Where have you gone, Johnny Damon?

Fan Confidence Poll: October 12th, 2009
Yanks show that the difference is pitching

Through the first five months of the season, Johnny Damon was sitting pretty. Playing out the last year of his Yankee contract, Damon was putting up a career year, and on Sept. 2, he was hitting .293/.373/.524. He had tied his career high in home runs with 24 and seemed destined to reach the quarter century mark.

Since then, though, it’s been one long slump for Johnny Damon. He ended the regular season on a 17-for 79 slide and hit just .215/.319/.278 over his last 92 plate appearances. He struck out 17 times, knocked out just five extra-base hits and never reached 25 home runs.

This poor offensive play has continued into the playoffs. Against the Twins, Johnny Damon seemed lost at the plate. He went 1 for 12 and struck out four times against Carl Pavano and the Twins’ pen last night. By his fourth at-bat, some Yankee fans were wondering if Brett Gardner deserves a start. Of course, Damon has more power potential than Gardner, but during the regular season, Damon’s play would probably earn him a mental health day off.

Generally, I wouldn’t be too worried about a 100-plate appearance slump. Damon is in one now, and it’s probably just a matter of time before he breaks out in a big way. But two aspects to Johnny Damon — his contract status and his willingness to play through injuries — makes me wonder if we should put some more stock into this slump.

As much as it is a cliché, Johnny Damon is a gritty player. He hates to sit, and he doesn’t share injuries with everyone. He’ll play through sore legs, a sore back, sore anything. Usually, we can tell when Damon is hurt because it impacts his performance, and he plays as he has been lately. His swings are late; he flails in the field; his game just isn’t on.

Meanwhile, Damon is also playing for a contract. He turns 36 in a few weeks, and Damon has seen the market for 36-year-old outfielders. He saw Bobby Abreu settle for a deal significantly lower than he expected, and he knows that he’ll be up against Matt Holliday, Jason Bay and Abreu on the free agent market this winter. He needs to play, and he needs to perform to prove his worth.

Finally, we arrive too at the Yankees’ specific aspect of this story. Although the Yankees’ players are focused on beating the Angels to reach the World Series, the Yankees’ Front Office knows that, shortly after the World Series ends, the free agent frenzy begins. The team will have to decide whether or not to re-sign their own free agents, and the Yankee brass may be gearing up to make a choice between Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. Do they put stock into Matsui’s late-season surge and Damon’s late-season swoon? Do they look to get younger in left while retaining Matsui as a DH? Do they jettison the creaky-kneed Hideki while keeping Damon, the guy who has expressed a keen desire to stay in the Bronx?

Damon’s poor play of late isn’t making this decision any easier than it was, and it must gnaw at him to know that everyone is watching and evaluating and determining his future for him. For now, I hope last night’s Golden Sombrero is the end of his struggles. The Yankees will need his power at the plate and his speed on the bases for their ALCS match-up against the Angels.

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Fan Confidence Poll: October 12th, 2009
Yanks show that the difference is pitching
  • JSquared

    It was painful to watch Damon in the ALDS… But if he can come on Strong in the ALCS and have a decent World Series, we’ll pretty much forget the ALDS…

  • Doug

    “The Yankees will need his power at the plate and his speed on the bases for their ALCS match-up against the Angels.”

    don’t even need the former, just the latter. just getting on base and advancing the line would be nice.

  • Dela G

    they could’ve started brett gardner in game 3 and got much better results

    the guy looks like he’s in a steep decline
    He runs like a first baseman

    • Dela G

      i forgot to add :

      [/buster olney’d

  • Reggie C.

    JD has shown he can still contribute well above average offense to this team. Dude is slumping bad so a 4 day break can hopefully prepare him mentally. He’s among the older players right now and maybe he’s simply due a break.

    Its not imperative that JD revert to the slg star he was in the regular season , but yeah … he’s gotta hit and BB more.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    I believe he’s poised for a big ALDS, it will cure all of his ills.

    Also, you forgot to mention that Melky sucks in that article. You’re slipping Ben. :)

    • OkulaFan67

      I’m sick of hearing what a weapon Brett Gardner is off the BENCH. He should START against RH pitching! If you want speed off the bench, activate Freddy Guzman and deactivate Damaso Marte. Joe Girardi has no faith in him anyhow.

      • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

        As he shouldnt, because as a Yankee, he sucks

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

          Damaso Marte v. LHB, 2009:
          28 batters faced, .120/.214/.280 allowed

          • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

            I understand that but he’s burned us several times in big spots. We have too many better weapons to entrust big outs to this guy. Especially when you consider that two of our big three starters are lefties, if a big lefties up in the sixth or seventh, id rather see the starter stay in or have joba or drob face them

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

            Never mind that. I remember the couple of times he screwed up, and that’s all the facts I need.

            • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              I like Marte too but let’s be fair here… During his time in pinstripes he hasn’t given Yankees fans many reasons to feel comfortable with him. It’s not crazy for people to not have the most confidence in him.

            • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

              Look i understand the value of statistics but ther not everythin. Armando Benitez was statistically an excellent closer. There are numerous examples of good players with good statistics who simply are not trustworthy. My point is not that marte is god-awful but that we have enough options superior to him to make him superfluous and unnecessary

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

                Armando Benitez was statistically an excellent closer.

