Cashman putting the pressure on Damon, Boras


Updated 12:08 p.m. (See below): How badly does Johnny Damon want to return to the Yankees? If we’re to believe what he tells the press, he prefers New York, but that won’t stop him from listening to other offers.

“Still, every time i’ve been a free agent, I’ve ended up switching teams,” he said in November. “It’s the nature of the beast. If people are interested, I’m going to listen.”

Any player who employs Scott Boras as an agent will certainly look around for the best possible offer. But at 36 years old, with declining defense and power that is suited only to Yankee Stadium, Damon might not find other teams willing to offer much more than the Yankees.

Even if he does, though, will Damon find a more favorable situation? If he returns to the Yankees he’ll again play a prominent part in the offense, playing left field and filling in at DH. He’ll slot back into his familiar No. 2 hole, and he’ll have the short porch as a target. But most of all, he’ll be on a guaranteed contender. He won’t get that guarantee if he signs with, say, the Giants or White Sox.

Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record writes on this subject in his column today. The Yankees don’t appear flexible on their one-year offer, and Damon might find it the best one in the end. Not just for financials, but for the opportunity the Yankees present.

It’s one year, take it or leave it. One year on a club that may be even better than the one that rolled over the entire industry. One year and $10 million with a chance to defend a world championship in a ballpark that’s built for Damon’s upper-cut swing.

Somewhere in Damon’s consciousness, he must know that’s a tempting proposition. Maybe he could land with the Giants for a two-year contract (even though they say they have no interest). Maybe Damon could lure the Mets into a discussion. Maybe he could even get the Red Sox to pick up the phone.

But none of these are realistic scenarios. It’s a lean market for a player of Damon’s unique, Yankee-centric skills. The only question is how far he and Boras are willing to push their argument. How long will Damon consider market-value more important than his emotional ties to the Yankees.

We might soon find out how Damon really feels. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, “The Yankees are in the process of negotiating with Johnny Damon’s camp.” Clearly, they’re using the Granderson acquisition as leverage, and are probably threatening another acquisition — possibly Mike Cameron, possibly Matt Holliday — to replace Damon. As Buster continues, “The Yankees intend to use market forces to pressure Damon to make a decision quickly.”

Adding Damon, at one year, seems like a perfect move. The Yankees would retain a player who best fits with their team, and Damon would get a shot to repeat as a champion. The question now is of what’s most important to Damon. Does he want the most possible money and security? Or does he want to play for a guaranteed contender? We might find out soon.

* * *
By Ben: Two updates of note: Ken Davidoff says that the Yankees are expected to resign Hideki Matsui, and Joel Sherman says that the Yanks and Damon aren’t actively negotiated. “No quick resolution is anticipated,” The Post writer says.

It’s certainly possible for the Yanks to bring back both Damon and Matsui on short-term deals, and signing one doesn’t preclude the return of the other. That move would certainly make Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner (or both) expendable but works against yesterday’s discussion on the youth movement. Still, having a true DH is far better than keeping the slot open as a way to rest the regulars on a rotation.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. A.D. says:

    Cash, getting things done.

  2. aj says:

    I think we wants to come back, if he does we’ll have a great team next year to compete with anyone. Well maybe not the BoSox, they just signed Boof Bonser.

  3. aj says:

    How is Curtis Granderson’s arm?

  4. Rose says:

    But at 36 years old, with declining defense and power that is suited only to Yankee Stadium, Damon might not find other teams willing to offer much more than the Yankees.

    Isn’t this EXACTLY what Texas is gambling on with Mike Lowell? (but substituting YS with Fenway Park?)

    So I guess there are SOME teams out there stupid enough…just probably not many…

    • I think Texas realizes that Lowell can hit well in a hitter’s park. They have an extreme hitter’s park so…

      • aj says:

        Atleast boston has another contract that they are paying for a player that’s not there. Julio Lugo, Mike Lowell, probably more than that.

        • Rose says:

          Yeah, for a team that doesn’t like to sign long term deals…they are constantly shipping bad signings off and paying for them year after year it seems.

    • Chris says:

      The Rangers already have a 3B under contract for 4 years and $64M. I don’t get why the Rangers would make that deal, even if they expected a bounce back season from Lowell.

    • no.27 says:

      yea, but they have him on what amounts to a 1 year $3 million deal. if that’s what Damon is looking for, every team in baseball will want him.

  5. Davor says:

    If Yankees sign Damon, it means they are officially not interested in Holliday. So, it’s in Boras’ best interest that Yankees don’t sign Damon before Holliday signs. Now, can they agree everything and then pretend to negotiate until Holliday signs?

  6. Rose says:

    I still would rather have Matsui than Damon…even on a 1 year deal. Assuming he even takes that. Matsui is almost a certainty to take it. Especially if you had to choose between the two on who would do it first…

    • Doug says:

      personally would prefer damon as i think we have a need for a 2 hitter and he fits perfectly there. granderson’s OBP isn’t high enough and swisher strikes out a bit too much.

    • MattG says:

      With the OF defense covered every which way, the Yankees’ DH should simply be the best offensive player for the money. Equal money, I take Matsui over Damon, too.

      • Rose says:

        Precisely, if you’re able to get a better hitter for much cheaper than the alternative…you take it. The ONLY thing separating Damon and Matsui are health risks…but at 36-37 you’re certainly no guarantee either. I’d go Matsui all the way. He’s the smarter choice.

      • I’m thinking along these lines as well. Assuming the Yankees are going to sign one more bat (either LF or DH or LF/DH), that means some combo of Melky/Gardner/Hoffmann/etc. is going to be in the lineup as a regular, right? If so, I don’t think getting an outfielder is really so important; I think the bat is the most important aspect of this potential acquisition. If Melky’s going to be in the lineup anyway, he can play LF. Damon’s value as a LFer in that situation is pretty minimal, no? Then again, the flip side is that getting someone who can play the field as well as DH increases flexibility and depth and also helps out in interleague play as well as, knock on wood, the World Series.

