Aug
14

On Matsui and the designated hitter

By

With his 4 for 5 performance last night that featured two home runs and five RBIs, Hideki Matsui improved to a very respectable .269/.365/.516 on the season. His .881 OPS places him in the upper echelon of both American League designated hitters and all AL hitters as a whole.

As Joe detailed earlier today, Matsui’s bounce-back season is one of the driving forces behind the Yanks’ offensive resurgence this year. In fact, Matsui has really turned it on of late. Over his last 36 games, dating back to June 30, he is hitting .310/.402/.611 with 9 HR and 30 RBI.

Every Matsui hot streak leads to the same question surrounding his future: What will the Yankees do with their free agent-to-be and long-time veteran? The team, as we all know, loves Hideki Matsui the person, and when he’s hot, they also seem to love Hideki Matsui the hitter. Yet, Matsui’s presence on the team is antithetical to the team’s recent foray into the world of roster construction. With balky knees, he is a full-time DH. In fact, Matsui has played no innings in the outfield this year and seems unlikely to do so during 2009. Because of his limitations, roster flexibility is lacking.

As such, as MLB Trade Rumors notes and as we’ve heard all along this year, the Yankees will probably not bring Matsui back. While bringing back Johnny Damon seems to be an option, they don’t want to clog up the team’s DH spot with Matsui, his bat aside.

I’m not sure how I feel about this move. As David Pinto said today, Matsui is “a designated hitter who can actually hit well.” He’s not just some fill-in has-been who can’t hit and was never good in the field. (David Ortiz, I’m lookin’ at you.) Matsui might not be able to withstand the pounding of the outfield, but he can still hit with the best of ‘em.

So then what do I do if I am in Brian Cashman‘s shoes? Personally, I don’t like the idea of keeping the DH spot open in order to give aging veterans a rest. It’s a nice luxury to spell Derek Jeter or Jorge Posada or Johnny Damon or A-Rod on a rotating DH basis, but that weakens the rest of the team. By necessity, a Ramiro Pena/Jose Molina type would play nearly every day. The presence of Jerry Hairston, Jr., lessens the impact of the rotation DH, but it’s far from ideal.

I’d like the Yanks to keep a hitter of Matsui’s caliber around to fill the DH role. Maybe it’s not going to be 36-year-old Matsui, but maybe it will be. He’s at the age where he can still hit but perhaps could play four out of seven games with the rotating DH used for the other three games. After all, the Yankees have the resources on hand. Otherwise, the team sacrifices too much in the name of roster flexibility.

Categories : Musings
  • Tony

    offer JD arby, see if Matsui will come back for a discount

    DO NOT sign Bay or Holliday

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      Why not Holliday?

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

        Already 30 years old. Don’t want another long-term deal on the books with Burnett, Teixeira, A-Rod, and Sabathia taking up so much future payroll.

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          Five years sounds pretty good though.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

            That’s a long, long, long deal, especially for a guy who will be 34 at the end of it and whose only stint in the AL was disastrous.

            The Yanks already have over $80 million committed to 2012 payroll. Why would they add another $16 to $20 million to it?

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              Well then are there any “under the radar” choices that could work out?

            • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

              Disaster is a strong word. I don’t want the guy, but he had a 125 OPS+ with Oakland plus very good defense. He wasn’t a superstar, but he was just heating up. He likely would have finished somewhere in the 135 ops+ range with really good defense. That is a top player.

              • Zack

                He’s not a superstar, but he wants to be paid like one. I think that’s the main issue

                • Makavelli

                  Put it this way…Eric Byrnes is not a superstar and he was making $10MM a year with the Diamondbacks.

                  Matt Holliday makes Eric Byrnes look like George Burns…

                • JMK

                  And it was a terrible signing for Arizona. Just because he’s better than Byrnes doesn’t justify that sort of commitment.

                • Zack

                  So Yankees should give a contract in 2009 based on what a player who had a career year in 2007 received?