                No, he wasn’t.

                • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Benitez did have a few very good seasons.

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

                  That’s not the same thing. He’s trying to use Benitez as a strawman.

                • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  No argument there.

                • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

                  Armando Benitez

                  year era baa
                  97 2.45 .191
                  98 3.82 .199
                  99 1.85 .148
                  00 2.61 .148
                  01 3.77 .214
                  02 2.27 .190
                  03 2.96 .218
                  04 1.29 .152

                  looks pretty fucking good to me

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

                There are numerous examples of good players with good statistics who simply are not trustworthy.

                No. There are numerous examples of players who are not trustworthy but are perceived to be trustworthy because people are looking at the WRONG statistics. Because people are looking at flawed statistics that don’t accurately measure performance.

                Damaso Marte, both statistically and anecdotally, has a large body of evidence stating that he’s both good and trustworthy.

                And, this season, he’s been bad, but only bad to righties. Against lefties, he’s been murder, and that’s what he’s on the postseason roster to do: to kill lefties.

                2009 Damaso Marte = 1996 Graeme Lloyd

                • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

                  I know you’re going to tell me that this is a tiny sample size, and obviously i cant argue that, but the fact is he came in to pitch to the twins two tough lefties who he was on the roster to face and walked both of them. Damaso Marte is a good pitcher but as much as you want to will him to be a lights out post-season pitcher, he won’t be. We have better options and we shouldn’t limit our roster out of loyalty to potential that isn;t guaranteed and that we don’t need

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

                  I know you’re going to tell me that this is a tiny sample size, and obviously i cant argue that, but the fact is he came in to pitch to the twins two tough lefties who he was on the roster to face and walked both of them.

                  Asked and answered.

                  Damaso Marte is a good pitcher but as much as you want to will him to be a lights out post-season pitcher, he won’t be.

                  You have nothing but speculation and gut instinct to back that up. I have statistical and anedcotal evidence.

                  We have better options and we shouldn’t limit our roster out of loyalty to potential that isn;t guaranteed and that we don’t need

                  It’s not out of loyalty, it’s out of strategy. Damaso Marte is a lefties that gets lefties out. The Angels have hitters that don’t hit lefties well. Keeping Marte on the roster is not the loyal play, it’s the smart play. He presents more value and a greater ability to get out opposing hitters than Bruney or Mitre do, and those two are the only two options to replace him on the ALCS and WS rosters.

                  Marte >>>>>>>> Bruney and Mitre

                • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Damaso Marte is a good pitcher but as much as you want to will him to be a lights out post-season pitcher, he won’t be.

                  You have nothing but speculation and gut instinct to back that up. I have statistical and anedcotal evidence.

                  There’s also Marte’s less than inspiring postseason stats. I agree that Marte’s career numbers and success this year vs. lefties are more important than a small sample of postseason numbers, but Ghost of Brosius certainly has more than just instinct to back up his opinion. At the very least he has anecdotal evidence, and even some (weak) statistical evidence.

  • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

    I think if he struggles this badly in game 1 of the CS they’ve got to bench him for a game, or at least drop him in the lineup. I’ve always been intrigued by cano in the two spot.

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

      That reminds me too much of A-Rod in the 2006 ALDS. I don’t like that idea at all.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        Anyway, isn’t Cano slumping too?

        • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

          Cano’s hit the ball hard, he’s due to smack the Angels around. Damon looks lost. I understand this is viewed as a panic move, and I’m sure there’s no way Girardi would do it. But I think it may well be the right move if Damon keeps costing us big innings. And its different than the Arod situation, dropping the highest paid player in the game from prime run-producer position is different than dropping an aging outfielder from second to seventh for a game

          • Nady Nation

            I agree with your premise of dropping Damon in the lineup, but I think Swisher is a much better candidate to replace Damon over Cano.

            • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

              Yeah, i’m not opposed to that either. I think thats the more obvious move, i guess part of me has just wanted to see Cano hitting higher up in the lineup for a while. I think he’s destined to be one of our 3-4 hitters and i cant wait to see him link up with jeter tex and arod for more rallies. But maybe I suppose now may not be the time

              • Super King

                You mean rally killing double plays? As much as I love Cano I don’t think he is very suited for the top of the order. You want high OBP and speed guys up there, I would like to see Cano there in the future, but once he learns some plate discipline. Cano could easily hit 3rd or 4th in most other major league lineups, but that won’t be happening any time soon in the Bronx.

      • Jersey

        But Damon is actually slumping hard; ARod was not in 2006.

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

          That’s a good point. Still, I hate to see managers messing with what worked for 103 regular season wins in the playoffs. Girardi will allow Damon to ride out the slump in the 2 hole.

          • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            I’m not ready to move Damon in the lineup or sit him yet, especially since he’s got 5 days to rest and get ready for the next series, but this idea, that since A-Rod shouldn’t have been dropped in the lineup a few years ago, that Damon also shouldn’t be dropped or benched if his slump persists (or if it turns out he’s not healthy enough to be productive), isn’t an idea I agree with. Torre shouldn’t have dropped A-Rod, it was the wrong move, but I’m not sure how that’s relevant to a conversation about whether Damon should be dropped/rested if his awful slump continues. If a guy is slumping, hardcore, then of course the manager should consider moving him in the lineup or letting someone else take a shot at his position. Girardi’s gotta put the best team out on the field, and Damon’s not necessarily part of that best team because he had a good May.

