Having spent a little bit of time with the Yankees during spring training a few years ago, Sal Fasano knows how it works in the Bronx. In that regard, Fasano knows that he is going to have to shave the ‘stache and get a haircut because he has a real job now.
Fasano went from being designated for assignment by the Phillies to a trade to the New York Yankees this afternoon. Interestingly, Fasano will replace Kelly Stinnett, a backup catcher that former general manager Ed Wade acquired in a post-deadline deal with the Reds in 2003. The Yankees designated Stinnett for assignment this afternoon.
In return for Fasano the Phillies got a Single-A second baseman named Hector Made, who is 21-years old. Obviously, Made is not the second coming of Chase Utley.
Then again, those sitting on the press-box level at the ballpark – from the Phillies’ brass to the scribes covering the team – quickly learned that Fasano was not the second coming of Todd Pratt, the solid backup catcher who the Phillies cast aside in order to save a few hundred thousand bucks. When regular catcher Mike Lieberthal went down, everyone saw that Fasano could not handle the ins and outs of everyday catching the way Pratt could. More interestingly, Fasano’s work behind the plate made some appreciate Lieberthal a little more.
Fasano was not without his good qualities, though. He had some power – when he made contact – as well as a pretty decent arm. Fasano also was really good with the media, a trait that cannot go overlooked, and somehow attracted a fairly loyal fan group that were very willing to look past his shortcomings as a player.
That won’t be the case with the Yankees, though. It definitely takes more than sporting the Hell’s Angels look to win over the hardened and savvy New York ball fans. That’s especially the case when the Big Boss, George Steinbrenner, will demand that all of his players come to work clean shaven and with a businessman’s haircut. That makes it even more about the results for Fasano.
So good luck to Sal. He’s definitely going to need it in backing up All-Star Jorge Posada for a club that believes anything short of winning the World Series is a failure.
Meanwhile, will this video become Fasano's legacy as a Phillie?
Here's the full release from the Phillies. More to follow.
PHILLIES TRADE FASANO TO YANKEES
Catcher Sal Fasano was traded to the New York Yankees in exchange for minor league second baseman Hector Made, Phillies Vice President & General Manager Pat Gillick announced this morning.
Made, 21, was hitting .286 with three home runs and 28 RBI in 86 games for single-A Tampa of the Florida State League. The Phillies have assigned him to single-A Clearwater, also of the FSL.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Made hit .459 (17-37) in his final 10 games with Tampa. He was originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Yankees in 2001.
Fasano, 34, had been designated for assignment by the Phillies on July 22. In 50 games, he hit .243 with four home runs and 10 RBI.
It seems as if Chris Coste has finally earned a spot in the Major Leagues for the rest of the season.
At least that’s the way it appears after the Phillies announced that catcher Sal Fasano had been designated for assignment prior to Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Braves at the Bank.
Though popular with a certain segment of the fan base and the media, Fasano’s batting average was .243 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 50 games. Though his strong arm was an asset when runners reached base, Fasano didn’t seem to be the answer for the Phillies when starting catcher Mike Lieberthal had an extended stay on the disabled list.
The Phillies now have 10 days to dispose of Fasano's contract. If he is not claimed by another team or traded during that period, Fasano can be sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre or opt to become a free agent.
"I'm not very pleased with it, but it's a part of the game that you don't understand and you don't know if you'll ever understand," Fasano said. "Me coming off the DL really forced their hand. They basically said they needed to make a move, and they can't justify getting rid of anybody else, which I can understand. Catching-wise, you keep the guys that you had, but I was under the impression that we were going to keep three catchers."
Said assistant GM Ruben Amaro Jr.: "We decided to stay with (Mike) Lieberthal and Coste as our catchers. We felt like they were doing a very good job in that role. Unfortunately for Sal, while he worked hard and was very professional for us, he got caught up in a numbers game. He did a pretty good job, but there are certain difficult decisions you have to make when these types of situations occur."
Coste, on the other hand, has performed pretty well for the Phillies since his call up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. With a pair of homers and 12 RBIs to go with his .333 batting average in 20 games, the 33-year-old rookie has turned himself into a viable backup catcher. Plus, Coste can play both corner infield positions and probably the outfield if he can dig up the correct glove.
Nevertheless, Coste looks at the decision as yet another motivator in his quest to become a big-league mainstay. That’s especially the case with Fasano having spent parts of eight seasons in the Majors.
“Seeing a situation like that is motivation to work harder,” Coste said.
That’s definitely the case since Fasano was set to be activated from the disabled list on Saturday after spending time in the minors on a rehab assignment. Coste figured there was a good chance that he was going to be cast aside when Fasano was eligible to return despite his superior offensive numbers.
For instance, Coste has as many RBIs this month in limited action as cleanup hitter Pat Burrell. Both players have driven in 10 runs.
Still, Coste believed that he was a good option for the Phillies and manager Charlie Manuel because he can play other positions as well as catcher. Even though he started his big-league career on a 0-for-13 skid, Coste knew he gave Manuel some options.
“I wasn’t nervous [about being sent down to the minors] because I was still a third catcher and I gave them some flexibility,” Coste reasoned. “Even though I wasn’t producing I knew that I was providing flexibility just by sitting on the bench.”
But now that he is producing by going 18-for-41 (.439) after that initial 0-for-13, including a pair of homers in his last two games, Coste knows that the big-league experience on his resume will help him when he attempts to make a club next spring training. Even after a strong spring like he had by hitting .463 for the Phillies in March.
“I could have hit .700 in spring training, but it’s still just spring training,” Coste said. “Now I have some experience as a backup. That should help me.”
Or at least get him out of having to play winter ball this year.