• The Hot Stove Begins

    Posted by on October 29th, 2005 · Comments (13)

    From Newsday:

    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?

    Comments on The Hot Stove Begins

    1. Don
      October 29th, 2005 | 1:53 pm

      I also hope there is ‘plan C’ for CF. I will not root for Damon and Hunter is overrated. Hopefully Juan Pierre is not ‘plan C’.

    2. MJ
      October 29th, 2005 | 2:01 pm

      So, after all the waiting, Cashman’s in charge and he’s about to go headfirst into yet another “Typical Yankee” horrendous free agent move. Damon is a below-average fielder with a poor arm. He’s certainly not going to be a fan favorite. Why bother with him? The Cubs will be all over him. Let him go to the NL.

      Plan B. Torii Hunter. Why trade what it’ll take to get him? I think Cano’s fielding is fairly bad but I’m willing to give him time to grow into it. Why trade him and/or Wang for Hunter?

      Plan C. If it’s Pierre, then you know Cashman’s smoking crack.

      Just like the idiotic “you can’t rebuild in New York” theory is the justification for why the Mets and Knicks stink every year, Cashman’s using the “everyone must be a big name player” theory here. Just freakin’ get a defensive centerfielder that won’t cost you more than $3M a year, don’t trade any young players for him and move on. I don’t think real Yankee fans want to see Damon or Hunter taking a crap in the first week of October like the rest of our free agent acquisitions have in recent years.

    3. Raf
      October 29th, 2005 | 3:11 pm

      I don’t think real Yankee fans want to see Damon or Hunter taking a crap in the first week of October like the rest of our free agent acquisitions have in recent years.
      Most of our acqusitions, either by trade, or FA have stunk it up in the 1st week of October.

      Pickings are pretty slim on the market. I hope Cashman doesn’t throw $$ @ Damon, or trades for Hunter. The market’s bad enough that I’d say stick Matsui in CF, sign a LF’er and keep your fingers crossed.

    4. Nick from Washington Heights
      October 29th, 2005 | 4:02 pm

      I thought Damon’s range was above average out in center. Did he decline markedly this past year? In any case, I don’t like either plan given their rumored costs.

      It seems that taking a chance on Milton Bradley would make sense. He’s a good hitter, and an above average fielder, and the Dodgers want to get rid of him. One of Torre’s pluses as a manager is his ability to manage players’ personalities. Seems to me it’s worth a shot.

    5. October 29th, 2005 | 4:28 pm

      Nick – believe it or not, Damon’s arm is just as bad as Bernie’s, if not worse. That’s the problem. And, I believe that Fenway masks Damon’s range. Taking the bounce off the wall is a lot easier than chasing them down in death valley.

    6. JohnnyC
      October 29th, 2005 | 6:36 pm

      Don’t do Hunter, Damon, or Cameron. If Cashman really wants to make a statement, go after Bradley and challenge Torre to make it work . Otherwise, I’m o.k. with a Bubba/Kevin Thompson/Matsui scenario if it’ll mean keeping all our chips until at least the trade deadline.

    7. MJ
      October 29th, 2005 | 8:08 pm

      I hadn’t even thought of Milton Bradley but now that you guys mention it, that might be an interesting idea. For starters, the GM that brought him there, Paul DePodesta, was fired today. That means that they’re probably looking to move all of his “mistakes” (I think DePo got a bum deal, personally) so we might be able to get Milton for relatively cheap. I agree that Torre’s probably the manager best equipped to handle a personality like Bradley’s and his 15-homer/15-steal ability coupled with his age (turning 28 on opening day) and his switch-hitting make him an attractive target. As long as the Yanks are winning (and they do more winning than Bradley’s been used to in LA and Cleveland) then he should be ok.

    8. October 29th, 2005 | 10:11 pm

      I wouldn’t mind risking it, if Bradley was a star player. But, the only time he had a really good year was 2003. You should only take the baggage with superstars – not on the hopefuls.

    9. Raf
      October 30th, 2005 | 9:37 am

      Baggage or no, if he can play, get him…

      Charlie Hayes, Chad Curtis, Paul O’Neill, Luis Polonia, Jose Canseco and Jaret Wright were a few players that came to NY with “baggage”

    10. October 30th, 2005 | 10:47 am

      Yes, but they could play. What’s Bradley’s resume to date?

    11. Nick from Washington Heights
      October 30th, 2005 | 11:03 am

      Steve, Wright could/can play? Ditto with Polonia.

      Bradley has had one very good year 2003 (albeit in 300 at bats), and has put up decent numbers in his last two years. He supposedly has good range and a very strong arm. Financially, he would be much cheaper than Damon or Hunter, and he’s younger, was considered a good prospect through the minors, and has a lot of potential. Again, he obviously has some issues, but he seems like a worthwhile risk given the Yanks’ options. Also, if he doesn’t pan out, his contract would only run through the 2006 season.

    12. Raf
      October 30th, 2005 | 2:04 pm

      Yes, but they could play. What’s Bradley’s resume to date?

      Don’t have the RCAA numbers in front of me, but career OPS

      Bradley (28): .776 (.350/.426)
      Hunter (29): .779 (.321/.458)
      Damon (31): .784 (.353/.431)

    13. October 30th, 2005 | 3:47 pm

      Bradley has 6 career RCAA in over 2100 PA. That’s it.

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