        Personally… I want the Yankees to get the cheapest of the good options (the Damon, Matsui, Cameron, Delgado, etc. crowd) and have some money left in the coffers to spend on pitching.

        • MattG says:

          But where are you going to play that pitching? The only open spot I see is for a really good swing man, who’d start out in the bullpen but take a rotation spot in the eventuality of injury. I say really good because you already have Aceves and Gaudin to fill that role, but I think you might be able to do a little bit better. Kelvim Escobar? Chien Ming Wang?

    • toad says:

      I think signing Matsui at any remotely reasonable price is a no-brainer.

  7. dch says:

    The article makes perfect sense. The Yank offer might be the highest he will get and he has the best chance for a ring here. He is a perfect fit for them and vice versa. If he takes a 2 year deal with some lesser team he is an idiot.

  8. Scooter says:

    IF the deal goes through, Texas will pay Lowell only about $2-3 million (+ trade Max Ramirez) – the rest paid by the RS.

    Lowell will play 1st and DH for the Rangers.

    I thought Max Ramirez was worth more (figured the Sox would have to toss in a Michael Bowden) – but I guess not.

    Echoing Cashman’s comments on DHs – I figure if you’re patient, you can get a decent DH on the cheap (1yr – $2-4 mil) towards the end of the Hot Stove league

  9. Pawlikowski:

    But at 36 years old, with declining defense and power that is suited only to Yankee Stadium, Damon might not find other teams willing to offer much more than the Yankees.


    One year and $10 million with a chance to defend a world championship in a ballpark that’s built for Damon’s upper-cut swing… It’s a lean market for a player of Damon’s unique, Yankee-centric skills.

    Nitpick: I think you two are overselling the “uniqueness” of Yankee Stadium as a draw for Damon.

    YS3 is far from the only park in baseball with an inviting short RF porch that inflates lefty power. In fact, there’s probably more lefty-friendly parks than non-lefty friendly parks. (safe)

    The only situation that probably drastically hurts his offensive game is CitiField.

    Just my two cents.

  10. aj says:

    How about Russell Branyan as a DH? I guess he’ll want big money and a chance to play everyday..

    • aj says:

      nm I prefer Matsui.

    • Mattchu12 says:

      His one good season was last season, and he hit just .193 after the all-star break with nine home runs compared to batting .280 with twenty-two home runs in the first half.

      I admit, this was his first real full season with everyday playing time. But them stats scream fluke.

    • Rose says:

      He’s basically a far worse Mark Reynolds. Strikes out a little less…and hits a little less home runs. Although Reynolds had pretty steady splits between the 1st and 2nd half.

  11. gregori says:

    forget damon.
    trade gardner (+ whatever other minor player) to kc for dejesus.
    dejesus is a NEW YORKER (brooklyn) who plays a good defensive lt field.
    he’ll make close to 4 mil in 2010 which is good for us bad for kc.
    best of all are his 3 yr splits.
    as a lefty he hits leftys as well as rightys @.280.
    average with men on base, scoring position & scoring position with 2 outs is over .325.
    what’s not to like about a CLUTCH hitting, good fielding new york, lt fielder.
    move cabrera to right (where he belongs defensively) and swisher to DH spot (where he belongs defensively).
    new guy, hoffman, is the righty outfielder off the bench.
    then you don’t need to spend any money to fill the DH spot and use that money to sign additional pitching.

    • Rose says:

      Gardner certainly wouldn’t be the centerpiece to that deal that’s for sure…A Jax probably would have been in there had he not been traded…and everyone else seems to be either too high or too low for him at the moment…

      • MattG says:

        I don’t agree. The Yankees would not have given up Jackson for DeJesus even up. Gardner can’t be the centerpiece, but he can be a candlestick, while some pitching not named McAllister or Nova can be the other candlestick.

        DeJesus, and his contract, aren’t worth a centerpiece.

      • No way… I don’t think Gardner gets you DeJesus, since the Royals are looking for a CF but not looking to open a hole in LF I’m sure, but there’s no chance in hell Austin Jackson would have been involved in a deal for David DeJesus. Ajax was the centerpiece of a deal for Curtis Granderson! I’m a DeJesus fan, but come on, he’s not close to that level.

        • Rose says:

          well whatever, my main point was that we either have prospects that are too good or not good enough (not ready) at the moment. We shipped out Jose Tabata and company for Xavier Nady…I saw Tabata as comparable to A Jax and Nady is similar to DeJesus no?

          • Rose says:

            Keep in mind, this is just at first glance and what I see on the field. I haven’t done all this research comparing everybody…which sure, if I haven’t I shouldn’t make assumptions…but I’m not on trial here…it’s a message board. I’m just throwing possibilities and hypotheticals out there.

            • king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

              hypotheticals always get you in trouble…case in point:

              i asked my wife–hypothetically, what i had an affair with your best friend?

              at first, i thought her lack of comment was her thinking it over…i should have been ducking instead…

          • No. Tabata was the centerpiece of a deal that netted you Nady and Marte, and it was Nady in the midst of a very good career year (OPS+ of 143 at the time of the trade). That’s most certainly not similar to DeJesus.

            Tabata was also not all that comparable to Ajax. Tabata was a personally troubled but highly talented and very young player (i.e. not so close to MLB) who had shown promise but not much success in the minors. Ajax is a talented player with a lower ceiling than Tabata who is thisclose to the majors and with no personal issues. They were both prospects and were both considered, at the respective times we’re discussing, the second best Yankee prospect, but beyond that the comparison fails.

            It’s not big deal, nobody’s killing you for this or anything… But you’re wrong about this stuff. Cashman would have laughed at Moore if he’d asked for Ajax in a Dejesus deal, and Tabata ’08 doesn’t equal Ajax ’10, and Nady/Marte doesn’t equal DeJesus.

