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December 22, 2005

Bernie This Spring

Now that it's official that Bernie Williams has a Yankees contract for 2006, I find myself thinking about Roberto Alomar.

At the close of 2001, Roberto Alomar, then 33-years-old, had a resume that proved he was one of the best switch-hitters in baseball history.

Then, in 2002, Roberto slumped. And, the slump continued in 2003 and 2004. Finally, at age 37, with his past injuries and age impacting his skills, Alomar had to hang up his spikes just before the start of the 2005 season (while in Spring Training with the Devil Rays).

At the close of 2002, Bernie Williams, then 33-years-old, had a resume that proved he was one of the best switch-hitters in baseball history.

Then, in 2003, Bernie slumped. And, the slump continued in 2004 and 2005. Now, at age 37, Williams heads into another Spring Training with the Yankees.

What if past injuries and age hit Bernie Williams this Spring like they did Roberto Alomar (at the same age) in 2005? Suppose that Bernie can't get the ball out of the infield in his exhibition games and it's clear that retirement is the wiser choice for both he and the Yankees (in 2006)?

It can happen - just as easily as it cannot.

What if it does happen? It will not be good. It will mean that Bubba Crosby, Andy Phillips, and perhaps Kevin Thompson will combine for about 650 Plate Appearances in 2006 - because the Yankees do not have anyone else on the roster behind Bernie.

Perhaps the Yankees can carry that given the addition of Johnny Damon? But, doesn't it seem like the Designated Hitter on the team should be someone who can hit?

It would be nice if the Yankees invited some other players to Spring Training just a contingency plan if Bernie fails. Better safe than sorry, no?

Posted by Steve Lombardi at December 22, 2005 11:09 AM

Comments

Bubba finally showed at the end of last season that he can hit at times, when given the opportunity. Instead of letting those new-found skills moulder on the bench in favor of the proven veteran(TM), they need to continue to develop his hitting. I'd much rather see him as the backup CF/DH and Bernie in a very limited DH role. If they can get him to hit consistently, they can move him into CF full time as Damon's offense inevitably dwindles and Damon can still be a decent backup CF/pinch hitter/runner near the end of his contract, instead of an overpaid, underproducing CF.

Posted by: hopbitters [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 22, 2005 11:49 AM

Durazo? Palmiero? Frank Thomas?

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 22, 2005 11:50 AM

Damn your deviously creative mind, SL...now I'm gonna be pondering a rejuvenated Alomar in pinstripes all day.

Posted by: Jason O. [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 22, 2005 11:53 AM

All of Raf's suggestions would be worth taking a shot at, but I still think you're throwing away what you've already got if you don't use Bubba.

Posted by: hopbitters [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 22, 2005 12:35 PM

Think of the situation 3 days ago. 650 Plate Appearances for Crosby and another 650 for Phillips and others if Bernie quits. Although my fingers are crossed that Phillips can produce...

Posted by: daveslade [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 22, 2005 12:50 PM

Steve,

Can you maybe relax for 5 minutes? The Yanks just made the signing of the offseason. We have a potentially devastating and dominating lineup. The fact that the DH is perhaps a weak spot in a lineup with no other weak spots is just not something I've going to get worked up about. So my advice - sit back and enjoy the Damon signing for a few days. Be happy that Bernie, a great Yankee, will likely finish his career with the club. And if you want to obsess? Obsess over the pitching, still this team's potential achilles' heal.

Posted by: Josh [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 22, 2005 01:47 PM

I hear you Josh. And, don't worry - I'll be taking most of the next three days off. But, there's not much they can do about the pitching now. It is what it is. However, there is something they can do now to help the bench.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 22, 2005 02:06 PM

SL, nothing to help the pitching?

Roger Clemens?

Also, double damn you for cruelly crushing my Piazza daydream, where he and Jorgie combine for 40 jacks.

Posted by: Jason O. [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 22, 2005 02:17 PM

Oh, my, will I have some rants if the Yankees go for Clemens.....

Be careful on those Piazza daydreams dude. Sam Champion might bitch slap you for that.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 22, 2005 02:22 PM

I might pretend to turn gay if I could have Piazza's stable of brazilian supermodels climbing on me like mountain goats in heat at NYC hotspots.

I'd pay 22.5 right now to have Clemens of last year.

Posted by: Jason O. [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 22, 2005 02:36 PM

"I might pretend to turn gay if I could have Piazza's stable of brazilian supermodels climbing on me like mountain goats in heat at NYC hotspots." Most of those supermodels don't speak much English and have no idea what a baseball is or who Sam Champion is. Friend of mine worked as a busboy in a Fire Island bistro a couple of summers ago and, boy, he had some stories...

Posted by: JohnnyC [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 22, 2005 03:51 PM