Saturday, February 10, 2007

Bernie Rejects Spring Invite

The AP just released a report that Bernie Williams rejected the Yankees minor league Spring invite, allowing the Yankees public relations department to step away from the edge. This probably means the end for Bernie Williams in pinstipes, but I think he made the right decision.

Five-time All-Star Bernie Williams has rejected the New York Yankees' offer of a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, according to The New York Times.

Instead, Williams on Friday revealed his preference to stay at home, stay in shape, spend time with his family and wait to see if the Yankees change their minds and offer him a guaranteed roster spot.

"We love and respect Bernie, but with the dynamic of our roster, there's not a spot," the Times quoted Cashman as saying. "We had a lot of conversations with him. I understand that he doesn't want to accept a minor league deal."

Williams said he's fully aware of the team's plans, but he is not ready to call it a career.

"As it is right now, it doesn't seem like I am going to be playing with that team this year," Williams said in the Times story. But "it is just part of the game. It is what makes this interesting."

He should have never been led on this long and would not have been had the Yankees avoided a first-base platoon, and instead named Andy Phillips (or Phelps) the full-time firstbaseman. Unfortunately, Cashman signed Minky and the rest is history. While filling in for injured outfielders Matsui & Sheffield, Bernie posted a .281 average, 12 homers and 61 RBI.

What do these numbers mean to me? If the Yankees are not able to find space for Bernie in 2007, expect to see him close out his career in a ballpark other then Yankee Stadium. Williams has been as loyal as a Yankee could be, I would therefore have no problem if he decided to wear another uni for a couple years. This isn't Matt DeSalvo we're talking about here.

7 comments:

Thomas E. said...

I think that it is a truly disgusting situation for the Yankees not to have offered Bernie the usual contract. Even if he had poor numbers last year - which he certainly did not! - they owe him at least one more year in stripes.

Steinbrenner and Cashman should be ashamed of themselves! Where is THEIR loyalty?!

yankeesZrider said...

I agree that this was a bad job on the Yankees part. Even if they had decided to cut ties, it would have worked out better than simply letting the process drag on.

If they had not signed A-Rod's high school buddy this would not even be an issue, but they did. So, with a platoon of Minky & either Phillips/Phelps at first the path of Bernie's Yankee career has run its course.

I'm not saying the Bombers should have definitely brought Bernie back, but they could have at least minimized his embarrassment.

jabanga said...

i don't know if there was any easy way to handle this. it would have been awful if they gave him a guaranteed contract but wound up having to release him if they really had no room on the roster for him. phillips is not good enough to be the every day starting 1b. i think phelps will beat him out personally and platoon with minky. now if the yankees just said sorry bernie but we have no place for you and something came up and they did he might have already signed with someone else. basically, they left the door open and he hasn't really closed it either. granted they were down two outfielder's last year but they wound up having terrence long, aaron guiel, bubba crosby, kevin reese, and kevin thompson play outfield for them. now they have four outfielder's capable of starting but if one goes down and bernie hasn't signed with anyone, he might be back in pinstripes after all. and if he does sign with someone, hopefully it will be somewhere where he can get significant playing time.

yankeesZrider said...

Jabanga,

I agree that this is close to a lose-lose situation. However, I think the Yankees should have bit the bullet and made a firm decision on Williams long before now.

Had they told him they did not have room for him and an injury occurred, Bernie very possibly could have been out of shape anyhow and the prospect of a potential injury situation is countproductive in itself.

I just think that New York could have easily plugged in Phillips or Phelps at first and left the platoons to Casey Stengel. Although Phelps is an intriguing possibility - he's hit 20 homers in multiple MLB seasons - Phillips deserves a shot to truly showcase his talent.

Phillips has a much better glove than Phelps (not to be overlooked) and has had some impressive minor league campaigns in the past - 26 homers during 115 games at Columbus in 2004 and 22 homers during 75 games in 2005. And last year Phillips logged (by far) the most MLB atbats in his career - a whole 246 - though he was pushed aside in August & September.

Those are some serious numbers for a guy labeled a defensive first baseman. Should he have been named the 2007 starter and allotted 500 plate appearances, Andy may have impressed a lot of naysayers.

Regardless, my point is that an unnecessary platoon including a weak-hitting Minky effectively discarded Bernie Williams. I would have rather seen the conservative pick of Phillips OR the wildcard in Phelps, over A-Rods high school teammate.

jabanga said...

i really doubt cashman signed minky because he was arod's hs teammate. while i saw some bright spots in phillips performance last year on a day in day out basis i did not see what i see as a every day starting 1b for the yankees. on the other hand, since torre always seems to have one or two guys in the pen that he never uses why not go with six instead of seven?

yankeesZrider said...

Jabanga

Come on now, I was joking when I said they signed Minky because he played football with A-Rod.

And until Phillips gets the same 400 atbats that Phelps used toward his best two seasons, I dont think you've seen Phillips as an everyday first baseman.

Again, my focus is not to crusade for Phillips like an RNC aide. The point is that I did not like the Minky signing because Phillips or Phelps could have been an everyday answer.

I agree Torre tends to have a forgotten man in the pen, but they will definitely carry seven.

jabanga said...

i didn't realize you were kidding about the high school teammate thing. alot of people get fairly conspiratorial. i just don't see phillips as a n everyday 1b anymore than i saw bubba crosby as an everyday starting cf.