                • Makavelli

                  I don’t recall ever saying anything remotely close to what you’re wrongfully claiming I said. Unfortunately, sometimes that’s how it works. Especially with Boras. “You have this guy on your team making this much money and he’s not doing squat. My player here has this resume and wants much more than that because he’s guaranteed to succeed.”

                  I mean get with the program here.

                  But no, I don’t want the Yankees to sign Matt Holliday. I’m just saying…he’s very close to a superstar…if he isn’t one.

                • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

                  And I’m saying that he may actually be a superstar who had a weak few months. He was just getting hot, and his OPS+ is now in line with his previous 2 years of stardom.

                • Zack

                  Makavelli, man you’d be a bad agent. Bobby Abreu would be retired this year if he was your client.
                  Looking at deals that were made 3+ years ago and saying thats what you want, that doesnt work. Or else Damon would get 13m extension, Matsui too.

                • Makavelli

                  Why? Because this is the first year that contract prices have gone significantly down?

                  Name another time this has happened?

                • Zack

                  Yeah that thing called the recession hit, and the move towards younger, more athletic playes in teams occurred.

                  If you’re John Lackey and want an AJ-style contract, then yeah you can compare yourself to him. But if you’re Brett Myers or Doug Davis and say you want 48m that Carlos Silva got because you have a better resume, then good luck.

              • http://thebronxzoo.wordpress.com iYankees

                I’d definitely sign Holliday. He turned it on after the first month or so (maybe 2 months, not sure). He would be another Nick Markakis, essentially, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

                • whozat

                  Wow, that’s a bold statement. Nick Markakis is approaching his prime years. Holliday is approaching his decline years.

                  You’re making the mistake of assuming that you’re getting the player as who he is right now for the duration of the contract.

                  I’d rather look around for another guy that’s kinda like Swisher or Nady, re-sign Damon to DH 4 days a week and then have a 3-man corner OF rotation like we planned to do this season til Nady got hurt.

                • jsbrendog

                  what guy do you suggest? cause i agree, but is there someone like that even out there, available in free agency or for a “song” like swisher basically was?

                  who’s the buy low guy this offseason?

                • whozat

                  I don’t know. There’s still a year and a half left of the season, not to mention the offseason. Who knows what will happen to make guys available? Maybe someone makes a splash to sign Holliday or Bay and it makes a corner bat available. Maybe a cornerstone of a team gets hurt and they decide to sell off. Maybe an owner loses a bunch of money and needs to shed payroll like a mofo.

                  This question doesn’t have to be answered now.

                • jsbrendog

                  BUT I WANT IT TO BE!

                • whozat

                  WHY THE FUCK IS MY BURRITO TAKING SO LONG IN THIS MICROWAVE?!?!?!?!?!??!??!!

      • Makavelli

        Holliday would be the worst. I’d rather gamble on internal/declining guys than sign anybody else for long expensive terms

  • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

    Sign Damon AND Holliday. DH Damon the majority of the time and swith the two around when you want to give Holliday a rest.

    Eh, I’m not in favor of resigning Matsui; a good hitter, but we’re trying to go more athletic. He’s a great Yankee though and id a fine job for us over his career.

  • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

    At the right price, Damon is a perfect fit for that role. He also can play LF, so he gives a lot more flexibility. Letting both of those lefty bats go in the same season would be a disaster.

  • Makavelli

    Well, like they were talking about during one of the games recently. Matsui has turned it up in the pinch hitting role too since the NL road trips. If we can sign him for cheap then what’s the problem? When it’s time to rest one of the position players…you rest them AND rest Matsui…so what? That’s basically what we’re doing right now and it’s successful. Very successful actually. So I don’t see what we’re contemplating here?

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      This is exactly what I do not get. If you don’t want Holliday or Bay and cannot get Crawford, why change anything?