            Saying what you said is wrong isn’t putting you on trial or acting like this isn’t a message board, it’s just, like, saying that what you said was wrong.

            • Rose says:

              I understand. Which is why I’m on this board. If I were right about everything there would be no need for me to be on here because it would be somewhat pointless.

              Thank you for pointing that out to me though. I’ve been asking for a Tabata/Ajax comparison for a few days now.

        • MikeD says:

          Gardner could get you DeJesus if the Royals were looking to unload salary. Most likely would take Gardner and another prospect, but one below the Jackson level. DeJesus is a solid, if unspectacular player. As others have mentioned, there is NO chance the Yankees would have traded Austin Jackson for DeJesus.

    • trade gardner (+ whatever other minor player) to kc for dejesus.

      I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • Also:

      move cabrera to right (where he belongs defensively) and swisher to DH spot (where he belongs defensively).

      FWIW –
      Melky Cabrera, career:
      LF 1363 inn, +3.9 UZR
      CF 2924 inn, -13.5 UZR
      RF 305 inn, +0.9 UZR

      Nick Swisher, career:
      LF 925 inn, +4.6 UZR
      CF 1019 inn, -7.4 UZR
      RF 2642 inn, +11.3 UZR

      I’m not so sure that Melky Cabrera would really be a defensive upgrade over Nick Swisher. Those are not small sample sizes, at any position.

      • MattG says:

        But, aside from 2 data points, they actually are small sample sizes for UZR.

        Why would a player have a better UZR in one corner over another, anyway? Melky can throw better than Swisher, that’s enough reason to switch them in most ballparks.

        In Yankee stadium, though, you put the fielder with the better range in left regardless of throwing arm.

        • Mike bk says:

          really? matsui had better range than any rf we had?

        • But, aside from 2 data points, they actually are small sample sizes for UZR.

          Okay, then, using your guidelines, let’s eliminate all the small samples and only consider the large samples.

          Melky Cabrera, career:
          CF 2924 inn, -13.5 UZR

          Nick Swisher, career:
          RF 2642 inn, +11.3 UZR

          Tell me again why I want Melky in RF instead of Swisher?

          • MattG says:

            So your point is simply Swisher is the better outfielder? Then he probably should be in the larger field. Wouldn’t you expect the UZR to be the same in LF as it is in RF?

            I was putting Melky in LF because I thought he was the superior outfielder.

            • So your point is simply Swisher is the better outfielder?

              Yeah, maybe he is. The evidential record says he is.

              Between LF and RF, I don’t know why one side would be different than the other, possibly handed-ness (i.e., the lefty-throwing Swisher may be better equipped to play RF than LF because he can range further towards his right glove side… just theorizing here).

              Greater study should probably go into differences between RF and LF to explain why a guy would play one better than the other.

              What UZR tells us, though, is A) Swisher seems to have more range than Melky in BOTH corner OF spots, and B) they both have subpar range in CF, but the subpar range is slightly more pronounced for Melky, paradoxically.

              It seems blasphemous, but if we have a good centerfielder (Granderson) and a good other corner outfielder (DeJesus, Cameron, etc.), and we have to pick who plays the other corner and who DH’s between Swish and Melky, we may have to put Melky at DH. Because Swish may be a flat out better defensive outfielder than him.


              • pete says:

                this though ignores the fact that melky could most likely improve a great deal on defense, where Swisher probably won’t improve much. Melky’s defensive tools (speed, arm strength) are far superior to Swisher. As it stands right now, Melky would play left, since that is the more important defensive position, but if we sign someone else to play left, I wouldn’t think it unlikely to see Melky quickly develop into a much better rightfielder than Swisher.
                RF is a position that would probably be wildly affected by SSS, because of the way balls hit to right tend to move and the adjustment period necessary for a fielder not used to manning that position. However, Melky’s way above average (for RFers) speed and strong arm lead me to believe not that he IS, but that he COULD be a far, far superior defensive RF to swisher. I think by the end of the season, an outfield of Cameron (still my hopeful)/Granderson/Cabrera with Swish at DH would be the best defensive option, and would give us probably the second best defensive outfield in the AL (though still way behind seattle).

                • I agree with that scouting report. Based on what I see with my eyes, I think Melky is the better athlete and better defensive outfielder, and would not only play a better CF than Swisher but would play a better RF and LF than Swisher as well.

                  The problem is, the historical record disagrees with my eyes. The historical record says Swisher is a better defensive outfielder than Melky, at all three OF spots, by quite a sizable margin.

                  Therefore, while Melky certainly has the tools to be better than Swisher in RF or LF, he’s not. Perhaps he doesn’t fully take advantage of those tools. Perhaps he takes poor routes or gets bad jumps or somehow misplays more balls more frequently that leads to him having less range than the slower Swisher.

                  The fact remains, though, Melky has historically shown LESS range than the SLOWER Swisher.

              • dudes says:

                arm strength comes into play in right field because of frequent throws to 3b.

      • JMK THE OVERSHARE's Milton Bradley Fat Park Factor says:

        Yep. Best defensive alignment has Swish in RF, Granddaddy Concourse in CF, Melky in LF.

        Gardner patrolling the Gatorade container.

  12. Will says:

    Bringing back Damon and Matsui one 1-year deals doesn’t really set back the youth movement significantly, it just pushes it off by a year when perhaps more suitable, permanent replacements can be found.

    • Mike bk says:

      well it does if a young(er) player (melky most likely) gets dealt out to make room for him. it also potentially puts them in a bind in 12 months when they wont want either Damon or Matsui in all likelihood and have no replacements in the upper minors.

      • DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

        Who say we want Melk in 12 months at his price tag next year? Melky is an ok player but I do not, not bring Matsui and Damon back on one year deals to keep Melky for 2011. That is darn silly thinking.

