Johnny and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad defense

Who is Sergio Mitre?
Brett Tomko, we hardly knew ye

This morning, an e-mail from Sports Illustrated landed in my inbox. This week’s issue of the magazine, appearing on newsstands tomorrow, features one of SI’s frequent player polls. The topic is worst outfield arms, and the winner is someone near and dear to our hearts.

Of the 380 MLB players polled, a whopping 54 percent of them fingered Johnny Damon as the one with the worst arm. Juan Pierre came in a distant second with 23 percent of the vote, and Coco Crisp was third with 11 percent. Players could not vote for their teammates.

Now, generally, I don’t give much credence to anything Major League Baseball players have to say. Being a baseball player doesn’t give anyone particularly insightful glimpses into most arguments. (See, for example, Goose Gossage and the Joba Chamberlain debate.) This time, however, the players’ views count. After all, if they think that Damon has the worst arm and know he’s in left field, they are far more apt to challenge Damon when facing the Yanks.

Beyond the players’ opinions, though, the numbers bear them out. Johnny Damon has been absolutely horrible in the outfield this year. Take a look at his defensive metrics. He has a negative arm factor, a negative range runs above average, a UZR of -9.6 and a UZR/150 of -15.6. Among all left fielders, he is fourth worst in fielding runs above average with a -9.6 in that category.

From the perspective of someone who watches every single game, though, we don’t need these numbers to tell us that Johnny Damon is bad at fielding. We can see him take poor routes to the ball. We can see him misplay or just flat-out miss easy fly balls. We can see him weakly heave the ball toward the infield. We can see Joe Girardi opt to use Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner in the outfield in the late innings of close games. All in all, Damon’s defense has quickly become a liability.

In one regard, it’s really too bad that Damon has gone from an above-average left fielder to a defensive problem. On the other side of the ball, he is having one of his finest seasons ever. His weighted runs above average is now at 17.3, and he projects to a 25.7 wRAA, good for second best in his career. Damon is hitting .294/.398/.589 at Yankee Stadium with 12 of his 16 home runs coming in the new park. Those numbers a masking a .263/.331/.431 road split which is somewhat more indicative of a decline.

So where does this leave us with regard to Johnny Damon? Well, earlier this year, Damon reiterated his desire to stay in the Bronx, and at the time, we figured a two-year deal might not be the worst thing the Yanks could do. Yet as we’ve seen, defense is important, and Damon’s hitting outside of the Bronx has been underwhelming at best. As the Yanks come to grips with Damon’s lack of left field defense, they may be better off letting him walk after this year. That terrible, horrible, no good, very bad defense can be another team’s problem.

Who is Sergio Mitre?
Brett Tomko, we hardly knew ye
  • Simon B.

    His defense has been atrocious, but I’d give him more time to work it out. It’s only been one half season, and he has a long track record of excellent defense. There are such things as defensive slumps.

    It may be all down hill from here, but there’s a chance he rebounds to some extent and can continue to be a productive outfielder for a couple more years.

    • Simon B.

      Check that, looking at fangraphs, he really hasn’t had that good of a track record. He’s had a good UZR in leftfield the last few years, but in generally small samples.

      Huh, well I was well off.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Huh, well I was well off.

        Samsonite! I was way off.

  • Mattingly’s Love Child

    I’d be willing to let Johnny walk if there was a palatable replacement. There isn’t.

    As of right now, he seems to be the lesser of the evils that will be out in the market this winter. Holliday is a shell of himself outside Coors, Bay will resign with Boston, Crawford will have his option picked up and will get traded to someone outside the division, and Ankiel has completely fallen apart.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Holliday is a shell of himself outside Coors

      I think it’s more the AL than the absence of Coors Field. He had a career OPS at or above .800 away from Coors during his time with the Rockies.

      • Mattingly’s Love Child

        Either way, he’s not worth the money or years that Boras and he will be asking for. For a 1 year prove yourself deal (lots of incentives), I’d take Holliday, but not for anything more than that.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Right, I agree with that but I feel as if his H/A splits are overblown somewhat.

      • Chris

        I don’t know why anyone expected anything different from Holliday.

        Career road OPS: .801
        2009 Overall OPS: .830

        If anything, he’s doing slightly better than would be expected when you discount the Coors factor.

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          The OPS for Holliday has come up in the last couple of weeks. I’m pretty sure he was below .800 not that long ago.

          Still not sure that I’d sign that .830 OPS for 5-6 years at $18million/per (just a number thrown out there of what I’d assume Boras would want).

          • Chris

            I’m certainly not arguing that we should sign him, but anyone that thought he would be significantly better this season than he has been was just deluding themselves.

            And he was under .800 OPS yesterday – 4 for 5 with 2 HR boosts the OPS pretty quickly. However, his OPS since May 1 is .880.

      • Tom Zig

        but YS3 is Coors Field East

        /ESPN’d

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Andruw Jones?

      • Mattingly’s Love Child

        He’s had a decent year. But everyone has decent years hitting in Texas. OPS+ 130 at home vs 114 away, isn’t a terrible split….you’d have to work though to talk me into that.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Yeah, after I said it, I liked it less.

          Playing half his games in Texas, he should be rip-shitting it. He’s not. Pass.

          • Mattingly’s Love Child

            Also just checked the defense, he’s only played 17 games in the field, done well, but 17 doesn’t bode well for his ability to be every day LF.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        Hhhhmmmm? I like the .516 slugging, but he seems to be regressing back to Dodger Andruw.

  • A.D.

    Apparently he caught Bobby Abreu disease

    • CountryClub

      Abreu is a good name to bring up. The Yanks let him walk when he was younger, probably slightly better defensively and offensively. So why would they bring back Damon??

      • Mattingly’s Love Child

        Only because the replacements aren’t much better?

        • CountryClub

          Well, you never know about Nady. He’ll probably be cheap considering the 2nd surgery and the economic climate.

          Plus, you still have Gardner, Melky & Swisher. And you never know what kind of deal Cash could swing. The Yanks have tradeable kids that dont include the 4 or 5 top prospects.

          • Ed

            Well, you never know about Nady. He’ll probably be cheap considering the 2nd surgery and the economic climate.

