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December 8, 2005

Johnny Two-Face
by SG

My good friends at are running with this story today.

"There's no way I can go play for the Yankees, but I know they are going to come after me hard. It's definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar, which the Yankees are going to offer me. It's not what I need." - Johnny Damon, back in May.

"I would cut the hair and I would stay clean-shaven. George Steinbrenner has the policy for a reason, and you have to respect that. I've never been one to challenge authority."

Damon heaped praise upon Rodriguez, whom several of Damon's teammates took turns ripping last winter (It was "us being jealous not getting him ... Alex has always been a class act"), Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi ("the absolute best" teammate), Yankees fans ("I think the fans respect me") and everything else pinstriped or associated with pinstripes.

Damon pointed out how he could help. "The Yankees haven't won since [Chuck] Knoblauch," he said. "Jeter's an incredible leadoff hitter. But he was the game's best No. 2 hitter." - Johnny Damon, free agent.

I've been stating repeatedly in this space how I don't want Damon on the Yankees. However, as the market starts to dry up with targets like Juan Pierre being traded to the Cubs and Brad Wilkerson being traded to the Nationals, it's starting to look like a more and more likely possiblity. While I'm not particularly happy about it, if it's a 3 year deal it's not the worst situation in the world.

The Yankees surprisingly offered Bernie Williams arbitration yesterday. From the link:

The Yankees were expecting to consummate a contract with Williams for close to $2 million, plus incentives, two American League executives said yesterday.

Bernie is one of my all-time favorite Yankees, but I just don't know that he's capable of helping a major-league team at this point. His power is gone, and while he can still draw a walk, he was swinging at bad pitches all year. He also can't defend even passably anymore in CF, and has not even been tried in LF. Forget about RF, with his arm it wouldn't work.

I guess the plan is to have him in the Ruben Sierra pinch-hitter/DH role. In that sense, it's not a terrible option, but it limits the roster flexibility to have a player who cannot play defense. Also, let's not forget the Joe Torre factor and Torre's willingness to keep running Bernie out there in center.

Yesterday was the deadline for teams to offer arbitration. The following players who may interest the Yankees were offered arbitration so will cost draft picks to sign:

Pitchers: Ricardo Rincon

The following players were not:

Pitchers: Octavio Dotel, Mike Myers, Roger Clemens, Jason Christensen, Al Reyes, Julian Tavarez, Chad Fox, Darren Dreifort, Wilson Alvarez, Braden Looper, Ugueth Urbina

Infielders: Erubiel Durazo, Frank Thomas, Nomar Garciaparra, J.T. Snow

Outfielders: Richard Hidalgo, Preston Wilson, Reggie Sanders

There are probably more that I missed. Looper wouldn't be a bad pickup to stick in middle relief, and would probably be cheaper than Scott Boras-represented Julian Tavarez. If Darren Dreifort is healthy(odds are astronomical) he could be dominant arm in relief as well. Wilson Alvarez would seem to be a good pick up as a lefty who can spot-start too.

In Yankee land:

The Yankees offer arbitration to Bernie Williams, Al Leiter and Ramiro Mendoza. Leiter and Mendoza have already rejected the arbitration offers as per an agreement with the Yankees.

The Yankees declined to offer contracts to Kevin Brown, Alan Embree, Matt Lawton, John Flaherty, Tino Martinez, Rey Sanchez, Felix Rodriguez and Ruben Sierra.

I'll miss Alan Embree, Kevin Brown, and John Flaherty. I would have offered Felix Rodriguez arbitration because I can see no way he would have stayed, particularly in this market, but it's a second round pick, not a huge deal.

I don't know that anything will happen until Dec 20 when players may be non-tendered. The Cubs are supposedly offering Todd Walker to the Dodgers for Milton Bradley, so he may not be an option either.