12/16/05 6:00 PM ET
Yankees add another lefty to bullpen
New York trades Julianel to Florida for veteran Villone
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
In exchange for the southpaw, who will turn 36 in January, the Yankees sent left-hander Ben Julianel to Florida.
Villone made a career-high 79 appearances for the Marlins and Mariners in 2005, the fifth-most among Major League relievers.
In 52 games with Seattle, he posted a 2-3 record and 2.45 ERA, holding left-handed hitters to a .213 average. On the year, he held left-handed hitters to a .222 average with no home runs and just three extra-base hits.
"I'm most comfortable getting the ball every day," said Villone. "My strength is that I'm ready to do a spot start and pitch three days in a row after that. I've been blessed that my arm is resilient, so I just hope to get the ball a lot and contribute, be a piece of the puzzle."
The Yankees tried to acquire Villone last summer at the trade deadline, but the Marlins made a better offer to the Mariners. General manager Brian Cashman said that the southpaw has been on the Yankees' radar since the start of the offseason.
"One of the reasons we were attracted to Ron was that he's versatile," Cashman said. "He can spot start, he can long relieve or be a situational lefty, all without complaint. That's attractive. We think he's a good fit."
In addition to Villone and Myers, the Yankees added right-hander Kyle Farnsworth to their bullpen this offseason. With Mariano Rivera, Tanyon Sturtze, Scott Proctor and one or two starters who don't make the rotation, the Yankees' bullpen is already a crowded place.
"It starts to form something we're very comfortable with, but I still have flexibility going forward to continue to pursue different concepts via trade or free agent signings," Cashman said. "You never know what might come up. When you rearrange the deck chairs, it might allow me to pursue more. I'm not closed down."
This will be a homecoming for Villone, a native of Edgewater, N.J., who resides in Upper Saddle River, N.J., about 20 miles from Yankee Stadium.
Villone attended his first game in the Bronx in 1976 at the age of six, and regularly attended games throughout his childhood. Villone said that two of his favorite players growing up were Ron Guidry and Don Mattingly, two current members of Joe Torre's coaching staff.
"That came up pretty quick in my thoughts when this trade came down," Villone said. "It's a great stage to play on. The Yankees are the best team, and I always wanted to be a part of it. Today, I get to live that dream."
Villone has pitched for nine teams during his 10-year career, appearing in 473 games as both a starter and reliever. He was originally selected by Seattle with the 14th overall selection in the first round of the 1992 First-Year Player Draft.
Julianel, 26, posted a 5-3 record with a 3.90 ERA in 46 games with Double-A Trenton in 2005. The Yankees received him from the Cardinals as part of an August 2003 trade that saw Sterling Hitchcock dealt to St. Louis.
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.