Open Thread: Rondell White

Mat Latos and the cost of a young ace
Report: Winning bid for Darvish is larger than Dice-K's
(Photo credit: Osamu Honda/AP)

The Yankees had a revolving door in left field during their late-90’s dynasty, with guys like Chad Curtis, Shane Spencer, Ricky Ledee, Gerald Williams, Tim Raines, and even Chuck Knoblauch seeing a bunch of time out there. In an effort to plug that hole after the 2001 season, they signed Rondell White to a two-year contract worth $10M, a deal that became official ten years ago today.

White, 29 at the time, had hit .307/.371/.529 for the Cubs in 2001 and .310/.366/.508 with the Cubs and Expos over the previous three seasons. He could definitely hit and the defensive metrics considered him about average, but the problem was that the guy never stayed healthy. Up to that point, White had played in more than 138 games just once in his career, and more than 97 games just thrice in seven full seasons as a big leaguer.

Sure enough, White got hurt in Spring Training in 2002 and struggled at the start of the seasons, save for a binge week in which he hit four homers in the span of nine mid-April games. He was hitting .225/.286/.392 on May 1st, but he rebounded to have a nice little 50-game run from mid-May through late-June (.308/.343/.438) before getting hurt again. White finished the season with a .240/.288/.378 batting line in 126 games, then he hit a solo homer in Game One of the ALDS against the Angels, the only postseason game he’d play in for the Yankees.

White was widely reported to be a strong presence in the clubhouse, but the Yankees signed Hideki Matsui after the 2002 season and were stuck with a log jam in the outfield. They showcased White in Spring Training, then traded him to the Padres late in March for Bubba Trammell and pitching prospect Mark Phillips, the ninth overall pick in the 2000 draft. ”The key component in this deal, for us, is Mark Phillips,” said Brian Cashman after the trade, though his team did save close to $3M in the trade. Joe reviewed the trade last winter, and I also suggest reading Tyler Kepner’s recap from back in the day, which is pretty interesting in hindsight.

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Here is tonight’s open thread. There’s a bunch of college everything on, plus all three hockey locals are in action. Talks about anything you like here, it’s all fair game.

Mat Latos and the cost of a young ace
Report: Winning bid for Darvish is larger than Dice-K's
  • Jesse

    Just curious, but does the expanded Wild Card start in 2012 or 2013?

    • Andrew518

      As far as I know they want it to start in 2012 but of course Hou isn’t moving over until ’13. It would be a pretty bad system if the divisions aren’t ballanced. Personally I don’t see how anyone benefits by rushing the process but I haven’t seen any evidence of solid reasoning durring Selig’s tenure.

  • Andrew518

    Not that there were many fans there but Montreal really got shafted by the strike. That 94 Expos team was unbelieveable when you look back at it.

    • Grit for Brains

      Was checkin out BB Reference, look at the year Jeff Bagwell (MVP) had. Jeez.

      • Andrew518

        Ahh yes the lawless days of the 90’s (yeah I know, insert Bagwell has never been inplimented comment here)…glad MLB has gotten rid of the steroids…wait….

        • Thomas Cassidy

          You’d think the players would be a little smarter about it, and take something that you aren’t tested for (HGH). Although some players obviously are on it (Pujols).

          It’s going to be interesting to see what players fall off the face of the earth next year when HGH testing starts.

  • Steve (different one)

    Didn’t Bubba Trammell just bail on the team and leave?

    Also, RonDL…great nickname

  • Kris

    I think Bubba pulled the depression card and left the team for good.

  • Pat D

    Always liked Rondell White. I remember being so happy when the Yankees signed him, I figured he’d stay healthy being more than a year removed from Olympic Stadium.

    But, alas, injury prone is as injury prone does.

  • AC

    He did hit a massive HR in Toronto into the restuarant in dead center. My only highlight i rememeber from him…

  • Brian S.

    Anyone else worried about our infield defense next season? 2011 was A-Rod’s only good defensive year since 2004, Jeter is perpetually terrible, and Cano is mediocre.

    • Jesse

      Well, Teixeira is pretty good…

      • Brian S.

        He alone can’t make it work though.

        • Jesse

          Of course not. None of them do.

    • jjyank

      Arod looked good at the end of the year, Jeter for sure is going to continue to decline, but Cano is far from mediocre and Tex is great. Seriously, maybe I’m just a Cano homer (he’s my favorite active player after all) but if you have actually watched him play, he is a good defender. He doesn’t make flashy plays, but he has good range and makes the throw to first across the body, with his momentum going towards third, better than any second basemen I have seen. Mediocre is an insult to Robbie.

      • Brian S.

        Cano is probably my favorite player too but his range to his left is terrible. Great arm, strong double plays for sure; but his lack of range in that direction makes him mediocre.

        • jjyank

          I disagree. His slightly lacking range in only one direction de-grades him from “great” to “good”. There is not enough flaws in his defense to make him merely “mediocre”. I agree that his range on the first base side is the thing holding him back from being a great defender, but if that is his only flaw, he is still a good defender. Not every fielder needs to dive for everything to be considered better than mediocre.