            Nady most likely won’t be ready for opening day. Second Tommy John surgeries have a low success rate, so he may not recover at all.

      • A.D.

        Well, Abreu was the 2nd worst right fielder in the game last year according to UZR.

        But I agree, unless they can get Damon on a pretty good deal, or simply can’t make a deal for anyone else he’s probably gone.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    1. I love the title of this post. Many, many kudos.
    2. Johnny’s defensive decline is puzzling. In his first 119 games in LF for the Yankees, he was damn good. Granted, that’s hardly a reliable sample size, but when talking about advanced fielding data, Johnny’s 77 games in LF this year are also pretty small. It’s hard to tell what the anomalies are when dealing with a SS this small. However, with Damon’s age and his not so awesome road splits, it would seem that we’re seeing JD’s decline.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      Sadly yes it does seem like we’re seeing the decline. But looking at Cots I don’t see anybody as a LF free agent that gives me much hope.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        What about Mike Cameron? I know he’s not a true LF but he could be used there, since his power could probably play there nicely and I’m sure he’d field just fine there. An OF across of Cameron/Gardbrerajax–Cameron/Gardbrerajax–Swisher would be pretty damn good defensively and above average offensively.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          As a stopgap, sure, I’m on board. Damon at DH and an OF fivesome of Cameron/Gardner/Melky/Swisher/AJax.

          • Mattingly’s Love Child

            I like your idea of Posada at DH better than Damon. Of course the catching prospects again aren’t that great, Bengie Molina or Gregg Zaun…

            OF of Cameron/Gardner/Swish/AJax and trade Melky for some RP?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              OF of Cameron/Gardner/Swish/AJax and trade Melky for some RP?

              I’m down. I’ve been wanting to deal Melky to the A’s for one of their relievers for weeks now. Buster Olney mentioned our potential interest in Justin Duchsherer today on ESPN, maybe Melky’s part of that deal.

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              I like this, too.

            • http://twitter.com/themanchine Bruno

              Miguel Olivo.

  • Frank

    Unless he’s the full time DH next season, he’s gone after this season.

    • http://twitter.com/themanchine Bruno

      Posada DH

      • Drew

        Posada is and will be a catcher.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        We both wish, but probably not going to happen. They’re going to squeeze every inch out of that premium-bat-in-a-defensive-position gravytrain for the duration of that contract if possible, injury risks be damned. I think Jorge needs to get injured one more time before they abandon the catching role for him permanently.

        And hopefully that doesn’t happen. Keep your fingers crossed.

    • Marcos

      Problem with that is that he’s not necessarily the best hitter outside Yankee Stadium (or so he hasn’t been this season)
      In an ideal world, Crawford’s option doesn’t get picked up, and the Yankees sign him to play LF and get someone like Damon or Abreu to DH, or save the DH for Posada.
      However a much more realistic option (for me) is to hope that Bay doesn’t resign before the winter and we pick him up on a 4 year deal to not only add a good bat to our lineup but also take him away from boston (ala Johnny Damon).
      But alas, I’m not Cashman or Steinbrenner so…

      • Chip

        I’ll give you three guesses on who the sixth-worst defensive left fielder is…..

        • Marcos

          Bay probably… still equal if not marginally better than Damon is, plus what other options are there? Holliday? Damon again? This year’s FA OF class isn’t really great, not a single “must have” player, so the options are limited.

          • Chip

            In which case I’d like to sign Damon to a shorter contract for less money per year.

  • Tank Foster

    I haaaaaaaaaate this kind of use of statistics. Last season, I believe, Johnny’s defensive metrics were positive overall. This should make you wonder, among other things, about the validity of the stat.

    Let’s take fielding runs. At -9.6, assuming it’s cumulative and not normalized to a season, this means Damon has cost the team 9.6 runs below an average left fielder? His fielding, relative to a simply average outfielder, costs the team the number of runs they score in about two whole games? I just cannot believe this.

    Line drive single to left, right at Johnny, less than 2 outs, I don’t care if Shane Victorino is on second, no way he’s scoring, even on Johnny’s arm. Bloop single toward the line in left, two outs, by a power hitting lefty, where the LF is positioned in left center, Charles Johnson is probably going to score, I don’t care if Jesse Barfield and Clemente are playing there. If you take the number of hits to Damon and the number of situations in which his arm makes a difference, it couldn’t possibly account for more than a fraction of a run, or at most a run or 2. Range? He’s had good range most years, if his range is down this year, is it enough to account for 9 runs? I can’t see it.

    Defensive metrics are complicated equations with many factors, each with its own degree of error. Something is screwy with the numbers.

    He’s NOT a great outfielder. But we only need look across to Swisher’s numbers, which are either neutral or more slightly positive, to see why there’s reason to question them. Does anyone believe that Nick Swisher is a significantly better fielder than Johnny Damon? I can’t see it.

    And don’t assault me with the “my own eyes” slurs…I’m not making that argument. I’m arguing that the statistic suggests something which seems highly implausible, given a basic sense or knowledge of what happens on a baseball field.

    If I am woefully off base in my understanding of the metrics, I’d like someone to explain the error of my ways. These numbers are thrown around, yet nobody takes the time to put the numbers into terms that make sense.

    • A.D.

      Does anyone believe that Nick Swisher is a significantly better fielder than Johnny Damon? I can’t see it.

      This year, yes, either with stats or one’s eyes.

      • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

        Exactly. Swisher has made a few noticeable misplays, but I have found his range pretty solid overall. Those few plays are clouding people’s judgment.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          +1

        • Drew

          And if he makes one of those plays in a HUGE spot a la game 7, you will finally see how important it is that he doesn’t turn a single into a triple.

          • Drew

            BTW, didn’t mean to come off harsh, I just get annoyed with all of the praise that Swish earns simply because of his great OBP. Which I agree, is a very important stat on a team with a lineup like we have.

            • whozat

              He also gets praise for having good pop, and for having range that’s a bit above average in RF.

              He strikes out, and has a low batting average, and sometimes makes an error on balls that other RFers wouldn’t.

              There are tradeoffs with every player. I contend that a plus OBP, plus SLG, good range, decent arm outweigh low AVG and a couple errors.

              • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

                Well said. This pretty much encapsulates Swisher.

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                Want an officer’s post in the Nick Swisher Fan Club? I’m the prez and Steve H is the veep. You want in? Secretary of State? Speaker of the House Club?

          • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

            I know how important it is now. Range is more important, because it turns non-outs into outs. When that happens in a big spot in Game 7, you won’t really notice because it probably will not look spectacular.

            • Drew

              Fair enough.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Range is more important, because it turns non-outs into outs. When that happens in a big spot in Game 7, you won’t really notice because it probably will not look spectacular.

              I have nothing to add, just wanted to repeat that louder so everyone heard it.

              • Chip

                +elevendymillion

                We’ve lost games this year because Melky was in center instead of Gardner. I don’t think people realize that balls Melky doesn’t even attempt to catch are caught by Gardner in stride. He’s in the top 10 in CF WAR despite not being the starter

                • Drew

                  And the Anti-Melk ensues… Grit doesn’t get to that many balls that Melky can’t. BTW, how many games have we won because of Melk?

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  Brett Gardner is a better defensive player than Melky Cabrera.

                • pat

                  The fact that he’s not a starter could also be affecting his ridonkulous UZR. That in turn would affect his WAR.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I do too.

        Nick Swisher gets to balls in RF that Johnny Damon can only dream of getting to in LF.

      • Tank Foster

        Both have made some glaringly bad defensive plays. I’ll allow that our eyes’ reckoning of their range might be unreliable. But significantly better, meaning costing the team runs? I don’t think so.

        Remember a great article by Bill James deconstructing why Richie Ashburn had such great range numbers. Fly ball pitching staff, and huge outfield. I know the metrics keep getting better and attempt to correct for all these things, but the Yankees have more strikeout pitchers than they did last year, and Gardner having lots of range in CF may be causing an anomalous decrease in the perceived range of Damon.

        The default of many people seems to be to just accept the number. All I ask is that people be skeptical…there’s lots of reason to be.

        • A.D.

          I mean there’s lots of reasons to be skeptical, but to an extent they should still be relative, and the issues of UZR have been discussed on this blog before.

          UZR is the best out there, so its really all we have.

    • whozat

      He’s NOT a great outfielder. But we only need look across to Swisher’s numbers, which are either neutral or more slightly positive, to see why there’s reason to question them. Does anyone believe that Nick Swisher is a significantly better fielder than Johnny Damon? I can’t see it.

      He USED to be a very good OFer. His range in CF declined over his time in NY, but he didn’t used to take lots of terrible routes to balls. And he still had enough range that he was way better than most LFers at running balls down. So, you’re admitting he’s NOT a great outfielder NOW, then he HAS declined. So the numbers ARE jiving with what we see.

      And your assertion that swish sucks is based on memorable gaffes like the one that happened Sunday. Range is a lot more important, and much less memorable. Swish has good range out there, so he’s more valuable than someone who never flubs a play, but gets to far fewer balls.

      • Tank Foster

        I didn’t say Swish sucked. I said that Damon didn’t suck as much as the numbers suggest, and that Swisher, by comparison, should support that. In a thread the other day, we talked about Swisher, and how he was an effective, but not great outfielder. The assertion that an “effective but not great” fielder like Swisher can, by virtue of his fielding this season, alone, save the Yankees almost 2 games worth of runs relative to Damon is preposterous to me.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          The assertion that an “effective but not great” fielder like Swisher can, by virtue of his fielding this season, alone, save the Yankees almost 2 games worth of runs relative to Damon is preposterous to me.

          Because you’re unwilling to admit that while Swisher is effective but not great, Damon is neither effective nor great. He’s bad. Even at a more defensive negative position of LF (which generally has fewer good fielders than RF), Damon’s been bad this year.

          • RAB poster

            True enough. In comparison to a bad fielder Swishy saves two runs.

            I can agree with that.

            • Tank Foster

              Not 2 runs, 2 games worth of runs, meaning, like 10 runs. -9.6 fielding runs means Damon has cost the team that many runs, relative to a neutral fielder, so far this season? Doesn’t seem possible.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Damon has cost the team that many runs, relative to a neutral fielder, so far this season? Doesn’t seem possible.

                Why doesn’t it seem possible? Bobby Abreu cost us like 26 runs last year compared to the average fielder. It’s not possible that Johnny Damon cost us 10 runs through 56% of the season?

                • Tank Foster

                  Begging the question…the 26 runs you site there is from a defensive metric. I’m arguing that the metric seems implausible. (Not for Abreu…I’m not addressing him). I’m saying I can’t see where Damon’s defense has cost the team 10 runs this year, relative to an average fielder.

                  There must be something confounding the numbers. Maybe it’s the fact that Gardner’s range is so good and he’s taking many balls that might otherwise have been caught by Damon.

                  I’m not arguing that Damon is good – he clearly isn’t, at least not this year, and he has a terrible arm. I’m also not arguing that Swisher is bad, or as bad, as Damon. I don’t know whether Swisher is much above average, but I definitely agree he’s better than Damon.

                  I’m questioning the validity of the fielding numbers.

                • RAB poster

                  That’s fair enough. I think you may have something there.

                • Mike HC

                  If you think that Damon is having a bad year, why is it so hard to believe that he has missed about 10 plays that an average fielder would have gotten to over the course of about 85 games. It is not that hard to believe.

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  “There must be something confounding the numbers.”

                  Or might there be something confounding your understanding of the numbers? I don’t mean this to be harsh, defensive metrics can be tough to get your mind around sometimes. Just a guess… But since you seem bothered by the number of runs this metric tells us a fielder has cost his team, I think maybe you have trouble with it because a player’s lack of range, or even his errors/misplays, don’t usually actually lead to a run? Like, it’s tough to get the stat because you don’t see the runs scoring as a direct result of lack of range, etc.? Because that’s what’s going on with these metrics. They’re telling us how a player’s lack of range and inability to make certain plays affect their team over the long-haul. Like, if a player could range 10 feet further, on average, he’d save his team X runs per season… But you’re not seeing those runs all score as a direct result of the fielder’s lack of range, and you’re not seeing what would happen if those balls were caught by a fielder with better range, so the stat seems like it’s pulled out of thin-air?

