Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.
Joe Girardi, Hideki Matsui and Bengie Molina
The GMs have all left the premises now, and I'll be doing the same in a few hours. But first some more info, and then the contest, shortly after:
--While Johnny Damon and the Yankees are at odds concerning Damon's "fair market value," to borrow a Scott Boras term, Hideki Matsui and the Yankees disagree on Matsui's future role.
Matsui recently told Sports Nippon, "I believe I can play the outfield next year. This offsesaon, I will work hard to improve the condition of my knees. I want to return to the outfield."
Said Brian Cashman, "He may very well be an outfielder for somebody else, but that’s how we played him this year. We had a great deal of success doing it that route. That’s the route we’d go if we retained him."
Even in a relatively quiet Yankees offseason, there figures to be plenty of drama among the futures of Damon, Matsui and Andy Pettitte.
--Cashman indicated he's in no hurry to extend Joe Girardi's contract. Girardi is signed through 2010.
"Am I open to discussing it?" Cashman asked, repeating my question. "I’m not even in a position to have thought about it. I can tell you right now, our coaches’ contracts have expired. So I need to deal with who isn’t signed, rather than who is."
Bet on Girardi not receiving an extension until after next season. He'll enter '10 in his walk year, but it will certainly carry a different vibe than when, say, Joe Torre entered 2007 in the final year of his deal. With Girardi as the reigning World Series champion's manager, and with sanity ruling the day for the Yankees, it's not like every losing streak will set off speculation over Girardi's job security.
--The Mets like Bengie Molina, but since he is a Type A free agent, signing him would likely cost the Mets a draft pick. The Mets' first-round selection is protected this year because their 70-92 record gives them the seventh pick, and those in the top 15 can't lose their first-round selection as free-agent compensation.
But still...their second-round pick would be, roughly, 60th in the draft, based on last year's estimations. Is Molina worth that pick plus the money ($7 million or so a year) coming to him?
Molina hit 20 homers while playing his home games in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, but his on-base percentage was a brutal .299, and his Wins Above Replacement was a decent 1.8. Gregg Zaun put up a 1.8 WAR in the superior American League, and he's a Type B free agent, meaning he costs the signing team no draft picks.
I just don't think it's the best usage of the Mets' resources to overpay, in money and talent, for Molina.
--What in the world are the Mariners thinking, re-signing Ken Griffey, Jr.? I don't get this on any level. Not even on the sentimental/business/attendance level. Won't that draw diminishing returns, in the second year of Griffey's homecoming? Weird.
As for the idea of Griffey's arrival negating Matsui's signing with the Mariners...Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki don't have a close relationship. I don't think that was happening, regardless of Griffeys' fate.