      • Makavelli

        Just don’t bring back Nady, sign Damon for cheap, sign Matsui for cheaper…and we’re good to go. Melky and Gardner still swap back and forth. If something happens…AJax is another year older…and there are other options because we saves some money in the off season…

        Possibilities are endless…

        • jsbrendog

          if you believe gardner and melky will perform equal to or better next year then they are this year I have a bridge to sell you.

          its a nice bridge. no trolls.

          • Makavelli

            That’s when you call up Ajax.

            But regardless. My point was that the organization wants to keep them both. I never said I necessarily wanted to keep them both. And if you don’t re-sign Matsui. Who are they going to sign to fix the CF problem you are predicting?

          • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

            I’m not sure why this is such a ridiculous idea. You do not think the two of them could continue providing above average defense and slightly above average offense? Neither is doing anything outside of his skill set, nor have they been particularly lucky. I’ll take your bridge, but you can’t have it back next season when I start cashing in off of it.

            • Makavelli

              I’m going to jump into the Moshe pit…

              Agreed.

      • Zack

        Why change the DH spot? Because next year everyone is a year older. ARod still needs hip surgery, Posada isnt catching 130x a year, Damon always needs a rest and flat out sucks in LF.

        • Makavelli

          So what you’re saying is…we’re automatically going to be worse…and the best thing to help this…is to take away another potent bat out of the lineup??

          • Zack

            Where did I say we’re going to get worse? Just said guys were aging.
            And you can improve your team in more than one way. Replacing Damon with an OF who can actually play defense and hits a little bit less helps the team.

            If this team starts 2010 with the same lineup will I be mad? No. But theres no harm in looking at other options. Matsui isnt going to have a long list of teams calling for him, Damon either

            • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

              Who is this OF? I can get wanting more flexibility, but letting both go hurts this lineup a lot.

              • Zack

                I’ve always wanted Cameron, probably because I’m sick of have a crappy defense in the outfield. And before anyone goes crazy, Cameron has a higher WAR (this year and 5 of the last 8 years), ‘Dollars Worth’, and obviously better defensively than Damon.

                • Sweet Dick Willie

                  Mike Cameron will be 37 years old next year and has a lifetime line of 250/342/448 and is earning $10 mil this year.

                  A-Jax can probably give us that next year at rookie pay.

                  Pass on Cameron.

                • Zack

                  that 10m is this year, not next year so dont know what that has to do with anything

                  and you’re prepared to just hand the job to AJax?

                • Sweet Dick Willie

                  No, I didn’t say that. I think some combo of Melky/Gardner will start 2010 in CF.

                  I just wanted to make the points that 1) Cameron is OLD, and 2) similar production, certainly defensively, can be had internally for a fraction of what you have to pay Cameron.

                  Ixnay on ameroncay.

          • whozat

            Zack was rhetorically asking himself the question.

            “Why change the DH spot? I’ll tell you why…”

            • Zack

              ha, had my Mike Francesa persona going on

  • Cam

    Matsui could be the next Chili Davis! I don’t recall him ever playing the field but he certainly gave some quality ABs off the bench.

  • http://thebronxzoo.wordpress.com iYankees

    Awesome read, Ben. I actually wrote something similar earlier today and will amend it with some quotes from you. People love the rotating DH idea yet always seem to forget that the Yankees will have to have a very good bench in order to do that. If that’s the case, why not just keep Matsui around in 2010? The Yankees could still rotate their other players in that slot throughout the season which would give Matsui a lot of rest, too.

  • dkidd

    what about adam dunn as a full time DH?

    • Nady Nation

      He’s not a FA after this year. There seems to be a large misconception that he will be.

      • dkidd

        sorry about that. i definitely had that misconception

    • Makavelli

      Rather have Matsui. Dunn has ridiculous power and a good OBP…but Matsui…I dunno…there’s just something about him. He’s just so poised at that plate. His timely hits > Dunn’s power bat-high strike out combo

      • YankeeScribe

        Dunn’s age, power and hitting makes him >>> Matsui

        • Makavelli

          If we’re talking long term contracts here sure…I’m just going by next years terms.

