing - plus someone who is down on trying Loretta at 1B - Nate Silver at BP's Unfiltered Blog:

My favorite line:

[Melky] Cabrera sets the bar higher than you'd think. Indeed, he is the rarest of commodities in the Bronx: an underhyped Yankee.

2006-12-21 13:46:00
21.   thelarmis
i'll certainly be happy keeping melky and adding loretta is fine with me, as well...

it won't be easy saying goodbye to bernabe, from a personal standpoint... : ~

2006-12-21 13:46:53
22.   wsporter
I read somewhere today that Loretta still considers himself to be a starter and is looking for a team that will let him fill that role. I think his idea is 400 - 500 ab's. Who knows, I like the idea of bringing him in and giving him a 1b platoon and a back up infield role.

What I don't like is the idea of that giving us space to open a roster spot for Bernie. I love Bernie; he's been and always will be a great Yankee. I'm proud that he was all ours for the entirety of his career. But it's time to hang it up I think. I don't think Mr. Torre can resist the temptation of playing him when Melky ought to get the ab. I was of two minds on moving Melky when that story first broke. After thinking about it a little more I'm dead set against it now.

2006-12-21 14:22:01
23.   mikeplugh
Hey people.

One pet peeve of mine....It's Richie Sexson not Sexton. Actually, it's a pet peeve because his parents spent long hard hours to come up with the name Richmond Lockwood Sexson, and a lot of people misspell the last name. ;)

I liked Alex' piece at Mets' Fantasy Yankee Curse or whatever the hell that site was. Good stuff. I also like this particular gem from Met world. I saw this at Deadspin.

Think Big!!

2006-12-21 14:24:35
24.   randym77
Pirates blogger thinks Melky is useless:

I think he has some points about Melky's defense, but what's up with that bit about his temperament? I don't remember Melky showing that kind of anger on-field, and I certainly don't remember his ever being ejected. Did it happen in a minor league game, or is "Bucco" confusing Melky with somebody else?

2006-12-21 14:29:17
25.   Schteeve
24 They don't want him? Good. We'll keep him.
2006-12-21 14:34:02
26.   thelarmis
23 me too, mike! i noticed it a coupla times today but kept shut. it is a weird spelling though...

hopefully we'll put the melky rumors to rest soon and be assured of keeping him. might linger for quite awhile though...

i'm hoping abreu has a monster full year in pinstripes and we pick up his '08 option. IIRC, it's for $16 mil, or something like that - a veritable bargain in today's nutty market...

2006-12-21 14:37:09
27.   randym77
25 Actually, today's version of the trade rumor has Melky going to Atlanta, not Pittsburgh. Which actually makes more sense. The Pirates don't need a player like Melky.
2006-12-21 14:40:03
28.   Bama Yankee
Should we just forget about Gonzalez and sign Scott Schoeneweis? That way we could keep Melky and Proctor. For the record, I'm against the Melky trade if it involves Proctor.

Of course if we sign Schoeneweis and Doug Mientkiewicz we would all go crazy trying to spell their last names (also, the equipment manager would be glad that the Yankees only put the numbers on the jerseys).

2006-12-21 14:40:52
29.   thelarmis
it's possible the braves spin laroche to the halos and put scott thorman at first. right now they have a diaz-langerhans platoon in left. i guess they would look to melky as the starter...
2006-12-21 14:55:35
30.   randym77
I suspect the Pirates only want Melky so they can trade him to the Braves. They almost had a LaRoche for Gonzalez deal done at the winter meetings, but the Braves got fed up with Littlefield dragging his feet, and signed another pitcher. So now the Pirates still want LaRoche, but Atlanta no longer has a need for Gonzalez. Unless they can trade him for someone they do want.
2006-12-21 15:46:05
31.   sabernar
FYI: Sexson has a career Rate of 106, and he gets to more grounders then is predicted, according to David Pinto ( and his Out Ratio is 98.84, which is just a hair below average.
2006-12-21 15:54:42
32.   Peter
24 Earlier today, I read a different Pirates blogger who's in favor trading Gonzalez for Melky. I'll trust his assessment of Gonzo, and now I really hope they don't make this trade.

I don't know what that other blogger is talking about. Hothead is the last word I'd think of when describing Melky.

2006-12-21 16:10:06
33.   randym77
32 WHYGAS is one of my favorite Pirates blogs. Their "Littlefield translator" is hilarious.

And what a great tip: watch for Gonzalez to disappear from the Pirates banner. That's when you know a deal has been done.

2006-12-21 17:12:56
34.   joejoejoe
Nice interview at the Mets blog Alex.