            (PS: I’ve commented before supporting Damon, I’m a big Damon fan and think he’s been substantially underrated during this time with the Yankees. This isn’t a statement knocking Damon or calling for him to be benched now.)

  • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

    Eh, I’m notworried about Johnny. He’s slumping, and even if he is a little banged up I bet this rest before the ALCS will help.

  • Nady Nation

    This is another interesting subplot. How long will Joe G. stick with Damon in the 2 hole? I’m thinking a couple of 0-fers this weekend will result in Swish hitting 2nd in Anaheim.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      Swish is slumping too.

      • Jersey

        No he’s not, his OPS is north of 900 in September and October.

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          1 hit in the LDS though.

          • Jersey

            Swisher’s “slump” lasts for 12 ABs, vs. Damon’s slump which pretty much began in early September.

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              True I guess, but it’s still replacing one slumping hitter with another.

              • Jersey

                My point was, it’s not actually a slump for Swish. It’s a couple of tough games against solid pitchers.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  Duensing isn’t a particulalrly great pitcher, he only had one hit in 4 AB’s of that game.

                • Jersey

                  Duensing is really not bad. Pavano and Blackburn had nasty games. And you’re completely ignoring sample size.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  1-12, right?

                  Tht’s small, but I think not small enough that it doesn’t constitute a slump.

                • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

                  You think wrong. 1 hit in 3 games against a playoff teams pitching does not a slump make. If he goes hitless in his next two games, then we can talk

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  Okay, far enough. 2 more hitless games, we got a slump.

                  [Internet handshake]

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

                  1 hit in 3 games against a playoff teams pitching does not a slump make. If he goes hitless in his next two games, then we can talk.

                  Agreed. Johnny is not slumping because he didn’t hit well in the ALDS, he’s slumping because he didn’t hit well in the ALDS or in September.

                  It’s impossible to “slump” in just three games. Not enough of a sample size to declare something a slump.

          • JobaWockeeZ

            SSS.

      • Tom Zig

        Tough to say Swish is in a slump. We’ve only had 1 road game in the playoffs so far and Pavano was lights out for a while.

      • Nady Nation

        True, but at some point, you just might need a change to spark things up. Swish’s plate discipline and on-base skills could provide that at the top of the order. Also, I’m going on this decision more b/c of the prolonged nature of Damon’s slump, not just the past 3 games.

        • Jersey

          +1

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          Fair point.

  • jim p

    Add the fielding to the batting… I’m guessing something with his eyes. Seems to me he’s had trouble judging fly balls for awhile now.

    As to Matsui, does anyone know for a fact that his knees are now shot for eternity, or were these operations long-time recovery deals, or …? Matsui seems to think he can play the field next year.

    What about signing Figgens for 2 years and putting him in left, if he’d go for that.

    • Mike Pop

      Figgins will get more than 2. I would be hesitant to give him more than that because when he falls hard, he’s going to fall fast.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      What about signing Figgens for 2 years and putting him in left, if he’d go for that.

      The last time he spent major time in the OF was 2006 when he was 28. He didn’t even play the OF this year and he’s 32.

      I don’t think he’ll be effective in the OF even if he wants too.

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

      We don’t even know if Figgins can play left. He’s played less than 40 games off of 3rd in the last 3-4 years and could probably get a starting job elsewhere. Also, unless he was guaranteed to put up a real high OBP, which he isn’t, his power would not justify LF. I’d rather stick with Damon for a year because of the power output.

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

      What about signing Figgens for 2 years and putting him in left, if he’d go for that.

      What are we, the Mets?

      • Jersey

        IETC

      • jim p

        Okay, no Figgens for 2010. Options?

        Matsui (if he’s recovered like he thinks he has), or Damon, who’s been definitely… scary and strange … in the outfield?

        DH: Matsui > Damon.
        LF: ? > Matsui and/or Damon.

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

          Damon.

          Kick the can down the road for a year and wait for better options.

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

          Oh, and:
          F-I-G-G-I-N-S

          • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            C-L-O-W-N!!!!!

            /PinstripeDestiny’d

            (Sorry… An old joke, but I still like it.)

        • MattG

          OK, I’ll put it out there: bring Damon back, and take CHN’s salary dump: Milton Bradley.

          • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            As tantalizing as the talent might be, I think Bradley’s such a head-case that I wouldn’t bother adding him to the mix. The Yankees, of all teams, don’t have to take a risk like that.

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

            The same Milton Bradley who went from a 163 OPS+ (.321/.436/.563) in 2008 to a 101 OPS+ (.257/.378/.397)in 2009?

            Hells to the no. Unless Milton Bradley gets to take all his plate appearances, both home and road, at the Ballpark at Arlington and we just add in the runs he scores there to our total, I don’t want him on the Yankees. He’s a mirage. He can’t hit outside of that bandbox, he’s a malcontent, and he’s injury prone. I want no parts of Milton Bradley. His 3y/30M signing was one of the 5 worst deals of the past offseason. That thing had trainwreck all over it from Day One.

