Feb
18

How will Girardi handle the 2009 lineup?

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One of our bigger complaints about Joe Girardi in 2009 was that he tinkered with the lineup a bit too much. Some of this was due to injury, but other times it was based on match-ups. While playing to the strengths of your roster is generally favorable, some of Girardi’s moves weren’t defensible with split data. Instead, it seemed he subscribed to the “sit lefties against lefties” mode of managerial thought. Unfortunately, that’s not always the best way to go.

We knew going into last season that Jason Giambi wouldn’t play 162 games. He’d have been lucky to play 150 games, especially since he was the primary first baseman. He ended up with 142, and only a few of his off-days were due to small injuries. For the most part, he sat against lefties, which caused some frustration at RAB. Jason does hit from the left side of the plate, but he holds his own well enough against lefties, posting identical splits in batting average and OBP in 2009. His slugging was a bit higher against righties, but that’s no reason to sit him against southpaws.

This issue was exacerbated by Giambi’s normal spot in the lineup, No. 5. The normal replacements at first, Wilson Betemit and Richie Sexson, weren’t going to slot in there. When Giambi sat, the guys at the bottom of the order had to move up. The problem was that the Yanks rarely had a player who could hit adequately behind A-Rod. This meant the order juggled when Giambi sat. I can’t imagine that being good for anyone.

Lesson: Don’t get into a platoon situation with a player at the heart of your order. It doesn’t appear as though this will be an issue this year, though one of the bounceback candidates will have to step up and take that slot. The top four are basically set in stone: Damon, Jeter, then Teixeira and A-Rod. A healthy Matsui could take the spot, as could Jorge Posada if his shoulder holds up. Even Robinson Cano could be a candidate.

Two guys who likely won’t get a chance to hit fifth: Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher. That’s a good thing, because those are two guys you could see platooned to some degree or another. Let’s check out their recent and career splits.

Last year, Swisher was equally crappy against lefties and righties, as you might expect. He had a much better eye against lefties, putting a .197 batting average against a .359 OBP (.162 ISO — .094 ISO against righties). His slugging against righties was a bit higher, but the ISO mark — slugging minus batting average to cancel out the singles — was along the same lines, .189 against lefties, .192 against righties). Career he’s a .240/.338/.459 hitter against righties, .253/.396/.429 against lefties. So it looks like if you’re going to platoon Swisher, you want him hitting against lefties.

(His 2007 stats were skewed heavily towards lefties, for what it’s worth.)

Problem there is that Xavier Nady has long been known as a lefty masher. In 2005 he posted a .700 OPS against righties vs. a .852 mark against lefties. In 2006 the split was even more pronounced, with a .969 OPS against lefties vs. a .736 OPS against righties. However, that started to change in 2007. In 366 plate appearances against righties Nady posted a .802 OPS, while posting a .819 mark against lefties. His .805 OPS against righties in 2008 might signal that he’s developed over the years and could be fine as an everyday player.

What does this mean for the Yankees lineup in 2009? It might mean Hideki Matsui gets in on the platoon situation. He has a career .870 OPS against righties vs. a .803 OPS against lefties. This includes splits of .815 vs. .751 in 2008 and .885 vs. .821 in 2007. Hideki could then take his off-days against lefties, allowing both Swisher and Nady to be in the lineup. Against righties, either Swisher or Nady could sit.

Of course, given the lesson posted above, this would disqualify Hideki from the fifth slot. Well, at least in my mind. Maybe I’m overthinking this, but I’d far rather see a consistent lineup one through five, day in and day out. Since Jorge won’t be in the lineup every day, that leaves Cano to round out the heart of the order. Slotting him fifth would allow the Yanks to trot out Damon-Jeter-Teixeira-Arod-Cano for almost every game. I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel more comfortable when the lineup fluctuations come at the bottom, not in the heart.

Categories : Analysis

78 Comments»

  1. andrew says:

    ehhh… I think you might be worrying about too much. Assuming everyone is healthy for the whole year (obviously not a valid assumption, but just for the sake of the discussion)
    I would rather have the better hitter hitting behind ARod, no matter who it is. If that means Matsui hits behind Arod for 120 games, and then Cano or Posada hits 5th for the other 40 games when Matsui is sitting out, I’m fine with that

  2. Zach Sanders says:

    It’s hard to imagine a manager making a mistake with the players that have been put in place. Most managers would kill to have to decide between A-Rod and Tek for the 3/4 spots.

