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Early Speculation

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Early Speculation

Postby Minor League Skilz » Wed Oct 12, 2005 1:39 pm

I read this today. Take it for what it is worth.


Klap: Yankee doodle Manny?
By BOB KLAPISCH
SPORTS COLUMNIST




Can you envision Manny Ramirez, the American League's most dangerous, late-inning threat from the right side, wearing pinstripes in 2006? None other than Ramirez himself has. The Red Sox' left fielder told friends in the final weeks of the regular season he would accept, if not welcome, a trade to either New York team - an intriguing opening in the wake of Alex Rodriguez's collapse in the AL Division Series.

The Yankees have a long winter ahead, full of critical decisions about their general manager, center fielder and a new setup man for Mariano Rivera. Ramirez's name has never been seriously considered until now, but that may change after another early exit from the playoffs and Rodriguez's .133 average against the Angels.

According to one American League source, the Red Sox are leaning toward one scenario where they'll sign all their free agents, most notably Johnny Damon, but would trade Ramirez for the right return package. The Yankees obviously would need to include a third team to pull off such a monster swap - and don't underestimate the Mets' willingness to do anything to pair Ramirez with GM Omar Minaya, after nearly acquiring the slugger at the July 31 trade deadline. But George Steinbrenner will be just as motivated to find more potent weapons than Bernie Williams (.211 in the ALDS) even Hideki Matsui (who hit .200 and made the final out in Game 5 with the tying run on base).

Ramirez is "definitely ready to come to New York," said the friend, who dined with the left fielder during the Sox' road series against the Yankees. "He likes the Yankees, the Mets, either one, he just wants to be here."

Of course, the Yankees can't begin restructuring until they have a GM in place, and that won't happen until Cashman decides whether to accept a 20 percent pay raise and ownership equity, an offer that's been on the table since July. George Steinbrenner made it clear he wants Cashman back in 2006, but that was three months ago. Yankee sources say The Boss is now just as inclined to name Tampa-based VP Damon Oppenheimer as Cashman's replacement if talks stall beyond the expiration-date on the GM's contract, Oct. 31.

No matter who choreographs the Yankees' off-season, though, there are certain constants that'll remain untouched: Alex Rodriguez will be back (at $20 million a year, where could he go?), Derek Jeter stays put as the team's most marketable commodity and Gary Sheffield will finish out the last year of a three-year pact he personally negotiated with Steinbrenner. And the ageless Mariano Rivera will rescue the bullpen once again.

There's a long list of potential free agents, including Williams, Matsui and Tom Gordon. The Yankees want Matsui, unless the long-shot scenario of Ramirez coming to the Bronx becomes a reality, in which case he's gone. It's hard to envision Bernie coming back, however, unless he's ready to take a massive pay cut and be content with 250 at-bats a year. And with free agent B.J. Ryan looming as Rivera's next setup man, Gordon likely has thrown his final pitch as a Yankee.

Some other free agency issues likely will resolve themselves, including the near-certain retirement of Al Leiter and Tino Martinez. The Yankees must determine whether Jason Giambi is their everyday first baseman, or whether he's better suited as a designated hitter. And if Bernie is gone, or at least in deep background mode, it's not impossible to think of the Marlins' Juan Pierre succeeding him.

Damon, of course, will be available, and while some executives consider it an air-tight guarantee the Sox will re-sign him, the Yankees may actually have a better chance than anyone thinks. One person close to the center fielder said, "The Sox blew their chance to sign Johnny earlier this year" when he was ready to accept a four-year, $30 million offer - practically the same deal he signed in 2001.

Sox ownership ultimately balked, setting the stage for agent Scott Boras to demand a six or seven year deal that'll increase Damon's yearly salary to more than $12 million per. Said one member of Damon's entourage: "It's an even playing field now. Johnny's going to see what's out there."

As for pitching, the Yankees are more limited than they want to admit, considering they owe Carl Pavano three more years at $9 million per and are into Jaret Wright for another two seasons. And besides, they have no real incentive to trade Aaron Small, Shawn Chacon or Chien-Ming Wang.

Question is, though: Who'll tutor them? Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre all but announced his retirement from the Yankees this past week, hinting he'll take a similar role with the Mariners. That'll make it possible for the Yankees to again mull approaching the Braves' Leo Mazzone, who, through third parties, heard of the Bombers' interest in him over the summer.

Mazzone and the Braves hotly denied the Yankees ever made contact. Technically, that was true; there was never any one-on-one conversation between the legendary coach and any member of the Yankees' front office. But according to one person familiar with the Bombers' interest in Mazzone, they'd be willing to do "whatever it takes" if he decides he's ready to leave Atlanta.

E-mail: mailto:klapisch@northjersey.com
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Re: Early Speculation

Postby blankman » Wed Oct 12, 2005 3:15 pm

Minor League Skilz wrote:I read this today. Take it for what it is worth.


That'll make it possible for the Yankees to again mull approaching the Braves' Leo Mazzone, who, through third parties, heard of the Bombers' interest in him over the summer.

Mazzone and the Braves hotly denied the Yankees ever made contact. Technically, that was true; there was never any one-on-one conversation between the legendary coach and any member of the Yankees' front office. But according to one person familiar with the Bombers' interest in Mazzone, they'd be willing to do "whatever it takes" if he decides he's ready to leave Atlanta.



