Interview with Ed Price

Ed Price of the Star Ledger kindly answered some questions for us. Here's the interview...

Kevin Seefried: As the Yankees search for a utility infielder will they focus on defense or offense? With Swisher, Cano, Rodriguez, and Jeter being such important parts of the lineup would it be more valuable to have someone that can put up consistent offense if one of them were to be injured?

Ed Price: I don't think utility infielder is a big priority now. I think Cody Ransom made a decent impression, and one can probably be had closer to spring training. Posada's situation last year showed the importance of a capable backup, for sure, but that doesn't mean it's easy to find someone who can step in and play close to the starter's level.

KS: What would have a bigger effect on the team if Manny is signed? His offense or his attitude?

Manny wouldn't affect the clubhouse too much, I don't think. Giambi's steroids fiasco didn't, nor Pettitte's. And his offense would be quite a boost -- if he plays hard.

KS: What’s Hideki Matsui looking like these days? Will he start in the outfield at all next year? It’s often said that he currently has “negative trade value.” Is there really no team that wants to take a risk on a guy who in his big league career has had a .295 AVG /.371 OBP/ .478 SLG? It’s been said he would waive his no trade clause to play in San Francisco, however I think he will need the DH spot this year, so would he accept a trade to the other Bay Area city, Oakland?

EP: Matsui is in Japan and on the mend. He could play some outfield, but for now it's Damon and Nady on the corners. I think Matsui has shot down trades before with his no-trade clause, and if someone would take a chance on him -- they'd have to see him in spring training -- Matsui would have to be convinced it's the best thing for him and the team. Remember, there's a cultural issue here, and in Asia, "face" is important -- saving it and not losing it.

KS: You reported that Jorge Posada has started his throwing program. Do you think he can last the whole year behind the plate? And if not will Jose Molina or Francisco Cervelli take over?

EP: Molina is the backup. Posada believes he can play 120+ games at catcher. That's certainly the team's expectation. If he can't, it's a disaster.

KS: If Andy Pettitte doesn’t re-sign will the Yankees leave the 5th starter spot to some combination of Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Alfredo Aceves, or will they sign another veteran like Randy Wolf or Brad Penny, who you mentioned as possible replacements in a recent article?

EP: I believe they go for a veteran and use the kids (is Aceves a kid?) as AAA backups.

KS: If you’re Joe Girardi, would you rather have Mike Cameron, Melky Cabrera, or Brett Gardner in the outfield on opening day?

EP: Cameron, surely. You know what you'll get. But acquiring him means giving up something and paying him.

KS: Any free agents you see the Yankees signing to minor-league deals? Could they perhaps offer incentive based minor league deals to any of Mark Prior, Bartolo Colon, Victor Zambrano, and Eric Milton?

EP: Someone like that will pop up (like Scott Erickson did).

KS: Where do you see Carl Pavano going? Chances of a Yankee reunion have to be slim right?

EP: I'd bet on Florida. I'd bet against the Yankees -- easy.

KS: Of the following young Yankee players, who will contribute the most for the big league club in 09? Francisco Cervelli, Brett Gardner, Phil Coke, Mark Melancon, or Juan Miranda?

EP: Good question. Cervelli and Miranda are blocked. I'd say Coke.

KS: Do you see Melky bouncing back this season? What kind of stats and how much playing time should we expect from him?

EP: I don't see a bounceback. I think he's a fourth outfielder, a good one.

KS: With the Yankees reportedly having so much interest in Manny, why don’t they look into Adam Dunn? He has more power, more patience at the plate, is younger, is incredibly consistent, is cheaper, and he won’t be nearly as big of a nuisance in the clubhouse as Manny.

EP: And Dunn might be worse in the outfield than Manny. Plus that might tilt them back to being too left-handed. But it makes a little sense.

KS: In a big game, which Yankee starter do you most want to see on the mound?

EP: Sabathia. Best pitcher in baseball in 2007-08.

KS: And finally, who are your picks for team MVP, team Rookie of the Year, and team Cy Young for the 2009 year?

EP: Team MVP is A-Rod. Team rookie might be Coke, since I guess him above. Team Cy is Sabathia; I expect him to pitch great.

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