Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Why George Wants Leiter

After the Schmets declined Al Leiter's 2005 option last night, he is officially a free agent. Leiter is among the better pitchers in the game, there's no arguing that. But he's 39 years old. And he's had a few injuries the past few years. And with his age and his erratic control, he usually won't give you more than 5-6 innings a night. And he may pull a David Cone in 2000 and just lose it. But George will want him badly, and will likely get him. George loves PR. That's why he got Matsui and Contreras. Here's why George wants Leiter:

a) Leiter is one of those players who comes off as the ultimate good-guy nice-guy. He always gets awards from various charity organizations during the winter, and comes off as a real family man. And maybe George wants to bring back more family men to the Yanks, guys like Tino, Brosius, O'Neill, and Pettitte. Leiter would certainly provide a happy face in the rotation compared to the arrogant Mussina and the surly Kevin Brown, and bring back memories of another lefty hurler named Andy Pettitte.

b) Leiter is a good buddy of Michael Kay's. After Chris Russo called Leiter "shot" in the summer of '03, Leiter was mad and got closer with ESPN-Radio's Kay to spite the FAN. Every Friday, Kay and Leiter yuk it up on Kay's show. And since Kay is the biggest Yankee fan out there, he may have a big say in bringing his pal to the Bronx. And just wait till Kay lays on the praises of Leiter next year on al-Yankzeera. Bring out the barf bags, please.

c) Leiter is an ex-Met. And King George has an ex-Met fetish. Come on. Doc, Darryl, David Cone, Todd Zeile, Robin Ventura, Tony Clark, Mel Stottlemyre (coach). Hell, Joe Torre managed the Mets! So that's another thing going in Leiter's favor. George would love for Leiter to do well so he can stick it to the Mets for losing the guy. And perhaps he's hoping that the Mets fans who adore Leiter will switch allegiances with him. As for me. I'm hoping Leiter will bring the Schmets luck (or lack thereof) with him.

d) Many years ago, George blundered in trading Leiter to the Jays for Jesse Barfield. While Leiter was one of the game's better pitchers in the '90's, Barfield stunk and was a poster boy of the woeful Junkees of the Stump Merrill era. So perhaps to make amends and recognize his mistake, George will bring back Leiter, as if to say "all is not lost."

On the same note, I think Eric Milton has a good chance of bringing his 4.76 career ERA to the Bronx. Again, it would be George atoning for trading Milton for Knoblauch. Hey George, maybe you can get Cristian Guzman too. And while you're at it, coax Doug Drabek out of retirement. Also, Milton's a lefty. Perhaps after this year's all-righty rotation fizzled, George will have his eye on the lefties in particular, even a guy like Milton who gives up homers like hotcakes.

And with that in mind, I think Jon Lieber's done in the Bronx. He's a nice guy and younger than Leiter, but not enough PR impact there.

But between Leiter and Pedro, the Yanks will have two 6-inning pitchers. Someone tell Quantrill and Gordon to enjoy their winter, because they'll be in for a very long summer.


Anonymous said...

Interesting conspiracy theories. But, it’s a lot simpler than your Machiavellian delusions:

The Yankees need a veteran lefty. Get it?

What do you think will happen to Al Leiter’s future in pinstripes if the Yankees sign the Unit?

BTW Al Leiter is an EX-YANKEE, not the other way around. He was originally drafted by them. Dude, you really really need to check your baseball history. Baseball-reference.com would be a good place for you to start. Then maybe someone other than me (on my vacation) will give your site the time of day.

Manny Ortiz said...

Maybe you should read the piece before commenting. I mentioned that Leiter was on the Yanks before getting traded for Jesse Barfield and how the Yanks should "bring back" Leiter. So maybe I wasn't too explicit (didn't think I needed to be), but I said Leiter was an ex-Yankee. And yes, he was on the Mets too.

And if anything, Leiter has extra pull being both an ex-Yankee and an ex-Met.

And in terms of Randy Johnson, who are the Yanks giving the Diamondbacks? How is this trade getting done? With the Yanks' fam system shot, I think a free-agent signing is more realistic.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should read the newspapers before commenting on the Johnson trade. The rumor is a three way deal involving Vasquez. Vasquez was previously untouchable. Now that the Yanks are willing to trade him, there is interest.

But then again, you as a Red Sox fan are an expert on the Yankees. LOL Not.