                • Tank Foster

                  I get what you’re saying, Mondesi. No offense taken, at all, and thanks for posting and making me think.

                  I guess what I’m saying is that much of the time, maybe most of the time, the skill of a fielder doesn’t save or cost any runs. Other things dictate it. You might have the greatest arm in the world, but if the runner is fast and left with the pitch, you’ll never throw him out. Same thing on range. You could be the greatest outfielder in the world, but some balls are just hit in places you can’t get to, because you were positioned for the ball to be hit elsewhere. So if we take the few balls hit to a leftfielder in a game, then take away some of them where defensive skill was moot, and then take the remainder and convert those events to runs, I have alot of trouble believing that, in his limited time in LF this season, and relative to a simple, old, average, ordinary leftfielder Johnny Damon has cost the Yankees 2 games worth of runs.

                  While you can’t trust eyes and memory to be perfect, you can’t simply accept the result of a complex formula as being valid.

                  In science, numbers are often given with a confidence interval. So the sodium level is 136, with a CI of 5.4, meaning the “real” number could be anywhere from 130.6 to 141.4, due to the error of measurement.

                  I suspect that the confidence interval for something like fielding runs might be high enough, that, if it could be determined and quoted, would make people much less certain of its validity. Saying Damon “cost the team 9.6 runs” sounds a heck of alot better than saying “Damon cost the team somewhere between 4 and 16 runs.”

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Look… I don’t think anyone is saying this metric is perfect. Others have noted that is is, inherently, an educated guesstimate. But the point is that it tells us things we sometimes don’t notice by watching the games, like how many runs a guy’s lack of range might cost his team over the course of a season. As easy as it is to see that Damon is a much worse fielder this year than he has been in the past, we can’t appreciate just how much worse he is without working with these metrics and assigning representative-values to the data. Nobody is saying these numbers are exact, but they’re the best guesses we can venture based on the available data.

                  I get that for some people hearing that a player has cost his team 9 runs over the course of 90 games because he’s a bad fielder can be a bit jarring, but that reaction doesn’t invalidate the metric.

                • Chip

                  Sure the numbers aren’t a direct correlation to actual runs allowed but I can fully believe that Damon has cost 10 runs on the season just like I can believe that Gardner has saved about 20 runs out there.

                  Say a ball gets just by Damon and goes into the gap. That’s a double instead of an out so we’ll say it gave the other team three net bases. Let’s say he goes into the corner and an average speed runner is allowed to reach second from the combination of him not getting there quickly and having a noodle arm. That’s another base. Ball that falls in front of Damon because he’s playing too deep due to his decreased range? Two more net bases. You get the idea. I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if Damon lost an average of one base every other game due to this and if you equate four bases with a run, you’re at 10 runs a year lost.

                  Obviously, I didn’t even talk about making errors or sacrifice flys that were allowed. It’s just hard to believe these things because we don’t have a good left fielder playing side by side with Damon and showing us what balls are capable of being reached.

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  “Sure the numbers aren’t a direct correlation to actual runs allowed but I can fully believe that Damon has cost 10 runs on the season…”

                  This is the part of the argument against this metric that I don’t get, and that I asked “RAB poster” about below. Why is it so crazy to believe that Damon’s fielding has cost the Yankees somewhere around 9 runs already this season? I mean, the guy has been terrible out there. His range is clearly diminished and he’s had trouble hauling in routine fly balls. Is it so hard to believe that his fielding has led to the Yankees opponents scoring about 9 runs in just over a half a season? I don’t see how that’s hard to believe.

                • Tank Foster

                  @Mondesi: Maybe I’m the one being too picky for my own good, but Mondesi, I think the devil is in the details. We agree that the number isn’t perfect. But there is a difference between a trivial degree of error and a large error. Based on my reading and understanding of defensive statistics, I’m not convinced they do not contain significant degrees of error.

                  @Chip: Good explanation. I have no trouble seeing how defensive ability accounts for bases. But the metric is attempting to compare Damon’s effectiveness to that of an ordinary leftfielder. Ordinary, average leftfielders are not Andruw Jones or Torii Hunter. Using part of your analogy, I’m saying that the number of balls Johnny lets go to the gap, that an ordinary LF would be able to get, should be pretty small, and probably not enough to account for all those bases and runs.

                  I might be wrong in my skepticism about the metrics, but the metrics are not self-proving.

              • whozat

                That’s because not getting to a ball he should have gotten to is not an obvious event when you’re casually watching a game. THAT is where the problems are coming from. It’s not that he’s getting hit on the head by a ball that’s going over the fence, or crumpling to the ground on a popup like Anderson did on Sunday. It’s that he’s letting balls hit the grass that he shouldn’t be.

              • RAB poster

                Ah.

                Either way, I guess I could believe that.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              That’s not what I said.

          • Tank Foster

            @TSJC–again, I’ll give you Damon as playing badly in the field this year. Bad enough to single-gloved-ly account for two entire games worth of offensive production? No, I don’t believe that.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Because you choose not to believe it, because you don’t want to.

              • RAB poster

                It is pretty far fetched.

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Why, though? You guys keep saying “wow, he couldn’t cost the team that many runs, I just can’t believe that,” but nobody can back-up that opinion.

                  Is it really so hard to believe that if Player X has terrible range and has not gotten to batted-balls that another player would have converted into outs, that a certain number of the baserunners produced by Player X’s lack of range will score runs, and that those runs will accumulate over the course of a season?

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi
              • Tank Foster

                You have no idea why I believe what I believe. I could say the same thing about your statements. You think Bobby Abreu cost the Yankees 26 runs because you want to believe UZR, or whatever it is. There is nothing magic about a number. The defensive metrics are attempts to quantify defense, and as fancy as they look and sound, they are still pretty crude. I don’t care if they are the best we have, sometimes the best we have is still pretty mediocre and fraught with error.