    That’s really all Girardi is being asked to do – just don’t screw it up. He is the Joe Flacco, Trent Dilfer and Steve McNair of the MLB managers. Let the team do it’s job, and reap the benefits.

    • andrew says:

      I hope that we never have to decide on ARod or Tek in the 3 hole, I prefer Tex…

      • leblanc says:

        Moronic Media Person: But but… A-Rod didnt cry in his press conference today, he was not human enough… he is obviously not capable of hitting fourth.

        Just messing around, but seriously as long as everyone is healthy, I dont mind seeing matsui doing the mini shoulder shrugs at the circle while A-Rod takes his swings.

  3. Rich says:

    I would rather bat A-Rod third and Tex fourth because it would group the better baserunners together at the top of the lineup and it would give A-Rod protection as well, which could gain added importance in the playoffs.

    I think it’s unlikely that Matsui will be platooned if his legs hold up, so batting him 5th probably won’t be a problem.

    If Cano can return to being a consistent hitter, I would like to see him move up in the batting order.

  4. Jamie says:

    I’m not too thrilled about Cano in the 5th spot.. I will throw my remote into my flat screen the first time strikes out at a ball over his head with ARod and Tex on 2nd and 3rd. But who knows. Maybe he matured and K.Long fixed him up good.

  5. NC Saint says:

    I don’t follow your reasoning here at all:

    he problem was that the Yanks rarely had a player who could hit adequately behind A-Rod. This meant the order juggled when Giambi sat. I can’t imagine that being good for anyone.

    Lesson: Don’t get into a platoon situation with a player at the heart of your order.

    The lesson, obvious though it is, is that it’s nice to have a fifth hitter you are really comfortable with. Giambi sitting was a problem because we weren’t happy with any of the candidates to replace him. But if the 5 spot is always filled with someone who can hit the pitcher he’s facing, I don’t understand the problem. The implication here seems to be that you’d rather go with inferior production out of an everyday player than slightly better production from a platoon. Why?

    • andrew says:

      I think Joe, like the rest of us, is very, very excited for this upcoming season. Maybe even too excited. I think he said it best when he wondered, “Maybe I’m overthinking this.”

      • NC Saint says:

        Fair enough. I’m excited too. My excitement doesn’t push me towards this particular worry. On the other hand, I will confess to a far crazier concern:

        Part of me is sad that we have a terrific 1B who can hit well from both sides of the bag, because I was looking forward to seeing what Juan Miranda could do against big league righties. I still think he can hurt them badly enough to be a fairly valuable major leaguer, but I don’t see how he makes any sense for our bench now that we have Tex.

  6. Sean says:

    so you’d like to see a lineup of

    vs righties:
    damon
    jeter
    tex
    arod
    cano
    matsui
    posada
    nady/swisher
    cabrera/gardner

    vs lefties:
    damon
    jeter
    tex
    arod
    cano
    posada
    nady
    swisher
    cabrera/gardner

    • Chase says:

      I don’t understand this notion that Nady is 7 or 8 guy in the lineup… In reality, Matsui fits better in that spot.

      1. Damon LF/DH
      2. Jeter SS
      3. Tex 1B
      4. ARod 3B
      5. Posada C
      6. Nady RF
      7. Matsui/Swisher DH/LF
      8. Cano 2B
      9. Gardner CF

      That, in my opinion the best lineup.

      PS: Melky missing is not a mistake…

  7. radnom says:

    The problem wasn’t a platoon at the #5 spot….it was replacing the #5 hitter with a #9 hitter for no reason. This doesn’t apply to Matsui/Nady/Swisher when they are platooning they are all at least close to the same skill level and would not completely change the lineup.
    The problem was the drastic difference in ability between Giambi and Sexson.

  8. Babe's Ghost says:

    Hmmm, until I see data supporting the notion that a consistent lineup is superior to a changing lineup I remain unconvinced that it’s any more important than a ‘gritty’ line up. For all we know constantly changing your lineup makes it much harder for the opposing team to plan how it will use pitchers and relievers.

