Dec
26

All we’re going to talk about is left field

By

Left field. You’re going to be sick of seeing those two words in the next week or so. I’m already nearing that point. With the rotation, the bullpen, and eight ninths of the starting lineup in order, the Yankees have just one area left to address this off-season. It makes sense, then, that we’d discuss that one position far more than the rest. Left field will become a tired topic soon enough.

The names, too, will become boring bullet points by year’s end. We know that the Yankees are looking at Reed Johnson and Mark DeRosa. Because of their 2009 affiliations, Xavier Nady and Johnny Damon will remain in the conversation. Marlon Byrd’s name will come up every once in a while, especially if one or two of the aforementioned four come off the board. And, of course, as long as Jason Bay and Matt Holliday remain on the market, there will be some chance, no matter how small, that the Yankees remain players.

Then there are those who want none of the above, thinking that Brett Gardner can be the starting left fielder. I’ve addressed the Gardner point before, noting that while he had a useful year in 2009, it’s tough to project his next season. In order to be effective, Gardner needs to be on the base paths. Can a slap hitter with no power maintain a respectable walk rate? It’s possible, but I wouldn’t bank on it. Hence, the focus on left field as a position to — not upgrade, per se, but enhance.

I think that last point is worth reinforcing. Many of the Yankees numerati want to see the Yanks hand Gardner the job. We’ve linked to a few of those recently, and Will Moller of IIATMS recently added his own take. I do think, though, that the Gardner point gets overstated. The Yankees are not looking for someone to take the job from Gardner. Rather, they’re looking for someone to enhance their options at the position. This is why I think that DeRosa isn’t an optimal fit, but someone like Nady or Reed Johnson might be.

The Yankees feature above average offensive players at every position. They can stand to get average production out of left field. What they don’t want, of course, is to get below average production from that position. Their offense can probably absorb a void out there, but it’s not optimal for a championship team. Adding a player like Johnson or Nady to the fray provides the Yankees another look in left field — a right-handed bat among a lefty-heavy lineup, and insurance against a Gardner let down.

Signing Johnson or Nady not only enhances left field with another option, but it also addresses the bench. As we’ve learned the past few years, as we get closer to Spring Training the bench becomes a more prominent discussion topic. Maybe the Yanks can already have a decent one in place by the time that discussion arises.

Categories : Hot Stove League
  • http://thebronxbloggers.wordpress.com Bronx Blogger

    How much money could Nady command? What’s the status on his arm and rehab? He could be a great addition is he’s healthy.

  • brooklyn ed

    probably has another trade in place, someone like ross or willingham.

    • Section 39

      I wouldn’t mind Willingham, but Ross I don’t like. He just doesn’t get on base enough for me. I know he’d be at the bottom of the order, but other than power, why would we go with Ross over Gardner? Average/OBP about the same, but defense would be significantly better with Gardner over Ross.

      Willingham, on the other hand, has good offensive stats including decent average + OBP. 20HR power, but again, isn’t the best defender.

      With our current offensive power, I think we should favor defense over offense right now.

    • Lanny

      If you think Damon is a bad glove in left you havent seen Willingham.

  • Section 39

    I really think Nady could be signed with the same deal Nick Johnson got. Same incentives with PAs as well. I think he is the best option, other than a reasonable Damon contract, at this point. Although Reed Johnson is great against LHP, he is really better suited off the bench or in a platoon situation with Granderson. He really shouldn’t be the solution to LF position. I actually think both would be an excellent option. You would probably lose out on Jamie Hoffman though so you have to weigh that in. If I had to choose, I’d take Nady over Reed, but I think both would be a good option.

    • Rob

      Granderson needs no platoon. Check his numbers against LHP outside of Comerica. In YS 2.0, he’s going to crush.

      • Section 39

        His career splits:

        I
        Split
        G
        GS
        PA
        AB
        R
        H
        2B
        3B
        HR
        RBI
        SB
        CS
        BB
        SO
        BA
        OBP
        SLG
        OPS

        vs RHP as LH
        618

        2211
        1960

        572
        102
        51
        86
        245
        44
        11
        229
        449
        .292
        .367
        .528
        .894

        vs LHP as LH
        305

        685
        619

        130
        23
        6
        16
        54
        3
        0
        45
        169
        .210
        .270
        .344
        .614

        Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original TableGenerated 12/26/2009.

        • Section 39

          Didn’t copy well, but just follow the link. The park had NOTHING to do with it. He just doesn’t hit LHP well. An 80 pt difference in AVG and a 100 pt difference in OBP is not because of a park.

          • Zack

            You’re graph doesnt counter his argument; he says Granderson’s numbers against LHP are better outside Comerica than inside. Your table just shows splits for H/A and R/L but doesnt show him against LHP during away games

          • Rob

            You’re wrong:

            At Comerica:
            vs. LHP – .179 .231 .259 = .490 OPS
            vs. RHP – .285 .365 .510 = .875 OPS

            On the road:
            vs. LHP – .239 .306 .425 = .731 OPS
            vs. RHP – .298 .369 .545 = .914 OPS

            Like I said, he’s not a platoon player. And he’s going to crush in YS 2.0.

            • emac2

              It’s amazing how the same stat can have the opposite meaning to different people.

              • Rob

                He didn’t see this double split. This stat is clear.

                Granderson can hit LHP.

                End of story.

                • Evil Empire

                  Interesting.

                • Section 39

                  Either you are blind or just have a poor understanding of stats. Taking your stats on from the road, HOW DO YOU SEE THAT HE DOES WELL VERSUS LHP? According to your own stats, he hits .239!!! WTF? Are you crazy? Is that supposed to be good? Furthermore, his OBP is .306 — AGAIN, NOT GOOD. Sure, its better than at Comerica, but still terrible vs LHP. He was just worse at Comerica.

                  The best way to look at a split is the difference between the two split items. He still has close to a 60pt difference in both AVG and OBP away from Comerica. THAT IS NOT GOOD.

                  He doesn’t necessarily “need” a platoon, but since Reed Johnson hits LHP very well, he would be useful.

                  Now that I have cleared up your ridiculous assessment of your own stats, to use your own words, END OF STORY…

                • Rob

                  Ummm, he still gets his HR’s. He’s going to cleean up at YS. Mark my words.

                • Section 39

                  I must have missed where I said he wouldn’t hit the crap out of the ball and get his HR. The entire discussion above is about his ability to hit LHP. I assure you he will still have the same trouble at YS hitting LHP that he has had his entire career. I’m not saying he won’t put up excellent numbers, but just not against LHP.

                  There is no “need” for a platoon with Granderson, but having someone who can hit LHP that could give him a day off, wouldn’t be a bad thing.

                • Rob

                  I assure you that he’ll hit north of .750 against LHP on the year, especially because of YS. And that’s not one bit of a concern or problem.

                  Like I said, he’s not a platoon player. And he’s going to crush in YS 2.0 and including against LHP.

                • Section 39

                  You can “assure me” all you want, his career stats say otherwise. He will crush RHP for sure, but he will continue to struggle vs LHP.

                  You can drop the “he’s not a platoon player” anytime since nobody on this entire thread has called Granderson a platoon player. I called Reed Johnson a platoon player and someone who can come off the bench and give Granderson a day off against LHP (who he still can’t hit regardless of your baseless assurances).

                • Rob

                  You were the person who introduced the word platoon and specifically in reference to Granderson. And surely you know what the word platoon means in baseball history?

                  Section 39 says:
                  December 26th, 2009 at 11:46 am

                  I really think Nady could be signed with the same deal Nick Johnson got. Same incentives with PAs as well. I think he is the best option, other than a reasonable Damon contract, at this point. Although Reed Johnson is great against LHP, he is really better suited off the bench or in a platoon situation with Granderson.

                  Then you proceed to defend the platoon notion with misleading stats.

                  Section 39 says:
                  December 26th, 2009 at 11:57 am

                  Didn’t copy well, but just follow the link. The park had NOTHING to do with it. He just doesn’t hit LHP well.

                  Really, “NOTHING to do with it”? What part of these career splits don’t you understand?:

                  Curtis Granderson’s career -

                  At Comerica:
                  vs. LHP – .179 .231 .259 = .490 OPS
                  vs. RHP – .285 .365 .510 = .875 OPS

                  On the road:
                  vs. LHP – .239 .306 .425 = .731 OPS
                  vs. RHP – .298 .369 .545 = .914 OPS

                  And that’s how you format a table! :)

                  Suffice it to say, his career stats show he won’t struggle against LHP, unless by “struggle” you mean to do better than the Yanks have gotten from CF over the last three years. And of course, even that definition would ignore what YS 2.0 will do for his swing.

                  Granderson’s a stud. Bank. On. It.

                • jesse

                  Guys take your stats with you to the bathroom and use it there. Let the guy play and see what he does here. Once you put on a Yankee uniform everything is different plus our lineup is already good, so relax and enjoy the season

            • Zack

              Do you have a link for that?

            • A.D.

              Um 239/396/425 isn’t “crushing” it still kinda sucks, albeit much better than the Comerica numbers.

              Also its YS3

              • Rob

                That’s better than they’ve gotten from CF full-time over the last three years.

