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January 24, 2007

NY Times: Williams Not Willing to Give Up Pinstripes
by SG

There is no spot on the Yankees’ roster for Bernie Williams, who is uncomfortable as a free agent after 16 seasons in New York. Williams does not want to retire, yet he does not want to leave the Yankees.

Jorge Posada, who received an award at the Baseball Assistance Team dinner in Manhattan last night, said he has kept in close touch with Williams this winter. Apparently, retirement is not an option.

“He’s not even talking about that,” Posada said. “He said he wants to play one more year.”

Posada said Williams, 38, has told him that other teams have called. But with the start of spring training less than three weeks away, Williams has resisted.

I feel a little for Bernie here. It can't be easy to be facing the end of your career. If I were him, I'd want to keep playing forever. It's possible that he could be an asset in an extremely limited role that keeps him off the field, but with the current personnel on the team it'd be a waste of a roster spot, and with Joe Torre around, it's unlikely his role would be limited enough to not hurt the team somewhat. It's also a potential harm to Melky Cabrera's development.

If Bernie is really done as a Yankee, it closes another small part of what's been a great time to be a Yankee fan. Try not to just think of the guy whose knee injury in 2003 brought a great career to a swifter than expected decline. Also think of the guy who put up OPS+s of 130,148,159, 157, and 136 from ages 27-31 while helping the Yankees win four World Series in five seasons.

I'll get to the rest of the clutchness stuff over the next few days. I'll run the numbers for 2004-2006 for David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui, and Derek Jeter. If you have anyone else in mind, post it in the comments.