  13. SM says:

    The thought of using Holliday as negotiating leverage is humorous considering Boras should know whats really going on.

  14. Rose says:

    If Holliday is “still on our radar”…then we should still be able to consider Damon AND Matsui as an option to BOTH come back. You could probably get the both of them (assuming Cashman’s technique works) for similar price to Holliday but on 1 year deals.

    If this is a possibility…

    1 more year of Matsui+Damon >>>>> 6 years of Matt Holliday

    • Chris says:

      Let’s say you sign Damon and Matsui to 1 year deals. What do you do about LF in 2011? You’d be stuck piecing together an answer for LF again next year. Holliday is probably the best LF option that will be available in the next 2-3 years, so locking him up wouldn’t be a bad thing. Of course this is all dependent on what type of contract he’s looking for, but I don’t think 6 years is too long a deal for him.

      • Rose says:

        Keep Melky as the 4th OF and send Gardner to AAA?

        In 2011 you have Crawford, Worth, Hawpe, Manny, etc. as options for LF. There are ways. You don’t want another big contract on your hands.

        • DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

          You had me at Crawford.

          • I like Crawford, we all like Crawford, but I’m not sure we should be so eager to just say ‘Okay, he’s definitely our guy.’

            There are definitely things to consider–his walk rate, his average power, the fact that speed doesn’t always age well–that should give us pause. I like him and I would like to see him on the Yankees, but I think a short term deal would be best (IF he’s available, that is).

            • DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

              “but I think a short term deal would be best”

              Agreed. I know I am the only one that cares but I also find tats really dumb looking on a baseball player especially neck tats. I would give him some bread to get it erased if he signed. Not my money mind you but some of that money Hank has laying around.

        • Chris says:

          Holliday is better than all of them.

          You can piece together a solution in LF that is almost as good, but it’s not going to save you much money unless you can find a pre-FA guy for the spot.

        • BklynJT says:

          I can see Worth going to Boston. For some reason, i think he fits the mold…. He’s white, is a douchebag, and has a douchebag patch on his chin. Probably wears Ed Hardy shirts and is auditioning for season 2 of tool academy.

  15. Jon Kantrowitz says:

    Getting Damon and Matsui for 1 year each would be great. Then trade Melky and/or Gardner for prospects/relief pitchers.

  16. MattG says:

    Give me Jack Cust for $1.5M.

    This team is so good now, they should take a little gamble at DH on the cheap. Maybe Cust has a Ortizian evolution. Maybe he totally bombs, in which case you end up with Juan Miranda until you can make a trade.

  17. Hey ZZ says:

    With Granderson on board I think I would rather have Matsui over Damon. While Damon is pretty good against lefties in comparison to righties, Matsui is beastly.

    • That’s a good point. The lack of platoon split for HazMat (and his better overall production) makes him a little more attractive vis-a-vis Damon, bat-wise If you’re only adding one more bat (and thus, playing Gardbrera every day again), it should be the best bat available. IMO, Damon’s ability to play LF isn’t significant enough, since he’s bad there, to warrant picking his weaker bat over Matsui’s stronger one.

      HazMat, career:
      vs RHP – .291/.375/.490 (.865)
      vs LHP – .294/.359/.465 (.824)

      Damon, career:
      vs RHP – .291/.359/.453 (.812)
      vs LHP – .283/.346/.403 (.749)

      • Evil Empire says:

        Agreed, but the only thing is that HazMat’s going to get less ABs than Johnny Damon due to being stuck at DH. A-Rod and Posada are going to get a good amount of ABs at the DH spot no matter what, and on those days, Matsui will only get 1 AB at most.

        The benefit of Damon is that on most days, you’re only playing one of Gardbrera/Cervelli/Pena. With Matsui, there are more days where you’re playing at least 2 of them.

        Ideally, you get both of them (though I know that isn’t the point of this discussion).

      • MattG says:

        Those stats are a little unfair in that they do not consider Matsui’s early/mid 20s, when Damon was struggling to reach his potential.

        I agree with the larger point, though.

      • Mike bk says:

        Cammy, career
        vs RHP – .245/.330/.435(.765)
        vs LHP – .267/.370/.489(.859)

        considering the struggles of Grandy vs lefties and the added bonus of D that cammy gives you over either Matsui or Damon I think he is the best combined option out there. His average is lower and his strikeouts are higher admittedly, but he will slug just as much and the D is the key for me.

    • Rose says:

      Matsui is beastly

      This fall…coming to a theater near you…from the producers that brought you “Godzilla: Takes Manhatten”…

      The 2010 rendition of…

      Hideki Matsui is Dar, “THE BEASTMASTER”

      Tagline: “The Courage of an eagle, the strength of a panther and the power of a Matsui.”

    • vin says:

      For me, it all comes down to who is more likely to stay healthy and replicate last year?

      Damon has the 140+ game streak going, but he always seems to be phycially hanging on by a thread. Matsui has had knee problems lately, but DHing should minimize that risk.

      I’m not sure which one is the better bet… so I’d like to see both signed.

  18. dsss says:

    I know everyone tends to take whatever offer gives the most money, but lets get real. Over Damon’s career, he has made almost $100million not including endorsements. I know he’s a self-described idiot, but he’s not stupid. I have a hard time believing he’s spent it all.

    Now he’s at the end of his career, does he really think a couple million more is going to be more satisfying than the limelight of NY, the chance for 1 or 2 more WS rings, and the possibility of a HOF induction. If he actually feels that way, than I say let him go.

  19. mryankee says:

    I hope Damon wises up and realizes the Yankees are his best bet. He would be terrible iin San Francisco his numbers would suffer in that ballpark. Yankee stadium is perfect for him. If the Yankees can get one of the tow back(Matsui, Damon) I am curiosu who will be the next starting pitcher to get aquired I just dont see Hughes and Joba as 4-5 in the rotation all year.