I remember a passage in Sparky Lyle and Peter Golenbock's 'The Bronx Zoo' where Lyle talks about The Mayor's Trophy game. I think some young infielder (Brian Doyle?) made a game saving stop to send the game to extra innings at Shea. All the Yankee vets were mad at him. They wanted to lose the meaningless exhibition and go home. Instead this kid saved the day and made them play extra innings.

2006-12-21 20:51:53
35.   Levy2020
I like Loretta as the new Cairo.

Failing Huff and Craig Wilson (can catch!!!), I think Lorretta and (Phillips or Phelps) make the best infield bench available on the free agent market.

2006-12-21 22:20:24
36.   mikeplugh
Just popping in for a second to alert you to a couple of pieces I've done over at COH. I put together one piece on the import of Japanese pitching to the Majors, and a second on the MVP of the Korean professional ranks, 19-year old rookie pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu.

Don't miss them.

2006-12-22 01:59:51
37.   Chyll Will
Just a thought from near the end of yesterday's thread Mike; I saw a picture of Kei Igawa in the Daily Rues with that hairdo you so despise; doesn't he remind you of "The Man in White (Spearman)" from the Shaw Brothers classic "Spearman of Death" who in fact reminded me of a martial arts "Elvis" impersonator?

Man, if Kei is even half as good as that movie (for its genre), the Yanks indeed got a steal.

Speaking strictly of Elvis impersonations, I went to a pizza place in Getty Square (Yonkers for the widely uninitiated) looking for a pepperoni roll for me and my uncle. On the wall was a big oil painting of a young Elvis in a light blue hazy background, almost reverential-like for lack of a better term. What Elvis Presley and pizza have to do with each other is way beyond me, since his favorite food was peanut butter and fried banana sandwiches... or so I heard... anyway, I asked for a pepperoni roll and the guy behind the counter points to a round, mishappen glob of grease, crust and garlic.

Wow, is that really pepperoni and cheese I asked three times, afterwhich I bought it out of politeness, for it was kind of insulting after the second time. Well, I took it home and popped it in the oven to reheat, microwaved some sauce, dipped and chewed.

The morals of this story are these: first, always trust your instincts, or you'll end up with a gut feeling. And not the kind of gut feeling you're gonna trust. Second, when you see a picture of Elvis hanging in a fast food joint that doesn't have peanut butter and fried banana on the menu, walk away and don't look back. All restaurants have a tell, like that golden smiling cat, 10 or more pieces for $4.99 or cartoon animals hawking anything but what they serve. And third, always mention something relevant to what someone of great import is talking about before going on tangents like these.

Jump-cut to 35 say NO to new Cairo. That's like New Coke to a roomful of Pepsi drinkers. We need Loretta or anyone else to be the utility-infield composite of Scott Brocius and Clay Bellanger, with a twist of Luis Sojo. My suggestion is to fly Andy and Josh to Venezuela or the Dominican Republic and have them do push-ups until the end of February.

2006-12-22 03:27:42
38.   joejoejoe
37 I'm predicting at least 100 ABs for Andy Cannizaro with the big club in '07 as utility infielder. I think Cashman is going to pickup Doug Monkeywitch to platoon with A-Phil at 1B, Bernie retires, Melky stays, and the Yanks stand pat save a bullpen tweak or two.
2006-12-22 05:05:04
39.   Ben
I just read this quote from Barry Zito in the Times.

"I'm trying to lead a team like Sandy Koufax did, and I need an owner who shares that desire."

Wow. Ambitious. Leading a team in the post season like Jeff Suppan might suffice.

2006-12-22 05:13:27
40.   yankz
Pepsi is nasty.
2006-12-22 05:24:12
41.   mikeplugh
39 So does that mean he'll win two Cy Youngs in 2007 and 2008 and then flame out at age 30? I wonder if the Mets would take that. Or the Rangers. And I wonder why on Earth Barry Zito thinks he's capable of putting up a 190 ERA+ since he's barely able to crack 115 these days.
2006-12-22 05:51:11
42.   Rob Middletown CT
Players say the damndest things.

Anyway, here's hoping the Melkman stays. I wouldn't mind adding Loretta as the ultility man, but I do not want him at 1B. Don't get me wrong, I don't want ManCaveItch either. Heck, at this point I'm leaning toward just accepting an Andy Phillips v. Josh Phelps position battle.

I suppose what I'd really like is Matsui at 1B and Melky in LF with Kevin Thompson as the 4th OF, but that assumes a number of things.

2006-12-22 06:19:55
43.   Count Zero
37 That was the best thing I've read all week. LOL

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