                This is getting out of hand….Kum Bah Yah….I’ll happily shut up now…

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Rather than replying, I’ll point you towards Mondesi’s comment above. I think he did a great job of encapsulating it.

                  http://riveraveblues.com/2009/07/johnny-and-the-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-defense-14827/#comment-487960

                • Tank Foster

                  The key thing here is that most of the contributors on these threads seem to have the opinion that the baseball metric is valid until proven otherwise.

                  I take the opposite view, that you have to prove the metric is valid, first.

                  With most metrics, the offensive ones, this is easy to do. You can predict very accurately how many runs a team will score by looking at things like OPS, etc., and we know that you can predict wins by knowing runs scored and allowed.

                  I have spent a good deal of time reading about defensive metrics, and I do not find anything approaching this kind of simple, understandable proof that the defensive metrics are valid.

                  I’m not throwing my hands up and saying the metrics are meaningless, or that I believe my eyes over numbers or any such nonsense. I love numbers, I love stats, I live for them. What I’m saying is that it doesn’t take much of an error in a formula to take it from being something useful and valid to something closer to a scientific wild-ass-guess. I’m not sure where on that spectrum metrics like fielding runs and UZR fall.

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Fair enough. I don’t think anyone is going to argue that defensive metrics are perfect, they’re pretty clearly not. Agree to disagree on this one.

                  One thing we can all agree on: Johnny Damon has been a terrible left fielder so far this year.

                • Tank Foster

                  Yes, he’s been bad this year, I agree. Thanks for the civil debate.

              • Guttaman

                no because these stats are bs and u are a nerd who has probably never played the game

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  /DBHOF’d

            • Mike HC

              There is obviously room for error there. The number is not supposed to represent an exact, 100% run differential. It is an estimate, give or take a couple of runs. Damon has not been good. I think we all agree on that. Swisher is anywhere from slightly below average to average, to slightly above average, except when he does mess up, it looks really funny, so it sticks out.

      • Chris

        I wonder whether Damon will be able to recover to become a reasonable defensive left fielder again. It’s possible that this year’s performance is an aberration and he’ll recover next year (he’s been playing through various injuries which may or may not get worse next year).

        • Drew

          Last year it was his foot, this year it’s his ?eyes/shoulder? I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect him to be too great in the field next year.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      I haaaaaaaaaate this kind of use of statistics. Last season, I believe, Johnny’s defensive metrics were positive overall. This should make you wonder, among other things, about the validity of the stat.

      You’re wrong. Last season, Johnny’s defensive metrics were overall negative with a positive breakdown in left and a negative breakdown in center. It’s not out of the realm of the unexpected to see an older outfield lose his range.

      • Tank Foster

        I’m not totally wrong, Ben. I didn’t check his numbers, but read the ESPN article on zone ratings published earlier in the year, which is where I remember Damon having a positive defensive rating (it was for left field).

        I think it’s a bit odd to go from positive runs in left one season to strongly negative the next. He’s having a monster offensive season, seems healthy, is running well, etc.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          No, you weren’t “totally” wrong. Just partially wrong.

          You “believed” his numbers were positive, and didn’t check – both your own words. Ben pointed out that your belief was incorrect by showing you the correct numbers.

          • Tank Foster

            Pardon me, but why are you butting in, and criticizing me? And for the record, YOU are wrong, tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside. Ben didn’t show me any numbers; he told me about positive and negative values for different positions. I guess you didn’t check, either. If his level of precision – positive/negative – is good enough, then why isn’t mine? I was accurate in my recollection that Damon had a positive defensive range score in LF last year. Read it in ESPN Magazine.

            With my own two eyes even!

            ;-)

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          He’s actually not that healthy either. He had positive numbers in left last year but doesn’t this year. It could be a slump or it could be decline. He’s also on pace for just 15 SBs this year, which would be a career low for him. He’s definitely slowing down.

  • http://twitter.com/themanchine Bruno

    2010 OF: Swish, Gardner, Melky (from L to R)

    • Drew

      Ajax says, “WHERE THE HELL AM I!?!”

    • Steve O.

      If this is the 2010 outfield, something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

    • Reggie C.

      That’s probably the worst hitting OF in all of baseball.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Gardner and Cabrera being full time OFs for the Yankees is bad, bad news.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Nope, not interested.

    • Frank

      I don’t Gardner/Melky as FT OF’s next season. By hook or crook, the Yanks will get a RH OF bat for the OF. And I’m not talking about A-Jax.

      • CountryClub

        Nady may be very keen on coming back for 1 year to prove his worth. His options next year will be very limited in my opinion.

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          That could work, but I’m not entirely confident that Nady is THAT good of a hitter. He seems solid, but I’m not sure his production would make up for the subtraction of Damon’s production. It is hard to get a read on what Nady really is, when he came over to the Yankees he was having a career year. The important question would be how far will he regress from that career year?

  • Drew

    I’ve been saying for a while I want him to be re-signed as the DH next year. He could get about 90 starts as the DH. Allowing the remaining DH days to go to JoPo, Jetes and Al.

  • Mike HC

    I think people are missing the DH factor in this up coming off season. I definitely think we need another strong outfielder, whether that be a LF, CF, or RF. Any position will do. But it is also important to have a very strong DH. That could be the difference between a dominate lineup and just a very good one. I doubt Matsui comes back, because he can’t even play the outfield for a game or two. Posada is going to continue to catch the majority of the games, no matter how many fans think he will be DH. He is far and away our best catcher. Damon is the perfect DH for this team. We need top of the lineup guys, and Damon is just that. The Yanks have enough middle of the order guys. I don’t know what Damon will be asking for, so of course everything is relative, but I would like to see him back as a DH/fourth outfielder.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      That.

      2010 Johnny Damon becomes 2009 Hideki Matsui. Except he can actually play LF during interleague games at NL parks.

      • RAB poster

        2009 Matsui is having a good year.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I never said he wasn’t. He’s having a solid year. I want Johnny Damon to give us his year (plus more speed and fewer slumps) next year in Matsui’s role as the primary DH, so that his fielding weaknesses don’t hurt us.

          • RAB poster

            Don’t you just love the DH spot?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              So, Lonestar, now you see that evil will always triumph, because the National League is dumb.

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                Win.

