Yanks mulling future moves like Bonds
Club officials meet as Trade Deadline looms next week
BOSTON -- Vowing to leave no stone unturned in considering a Yankees playoff push, the addition of Barry Bonds was discussed during organizational meetings, co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner confirmed to The Associated Press.
Several high-ranking club officials convened on Thursday at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., while the Yankees enjoyed a day of rest before opening a crucial three-game series at Fenway Park on Friday.
With next week's non-waivers Trade Deadline approaching, the Yankees have a need for an additional hitter, learning that they may be without Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada for the remainder of the season. No team has yet shown serious interest in adding Bonds, Major League Baseball's home run king on the field and federally indicted off of it, to their clubhouse in 2008.
Steinbrenner said that the Yankees "covered everything, including Bonds," according to the AP, but he would not say if the Yankees were actually interested in the former Giants slugger.
Speaking on Friday in Boston, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that it was part of his job description to discuss players like Bonds, but he confirmed that he has made no contact with Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris.
"Every organization has to evaluate all the opportunities that are presented to it," Cashman said. "It's as simple as that. We do that every day, and it's no different today than in the meeting in Tampa the other day. That's all. I've got nothing to say about it other than it's certainly part of my responsibility to evaluate all potential situations that are out there."
Part of the concern in adding Bonds would be ensuring that the 44-year-old slugger could actually be in game-ready shape to make a contribution to a Major League club at this point in the season, though his status and legal troubles would certainly not help.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi stopped short of saying that he believed Bonds would fit in the clubhouse, but he noted that prior evidence suggests such a player could assimilate.
"In my years in the Yankees' clubhouse, we've been through those guys that were supposed distractions," Girardi said. "They were model citizens, some of the guys that I saw. I don't get too caught up in that -- similar to what people said about Sidney [Ponson], I'm going to make my own opinion about players.
"As a manager, it's your job to get the most out of them. I don't necessarily worry about that too much."
On other fronts, the Yankees remain interested in adding another arm to their club. They have touched base with the Mariners regarding starting pitcher Jarrod Washburn, but they would like to offset part of his salary. The Bombers also have been connected in reports to potential relief additions with Pittsburgh's Damaso Marte and Colorado's Brian Fuentes.
Posada's absence behind the plate could be covered partially by the addition of another catcher, perhaps the Giants' Bengie Molina -- the brother of Yankees understudy Jose Molina -- or the Nationals' Paul Lo Duca, both of whom have been linked to New York in published reports.
"There's a couple things that could be promising," Steinbrenner told the AP.
Cashman said that he is "not optimistic" that a major deal will include the Yankees before July 31, though he remains open to possibilities. Cashman said he was on the phone with assorted baseball people for nearly the entire drive from Yankee Stadium to Fenway Park.
"Right now, we're staying the course," Cashman said. "This is a 25-man roster and we've got guys coming off the [disabled list] at some point, and guys trying to push their way up to Triple-A [Scranton/Wilkes-Barre]. We're staying that course. If we run into something that makes sense for both teams outside the organization ... that I can live with and we can live with, then I'll get aggressive and try to close it out.
"If not, we're staying the course with what we've got. We believe in what we've got, and we look forward to getting some other guys off the DL and trying to push themselves back in the mix to contribute. I'm fighting hard to improve it, but it could come from within and it could come from outside."
In addition to Hank Steinbrenner, his brother, co-chairman Hal Steinbrenner, president Randy Levine, Cashman, special adviser Gene Michael and senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman were among those at the meetings.
Matsui has been on the DL since June 23 with an inflamed knee that has already been drained four times, and though physicians are recommending season-ending surgery, Matsui has lobbied to try one more time to get back on the field. Cashman has said he is not optimistic that Matsui's final attempt will succeed.
Posada will eventually have surgery on his right shoulder after an MRI exam showed fraying in the tendons around the labrum; he is using the next two weeks to mull if it is worth remaining with the team as a first baseman and designated hitter, especially if it means that it could cost him part of the 2009 season. Posada will not catch for the remainder of '08 after attempts to strengthen his throwing shoulder yielded spotty results.
The Yankees have swept two consecutive series coming out of the All-Star break, winning six in a row to start the unofficial second half and 11 in a row at Yankee Stadium. They enter Friday's contest three games behind the Rays in the American League East, sending Joba Chamberlain to the mound opposite Josh Beckett in a marquee Fenway Park pitching matchup.
"We're playing great. That's the key thing," Hank Steinbrenner said. "Considering we're not 100 percent because of the injuries, it's pretty impressive. Where we can add, we'll look into it."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.