    I’m not sure how one would produce this data since generally managers don’t like to tweak lineups unless things aren’t working. On the other hand, the platoon advantage, batting L vs R pitcher, is pretty well established. Even if we accept Walsh’s argument that composite stats are distorted by positional bias an individual player’s numbers are more likely to be valid or perhaps even understate the benefit since he might be sat vs a tough same-handed pitcher.

    So given Giambi’s life time splits of 294/419/560 vs RHP and 268/383/471 vs LHP, and an assumed need for days off why not rest him against a LHP?

    Looks like it kind of paid off. In 2008 he was 253/374/515 vs RHP and 231/373/469. Did anyone normalize this for opposing pitcher’s ERA+ vs RHB? That would be interesting, but I don’t have the raw data or the time.

    • steve (different one) says:

      but Pete Abe said Girardi’s ever changing lineups ruined the season!!!!

      nevermind that the 1996 Yankees used 131 different batting orders.
      the 1998 Yankees used 96 different batting orders.
      the 1999 Yankees used 95 different batting orders.
      the 2000 Yankees used 111 different batting orders.

      i have NEVER heard of this being an issue until Abraham made it his pet peeve last year.

      Giambi played in 142 out of 162 games last year, so what if Girardi matched his days off to lefty starters?? it would make everyone feel better if the days off were just random?? how many games did you think Giambi was going to play?

      yes, there were 1 or 2 times when he started Sexson over Giambi that he should not have. but that was probably more about seeing if Sexson had anything left and putting him in the best spot to succeed. he quickly proved he had nothing left and was released after 28 ABs. 28. to read this, you’d think Giambi was platooned all season.

      having Nady and Swisher is a WONDERFUL problem for Girardi to have. both of those guys are quality major league hitters, and there really is no wrong way to deploy them, especially now that there is evidence that Nady may be closing his platoon split.

      i would use Swisher, Nady, Matsui, Damon, and Gardner and rotate them through the 3 OF positions and DH. 5 guys for 4 spots, should be plenty of ABs for everyone. that may mean starting Swisher or Damon in CF on a day when Burnett or Wang is starting and we expect lots of K’s and ground balls.

      • Jamal G. says:

        Peter Abraham is a horrible analyst. Peter Abraham should know that the Yankees were exactly league-average in terms of how many different lineups they used during the 2008 season. Peter Abraham should also know how amazing that marker is considering the fact that the Yankees had so many injuries and regressions to their offense.

  9. J.R. says:

    The idea of Cano hitting fifth scares me.

    But that being said, he will probably get a long look in spring.

    • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

      The Yanks feel like he’s ready to take a step forward, where he will be a .320 hitter with 20+ HRs. But we already have someone like that in Matsui, so I suspect Cano will have to earn his promotion.

      In any case, Matsui and Damon will likely leave after this season. So if he’s not our #5 hitter this year, he may very well be next year.

      • Chase says:

        I’m sorry for saying this, but I don’t think Matsui is going to have the bounce back year everyone thinks he will.

        .280 15 HR 70 RBI is what I think. I think Cano and Nady will both top those numbers by far.

  10. J.R. says:

    But a really crazy idea, you could move Cano to third.

    He’ll get better pitches and then Arod would have protection with Tex hitting 5th.

    • whozat says:

      Yeah, let’s reduce the number of runners on base in front of our best hitter. Great call.

      • radnom says:

        Well. If he developed any sort of plate discipline and could get back to his career BA he might not be so bad their. And that position in the lineup would certainly help him.

        I tend to agree though, I would be shocked if Cano ever developed into a high OBP guy.

        • jeremy says:

          He’s not exactly the best baserunner either. Don’t need him killing rallies tryin to go 1st to 3rd on a ground ball single hit to Vlad.

  11. Mike P says:

    Batting Cano 5th makes a ton of sense, if he improves on last year. You want your hitters with the highest average to hit behind those with the highest OBP. Hits are even more productive than walks when men are on base. Also, Cano would see better pitches if there were 1/2 guys on everytime he´s up.