                And sorry, but it’s 2.0. The 78 version is 1.5. :)

              • Rob

                FWIW: I did say crush “in” YS 2.0. And he will. Against LHP, less so, but I’m willing to bet $50 it’s > .730 OPS with that short porch.

                Just watch. Granderson is going to have a huge – > .900 OPS – season.

                • Evil Empire

                  I’d be completely happy with a .850 OPS. If Grandy can OPS .900 then this team will be unbelievable.

  • Rob

    not upgrade, per se, but enhance.

    Wouldn’t Vlad enhance the options? Maybe he shows a resurgence with less playing time – say 50-75 games. Plan to start him in LF against LHP. Otherwise he’s a pinch hitter for Gardner. That’s maybe 200-250 ABs. If he shows he’s healthy, then you play him more.

    As for cost, is he really going to get more than $3 million? Give him that as base and with incentives.

    • http://thebronxbloggers.wordpress.com Bronx Blogger

      How can Vlad play LF if he can barely run?

      • Rob

        The question is whether he’ll get healthy with less playing time. For a few million, I’m willing to test that question.

    • Johan Iz My Brohan

      Vlad may be a pinch hitter for Gardner, but Gardner would have to pinch run for Vlad, which would not be possible.

      Vlad’s best years are long gone, I would rather have Matsui than Vlad any day of the week, and Matsui may be done too.

      • Rob

        Hoffman would go in for Vlad.

        Vlad may be half the cost of Matsui. And Vlad would come with the expectation of limited playing time.

        Again, I’m responding to “enahce” not “upgrade”. 200-250 ABs from Vlad could very easily enhance the OF photo.

    • Section 39

      Vlad can’t play in the field anymore. He is a DH only. He got he knees busted last year just as a DH. He’s worse than Matsui with his knees.

      • Rob

        The question is: Can he play LF for 50 games? I think he can.

        • Section 39

          What is the point of signing someone to play 50 games in LF? Are you serious? That is a complete waste of a roster spot. Won’t happen.

          Vlad played 100 games as a DH last year and still got hurt. He will command similar money as Matsui and be worse. He is no longer an OF — he shouldn’t even be in the discussion.

        • Ed

          The Yankees let Matsui go because they were worried he wouldn’t hold up enough. The Angels replaced Vlad with Matsui because they felt Matsui would hold up better. Now you want the Yankees to replace add Vlad in a more demanding role than Matsui had?

          • Rob

            Less demanding = few games. Plan to play him for 50-75 games and pay him half what you would have Matsui.

            Again, the goal is enhance, not upgrade.

            • Section 39

              You are not “enchancing” anything by signing Vlad to play 50 games. Forget 75, he couldn’t do 100 as a DH so he’s not going to pull off 75 in LF. Also, again with the ridiculous comments, where do you get the idea he will sign for half of Matsui? You think Vlad is going to take 3.5 million/yr? YOU’RE CRAZY! He will get what Matsui got easily. He just needs to find a team in a need of a DH — which won’t be the Yanks.

        • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          You’re not listening to the counter-argument, which is more persuasive than wondering whether he can play LF with the assumption, unsupported by any reasoning or evidence, being that he can.

          In 2009, Guerrero played 16 innings in right field. 16 innings. Let that roll around your head a bit. He also appeared in 93 games as the DH.

          With THAT usage… Only 16 innings in the field and 93 games as the DH, the man had knee problems and looked like he could barely run to first base by the end of the season.

          Can he play left field (keep in mind the man’s never stood in center field in MLB) for 50 games in 2010? No. There is no reason to think he can do that, or that it would be beneficial for the Yankees to try it.

          • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            “Can he play left field (keep in mind the man’s never stood in center left field in MLB) for 50 games in 2010? No.”

            (fixed)

          • Rob

            Again, it’s small risk and one they can easily afford. I know I’d rather they pay $3M to Vlad than $1 or 2M to Reed Johnson or Eric Hinske.

            Speaking of which, Hinske would have gotten about 250 ABs over a full season. I’d be happy to see Vlad get those.

            • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Splits vs. LHP

              2009
              Guerrero:
              .250/.276/.410/.686
              Johnson:
              .324/.403./500/.903

              2008
              Guerrero:
              .286/.355/.471/.826
              Johnson:
              .333/.399/.449/.848

              I wouldn’t be so sure paying Vlad double what you could pay Reed Johnson (per your numbers) is the better bet. Don’t be seduced by the name, look at who the player is today and what they will bring to the table in 2010. Vlad might not (I’d argue he probably won’t) hit as well as Reed Johnson against lefties in 2010, and he definitely won’t play the outfield as well as Johnson or have the same probability of staying healthy so he can help the team.

              • Evil Empire

                Debate = finished

              • Rob

                The names comes with a reason. And he’s still relatively young. I would not bet against him still having a great bat.

                People thought Sheffield was finished too. And he’s been reasonably productive in limited playing time.

                Reed Johnson has no upside. Vlad may just have something left. I’d rather take that chance.

                • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  So… You just have your opinion, and this opinion can’t be changed or reconsidered even if you are presented with a well-supported and convincing counter-argument.

                  That’s cool and that’s your prerogative, but let’s just get that out in the open and save everyone the time it takes to reply to you and try to have a conversation about this stuff.

                  You think Vlad Guerrero will be more valuable in 2010, in 50 games at a position that he has never played, when we have reason to believe (based on recent experience/evidence) that his body won’t hold up under that kind of stress, than a healthy Reed Johnson would be over the course of a season as a platoon for left-field and center-field, at positions he fields well, when he will be asked to face mostly left-handed pitching, which the record shows he hits well and has hit better in recent seasons than has Vlad Guerrero.

                  And you believe all of that because… You know, he’s Vlad Guerrero.

                  (Sorry I wasted my time bothering with this conversation.)

                • Evil Empire

                  Vlad will be playing his age 35 season in 2010. He is not “relatively young”. Vlad is ready to fall off a cliff, and he’s a full time DH – which we already have.

                  Vlad was and is a unique specimen of a baseball player. He cannot be compared to other players, he’s got his own special niche. And right now, with the way his body is built and those heavily worn down knees, he’s close to being DONE.

                • Rob

                  It all comes down to price. If Abreu signed for $5 million plus incentives last year, then someone perceived only as a DH (and coming off a injured year) could only get $3M – I’m thinking Thome too (but for other teams b/c of NJ). Heck if Jermaine Dye comes down to $4M, I say sign him. He crushes LHP and he could occasionally start in LF/RF.

                  It all depends on what the market bears. If some of these OF/DH/1B want to continue to play their only choice may be a cheap contract, on a part-time basis, or to retire. Thome did it last year. It could easily be Dye and Vlad this year. In limited playing time I’m willing to see what the Yanks could get. It’s an easy risk and potentially a decent upside. And Vlad or Dye could see how the Yanks kept Matsui healthy and productive and think the same could work for them.

                  It’s a small price for possibly decent options…if $3-4M is the price.

    • Lanny

      Vlad is strictly a DH at this point. He’ll sign in Texas.

  • Colin Curtis

    Yo, since ma boi Austin Jackson is out, why don’t cha’ll look at me. I be raping sum bitchez in Winter Ball yo.

    • Rob

      Eric Duncan was a serial killer in the AFL. Get back to us when you OPS .750 in AAA.

  • themgmt

    The Yankees aren’t doing anything with LF.

    Book it.

  • Mo

    My LF choices:
    1. Holliday (dream)
    2. Damon (1 year)
    3. Cust 30+ HR, 100 BB, NJ Boy, LH in YS3 (takes Hinske’s roster spot)
    4. Conor Jackson trade propsal: Gardner, Miranda, Boone Logan for CoJo and Clay Zavada and his stache
    5. Chase Headly (trade) LF/3B, check out his road splits
    6. DeRosa (1 year)
    7. Cody Ross (trade)
    8. Willingham (trade)
    9. Rajai Davis (trade) platoon w/ Gardner

    NOT INTERESTED
    Reed Johnson
    Jermaine Dye
    Jonny Gomes
    Jason Bay
    David DeJesus
    Marlon Byrd
    Randy Wynn

    • Mo

      plenty of choices, some FA, some trades, some expensive, some cheap, all flawed. Thoughts? Additions, Subtractions, Preferences?

      • http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090810&content_id=6355462&vkey=news_nyy&fext=.jsp&c_id=nyy JobaWockeeZ

        I’d take DeRosa off even if it is a cheap deal. His defense is overrated by his versatility providing a very minimal upgrade than Gardner with his bat.

        • Free Mike Vick

          What do you mean overrated??

          his UZR #s in the OF are GREAT. and you could stick him in the IF and be fine aswell.

          not sure what you mean by “overrated”.

    • Rob

      After Vlad I was looking at Cust.

      No chance they’ll get Headly cheap.

      Honestly if it’s not a big potential bat like Vlad or Cust, I’ve got no problem with Gardner in CF, Granderson in LF and Reed Johnson and Hoffman getting spot starts.

      • Evil Empire

        Vlad is cooked, he is not a big potential bat nor is he an outfielder. He’s an over-glorified DH and I want the Yankees to have nothing to do with him, which they won’t since they have the far superior Nick Johnson as designated hitter.