  20. Megatron says:

    Damon is getting Pettitted circa 2008.

    It’s a beautiful thing when the FO is working intelligently. Makes me want to airbrush a shirt with Cashman’s face on it.

  21. Rose says:

    Do you think Damon can get a similar contract to Pettitte this year? Would the Yankees offer that high? And do you think Johnny would take something that low?

    I say throw a $7 or $8M one-year contract on the counter and tell Matsui and Arn (Anderson) to sign it.

  22. dsss says:

    To be honest, I hadn’t though much about DeJesus. Comparing him and Damon’s stats and splits:

    2009 .281/.347/.434/.781
    Career .286/.358/.425/.782
    2009 vs. left .290/.335/.355/.690
    2009 vs. right .277/.354/.478/.832

    2009 .282/.365/.489/.854
    Career .288/.355/.439/.794
    2009 vs. left .269/.332/.444/.776
    2009 vs. right .288/.380/.509/.889

    Dejesus appears to compare favorably with Damon, his SO and BB rates are similar, , he’s good against lefties, he’s 6 years younger and much cheaper. I admit I don’t know a lot about him, but at least superficially he appears to be someone to consider.

    Anyone know more abot him to enlighten me?

  23. MattG says:

    I am seeing the light!

    Cameron is the answer, because his combination of offense and defense will give the Yankees the same value as Matsui/Damon, at the same price, or Delgado with less risk (is this true?). Pencil in Swisher for the DH spot for the time being, but he doesn’t have to spend the whole season, or even a part of it, that way.

    Do this, and wait, and a perfect DH opportunity will appear.

    Or just go cheap and squirrel it away. I don’t know. There really aren’t any awful options being discussed.

  24. Couchy says:

    Do you guys think there is any chance at all that Damon is in patrolling the green monster next year?

    • I’ve had that thought, but I just don’t see how the Sox don’t sign Holliday. He just makes too much sense for them. Even Bay, since there doesn’t seem to be too much of a market for him and they can probably get him on a relatively reasonable deal. Am I crazy, or not looking at this from the proper perspective since I’m not a Sox fan?

      But yeah… To answer your question, I’ve had that thought a bunch lately. They could certainly make that play.

      • Mike bk says:

        if the mets take holliday or bay that possiblity becomes more likely.

        • There’s so many players that make so much sense for the Mets, and yet, they’re not linked to anyone.

          Maybe they’re really flat broke.

          • I think Citifield is a problem for them, too. Of course if they blow other offers away they’ll get their guy, but if the offers are close, I think that field hurts them a decent bit. I know it’s all about the money, but suppressing a guy like Holliday’s or Bay’s HR totals hurts their ability to earn money. They have to go out and spend some money to get these guys, otherwise I don’t think they’re going to attract a marquee power hitter to that stadium (or that dysfunctional organization, for that matter).

            • I know it’s all about the money, but suppressing a guy like Holliday’s or Bay’s HR totals hurts their ability to earn money.

              That’s a good point.

              A guy like Holliday would also be thinking about his legacy, too. If he locks himself in to a bad Mets team that loses AND he depresses his offensive output for the next, say, 5-7 years, it torpedoes his chances of being thought of as a great player (i.e. HoF candidacy). That could be a big negative.

              There’s a reason Peavy wasn’t interested in coming to the AL East and playing in the YS3 “bandbox”.

      • Couchy says:

        I totally agree re Holliday ending up there.

        I just have this terrible feeling that we are just over a month from winning it all and I see Johnny sign for some terrible team as we passed him over and a part of me dies inside

  25. Jamal G. says:

    In terms of surplus value, I think the best combination is Brett Gardner in left field and Johnny Damon as the designated hitter. There are a plethora of factors – Gardner vs. Cameron; Damon vs. Matsui; salaries; roster flexibility – that point to this, in my opinion.

    First, let us look at Brett Gardner versus Mike Cameron. Before the acquisition of Curtis Granderson, Cameron made sense for the 2010 roster because he provided a short-term, significant upgrade to the center-field position, and would likely provide surplus value with a $10M, one-year contract. However, with the aforementioned Granderson a member of the 2010 roster, the surplus value that the Yankees would enjoy from having either Granderson or Cameron in center field would be greatly reduced when either is moved to left field. The beauty of Cameron is that he brings an above-average bat with a plus glove for a center fielder; however, if he were to be moved to left field, the bat would become average at best, and likely below when considering age-related decline.

    When looking at Brett Gardner, I – maybe displaying some overt optimism – believe that he can equate or surpass Cameron’s production in terms of getting on base and playing defense – CHONE, Bill James’ projection model and UZR projections all see Gardner as the better player in 2010. If you are more bearish in Gardner’s ability to approach Cameron’s production in 2010, how comfortable are you in stating that the difference in production is going to be worth the $8.5-$9.5M difference in salaries? Factoring in Baseball Prospectus’ equivalent baserunning runs statistic, Gardner produced a defensively dependent 2.6 WAR in semi-regular duty; Cameron, as a full-time center fielder, produced an All-Star level 4.3 WAR. Yet, we have to remember that Cameron or Granderson would move to left field, decreasing the transplanted center fielder’s value. So, the question is: if you disagree with me that Gardner is the better player in 2010 in comparison to Cameron, is the difference worth the gap in their salaries?

    P.S. I wanted to detail why I favor Damon over Matsui for the DH, but researching on a netbook is a pain in the ass (which is why I couldn’t give you what the CHONE, Bill James and UZR projections actually say); so, I’ll just tell you that Damon – even costing the Yanks more runs with his horrid fielding and positional adjustment than Matsui being a DH – was the more productive player, when factoring in their performance on the bases.