    • Dave says:

      You reasoned out your arguments so well and to such extensive detail Joe about each topic and then, you just threw cano into the fifth spot with no explanation whatsoever and that probably required more explanation than anything else you said. I dont agree that the one through five order has to be consistent. As long as girardi doesnt put a different lineup out there every day, he can mix it around a little bit in terms of 5 through 9. i THINK 1 through 4 is clearly set in stone. Everything else really depends on how well each player is playing and what the injuries are like. With those two at hand, the lineup for the entire year could be worked out but those two are such variables that it is almost impossible to predict a year round lineup. If cano hits like last season,

      NO way does girardi bat him fifth. Further, if swisher does not have a rebound year, he will likely stay on the bench while if he has a complete 180, he could easily bat fifth and put up a 380 obp and 30 homers as a switch hitter behind arod. matsui and posada have the same issues – will they be 2007ish or 2008ish. And we dont even know if melky or gardner is going to hit in the lineup. Gardner is better ninth no matter how well he is doing IMO. If we are forced to put molina in the lineup twice a week or more, we need to switch things around a little. And i would really rather avoid that if at all possible. Then, there is always an injury to the top four to consider as damon and jeter arent getting any young – god forbid. All in all, predicting the lineup for the entire meal is like deciding what you are going to have for lunch each monday during the year of 2025. I mean, you dont know anything about year life then, so how can you decide on the details?

  12. dan says:

    Are you trying to tell me that Giambi should’ve played in more games? Go look at the damn dancing bear’s splits in hitting with RISP. Now remember the fact that for some reason he hit 5th almost elusively.

    In 2008, with runners in scoring position Jason Giambi delivered a .213 batting average with a .339 OBP. Rally Killer, thy name is Giambi. None of this guy’s clutch stats were impressive last year. With 2 out and men in scoring position he hit .216 with a .356 OBP. After the 7th inning in close games Giambi stepped up and delivered a .155 avg with a .286 OBP.**

    HE COULDN’T HIT ADEQUATELY BEHIND A-ROD!!

    *paragraph taken from: http://lsos1.blogspot.com/2009.....-lost.html

    • Chris says:

      All of those splits are basically useless because of the small sample size. He was out second best hitter last year, so batting him 5th isn’t a problem.

      • steve (different one) says:

        also, instead of blindly criticizing, why not OFFER AN ALTERNATIVE?

        who ELSE was going to hit 5th last year? that’s the question no one ever answers when they make this complaint?

        Posada? Matsui? CANO????

        the argument that i hear is that Nady should have hit 5th instead of 6th.

        Nady was only on the team for 1/3 of the season. and Giambi is a better hitter than Nady.

        THERE WAS NO ONE ELSE. that’s why last year sucked. everyone got hurt and Cano had a horrible season.

  13. Trish says:

    When Swisher was with the As he usually batted fifth or sixth–I think his season got killed last year when Ozzie Guillen decided to have him lead off because of his walks percentage; it just threw him off entirely and he never came back. I agree that he shouldn’t be that high in the order when he plays–seventh would probably be the best place for him.

  14. ryan says:

    damon
    jeter
    tex
    arod
    matsui
    Nady / swisher
    cano
    Posada/Molina
    Gardner/melky

    first 5 set with the bottom 4 rotating.
    sinice posada will need molina to catch 60-50 games and he’s coming off labrum surgery maybe he should bat lower than nady and cano, this also give great protection to cano and that would be a good thing. It all depends on how guys are hitting so this is premature.

  15. Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

    vs righties:
    Damon (L)
    Jeter (R)
    Tex (S)
    A-Rod (R)
    Matsui (L)
    Nady (R)
    Cano (L)
    Posada (S)
    Gardner (L)

    vs lefties:
    Damon (L)
    Jeter (R)
    Tex (S)
    A-Rod (R)
    Cano (L)
    Nady (R)
    Swisher (S)
    Posada (S)
    Gardner (L)

    -Swisher’s a slightly better fielder than Nady is, so Nady will DH on the days Swish plays and Swish will play RF. Swish also plays once a week for Damon (plays LF) Nady (plays RF) and possibly once a week for Tex, though I suspect Tex won’t want any days off. Maybe Tex DH’s those days, and you sit Matsui. In any case, Swish plays 3-4 days a week and gets 400 ABs, barring injury.

    -I would really like to bat Alex 3rd (for a lot of reasons) but there’s just no way to do it.

    -I also think Girardi would really like to sit Gardner vs Lefties, but he just doesn’t have a legit CF to replace him. If he thinks Swish can play CF, you can slip Matsui in to DH vs Lefties. If they carry a 5th OF, then Melky would play CF those days.

    -Posada gets buried in the 8 spot. With his age, lack of speed, and coming off injury I think they have to expect some regression this year.