          Either way…I’d certainly be happy with Dunn if we managed to get him instead…but that would still defeat the whole argument here about keeping it open for “old players who need to rest”

  • dkidd

    also, considering we are now in a post-steroid/amphetamine world, it’s amazing the production the yankees are getting from players in their mid 30’s. boston’s old guys have broken down and ours are still going strong

    • jsbrendog

      obv the yankees stil use steroids. All of them are on steroids. It is so obvious.

      /christina’d from the boston.com site after the sweep last weekend

  • YankeeScribe

    Keep Damon or Matsui for one more year. Don’t keep both.

    We also have to keep in mind that Posada will be a year older and will have to start more games at DH

  • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

    So, we’re basically looking for a hitter who can equal or surpass Hideki Matsui’s 2009 offensive production, and occasionally play the outfield, yes? Hmm, I wonder what type of hitter who has not posted a wOBP of under .400 since 1994 will be available in the 2009-2010 off-season? Hmm…

    Hmm…

    http://bit.ly/Owj2g

    • jsbrendog

      manny has an option with the dodgers that they will msot certainly pick up i believe.

      • jsbrendog

        i got confused, the option is for manny to opt out if he wants to. my bad. it is a 2 yr deal.

        he prob will opt out. hmm

        frightening…

        • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

          Exactly. The dude is still an elite hitter, and he would be the perfect safety net for a Derek Jeter-and-Jorge Posada regression in 2010.

      • Zack

        that is Manny’s option not the Dodgers. if Boras can think Manny can get 21m from the Yankees then he’ll opt out

    • JMK

      Personally, I’d love to see Ramirez but I’d have strong reservations about getting him. It would cost far more than both Damon and Matsui combined. He’ll want a multi-year deal, brings considerable baggage and his defense is atrocious.

      That said, he’s a marvelous baseball player (read: hitter).

      • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

        If you sign a hitter of Manny Ramirez’s caliber to be the primary designated hitter, and with the offensive production you get from the catcher, short stop and second base spots, you can definitely live with the supremeley-talented defensive outfield of Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera, and quite possibly, Austin Jackson.

        • JMK

          No question. He’s worth it. I just don’t see it happening.

    • Stryker

      yes. i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again — i don’t care if the guy was a cancer in boston, if he was on “the list” or if he’s suffering from erectile dysfunction. guy’s arguably the best right handed hitter of my lifetime. do want.

      • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

        This.

  • jsbrendog

    the only problem with not bringing back matsui and damon are that what other options are there? holliday? meh no thanks. bay? meh, again, not worth what he’ll want and super totally not a good idea for the yanks to lock up anyone 30 or older to anything longer than 3 years.

    so then who plays lf and dh’s? no seriously, I’m asking cause I don’t know. and if you’re not going to make an educated guess then don’t. I don’t want to hear trade for crawford (won’t happen) trade for dunn (see: crawford) or SIGN HOLLIDAY AND BAY!

    this is where everyone answers with sign holliday and bay.

    • Nady Nation

      Abreu could fill the DH role nicely, and he’d give slightly more flexibility than Matsui b/c he can play the OF (hopefully on an extremely limited basis). Or else Cash could pull another Swisher-like trade to fill one of those holes.

      • jsbrendog

        i just cannot be sold on or condone abreu v2.0

        it’s a mirage. I just don’t see it continuing. maybe i am wrong. but i feel i am right.

        • Nady Nation

          I’m not sure why you’re so against it. I’m NOT advocating signing him to be the LF, but rather as the DH who you can stick in left 1-2 times a week, max. His power numbers are slightly down this year, but stick him in our bandbox and they should spike right back up. I think he’d be a fine, affordable option as DH/very part-time OF.