            • MattG

              Ooo, that’s too harsh. Bradley was a very good hitter before he got to Arlington. He is absolutely capable of replicating Hideki Matsui’s 2009 season, with the added bonus of being able to occasionally play the outfield.

              And prior to 2009, he was really only exceptionally hot-headed. For the right AL team, he’ll be a 115-120 OPS+ DH/once a week OF.

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

                He wasn’t a “very good” hitter. He was a “good” hitter at best.

                Milton Bradley, career:
                2000 Age 22 MON – 171 PA .221/.288/.325 (53+)
                2001 Age 23 MON – 242 PA, .223/.288/.336 (60+)
                2001 Age 23 CLE – 20 PA, .222/.300/.278 (55+)
                2002 Age 24 CLE – 358 PA, .249/.317/.406 (93+)
                2003 Age 25 CLE – 451 PA, .321/.421/.501 (147+)
                2004 Age 26 LAD – 597 PA, .267/.362/.424 (108+)
                2005 Age 27 LAD – 315 PA, .290/.350/.484 (118+)
                2006 Age 28 OAK – 405 PA, .276/.370/.447 (114+)
                2007 Age 29 OAK – 75 PA, .292/.373/.446 (122+)
                2007 Age 29 SDP – 169 PA, .313/.414/.590 (167+)
                2008 Age 30 TEX – 509 PA, .321/.436/.563 (163+)
                2009 Age 31 CHC – 473 PA, .257/.378/.397 (101+)

                Is he going to be as bad as 2009? No, probably not. Is he capable of being a true heart of the order hitter? No, probably not; Texas and San Diego look like flukes in retrospect. Is he worth 20M over the next two seasons? Not remotely. He’s overrated as a hitter, he breaks down physically, he’s a malcontent. If that Texas line was repeatable, I’d sign up. It’s not, so no. There are better and less riskier ways to spend 20M.

                • MattG

                  Good hitter at best? Your resorting to exaggeration to make an argument, which makes it seem like you have a bad argument. A 116+ hitter is much more than a “good hitter at best.”

                  All your other points are valid. He makes considerable coin, he’s got a mostly-earned bad reputation, and he’s injury prone. But he’s a really good hitter. I’d listen if there was some money coming back.

  • ADam

    He might be hurt.. His numbers since sept 1. Including playoffs…
    20/93
    0HR
    5RBI
    13RS
    .631 OPS

    Yikes,.. Hopefully the rest will get him right…

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

      Umm… isn’t listing this a bit redundant? I mean, Ben laid all this out in the first two paragraphs of the post.

  • Jersey

    There’s a part of me that wouldn’t be opposed to swapping Swisher and his 371 OBP into the 2-hole, and dropping Damon down. Unlike ARod in 2006, Damon is actually in a bona fide slump, and dropping him for a couple games – if not longer – would be defensible until he works it out.

  • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

    Gardner in center and the nine spot batting ahead of Jeter could have value. The Angels always fuck with us with their speed and baserunning and i think its imperative we give them a taste of their own medicine. Brett in front of Derek would be a hit and run dream

    • larryf

      Agree with Gardner against Lackey in game 1-and righties in general. He takes too many pitches hoping to get ahead in the count but can’t hit or field any worse than Damon right now…

      • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

        Exactly. And the thing about gardner is even if he makes out, if he reaches first on a fielders choice hes a good threat to make it to second. it seems like defense and base-running always cost against the angels. Defense in particular is key, they have a dynamic offense, as potent as any short of ours, and we cannot allow them anything in the way of extra runs. i think they have this feeling that their younger and faster then us and it gives them confidence and arrogance that helps them

        • Jersey

          On the flip side, Gardner is a nice situational weapon off the bench if you need a fast baserunner in the late innings. You’d lose that if he starts.

          • Mike bk

            on the flip side of that you would get 3 or 4 potential chances with him on base along with significantly upgraded D all game.

            • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

              bingo

            • Jersey

              I don’t dispute Gardy would be a defensive upgrade. But if you want D, you can use him as a late-inning sub. If you need O, Damon is a superior bat when he’s right. Plus, like I said, having Gardner to pinch-run off the bench means more situational flexibility, specifically in close-and-late situations.

          • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

            The answer to that is Guzman. He should be on the CS roster instead of marte, who is at this point has nobody’s trust. We already have coke as our lefty, and id tend to trust one of our quality righties in most spots against a tough lefty anyway.

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              Dingdingdingdingding, we have a winner…

            • Mike bk

              i think if he pulled marte he would go with Bruney and not give up a pitcher with as freely as he has been going to the pen.

              • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

                You may be right, but think thatd be the wrong move. He needs to leave his starters in a little longer and get a few more outs out of joba and drob when ther in, rather than entrusting vital outs to a seond-rate untested reliever.

                • jsbrendog

                  untested playoff relievers:

                  david robertson
                  phil hughes
                  phil coke

                  proven postseason relievers with world series rings:

                  mariano rivera
                  damaso marte

                  pitchers with playoff experience with said experience being terrible failure:

                  joba chamberlain.

                  just saying

                • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  “proven postseason relievers with world series rings:
                  mariano rivera
                  damaso marte”

                  Damaso Marte is anything but a “proven postseason reliever.” Prior to 2009, Marte made 2 appearances in the postseason (both in the same season). In the first, he faced 3 batters, surrendering 1 hit and walking 2 while retiring 0. In the second, he faced 8 batters in 1.2 innings, walking 2 and K’ing 3. That’s it.