        Jack Cust is a shitty defensive left fielder on the wrong side of thirty with an OPS trending downward for 3 straight years. Do not want.

        Johnny Damon, Reed Johnson, Xavier Nady, Mark DeRosa, and Jonny Gomes are the free agent names that seem worth considering IMHO.

        • Evil Empire

          and Marlon Byrd

      • Lanny

        Cust in the field??

        One of the worst fielders in the game. If you think Damon is bad you havent seen anything til you see Cust daily.

      • jesse

        The only way Gardner starts in center is if he plays for the Trenton Thunder, over Granderson are you kidding. Gardner can’t hit his way out of a paper bag.

    • A.D.

      Cust is an atrocious fielder so I doubt the Yanks sign him

      Headly probably isn’t really available, aka Padres would have to be overwhelmed. Same with Conor Jackson, Willingham, Ross, and Davis.

    • bkight13

      If Rocco Baldelli is healthy, he could be worth a look. As a RH he hits lefties well and plays good defense. He would get plenty of rest platooning with Gardner and would be very affordable

      • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

        Baldelli has a rare, neuromuscular disease that has no known cure. Being healthy is not an option. He hasn’t played 100 games since 2004 and because of his disease, there’s no way to accurately predict when he’s able to play. Basically, it’s not just tiredness, it’s that his muscles begin to burn, then cramp, sometimes after light exercise.

        I give a lot of credit to his toughness and character, but it doesn’t make him a good option.

  • CB

    Many of the Yankees numerati want to see the Yanks hand Gardner the job.

    Next year Gardner projects to put up a .699 OPS.

    A .699 OPS in LF would be one of the worst rates of production in all of baseball.

    The disconnect between how hard some of the “numerati” are pushing for Gardner and what his projections actually say has been very curious.

    A number of commentators keep referencing that hot streak Gardner had before breaking his thumb for instance and are arguing that this hot streak speaks more to Gardner’s “true talent” than the beginning or end of the season when he was terrible to marginal.

    For most other players, many of these commentators would otherwise laugh off such suggestions due to small sample sizes. Similarly, what was Brett Gardner’s BABIP during that hot streak? Was it sustainable even if he hadn’t broken his thumb? I haven’t seen this analysis.

    Same thing for his glove. People are arguing that he’ll essentially create as much if not more value with his glove than Franklin Guittierez off an inordinately small sample and based on a statistic with tremendous variability to it. It’s a huge assumption to think that Gardner defensively is the next coming of Andru Jones in his prime but that’s the kind value many are implicitly attributing to Gardner.

    The benefit of the doubt Gardner – a player with very marginal tools outside of his legs – has received has been puzzling.

    • Pasqua

      And even his legs were getting him into some trouble at the end of the year.

    • Mo

      In 8 of my 9 proposed choices Gardner would remain as a 4th OF defensive replacement and PR

    • Zack

      “Next year Gardner projects to put up a .699 OPS.”
      Just curious, whered you get that from?

      “Similarly, what was Brett Gardner’s BABIP during that hot streak? Was it sustainable even if he hadn’t broken his thumb? I haven’t seen this analysis. ”
      When he was hitting good his BABIP was around .340, when he was cold it was around .270 and .280; for reference his BABIP in the minors was never less than .330

      • Zack

        I’m not saying I want Gardner is LF, just answering one of your questions

        • Zack
          • CB

            I am aware that BABIP is available by month on Baseball Reference. Let me clarify – it was a rhetorical question more wondering why such information isn’t more rigorously discussed and integrated in the context of Gardner’s .900+ months.

            • Zack

              Is LD% and stuff measured anywhere on a month-by-month basis?

              • CB

                This is the best source of that kind of data that I’m familiar with:

                http://pitchfx.texasleaguers.com/

                It doesn’t exactly aggregate LD% by month but it will give you LD outs %, Fly ball outs %, ground ball outs% by month and then also give you the distribution of hits separately.

                Texasleaguers.com is a fantastic site. Along with Jeff Lefkowitz’s site, it’s arguably the best source of pitch f/x and batted ball data available right now. It was great that those two sites came on line after Josh Kalk took all of his stuff down.

                • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

                  Great link. Thanks, CB!

                • Joe Lefkowitz

                  ahh! it’s Joe Lefkowitz, but thanks for the kind words otherwise. btw, my site’s at:
                  http://www.video-moments.com/joe – I’m still working on it right now so if you have any suggestions, please shoot me an email.

        • CB

          Just curious, whered you get that from?

          That’s Gardner’s CAIRO projection:

          http://www.replacementlevel.co.....er_23_2009

          When he was hitting good his BABIP was around .340, when he was cold it was around .270 and .280; for reference his BABIP in the minors was never less than .330

          I appreciate the comment, but that wasn’t the kind of analysis I was referring to. By analysis I was referring not only to citing of the statistic – I was also referring to an interpretation and commentary on those statistics. I’ve seen a number of articles discussing Gardner’s “hot streak” without much analysis for what that might be. Compare that to say how many of the “numerati” interpreted Austin Jackson’s entire season at AAA.

          There have been many comments related to Gardner putting up a .900 OPS in May and June (total of 120 PA) and these figures are used to suggest that Gardner’s “true talent” is far higher than his aggregate statistics. But as part and parcel of looking at this kind of small sample it would make sense to consider what his BABIP was, why that may have gone up (higher LD rate, etc?), etc. That’s the kind of analysis I personally haven’t seen much of. But with Gardner some people have often wanted to find positives and stop their analysis there. And it’s strange because many of those same commentators would be unlikely to give other players a similar benefit of the doubt.

          • emac2

            What is the value in discussion of specific stats in hot streaks?

            This is a player whose major league career is still a very small smaple and you think we are going to learn more by breaking it into even smaller sample sizes?

            I think there would be far more value in looking at his entire professional career and looking for trends there instead of looking for significance in any 50 at bat subset of a players first 500 MLB at bats.

            Any discussion of stats that ignores the value of his speed is also simply useless. Most MLB players aren’t very good if you remove/ignore their best tool.

            • CB

              What is the value in discussion of specific stats in hot streaks?

              I agree with that. I was referring to the fact that part of the “evidence” cited for why Garnder should be the starter in LF next year was that he put up a .900 OPS in May and June before breaking his thumb.

              Using 120 PA as evidence that Gardner should be the starting LF while ignoring the rest of his PA’s for the season could easily be an instance “cherry picking.”

              Most MLB players aren’t very good if you remove/ignore their best tool.

              Not all tools have equivalent value, so that would depend on the player and the tool.

              • emac2

                “I agree with that. I was referring to the fact that part of the “evidence” cited for why Garnder should be the starter in LF next year was that he put up a .900 OPS in May and June before breaking his thumb.”

                Do you think there is a group here that expects anything close to a 900 OPS for Gardner? I would expect that those statements were in dispute of statements that most people make saying that he can’t hit as well as Melky.

                “”Most MLB players aren’t very good if you remove/ignore their best tool.”

                Not all tools have equivalent value, so that would depend on the player and the tool.”

                What does that mean? Are you saying there are a lot of players who would still be very good if their best tool wasn’t given any comparative value against other players?

          • Zack

            “That’s Gardner’s CAIRO projection:”
            “But with Gardner some people have often wanted to find positives and stop their analysis there”

            So using the lowest possible projection you could find probably isnt the fairest analysis either right?

            “But as part and parcel of looking at this kind of small sample it would make sense to consider what his BABIP was, why that may have gone up (higher LD rate, etc?), etc.”

            To be honest I have no desire to break down all those stats for each of his months. I’ll just say that if his BABIP for those PA mirrored his BABIP during his time in the minors then I’m going to make an education guess that it means his LD% and everything was close to equal to his time in the minors, because that seems only logical; and maybe his first 59 ABs this year was just a SSS and his performance after injury was hampered.

            Gardner had a good 120 ABs, and bad ~170 ABs this year; both are SSS and its unfair to judge him on either one. Do I want a better LF? Sure, but I can also live with Gardner for a few months and Cashman making a deal if necessary, because I think it’s fair to say that if they’re not in 1st place or whatever it’s not going to be because of Brett Gardner.

            • CB

              So using the lowest possible projection you could find probably isnt the fairest analysis either right?

              Not at all. CAIRO projections are just very well done. SG’s work over at Replacement level is terrific. And CAIRO is particularly interesting for the Yanks because SG is very familiar with the team.

              I wasn’t trying to make an exhaustive comment on all projections for Gardner. And as it not all projection data is out yet. But for comparison CHONE projections have Gardner as a .726 OPS player and ZIPS has him as a .708 OPS player. Anyway you cut it Gardner’s projections are poor.

              Gardner had a good 120 ABs, and bad ~170 ABs this year; both are SSS and its unfair to judge him on either one.

              I agree with that. And I don’t think you can discuss one without the other.

              • Evil Empire

                Gardner can get away with a shitty OPS if his OBP is carrying a lot of it. Honestly, I don’t give a fuck whatsoever what Gardner SLGs, its all about the OBP for him due to his speed. If he can get on base 34% of the time and play an above average CF or an outstanding LF, then he’ll be worth the roster spot.

