Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Kid Dyn-o-mite
2008-02-24 18:23
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Joba Chamberlain's rookie debut in pinstripes was as exciting as any we've seen in recent years. Last week, Pete Abraham said Chamberlain came into camp looking, if not exactly svelte, then certainly fit. Joe Lapointe has a piece on Joba today in the Times, with this nice lede:

Joba Chamberlain recently tried to involve his fellow pitcher Mike Mussina in some postpractice recreation in the Yankees' clubhouse.

Addressing Mussina by his nickname, Moose, Chamberlain asked if he wanted to join in playing video games. No, the 39-year-old Mussina told the 22-year-old Chamberlain; he does not play video games.

Want to watch me play video games? Chamberlain asked. No thanks, Mussina said. Well, Chamberlain continued, would Mussina like to play Ping-Pong? Without answering, Mussina kept walking out the door and turned left down the corridor.

So Chamberlain added in a loud voice, "Hey, is the hearing the first thing to go when you get old?"

Suddenly, Mussina reappeared in the doorway and replied, "I hear everything!" in a way that made Chamberlain smile and onlookers chuckle. It was one of those Joba moments that have helped to enliven what for years had been one of baseball's most dour clubhouses, where young players always knew their place.

I think this could be a fun year, I really do.

2008-02-24 19:04:50
1.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
Carry-over from the last post. BondsBondsBondsBondsBonds...they should offer him $15million prorated and see if he blinks. I can't see any other team that would pick him up at this point.. He'd be a gajillion times more productive for the money than the Texan Dough-Boy was last year, and think of that line-up...
2008-02-24 19:07:24
2.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
Oh yeah, on Joba. 100% agree that it's great to hear about some life coming back to the clubhouse. I'm a Yankee forever but really never got into the whole "professional" atmosphere they tried to project. I say bring back the bickering, complaining and egos of the Zoo period. Hank is already in place to take the part of over-bearing owner...
2008-02-24 20:05:25
3.   JL25and3
1 Bonds is a great hitter. I just don't see the point in getting yet another lefty LF/DH. They can't get rid of any of the guys they already have.

This looks to me like the kind of thinking that always used to get George in trouble. There's a shiny toy out there that you can get just by throwing money at it. So never mind about the the team's needs and whether that part makes any sense; it's shiny! it's a brand name! I want!

2008-02-24 20:24:06
4.   Shaun P
3 Yes, but - there's a heck of a difference between, say, Jack Clark and Barry Bonds. Or Ken Phelps and Barry Bonds. And as long as he's healthy, Bonds is a hell of a lot better hitter than any of the other lefty LF/DH types.

My only concern remains - would he still cost the Yanks their first round pick?

2008-02-24 20:35:46
5.   Chyll Will
3 Hee-hee, thanks for turning off the laughing gas, my man >;)

In regards to the professional atmosphere, I think that persona was real the first few years of Torre's reign, when the team managed to not only combine the tools and talent, but fit in some potentially loose cannons as well. I had a fantasy of sorts of seeing a poster of each player fielding his position in a business suit; that's how locked these guys were to their game. I think that began to change in 1998, and more noticeably in 2000. Different priorities, I imagine. Up until then, you had some key players with personal health or family issues that were a rally point or a reason to focus on the game. After 2001 is when I really started to feel that the "professional" persona lost it's depth. That of course coincided with George deciding to mess with the decision-making again.

I may be wrong, but for someone who demanded excellence and respect from top to bottom, he sure wasn't one for setting the bar in a substantial way.

2008-02-24 20:36:55
6.   Chyll Will
4 No, he was not offered arbitration by the Giants, so there's a clear path for anyone interested.
2008-02-24 21:15:36
7.   Yu-Hsing Chen
The issue is though, you can't possibly carry Bonds / Giambi AND Matsui on the 25 man at the same time. so you probably need to move one of them, which is literally impossible thx to NTC and big money.

So are you willing to cut a 25 million dollar player AND sign a 15M prorated contract to boot for Bonds? I know I would feel icky about that. (yes you could play Giambi at first and Matsui Left Damon Center and sit Cabrera I guess. I just highly doubt the team could survive 3 month and all 3 of them are still not on the DL)

2008-02-24 21:24:02
8.   Shaun P
7 But you could get creative, and promise them (Giambi, Matsui, and Bonds) each ~450 PAs. For example, when its a lefty pitcher (Giambi doesn't hit lefties well, Matsui and Bonds do), Bonds at DH and Matsui learns to play 1B. When Damon needs a night off, Bonds plays LF, Matsui at DH, and Giambi (or whoever) at 1B. And so on. Besides, I think its folly to expect all 3 to stay healthy the entire season; injuries create opportunities.