This is the only part I like. And I would absolutely love for that to happen. :-L :-L

Hell no to Damon and Manny. Manny because there's no where for him to play without killing the already bad defense.
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Postby SaintsOfTheDiamond » Wed Oct 12, 2005 5:05 pm

I don't really know much about the situation, but what are the chances that Mazzone realistically goes to the Bronx? Unless the ATL organization completely undervalues his contributions, that would take the cake as one of the worst management decisions in baseball. Is Mazzone slated to make that much more in '06? Or is it just fans/writers trying to make a story? I haven't heard Mazzone express any dissatisfaction in ATL, and I don't know why, of all the places he could go, he would go to NYY. They don't really have anything to work with besides a bunch of journeyman veterans and aging stars well past their prime. I'm sure he could have his pick of any job he wants and that just doesn't make sense, because if he's looking for fame and notoriety, he's already got that as one of (if not) the most recognizable coaches in all of baseball. Going to NYY has the potential to be disastorous because if he succeeds, well he's Leo Mazzone and if he fails, he will be kicked to the curb and despised in NY and probably most of baseball. :-?
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Postby blankman » Wed Oct 12, 2005 5:22 pm

Its a challenge. Winners want to prove they are up to the challenge. Losers shy away.
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Postby SaintsOfTheDiamond » Wed Oct 12, 2005 5:25 pm

blankman wrote:Its a challenge. Winners want to prove they are up to the challenge. Losers shy away.

True, but he's got a pretty big challenge in ATL next year IMO past Smoltz in the starting rotation and that bullpen is an absolute mess.
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Postby dimaggio5 » Wed Oct 12, 2005 5:29 pm

If the Yanks didn't have Giambi already, I'd probably be interested in Manny. I really don't want 2 DHs on the team. Plus I really hate Manny's show boating when he hits a homerun.

I'm having second thoughts on Damon and I really think the Yankees should consider other alternatives.

I've read in today's post (Sherman column?), that the Yanks should trade SHef to the ChiSox for Rowand and prospects. That's a trade I'd do in a heartbeat. Corner OFs are easy to get so Shef could be replaced. Rowand would be perfect for the Yanks and a good compliment behind Jeter in the 2 hole. He's fast, plays good defense, has pop and can steal bases.

I'm going to miss Stottlemyre. He's no Mazzone but he a very close second. He knows how to pitch and handle his pitchers extremely well. Pitchers respond to him, unlike what Tampa would like all of us to believe. I was listening to Wfan today and Mike and Mad Dog expressed the same sentiments. Wang will miss him the most but Chacon and Small will too. He was responsible for helping these pitchers succeed. It wasn;t his fault that he received all the junk named Brown, Wright, Weaver, Quantrill, Rodirquez and Redman. When your given has beens, head cases and limited liabilities to work with, who can succeed.
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Postby SaintsOfTheDiamond » Wed Oct 12, 2005 5:48 pm

I completely agree with you about Stottlemyre. I never thought he was as bad as some fans/managment let on. I don't know that I'd put him quite in the same class as Mazzone, but he's definitely been the scape-goat on all this, which is a real shame IMO. :-t
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Postby BronXBombers51 » Wed Oct 12, 2005 7:04 pm

I agree with you guys on Stottlemyre. It's not his fault they gave him crap to work with. I don't think he's the best in the league but he certainly didn't deserve to be criticized by the likes of Billy Connors.

Leo Mazzone is not going to the Yankees. The next pitching coach will likely be one of the following three: Ron Guidry (no introduction needed), Gil Patterson (AAA pitching coach) or Neil Allen (current MLB bullpen coach).

The Red Sox wouldn't trade Manny to New York, nor do I want him. They last thing the Yankees need is a 40 homerun hitter who has a bad attitude and doesn't play defense. That is exactly the player that is already ruining this team.
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Postby Minor League Skilz » Thu Oct 13, 2005 8:32 am

SaintsOfTheDiamond wrote:
blankman wrote:Its a challenge. Winners want to prove they are up to the challenge. Losers shy away.

True, but he's got a pretty big challenge in ATL next year IMO past Smoltz in the starting rotation and that bullpen is an absolute mess.


I need to look this up but I am guessing that he would only come to the Yanks because of the money. I am not sure what he makes now but I never got the impression that Atlanta was especially free with their money. Mazzone never had much of a professional career and is widely respected as the best in his field. The Yankees would play him better than some head coaches.

He already has the respect and now he needs the funds.
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Postby Minor League Skilz » Thu Oct 13, 2005 8:44 am

BronXBombers51 wrote:I agree with you guys on Stottlemyre. It's not his fault they gave him crap to work with. I don't think he's the best in the league but he certainly didn't deserve to be criticized by the likes of Billy Connors.


I agree with you guys about mel being the scapegoat too. There are bigger problems in the organization than Mel. They never give him any credit for the successes and constantly give him all the blame. Everyone loves to talk about what Chacon, Small, and Wang have meant to the Yanks this year, but Mel has to get some credit there. Small gave alot of credit to Mel for helping him change his grip during spring training. He was probably a major reason for his success this year.

That being said I am ready for a change because the relationship between Mel and the Yankees is so bad it would eventually hurt team chemistry (if it hasn't already).
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