"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice


Gary Sheffield spoke with reporters yesterday and made it crystal clear that he would make life exceedingly hard for any team the Yankees traded him to. According to Jack Curry in the New York Times:

“I would never sit out,” Sheffield said. “I would go play for them. It doesn’t mean I’m going to be happy playing there. And if I’m unhappy, you don’t want me on your team. It’s just that simple. I’ll make that known to anyone.”

…”If I’m not happy, you don’t want me on your team, period,” Sheffield said. “That’s just the way it goes. That’s life. I have to deal with what they dish out, they got to deal with what I dish out, period. That’s just the way it’s going to be.”

Joe Torre later told Sheffield that the Yanks have no desire to persue a deal with the Mets. “The Yankees would never just give up Gary Sheffield,” is how one American League executive phrased it to Curry. To hear a full audio clip of Sheff’s rant, head on over to Matt Cerrone’s outstanding Metsblog.com and peep the mp3. Personally, I think his spiel was amusing. I’ve enjoyed Sheffiled a lot since he’s been in the Bronx. He’s been a terrific player, and don’t blame him for not wanting to leave. Mike Vaccaro put it well in the Post today:

Sheffield is arrogant, he’s moody, he’s tempermental–but he’s smart as hell. You bet he wanted to kill this deal as quickly as he could.

You could also add that he’s a great player and a future Hall of Famer to boot. And in case you missed it, be sure and check out Jay Jaffe’s excellent three-part history of Sheff (one, two and three) over at The Futility Infielder.

Kicked to the Curb

The Post reports that the Yankees have released relievers Paul Quantrill and Mike Stanton. Both seemed like good guys, but neither was especially effective this year.

If Yankees general manager Brian Cashman can’t find takers for the two pitchers by tomorrow, he’ll have to designate them for assignment. Stanton has a no-trade clause, so he can dictate his destination. To have any chance of dealing either pitcher, the Yankees will likely have to pay what’s left of their salaries. Stanton, who makes $4 million this season, has a 1-2 record and 7.07 ERA, and Quantrill, who makes $3 million, is 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA.

This move does not come as a surpise.

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1 jonm   ~  Jun 30, 2005 7:12 am

1.  You're right, Alex. Sheffield is one of the most fun Yankees to watch in recent years. I've never seen a guy hit the ball harder than he does. I don't see why Yankee fans would be upset about Sheffield wanting to stay.

2 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 30, 2005 7:34 am

2.  "This move does not come as a surpise."

It apparently did to Torre. How else do you explain that, again, they sent down their only competent extra outfielder and back-up centerfielder to bring up Jason Anderson the day before they release Stanton and Quantrill. Now, as with the Bubba Crosby incident, if the Yankees need another outfielder (not for injury but to rest their aging, decrepit veterans), they'll have to bring up a third different AAA player (Melky Cabrera for god's sake?). Since Proctor and Anderson are already up, who's going to fill those 2 roster spots?

3 Jen   ~  Jun 30, 2005 7:48 am

3.  "Since Proctor and Anderson are already up, who's going to fill those 2 roster spots? "

Torre wants to go back to an 11-man staff so they only need one more pitcher. An article in the Daily News mentioned Colter Bean, but who knows. Looks like Felix Escalona could get called up as a back-up infielder since Sanchez isn't coming back any time soon.

As for another outfielder, I can only assume that Cash is working on something (needless to say we all hope it involves Woemack.)

4 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 30, 2005 8:17 am

4.  "Torre wants to go back to an 11-man staff so they only need one more pitcher."

You mean his 8-man staff.

5 Murray   ~  Jun 30, 2005 8:51 am

5.  Bluster notwithstanding, Sheffield's statements also suggest that he'd be willing to go to a different team if his contract were renegotiated to his satisfaction. He comes across as a petulant child at times, but as long as he hits, he will get away with it.

6 tommyl   ~  Jun 30, 2005 8:53 am

6.  Jen,

I believe as of Friday Crosby can be brought back up again, thereby giving them another potential OF.

7 domvjr   ~  Jun 30, 2005 8:59 am

7.  Not to get off the topic, Alex or Cliff, there is a story on Steve Lombardi's blog, how about A-Rod & Jeter, after the game on June 20th. Do you guys have any info, whether this is true or not? Fights among teammates happen all the time, but the story intimates that the clubhouse is split into factions, which would be a very bad development.

8 Jen   ~  Jun 30, 2005 9:11 am

8.  Thanks tommyl. I was referring to a more permanent solution to the CF issue. While I don't mind Bubba's glove, he can't hit for shit. As far as bringing him up on Friday, I guess they have to decide on if they want an extra outfielder or an extra infielder.

9 rsmith51   ~  Jun 30, 2005 9:33 am

9.  I think a separation of Torre and Womack would be the best solution for this team. Torre obviously doesn't understand how to use him effectively. I think the Yanks have enough to make the playoffs as long as Womack is not on the team after the all-star break. I don't have anything against Womack himself, he seems like an OK guy.

