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November 15, 2005

Newsday: Cashman, agent to finalize Matsui deal
by SG

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and Arn Tellem, the agent for Hideki Matsui, were scheduled to meet face-to-face late last night, and contract negotiations were expected to enter the final stages. The Yankees are optimistic Matsui will sign a four-year deal worth $50 million.

As both sides close in, Tellem appears to be focusing on increasing the average annual salary more than adding another year into the deal, as per Matsui's preference.

"I don't care much about the number of years," Matsui told Kyodo News Sunday. "You might think the longer a deal runs, the better. But it's not necessarily so because I can be given the same opportunity as I have now again if it runs over a relatively short period."

If the last paragraph is true, the Yankees are better off offering Matsui $14 million a year for 3 years than $12.5 million a year for 4. Really, if the options were better on the market, I'd have been tempted to tell him to hit the road. He's a good player, but his defense is an issue that is going to get worse, and he's going to be in his mid-30s by the end of this deal.

As far as the great MVP debate, the question has been raised about what a DH can do to win an MVP. First of all, let me say that I LOVE the DH rule. There is nothing more pathetic than watching pitchers swing and miss 3 pitches, or bunt. If a DH is the most valuable player in the league, then he deserves to win the MVP. The half a player comments are not completely valid in my opinion. The problem for any DH, even one who had as dominant a season as David Ortiz did, is the competition. If Alex Rodriguez had his 2004 season in 2005, Ortiz would have been a deserving MVP this season. I also don't discount the fact that Ortiz was more "clutch", but I think a lot of clutchness stems from opportunity and not an innate ability to deliver when it counts, so any stats that pump up Ortiz's value because of when he got his hits need to be tempered with the understanding of that.

Various defensive metrics pegged Rodriguez as below average defensively this year, anywhere from -10 to -25 in runs. I've seen arguments that say that this should be subtracted from Rodriguez's offense, but that is not accurate. If you are going to penalize Rodriguez for below average defense at third base, he should be compared to a replacement level third baseman, not an average third baseman. Otherwise, you are unfairly comparing him to people who have to occupy a spot lower on the defensive spectrum (basically giving Ortiz credit for playing an average third base, when he can't even play an average first base.)

The Yankees are still supposedly interested in Brian Giles, who is probably not interested in them as anything more than a way to drive up his salary.

Also, from this article on RealGMBaseball:

The Mets and Yankees likely will compete for several free agent relievers this winter as both teams reconstruct their bullpens, but they have slightly different roles in mind for flame-throwing righthander Kyle Farnsworth, whose agent has been contacted by both teams.

The Yankees view Farnsworth, who is often clocked at 100 mph on the radar gun, as a potential setup man for closer Mariano Rivera.

If it's Farnsworth in addition to Ryan, I'm cool with that. Ryan has to be a priority though.