Yankees might make Proctor a starter BY KEN DAVIDOFF Newsday Staff Correspondent
November 17, 2006
NAPLES, Fla. -- With their starting rotation their greatest uncertainty, the Yankees likely will tell Scott Proctor - a pleasant surprise as a reliever in 2006 - to plan for next season as though he will be a starter.
"We'll probably have him proceed and prepare as a starter, because you can always go the other way, slide him down and reduce his workload. But it's hard to go the other way," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said yesterday as the general managers' meetings concluded. "But that's for another day."
Cashman soon will deliver these likely instructions to Proctor, as the righthander has to work out according to the Yankees' directives.
In the interest of avoiding a free-agent purchase they will regret, the Yankees have explored the trade market for a starting pitcher. Florida intends to keep Dontrelle Willis, but the White Sox are open to dealing anyone from their rotation and could ask for some of the young pitching Cashman acquired this month in the trades of Gary Sheffield and Jaret Wright.
Cashman spoke of owning "a lot of trade chips that might be interesting to some people." Although outfielder Melky Cabrera is more likely to stay than go, he would hold significant value in an effort to acquire pitching.
Around the leagues
First baseman Sean Casey re-signed with the Tigers for one year and $4 million.
The White Sox and Cubs pulled off an intra-city trade, with the White Sox sending lefty reliever Neal Cotts to the Cubs for less-proven pitchers David Aardsma and Carlos Vasquez.
Reports out of Houston said the Astros have made offers to Carlos Lee and Alfonso Soriano. Lee, who reportedly also is speaking with the Giants and Orioles, appears more likely to play in Houston. The Astros reportedly are close to signing free-agent starting pitcher Woody Williams.
Soriano also has drawn interest from the Angels, Cubs, Dodgers, Orioles and Phillies.
The Diamondbacks are open to trading outfielder Jeff DaVanon, reliever Luis Vizcaino and catcher Johnny Estrada.
Jamie Walker, a lefthanded reliever who often pitches to just one batter, wound up getting a three-year deal from Baltimore worth $12 million.
Full World Series shares for the Cardinals are a record $362,173. Jeff Weaver, who joined the Cardinals in the middle of the season and won the clinching World Series Game 5, received a virtual full share, a person familiar with the situation said.
Former Yankees lefthander Sterling Hitchcock, 35, was at the meetings and said he hopes to make a comeback.
Bob Geren will be promoted from bench coach to manager of the Athletics, replacing the fired Ken Macha, according to a high-ranking baseball official.
The Red Sox have hired Gary Tuck as their bullpen coach. Tuck, a former Yankees catching instructor, served as Joe Girardi's bench coach in Florida this past season, and his well-known sour disposition contributed to some of the tension between Girardi and the Marlins' front office.
The Associated Press contributed to this notebook.
With Mo, Proctor, Bruney, Britton & Farnsworth, the 'Yanks have the making of a very good bullpen. Bruney was great down the stretch and one cannot simply learn who to bring it at 97 like he can. Add in Myers as the lefty specialist, all that is needed is one more lefty arm and for the first time in a long time, as a Yankee fan, I would feel confident entering the season with the bullpen.
As for the starters, IMO, they really need to see what they have in Karstens. I do not mind trading him so much, but instead of spending $8m on a 5th starter, why not see if the solution is right under their nose? Then, in two years (or maybe even in late summer), they can see what they have in Sanchez, Hughes & Clipard.
I don't buy the Proctor thing. Sure they can have him prepare as a starter, but it's too ludicrous for them to actually put him in the rotation. Probably just a precaution. I give Ca$hmoney a little more credit.
Yanks talking to righty Padilla
Thursday, November 30, 2006
BY DAN GRAZIANO
A day after winning the rights to negotiate with Japanese left-hander Kei Igawa with a $26,000,194 bid, the Yankees remained focused on acquiring another starting pitcher to go with him.
The Yankees are confident they will sign Igawa before their 30-day negotiating window expires. They have a long history of successful contract negotiations with Igawa's agent, Arn Tellem, who also represents current Yankees Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi and Hideki Matsui. But before they won the bidding for Igawa, they believed they needed two starting pitchers. Now, they still believe they need one.
To that end, they have had conversations with free-agent right-hander Vicente Padilla, who was 15-10 with a 4.50 ERA for the Texas Rangers last year. A baseball official familiar with the Yankees' plans described Padilla as one of several free-agent pitchers on which the team is keeping tabs. Others include former Yankees Ted Lilly and Andy Pettitte as well as right-hander Gil Meche.
The Yankees privately fear that Lilly is asking for too much money (more than $40 million for four years) and is destined to return to Toronto. And they don't know if Pettitte wants to pitch at all in 2007 -- or, if he does, whether he wants to leave his hometown Houston Astros for a return to the Bronx. They value lefties Lilly and Pettitte over right-handers Padilla and Meche, but they may have to settle for one of the righties, or seek another starting pitcher in a trade.
The Hanshin Tigers and the Yomiuri Giants are fierce rivals in Japan. But Igawa, who played for Hanshin, will find a friend in former Yomiuri Giant Matsui.
"I am going to support him as much as possible," Matsui told the Japanese newspaper Sankei Sports. "I will even introduce him to an American girlfriend if he likes. Just kidding."
Matsui was 12-for-50 (.240) with three home runs, 10 RBI, 11 strikeouts and six walks in his career against Igawa in Japan. Matsui remembers him as a tough opponent.
"If he has his best performance next season, I believe the Yankees will be the world champions," Matsui said. "He doesn't have to worry about New York life, because there are no big differences from Japan. Maybe he just has to be much more careful driving in Manhattan."
Interesting...I believe Padilla throws fairly hard, and he was slightly above average while pitching for Texas last year. He's not an innings-eater, but he's better than Wright, right? He could be a worthwhile #4. And I believe he's only 28.
However, that would give the Yankees five likely back-of-the-rotation starters in Unit, Igawa (assuming it gets done) and then Padilla. Not an overwhelming staff behind Wang and Moose. But, we all knew that.
[i]"I think if Norman Rockwell were alive, the guy that he would paint more than anyone else would be David Eckstein." ~McCarver[/i]
Why waste another huge chunk of money on Padilla or Lilly or Meche when they've seen what happened with Pavano. They've got plenty of guys in the minors and I'm sure at least one of them could fill the 5th spot in the rotation. At some point they have to let their young guys take over if they're ever going to improve the team for the future. They've got to get younger and not waste money on mediocre stopgaps like Padilla.