          • jsbrendog

            I’m NOT advocating signing him to be the LF, but rather as the DH who you can stick in left 1-2 times a week,

            yes i know. which is why i stand by everything i just said. I feel his “renaissance” is a mirage. i just odn’t see it continuing next year.

            • Nady Nation

              I honestly don’t know what “renaissance” you’re talking about.

              Abreu 2008 – .296/.371/.471, 120 OPS+
              Abreu 2009 – .309/.403/.438, 119 OPS+

              He’s been pretty consistent. And in NYS, there’s no reason to think he shouldn’t maintain similar number, or put up even better ones.

              • jsbrendog

                stupid stats. always proving me wrong when i think im right. goddammit

                ::spurns spreadsheets knowing full well he’ll be back::

              • YankeeScribe

                Abreu is still the man. He’s scary bad on defense but he’s the perfect DH…

          • JMK

            Doesn’t he play RF?

    • whozat

      Dunno. Was Swisher on the radar last August? I’m looking for another guy like that…>0 UZR/150 in both corner OF spots, > 110 OPS+ or better. Then sign Damon to be the primary DH, but he can easily handle LF duty some of the time or, in the event of an injury, full time for a while.

      Damon, ARod, Posada, Jeter, Tex, Swisher DH
      Swisher, ????, Damon rotate in the corners of the OF
      Swisher backs up Tex at 1B.

      Lots of ABs for everyone!

      • jsbrendog

        http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-531664

        VORTEX.

        my question exactly.

      • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

        I like this plan. What about Nady? he may not fit your defense standard, but he would add a righty bat who could likely give you solid production and is used to being used in a platoon, rotation type system.

        • whozat

          His defense is good enough, I think.

          The only question is will he be healthy? I don’t know.

          This past offseason, that was basically the plan and the ???? was will Swisher bounce back.

          Could they do the same thing, with Nady’s health being the ???, Damon a year older and AJax repeating AAA to continue his development? Maybe…

        • jsbrendog

          only problem is he is an unknown and cannot be counted on coming off a second tommy john. you can’t go into the year depending on someone who is an unknown if they will perform or even play. If he is itnerested in a base $1 mill and incentives or something sure. but that’d be the backup to the real plan only.

          question is unfortunately, what is the real plan. And I can’t come up with what it is or should be only what it shouldnt or what i dont want it to be. and i dnt want bay/holliday to 5+ yr contracts, and I dont want to give up what the rays will want for crawford….

          damn.

          • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

            I’m not sure you need a real plan. If Nady does not work out, worst case scenario you have Damon playing LF regularly with Melky and Hairston spelling him- it is not optimal, but they seem fine with it this season.

    • Stryker

      why do you think the yankees won’t trade for crawford? he’s worth the price and fits what the yankees are trying to do nowadays. he’s young, quick, and athletic.

      • jsbrendog

        what’re you willing to give up? because to trade him to a division rival they will want hughes/joba/ajax/montero.

        and ajax himself probably wouldnt even get it done.

        will not happen. this ain’t the devil rays. this is the defending AL champion rays. and there’s no way they trade crawford to the yankees for anything short of one of the above plus some. and he. is. not. worth. that. much.

      • whozat

        The price is Hughes +

        Is he still worth the price?

      • JohnnyC

        As with Halladay, why would the Rays trade Crawford within the division?

    • YankeeScribe

      I don’t see anything wrong with signing Holliday to a 4 to 5 yr deal… As long as we don’t overpay for him

      • jsbrendog

        another guy over 30 signed to a 100+ mill dollar deal?

        he will not take less that 18-22 mill a yr. and with boras he will want at least 5 yrs. he’s good and all but no thank you.