          • Jesse

            How can you disagree when the fielding metrics say he’s mediocre for years and years?

            • jjyank

              Because I believe fielding metrics are flawed? Sure, they’re okay in some cases, but they also undervalue a lot of players. Cano is a good defender. I agree that he has some holes in his defense and is not the best defender in the league, but he is certainly better than mediocre.

            • Mike Axisa

              Fielding metrics do not say he’s mediocre, only UZR says he’s mediocre. DRS, FRAA, and Total Zone all say he’s been about from 5-10 runs above average for the last 3-4 years.

              • jjyank

                Thanks, Mike. I’ve been drinking a bit and didn’t feel like looking to up on my own! I’m not saying Cano is a perfect defender, but I believe “mediocre” is unfair.

                • nogoodnik

                  I agree. “Mediocre” is a terrible way to describe Robbie as a defensive 2nd baseman. He makes plays up the middle that no other second baseman I’ve ever seen, can make. I cannot recall a second baseman who could ROUTINELY complete double plays on soft grounders up the middle the way Cano does. IMO, the amount of plays up the middle that he turns into outs, that other 2nd baseman don’t, is infinitely more valuable than an extra two feet of range to the left. Double plays KILL rallys.

              • Rainbow Connection

                So above average isn’t the same as good?

              • Brian S.


        • nogoodnik

          Please name TWO second baseman you would rather have, over Cano. If you cannot, in good faith, come up with two names, that you’d rather have, as all around second baseman, than his defensive prowess is irrelevant. Range is great, but, less a little less range with the ability to turn the DP at an elite level is infinitely more valuable than a few extra feet to his left to stop seeing-eye singles.
          Oh, and while Jeter may not be the greatest defensive player who ever walked the earth, “terreble” is also undervaluing him. Nunez is terrible. Jeter is just below average-average. He is about as reliable as it gets, even if he does not get to the difficult ball.
          If you’re looking for a spot on this team to be concerned about, focus on the starting pitching. Defensively, as a team, this roster is, at worst, solid.

          • Brian S.

            No Jeter is terrible defensively. That is absolutely the right adjective to describe his defense, if you could call it that.

      • jjyank

        So I am worried about SS. Sure, I think we all are worried about Jeter defensively. But the other three? No. Arod will be good if healthy (and maybe we should bring back Chavez for insurance of him not being healthy), but Cano is a good defender and Tex is great. So I am not worried about it overall.

    • JohnnyC

      It’s too bad the Cardinals finished next to last in fielding in the NL this year. Probably prevented them from winning the World Series. Shame.

  • MannyGeee

    “It’s been three full days since the posting period for Yu Darvish has closed, but we’re still waiting to find out which team placed the high bid. That high bid will be a posting process record according to Franz Lidz of, who hears from Japanese league officials that the winning bid exceeds the $51.1MM the Red Sox paid for the right to negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka five years ago. The exact amount is unknown.”

    Wow… What, $55m now you think ?

    Holy shit that blows my mind…

    • Steve H

      Darvish is younger than Dice-K.
      Darvish is significantly better than Dice-K.
      Darvish is bigger than Dice-K.
      Darvish has better stuff than Dice-K.
      The new CBA hurts the ability of big market teams to flex their financial clout in the draft and IFA, making a 25 year old top talent that much more valuable.

      Add it all up and I think Darvish is significantly more valuable when hitting the market than Dice-K was. A $75 million bid wouldn’t shock me.

      • MannyGeee

        While i get all of those points, and do not disagree at all, That kind of scratch shocks me regardless…

        • Steve H

          I agree, but the $51 mil for Dice-K was shocking as well, and that somewhat set the market (floor?) for Darvish.

  • Will (the other one)

    While Rondell White may have been disappointing in real-life pinstripes, it should be noted that he was an absolute beast in MLB 2004 for Xbox. I fondly remember him hitting about .310 for me after I acquired him for some sort of terrible spare parts I’d picked up in free agency–I’m pretty sure Kirk Sarloos was involved in the trade, if I’m not mistaken.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Similarly, Rondell killed it for my Yankees in All-Star Baseball 2003.

  • RetroRob

    I always wanted Rondell to succeed. Not just because the Yankees traded for him, but because he was a talented player who wanted more than anything else that to be on the Yankees. Seemed to be a good person, and as noted, he was a positive influence in the club house.

    Injuries are a bitch.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    I do not remember Mark Phillips the #1 Padres’ pitching prospect of 2002. Does anyone remember if he ever pitched for the Yankees?

  • Bronx Byte

    Once he got his differences squared away with Joe Torre, Rueben Sierra was a good bench guy to have around during the late 90’s.

  • Plank

    I loved Rondell White. I was bummed it never really worked out. Back in those days, my ritual for watching games was on a tiny, really old tv in my room. It was a piece of crap and Rondell White was so black that he didn’t register on the tv. He literally looked like a shadow in a uniform. My lasting impression of Rondell White is that he was by far the blackest player of that era.