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Sax Feels Yankees Will Deal Him in the Offseason

NEWSDAY

Steve Sax is probably in his last few weeks playing for the New York Yankees, and he knows it.

While General Manager Gene Michael said he does not want to tip his hand about the Yankees’ muddled infield situation, the GM admitted that he has looked into trading Sax recently. And while Michael has indicated that trading Don Mattingly would be difficult, he doesn’t believe the same is so for Sax.

“There was interest in Sax,” Michael determined.

The GM revealed also that it was only the Yankees’ reluctance, oddly enough, that hindered potential deals. Michael said, “It was hard for us to trade him in a race.”

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This winter it should be easier for Michael to let go.

Sax hasn’t hurt his value by batting .335 since leaving third base for good May 25. Michael will have no excuses if he takes two second basemen (Sax and Pat Kelly) and no third basemen into next season. While Sax’ contract remains the biggest impediment, the $10.9 million owed over the next four years (the Yankees already paid $1.5 million in a signing bonus) isn’t outlandish by baseball standards.

One Yankees scout, refuting the theory that Sax’ contract makes him untradeable, said, “It’s not like we have to give him away. There is interest. There are more money teams than people realize.” The scout mentioned the California Angels and New York Giants as two interested parties, and they are on Sax’ list of 11 teams to which he can be dealt.

As Sax said, “If you look at the year I’m having, the contract over the next four years isn’t that big. I see guys making in that area who aren’t doing that much.”

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Michael, sounding like a man with something to barter, said, “Sax came on pretty good. He came on offensively, and he’s done a better job defensively. I like the way he goes about his job.”

After going over potential scenarios in his head, Sax astutely said of himself and Kelly, “Either him or me is going to be gone.”

And Sax thinks it’s going to be him. He said, “They’re probably going to think, ‘We’re not winning with Sax, and we don’t want to pay the money.”’ He’s probably right.


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