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Archive for Monday, May 6, 2002

Florida likely to dump Floyd

Marlins can’t afford outfielder

May 6, 2002

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Everything about Cliff Floyd says Yankees. Except maybe those two diamond-stud earrings that are bigger than baseballs.

They'll have to go.

Floyd is the slugger the Yankees will acquire by July. By then they finally will have given up on starting Shane Spencer, who's forever a prospect. Or streaky, creaky Rondell White will be back to being Ron-D.L., enabling his friend from Montreal to escape the talented but fanless Florida Marlins.

Floyd is left-handed, a pull hitter with outlandish power and would be perfect batting after Jason Giambi. He's dedicated, liked by teammates and not a kleptomaniac, three more Yankees requirements. Plus, there was that sparring session with Mets manager Bobby Valentine over the All-Star team last summer, earning Floyd big bonus points from Yankees fans.

Floyd is a much better choice than Larry Walker, the other left-handed-hitting corner outfielder who'll be on the block before summer. Walker is wonderful when he plays but can injure himself leaving a dugout. The only two things healthy about Walker are his backloaded contract, which has $56.5 million left, and his appetite, which is considerable. After some time in New York establishments he'd be big enough to swallow David Wells.

Another factor is the favorable agent situation. The Yankees love Floyd's guys, the Levinson brothers of Brooklyn, Sam and Seth, and Seth is a sharpie who can convince the Yankees of anything. See Gerald Williams.

In this case, it shouldn't take much convincing. Floyd has enough musclepower to make Giambi swear off his muscle Ts in the clubhouse.

Floyd can hit 30-plus homers a year, and is doing it in Pro Player Stadium, a football park with dimensions in yards, not feet.

"I hate it," Floyd said.

Floyd also dislikes the high wall and bad lighting, and we'll assume the daily rain showers and occasional fans, although he didn't mention those last two things. He said Yankee Stadium would be "great," but so would anywhere else after Pro Player.

"I hate it," Floyd said again.

He's batting 67 points higher on the road (.353 to .286) and has five more homers (eight to three).

"Unfortunately," Floyd said, "that will play a role when I'm a free agent.

That and the fact the Marlins won't have the first nickel to pay him.

Some are speculating Floyd will command $10 million annually. He's hitting .300 for the fourth straight year, his power chart is a straight line up and he's only 29.

On paper he's nearly a clone of Giambi, whose paid $17 million annually.

The big reason Floyd will be a Yankee by midyear isn't his hitting potential but his earning potential. The big numbers aren't the 11 home runs and 26 RBIs he's already posted, nor even his $6.5 million 2002 salary. It's the potential to double that this winter via free agency.

Can the Marlins pay Floyd next year? Will K-Mart be hiring Jack Welch as head cashier?

For today the Floyd-to-the-Yankees talk hasn't advanced beyond scout scuttlebut and writer speculation based on Floyd's curious recent switch from left field to right field, where the Yankees seem needier. The principals won't say a darned thing yet. Even Floyd wouldn't reveal a tinge of excitement.

"I'm committed to my boys," Floyd said.

Loosely translated, that means he doesn't want to offend anyone.

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