Sports Essay

1066 words - 4 pages

If not for the Yankees and Mets, this off-season would have been a nuclear winter for baseball.Both New York teams have not only dived into the free agent and trade market, they also vastly improved their teams while others simply pawed the ground, looking down and wishing they could take a spin in the dance of seduction. But the Yankees and Mets, competing against each other for back pages as well as teams in their respective leagues, went hard into the winter and pulled off deals that are clearly designed to make them better.The Yankees began their restructuring following another fine year that fell just two outs short of a fourth straight world title. Most teams would be thrilled to come that close, but George Steinbrenner gave his front office a very clear mission statement: Get me those two outs, and while you're at it make it easier for us to get there. I don't like to sweat.Giambi was officially introduced to the Yankees Thursday afternoon. (AP) Yanks and Mets make a trade General Manager Brian Cashman's first move was New York's first intra-city trade in eight years: David Justice to the Mets for Robin Ventura. The Yankees were done with Justice, especially after his odious performance in the World Series against the Diamondbacks. Justice has a tremendous upside as he enters the final year of his contract, but if he wants a career, he had better come to Port St. Lucie healthy and ready for a good season. If he does that, the Mets have acquired a 35 home run bat who is a much better fielder than given credit for. And even if Mets GM Steve Phillips turns around and trades Justice to get rid of his $7 million contract, he clears the salary he so desperately needs to move to stay within his strict payroll.As for the Yankees, they acquire Ventura, an outstanding third baseman as well as a good clubhouse presence. Strangely, the Mets had no market whatsoever for Ventura but found the one team that needed him and one he could help.With the retirement of Scott Brosius, the Yankees needed someone to field the ball, and they picked up a multi-Gold Glove winning third baseman. Also, Ventura has had two subpar offensive seasons, and if he's healthy, he can only be better in the last year of his contract.Like Justice, if Ventura wants to play ball following 2002 he needs to have a decent season. All the Yankees need is for Ventura to be a solid veteran in the clubhouse, make the plays behind their great pitching staff and hit about .250 with 22 home runs. All of those are attainable goals as Ventura keeps third base warm for the 2003 arrival of Drew Henson.Yanks welcome Steve Karsay The Yankees also signed Steve Karsay to a four-year free agent deal averaging over $5 million a season. Too much money? Probably, but the Yankees have it, and they acquired a pitcher they desperately needed. When they let Jeff Nelson go to the Mariners at the end of 2000, they created a void in their bullpen that affected them throughout the post-season. The hard-throwing...

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