Saturday, December 10, 2005

Comings and Goings

As we discussed yesterday, this week was a week for tearful good-byes to beloved players.

On the other hand, no one among the Yankees faithful is too broken up about saying g'bye to Tony F'ing Womack.

Sadly, the Tony Womack Fan Club page has been wiped out by Earthlink, along with the Original WTDB. Still, I think that if the TWFC were still alive, they'd approve this move, sending Tony to the National League, which is obviously, more suited to his skillz, where it's less likely that folks would get all tripped up if he hits .212 for a couple of months. That, plus the Yanks pay $900,000 for running the Woe-Man out of town.

The Reds gave up two guys for Womack. One, Kevin Howard, considered to be a top possibility for the Rule V draft, according to Baseball America (Chris Klein):

Kevin Howard, 2b/3b, Reds

Howard has the biggest buzz coming into this year's draft after having a brilliant season in the Arizona Fall League. A fifth-round pick in 2002 out of Miami, Howard won the AFL batting title, hitting .409-3-16 in 88 at-bats. But perhaps his strongest asset was proving himself to be an adequate defender at third base. Howard played third in college, but played primarily second base since turning pro. He's a patient lefthanded hitter with a line-drive stroke, and has shown improved power. Some scouts in the AFL liked him better at third, and Howard could be solid at either spot making him the best overall position player available in the draft. Dan Uggla (Diamondbacks) is another utility player who dramatically upped his stock in the AFL, but Howard's lefthanded bat, which could be valuable off a big league bench, gives him the edge.

And Baseball Prospectus (David Regan):

Kevin Howard, 2B, Cincinnati (24, AA)

AA (SOU): .296/.348/.428, 12 HR, 13 SB in 479 at-bats
AFL: .409/.475/.557, 3 HR, 2 SB in 88 at-bats

Howard is coming off a great Arizona Fall League (AFL) performance where he led the league in hitting. Nice way to get noticed. The AFL is typically very hitter-friendly, as teams don’t want to wear out the arms of their top prospects, but a .409 average is still pretty impressive. Teams should like his lefty bat and the fact that he’s adequate defensively at 2B, 3B, and probably OF should there be a need. Based on his bat and versatility, some team will take a chance on him.

That sounds promising, at least as far as a guy who can lend some depth to the organization goes. He's not going to start for the Yankees or anything, he may not even have a major league career (being a guy who was maybe a bit old for AA this year). But he's likely to bring some skills to Columbus in 2006, and be there (and ready) in case anything happens at the Major League level, in case someone wants to make a trade--that sort of thing. That's not a bad rate of exchange for old Woe-Mack.


In other news, the Yanks picked up Mike Myers (the former Red Sock, not the Halloween-themed murderer) on a two-year deal. For the first time since Graham Lloyd, the Yanks have a real LOOGy on the roster--a left-handed specialist who can take a hack at getting the likes of David Ortiz out. It's not a bad deal, at all, so long as Joe Torre understands Myers' limitations.

Yeah, big "if".

It looks like the Yanks' attempts to re-make the bullpen are running up against the limitations in the market. According to this article in Newsday, it's actually a shame that 41 year-old ex-Met Roberto Hernandez signed with the Pirates. Other options they name are (in rough order of age): Rudy Seanez (37), Rick White (37), Julian Tavarez (32) and Octavio Dotel (32). Another article mentions Jeff Nelson. The bullpen of the future looks more and more like something somebody could have assembled in the past.

Back when he was healthy, Dotel was a somebody. Seanez has largely cooked with gas, in those few moments he has been healthy over his ML career. It's hard to get excited about anybody else on the list, whose upside isn't all that high, healthy or not.

So far, the Bullpen of the Future has Mariano Rivera closing, Farnsworth doing the 8th inning thing, Mike Myers killing lefties, and Tanyone Sturtze doing everyone's taxes, making sure that there are no brown M&M's in Mariano's candy bowl, and detailing people's cars. Actually, Sturtze is rumored to be hitting the bricks in trade for a center fielder.

Sigh, maybe things will clear up at the non-tender deadline...

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