                But can he even OBP .340? I kind of doubt it. I’d like to see an upgrade.

              • Zack

                “And I don’t think you can discuss one without the other.”

                Agreed

      • emac2

        You would be amazed at the stats available if one only reaches around to his rear end.

    • Joseph M

      Excellent job CB. I’ll tell you what Gardner isn’t, he’s not a fulltime player, he is not a platoon player, hes is a player who if spotted properly can help a team. Pinch run, defensive replacement, filling in for a slumping outfielder for a couple of days. That’s it.

    • Lanny

      Gardner is as realistic a starting OF as Bubba Crosby was.

    • jesse

      Let me guess would 1 of those commentators be the never played baseball in my life michael kay?

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    The Yankees will be adding someone, I’m sure. The projected 25 man roster only has 4 outfielders on it. Those four being Granderson, Swisher, Gardner and Hoffman. Hoffman is an unknown quantity, they have no idea what kind of production they will get from him. If they want to give Gardner the job, fine. But, you need an experienced player backing him up on the bench. Maybe, say, someone who will be recovering from an injury early in the season, and someone who can take over for him when, not if, he struggles. That’s why I, Andy From Sunny Daytona, from the great state of Florida, nominate Xavier Nady the 6th, for that player.

    XNIV in MMX

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Dammit, wrong slogan.

      XNVI in MMX.

      Last thing we need is his grandfather playing for the Yankees.

      • ColoYank

        Sure you don’t mean “XXVIII in MMX”?

        Unless I’m completely misinterpreting what you’re trying to say …

        • Evil Empire

          XNVI = Xavier Nady the 6th

  • Pasqua

    If Nady is re-signed and is able to play, doesn’t he probably get the LF job outright? He doesn’t strike me as a platoon player, while a guy like Reed Johnson certainly does.

  • ADam

    If Cash can trade Mitre and Gaudin for couple of Grounds crew members and free up a little $$$ maybe he can go give De Rosa a Nick Johnson like contract??

    De Rosa is #1 on my list for LF – Gritty, versatile, can badt really anywhere in the lineup. I think he would fit perfect.

    If the can squeeze Nady… great… he’d be my # 2 choice.

    • Zack

      I think it’s been confirmed that DeRosa has a 2yr/12m offer from SF, so regardless what DeRosa says about winning Yanks are probably going to have to match that.

      • ADam

        Heard that too… Regardless, if Nady is cheap but not avail until Mid May… Fine, Id give him the job.. if hes cheap of course..

        • Mo

          Nady’s elbow is so suspect he may have to play first Mets are interested as a Murphy platoon at 1b

    • Pasqua

      DeRosa’s “grit” projections are off the charts for 2010.

  • Mo

    I think Cust can be a tremendous Yankee Stadium weapon. I know how much he K’s. but he can destroy the RF porch. Also his 100 BB will be much better than Cano and Melky swinging at the first pitch EVERY at bat. Cust can play LF, RF, DH he is Swisher-lite.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Melky’s gone. Leave him alone.

    • A.D.

      Cust can play LF, RF, DH he is Swisher-lite.

      Cust is a terrible defensive player in the outfield as seen by defensive metrics, “eyes”, scouting, and the fact the A’s rarely played him in the field. So he can be put out in the outfield, but isn’t going to be something they want as a regualar option. He is a far worse outfielder than Swisher.

      • Mo

        if he is signed gardner can be a defensive replacement for Cust. And we are hoping with crossed finger that NJ stays healthy at DH

        • emac2

          you can’t ignore defense for the first 8 innings of every game.

  • King

    LF is a problem that won’t go away with an easy fix or a cheap one either.

    The Yankees need to pony up and deal for Matt Kemp.

    Kemp would be costly is prospects and/or young players such as Hughes or Joba but it’s worth it.

    The reason it’s worth it is he’s the type of OF Cashman is looking for who’s very young and athletic. His game is dynamic with plenty of SB as well as having power. He’s on the verge of being a 30/30 man and in the near future 40/40 isn’t out of the realm either.

    He’s cheap and would fit the 2010 budget. Kemp would be a major part of the present as well as the future as he just turned 25.

    This is the way to go even at the cost because not only does it make the Yankees better in 2010 but because it allows the Yankees to spend money in FA next off-season.

    Many think that the Yankees are going to spend like they did last winter but that kind of money isn’t coming off the books. I see people already plugging Lee and Crawford as the #2 and LF for 2011. But that’s going to cost about a $35m+ per year to sign those 2.

    That’s just not going to happen. If Javy does good this year they will look to bring him back and as long as Pettitte is productive they will look to bring him on a 1 year deal again and again.

    By trading Hughes or Joba and most likely another for Matt Kemp it will give more money to spend on FA pitching instead of signing Carl Crawfod to play LF.

    The reason it’s worth it is because is because we are talking about the void in the 5th spot. Sure the upside of those guys traded is that of a front of the rotation starter but there is no guarantee that they will ever come close to there potential and the Yankees have plenty of guys and prospects over the next couple of years to be at least decent #5 starters.

    • Evil Empire

      Hmm.

      What you are proposing is epic, but is doesn’t necessarily seem crazy. I love Matt Kemp – superstar in the making – and hell, he sure would shore up the outfield.

      He’s is worth a package centered around one of Joba or Hughes, I’d like to see what other people have to say about this.

      Can’t see this actually happening in reality too. I bet Dodgers would demand Montero and more in addition to Joba or Hughes. Kemp is more of a proven commodity.

    • Mo

      LA wouldn’t trade Kemp. I would trade Joba for Kemp so fast his head would spin. How about Joba and Romine for Kemp?

      • Neil B.

        Still wouldn’t fetch Kemp from the Dodgers, in all likelihood (as Evil Empire pointed out, he’s already a proven commodity and still hasn’t reached his ceiling), especially because the Dodgers already have Russell Martin and don’t have as much of a need for Austin Romine. Besides, for the Yankees that would just shift their hole from LF to C after next season, when Jorge probably won’t be playing catcher every day.

    • http://www.retire21.org Mike R. – Retire 21

      What makes you believe Kemp is available?

    • Pasqua

      LF is not “a problem that won’t go away.” It is currently their weakest position, but when you look at the rest of the team, it’s probably a “problem” that can be absorbed.

  • Mo

    How about pitching to the bottom of the order Johnson, Swisher, Cust. How many pitchers would a starter go through twice a game facing them? If it they didn’t produce runs they would wear pitchers down for the rest.

    • Lanny

      Strike out pitchers would lick their lips waiting to feast on Granderson, Swisher, Cust.

  • hakeem’s reasoning is compromized

    Whens all’s said and done
    Can we repeat?
    Do we have what is takes to repeat?
    How long more do I still have to wait?
    How long will GOD continue to close?
    Will Jeter buy the yankees?
    Does Alex really need Kate?
    Is AJ on drugs?
    Is Brian laughing?
    Is billy crstal really bad luck?
    Can big poopi be as good as last year?
    And lastly but not the least, who’s playing lf?

  • YankFanDave

    How’s this for a pool to pick from (elias’ rating):
    Johnny Damon (A) – probably priced himself out
    Jermaine Dye (A) – see above
    Mark DeRosa (B) – would add infield depth as well
    Marlon Byrd (B) – I like him, but most don’t
    Vladimir Guerrero (B) – too fragile
    Randy Winn (B) – interesting for 1 year
    Brian Giles (B) – hmmm, nahhh
    ?Xavier Nady – risky
    Rick Ankiel? – intriguing
    Jerry Hairston Jr.? – see DeRosa above
    Ryan Church? – not bad for 1 year
    Jonny Gomes – good bat, bad glove
    Jack Cust – see above

    Reed doesn’t cut the mustard and as much as I like Gardner, as Yogi would say “It’s deja vu all over again” — remember Bubba.

  • Evil Empire

    Not even a big fan of the guy, but Marlon Byrd would be a good fit for LF if the market dropped on him enough that we could get him on a 1 year deal.

    He’ll put up an almost identical performance to what Melky would’ve done; league average hitting and above average defense in a corner spot.

  • Bill O

    Gardner can start in LF his defense and speed make up for the fact that he has no power, but we need a lot of depth. I’d sign Reed Johnson and either Hinske or Tatis. I’d also make a trade with the Dodgers to keep Hoffmann and not have to keep him on the 25-man roster, so we could put him in AAA and basically he’d be an extra OF in case of an injury.

    Johnson is great against lefties and would start in place of Gardner in those games. He is also a fantastic defender. Hinkse or Tatis provide a veteran league average offensive presence and some power off the bench. Essentially they’d be pinch hitting options and insurance in case Gardner can’t cut it or in case someone else needs a day off against a right handed pitcher.

    • Lanny

      tatis?

      Why?

  • dch

    Man we are spoiled as Yankee fans-We already have Murderer’s Row Redux and we are worried about the LF/probable 9th batter.