    • Drew

      My thoughts exactly. Unless of course there is a better DH option. Maybe Abreu if he comes cheaper and is willing to DH. Or Dunn if the Nats don’t ask for a King’s ransom.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Or Dunn if the Nats don’t ask for a King’s ransom.

        Let’s hope they get hammered in the Strasburg negotiations and have to dump salary like a motherf$%#er. It’s our only hope.

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          I’d love to add the Big Donkey. Granted his defense is pretty horrendous. But he would be a DH that I could believe in.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            But he would be a DH that I could believe in.

            +1

    • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I wrote my comment, below, before reading this comment. Instead of writing my comment I should have just responded to yours and said “yes, this.”

    • YankeeScribe

      Jorge “Passed-ball” Posada should be the DH 40-50% of the games next season. He’s old and his defense is getting worse. Keeping Damon after this season is a waste of roster space unless he is ok with splitting the DH job with Posada and taking a pay cut…

  • RAB poster

    IDK how NYS could be affecting his average.

    • whozat

      Convert 10 homers to outs and re-run the numbers, see what they are.

      • RAB poster

        But do we know if 10 of those HR’s would have been outs in other ballparks?

        • whozat

          Not, not necessarily. But that’s one way that it COULD be ;-)

          I’m sure that he’s had some cheapies. It may also be the case that fear of giving up a YSIII homer to Damon is taking away the inner half of the plate a little bit for some pitchers, reducing their ability to get him out.

          • RAB poster

            I guess, though that sounds fishy.

      • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

        Isn’t it RF that has been really affected and LF plays about the same?

  • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    I go back and forth on Damon. As evidenced by a few of my comments here in the past, I’ve been a pretty big Damon fan and think he’s proven to have been a great pick-up for the Yanks. Coming into this year I was a proponent of re-signing him after the ’09 season (assuming Carl Crawford isn’t walking through that door). But his performance, as discussed above, has given a lot of reasons for concern about his continued success past this season. The guy is beat-up and he’s hitting some pretty advanced years for a player of his ilk, and so far this year his fielding has been terrible (and his hitting away from YS2 hasn’t been so hot).

    But… I’m a proponent of using the DH slot, in 2010-2011 and perhaps beyond, as a slot to rotate aging hitters through instead of a slot to dedicate to one player who can’t play the field (due to lack of ability or health, a la Matsui). Given that use of the DH slot, I could still see re-signing Damon to a 1 or 2 (tops) year deal after this season. If you’re not counting on Damon to play in LF every day but rather maybe 2-3 times a week, I think he would still be a productive bat to have in the lineup.

    • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I guess that should have been YS3, not YS2. My bad.

  • Chris

    I was at the game Saturday, and the cheer that Damon got when he caught the (shallow) fly ball and held the runner at third was priceless.

  • 27 this year

    You guys here of the video of Erin Andrews going around the Internet?

    • pat

      Yeah, don’t try to download it now. Fake versions are currently the #1 internet virus in the world.

    • A.D.

      I mean it’s a news story on most outlets at this point, I’m sure most people have heard it by now

  • AndrewYF

    Do the Yankees offer Damon arbitration?

    A one-year, $13 million deal wouldn’t be terrible. Plus, it’s Boras, so you know he’s going to try to leverage Damon’s great offensive year into more guaranteed money, albeit less per year.

  • pat

    Isn’t UZR compiled by people watching the games? I’m pretty sure it’s not just an analysis of numbers, at the heart of it is somebody watching the game and recording the observations and compiling them into statistics. So anybody who says this is some computer generated stat that ignores the HUMAN EYE ELEMENT of baseball is incorrect.

  • Chip

    The good thing about this problem is that it’s a problem that can be corrected. I don’t think a lot of people are arguing that he runs like Adam Dunn out there, he’s just taking horrible routes to balls. Add on to that a couple of bone headed plays and you get a very bad defensive rating.

    I’d have absolutely zero issues with Damon getting a two year deal for next season. Despite his absolutely horrible defense, he’s still one of the more valuable left fielders in the league. I’d be thrilled to be able to trade some pitching to the Nats for Dunn and run out the lineup of

    SS-Jeter
    LF-Damon
    1B-Tex
    3B-ARod
    DH-Dunn
    C-Posada
    RF-Swisher
    2B-Cano
    CF-Gardner

    with a bench of Cervelli, Melky, Pena and whomever else you want. That’s what I’d consider a 1,000 run offense right there.

    • pat

      I would be willing to part with Zach McAllister for Dunn.

      • pat

        Whether or not that is enough to for Washington is another story.

      • Mattingly’s Love Child

        +1

        Though I’m not sure that is all that it would take to get it done.

      • Reggie C.

        I’d be willing to part with Z-Mac for LUKE SCOTT, the former RF now DH of the Baltimore Orioles.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Baltimore’s apparently not selling Scott.

    • YankeeScribe

      “I’d have absolutely zero issues with Damon getting a two year deal for next season.”

      2 years? I wouldn’t give him a 1 year deal. The Yankees need to get younger. They don’t need anymore DH’s…

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Actually, yeah, we probably need just one more DH. One to replace Matsui.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      I wish. Everyone knows I’m a huge Dunn fan but I don’t think he’ll ever be in Pinstripes. :(

    • Mike HC

      I’m not in love with that lineup. Adding another DH is not the answer. They need a young athletic outfielder who can track down some balls. Keeping a year older Damon in left and continuing with Melky and Gardner in the outfield is not premium. It would not be the end of the world, but not optimal.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Adding a big-hitting DH like Dunn allows the Yankees to put lighter hitters/better fielders (like Gardbrerajax) in the OF while off-setting their not-so-hot offense with a big bat that won’t be a drain on the defense.

        • pat

          I like that idea.

          • pat

            Gardbrera in CF, Ajax in LF, Dunn DH. Dunns offense and ajax defense should cover the difference in offense from in LF spot when “downgrading” from Damon to ajax.

        • Mike HC

          Yea, it would not be terrible, but I guess I am hoping for a more optimal result. Between Dunn and Damon, I would prefer Damon, and I don’t think adding both is really what the Yanks need.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Why? Damon’s bat is not as good as Dunn’s and it’s not like Dunn would be playing defense, killing his offensive value. Also, if Dunn were added, I’m very certain Damon would be gone. It is, however, worth noting that Damon would cost less, as in just money rather than prospects as well, than Dunn.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Adding another DH is not the answer. They need a young athletic outfielder who can track down some balls.