4 Thanks Chyll, that's twice you've set me straight tonight. =)

2008-02-24 21:44:09
9.   JL25and3
8 I think it's foolish to heap on more of the same on the assumption that someone will be injured. And promising them all 450 PA is shades of Dave Collins. The fact is, you can't make that promise.

Yes, Bonds is a better hitter than any of those guys. But it doesn't change the fact that (a) those guys are all still on the team, and (b) they're not the problem. Signing Bonds addresses a problem that doesn't exist, and addresses it by creating more problems.

2008-02-24 21:45:07
10.   Chyll Will
8 What, about the no arbitration and/or the nice racks on PBS? >;)
2008-02-24 22:36:05
11.   Chyll Will
ahem... (mi-mi-mi-mi...)

"H ah aha hah ah!"

(sigh). Just felt like saying that for some reason. Good night all >;)

2008-02-25 01:21:38
12.   Yu-Hsing Chen
If one of Damon / Matsui / Giambi really suffer a major injury and Bonds is still out there I'd definately go for it. but right now it's just creating a big problem without clearly solving any problem.
2008-02-25 03:22:56
13.   RIYank
I love that Joba/Moose story. Maybe we have to start calling Joba "Squirrel"?

Also, Phil Hughes has posted a (very lousy) photo of "The Window" at his blog,

2008-02-25 05:00:40
14.   OldYanksFan
I can't see Bonds getting more then $10m from anyone. It's possible that even for free, no one wants him. How many players who are NOT signed yet this year will see MLB playing time? Plus, what may be most important to Barry is making the WS. This is probably his last year, and going to the WS might be by far a bigger issue to him then money. The All Star game in NY? The closing of the Stadium? There are a LOT of reasons why playing for the Yankees would be a Godsend for Bonds.

Question: With all his legal issues as well as the steroid issue in baseball, has Bonds quit juicing? Did he quit after 2004? 2005? 2006? 2007? This is one of those times where both fans and media might complain about getting Bonds, but will then fight to the death for a seat to go and see him.

My only issue, and I think the Yanks would be on the same page, is no outrageous percs. Bonds has to be willing to be 'one of the boys' and NOT the King of the clubhouse.

We can't worry about injuries to JD/Mats/Giambi AND at the same time complain there is no room for Bonds. As I've said, rest JD 25 games, Bobby 20, Melky 15 and 40 games at DH. That's 100 games (if necessary) for Matsui.

Shelly has options. Send him to SWB until someone gets hurt. Investigate trading Matsui. His salary covers Bonds and he is really superfluous next year if AJax comes up.

Are the Sox really the team to beat? Might we miss the PS? If you believe that, then I think you have to at least consider Bonds.

2008-02-25 06:22:02
15.   horace-clarke-era
I think I agree with the 'shiny toy' take on Bonds. I'd also say that however Girardi mixes and matches, run production is very unlikely to be any kind of Achilles heel for the Yanks this year and I'm a bit surprised people seem agitated about it. (I know, it is Feb, what else can we do but get agitated?)

Bonds (and Clemens possibly) face serious and substantive legal issues. El Bud has clearly intimated he would rather BB stay out of the game. There are issues I have with this (collusion, and buck-passing, both) but I have issues with the op-tics of signing him, too, on the 'shiny toy' formulation. Enough money to buy whatever we want... Yes, Bonds might be cheaper than many with an incentives contract, but he's also the Biggest Name in the Game.

Leave it alone.

PS More I think about it, more I think the proceedings vs Bonds and Tejada create a very difficult political/ethical climate for giving Roger a walk. Not unless you do it for all three, on some kind of 'look forwards not back' amnesty.

2008-02-25 06:28:10
16.   horace-clarke-era
OYF write in the other thread:

"I am a Yankees fan and love watching games and our individual players, but when Bonds walks to the plate with a bat in his hand, it's just excitement that transcends anything else in baseball."

Have to say I absolutely agree with this. But did we feel that way before he loaded up on steroids after McGwire and Sosa? (He was a sensational player, but ...) Doesn't this make the point about how much we all loved the bulked-up home run dudes? I'm including myself so don't pile on me. My point has always been that Selig/Fehr/players/owners all (correctly) saw what we fans were calling for.

2008-02-25 07:31:59
17.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
16 I have to say I absolutely, completely, and unequivocally disagree with you and OYF (and did I mention whole heartedly?)

I have no interest in seeing Bonds swing a bat ever again, particularly in our hallowed pinstripes thank you very much.

2008-02-25 07:35:44
18.   Yu-Hsing Chen
I'd agree with your take on Bonds, he's a legend, it's ashame that it's tainted, but I really believe that juice or not this is clearly the most game changing player since Babe Ruth.

