Sunday, May 21, 2006

Yankees Can Make Do Without Righty Jay Payton

To the limited extent that logic ever prevails in baseball, it makes little sense that the Yankees would trade for Oakland's Jay Payton, as has been suggested in various venues. Though New York needs a replacement for injured OF Hideki Matsui, Payton, 34, a righty, would merely duplicate the skills of another aging slugger, the Yankees Bernie Williams, 38, a switchhitter who, like Payton, is most effective against lefty pitching. Left-handed batters such as Tampa Bay's Aubrey Huff, 29, or Cleveland's Todd Hollandsworth, 33, would more closely match the specs, the problem being that neither Cleveland nor Tampa Bay should be in any big hurry to help New York. Tampa Bay reportedly is on the verge of consumating a deal to trade Huff, who is in the final year of his $6.5 million annual contract. No word on whether New York would be the suitor.