    -Cano’s an equally good hitter vs Lefties (career .297) so that can be where you give him a crack at moving up in the lineup

    • Rob in CT says:

      Regarding batting ARod 3rd, yes there is a way to do it. Switch Jeter and Damon.

      I’ve wished the Yanks would do that for years. They’re both capable leadoff hitters. However, Jeter’s the guy more likely to rap a sharp grounder to SS… making him more of a DP candidate. Plus, Damon hits more HRs. So I think switching them makes a whole lot of sense. I didn’t do it in my post below, b/c the Yanks probably wouldn’t consider it. But I would.

      So you go Jeter, Damon, ARod, Tex, Matsui…

      • Joe R says:

        Or you could put A-Rod 3rd and Tex 4th and leave everything else. Back to back righties isnt the end of the world. Not that I wouldnt mind giving Jeter less DPs to ground into tho. Jus sayin.

        • NickyTheSwish says:

          You would have back to back lefties with Gardner and Damon anyway. Switching Damon and Jeter and batting A-Rod 3rd is the only way to fully satisfy the obsessive compulsive righty-lefty people (not to mention the most practical lineup anyway).

  16. Rob in CT says:

    My lineups:

    vs RHP (majority of games, obviously):

    Damon (L)
    Jeter (R)
    Tex (S)
    A-Rod (R)
    Matsui (L)
    Posada (S)
    Cano (L)
    Nady (R)
    Gardner (L)

    vs LHP:

    Jeter (R)
    Tex (S)
    A-Rod (R)
    Matsui (L)
    Swisher (S) – playing LF
    Nady (R) – RF
    Cano (L)
    Molina (R)
    Gardner (L)

    Molina has to play sometime. Po is not going to catch 150 games. Molina is utterly useless against RHP. He’s somewhere in the vicinity of “meh” against LHP. Therefore, I think that’s where you get him playing time & Po some rest (despite the fact that Po mashes LHP. The disparity between Molina and Po against RHP is greater).

    One could also play Damon in CF against LHP, though his OPS vs LHP has basically been .700 for the past two seasons. Which is why I’ve got Nady and Swisher in there.

  17. Russell NY says:

    “The idea of Cano hitting fifth scares me.”

    Ditto, especially if he doesn’t come out hot. The idea is to give ARod some pitches to hit. Matsuiiiii

  18. Russell NY says:

    “I’m sorry for saying this, but I don’t think Matsui is going to have the bounce back year everyone thinks he will.

    .280 15 HR 70 RBI is what I think. I think Cano and Nady will both top those numbers by far.”

    Bounce back year? He was injured last year, played in 93 games, and still hit .294

  19. Justin says:

    I dont see this as that difficult.

    vs righties

    LF Damon
    SS Jeter
    3B Arod
    1B Tex
    DH Matsui
    RF Nady
    C Posada
    2B Cano
    CF Gardner

    This lineup groups your better baserunners at the top and bottom with more of a traditional power hitters in the middle mashing them in. I think in that situation Tex gets more opportunities to drive in runs and pressure will be taken off Arod to be guy. I think with everything that surrounds Alex right now he needs as little pressure on him as can be. So batting Tex fourth alleves some of that pressure. If healthy Matsui fits that 5th hole just right against righties.

    vs lefties

    LF Damon
    SS Jeter
    3B Arod
    1B Tex
    DH Nady
    C Posada
    2B Cano
    RF Swisher
    CF Gardner

    This lineup would be set up to be more of a scrappy team that scores runs the old fashioned way of getting on base and moving guys over but it still has the potential at the top to mash some balls out of the park.

    • steve (different one) says:

      Swisher and Nady are going to play more than that.

      there will be games against LHP when Damon or Matsui sit, and Nady plays LF and Swisher plays RF.

      this is the best way to get everyone AB’s, but i am sure people will still complain about not having a “set lineup”.

      • Joe R says:

        I dont think people will mind so long as the 3 or 4 line-up variations he creates to platoon people and the random day off for someone stays consistant in the lineup order. Esp when 1-4 will usually be the same everyday.

  20. A.D. says:

    I think its fine to platoon your 5 hitter, or anywhere as long as there isn’t a drop off. With Giambi last year the replacement was far worse than Giambi, and someone who really isn’t a MLB starter. If its a Swisher/Nady platoon they in theory will give you similar production & both are MLB caliber players. On top of that if one was the full time regular there wouldn’t be a problem batting them 5.