    • Jamal G. says:

      Oh, I just wanted to add that I look at Brett Gardner as a one-win defender in left field that provides an above-league-average on-base percentage. Basically, think of Carl Crawford with slightly worse defense and incomparable power and salaries.

      • Brian Cashman is Watching says:

        Except Brett Gardner has done nothing to suggest he is capable of even posting a league average OBP. He’s fast, we get it. He can field, great. But, as Keith Law said, he’s a fifth outfielder. He still looks over matched. Cabrera isn’t a starting caliber outfielder but I’d still take him over Gardner. Cabrera was near league average (OPS+ = 99), and I’d be quite happy with him back in the outfield over Gardner.

        • Jamal G. says:

          His MiL career and scouting reports would lead you to believe that he can produce an OBP of greater than .334, or the average AL OBP of the past three seasons.

          • Chris says:

            He had a .345 OBP this year, so that wouldn’t be much of a stretch.

          • Brian Cashman is Watching says:

            But Melky and Gardner produced very similar OBP and wOBA last year, and Melky is younger than Gardner. If the two are similar OBP players, then I’ll take the one with more power and who has shown more at the major league level.

            For what it is worth, Bill James predictions predict that both will have nearly the same OPS next year.

        • A.D. says:

          Well he had a better OBP than Cameron last year, and Gardner’s .345 OBP is better than the .336 AL average.

            • A.D. says:

              Well that’s all we have, and he was able to produce strong (.389) OBP at the minor league levels.

              Plus last year didn’t appear to be some banner or lucky year for BG, and basically he showed he just may be very streaky, with months he tore it up, and months he was pretty bad.

              Basically is BG a guy you want as your everyday LF, no. But is it reasonable to assume that he could be a plus defender that put up league avg or better OBP, I think so.

    • Evil Empire says:

      The problem is that Johnny Damon (probably) won’t sign with the Yankees if he is going to be a primary DH. He wants to be a left fielder, and be paid accordingly.

      In a vacuum you might be right, though I do think you’re a bit optimistic on how good Gardner is going to be. At this point, I’d prefer having Melky in left field over Gritner.


    ESPN SportCenter just gave their fancy Baseball Tonight update horn and said Olney reports we have begun contract negotiations with Damon.

    No details beyond that.

    For whatever that’s worth.

  27. arosen15 says:

    How bout as suggested above Jeter in LF.
    and Hanley at SS?

    Does that work for anyone else?

      • arosen15 says:

        I find that to be a delightful thought. We won’t need Jesus after we sign Mauer. That signing alone could cause the CBA negotiations to explode.

          • Tom Zig says:

            If he doesn’t come to the Pinstriped Empire, then he should just stay as a Twin…or go to the NL.

            Actually fuck it, who cares, as long as Boston doesn’t get Mauer, then I don’t care.

            • Evil Empire says:

              If Mauer hits FA, Boston is exactly the team I see him going to.

              That does have a silver lining though, with all of the high end pitching that’s going to be on the markets. Unless Boston wants to spend more money than they ever have in the past for an extended period of time, they won’t be able get everyone that they’d like.

      • Evil Empire says:

        I think its just as likely, for a variety of reasons, that Hanley is our 3B in 2013.

    • Tom Zig says:

      Hanley hasn’t been said to be available. Sure everyone has a price, but I ain’t willing to pay this one.

      Think Joba + Montero + Lord knows what.

    • Mattchu12 says:

      If I’m moving Cap to the outfield, then I’m bringing in Troy Tulowitzki to play shortstop instead of Hanley Ramirez. Just saying.

      • Mattchu12 says:

        And a further point, I’d rather see if Cano can play an average shortstop (with Jeter moving to second base) before I’m trading for anybody and blocking left field with Cap, whom doesn’t hit for much power. I love him, and I don’t ever want to see him in another uniform. But I’d rather have a legit power bat in left field, though with somebody like Hanley or Tulo at shortstop, we’d be getting a lot of power at a position where we don’t usually see power. So it evens itself out.

    • A.D. says:

      Well with the way it stands right now, Jeter should still be the SS and Hanley should be in LF. Given that Jeter has been the better defender.

  28. Evil Empire says:

    Wow, BoSox really are shaking things up!

    The American League East is officially WARNED.

  29. DontChaKnow says:

    I have a feeling that getting Hoffman is an opening for Melky to be traded. I know Girardi loves Gardners speed and they can move Granderson over to left and Gardner to center for defensive replacement at the end of games. Plus, Melky is due for a raise and teams like the cubs have interst in him.

    • Mattchu12 says:

      Sadly, I agree. I’m going to hate seeing Melky go, but I can’t imagine that Girardi lets Cash keep Melky and let Gardner go. Speed and defense is all Gardner has, I don’t think his bat will be good enough to justify a starting job down the road.

      • Ed says:

        Melky’s a tough sell to keep over Gardner.

        Melky made $1.4m last year and is due a raise. Garnder will make $400k.

        Gardner has options, Melky doesn’t.

        Gardner has 5 years of team control remaining, Melky has 2.

    • Bronx Cheer says:

      Agreed. Melky also fits in a lot better with an NL team. His switch hitting and ability to play all three OF positions passably provides roster flexibility for double switches. Tweener outfielders fare much better in the NL than AL.

  30. Tom says:

    Bottom line is with Granderson signed the Yankees will not bring back both Damon and Matsui. Granderson is in Center and he is a HUGE upgrade in the field. Swish is in right, and you put Melky in left. I like the idea of bringing back Matsui to DH and having Gardner as the 4th outfielder.

  31. Macklin says:

    I haven’t read above, but perhaps someone could clarify why Cashman didn’t offer Damon arbitration if he intends to sign him to a 1-year $10 million deal. That would potentially net the Yankees a first and second round pick and risk only a few million dollar raise. Seems like a viable calculated risk.

