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LOCK AND LOAD
2003-11-22 15:15
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Yankee GM Brian Cashman has been the busiest of worker bees over the past several weeks, gathering information concerning trade possibilities and the free agent market. The Yankees have yet to make a move, but the front office will meet Monday to devise their plan. A few things seem certain. According to The New York Times:


Cashman said that besides Pettitte, the Yankees wanted to retain two of their other free agents, catcher John Flaherty and reliever Felix Heredia. They would also like to re-sign David Wells "as a nonroster invite," Cashman said.

... Cashman said he was confident that first baseman Jason Giambi could play a full season in the field next year after having surgery on his left knee on Tuesday. That would seem to make the Yankees more comfortable trading Nick Johnson, who played first base throughout the American League playoffs.

"Nick's a valuable commodity, whether we hold on to him or as a trading chip," Cashman said. "If he's going to be here, he's going to help us. If not, he could help us in trade scenarios."

And finally:


"We'll definitely have discussions with whoever Kazuo Matsui's agent happens to be."

The prevailing thought in Yankee land is that Boss George will sign Tampa-native Gary Sheffield to play right field in New York. It also feels as if Nick Johnson will be traded before Alfonso Soriano gets moved. (Drag.) Perhaps George will get something done special for Turkey Day.

Speaking of Tampa, the Cardinals dumped former Yankee first baseman Tino Martinez on the Devil Rays for two minor leaguers—pitcher and an outfielder. Tino joins fellow Tampa-native Lou Pinella on the Rays. Pinella was Martinez's manager in Seattle. Redbird Nation won't be shedding any tears:


When I think of Tino's career, I'll always think of Mike Shannon calling one of his at-bats back in May: "Swing and a THREE-RUNNER! How 'bout that! Way to go, Tino! [beat] No, it's gonna fall short." Fly out to the warning track. Was the acquistion of Tino Martinez the worst of Jocketty's Cardinal career? Possibly. Back in June we said it was his third worst signing, after the Danny Jackson and Scott Radinsky deals. But when you consider that we will be paying the Devil Rays $6 million to play Tino next year, in exchange for a would-be could-be set-up man, then you have to say that December 18, 2001 could be the ugliest splotch on Jocketty's record.

Martinez is remembered fondly in New York, but had he been on the Yankees during the past two seasons, many of those good feelings would have turned sour as Tino's game declined. Martinez clashed with another Tampa-native in Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa. I suppose he gets on better with Lou.

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