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December 16, 2005

Ben Julianel For Ron Villone

From the AP tonight:

Ron Villone went to his first game at Yankee Stadium in 1976, when New York was starting a run of four AL pennants and two World Series titles in a six-season span.

He remembers watching Ron Guidry pitch and Don Mattingly hit. Now Guidry is his new pitching coach after the Yankees acquired him from the Florida Marlins on Friday for minor league pitcher Ben Julianel.

"It was a great stage to play on," Villone said. "The Yankees were the best team. You always wanted to be a part of it. I guess today I get to live that dream a little bit."

He grew up in Edgewater, N.J., and lives now in Upper Saddle River, a short drive to the ballpark. The 35-year-old left-hander was a combined 2-3 with a 2.45 ERA in 79 games last season for the Seattle Mariners and the Marlins, who acquired him at the July 31 trade deadline.

"It starts to form something we're very comfortable with," said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who had tried to sign Villone last winter and acquire him from Seattle last summer. "He's versatile. He can spot start, he can long relieve, he can situational lefty. He has the ability to do all of those without complaint, and that's attractive."

The Yankees have been looking at Villone for a while. And, last year, LH batters went .222/.326/.256 against him in 117 ABs. In 2004, they went .203/.314/.287 in 143 ABs. And, in 2003, they went .267/.345/.475 in 101 ABs - but he pitched half of that year in Colorado. In 2002, they went .233/.301/.333 in 120 ABs.

Villone does not do an excellent job against RH batters. In fact, I do not believe that you want him pitching to a righty with the game on the line - at least not on a regular basis.

Still, it's more than safe to say that Villone can get lefties out. That's good.

Ben Julianel is a lefty RP with a nasty change up - the Yankees got him from St. Louis in 2003 for Sterling Hitchcock. But, he'll be 26 next year, has never pitched in Triple-A yet, and needs to work on his control.

If the Yankees use Villone in a role where he can do well - like a lefty specialist - this is a good trade. If they use him as a long-man or spot starter, he'll just be average. Still, that's a lot better than Scott Proctor.

I like this trade.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at December 16, 2005 08:40 PM


I agree, Steve. This is a good trade for the Yanks. We didn't give up much and we got a reliable lefty-at-lefites guy who has been in the wars. The Yanks have pursued this guy for a while and it makes our pen stronger. Now, we'll see what happens on the bench because I think our pen is almost done. We have Leiter, Mendoza and that youngster, Matthews I think, along with Colter Bean, and Jorge DePaula... All of a sudden we are pitching rich?

Posted by: Scott Coulter [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 16, 2005 10:15 PM

The bullpen is starting to look pretty deep. Villone compliments Myers pretty well.

We now have 12 pitchers on the roster. Trade coming?

Posted by: DownFromNJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 16, 2005 10:30 PM

NJ, there were those rumors a couple weeks ago about a package of Sturtze and Henn for Michaels. Maybe this trade enables them to unload the inning-eater out of the bullpen that Tanyon is? I hope.

Posted by: Nick from Washington Heights [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 16, 2005 10:42 PM

Let's count:

Rivera, Farnsworth, Villone, Myers, Sturtze, Small & Wright.

That's seven - and maybe the Yankees will carry 12 pitchers.

Then again, it sure sounds like someone is going - esp. with Smith, Proctor, Veras, and DePaula in the wings.

I'm guessing either Sturtze or Pavano for a CF.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 16, 2005 11:42 PM

Good deal for Villone.

With the bench they have, the Yanks would be crazy to carry 12 pitchers.

Any odds on who goes? Is Proctor out of options?

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 17, 2005 10:26 AM

Actually, considering that A-Rod, Matsui and Jeter play just about every inning, the Yankees could carry 12 pitchers.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 17, 2005 02:12 PM