Last night’s late news brought a story that is sure to warm the hearts of some Yanks fans (including this one) and divide the sabermetric community: the Bombers have offered arbitration to Bernie Williams, and have apparently reached an agreement with him as to his role on the team next year, assuming the two sides can come to financial terms. That role being Ruben Sierra’s pinch-hitting and occasional DH slot. Is it worth bringing Bernie back in this limited capacity? Some analysts will note his age, his declining production and speed, and his poor defense, and lament the allocation of funds and roster space toward a ballplayer clearly comng to his career end. Our theory: a switch-hitter with periodic power, solid on-base skills, a storied history, and a mastery of light jazz is a good fit for the Yanks bench, at least for one year and at the right price. It does mean Ruben Sierra will not be back–a fact that will illicit joy among saberites, though we tip our cap to Ruben for time well served, if not always games well played. Also offered arbitration (and their ML status in serious doubt): Al Leitter and Ramiro Mendoza.
We also tip our cap in the direction of John Olerud, who has announced his retirement. Yanks and Sox fans can agree that it was a pleasure to watch him play in their respecctive unis. Yanks fans can only wonder what might have been if not for his injury in the 2004 ALCS. But Sox fans probably have a different take on that.