                • Mike Pop

                  +1

                  Jsb made an error there.

              • MikeD

                There’s the possibility that they may need to use a 4th starter in this round, which means Gaudin (or Joba) won’t always be available out of the pen. If that’s the case, the last thing Girardi will do is subtract yet another pitcher by subbing Guzman for Marte. He’d be down two pitchers out of the pen heading into a seven-game series against a tough opponent. Not going to happen.

                There’s a better chance he’ll ADD another pitcher and subract a bench player, although I don’t have any idea who. He has to carry three catchers since Molian is now AJ’s personal catcher through the playoffs. That’s why Guzman is not on the roster. Cervelli has his spot.

            • Jersey

              The other answer is, keep Damon in the lineup, just drop him. He won’t work it out if he’s not playing, and there’s way too much upside if/when he does work it out to sacrifice his bat for a second all speed/light-hit.

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

              Again, Marte is a good and effective LOOGY. Furthermore, dropping him and adding Guzman would give us only 10 pitchers, and that’s not enough for a best of 7 ALCS where we’re going to need a 4th starter.

              If we’re going to drop someone and add Guzman, we should be dropping our 3rd catcher and starting Posada all four games, with Molina being the one dropped and Cervelli being the backup catcher.

              Marte stays. Molina goes.

              • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                I’s rather drop Marte still. He has ndone nothing to prove he’s good and effective.

                I’d love to drop Molina to bring in another pitcher, perhaps Bruney, but Joe ain’t gonna do it.

                • Mike Pop

                  I’s rather drop Marte still. He has ndone nothing to prove he’s good and effective.

                  TSJC – link your stats son!

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

                  The dropping/adding game is only going to be pitcher for pitcher or position player for position player.

                  11 pitchers and 14 position players is the ideal setup for a 4-starter, best of 7 series. 12 pitchers is too many, 10 is too few.

                  If Marte is getting dropped, it’s only for Bruney or Mitre. If Guzman or Peña are getting added, it’s only for Cervelli or Molina. You can’t drop a pitcher for a position player or vice versa.

                  And, whatever marginal upgrade in talent swapping Marte for Bruney or Mitre could theoretically provide is countermanded by the fact that neither Bruney nor Mitre provide the tactical advantage of the lefty-lefty matchup. Marte may not be at the top of his game overall, but he’s still death to lefties http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-624206 and there are several Angels hitters who can’t hit lefties (Vlad: .250/.276/.410, Figgins: .246/.325/.305, GMJ: .221/.323/.384, Mathis: .228/.295/.329)

                  Marte stays.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  Okay, understood. Basically you keep Marte over bruney ecause he’s a lefty.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  *b*ecause

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

                  Exactly.

                  There are some pitchers who are not good pitchers, but they’re good at getting lefty hitters out. And, there are some hitters who are good hitters, but they are NOT good hitters when facing a lefty.

                  LOOGYs have value. Marte has value. Stop overthinking it, people.

                • MattG

                  I want to overthink it. Who does Marte pitch to in this series? Are their any Angels that are susceptible to LHP, like Kubel? I don’t know the answer.

                  If you trust Marte’s statistics vs LH, then I think you trust Coke’s too. So are they both needed versus Anaheim?

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

                  Asked and answered.

                  And, whatever marginal upgrade in talent swapping Marte for Bruney or Mitre could theoretically provide is countermanded by the fact that neither Bruney nor Mitre provide the tactical advantage of the lefty-lefty matchup. Marte may not be at the top of his game overall, but he’s still death to lefties http://riveraveblues.com/2009/…..ent-624206 and there are several Angels hitters who can’t hit lefties (Vlad: .250/.276/.410, Figgins: .246/.325/.305, GMJ: .221/.323/.384, Mathis: .228/.295/.329)

                  http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-624245

                • MattG

                  Well, that’s a terrible answer. Figgins and Matthews are switch hitters, and Vlad & Mathis are right handed. Also, Matthews and Mathis can’t hit anybody.

                  I don’t see Girardi using Marte as a loogy to get any of those guys out, do you?

              • Mike bk

                tommie you know that isnt going to happen.

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

                  Do we?

              • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

                Whats ur rationale for cervelli over molina? defense, offense, youth?

                • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  All of the above.

                • The Three Amigos

                  You can easily make an argument for all 3.

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

                  Yes.

                • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

                  i think if were abandoning molina as ajs personal catcher then he should go. do we think joes made that decision however, that jorge will start aj?

  • Mike bk

    this premise from some that all damon needs is a day off is lunacy considering in the last week we played 3 games and had 4 days off. and counting games he didnt play (not the dh where he played 1) and days we had off, damon had another 8 days off in september, so his slump is not for lack of rest.

  • yankees=warriors

    Should we be worried about Hughes too? He’s struggled in both the 2 and 3 game. I don’t want any other person to be our set up man, but just say…

    • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

      Meh i think those struggles were kind of flukey. He had two outs in game 2 before the damage started, none of the balls were hit that hard, and he shouldve gotten out of it but through a foolish curveball to punto who couldnt hit his fastball. And last night there was only one hard hit ball. i think he’ll bounce back.

