19 December 2002


ESPN is reporting that the Yankees have agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract with Japanese slugger Hideki Matsui, aka Godzilla. At this point, Matsui fits into the Yankees lineup like this:

# Name Position
1) Alfonso Soriano Second Base
2) Derek Jeter Short Stop
3) Jason Giambi First Base
4) Bernie Williams Center Field
5) Hideki Matsui Left Field
5.5) Rondell White Left Center Field
6) Nick Johnson Designated Hitter
6.5) Todd Zeile Designated Misser
7) Jorge Posada Catcher
7.5) Chris Widger Thrower Backer to Pitcherer
8) Robin Ventura Third Base
8.5) Juan Rivera Backup Center Field
9) Raul Mondesi Right Field
9.5) Shane Spencer Deep, Deep, Roving Right Field

So obviously the Bronx Bombers have some roster shuffling to do before opening day, or there simply won't be enough at-bats to go around. Rumours of Raul Mondesi being traded to San Fran may just be wishful thinking, though if the Yankees were willing to eat some of Mondesi's contract, they might get a decent minor league pitcher or something in return. And of course, there's no reason that Juan Rivera, Widger, Zeile or Spencer should really complain about a bench role, though I wish they could find a way to get Rivera more playing time. The notion of taking any at bats from Nick Johnson and giving them to Todd Zeile feels a little like taking the family checkbook and letting the dog play with it so that Fido doesn't feel left out. Thankfully, Brian Cashman seems to realize that giving up a quality starting pitcher, and two young, promising hitters for Bartolo Colon is an offer not even worth a response, according to Bob Klapisch, especially if you hafta eat most of the SP's salary anyway.

If they don't trade El Duque, and they re-sign Clemens, and they sign recently-declared free agent Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras, the starting rotation will include Rocket, Mussina, Pettitte, Wells, Weaver, Hitchcock, Hernandez, and Contreras. This means that everyone will only need to start once a week or less, which is probably the only way Hitchcock keeps from tearing something again.

They'll probably end up re-signing Rocket, and trading away Orlando Hernandez and Sterling Hitchcock, eating most of that stupid contract, and letting Contreras go to the competition. In the long run, George would always rather spend money and win than save money and lose. The Yanks will again be the cream of the AL crop next year, with Godzilla helping to incinerate the competition, and and Boss George's wallet providing fule for the fire.

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