        The problem is, no player like that is readily available. Several good DH’s probably will be.

        • Drew

          Wait a second. Why is everyone forgetting the powdery soap?

        • Drew
          • pat

            Thank you for the picture because I had no idea what u were referring to. I even called him ajax a few times this thread and still didn’t connect.

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              When I refer to him as Ajax, I think of the character from The Iliad.

              • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                “When I refer to him as Ajax, I think of the character from The Iliad The Warriors.”

                Come on, now.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  Come on, HCM, I’m a former English Major–I have to go with the literature-centric, dorky reference.

                • pat

                  “When I refer to him as Ajax, I think of the character from The Iliad The Warriors. Mortal Kombat

                  http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/games/mk3/jax/bio.gif

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  Well, his name was just “Jax” so I don’t make that connection. Let me guess,though, you awful person, pat, you make that connection because they’re both black. Why’d you have to go there, pat?

                • pat

                  Everybody knows you don’t compare black baseball players to white video game characters.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  Comment of the Day.

              • Riddering

                I find that much more fitting for a Yankee prospect.

                And it’s also where my brain goes too.

        • Mike HC

          Very true. It is always easy to say we need to add (insert all star player here). I am not a big fan of Adam Dunn for what this team already has though. If you are saying he is the best of a bad free agent class, then I guess I can agree with you there. Maybe the Yanks would just need to have some patience and sign a lesser outfielder and wait until next off season or a trade.

      • Chip

        Dunn leaves after a season in which case you sign a guy named Carl Crawford and take the two type-A picks he’d net you. If you want a young athletic outfielder who can track down balls, just start Melky over him but you have to give something on the bat.

  • Reggie C.

    2010
    DH: Damon (1 yr/ $10 MM)
    LF: Swisher
    CF: Gardbrera
    RF: Luke Scott (via trade) or Matt Holliday (1 yr/15MM)

    • Drew

      Holliday won’t take a one year deal, nor should he.

      • Reggie C.

        I agree. That’s my dream scenario, but i’d be willing to extend a 3 yr/$42 million offer. However, i’d first want to see Matt Holliday finishes before arguing for it.

        Luke Scott is really interesting and absolutely worth a look as the new RF.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Scott is a leftfielder and Swisher is a rightfielder. I don’t know what you think you’re accomplishing in switching them. You’re probably going to make both of them worse fielders than they are at the moment.

      • Chip

        Not only that but why would the Orioles trade a young, cost-controlled power bat within the division?

        • Reggie C.

          Luke Scott has been widely mentioned as being available at the right price. He’s been pushed out the OF by more athletic guys. The Orioles need good arms and are willing to part with Scott.

          Luke Scott is also 31 years old.

          • Chip

            The Orioles have a ton of potentially good arms coming up through the system. I still don’t see them trading a 30 hr guy who is still in his prime and under team control for another 3 years in the division and not wanting a kings ransom back. I’m sure he’s available if somebody blows them away but that’d be like McAllister, A-Jax, Romine. I wouldn’t do it.

            • Reggie C.

              Don’t be so pessimistic. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Orioles appear negotiable. Cash hopefully figures something out that avoids playing both Gardner and Melky full time.

      • Reggie C.

        My mistake. I’d like to see whether acquiring Luke Scott as the new LEFTFIELDER is something Cash could pull off with arms like Z-mac or Ivan Nova…

  • 27 this year

    Tomko is out! Finally!

  • Manimal

    I think we should be more concerned with Nick Swishers defense.

  • YankeeScribe

    Damon had a good run with us but after this season, the team needs to get younger. The 2010 roster should look something like this

    LF-Gardner
    SS-Jeter
    1B-Tex
    3B-ARod
    C-Posada/Cervelli(60/40)
    RF-Swisher
    2B-Cano
    CF-AJax

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      That lineup is short a bat.

      • Reggie C.

        Yep. It needs Luke Scott to replace Brett Gardner.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Heh. You keep saying Luke Scott. All I can think of is,

          “My baseball people kept talking about Ken Phelps’s bat. They kept saying, ‘Ken Phelps, Ken Phelps!'”

      • YankeeScribe

        DH should be played half the time by Posada or whomever else the Yanks want in the lineup on days when Posada catches. With Pena and Cervelli on the bench, we can afford to let ARod, Posada, and Jeter DH a few more games next year…

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Gardner in LF would be an offensive disaster. I don’t want Scott Podsednik circa 2005 v. 2.0 in the ’10 Yankees’ LF.

      • YankeeScribe

        That’s an overstatement. He can’t be any worse than Damon in LF.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          No, he’d be much, much better defensively than Damon but I highly doubt he’d even come close to what Damon does offensively.

        • Chip

          O he could certainly be worse than Damon. I’d rather sign Cameron and have him be a great defensive left fielder with a pretty decent bat.

          Just think how crazy good an outfield of Cameron, Gardner, Swisher would be. Their UZR/150 so far this season goes 5.6, 18.8 and 1.4. Now take Cameron’s 5.6 in CF and assume that would go up significantly as the average left fielder is nothing close to the average center fielder.

          • Mattingly’s Love Child

            I’m very much on board for this. But I would like to pose one potential issue. Strikeouts. That team, that lineup, would have LOTS of strikeouts. Of all the outs, they are the worst outs. Granted the defense would be better, and there would still be good power. But nobody has really challenged this one issue. Of course power guys that don’t strike out are few and far between…

  • Andrew

    Can’t take this article seriously, as the writers on this site consistently maintain that Nick Swisher is a good defensive outfielder. And don’t tell me his UZR, ADP, or whatever other 3 word acronym you can come up with – he’s horrible.

    • pat

      UZR is compiled by people watching games and making determinations as to whether or not a player should have caught a ball.

      • Mattingly’s Love Child

        Sshhhhh stat boy. We don’t want to hear your logic! Stats are just stupid numbers. They have no involvement with what goes on before my eyes!

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Yeah, evidence sucks.