      • yankees=warriors

        I sure hope so. It won’t be that easy to make up for his mistakes when we’re facing the Angels.

    • yankees=warriors

      “saying”…

      • Mike bk

        im more worried that his curve is getting hit and now he is basically a 1 pitch pitcher or at least he was last night and that can be dangerous unless ur Mo.

        • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

          Yeah that is a little worrying…hopefully hel get it straightened out

        • Chris

          He threw 3 curveballs in the series. One was fouled off, one was a single to Joe Mauer, and one was the single by Nick Punto. I think that’s too small a sample size to say his curveball is getting hit, especially considering that Punto’s hit was not hit hard at all. Also, he’s got two pitches even without his curveball – a cutter/slider and a 4 seam fastball.

          I’m not worried about Hughes at all because the Twins weren’t hitting the ball hard. They happened to drop the hits in the right (or wrong) spots. That’s a sign of some bad luck.

          • MattG

            And Punto was all-in on the curve ball. I couldn’t believe they threw him something off-speed after the hack he took on the fastball right before it. A baseball novice could tell he was looking off-speed, and hoping to foul off the heater.

            Plus, with all the high strikes that were called in that game, Punto was dead meat on a fastball at the belt. My blood pressure definitely doubled the second I realized it was a curve ball.

  • Chris P.

    In an ideal situation, I’d like to see the yanks let Matsui go and try and make a trade for Adam Dunn. The guy is a beast and would do great as our DH. Plus he’s at least capable at one of the corners, unlike Matsui.

    As far as Damon, I’m a little concerned as well. Let’s hope the next four days off will do him wonders for whatever is seemingly ailing him.

    • Mike bk

      i would like to make a run at jayson werth if he would take maybe a 3 year deal. he k’s too much, but his walks are solid, d is good and has power and speed.

      • Mike Pop

        One problem – he already signed an extension.

        • Mike bk

          my bad thought i saw him listed as a FA, must have been based on the fact he hadnt signed the two year until early this year.

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

      In an ideal situation, I’d like to see the yanks let Matsui go and try and make a trade for Adam Dunn.

      No. We don’t need to sacrifice young prospects for the Damon-Dunn upgrade. Not worth it.

      If we let Damon walk, it should only be for a suitable FA replacement. This team does not need to trade for anything.

      • Chris P.

        I disagree. I’d be more than willing to give up a Zach Mcallister type for a bat like Dunn’s.

        Furthermore, I do not believe that there is a suitable FA replacement. Bay and Holliday are better players but will both be overpaid to the point that they are not worth the money in my opinion.

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

          The long term benefit of having Zach McAllister for the next 10 years >>>>>>>>>> the short-term upgrade of having Adam Dunn for one year, ESPECIALLY in leftfield

          I LOVED Dunn as the theoretical free agent buy-low DH replacement for Hideki Matsui last winter. I HATE Dunn as the theoretical trade valuable prospects to stick his traveshamockery defense in leftfield option this winter.

          Whatever extra runs he adds over Damon’s bat, he gives ALL of them back on defense. I like Dunn the DH. Hate Dunn the LF. Can tolerate Dunn the LF if all he costs is money. Can’t stand Dunn the LF if he costs money AND prospects.

          Pass.

          • Mike Pop

            And to add

            Using Zach McAllister as a trade candidate for a need down the road >>>>>>>> using him to trade for Adam Dunn which isn’t a need.

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

              That too.

              Johnny Damon, 2009:
              wRAA: +24.5
              OF UZR: -11.2
              WAR: +2.8

              Adam Dunn, 2009:
              wRAA: +35.9
              OF UZR: -22.5
              1B UZR: -13.9
              WAR: +1.1

              Adam Dunn is a great hitter, who would make a fine Yankee DH. I don’t want him ever touching a glove for our team, though.

              • MikeD

                Dunn is a low-average, high strike-out hitter who would be moving to the tougher league and a very tough market in NYC. Can’t field, and there are legit questions about his dedication and focus that have nothing to do with the JP’s comments.

                Not a good fit. If we want a DH-only lefty, bring back Matsui for another year.

                I’m of the mindset to bring back both Damon and Matsui if they’ll take one-year deals.

          • Chris P.

            Fair enough. but I was thinking about a situation where he’d be a primary DH.

            Yes, it’s true that having Z-Mac for ten years is more valuable than having Dunn for one, but you are also making very bold assumptions about Z-mac and his ability in the majors, as well as his health, or anything else that might go wrong.

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

              Oh, okay. The post was Damon-centric, so I glossed over that, but yeah, you were talking about Matsui for Dunn, weren’t you?

              It’s more sensical, but I’ll still pass.

              • Chris P.

                Yea sorry for the confusion. I was saying let Matsui walk, trade for Dunn to be the DH. I definitely agree with you that Dunn can’t be the starting left fielder and only play the field in a fill-in role. I see what you’re saying about not wanting to give up McAllister, but I’d still go ahead with it.

                In regards to Damon, i think the best situation would just be to resign him to a one year deal. I’m not in love with Bay or Holliday (though I personally like Holliday more) for the money they’ll receive.

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

                  Agreed.

                • MikeD

                  Why Dunn over Matsui, especially when we’d have to give up a decent pitching prospect.