        • YankeeScribe

          Like I said, “as long as they don’t overpay”. After the Rodriguez deal, do you still believe anything Scott Boras says? What mystery team was going to give A-Rod a long-term deal topping 25 mil per yr? The Yankees overpaid because they bid against themselves

          • whozat

            Except the Red Sox also need a corner OFer for 2010. And the Mets need corner OF help too. And Manny will opt out of his Dodgers deal.

    • jim p

      Carl Crawford could be a free agent for the 2011 season, assuming he isn’t let go for next year.

      Keep Damon & Matsui one more year, get Crawford for 2011. Rotate the DH spot with the older guys.

  • r.w.g.

    Jim Thome?

    • jsbrendog

      meh he’s 3 years older than matsui and as of now tey’re production is about equal. ops difference by .002 points, 2 hr difference, ops+ diff by 3 points.

      i’d take matsui just because he is a known and 3 yrs younger. neither can play the field and thome one would think is closer o falling off the proverbial cliff than hitdeki

      • r.w.g.

        I think both guys are pretty good bets to put up representative seasons next year. I wouldn’t have a problem keeping Matsui, either.

        I’d rather have either one of them over Johnny Damon, however.

  • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

    About Holliday, despite his poor start, he is at a 145 OPS+ for the season, and is 16th in all of baseball in WAR. He has been worth 18.7 million this season. Those numbers are first among regular LF’ers. I am pretty sure those are superstar numbers. I dont want him long term, but lets not paint him as something he is not: just a solid player.

  • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

    Just imagine this for a second:

    1. Derek Jeter (SS/R), 2009 wOBP: .377
    2. Nick Swisher (LF/S), 2009 wOBP: .368
    3. Manny Ramirez (DH/R), 2009 wOBP: .425 (!!!)
    4. Alex Rodriguez (3B/R), 2009 wOBP: .388
    5. Mark Teixeira (1B/S), 2009 wOBP: .402
    6. Jorge Posada (C/S), 2009 wOBP: .369
    7. Robinson Cano (2B/L), 2009 wOBP: .367
    8. Melky Cabrera (RF/S), 2009 wOBP: .332
    9. Brett Gardner (CF/L), 2009 wOBP: .345

    Win.

    • jsbrendog

      Just imagine this for a second:

      1. Derek Jeter (SS/R), 2009 wOBP: .377
      2. Nick Swisher (LF/S), 2009 wOBP: .368
      3. Manny Ramirez (DH/R), 2009 wOBP: .425 (!!!)
      4. Alex Rodriguez (3B/R), 2009 wOBP: .388
      5. Mark Teixeira (1B/S), 2009 wOBP: .402
      6. Jorge Posada (C/S), 2009 wOBP: .369
      7. Robinson Cano (2B/L), 2009 wOBP: .367
      8. Melky Cabrera (RF/S), 2009 wOBP: .332
      9. Brett Gardner (CF/L), 2009 wOBP: .345

      Win every game

      fixed.

      • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

        I’m frickin’ hyperventilating imagining that lineup with a one-two combo in the rotation of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, respectively, and Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes filling out the back-end with one of Andy Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang or Ian Kennedy.

        • Stryker

          same. i’ve been on the mannywagon since the off season. it’s still a possibility!

        • Jersey

          A lineup where Tex has to bat 5th. That’s just silly.

          • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

            The return of Murderer’s Row, holmes.

      • Tom Zig

        1. Derek Jeter (SS/R), 2009 wOBP: .377
        2. Nick Swisher (LF/S), 2009 wOBP: .368
        2. Johnny Damon (LF/S), 2009 wOBP: .392
        3. Manny Ramirez (DH/R), 2009 wOBP: .425 (!!!)
        4. Alex Rodriguez (3B/R), 2009 wOBP: .388
        5. Mark Teixeira (1B/S), 2009 wOBP: .402
        6. Jorge Posada (C/S), 2009 wOBP: .369
        7. Robinson Cano (2B/L), 2009 wOBP: .367
        8. Melky Cabrera (RF/S), 2009 wOBP: .332
        9. Brett Gardner (CF/L), 2009 wOBP: .345
        7. Nick Swisher (LF/S), 2009 wOBP: .368
        8. Robinson Cano (2B/L), 2009 wOBP: .367
        9. Melky Cabrera (RF/S), 2009 wOBP: .332
        or Brett Gardner (CF/L), 2009 wOBP: .345

        Fixed.