    1st choice- Damon 1 year contract
    2nd choice- Gardner
    3rd choice-do nothing wait for spring training see how everything shakes out

    We don’t have to worry guys-all we need is an average hitting LF-hell we could have a slightly less than average hitter and if he is a plus fielder it doesn’t matter

    • Evil Empire

      Agreed. But the Yankees are set everywhere else and have a bit of wiggle room, so why not pull of an upgrade if you can manage?

      Personally, Damon -even on a manageable 2 year deal – is what I’d most like to see that is in the realm of possibility.

    • V Squared

      “IF” Damon is willing to sign a one year deal that would be the route I would like to see the Yankees take.

    • Neil B.

      Isn’t option 2 the same as option 3?

      • dch

        Similar. Option 2 is we go with Gardner for a few months/the whole season and as long as he give us average-slightly below average batting stats/steals and good fielding we don’t care.

        Option 3 maybe someone absolutely wows us in spring training either a minor leaguer or an invitee or something happens like Tampa Bay tries to get rid of Crawford because they know they can’t resign him-not likely but possible

  • Josh

    Why not trade with the LAA for Juan Rivera? He fits the budget making $4.25 million next year and hada good year and has played for NYY before. Plus the LAA have too many outfielders.

    • Zack

      Trading Rivera means they would have to play GMJ full-time, they’re not doing that.

      • bkight13

        They also have Reggie Willits and we could send Hoffamn or Gardner back in the deal.

        • Zack

          How does replacing Juan Rivera with Reggie Willits or Hoffamn/Gardner make the Angels better?
          Seattle just leapfrogged them in the division and Texas is also improving, they arent rebuilding or selling.

    • bkight13

      We already brought Nick and Javy back, I like it. They have Rivera, Hunter and Abreu, with Matsui and Matthews on the bench/DH. I’m not real familiar with their minor OFers, but they might be intersted in some pitching.

      • Josh

        Maybe Melancon and another guy for Rivera?

        • Lanny

          Why would u give up 2 good prospects for an avg guy like RIvera? When you can sign a Rivera type for free?

    • Evil Empire

      Yankees have made enough trades as it is. They need to protect the farm at this point. Team is already STACKED and could very well win more than the 103 it did in 2009 considering how much better the rotation should be and that we have a full season’s worth of healthy A-Rod.

      Stick to upgrading LF via the FA I say. Not hard to find a veteran corner OF platoon-type in this market, and that’s all you need.

    • Neil B.

      Then we’d take Rivera and Johnson and trade them for Vazquez again. . .wait, we already have him.

      Maybe we could trade those two for Melky, Dunn, and Vizcaino.

  • Neil B.

    Mark me down as a supporter of the idea for Reed Johnson as a 4th outfielder and spot starter for Gardner (or even Granderson if his crappiness against lefties proves not to be a Comerica thing) against tough lefties. As long as he comes for a similar price to his 2009 price tag of 3 million dollars, I think he fits the bill as that “enhancement” Joe’s talking about.

    The only thing that worries me about Reed is that his UZR kinda fell off of a cliff last season, dropping from 4.5 to -0.7 (in LF). Yikes.

    • Zack

      He played 25 innings in LF in 2009

      Definition of SSS

    • IRememberCelerinoSanchez

      I’d be fine with Reed Johnson as a 4th OF/platoon for Gardner against lefties.

      You don’t need an all-star at every position to win a World Series. ESPN Classic showed Game 5 of the 2000 World Series last night. The Yanks had Jose Vizcaino at second (batting leadoff!) and Brosius batting 8th at third. (The Mets’ lineup was staggeringly awful, and they made it to the WS! Agbayani in LF batting first! Jay Payton and Bubba Trammel in CF and RF! Kurt Abbott at SS! Todd Freakin’ Zeile at first and batting cleanup! Ventura batted fifth. Other than Alfonzo and Piazza, the lineup was empty.)

      The 1999 team had Chad Curtis in LF. The 1996 team had Girardi and Mariano Duncan as everyday players.

      The 2010 Yanks have a 3-4 of Tex and A Rod, with Jeter leading off and 5-7 of some combination of Granderson, Posada and Swisher. That’s pretty damn good. It barely matters who plays in LF.

      You win with pitching, pitching, and more pitching. There is no way the Yanks should be trading Hughes/Joba for a LF, any LF. With a 1-4 of CC, AJ, Andy and Javy, the Yanks are in great shape, and a Hughes/Joba battle for #5 is pretty encouraging, too.

      Right now the Yanks have four Major League OFs (assuming that as a Rule V, Hoffman can’t go to AAA). Sign a role player like Johnson and let’s go!

  • Free Mike Vick

    Interesting name i heard from a buddy…since Cash is in the “bring back names from the past” mood.

    How bout a platoon of Brett Gardner and Marcus Thames?

    • Evil Empire

      Marcus Thames? He of the career .306 OBP, and that only played 20 games in the OF last year?

      Yeah umm…no.

      • Free Mike Vick

        posted a .347 OBP vs LHP last season…thats not bad. and he could add some pop.

        plus he would be dirt cheap.

        • Zack

          only ~100 AB vs LHP last year though
          His career numbers against LHP are .256/.329/.516(OPS .845)

          • Free Mike Vick

            fair enough.

            but if you look at what the yankees would have had in LF in Melky.

            his numbers vs LHP: .255/.325/.355(OPS .680)

            so taking into account that Thames would be as cheap as it gets…and the added power he brings. Its not a insane idea to have him platoon with Gardner.

            • Zack

              I didnt say he wouldnt be a nice cheap option against LHP, but like Empire said below, he’s not a LF, he’s a DH.

              • Free Mike Vick

                i think you could stick him out in LF when their facing a lefty and get away with it.

                ideal? absolutely not.

                but could you get away with it? i think you could with Granderson in CF and Swisher in RF.

                • Free Mike Vick

                  they’re

                • Evil Empire

                  The Yankees could get away with batting A-Rod 9th. It doesn’t make it any more of a good idea.

                  Marcus Thames just doesn’t make sense for the Yankees -or most other contenders-, but its irrelevant what you and I think anyway. Thankfully, the Yankees FO will not even consider Thames.

                • Zack

                  Could they get away with it? Yes
                  Is he an ‘option’? Yes
                  But like Empire said below, there are other guys on the list ahead of him that are available in the same range of money

        • Evil Empire

          You didn’t address the fact that he’s, for all intents and purposes, a full time DH. And we have one of those already, Nick Johnson. He’s really good.

          We have no need for Marcus Thames, there are better players who can be had for comparable dollars.

    • Lanny

      Why go that cheap in LF?

      These arent the Pirates or the Mets here.

  • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    I haven’t been around much lately, so forgive me if I’ve missed some discussion of Reed Johnson… But, as a semi-platoon player with Gardner (and even Granderson if he has too much trouble with lefties), he really seems like a decent option. Check out his splits against LHP:

    2009
    .324/.403./500/.903
    Career
    .313/.378/.463./841

    He seems like a decent/good defensive outfielder who can be had on a decent contract and who can really hit left-handed pitching, which is something we know is a weak-spot for the Yanks’ new center fielder and we can assume won’t be the strongest part of our current left fielder’s game. He seems like a better bet than Nady to be an effective right-handed outfield option in 2010. Am I missing something obvious?

    • Evil Empire

      Nope, this seems right in line with the general consensus of those who are actually familiar with how a proper baseball team is formed.

      Reed Johnson is arguably the most cost effective move the Yankees could make.

      • IRememberCelerinoSanchez

        +28

      • Mo

        what about his bad back? that injury tends to linger

    • Zack

      “Am I missing something obvious?”

      No, he’s just not a “sexy” name out there that everyone is going after, but he’d fit in the role they need very well.

    • Neil B.

      I’m completely on board with this suggestion.

      So too is Chad Jennings, who’s got Reed penciled in as the 3rd/4th OF in the Opening Day lineup on the LoHud blog.

      • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Thanks for the heads-up, I just checked out CJ’s post on this. I agree with him, obviously. If the Yanks are going to sign a 4th outfield option to handcuff to Gardner and maybe Granderson, Reed Johnson looks like the best choice of the available options.

        • Evil Empire

          Only part of CJ’s post I disliked was how he had Hughes over Joba in the 5th spot of the rotation. We’ve come this far with Chamberlain as a starter, it’d be a shame to not see how he does starting in 2010, especially since he’s the one who doesn’t have an innings limit.

          • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Oh, yeah, I must have glossed over that part, I just went straight for the outfield info. When I said I agreed with him I meant I agreed with his take on Reed Johnson and how well he fits with the 2010 Yankees as currently composed, not with anything else in that post. I don’t agree with slotting Hughes in the rotation over Joba, either. I’d prefer to see Joba in that 5th spot (unless the Yankees know something we don’t know), since his innings limit won’t be an issue in 2010 while Hughes still has restrictions.

            • Evil Empire

              Yeah I knew what you meant, you always know what’s up Mondesi. My comment was tangential.

              What I’d like to see is Hughes in AAA for depth the first half of the season, and then he comes into the bullpen in the 2nd half after he’s got a good amount of innings under his belt.

              Its not ideal to stow away one of the 7 best arms on the team away in the minors for the first half of the season, but the long-term development of Hughes as a starter is extremely valuable and the team can easily get by in his absence.

              • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Yeah, I think I agree with all of this. I say I “think” I agree with it just because I’m not any sort of expert in developing pitchers, the effect of bullpen vs. starter usage, and all of the related issues… And obviously there’s something to be said for having your best pitchers contributing to the MLB team. So I just like to hedge ever so slightly and acknowledge the limits on the authority of my opinion on this one…

                But yeah, knowing what we know, I’d love to see the odd-man out of the rotation start the season as a starter in AAA, if for no other reason than to get some innings under their belt. This team can withstand not having one of Joba/Hughes in the ‘pen for a few months, and then can put one of them in the ‘pen in the second half if needed and if they’re not both already in the MLB rotation for whatever unforeseen reason. In the very short-term (read: April-July 2010) the MLB team would be better with one of Hughes/Joba in the MLB bullpen, but in the long-term, I think the pitchers themselves and the Yankees as a team are better served by letting one of them get work as a starter in AAA for at least the first half of the season.

                • Evil Empire

                  Yeah I’d put that same “I think” caveat on just about anything I post here, since I’m just a humble fan who likes to play pretend GM.

                  I’m pretty sure that when it comes to stretching a player out or converting him to a reliever, as long as the transition is made gradually and methodically, it really won’t affect their overall mechanics or development (besides through the virtue of sheer IP)

                • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Matt Imbrogno

                  but in the long-term, I think the pitchers themselves and the Yankees as a team are better served by letting one of them get work as a starter in AAA for at least the first half of the season.

                  Nothing to add.

          • IRememberCelerinoSanchez

            Agreed. Luckily, I think Cash sees Joba as a starter. Throw in Hughes’s inning limits, and I think that while the Yanks would never say it out loud, it’s Joba’s job to lose.

            Every beat reporter seems to be a B-jobber. I doon’t get it.

            • Evil Empire

              I think a big part of it is simply catering to the audience, unfortunately.

            • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Matt Imbrogno

              Confirmation bias?

  • Jeff Levy

    Is Scott Podsednik an option in left field? I haven’t heard his name mentioned anywhere or heard any rumors pertaining to him. With the White Sox last year he hit .304/.353/.412, had 30 steals, is still very fast and had an overall UZR/150 of -2.3 while playing CF and LF. For a year that might not be a bad option.

    • Mo

      Pods=Gardner. only Gardy is younger

      • Jeff Levy

        If the Yankees are lucky Gardner will turn into Podsednik. We can only hope Kevin Long can have Gardner hitting .280 or higher and getting on base around .350. Any OBP higher than the .336 Melky put up last year is an improvement, while the highest OBP Melky had was .360 in 2006 during his first year. If they have doubts in Gardner then Podsednik isn’t a bad option with Gardner as the backup. If he would come cheap enough Podsednik would be a really good 4th OF.

  • pete

    Of all the options available, only three make any sense at all, I’d say:

    Mark DeRosa: mediocre all-around player; essentially replaces melky’s bat, probs worse defense in left, only works if its a cheap one year deal and he platoons with gardner. I’d be ok with it, but it would be a marginal upgrade.

    Reed Johnson: mediocre at best offensively, but the only guy on the list who can actually play solid defense. His being a righty would also allow him and Gardner to platoon, which could give you close to a speed-adjusted wRC+ of 100 or better, and the defense would not suffer. This is probably my second favorite idea.

    Xavier Nady: only affordable bat in the group who won’t absolutely destroy the team on defense (i’m looking at you, Vlad and Dye), most risky of the bunch due to injury concerns, makes the most sense in terms of “enhancing” LF, since his bat could contribute and gardner’s defense could contribute – basically, if the other 8 guys are clicking, through in gardner for the defensive purposes, but if a few key cogs are slumping, throw in nady to give the offense another bat. This is, in my opinion, the best option for 2010.

    Gardner/Hoffmann alone: biggest advantage here is that, along with what projects to be excellent defense in left, you have a little more financial breathing room to upgrade somewhere else mid-season. the (not inconsiderable) downside is that neither of the two are at all proven commodities at the MLB level, even defensively, and neither has an offensive upside beyond MLB-averaveness. Here you would be depending wholly on strong pitching, defense, and guys 1-8. Mind you, those 1-8 are terrific, but it’s also got a fair number of guys in there who are prone to the extended slump. If tex, granderson, swish, and cano are all slumping simultaneously, not having another legitimate bat in there hurts. That said, if we use the money that many of us believe they have left for Left (probably in the $3 million range) to acquire a solid reliever or swingman, then they could afford to pitch Hughes as a starter in AAA. This might provide less 2010 upside than Nady, but it would certainly put the team in a better place for 2011, because it would allow hughes to get to where Joba is now. I, for one, cannot wait until we have a full season’s worth of Joba and close to that of Hughes in our rotation.

    • pete

      sorry, meant to say only four make sense. though really I think the last two are the only decisions that i could be 100% on-board with.

    • Neil B.

      My problem with the Nady idea is that it’s unrealistic to expect the Yankees to go with Brett if the lineup is clicking and with Nady if a player or two is in a slump. You have to pick a player to play everyday and opt to replace him only when he’s in an extended slump (or in specific matchups, like against lefties or whatever). I think signing Nady essentially means you’re choosing him over Gardner – I doubt Nady’s willing to sign as a 4th OF – whereas signing Johnson means you’re platooning him at best. That’s why I prefer Reed.

    • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

      I think it’s a bad idea to commit a really important roster spot to a guy on largely the basis that a few dudes in the lineup may slump. If it happens, it happens—your #9 hitter shouldn’t dictate how you work around that.

      Of all the options, Nady is probably the worst defender and the second most expensive. He may be the best overall hitter, but he gives you the most risk. For what it’s worth, Johnson is a tiny bit better a hitter against lefties (though he doesn’t fair well against righties) and plays vastly superior defense. DeRosa will be too expensive. To me, it’s pretty clear that RJ makes the most sense.

  • Nick

    They have four starting pitchers who could arguably head up many major league rotations and two talented youngsters fighting for the last spot.

    Pretty much invalidates the rest of that article from meaningful status…or realistic…or objective.

    • Neil B.

      They have four starting pitchers who could arguably head up many major league the Pirates’ rotations and two talented youngsters fighting for the last spot.

      Fixed.

      • whozat

        Wait…you couldn’t find several rotations in the bigs that you could argue CC, AJ, Vazquez or Pettitte would be better than? Ok, Pettitte is probably hyperbole, but it really wouldn’t be a stretch to say that one of those other three guys would be a 1/1A in several MLB rotations.

  • bonestock94

    I’ll take Nady for cheap, too bad he’s a Boras client.

    • Jeff Levy

      Even so Boras has to be pretty busy with Holliday, Damon, Beltre. Nady and Boras can expect much money with Nady just having undergone his second TJ surgery and most teams would be reticent to sign him. Nady’s best bet would be to take a 1 year deal to rebuild his value.

  • Yazman

    For our #9 hitter, I want to try the guy with potential gold-glove defense and 50 SB speed — Gardner.

    Compare Gardner’s minor league OPS to some other OFs:

    B. J. Upton .854
    Jacoby Ellsbury .815
    Roy White .785
    Carlos Beltran .777
    Brett Gardner .772
    Carl Crawford .736
    Bernie Williams .731

    Just sayin’ we shouldn’t assume he’ll be a light hitter.

    • Zack

      Beltran was 18, 19,20, 21 when he was in the minors. Gardner was 21, 22, 23, 24.

      You have to be able to look beyond stats sometimes and look at age/body type/swing/etc

      • Yazman

        True. Just sayin’ he’s worth a close look. When you look deeper into Gardie’s stats, you say amazing improvement in his second full year at EVERY level. The guy learns and adjusts.

        I also admit, I like having one “kid” in the lineup to root for in addition to the all stars.

        • whozat

          When you look deeper into gardner’s stats, you see a guy who was waiting out pitchers with poor control in the minors. It remains to be seen if that will translate. Guys with his skill set (walks, strikeouts, little power, not a huge amount of contact) don’t tend to succeed in the bigs.

          Even if he’s “worth a look”, you can’t go into the season without a backup plan. Melky was that backup plan last year, this year…well, they still need to, at least, find one.

          I’m on the Reed Johnson train, because he has plus D and hits lefties. Provides a bit of a fallback in the event that Gardner OR Granderson prove unable to hit lefties.

          • Yazman

            I think Gardner will adjust, but I agree, you need a back up plan.

  • Jay

    I am still of the opinion, they should try to bring Damon back. Oh boy, that lineup scores 1k runs easy.

    If not, throw Grit in CF and Grandy in LF. The team is still ridiculous.

  • Mo

    2009 2010

    LF Damon LF ???
    CF Melky CF Granderson
    RF Swisher RF Swisher
    DH Matsui DH Johnson
    OF Gardner OF Gardner
    OF Nady/ HInkse OF ???

    Those who want to start Gardner in LF, still need a 4th and 5th OF to replace Gardner and Nady before injury & Hinske after trade. If you want to suggest Hoffman fine, although i am not optimistic about Rule 5 pics on a WS team. Yanks need at least 1-2 more players

    • Yazman

      Agreed.

