Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
July 17, 2008 11:59 AM
Posted by Geoff Baker
As many of you have no doubt heard, Richie Sexson has reportedly agreed to a deal with the New York Yankees. They like his numbers against left handed pitching this season, albeit in a limited sample size. He hit .344 with a 1.046 on-base-plus-slugging percentage off lefties in 61 at-bats this season.
Yes, that's right. A total of 61 ABs. Many of them before he revamped his batting stance. Last year, his OPS was .752 off southpaws, while it was .763 the prior year. Not terrible, but perhaps not what the Yanks need. Still, this makes sense as a gamble since it's barely costing New York anything. Sexson is expected to be in-uniform by Saturday. If he tanks during the next 10 days, the Yankees can still pull off another deal for a bat. Don't forget, if they really want to go throw money around, they have until Aug. 31. The July deadline is only for dealing players without them passing through waivers first.
For the big ticket guys, some of them have a high enough salary that you can ram them through waivers without much worry that another team will snag them. Adrian Beltre could fit into this category. He's owed about $17 million between now and the end of next year. Not many teams would want to put a claim in on
that. Some might, but not a whole bunch can afford it. Raul Ibanez? By Aug. 1, he'd be owed less than $2 million for the rest of this year. Some teams might consider that a bargain. But then again, those teams might already have their needs filled by that point. You never know.
In anybody's book, Sexson is a limited gamble. In the Yankees' book, he's chump change.
To answer your questions, Sexson was a pretty stand-up guy his final two years in Seattle. I know he ducked the media a bit towards the end, but, as we wrote a few weeks ago, it's tough to blame him given the lose-lose situation he'd be in by opening his mouth. He knew he was terrible the past two seasons. Didn't make excuses for it this year. Said just about all there was to say. Was out there talking when he was a focal point in a game -- including when he started that brawl against Texas. Few of us, including most of you, had any questions left unanswered about why he was performing that way. So, no, I felt no inherent need to torture him by making him repeat everything he'd already said about being unable to produce.
His final day as a member of the team did not go over well. He pouted, made it clear to all that he was not happy on the bench -- by not staying there for at least part of the game -- and was released. But overall, I'd say he comported himself well under the circumstances of being the most loathed player in Seattle.