    • JMK
  • dkidd

    i think next year will be a “stand pat and pray the old guys keep hitting” year. no need to overpay for holliday/bay. if he keeps hitting, i could stand another year of johnny damon in left field

    i’m still hoping our 2011 outfield is jeter/ajax/swisher

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      Why? If Jeter maintains league average defense, there would be no reason for that move. Are you hoping that he does not? Because watching him everyday, it does not seem like a fluke.

      • dkidd

        i’m irrationally afraid of him looking old at ss like mid 80’s larry bowa

        cal ripken was a genius at positioning, but it was painful to watch him the last few years before he moved to third

        i guess i’m also curious to see how he would do

        • jsbrendog

          but ripken was a much bigger guy and bigger guys can be mroe prone to breaking down. jeter is a wiry fellow who might age well…

          • dkidd

            agreed on jeter. my main fear is holliday/bay in lf clogging up payroll when we still don’t know exactly what we have in ajax/melky/gardner/nady

    • YankeeScribe

      I think we should wait and see what options the offseason brings. I have mixed feelings. We have one too many DH’s. Either Matsui or Damon should walk after the season so we can make room on the roster for younger, more athletic players. However, I won’t be disappointed if Cashman resigns both Damon and Matsui for one more season…

  • Ace

    Once again I will publicly state I was wrong about The Sayonara Kid. Now I’m washing my hands clean of this.

  • Reggie C.

    Matsui back?

    Only on a major salary cut. I’m talking about $5 MM. I could see Cashman take the risky (but fiscally conservative route) and convince ownership not to change the makeup of this team (i.e., bringing back BOTH damon and mats on 1 year deals). The Yanks essentially could field the same lineup in 2010.

  • Sweet Dick Willie

    I think the results of this season will go a long way in determining the path Cash takes.

    If the Yanks bring home #27, he may be more apt to stand pat; if not, there will be significant pressure to make changes.

  • Steve S

    I would argue one thing. Matsui of course is not a long term commitment so the premise of the post is on point that considering Jorge’s, Arod’s and Jeter’s current capabilities it wouldnt kill them to have a guy like Matsui for next year. The reality is that DH opening shouldnt be an issue at all for next year. Arguably Posada should shift into that position but I just dont know if Frankie Cervelli should be an everyday 140 game a season catcher.

    Now, I said this a couple of weeks ago and it ties into sort of another ongoing debate fast approaching issue. ie Jeter’s future position. The reality is that Jeter will probably have to move off of shortstop and while the DH and LF debate have been ongoing, I would think that third base might be a logical shift for him and Arod might be best served as the DH. Granted that reduces Arod’s value a great deal but he gets paid to hit and I think the best way to preserve him until he is 42 years old is to move him off the field at some point (not now, but arguably in 2011 or 2012) and it wouldnt hurt to have that coincide with need for Jeter to move off of shortstop.

    • Januz

      Derek Jeter is NOT moving off shortstop (Particularly with the defensive improvements made this year). The point I made 3,000 hits the other day is extremely valid: If he reaches that plateau as a Shortstop in 2011 (He has 2682 hits TOTAL now (So you have to deduct the 12 games at DH and pinch hits (but he is somewhere in the 2650 range). Here is something more important: Honus Wagner played numerous other positions: OF 372, 1B 248, 3B 209, 2B 57, and p. 2. What does this mean? Out of Wagner’s 3,418 hits, he may not have reached 3,000 as a shortstop (Like Ripken and Yount), so Jeter may become NUMBER ONE in hits at his position. He will not move.

