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December 10, 2004

So, what's next?
by SG

Trying to get the bad taste out of my mouth of the Womack/Wright signings, I figured I'd look at some of the rumors that are floating around about other potential Yankee moves.

From this article in the 12/9 edition of the New York Post (I know, it's the Post, so it's about as reliable as Gammons):

While focusing on upgrading their rotation, the Yankees haven't forgotten about Carlos Beltran.

With Jason Giambi's pinstriped future cloudy at best, the Yankees not offering John Olerud, Tony Clark and Travis Lee arbitration, the best first basemen on the free-agent market are Richie Sexson and Carlos Delgado. However, an industry source told The Post yesterday that those sluggers aren't in the Yankee plans.

"That money is going to be used for Beltran," the source said.

Obviously, this would be a huge signing for the Yankees. With rumors rampant that the Angels will be signing Steve Finley, that drops one potential competitor for Beltran's services out of the mix. Beltran is supposedly seeking a 10 year deal, which would make him 38 at the end of the contract. As a player who grew up idolizing Bernie Williams, I'd just hope that he doesn't age the way Bernie did. He does have better baseball instincts than Bernie, so he may age better, but I'd probably try to sign him for five or six years maximum.

Bringing back Tino Martinez, who left after the 2001 World Series and was replaced by Giambi, would be a popular move for Yankee fans, but he was 37 Tuesday and there are questions as to how much Martinez has left. He batted .262 with 23 homers and 76 RBIs for the Devil Rays a year ago.

It wouldn't be popular with this Yankee fan. Like the blurb says, Tino is now 37, and as one of Torre's "guys", I could see him playing full time, contributing a .320/.420 line while playing solid defense. I don't know that I'd throw big money at Delgado either, and Sexson is not attractive to me as a right-handed power hitter coming off injury. The team needs to get more left-handed on offense IMO, especially if Giambi is unable to play or is gone. There is very little else available once you get past Sexson and Delgado. I'd still consider having Bernie try and learn 1B, but I don't think that's likely.

Carl Pavano and Eric Milton are looking for a little more than the Yankees want to spend, but the differences aren't wide enough to kill deals. In fact, after believing Pavano was going to remain a Marlin, the Yankees now think they have a chance to sign the right-hander, who according to sources has been offered a $40 million deal for four years.

The left-handed Milton is looking for a three-year pact worth between $24 million and $26 million.

I really hope Milton stays greedy and winds up signing with Anaheim or Detroit or something. As far as Pavano, I'm not really enamored of him, but I think he'd be a better signing than Milton, even at a few million more per year. I still think Matt Clement would be a better signing than either one of them, especially since he'd be cheaper, but Yankees apparently have concerns about his makeup. Must be that facial hair of his. As much as the thought initially repulsed me, signing Pedro Martinez may be the best thing the Yankees can do. He'll be a little more expensive than the rest of these guys, but he'll be a lot better.

Then there is Randy Johnson. The White Sox-Yankee-Diamondback three-way rumor gained fuel yesterday but the Yankees said they haven't heard from Arizona in more than a week.

The three way rumor is the Yankees sending Vazquez to the White Sox, the White Sox sending Paul Konerko, and John Garland to Arizona, and some Yankee prospects also going to Arizona. I still dislike giving up Vazquez, but if Pavano is signed, he could fill that slot. The Yankees are also probably looking to move Kevin Brown to someone, probably for nothing of value and eating a good portion of his contract. Too bad they couldn't make a Brown + prospects + cash trade for Marcus Giles, but they just don't have the chips to do it.

Also, the Yankees added a lefty to their bullpen with the signing of 35-year-old Goo Dae-seong, a Korean pitcher who's been pitching in the Japanese leagues. He's been a mediocre starter, but supposedly has a tricky delivery that will be effective against lefties. The Yankees signed him for 2 years, $3.5 million.

Goo ended his career in the Japanese League with unsatisfactory numbers of 24 wins and 34 losses, five wins and 10 losses this year, and an ERA of 4.39, but the Yankees evaluated Goo to be an effective pitcher against lefty batters since he steps to the mound while covering the ball behind his back. Jo said, “The Yankees hopes Goo will handle lefty batters such as Boston’s David Ortiz.”

This move is annoying to me, best case he's Mike Myers, worst case, he's the Run Fairy™ part deux. He also makes it that much harder for Halsey to break in in the bullpen. Halsey owned lefties in his brief major league stint, I'd rather have him in that spot. This also precludes the signing of Steve Kline most likely, which doesn't necessarily bother me all that much. As it is, the bullpen is getting awfully crowded.

Felix Rodriguez
Goo Dea-seong

This is before they re-sign Smoke & Mirrors™, whom they want to retain, and have to offer a contract by 12/20 to do so. They do need a long reliever, as the rest of the pen are primarilyy short relievers. Also, with Colter Bean finally getting added to the 40 man roster, I am hopeful he gets a chance to show what he can do in the majors at some point this season. Cashman has made noise about a twelve man pitching staff, which doesn't make much sense. A bench of Flaherty, Sierra, Womack or some other backup infielder, and either Tino or some other backup 1B is ridiculously limited and thin.

I fear that Gordon will be traded, due to his disappointing postseason and the acquisition of Felix Rodriguez, who is not in Gordon's league.

There's still a lot of roster shuffling remaining, so let's hope that the first two terrible signings will be forgotten by some smarter signings and/or trades in the coming months.