Bernie 'Batting Champion' Williams
As Mr Hay has said we are at loggerheads on many issues but one was a big one in the Yankee off-season. The Yanks did not go after Carlos Beltran despite his agent calling them and saying he would take a deal worth $20m less over six years to join the Bronx bombers ($99m/6 yr).
George had reached the limit even though if the Yankees had really wanted him they could've easily back-loaded the deal so that the bulk of the money was after the 2005 season when both Bernie Williams and Kevin Brown's hefty wage packets are off the wage bill.
So instead they opted for another season of Bernie Williams. This though is not as bad as it sounds though as Bernie is due a hot year. He had a monster year is 1999 hitting .342 before back to back .307 seasons. He surged up with a splendid .333 campaign in 2002 before two very poor campaigns but now he is fit and healthy and in a contract year.
Anyone who saw the last month of the season and the playoffs will have noticed that Bernie's power stroke was back from both sides of the plate. This year he went into Spring Training knowing that the CF starting spot was his and he could just concentrate on getting into shape for the upcoming battle.
I know that Bernie is 36 and all pointers point to a .260/20/80 season but I expect more. Call it stupidity, call it gut feeling, call it what you will but in a contract year and knowing there are doubters out there, I think that the career Yankee will hit over .300 for the ninth time in his career, knock 25+ out of the park and plate more than 100 runners.
His defense will not be great and you can run on Bernie like anything but he isn't awful. He will catch most balls and whilst not making the great plays, the Yankees will just be happy if he can make the routine plays and not give away too many errors.
I might be an optimist but I really fancy Bernie for a good year.