  • E-ROC

    Signing Manny Ramirez could be a possible replacement for Matsui as well as Vladimir Guerrero.

    The alternatives for left field through free agency aren’t appealing so I could see Damon returning for one more.

    • whozat

      Thing is, I’m not sure I look at the Yanks and say “wow, I wish they’d sign a defensively limited slugger to replace Matsui so that Damon can come back and sap his offensive contributions by being below average defensively in LF again”

      If I knew Carl Crawford or Nick Markakis was coming in to cover LF for the next four or five years, I’d be fine with them signing a big, immobile bat to a short contract for next season.

      • Tom Zig

        I’d be fine with them signing a big, immobile bat to a short contract for next season.

        Maybe we can help the Nats out by taking Adam Dunn of their hands, he is a perfect DH and is making a fair amount of money (12M in 2010).

        I’d also love to have Manny though. Controversy be damned.

        Either one of those in our lineup would be ridiculous.

  • Januz

    I think the best option is Johnny Damon at one year, and say goodbye to Matsui. This can allow them to wait one year for Carl Crawford and or Austin Jackson. A big problem is Boras. He will not hesitate to move Damon (And Holliday for that matter), to the Indians if they offered him one penny more than the Yankees. Plus, Damon is currently at 2,389 hits (3 years from 3,000 and maybe Cooperstown, so that is something to consider from his point of view (Wanting a multi-year contract)). Something else to keep in mind: They need to clear some salary space, because the Jeter & Rivera decisions are coming up soon, so they likely don’t want more long-term contracts.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    i’ve been hoping Godzilla goes to Japan in the offseason for a year so he can respectfully leave NY. I still want that…I just want it between 10 and 11 not in a few months!

    IF (huge if…i know (strong) and (i) but I don’t know (huge) we can bring back Damon and Matsui at FAIR prices (fair is a little more expensive than reasonable in my estimation!) then maybe we bring them back. Melky-Gardener-Swisher-Damon-Nady?-Ajax makes for a pretty good outfield, and doesnt stand to be that expensive.

    Who knows…Montero might be playing left field by then. Some of us were calling for Jeter to be playing left field by then! (And now, for your listening pleasure, the “Not Me” chorus!)

  • AP

    For practical reasons, it’s hard to see the Yankees bringing Matsui back next year when their temptation will be to rotate other players through the DH role and their strong desire may be (despite Jorge’s wishes) to turn Posada into a full-time or near full-time DH and open the catcher spot up.

    OTOH, I can’t be totally objective here as Matsui has been my favorite player since he joined the team in 2003, because he’s just such a classy guy and overall great Yankee. The business of baseball is a cold one so I can’t imagine Cashman bringing the guy back, even though he not only is a strong hitter, but also brings in tons of Japanese fans and presumably Japanese ad dollars as well. But I really hope I’m wrong and the Yankees see the baseball sense in having a great left handed bat who can drive in runs.

    Is it completely out of the question that he could rehab his knees enough to play outfield once in a while in 2010?

    I hope if Matsui does leave that he either retires or goes back to Japan to play. It would be sad to see him in an opposing uniform, though I can totally imagine Seattle signing him to play on the same team as Ichiro.

  • Joseph M

    The Matsui discussion is really a Matsui/Damon discussion. You can keep one not both. The need for a 12th pitcher (now standard on a major league roster) requires a team to have bench players who can do more than one thing. Posada’s defensive shortcomings are starting to wear on the pitchers (did anyone see the postgame show with AJ the other day) which is probably going to require an upgrade behind the plate over the offensively challenged Molina. Posada and Damon will probably split most of the DH work next year and Austin Jackson should be ready by next spring ( 5 years in the minors, 23 years old by the start of spring training, the time has come to see if this kid can play). I don’t see a place for Matsui on this team next year, Damon can still play in the field a bit so the time has come to say goodbye to Matsui.