Monday, February 28, 2005

Shemp Ain't Going Anywhere Next Year

Murray Chass in today's Times says that the Yankees may have hurt their chances of re-signing Shemp Matsui after George cursed out his agent Art Tellem. Though I'd love to see Shemp hitting homers in some other uniform, I don't think it's going to happen.

I think if there will be any effect from this incident on the Shemp negotiations, it'll be that Tellem may up the ante for the Yankees. If Matsui puts up the same .300, 30, 100 numbers he put up in '04, he'll command at least $12-15 million from the Junkees. But the Yanks will be willing to pay whatever it takes to keep this guy. If a similar incident had happened with a mid-market team like the Astros, then they'd be up the creek. And even if Tellem implicitly uses this incident to make the Yankees pay, the Yanks will do it. The Yankees will outbid any offer by as much as necessary. And Tellem isn't stupid enough to screw his client and reputation over an insult by an owner.

After all, Shemp is one of the few Yankees who hits well in the clutch. He is sound defensively, which is important especially when sharing the field with two awful defensive outfielders. Shemp's classy attitude is reminiscent of the late-90's Yankees, which George wants so badly (hence bringing back Tino, Stanton, and Mendoza.)

Most importantly, Matsui is the biggest PR boon for the Yanks. They have their deals with the Youmiri Giants, they have the Japanese reporters, the Japanese fans. Basically, Shemp is bringing in lots of cash to the Junkees. And George never saw a moneymaker he didn't like.

So George can say what he wants about Arn Tellem, but he'll pay whatever he has to for Shemp to stay in pinstripes. Even if it means Shemp will have to join the Junkees' grossly overpaid club that includes Brown and Giambi. And here's hoping Shemp starts playing like those two.

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