If they don't give a damn and be willing to run Giambi out there until he breaks then yeah, GO FOR IT.

2008-02-25 09:08:08
19.   OldYanksFan
I also agree with 17 . Bonds is no more a shiny toy then Big Papi. Matsui and JD make $13m. Nancy Drew makes more. Manny makes $20m. ARod makes $27. Freaking Tori Hunter makes $18m.

Bonds is, dollar for dollar, the most cost efficient player around (not including kids/pre-FAs of course).

We are talking a ONE year contract. Not Giambi for 7, or RJ for 4, or even Matsui for 4. We are talking a one-time 'cortizone' shot that can be a difference maker in challenging the Sox for the division.

We knew it even before the MR. Many players have taken steroids, including pitchers. It is only because Bonds is one of the top 3 most talented players of this generation that he has done so well. It might be years since he's taken steroids. With all his legal issues, I'm not sure he want to take chance testing positive.

I wish there were no PEDs issue. I'm not proud that Bonds has used. But he has been MLB's scapegoat, not unlike Roger is now. A few guys have been singled out because they are stars, but they are no 'less moral' then many, many players of their generation.

So.... I wish he were clean. But considering we passed on Santana, and have been very faithful to our 'youth policy', Bonds is simply an amazing masher and OBP machine that can be had cheap.

If everyone who loved watching him bat did NOT piss-and-moan about the steroids, then you would not hear a sound.

Besides, we haven't done anything much in a few years to have people really hate the Yankees. We are overdue.

2008-02-25 10:16:17
20.   weeping for brunnhilde
Good old Mike. He's such a sourpuss!

What a funny, funny anecdote.

The very image of Mussina and Joba sitting down together over an Atari 2600 or whatever the hell the kids play on these days is just delicious.

2008-02-25 10:36:54
21.   Rob Middletown CT
Adding Bonds to the mix of Giambi, Matsui and Damon is too much, IMO. You have to figure out a way of moving one of them.

Giambi strikes me as untradeable. They're not gonna release him.

Matsui is worth something in trade. But I'd rather move Damon... and I don't know if that's possible.

2008-02-25 11:55:27
22.   Raf
20 This is the first thing I thought of when I heard that anecdote;

21 On paper, yes it seems to be too much, but these things have a way of working themselves out.

2008-02-25 13:39:12
23.   horace-clarke-era
19 "Besides, we haven't done anything much in a few years to have people really hate the Yankees. We are overdue. "

That's very funny.

On this one though I am laughing more at how everyone seems to 'agree' without knowing what they agree with. Tutu blasts me (as I leap to take a bullet for the infirm OYF) for QUOTING him on how compelling it was to see Bonds battle a pitcher. But my main argument in 15 was 'don't want him.

But then OYF treacherously AGREES with Tutu who just blasted HIM. This confuses this Ol' Horse. Tutu says no interest in ever seeing Bonds again, OYF wants him as our DH. Jeez. You guys could solve the Balkans you are so good at agreeing.

Shiny toy, for me, has zip to do with length of contract it is just signing the flashiest name, with all the notoriety instantly accruing. Like, you want to argue it wouldn't get more media attention than Santana to the Mets? That's a shiny toy.

I stand by my main query: why is everyone so worried about runs and production? Didn't some people just run through this and show us increasing over last year on likely projections?

2008-02-25 13:44:23
24.   Rob Middletown CT
Scoring more runs is always good. Full stop.

If Bonds was used as a DH, acquiring him has no effect on run prevention, but increases run production. Ergo, it makes the team better.

Things get more interesting if he would play some LF, because his defense is questionable, especially at the Stadium. Then again, so is Matsui's (which is one of the reasons Damon is to be the main LFer).

As a fan, I would struggle with it, because I don't like Bonds much and I detest the media frenzy around him. But when he's in the lineup, getting on base over 40% of the time and beating pitchers into wobbly piles of goo...

2008-02-25 21:41:06
25.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
23 I caught all that too - makes me feel like a UN diplomat rather than the sillypuss that I am.

Still, I'd rather miss the wild card by a 1/2 game than have Bonds in pinstripes .

I lived - and survived - MANY years as a fan of Yankees teams with losing records and worse. Yet none of that made me feel as bad as having Bonds next year would make me feel.

I'm just sayin.

2008-02-26 07:42:34
26.   Raf
As I've said countless times, I don't care what kind of person he is (or is percieved to be), I'm sure the Yanks could find somewhere to place in the lineup a guy who put up a .480/.565 (1.045 OPS) line.

I'm not agitated about run production, don't think it will be a problem. But if the opportunity is there to have one of the best offensive players of our generation in the lineup, why not take the chance?

At the very least, he'll give media tips to Rodriguez :)

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