    The real issue with Giambi sitting is it gave at-bats to an inferior player, thus weakening the line-up

  21. Elston32 says:

    Matsui batting 5th certainly makes sense as of now. Hope springs eternal for Cano – it seems his mental outlook will be the determining factor in whether he’ll ever be a middle of the order force. ALONG THESE LINES: Check the stats/average season totals of Ray Durham compared to Joe (the broadcaster all Yankee fans should dislike) Morgan – and keep in mind how many more years Morgan played/number of HRs more than Durham he posted. I say they are virtually the same player (accuse me of bias since I dislike Joe Morgan).

    • steve (different one) says:

      insane.

      Morgan is probably one of the 10-20 best players to ever lace them up. for SIX straight seasons, he had an OBP of AT LEAST .406.

      Ray Durham is a nice player, but couldn’t hold Morgan’s jock.

      Morgan: .271/.392/.427 – 132 OPS+
      Durham: .277/.352/.436 – 104 OPS+

      where are you getting this nonsense from?

      • A.D. says:

        Agreed, Durham is no where near the player, especially not relatively in his ERA as OPS+ shows. Morgan was also vastly better in his prime, putting up an OPS+ of more than 149 for 5 straight seasons, Durham has had 1 over 120 in his career.

        Toss in the Morgan was a very good defensive player and Durham has never been very good defensively, and Morgan > Durham.

        I can’t stand Morgan as a commentator, but as a 2B he’s pretty good.

  22. There’s way too many lineups proposed in this thread by people where against righties, Nady plays and Swisher sits. That frankly doesn’t make a ton of sense. Against RHP Nady has a career line of .270/.317/.454 (.770). Swisher has a career line of .240/.338/.459 (.797)

    Swisher is a switch hitter, Nady is not. Swisher is part of the future of this team, Nady is not. Swisher is a plus defender, Nady is not. Amongst the stack of corner OF/DH bats that we have (Damon, Swisher, Nady, Matsui) Nady is the clearest and most obvious candidate to have his playing time abridged. He’s the worst hitter of the foursome and the worst defensive outfielder (not counting Matsui, who’s not an outfielder.)

    Lineup against RHP
    1 LF Damon (L)
    2 SS Jeter (R)
    3 1B Teixeira (S)
    4 3B ARod (R)
    5 DH Matsui (L)
    6 RF Swisher (S)
    7 2B Cano (L)
    8 C Posada (S)
    9 CF Gardbrera (L/S)

    Lineup against LHP
    1 DH Damon (L)
    2 SS Jeter (R)
    3 1B Teixeira (S)
    4 3B ARod (R)
    5 LF Nady (R)
    6 RF Swisher (S)
    7 2B Cano (L)
    8 C Posada (S)
    9 CF Gardbrera (L/S)

    • Matt says:

      I agree with all of this (I like the platooning of Matsui a lot) except batting Jorge 8th. I don’t wanna bury a guy with good on-base skills and power that low in the lineup.

      v. RHP
      1. Damon LF
      2. Jeter SS
      3. Rodriguez 3B
      4. Tex 1B
      5. Matsui DH
      6. Posada C
      7. Swisher RF
      8. Cano 2B
      9. Gardbrera CF

      v. LHP
      1. Damon DH
      2. Jeter SS
      3. Rodriguez 3B
      4. Tex 1B
      5. Nady LF
      6. Posada C
      7. Swisher RF
      8. Cano 2B
      9. Gardbrera CF

    • Rob in CT says:

      Good point about Swisher playing instead of Nady… I put Nady in there, but should’ve put “Nady/Swisher.” Nady has shown real improvement vs. RHP in the past two seasons, but the two should split time against RHP (with both, IMO, playhing against LHP).

    • Eric S says:

      @TSJC aka RU – you should have your own blog.

  23. Marko says:

    Nady and Swisher alternate days off against righties while Matsui and Damon alternate days off against lefties

    People may not want to believe it but it is entirely possible to get 125 starts to all of Damon, Swisher, Nady and Matsui — even if everyone stays healthy.