                  I do not like Dunn, Sam I am.

      • MattG

        Or a total salary dump. Is it in the realm to keep Damon and look at Bradley?

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

          Milton Bradley sucks. Remove his name from your consciousness.

          • MattG

            We’re talking about a guy with a career 116+.

            Johnny Damon’s is 105.

            • Raf

              we’re also talking about a guy whose own GM told him to just stop showing up. i dont think the (potential) headcase is worth it at all.

              • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                This. Put aside his talent for a moment… I’ll even assume, for purposes of this argument, that Bradley’s talented and might hit very well next year… My answer is still an emphatic “no.”

                This guy’s really a problem. This isn’t speculation – we know that he’s a head-case. Why introduce that kind of player to your clubhouse and rely on him to be a productive member of your team? If you’re the Royals and you need to take damaged goods in order to grab some talent, maybe you consider bringing him in, but we’re talking about the freaking Yankees here. Bradley is entirely too big a risk for the Yankees to take, it makes no sense. Absolutely not.

            • MikeD

              …and hence the problem with OPS+ and all numbers and statistics. You have to dig deeper. Damon just finished with an OPS+ of 123 and has basically been in the 114-118 range in his NY and Boston years, which are for more telling of where he is now as as a player. And, oh yeah, Damon plays all the time, Bradely does not. So not all OPS+’s are created equally. And, of yeah, #2: Bradley is a very tense man, bordering on being a head case. I mean, the dude has attempted to go up to the broadcast booth to confront announcers. Do we really need THAT in the pressure cooker of NY?

              One thing the Yankees used to do in the 90s and got wawy from in the 00s was factoring in player personalities. They recognized that was an issue and have made an effort to also scout the man, not just the talent.

              We do not need Bradley.

  • Mike Pop

    Compared to all the other options, Damon is probably the best to keep based on all the variables. Money/years/production

    • Mike Pop

      Although Mike Cameron is interesting to me.

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

        +44.

        If Damon isn’t going to keep hitting at his pre-September numbers, I’ve got no problem swapping out the final year of his Yankee tenure for a year of Mike Cameron and his vastly superior LF defense.

        • Mike bk

          if cammy is only going to play left then i think werth is a better combination of speed and power than cammy is with good D.

          • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

            is werth a free agent?

            • Mike Pop

              Nope, signed through 2010.

              • Mike bk

                good move by the phils. 7 mil for his production is a sweet deal.

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

            It would probably take a whole lot to trade for Werth.

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

              Exactly.

              Pass.

              • Mike bk

                i brought him up thinking he was a FA not a trade…to expensive to trade for. now lets hope the rays have a brain cramp and dont pick up CC’s option

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

                  It’s all good.

                  Don’t hold your breath on that Carl Crawford deal, though. That’s why Damon (or Cameron) makes sense: they let us kick the can down the road for a year while we wait for Werth or Crawford (or Manny or Dunn) to hit the market after 2010.

                • thurdonpaul

                  ill pass om manny, even if he plays for free, we dont need a player that plays when he feels like it

                • Mike Pop

                  I believe that Manny’s ship has sailed, but I’d still take him to DH.

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

                  ill pass om manny, even if he plays for free, we dont need a player that plays when he feels like it

                  Manny playing hard >>>>> 100% of other baseball players
                  Manny not playing hard >>>>> 95% of other baseball players

      • Accent Shallow

        Mike Cameron terrifies me. He’ll be 37 to start next year, and it’s tough to bet on older players to maintain their plus defensive abilities.

        • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          I’m with you. I didn’t say anything because I’ve voiced my concerns about Cameron in the past and didn’t feel like beating a dead horse, but yeah… I’d not be very excited about adding Cameron, even if for just one season. If Damon/Matsui aren’t options for whatever reason, and Cameron winds up on the roster as a 1 season stop-gap, I wouldn’t be too upset, but I’d like to explore other options before settling for bringing a 37 year old Mike Cameron to the AL East.

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

          Mike Cameron, CF UZR:
          2002: +9.5
          2003: +14.7
          2004: +4.0
          2005: -0.2
          2006: -0.1
          2007: -10.2
          2008: +11.3
          2009: +9.9
          Career: +39.0

          Sure, he’ll probably decline some, but he’s declining from a high plateau. Also, we’d be asking him to man LF, which is significantly easier than manning CF, so whatever decline he experiences may be offset by a lowered degree of difficulty. And, it’s only a one-year stopgap.

          Also:

          Johnny Damon, 2009:
          wRAA: +24.5
          OF UZR: -11.2
          WAR: +2.8

          Mike Cameron, 2009:
          wRAA: +8.8
          OF UZR: +9.9
          WAR: +4.3

          • Mike Pop

            that is how you debate!

            • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              He’s still going to be a 37 year old outfielder with declining offensive numbers and speed, high strikeout numbers and a meh OBP, coming to the AL East. Like I said, I wouldn’t be crying over it, but I’d like to explore other options before settling for Mike Cameron.

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

                Johnny’s still my Plan A.

                Cameron is only a Plan B. I understand your reservations, and they’re valid. That being said, if we decide to not go with Plan A of resigning Johnny because we think this September swoon is the beginning of the end, I’d rather gamble on a year of Cameron than multiple years of Bay or Holliday (at much higher AAV’s to boot), and I’d rather gamble on a year of Cameron than a year of Ankiel, Baldelli, Dye, Erstad, Floyd, Kotsay, Podsednik, Tatis, or Winn.

                • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Yeah I hear you. Like I said, once other options are exhausted, I’m ok with Cameron as a stop-gap. But I’d prefer Damon (if he’d take a palatable contract), and if not I want Cashman to work the phones for a while before settling on Cameron.

              • MikeD

                Agreed. Low average, lots of strike outs. I really didn’t want him this year, and I don’t want Cameron next year.

                Playing in the AL and the AL East against the Red Sox and Tampa Bay pitchers, etc. will also lead to reduced hitting stats. OPS+ and other stats are not all that good at translating between leagues.

                For all we know (or don’t know), Damon is injured and the Yankees do know that, but figure he’s still their better option right now, both in the post season, and for next year.

  • Tank Foster

    If Damon is injured, he should sit, at least a game, for rest. I think in a playoff situation, the manager needs to get in his face and make sure he gets the truth about potential injuries.

    If Damon feels ok, I say you keep him right where he is. Even sucking as he is, he still creates problems for the opposing pitcher, because he takes lots of pitches and is still a power threat, even when slumping. You never know when a slump will end, either.

    I think I would consider giving Gardner an ALCS start, if not for Damon, then for Melky.

  • John D

    Damon is well-rested having had 15 days off over the last 33. He should not be tired or worn out. If he’s hurt, he must be really hurt and hiding it well. Otherwise, let’s just hope this is a slump and that he hit rock bottom last night with the 4 Ks.

    • Tank Foster

      The fact that he sat alot toward the end of the season doesn’t mean he isn’t injured and couldn’t benefit from additional time off…and it’s not so much that I’m saying he needs to sit to rest an injury per se. What I mean is that if he’s injured, the injury is likely behind his slump, and you need to sit him and give another player a chance to excel since he is unable to at the moment. If he’s only slumping, however, it’s different….maybe you keep him in there hoping for him to get out of it soon.

  • SM

    Is it possible that older players wear down later in the season and post season?

    • Mike bk

      that is normally from over play…damon has had PLENTY of rest.

      • SM

        Where are you getting this? he fielding numbers are highest of past couple of years and his PAs are same as last few, yet he is older. There was not a decrease in PAs in Sept either (though maybe a few more extra days due to scheduling).
        Where are you getting this PLENTY from? Did his sleeping patterns change?

    • Mike Pop

      IETC

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

    The decision on whether or not to bring Damon back will certainly be a hard one. You clearly can’t offer him arbitration because of how high his salary is, but if he leaves, getting nothing for him is definitely going to hurt. At the same time, just re-signing him no questions asked isn’t a great strategy.

    • MikeD

      Actually, one strategy has the Yankees almost assuredly offering him arbitration if they want him back. That way, if he does decide to leave, then they get high draft picks. And since the market for corner OFers will be weak again (for the free agents, that is), no team will probably offer what the Yankees will have to pay in arbitration, which means Damon will probably accept the offer. The Yankees won’t care about overpaying on a one-year deal.

  • The Ghost of Scott Brosius

    It may just be a slump, pure and simple. A long slump, but a slump. Statistically he was having an excellent an above average season before this, particularly with his power numbers, and the slump may just be a progression to the mean.

  • Mike bk

    how much of damon’s slump is just that he has become so pull happy? i know he has always been a pull hitter for power, but he would always take the hit the other way when it was there and now he is looking to pull almost everything.

  • BklynJT

    We need the slackers to pick their play up. JD, Swisha, Cano, Melky all need to start hitting. We can’t keep depending on AROD and Jeter to win us another series.

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

      We can’t keep depending on AROD and Jeter to win us another series.

      Eh, we probably could… they’re the balls.

      • ShuutoHeat

        +13*2

    • Tom Zig

      Well in fairness to Swish, we’ve had only 1 game on the road so far…we know how he is as a hitter when playing away from YS.

  • Bill

    Johnny has been awful and needs to step it up. Let’s take a pass on him next year. Johnny, What have you done for me lately?? Answer- absolutely NOTHING….

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

      Yeah, Andy Pettitte, you sucked during the last month of 2008, so FUCK OFF, JERKFACE, DON’T LET THE DOORKNOB HIT YA WHERE THE GOOD LORD SPLIT YA!!!!

      /2008YankeeFans’d

  • ShuutoHeat

    Not to be pessimistic, but I can’t help but feel something is wrong with Damon’s eyesight? Could it be possible?

    Only Damon himself knows. Damon is a soldier though and he’ll play as much as humanly possibly at long as he has the number of limbs needed to run/throw/hit.

    Let’s hope he’s okay and this is just a mini-slump.

  • JG

    i agree damon should be playing better in his contract year. having said that, i still see him getting resigned and also look for him to have a big ALCS. One could only hope because it helps him and the team.

  • Camilo Gerardo – your inception? fuck perception, go with what makes sense

    But we were so close to 1000 runs… Need Holiday!!!! figure a healthy Alex, Abreu/Damon, Mats/Vlad + give X a rehab deal; need to make up for all those theoretical millions that Tabata will save the pirates

  • themgmt

    How does Milton Bradley Suck? Seriously.