We have a deal! Err, sort of.
According to Sports Illustrated, the deal had boiled down to Melky, an underachieving centerfielder, plus Kei Igawa, an underachieving pitcher, for Cameron, a Gold Glove centerfielder with an OPS of over .800. (How many CFs had a better OPS than Cam? Oh, I dunno, maybe seven, in all of baseball.)
It looks like the problem is money --- specifically, how much of Igawa's contract the Brewers will pay:
The Brewers have agreed to take Igawa and offered to pay a small portion of the $12 million remaining on Igawa's contract. But apparently the Yankees believe it is too small a portion.
The Yankees' main contention is that Cameron is overpaid at $10 million, and the Brewers have to account for that somehow. The probable way would be to pay some of Igawa's ridiculously bloated salary.
I tend to agree with the prevailing wisdom that the Yankees are a bunch of Nuggnuts. You just spent a quarter-billion dollars on two pitchers, one of whom has pitched 200 innings in only two of the past six seasons. (Rob Neyer says boo to the Burnett signing as well.) You're in this mess because you spent $46 million on Igawa. Cameron, on the other hand, finished 5th among centerfielders in home runs, despite missing a month of baseball last spring. It's not the pot calling the kettle black --- it's the pot calling the sparkling, gleaming white kettle black.
The Star Ledger is reporting that a deal is actually in place; the Yankees are just debating internally whether or not they should take it.
Meanwhile, Gord Ash is wondering aloud if it isn't time to move on.
It's worth keeping in mind that if we don't get Cameron, we get a full season of one of the better CFs in baseball, plus a decent prospect as compensation when he leaves. Although it's fun to save money --- and admittedly, there is value in getting Melky and Igawa --- I'd be reluctant to throw too much money at poor New York.
What gets me is when you look at the trade from their perspective. Let's say Melky gets $2 million in 2009. Igawa is on the hook for $4 million next season as well. That's $6 million you're paying for a lousy centerfielder and AAA starting pitcher depth (because, of course, there's no way Igawa is making the team out of spring training). For $4 million more, you're getting one of the better CFs out there for one season, AND the compensatory draft pick when he leaves. And you're complaining?
I think it's enough to withdraw the deal just on principle.