    • Rory says:

      hmm. only if you are using CF and 1B. 162 times three (positions) equals 486. Divided by four (players) equals 121.5. Will need to use other positions to get to the magical 125. :(

  24. Macphisto says:

    I like the idea of Matsui hitting 5th. Last season when Matsui hit 5th in the order his line was .309/.398/.456.854. Those are pretty strong numbers. Giambi, on the other hand was pretty awful in the 5th spot. His line .212/.348/.391/.738. Pretty big difference. Jason was bad as the 5th hitter in the lineup. And when you start comparing their clutch stats Matsui just blows Jason away. Jason was terrible in key spots last year. And pitchers knew this. They would throw junk at A-Rod, and he would swing at it, knowing they could put the shift on and get Giambi out consistently. And Matsui actually has a better batting average against left handed pitchers even though it is with less power. I see no reason not to have Matsui get the majority of AB’s in the 5 hole.

  25. Macphisto says:

    Then go back further, here is Matsui batting 5th in ’07: .298 .381 .518 .898 ’06 was a bad year because of the injury. He missed most of the year but here is ’05: .333 .397 .557 .953. When you look at his splits he has the most success in the 5th spot. I think you can look at that with some predictive value. Matsui hits very well behind A-Rod. And A-Rod hits better with Matsui behind him as well. Matsui got a majority of the AB’s in the 5 spot in ’05 and A-Rod had a great year. In ’06 Matsui was hurt and A-Rod had a subpar year. In ’07 Matsui got a majority of his AB’s in the s hole and performed very well and A-Rod won the MVP. In ’08 Matsui is hurt again and A-Rod has another bad year. I think there is some relevance.

  26. [...] How will Girardi handle the 2009 lineup? / Cashman really doesn’t like A-Rod [...]

  27. Drew says:

    I sure hope Matsui isn’t going to be platooned. He hits 300 drives in 100 and comes up clutch. We seem to forget that with recent injuries. Last year it was his knees granted, but the year before it was that fluke hand injury, he’s still a great player in my eyes. We if his knees are going well me might even be better off with his arm out in left than Damon’s girl arm. :)

    • Rob in CT says:

      Setting aside your choice of stats, I agree. Matsui has basically no platoon split. The guys you want to look at platooning are:

      Gardner
      Damon
      Nady
      Swisher
      Molina

      • Rob in CT says:

        Hrm, I agreed too soon. I read right over the part about him playing the field. Um, no. He was a bad defender BEFORE his knees went bad. He’s a DH.

        • Macphisto says:

          Agreed, he should be the everyday DH and hit in the 5 hole. That is where he will be most productive.

        • Drew says:

          I don’t think he was bad, not great but he played the line and the wall well. You’re probably right but I just get tired of guys getting into home because Johny can’t reach home on the fly.

  28. Let's Talk About TEX Baby says:

    I’d bat A-Rod 3rd and Tex 4th for a couple reasons. It prevents A-Rod from getting pitched around and also A-rod’s more likely to score from 1st on a Tex double than vice versa.

    As for the 5th spot, if all goes well 5-8 is pretty interchangeable. Cano would be ideal, but he needs to show he can be a full-season player first. For now I think Posada’s the best fit.

    To start the season, I’d go:

    Damon-LF
    Jeter-SS
    A-Rod-3b
    Tex-1b
    Posada-C
    Matsui-DH
    Nady/Swisher-RF
    Cano-2b
    Melky/Gardner-CF

    • Drew says:

      I think Arod should bat 3rd also, unless cano is hitting over 310. I think cano is going to drive runs in with the best of them.

  29. leblanc says:

    Liked what Jeter said today.

  30. ChaseK says:

    Is it too early to be praying that the Yanks can somehow get Carl Crawford next year???

    That’d take care of the lead-off and LF/CF debates…

  31. Let's Talk About TEX Baby says:

    I think the Rays have an option on Crawford in 2010 and I doubt they’d trade him in the division.

    • mike says:

      offer Damon arbitration for 2010 and pick up Crawford in 2011

      • mike says:

        it would be unlikely that Damon could get a multi-year deal anywhere at this point next year, and his arbitration $ would be higher than as a pure Free Agent (nevermind potential draft compensation) – and after reading about his mini Mid-Life Crisis he might pick up his marbles and go home sooner than later anyway

  32. [...] I asked how Joe Girardi will handle the 2009 lineup, many didn’t think it was such a big deal. There isn’t any solid correlation between [...]

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