There was a pause of sorts in the Yankees’ negotiations with left fielder Hideki Matsui yesterday as GM Brian Cashman spent most of the day flying back from the GM meetings in California. But before he left, Cashman made contact again with the agent for another outfielder, Brian Giles, who could be developing into a candidate to take over for Bernie Williams in center field.
The Yankees aren’t the only suitors for Giles (above). According to various media reports, the Indians and Mariners think highly of the 34-year-old, who hit .301 with 15 homers and 83 RBI for the Padres this year.
Meanwhile, Matsui’s agent, Arn Tellem, is slated to fly to New York today and meet with his client either tonight or tomorrow. The Yankees and Matsui have a self-imposed deadline of Tuesday to get a contract done, though the sides could extend the cutoff date. Matsui could make a decision Monday or Tuesday.
Matsui could command a deal somewhere in the four-year, $48 million-$50 million range.
One contract that has been used as a yardstick by Tellem, a baseball source said, is the five-year, $55 million deal the Dodgers gave J.D. Drew last year. The source said Tellem at first asked for a five-year contract, and the Yankees were talking about three years, but they appear to be willing to explore middle ground.
If the Yankees don’t sign Giles to play center, they could be running out of options. They were rebuffed by the White Sox about a trade for Aaron Rowand, who dazzled with his glove in Chicago’s only visit to the Stadium this year.
Talented and troubled Milton Bradley could be a choice, but the Dodgers believe there will be an active trade market for him, a source said. It’s believed that five other teams are interested – the A’s, Cubs, Nationals, Pirates and Tigers. Jim Tracy, Bradley’s former manager with the Dodgers, is now the Pirates’ skipper and he thinks highly of the 27-year-old’s talent.
I guess we can assume Johnny Damon isn’t a possibility, though the Red Sox have yet to retain their center fielder.