    • Evil Empire

      You just need one more. Reed Johnson (for example) turns Gardner into a platoon mate & pinch runner, and Hoffmann the 5th OF.

    • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Bench/depth players can be picked up during the season, a la Hinske in 2009. You’re comparing an unfinished offseason roster to an end of season roster, and that’s not a fair comparison.

      As it stands right now, the Yankees have 3 guys penciled into the outfield (Gardner/Granderson/Swisher) with Hoffman on the bench. That’s not ideal, and everyone seems to expect them to pick up another outfielder, whether it be a guy who will start over Gardner or a guy who will platoon with Gardner and back-up the other outfield positions. If they acquire that kind of player, they can go into the 2010 season with that outfield. Depth players can always be picked up during the season.

    • Section 39

      I would really like to see Nady and Reed Johnson fill out the OF. Nady to actually play LF and Reed to come in off the bench vs LHP for others. It would cost us Hoffman, but it may be a better option. My guess is that they don’t want to give up this quickly on Hoffman so they will just sign one more OF. Given the choice, I’d roll the dice on Nady.

      In reality, I think we are running a risk relying on Nick Johnson and Nady in a lineup since they both have injury histories. I’d rather see them cough up 2/20 for Damon who has been fairly steady. His defense is weak, but he is tailor made for YS and his offense counteracts his weak defense especially with Granderson in CF and Gardner off the bench for defense. I don’t think it will happen, but I would would love it if they did.

  • Mo

    My LF choices:
    1. Holliday (dream)
    2. Damon (1 year)
    3. Cust 30+ HR, 100 BB, NJ Boy, LH in YS3 (takes Hinske’s roster spot)
    4. Conor Jackson trade propsal: Gardner, Miranda, Boone Logan for CoJo and Clay Zavada and his stache
    5. Chase Headly (trade) LF/3B, check out his road splits
    6. DeRosa (1 year)
    7. Cody Ross (trade)
    8. Willingham (trade)
    9. Rajai Davis (trade) platoon w/ Gardner
    NOT INTERESTED
    Reed Johnson
    Jermaine Dye
    Jonny Gomes
    Jason Bay
    David DeJesus
    Marlon Byrd
    Randy Wynn

    • Evil Empire

      Didn’t you already post this somewhere?

      • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

        A few times, I believe.

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Matt Imbrogno

      Jack Cust fits on the Yankees only as a DH.

      • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

        He’d also get a better offer somewhere since we already have NJ.

        • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Matt Imbrogno

          Right. As soon as Johnson signed, Cust, Thome, Delgado, etc. were all no longer options.

          Think the Mets will bring back Delgado?

          • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

            Didn’t he leave on sort of dicey terms with the Mets? If that is true (and I have no idea), I’d see them going in a different direction, but he fits them so well, I think they’d be wise to sign him.

    • Lanny

      We get it. It’s your list.

  • dkidd

    reed johnson seems perfect to me

    plays above average lf
    can play cf and rf if needed
    in 1000 career at-bats against lefties, ops of .841
    would take a 2M/1yr deal
    wears uniform pants in gritty, knee-high fashion

    reed johnson 2010 = chad curtis 1998

    • dkidd

      perfect as a platoon partner with gardner

  • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

    I can’t believe with all of the names thrown about, no one has mentioned Kelly Johnson. Some numbers for you kids.

    Even with his atrocious ’09 and downward trends, his career line versus LHP:
    .299/.360/.448/.808 tOPS=108

    UZR in LF (SSS, 79 games): 10.3

    I think he’ll be too expensive and also a big, big risk. But there may be something there. A closer look at this numbers reveals that he couldn’t hit RHP at all, and beyond that, it was more just an unbeleivably poor 1st half that did him in.

    1st half of ’09: .214/.286/.359/.645 tOPS=72
    2nd half of ’09: .261/.358/.493/.851 tOPS= 125

    I think an NL team will probably pony up about $4-5 million, and that may be too rich for our blood considering his risk and other good options on the market like Reed Johnson, but he may not be as bad as he’s made out to look.

    Just sayin’.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Are you part vampire? Still posting at 4:30 am? Damn!

      • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

        Yeah, I did a House marathon last night and saw a new post by Joe pretty late. I have a real day off so I figured I could stay up and start my Christmas gift— 1958 Glen Grant Single Malt Scotch. Best gift ever, though my head is killing me today.

        I thought about going out and getting some sleazy hookers, some recreational drugs and chugging the Scotch, but RAB seemed to be a more responsible choice at that hour. Besides, I didn’t want to put on pants.

        TWILIGHT!!!!!!

        • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

          Excuse me, Ben’s post last night.

          • whozat

            You got FIFTY YEAR OLD SCOTCH!?!?!

            I hate you. I got a bottle of Macallan 18 once and thought it was some fancy stuff.

            • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

              Well, let’s just say I had something over my serial adulterer father. He felt strongly about getting me a nice gift in exchange for my silence. It’s a very nice Scotch, a bit pricey (around $400-450), distilled in 1958 and bottled in 2008. Goes great with Godiva biscuits!

              Macallan 18 is delicious, I hear. No shame in that.

        • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Matt Imbrogno

          ‘The fuck’s the point of pants if you’re gonna be with a sleazy hooker? Just sayin’.

          • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

            Do you have any idea how cold it is?

    • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Yeah that’s an interesting call… He’s certainly hit LHP pretty well over his career. I don’t see much reason why he wouldn’t be in the conversation for the extra outfielder spot along with Reed Johnson and the others. Like you said, whether he’s really an option will probably depend largely on his price-tag.

      He also hasn’t played in the outfield since 2005, which certainly attaches some more risk to him.

      • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

        Forgot to mention the last part. That’s a big caveat. If he can play the OF effectively, his 2009 (or more accurately, the first part of 2009) is an aberration, and he can be had for under $5 million, I’d rather have him than Reed. This is coming from a guy who’s been beating the Reed Johnson drum for a while (four days is a long time in RAB land). Much bigger upside with Johnson.

  • Mo

    “Outfielder Matt Holliday didn’t figure to sign early, not with agent Scott Boras calling the shots. He’s stiff-armed the Cardinals, and the Red Sox couldn’t lure him with a five-year, $82.5 million proposal.

    I’m still convinced that the Yankees jump out of the shadows and sign Bay or Holliday.”

    Rosh Kubatko from mansports.com linked from mlbtr.com

    • whozat

      convinced by…what? People continuing to assume that expensive free agent == yankee interest?

      • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

        Duh!

  • Jay

    If the Yankees are open to bringing in a guy with some health concerns, I would like to see Rick Ankiel in pinstripes. Last year wasn’t his best but we did have interest in trading for him last off-season. He has a rocket for an arm and his range seems to be better than most other FA, and won’t be as much of a concern playing alongside CG. And of course being left-handed will increase his power numbers some.

    • whozat

      The guy really doesn’t get on base very much, and his power COMPLETELY disappeared last season. So…he’s an average defender whose entire offensive game is predicated on power. Is there a reason to think he’ll rebound? He’s also not great against lefties. I don’t think adding another guy with a significant platoon split is the right answer.

      • Jay

        I know his power dropped last year, but I think the reason for that is he was hurt most of the season but played through the best he could. I believe he should be healthy with this time off, so i think his power will return. I also think with time, his OBP numbers will look better since he is still learning after becoming an OF in 07. I’m not sure what his splits are vs. lefties, but to me that seems to be his only downfall, if indeed he is healthy.

      • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

        Yup. The splits and the incredible downward trend since the first part of ’08 is scary. He’s a feel-good name and all, but really, it doesn’t seem like a good fit.

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Matt Imbrogno

      No Rick Ankiel ever.

      • IRememberCelerinoSanchez

        +28,000

        I don’t get the Ankiel love.

        • Jay

          Just throwing his name into the hat. Nady is coming off his 2nd TJ surgery. I would rather have Ankiel defensively.

          • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Matt Imbrogno

            Ankiel can’t stay healthy and because of his age, his upside is incredibly limited, if it’s even there at all. He’s also got a fairly pronounced platoon split, so the Yankees’d be where the are now, but with Ankiel instead of Gardner.

            • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

              Best upside/cost is Kelly Johnson, best bet for aggregate value is Reed Johnson and Nady falls somewhere in between because he’s the most well-rounded offensive player, but likely profiles as the worst defensive player.

  • Mo

    I had a trade idea last night, do you think the Cards would trade Ryan Ludwick to free up cash so they can sign Holliday? He would be the prefect guy for LF. Don’t know what he would cost

  • TarHeel Yankee

    Lets all be clear on ONE Big issue……. Curtis will be in centerfield, PEROID. So, some of you out there that keep putting him in LF when you make up your lineups………. STOP. Gardner is NOT an everyday outfielder in the majors, he is a good 4th(he is Homer Bush, except he plays OF). I do not care about your stats(stats can be twisted to look or say anything you want). If Cashman really wants to stay in his buget, then the only real choices are Reed Johnson or a player comming off injury that is willing to play for a one(1) year deal to prove he is heathy. Last thing………… To whoever is Rob…….. Vlad ? REALLY ?.

