The Yankees will be responsible for about $400,000 of the $2.8
million remaining on Leiter's 2005 salary, general manager Brian
Cashman said Saturday. There were no other players involved in the
"We'll take a chance," he said. "It wasn't going to hurt us
in terms of player talent, and it wasn't going to cost us a lot."
The Yankees are desperate for pitching help with four starters
on the disabled list. Kevin Brown, who has been on the DL since
June 16 with a back strain, will return to start Monday.
"It's a very thin market," Cashman said. "In the next two
weeks, we need to hold serve, or tread water ... until our
reinforcements can come back."
Cashman conceded that Leiter was no longer a front-line starter
but held out hope that he would be an improvement in the back of
the rotation. Tim Redding was called up from Triple-A to make an
emergency start on Friday, and the Yankees lost 17-1; he was
designated for assignment to make room for Leiter.
The Yankees have used 11 starters this season -- most in the AL.
"If you compare him [Leiter] to our fifth-starter sample --
which is getting rather long -- his numbers look a lot better,"
Cashman said. "We'll take a chance to see what we have there.
Hopefully, it will be an upgrade from what we've been trying."
The Marlins designated Leiter for assignment on Thursday after
he went 3-7 with a 6.64 ERA this season. He is due to make $8
million this year despite struggling to pitch like he did in his
first stint with the team, when he won 27 games and helped the
Marlins with the 1997 World Series.
"Disappointed would not explain how I felt. Then I found out
from my agent that teams were interested in me," Leiter said in a
statement released by the Yankees. "This is where I started in
'87, and 21 years ago I was drafted by the Yankees. To come
full-circle, I'm very excited."
The Yankees drafted Leiter in '84 but traded him to Toronto in
1989. He signed with the Marlins as a free agent before the '96
season and threw Florida's first no-hitter that year, but he was
traded to the Mets during the Marlins' post-World Series payroll
Leiter, 39, won a career-best 17 games for the Mets in 1998 and
pitched a two-hit shutout against Cincinnati to clinch the NL wild
card in 1999. With the Mets bullpen depleted in Game 5 of the 2000
World Series against the Yankees, he went 8 2/3 innings before
running out of gas and losing 4-2.
Leiter was 10-8 with a 3.21 ERA for the Mets last season. He is
158-127 with a 3.76 ERA in his career and 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 17
career postseason games.
"The fact that he's pitched in New York, he's pitched in
championship games, for both Miami and the Mets. The fact that he's
had that experience, we think we can catch some lightning in a
bottle here," manager Joe Torre said. "The experience is a big
part of what helps when you pitch for our ballclub."
New York has been searching for a starter because Brown, Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright are all on the disabled list. Chien-Ming Wang joined them there on Thursday, a day before he was scheduled
to start against Boston, with inflammation in his right shoulder.
Brown started the season on the DL because of a back strain, was
activated April 17 and went 5-6 with a 5.48 ERA.