    • Mike bk says:

      because then he would be stuck w a 1 yr 15-16 mil vs 10.

      • Macklin says:

        Right — that’s your risk. The upside is two valuable draft picks to restock the farm system.

      • Ed says:

        Often repeated, but never with any justification.

        Arbitration hearing:

        Cashman: “We think Damon is worth $11m. Since the end of the 2008 season, players such as Pat Burrell, Raul Ibanez, Milton Bradley, Adam Dunn, and Bobby Abreu have all signed contracts worth $10.5m or less per year. We consider Damon to be a similar player, and are willing to pay him slightly more than any of those players received.”

        Damon: “I got $13m/year 4 years ago. I deserve more because I’m older.”

        How can Damon possibly justify a raise?

        The more likely reason is that Cashman wanted to explore options and not commit himself to Damon. He wanted to see who was available for trade and how the market developed before potentially committing to Damon.

  32. pete says:

    I was huge on Cammy for LF for a while (with Melky in right and Swisher at DH), but upon further review, I think Hazmat at DH might be the best option (though Damon would be nice too, just not at LF), with Melkner playing left. We managed to do very well with Melkner in the lineup every day last year, and the same will go for this year, I think. Having either a bat that’s MLB-avg (melky) or terrific speed (gardner) in the 9-hole is a relative luxury, and the combination would allow the yanks to invest in a real DH. Plus, Cabrera’s naturally suited (or his numbers thus far suggest he is) to LF, defensively, and Gardner could probably be a +20 UZR/150 guy in LF if he played all of his innings there. I could still go for Cammy, but I think Gardbrera/Granderson/Swisher + Matsui DH is the best option going forward.

    • Rose says:

      Ding! Ding! Ding!

      Get this young lad his prize!

    • I keep going back and forth on this, so I’m going to take the opportunity to respond to you and try to sort out my thoughts here. I get (and have been swayed for a while) by the argument for Matsui over Damon if they’re going to sign just one – the idea that since Gardbrera will be in the lineup either way, might as well go with Matsui’s bat over Damon’s… But I think there might be some other aspects of this issue we’re not addressing fully enough. One of those aspects if the depth issue. If, Mo forbid, Granderson or Swisher go down with an injury, and you’ve got Matsui instead of Damon, then you’ve got to play 2 of Gardbrera/Hoffmann/etc. in the outfield. Damon, while he might not be a good defensive outfielder anymore, can still get out there and perform well enough, and that’s a pretty big check in his column over Matsui. There’s also the issue of interleague play/WS, when Damon would be able to play but Matsui would ride the pine in NL ballparks. Not the biggest deal in the world, but it does matter.

      I don’t know… I don’t love the money I think the Yanks would have to spend on Damon, but the fact that he can play the field really is a pretty big advantage for him over Matsui. It would make the roster much more flexible/deep in 2010. (Same goes for any other left fielder, of course.)

      So anyway… There’s that. I’m thoroughly confused and on the fence about what I think they should do. As long as Cashman is smart about the contracts, which I have faith he will be, I’m sure I’ll be satisfied with whatever route he chooses.

      • Bronx Cheer says:

        I was thinking along those lines (i.e., Damon’s ability to at least fake LF being the deciding factor) until the Granderson trade. Now, I am getting a little worried about the team being very vulnerable to lefty starters. If it is positional flexibility you want, why not sign both Damon and Cammy? See my post below.

        • Money… I’m assuming they can sign one of these guys… Or, really, if they sign Damon, it’s one of these guys, but maybe they can sign two of them if it’s the non-Damon division… Who knows, we don’t know what it’ll take to sign these guys. Point being, though, that what I said above was predicated on them signing one guy, not two. If they’re signing two, and one of them can play the outfield, then my concerns are pretty much taken care of, anyway.

      • Rose says:

        Valid point…but you could have said the same thing last year when we won the World Series. You can say that about any team. It’s nice to have flexibility…but to pay more for flexibility and putting out a worse hitter at DH (when you’re suppose to assume they stay healthy) over paying less for a much better hitting option (assuming he stays healthy) isn’t the best way to look at it…IMO at least. And Johnny Damon isn’t any spring chicken either…he may get hurt too. You just never know. But it is smart to look at all possibilities.

        • What? Last year when they won the WS, they had both Damon and Matsui. I’m not sure what you’re trying to say by bringing up the 2009 team.

          The point is that, going into 2010, you have 2 open slots. If you’re only going to fill one of those slots (and let Gardbrera cover the second), then there’s a definite, inarguable advantage to that 1 acquisition being someone who can play the field.

          • Actually… You could even say you only have one open slot, not two, now that Granderson is in the fold. He replaces 2009 Damon, Gardbrera just shifts over to LF, and you have the one open slot (2009 Matsui) remaining. You could sign 2 more guys, but then you’d be replacing a 2009 piece (Gardbrera) and actually filling the 2 spots that were originally open this offseason with 3 players. So, really, when compared to the 2009 team, you’ve got one remaining open slot, and you can fill that slot with either a no-field DH or a DH/OF.

          • Rose says:

            Well my point was that in 2009 we had Damon, Melky, Swisher, Nady, and Gardner going into the season. Nady got hurt so we had Damon, Melky, Swisher, and Gardner.

            In 2010, we can have Granderson, Melky, Swisher, and Gardner. Similar to our Nady-less outfield in 09…which was almost for the entire season…

            That’s what I meant by a similar situation. You bring Matsui back for 2010 and you have a similar situation to a large majority of what we had for the 2009 season.

            • Right… And what I’m saying is that, given the choice of this one additional piece being a guy who can’t play the field or a guy who can play the field, I think the guy who can play the field carries some extra value. I love Matsui, but the fact that he can’t play the field is a negative for him, and a positive for any other player who can play the field. There’s a benefit there. It’s a very simple, discrete, and inarguable point.

