Bernie Williams Rumors

This Date In Transactions History: Bernie Williams

Icon_15585003It's tough to imagine Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera wearing something other than a Yankees' uniform, and for a long time the same was true for Bernie Williams. The former batting champ and five-time All-Star spent his entire career in pinstripes, but he came very close to joining an AL East rival during the 1998-1999 offseason.

Williams, who had just turned 30, hit .339/.422/.575 with 26 homers during the 1998 season, batting cleanup for a 114-win team. He'd hit .323/.406/.551 with 76 homers in 400 games over the previous three seasons, and was a hot commodity on the free agent market. ESPN's Buster Olney, then with The New York Times, reported that Williams rejected a five-year, $60MM contract offer from New York in mid-November, one year after they offered him a five-year, $37.5MM extension.

The Red Sox, looking to make a splash after winning 92 games but finishing 22 back in the AL East, offered Williams a six-year contract worth $90MM according to Olney. The Yankees had turned their attention to Albert Belle, who was coming off a 49-homer, .328/.399/.655 season with the White Sox. He was two years into a five-year, $55MM deal with Chicago, but a clause in his contract ensured that he would remain one of the three highest paid players in baseball. When the White Sox declined to give him a raise to meet the clause, Belle became a free agent and the Yankees' Plan B.

Williams and agent Scott Boras gave the Yankees a chance to match Boston's offer, and 13 years ago today he agreed to return to New York on a seven-year, $87.5MM contract. It was one of the largest contracts in baseball history at the time, right behind Mike Piazza's seven-year, $91MM deal with the Mets. Belle wound up with the Orioles to the tune of $65MM over five years. Williams hit .298/.386/.480 during the life of the contract, helping the Yankees to four pennants and two World Series titles.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Yankees Notes: Pettitte, Williams, Chavez

Earlier this week, Andy Pettitte announced his retirement, bringing an end to months of speculation.  Well, for the most part anyway.  Here's some news on the left-hander and other Yankees tidbits..

  • Pettitte isn't planning on a comeback but he won't completely rule out another go-round after a year off, tweets Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger. 
  • For Pettitte retiring was a tough decision, but ultimately the right one, says Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com (via Twitter).
  • The Yankees have shown patience as of late but Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated wonders if Pettitte's retirement will make the club antsy.  Their newfound restraint has them 0-for-2 on Heyman's scoreboard when considering their miss on Cliff Lee.
  • GM Brian Cashman insists that patience is still the name of the game, writes Carig.
  • Bernie Williams is one Yankee who is ready to shut the door on his playing days for good, writes MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.  The 42-year-old centerfielder plans to make his retirement official at some point in 2011.  Williams hit .297/.381/.477 in 16 big league seasons for the Bombers.
  • Eric Chavez told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter) that if he makes the Yankees' major league roster, he knows he'll be playing in support of two phenomenal corner infielders.  Slusser tweets that it It sounds as though the Yankees made best offer of the teams that showed interest in the veteran.  The Dodgers, Blue Jays, and Mariners were among the other clubs known to be in talks with Chavez.

Odds And Ends: Braves, Bernie, Boras

Links for Saturday…



Odds and Ends: Kawakami, Max Ramirez, Lowell

Links for Friday…


Odds and Ends: Teixeira, Giles, Beimel

Links for Wednesday…


Odds and Ends: Alvarez, Williams, Tazawa

Today’s links…

  • Chat today, 2pm CST.
  • Great stuff on the Pedro Alvarez situation from Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein.  Goldstein’s source says the union will claim that the Pirates and MLB engaged in a premeditated conspiracy, perhaps designed to take Scott Boras out of the picture by negotiating past midnight.  The article is subscription-only.  At $40 a year, BP is well worth it.
  • It seems that Type B status is slipping away for Tigers reliever Kyle FarnsworthIvan Rodriguez recently fell from A to B, but the Yankees may choose not to offer him arbitration.
  • Baseball America’s Jim Callis says Mariners top draft pick Joshua Fields wants $2MM, while the team is holding firm at $1.5MM.  Fields is advised by Scott Boras.
  • Interesting note from last week…Bernie Williams is training and does not consider himself retired.
  • Patrick Newman discusses the Junichi Tazawa situation in-depth.  He says NPB’s commissioner plans to meet with Bud Selig.  One reason MLB looks extra-appealing to Tazawa: NPB limits draft pick bonuses to $1MM.
  • Geoff Baker discusses Jose Guillen.

Should Cards Pursue Bernie Williams?

With a couple of outfielders beginning the season on the DL, the Cardinals might be concerned about their outfield depth right now.  One suggestion, coming from the esteemed St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz, is to sign Bernie Williams.

Can Williams be a useful player at 38?  He might be able to pitch in as a fourth outfielder.  His PECOTA is .258/.320/.388.  Maybe he could end things on a high note with the Cardinals, a la Will Clark



Angels Rumors

A couple of minor trade/signing tidbits surfaced today courtesy of Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

DiGiovanna mentions in a reader Q&A that he asked Bill Stoneman whether the team would have interest in Bernie Williams, and Stoneman said he preferred to go with younger players.  Whoever wins the fourth outfielder job in L.A. (Erick Aybar?) should manage a decent amount of at-bats.  Garret Anderson, Gary Matthews Jr., Vladimir Guerrero, and Juan Rivera isn’t the healthiest bunch.  Guerrero and Anderson did avoid the DL last year though.

The Q&A also mentions the idea of sending Reggie Willits to Florida for young pitching.  That idea has been around for a while; I wonder if the two clubs have had discussions about him.  Center field remains a glaring weakness for Florida.

Also, while not much of a story, Nick Adenhart didn’t seem to mind being mentioned in last summer’s Miguel Tejada trade rumors.  The team’s top pitching prospect grew up an Orioles fan in Maryland.  Though he’s yet to pitch above A ball, Adenhart might be able to post a sub-5 ERA in the bigs right now.



Bernie Won’t Take Minor League Offer

Slow news day, so I’ll update you on the Bernie Williams situation.  A bunch of reporters followed him to a Connecticut concert to get a few quotes last night.

The New York Times says Williams will stay in shape and wait for that guaranteed offer from the Yankees.  The story indicated that he’d turn down guaranteed offers from other teams.  Scott Boras said this week that several other teams have expressed interest in Williams.

Williams does not believe he’ll play with the Yankees this year, but wants a more definitive answer.  He’s not ready to retire.  He had his uses as a fourth outfielder last year, hitting .281/.332/.436 in 420 ABs.  Many teams would have a use for that.



Bernie Won’t Take Minor League Offer

Slow news day, so I’ll update you on the Bernie Williams situation.  A bunch of reporters followed him to a Connecticut concert to get a few quotes last night.

The New York Times says Williams will stay in shape and wait for that guaranteed offer from the Yankees.  The story indicated that he’d turn down guaranteed offers from other teams.  Scott Boras said this week that several other teams have expressed interest in Williams.

Williams does not believe he’ll play with the Yankees this year, but wants a more definitive answer.  He’s not ready to retire.  He had his uses as a fourth outfielder last year, hitting .281/.332/.436 in 420 ABs.  Many teams would have a use for that.