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Matt Imbrogno

      I do not care about your stats(stats can be twisted to look or say anything you want)

      Yeah! Fuck objective data! It’s for nerds!

    • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

      It will be a miracle if you graduated given that mindset (and I’m no Gardner fan).

    • Lanny

      They didnt trade for Grandy to have him play LF.

  • Le Rich

    what are we doing here people? i mean reed johnson? Rick Ankiel? Eric Hinske? Brett Gardner?

    We’re the fucking Yankees.

    Fuck these losers. GO GET A REAL LFer, CASH. Not platoon players…not back ups…not players that will make Cash have to go out and overpay for a LFer at the deadline.

    • Jay

      The reason Cash isn’t signing a “real LFer” is because he is waiting for next offseason to sign Carl Crawford.

      • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Matt Imbrogno

        I wouldn’t hold your breath on that. Honestly, I think if Crawford wants a four or five year deal, the Yankees will pass.

    • Evil Empire

      On paper, the 2010 team right now is better than the 2009 team. Think about that.

      We have above average everyday players at every position besides left field – some of which who are top 3 at their position in all of baseball.

      The rotation that just carried the team to a WS victory has gotten majorly upgraded with Vazquez + the 2010 version of Chamberlain or Hughes. Top to bottom, its one of the best in the game.

      The bullpen has young live arms with some guys who can give you length, plus Mariano.

      We really don’t need Matt Holliday if he stops us from getting someone better in 2011, since this team is already FUCKING STACKED.

      • Le Rich

        the rotation is better. no doubt about that…but the yankees didn’t need Jazy Vazquez. they proved that in the playoffs.

        but on the flip side…the yankees needed Damon and Matsui to win the world series. and this year’s team is without both of them. So right this second…i don’t know how the 2010 team is better than the 2009 team on anything, paper…plastic…whatever!

        • Evil Empire

          In all likelihood, the schedule won’t be as conducive to starting 3 pitchers in the playoffs for the Yankees next year. If they have the opportunity to go with a 3 man rotation in October, Javy Vazquez will either be one of those 3 or a really useful middle reliever. And regardless, I’m talking about the regular season mostly, where guys like Wang and Mitre were making a good chunk of starts.

          2009 Damon and Matsui both had great years, but due to age and likely decline, the 2010 versions of Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson should outperform the 2010 versions of their replaced counterparts.

          PLUS a fully health A-Rod for an entire season. That’s a big upgrade in and of itself.

          2010 > 2009, even without Matt Holliday (not that we needed him to win it all in ’09 anyway, obviously)

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Matt Imbrogno

      Spending smartly > spending for spending’s sake.

  • Jay

    Why wouldn’t the Yanks want Crawford? He will be 29, still has wheels, can hit and plays a great LF.

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Matt Imbrogno

      I don’t think a guy who bases his game off of speed and defense will age very well. His on-base skills are somewhat improving, but they’re still just slightly above average and his power is just about average as well.

      • Jay

        Wasn’t the same thing said more or less about Johnny Damon when he signed with the Yanks in ’05? And he was 3 years older then CC will be next year.

        • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Matt Imbrogno

          Fair enough, but Damon is an exception, not a rule.

    • Lanny

      Speed guys do not age well. He’d be more of a fit in Citi Field anyway.

      • Jay

        I agree, though i still hope he will be a Yankee. In the even he does sign with the Mets(though i don’t see why anyone would want to) Jayson Werth would also be a FA, more power, less speed, stronger throwing arm.

    • Evil Empire

      I’d be down with Crawford on a 4 year deal.

  • Lanny

    There is no way this team goes into next yr with Gardner as the starting LF. Just isnt happening. Anyone that thinks he is should call Bubba Crosby.

    Holliday obviously wants to play in NY. And A-Rod could use protection with Matsui leaving. This might be a match. Even though I think they’d like to keep LF open for Jeter.

    The other clear option is Damon. Who also obviously wants back in.

    • A fan

      Come on, you know how stupid this post is. You’re just stirring up trouble.

    • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

      Hyperbole FTL!

    • Trent

      What is so wrong with Gardner? Damon is not getting any younger and Holliday will clog the payroll for years. I say start with Gardner and and see what trades are available near the deadline. If Gardner impresses, no worries. If he fails, then look on the market. Of course, it depends on what Cashman decides as a failure.

  • danny

    Damon would be the perfect fit IF he is willing to come back on the Yanks terms and thats a big freaking if. If damon doesnt work out im fine with a gardy/granderson/swish outfield and sign someone like johnson as the 4th outfielder.

    • Jay

      I doubt he returns. I read on MLBTR that the Yanks feared he wouldn’t produced as well as he could due to his contract not being what he wanted.

      • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Matt Imbrogno

        I think the Yankees doubt his performance because of his age, not necessarily his contract status.

        • ecksodia

          Yes, but it very well might be both.

  • the S.

    Here’s a name I haven’t heard: Felipe Lopez. They could probably get him much cheaper than DeRosa, he’s a Switch H, and he could play a bevy of utilty roles while absorbing the bulk of the starts in LF. He played almost exclusively @2B last yr, but played like 40 games in the OF the previous yr when he hit .310.

    I like it. You could then use Pena as a chip in the near future.

  • http://wantingvs.needing godfather

    granderson’s playoff play in cf was abominable, so i’m hoping it was just a blip; lf at the stadium is tough, so it’s not like they can just shove him there; gardner is a superb of and can handle cf; nady’s health is the only reason i’d hesitate to want him back, and if he shows he can make a throw now and then (hell, he can run the ball in faster than damon could throw it), i’d sign him to an incentive-packed pact; while everyone dwelled on what he isn’t, melky is a guy who can give you solid of defense, but grandy had to cost something besides ajax, coke and the young lefty, i guess

  • jair

    brandon byrd

  • johnny

    Hey what about Randy Winn?? Hes a switch hitter, a slap hitter with some pop and might still be able to run. He is at that age where he just wants to win. I think he would come cheap

    • Jay

      he is terrible against lefties

  • http://theyankeemanager.blogspot.com/ Francis Isberto

    I would still pick Johnny Damon over the other available guys. Damon is proven to play in the Yankee Stadium. He is still productive with a decent batting average and 20+ homers. He can still run and steal some bases. Plus he’s a clutch player which the Yankees will need in the post-season.

    If only Damon would take a pay cut…..

  • TarHeel Yankee

    I’m sorry if it seemed like I did not think stats have a place…. They most definatly DO…. It is just that I have seen them used to defend all sorts of crazy things, that you can not put all of your faith in them. Yes I graduated(from N.Y. public school system). Now….. Rick Ankiel, that name is intriguing. Power, Lefthand bat, a cannon for an arm, decent defense(though I’m sure someone will say he sucks), and relatively CHEAP. Just my opion, but I think Jaba’s stuff works better as a reliever and Mo’s replacement some day, and Phils’s as a starter.

  • http://www.lennysyankees.com lenNY’s Yankees

    I don’t see what the hold up is (maybe x-mas). Just sign Reed or Xavier.

  • Mo

    JACK CUST 1 YEAR 4 M

  • TarHeel Yankee

    Please someone tell me….. What is hang up on Crawford ? Has anyone read anywhere that said he wanted to come to N.Y. ? Why wouldn’t Tampa Bay lock him up for long term ? Why wouldn’t he want to go home? He is from Houston. What’s really the issue with locking up someone like Holliday long term ? He hits for avg., power, can run when allowed. Yes, his defense is lacking, but he is out there every day and does not seem to be a problem in the clubhouse. I do not see why we can not do this ! Speed leaves a player LONG before Power. I’m sure everyone remembers Tim Rains. When he got to the Yankees, he was no longer stealing bases.

  • R.Sneps

    Ryan Braun, the Hebrew Hammer belongs in the Bronx. He hits for power and will dominate our outfield.

    Brett Gardner + Hughes/Joba + another chip (to suit the Brewers’ needs).

    As a die hard Yankee fan, I would love to see this happen.

    • Josh

      well we can all dream can’t we?

      • Josh

        The Brewers would never trade him. He’s basically the face of their franchise along with Prince Fielder (who’s also had his fair share of trade rumors and if they trade Prince then they definatly won’t trade Braun) So I doubt Milwaukee would be willing to trade Ryan Braun. I also don’t think that package would be enough to land Braun. But God, I’d love to see Braun in the Bronx eventually.

  • pete luciano

    Damon is still the best choice. He’ll drop to 1 yr $7 million. He’s a better 2 hole hitter and baserunner than Johnson. The Yanks would become very left handed and would need a righty bench player. A projected lineup of Jeter, Damon, Tex, Arod, Granderson, Posada, Cano, Swisher, and Johnson could score 1000 runs.

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  • the S.

    Agree that Damon is the best choice and that he will eventually return to Yanks on the cheap, but disgree that the leftiness (word?) will be an issue. The two best hitters on the team are righty, plus we have a bevy of switchhitters. Plus, I foresee all bench options except Gardner being of the right-handed variety. I have faith in Pena and Hoffman to fill-in ably for Cano and or Granderson on the days where a really tough lefty matchup might be problematic.

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