              Look at it this way… Would you prefer a Hideki Matsui who can’t play the field, or a Hideki Matsui who can play the field?

              The point is just that there’s value to being able to play the field. So, for example, if you think Matsui’s the better hitter than Damon, you have to keep in mind that the fact that Damon can play the outfield is a benefit in his column and a negative in Matsui’s.

              The argument you’re making is similar to the ‘well it worked last year, so why not do it again’ argument. To that, I say, that no matter how good the team is, they should always be working to improve the team. Just because they did it one way last year doesn’t mean that’s the best way to do it in the future.

              (Note I’m not arguing for Damon over Matsui here… As I said above, I can’t decide on a definite course of action. There are obviously other concerns, such as health, money, availability, skillsets, etc.).

              • Rose says:

                I agree. But when the difference is paying more for assuming something will go bad over paying less for assuming something will go well…it’s arbitrary. Is it more likely something will go wrong? Perhaps. But you also get a better bat in Matsui too.

                I do agree that having a fallback with Damon is a huge plus…but that’s also assuming that something may go wrong.

                And we can always make a move if necessary…if the scenario arises.

                • I hear you… But it’s really not arbitrary. We can’t predict anything with 100% accuracy, but we can look at the available options and the various characteristics of those options and choose the option that should be the best fit. For example, Matsui might hold up, he might not, and the same goes for Damon, but it’s probably a better bet that Damon holds up, since Matsui’s shins rest directly on his thighs instead of having knees in the middle. There’s nothing arbitrary about that, we can make an educated choice based on the available evidence. And yeah, we can always make a move later if the need arises, but, if given the opportunity, isn’t it better to plan ahead a bit than to be forced into a move because you’ve left yourself without depth?

                  I still like Matsui and what he brings to the table… I love his bat, obviously we all like what we’ve heard about his personality, and I like the idea that he’d be the DH for about 135 games and give some of our regulars the chance to use the DH slot to rest. On the other side of the equation, he can’t play the field and he’s a major injury risk. I’m not denying or looking past the positives he brings to the table, but you have to be cognizant of the positives of the other options out there.

                • PS: Re your point about the 09 outfield compared to what we currently have going into 2010… The Yanks don’t currently have a similar situation to 2009, the 2010 outfield is a bit shorthanded compared to how they entered the 2009 season. The fact that Nady went down and that outfield was still good in 2009 is kind of evidence that the Yanks should get a DH who can play the outfield, isn’t it? If someone goes down in this outfield, Nick Swisher isn’t stepping into the void. When Nady went down, you had Damon/Gardbrera/Swisher, but this year if, say, Swisher goes down and Matsui is your DH, you’ve got Melky/Granderson/Gardner. Last year’s OF was deeper than the current outfield.

                  Guys get hurt and there’s nothing we can do to stop that, but we can prepare by building up some decent depth, if possible. If given the choice between no-field DH1 and DH2 who can play the OF, DH2 has the advantage.

    • Bronx Cheer says:

      Naah. I still like Cameron for LF and a steady DH bat (preferably Matsui). We need more RHH regulars. Every one of our switch hitters are worse against lefties, and Damon has a platoon split that will only get worse as he gets older and bat speed drops. Neither Melky nor Gardner are good enough against lefties to even quasi-platoon Granderson.

      I was saying earlier this week after the Granderson trade became public that we needed Cammy plus a RHH lefty masher on the bench. (On a related note, this reason is why I like the Rule V pick so much – it looks like Cash is thinking along with me) Against tough lefties, you put Cammy in CF, masher/Melky in LF, and Swish in RF. With Matsui at DH, you can leave him be most of the time. If another DH is obtained (Damon or other lefty bearing a noticable split), however, you can put the better defender of masher/Melky in left and DH the other, or DH Posada and start your backup C. With any of these base configurations, you have above average OF defense at all three positions.

      • Rose says:

        We need more RHH regulars. Every one of our switch hitters are worse against lefties

        Last year our team slaughtered any handed pitcher that ever pitched a pitch…

  33. ko says:

    If Cashman were smart(a big if), he’d look at his future outfield (2011 forward) as Crawford (FA in 2011), Granderson and Montero (too big to catch – will ruin his legs squatting in the long run – you want to keep a kid with this kind of hitting potential away from catching – right field is perfect – he already broke a finger catching last year – a waste). As far as this year, you can live with Damon (if you can sign him for two years max) and Swisher in left and right, respectively. The Yanks won in spite of having Swisher in right last year, not because of it. He’s not a long term solution in right. He murders fastballs, but can’t hit a breaking pitch. During the regular season, he feasted on bad pitchers who couldn’t get breaking pitches over. He either hammered them when they came in with a fastball or walked when they couldn’t get the breaking ball over. Swisher was exposed in the playoffs when good pitchers who could get breaking pitches over for strikes overwhelmed him.

  34. A Lifetime of Question Marks says:

    Just thinking about the Damon vs Matsui debate in regards to depth…

    It has been said that if we sign Damon, he can play the OF if any of our other OF’s get hurt. It has also been said that if we sign Matsui, then we would be stuck with Hoffman or Gardner starting alongside Melky in the OF.

    My point is that if we sign Damon, and he has to fill in in the OF, who starts at DH? Hoffman, Jorge (with Cervelli catching)? None of those options seem any better than the Matsui opition.

    In fact, if we have to bat both parts of Garbrera or Garbrera/Hoffman, I would prefer having Matsui in the lineup over Damon.

    The adavantage with Damon is that if we want to DH Jorge once a series, you can put him in LF (when Jorge DHs) without having to bat Garbrera and Cervelli too frequently.

    Still leaning slightly towards Matsui.

  35. [...] seven years the last time Damon was free agent. The pickup of Curtis Granderson allows the Yanks to put some pressure on Damon, however it doesn’t look like there will be an agreement made anytime [...]

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