What are the Yankees doing to poor Bernie Williams? All the guy wants is one more season as a Yankee, the club he’s spent his entire career with. And they offer him a minor league contract? Where’s the loyalty? Where’s the love?
The Yanks obviously prefer Doug Mientkiewicz to Bernie, which I don’t get. Bernie is, in every way, a better baseball player than Mientkiewicz, who is coming off of back surgery.
I understand that the Yankees are looking for somebody to play first base. And Mientkiewicz is one of the best defensive first basemen around. And the idea of letting Jason Giambi play first even sparingly fills the Bombers’ brass with dread. But are you telling me that Bernie Williams, a former gold-glove centerfielder, couldn’t do a good job playing first? Really? The man is an athlete. Sure, he’s aging, but Mientkiewicz is no spring chicken, either. And did I mention Mientkiewicz is coming off back surgery?
And we haven’t even started talking about hitting. Last year, Bernie hit .281 with 12 hrs and 61 rbi in 420 at bats. Not all-star stuff, but not too shabby for a fourth outfielder. Mientkiewicz hit .283 with 4 hr and 43 rbi in 90 games. He spent half the season on the DL.
Both Bernie and Mienkiewitz are reportedly great clubhouse guys, although Snoop Doug didn’t make any friends in Boston with his refusal to fork over the ball he caught for the last out of the 2004 World Series.
To summarize: with Mientkiewicz you get a .280 hitter with limitted power and an impossible to spell last name who can play first. With Bernie you get a .280 hitter who plays classical guitar, isn’t a slug and who can play both first base and the outfield. And you get to avoid the appearance that your front office doesn’t care about the players, even if those players have given their been with the team their entire careers.
I’m no expert, but it sounds like a no-brainer to me.