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November 12, 2005

NY Daily News: Bombers make Giles center of attention
by SG

From an article in today's New York Daily News:

There was a pause of sorts in the Yankees' negotiations with left fielder Hideki Matsui yesterday as GM Brian Cashman spent most of the day flying back from the GM meetings in California. But before he left, Cashman made contact again with the agent for another outfielder, Brian Giles, who could be developing into a candidate to take over for Bernie Williams in center field.


Meanwhile, Matsui's agent, Arn Tellem, is slated to fly to New York today and meet with his client either tonight or tomorrow. The Yankees and Matsui have a self-imposed deadline of Tuesday to get a contract done, though the sides could extend the cutoff date. Matsui could make a decision Monday or Tuesday.


If the Yankees don't sign Giles to play center, they could be running out of options. They were rebuffed by the White Sox about a trade for Aaron Rowand, who dazzled with his glove in Chicago's only visit to the Stadium this year.

Talented and troubled Milton Bradley could be a choice, but the Dodgers believe there will be an active trade market for him, a source said. It's believed that five other teams are interested - the A's, Cubs, Nationals, Pirates and Tigers. Jim Tracy, Bradley's former manager with the Dodgers, is now the Pirates' skipper and he thinks highly of the 27-year-old's talent.

The Cubs' Corey Patterson appears available in a trade, but his stock has plummeted despite hopes in Chicago that he would be the Cubs' next great player. He hit only .215 with 13 homers and 34 RBI in 126 games this year and has a lifetime on-base percentage of just .293 in six seasons. He also has struck out 286 times in 283 games over the past two seasons.

Giles has not played center field regularly since 2000, although he has seen spot duty there as recently as last year. If the Yankees are considering signing both Giles and Matsui, they'll probably have the best hitting OF in baseball, although defense will continue to be a problem. While Giles is going to be 35, he is still a very good offensive player who should be reasonable risk on a 2 or 3 year deal. While I wish the Yankees would stop signing older players, if this is the alternative that does not involve trading away young prospects, it's probably the smart way to proceed. Let's hope Joe Kerrigan can teach every pitcher on the staff a 2 seam fastball.

As far as Matsui, the rumored 4 year, $50 million deal is a bit expensive considering his ability and his age, but it's a thin market, and the Yankees don't have much of a choice.