An internal debate among team officials already is taking place about whether it would be prudent for them to commit big money to Red Sox free-agent centerfielder Johnny Damon or give up young talent to acquire the Twins’ Torii Hunter, who likely would want an extension and perhaps a raise from his $10.75-million salary.
The Yankees like the thought of Orioles free-agent closer B.J. Ryan, 29, setting up for Mariano Rivera and are expected to push for him. He has said he is open to setting up, but many teams, including the Mets, will be interested in having him close, which means a higher price tag.
The only starting pitcher the Yankees were expected to go after probably won’t be on the market after all. According to a report in the Japan Times, the Seibu Lions say they will not give up Daisuke Matsuzaka, 25, a hard-throwing righthander.
Bummer on Matsuzaka. If the choice is Damon or Hunter, I would take Hunter – even though he’s just an average batter at best. Damon’s defensive play in Yankee Stadium for 81 games is not an attractive thought. But, no one knows how Hunter will rebound from his injury. Do you really want to wait until Spring Training to see and potentially miss another CF on the market? Is there a Plan C? I hope there is one.
Ryan is an interesting call. I just have a feeling about him not doing well in a big market like New York or in post-season pressure. It’s just a hunch. I have no facts to back it up. It just seems like he’s folded in some big spots before. But, maybe that’s just my memory playing tricks on me?