      People who think Swisher is bad on defense because of two misplays this year are the same people who complain that Carlos Beltran’s defense in CF is “boring” so he’s not a good fielder.

      Swisher isn’t a flashy fielder and he’s not great. He’s average to solidly above average, nothing more. He’s not gonna win a Gold Glove out there, but he’s a big defensive upgrade over Bobby Abreu.

      • Mattingly’s Love Child

        +1

      • YankeeScribe

        Oh yeah. He’s “much better” defensively than Abreu but he doesn’t come close to what Abreu did ‘offensively’…

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Their offensive out puts have nothing to do with this conversation.

          • YankeeScribe

            I was just throwing that out there after your defense of Damon over Gardy in LF for the 2010 season. You’re basically saying you’d sacrifice defense for offense in LF but you wouldn’t sacrifice defense for offense in RF. Sounds like you’re playing favorites here…

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              Nick Swisher is a much more comparable offensive player to Bobby Abreu than Brett Gardner is to Johnny Damon.

              • YankeeScribe

                Abreu’s bad years are better than Swisher’s best years

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  What’s your point? Swisher’s still more comparable to Bobby Abreu (good track record of power and on base skills) than Brett Gardner is to Johnny Damon.

                • pat

                  I don’t understand this conversation.

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              Oh and for the record, I like Brett Gardner a lot.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Oh shut up. Your telling me your eyes or memory are more dependable? God I hate egoistical idiots. I bet this is one bad play he did and you’re selective memory makes him a bad outfielder. And now you’ll disregard the stats. Can’t stand people like that. I expect that sort of thing by Sox fans.

      • Andrew

        How often do you see RF’s make a play like Swisher did against the Tigers the other night? Moreover, how often do you see a RF make the mistake Swisher made against the Tigers and the comical error he made against the Red Sox in a 2 month span? Not very often. He’s a bad RF, guys, I thought anyone who watches the games on a daily basis would be able to figure that out by now. He has the tools to be an average RF, but he’s had mental lapses that make him subpar. Why do you think Ozzie Guillen hated him?

        • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

          Really? Two plays is what you judge him on? Torii Hunter must have been awful defensively with the Twins, he allowed an inside the park homer in an elimination game in the playoffs due to a stupid dive. Players make mistakes, even good ones.

          • Andrew

            No, a season of below average play in RF is what I judge him on. How many balls has he got to that he wasn’t suppose to? He made one very good catch in Boston, but that’s about it. How many OF assists does he have? 2 from the OF. By comparison, JD Drew has 6. is JD Drew a good RF at this point in his career?

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              Range is more important than throwing arm at every position on the field except for catcher. I also believe Swisher is a slightly above average OF and I’m sure he’s gotten to his fair share of balls over what the average player would get to.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          So, two bad plays makes him a bad fielder? I’m more than willing to bet that every single player in baseball makes two or more bad plays in a two month span.

        • YankeeScribe

          It would probably be easier to overlook Swisher’s mental lapses if he weren’t hitting an ugly .235

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            The .362 OBP and .459 SLG make the .235 average pretty easy to overlook.

            • Andrew

              The .362 OBP is bloated due to an abnormally good April for him. He’s been dreadful since. In every aspect of the game.

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                He was great in April, bad in May, good in June, and has been bad in July (and he still has time to recover).

                • YankeeScribe

                  He’s bad at home but great on the road. Like I said, he’s not a complete player…

                  Road OPS – .930
                  Home OPS – .687

                • pat

                  Considering we are playing in one of the most hitter friendly parks in MLB his home/road splits would lend themselves to being more of an anomaly rather than some sort of deficiency in his game, no?

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  That’s a .243 point gap in OPS. Johnny Damon has a similar .210 point OPS gap in H/A splits. Is he an incomplete player as well?

                • YankeeScribe

                  I’m not sure. He’s certainly played enough games at home and enough road games for it to be considered a little more than an anomaly…

                • YankeeScribe

                  Damon’s numbers make more sense. For starters, he probably beginning his decline as a hitter. Secondly, he’s a left-handed hitter and YS is very friendly to him.

                  YS should help Swisher as well but for some unexplainable reason, he’s not hitting at home…

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  He has a .242 BABIP at home, that could be a reason.

                  Considering Swisher’s career H/A split, a .006 point difference, I’d say that we’re witnessing an anomaly this season that could be easily fixed by a small hot streak in NYS.

                • pat

                  Well his BABIP at home is .242 and his BABIP on the road is .283. He has been unluckier at home than on the road.

                • pat

                  Damn you matt, I stopped to watch cash cab for a second and you beat me to the punch, jerk!

            • YankeeScribe

              It ain’t easy buddy and I think you guys are letting Swisher’s personality cloud your judgement. He’s a great addition to for team. He adds depth, and has a great personality. But Swisher’s NOT a complete player. He’s got gaps in his game on defense and on offense…

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                I don’t give a damn about his personality. He could be the worst clubhouse guy in the world for all I care. IMO, that stuff is incredibly overrated. Like we all love to say, Ty Cobb stabbed a guy.

                What are his gaps on defense? He’s an average to above average RF. His gaps are taht he’s not a top flight RF. Everyone makes bad plays over the course of a few months, literally everyone. He does have an offensive hole in that he’s not a great contact hitter, but he’s got decent power and good on base skills. Just about every single hitter in baseball has some sort of flaw.

                • pat

                  The gaps are that people rememeber the boneheaded plays and not the good ones.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  That, too.

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      All the objective data possible to compile+ the eyes of most of the readers here say Swisher is a decent outfielder, slightly above average. Andrew says he is horrible. I’m not sure who to believe.

      • Andrew

        You think Swisher is an above average OF? Jesus…

        • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

          Yes, slightly. The numbers support it, and my eyes have told me nothing different. You don’t notice his good range because it is unspectacular. You notice two misplays in a season and judge based on that.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            +A lot.

            • Andrew

              Good range? He has average range. At best.

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                He’s an average to solidly above average fielder. I’m not saying he should be a GG* winner or anything, but he’s a solid fielder.

                *The Gold Glove is the most useless award in baseball and winning it means next to nothing now.

        • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi