C&C writes: I heard that there is an option to buy out of Giambi’s contract after next year. I heard it was something around 5 to 7 million. Is this true? Nothing would make me happier to have him off the books with Pavano, Moose, Pettitte, etc when probably the biggest free agent class is looming.
Answer: You heard right. The Big G will get $21 million next season. There is a $22 million team option for 2009 or a $5 million buyout. Here’s my question for you: Nothing would make you happier? Really, nothing? Dude, I can think of many things that would make me happier.
Sean writes: Johnny Damon made the following quotes earlier this week: â€œAs a player, you always want to know what your role is and what’s happening. If I’m still out there on the margin, especially with Jason coming back . . . Anything’s possible. I know a lot of teams are interested. With Jason coming back and a number of outfielders going down, the Yankees could probably get a better player now than what they probably got offered July 31st.” He went on to talk about being traded. With Giambi coming back it seems to me that Damon would be the most likely candidate to be left out, seeing as Melky is the far superior CF and 1B seems to be well manned by Phillips and now Betemit. Will this become a huge problem on the team if Damonâ€™s playing time continues to get cut?
Answer: I don’t see it as a huge problem. Damon can play some left, center once in a while and split time at DH with Giambi depending on the matchups. Joe Torre’s strength as a manager is handling egos and he will find a way to make it work. Damon and Giambi are smart guys. They know the team is playing well and they can’t squawk. But if the Yankees start to lose, that’s when it becomes tricky. Look at this way, having too many good players is a good problem to have.
Todd writes: I noticed something I found interesting: For the season, the Yanks are in the middle of the AL pack in ERA (7th). For the season, the Yanks are the 4th worst AL in giving up walks. For the season, the Yanks are dead last in the AL in stikeouts. In the last 30 days alone, they are 4th in ERA, 7th in walks, and 1st in strikeouts. I took these stats off MLB.com with some Aug 4th games still going on. With all the offense has been doing, it has overshadowed how the pitching staff seems to be tightening things up a bit.
Answer: Good research, Todd. Invariably, it comes back to pitching. Imagine where the Yankees would be if you took Krazy Kyle’s stats out of there. It boggles the mind.
Pete writes: I didn’t know if you knew or not but whenever Mike Mussina wins his seventh game of the season (which was Sunday) he will be setting a new record. His 246th career win will give him the highest win total in major league history for a pitcher who has never won 20 games in a season. Right now he is tied with “El Presidente” Dennis Martinez who actually never won more than 16 games in a season. Just a little fact I thought you might like to know if you didn’t already.
Answer: I love my readers, more great research. Mike Mussina is someday going to be a tough decision for Hall of Fame voters. He’s such an “almost” player. Almost helped win the World Series, almost won the Cy Young, almost won 20 games, etc. I don’t think he’s a Hall of Famer. But 246 wins are a lot.
Loren writes: With the draft deadline approaching, are you hearing anything about Andrew Brackman? Might this be a case of the league withholding an announcement for a possible above-slot contract? Also, one other guy intrigued me: Carmen Angelini. He sounds like a gem in the 10t round. Any chance the Yanks get him to sign?
Answer: Funny you should ask, Loren. Scott Boras was at the Stadium on Saturday and I spoke to himk about Brackman. He seemed confident a deal would get done. Angelini, from what I undertand, has agreed to a deal. But MLB is holding it up because it’s way over slot. They’ll give in eventually, they have no choice.
Zac writes: How did the Red Sox get Eric Gagne for David Murphy Kason Gabbard and Engel Beltre? I know Beltre is suppose to be good but its a big risk to get a 17-year-old who hasn’t played that much. Gabbard? He is like a 5th starter. We could have traded Jeff Karstens or even Jeff Marquez. I just don’t get it.
Answer: The Yankees would have quite happily traded Karstens and Marquez for Gagne. Texas wanted either Ian Kennedy or Melky Cabrera. Beltre may only be 17 but he is a high-ceiling prospect. Texas did better for Mark Teixeira than Gagne. But then, Teixeira is a much better player.
M. Kang writes: Peter, don’t you think the Yankees are making a mistake with Joba Chamberlain. Joe Torre is going to abuse him.
Answer: I love how some people see Torre as some evil despot ruining the arms of pitchers. He gets all the blame when a guy goes bad, but none of the credit for Rivera, Pettitte, Wang, etc. It’s equally funny how people rumininate over Torre’s use of middle relievers. These guys are largely interchangeable and expendable. The best way to use them is to ride them while they are hot, get what you can out of them and move on to the next guy. Name me all the year-in, year-out great set-up men. There aren’t many. Torre fully understands who Chamberlain is and will treat him correctly. He will be a starter next year, not Brian Bruney or Luis Vizcaino.
Finally, we get to my favorite e-mail lately:
NM06 writes: Why are you writing about going to concerts on your blog? It’s supposed to be about the Yankees. That’s what the team is paying you to write about. You should go back to writing about baseball.
Answer: Wait a second, the team is paying me to write about them? This changes everything. I had no idea I was an employee. OK, enough with the music, I’ll do my job, NM06. I’m looking forward to my contract coming due, however. My new agent, Scott Boras, has some definite ideas.
Thanks for writing, everybody. Hopefully I’ve answered most of your e-mails.