10 dtrain   ~  Jun 30, 2005 9:43 am

10.  I read the post about the alleged A-Rod - Jeter fight, and I have a hard time believing it, simply because I can't imagine that A-Rod would be arrogant enough to criticize another player for making an error given how shitty he's been in the field all year.

11 Simone   ~  Jun 30, 2005 9:49 am

11.  domvjr, thanks for pointing out the story about Jeter and A-Rod. I don't buy into ti, but if true, A-Rod better have stronger allies than Tony Womack in the clubhouse because he will be gone soon enough.

The real question is: If Jeter and A-Rod were allowed to beat the crap out of each other in a caged ring, who would win? They are both such pretty boys. A-Rod is totally passive aggressive so I'd bet he has a mean streak a mile long. Jeter is so bland and seemly even tempered, but can cut cold people who offend him as A-Rod has found out. A-Rod is physically bigger, but Jeter is agile. I'm going with Jeter. He doesn't mind getting dirty and would like some payback for A-Rod's comments all those years ago. Plus, Jeter wouldn't want to be embarrassed in front of his boys which is the motivation to do well for just about every guy I've known. I'm pretty sure that A-Rod doesn't have a crew to worry about.

12 Oliver   ~  Jun 30, 2005 10:36 am

12.  If Jeter and A-Rod were allowed to beat the crap out of each other in a caged ring, we all win.

13 Nick from Washington Heights   ~  Jun 30, 2005 10:54 am

13.  A-Rod would do some shady punch in crotch crap that would give him the upper hand. Sheff would call him on it, get in the ring, and beat the living shit out of him. Jeter wins by proxy.

14 tommyl   ~  Jun 30, 2005 10:57 am

14.  Jen,

Agreed, a more established hitting CF would be more than welcome, but I still argue Bubba can do the job. He can field and run the bases well. True he hits for shit (though he's never really gotten much of an extended look, Cano hit for shit the first few weeks), but he can at least put the ball in play and most importantly, he can bunt. I've seen Womack miss so many bunts and then strike out or hit into a DP its frustrating.

Most teams can get by with a 9-hole guy hitting around .250 or so and I think the Yankees can too.

15 Schteeve   ~  Jun 30, 2005 11:07 am

15.  I'd get rid of everyone on the team save Mo, and A-Rod, ok ok and Jeter, before I'd get rid of Sheff.

16 Jen   ~  Jun 30, 2005 11:10 am

16.  You have a point there tommy, Bubba really hasn't gotten a chance at the plate.

17 tommyl   ~  Jun 30, 2005 11:17 am

17.  Jen,

More to the point, pinch hitting is really difficult even for veterans. BP just can't get your timing to what it needs to be. To expect a young guy with little experience to PH or play once every 10 days and suddenly have great timing is asking too much. Bubba probably won't go out and hit .300, but again he's there for his defense. If he walks a few times, bunts some guys over and steals a few bases, consider it a bonus.

18 Athos   ~  Jun 30, 2005 11:23 am

18.  That sounds like me talking about Andy Phillips... wishing they'd give him a couple weeks of regular play to show 'em what he's got...

19 Rob   ~  Jun 30, 2005 12:10 pm

19.  you know in a fight that A-Rod would go for his favorite move, the "bronson bitch slap".. Jeter would wipe the tarmac with him.

20 tommyl   ~  Jun 30, 2005 12:13 pm

20.  Athos,

I have actually said similar things about Phillips as well. I've loved the guy since spring training and he has a great attitude. What I find interesting about the Yankees is that they will give veterans the benefit of the doubt but not rookies in their own system. If a rookie had come up and pitched as badly as Brown in his first three outings we would have never heard from him again. I can list a few dozen hitters who have hit as badly or worse than Andy did in the small sample size.

I understand that with veterans you have past performance to expect them to turn around, but the snap judgements on rookies is unfair and I believe seriously hurts the team in the long run.

21 rbj   ~  Jun 30, 2005 12:53 pm

21.  Tommyl,
not to mention there's usually a few more million dollars invested in a veteran. I imagine George wouldn't be happy paying a guy six or seven figures to ride the pine. But you're right, they don't give rookies enough time.

22 tommyl   ~  Jun 30, 2005 2:39 pm

22.  rbj,

But in economic terms the "invested" money is a sunk cost. Aside from a trade or buyout clause you can't get that money back, so when figuring what to do you have to ignore that. I'll admit that's psychologically tough to do, but it should be done nonetheless. Its not just the Yankees that do this, but I have seen teams continue to play people just because of their "investment" in the guy. Its a mistake unless trying to pump up his trade value, and lets face it, if he was worth that much to begin with you'd likely not want to trade him.

I was also commenting on a general philosophy within the Yankee organization to always look outside in the offseason. While it might seem like a huge risk to promote from within and hope someone does well, I'd argue its a large risk to hope a veteran continues to perform and adjust to playing in NY. Its a difficult balance to find, one I think the 90s Yankees had and this present incarnation is lacking.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver