Damon thinks his defense ‘was a positive’ for the Yanks


By most accounts, Johnny Damon performed poorly in left field last season. A net positive in 2008, his defense seemingly fell off a cliff in 2009, as he went from a 6.7 UZR over 659.1 innings to a -9.2 UZR in 1,117.2 innings. I looked all over for evidence that UZR was wrong, but didn’t find much. Even the scouting view, courtesy of Keith Law, doesn’t favor Damon. He sees things differently, though. Speaking to Tyler Kepner of the Times, Damon thinks his defense helped the club. “I think early on last season my defense was a little bit erratic, but once I figured out the ballpark and figured a few things out, I got better and I actually was a positive for us.” While his defense probably got better as the season went along, I don’t think it was ever a positive. Then again, what else is the guy going to say?

Categories : Asides


  1. Christos says:

    What the hell Johnny?

  2. JobaWockeeZ says:

    Well it won’t help him if he says he was absolutely atrocious.

  3. Joey D says:

    Johnny your kidding me right??
    You looked like you were on ice skates out there, and I’m personally sick of seeing him crash into the wall while the ball lands well within reach……(Bobby Abreu syndrome)

  4. ultimate913 says:

    “Then again, what else is the guy going to say?”

    That his arm is average. That would be the part where we recommend a doctor for his delusions.

  5. He saw it with his own eyes.

  6. Mike Pop says:

    Well this is the guy who said he could never play for the Yankees. I love Johnny, but not surprised.

    He’s not going to play himself out.

  7. Jobamania says:

    this is why i don’t like damon, he’s a delusional idiot.

  8. 2010 Granderson for 2010 Damon may (or may not) be a wash offensively, but either way it’s fairly close. But our OF defense gets measurably better with Melky/Gardner/Granderson/Swisher out there instead of with Damon in the mix, and that’s not even arguable.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

      That’s a pretty sick OF.

      • Lanny says:

        Did Damons defense really kill us this yr in left? how many wins did the yankees have??

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

          Not the point.

          • Lanny says:

            Whats the point then?

            He said the defense is better.

            So what? Didnt they win 100+ games and the WS with damons defense out in LF?

            how much did it really hurt the team?

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

              Well look who’s showed up.

              May somebody else do the honors? I don’t have the heart.

              • Lanny says:

                I’m dying to here you say how bad Damon was for this team last yr.

                Please enlighten us.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

                  Right, because clearly by saying that this year’s OF defense is going to be sick I’m implying both:

                  A) Damon hurt us last year


                  B) I don’t want Damon

                  Right, that’s totally what I’m implying.

                  (BTW, Damon as a whole didn’t hurt us last year, but the defensive aspect of his game did. So by getting a guy who’s worse offensively and better defensively, you’re compensating at least a little.)

                • Lanny says:

                  How did his defense hurt us last yr?

                  So his great bat didnt help at all??

                  and do u really need a gold glove winning lf to win 103?

                  obviously not

                • Ugh.

                  How did his defense hurt us last yr?

                  By being bad. Which is all that is being discussed here.

                  So his great bat didnt help at all??

                  It did. Doesn’t change the fact that his defense is bad, which is all that is being discussed here.

                  and do u really need a gold glove winning lf to win 103?

                  No. Doesn’t change the fact that his defense is bad, which is all that is being discussed here.

                  obviously not

                  Agreed. Obviously, however, Johnny’s defense is bad, which is all that is being discussed here.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

                  No, of course. I NEVER SAID YOU DID.

                  Believe it or not, I want to resign Damon. But his DEFENSE hurt us. His offense, however, more than made up for it.

                  However, sigining a player with worse offense and better defense is not necessarily a bad thing.

                • Lanny says:

                  So his really bad defense was sooooo bad we won 103 games and WS.


                  Great call there Eric.

                  Buty Im sure if we had Mike Cameron in LF we would have been just as good right????

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

                  You’re like a fish to a worm, TSJC. I knew you’d never be able to resist Lanny’s charms.

                • Lanny says:

                  Eric, like u rocky, likes to argue even when he agrees.

              • Nah, I’m just going to ignore this one. Whatevs.

                Blah blah blah, Lanny doesn’t make sense, blah blah blah. He improves, then comes crashing back to earth. It’s his thing.

        • No, but it clearly cost us that game (Burnett pitched) in FLA. And he was signed to be our CF, not LF. The fact that he had to play LF meant we had to play Melky in CF, so factor that in as well. Matsui was supposed to be our LF and Johnny in CF, but neither one could perform defensively.

          It’s the same as my Matsui argument. He simply didn’t earn his last contract, what would make you think he’ll earn his next one when he’s 3 years older? Cashman’s approach is 100% correct. 1 year deal at money he can live with. If not, let them walk.

          • Lanny says:

            Check his offensive numbers over the 4 yrs. He more than earned his contract.

            Just because Melky was a better def CF doesnt mean he did anything wrong.

            You make it sound like he was a total bust. Someone may want to review those 2009 #’s again before they put the foot in the mouth.

  9. I’m sure I’ll get snarky responses to this request, but do fangraphs or any other sites give UZR (or other defensive statistical) breakdowns by month? I haven’t seen that sort of breakdown before, maybe I’m just missing it. Just curious… The idea that his defense was worse early in the season and improved as the season progressed came up in a thread a while back, and Damon (and Joe) kinda echo the thought. Going purely off observation/memory, I remember him making some awful plays early in the season, but he did seem to settle down a bit as the season wore on. I’m not saying he settled down enough to wear he was a positive out there in the field or anything, but I’m curious what the metrics might say about how he played in the field at different points in the season.

    • jim p says:

      iirc, he seemed to go goofy again the last 6 or 7 weeks of the season. It seemed he was never getting a good read on the ball.

      • Slu says:

        My observational opinion agrees with you, jim p.

        He general not horrible, but then every couple of games he would just take a really horrible route to a ball.

        And I seem to remember some bad plays not in Yankee Stadium.

        It’d also be nice to home/road UZR splits to see if his argument about learning the stadium holds any water.

    • Accent Shallow says:

      I don’t believe anyone has defensive splits by month, or even by half-season. I’d be glad to be wrong, however.

    • Month by month breakdowns?!?! WTF, man?!?!?

      Meh, I suck at snark.

    • steve (different one) says:

      you could go back and check NoMaas. i believe they tracked UZR by week?

      that’s a lot of manual effort, but it could probably tell you the story.

      i think it is true that he improved as the season went on.

    • 28 next year says:

      UZR needs a large sample to be effective. One year is barely big enough as things change from year to year. I think one month would have massive skews either way depending on a variety of factors. That would be like major SSS.

      • Yeah, I know that would be a problem, I was just wondering if the numbers are actually available anywhere. They’d probably show nothing, and even if they showed some sort of trend it’d be very unreliable due to the sample size and the nature of UZR. Just curious what they’d show, anyway.

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

    Johnny Damon’s defense in Left was the opposite of pi. But check this out—I can also make straight-up bullshit.

    Reporter: Hey Overshare, how many models and actresses have you nailed in the past 12 hours?

    Overshare: Well, I started slowly since I was low and coke and XTC and just sort of touching myself while eating bacon and hanging out with the cat, but once I got a feel for it, I buried my entire body deep inside 14 models and actresses. Total net positive.

  11. Mac says:

    Damon is gone. I believe he will still get a 2 or 3 year deal with someone and the Yanks shouldn’t touch that.

    Matsui Vlad or Dye on a 1 year deal. 100% DH.

    • Mike Pop says:

      Matsui, Thome, or Delgado on a one year deal ;)

      • Mac says:

        Fine by me.

        Sign Pettitte and Mitre/Gaudin and the team is primed for a repeat. All while lowering their payroll to around 200mill.

        • Lanny says:

          who cares what the payroll is as long as the team is good?

          • Mike Pop says:

            Lanny’s keepin’ it real goes wrong.

            • Lanny says:

              So you care what the payroll is when the team revenues are thru the roof?

              Why do you or anyone here care?

              So the owners can pocket more money???

              Its amazing how now we bash millionaire players for being greedy but want billionaire owners to make more.

              • Mike Pop says:

                I care about payroll for the team in the future. That’s why. If the payroll is too high, it could stop the team from pursuing a better option in the future.

                • Lanny says:


                  What move has it ever impacted for them?

                  They can sit on so much dead weight money and it doesnt matter.

                  What team can have a 5 mill starter sitting at triple A who cant show his face in the majors?

                  the only thing they dont want is long term contracts which hampers their flexibility in signing and trading.

                  per yr avg shouldnt mean a thing to anyone here.

                • 28 next year says:

                  you do realize we haven’t really seen the problem our commitments have. We are already commitment to payrolls of like 130 million to just like five or six players. Doesn’t that kinda scare you as Hughes and Chamberlain are nearing arb years and stuff. While we got money, I don’t think the FO wants the payroll to be a lot greater than 200 mil anytime soon.

                • 28 next year says:

                  the 130 million is like 2013.

                • 28 next year says:

                  and add in new contracts for Jeter and Mo

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

      No one is foolish enough to give him 3 years. Not even the Mets. Besides, he can’t be a backup catcher.

      • No one is foolish enough to give him 3 years. Not even the Mets.

        That sounds like a challenge. ARE YOU FUCKING CHALLENGING ME?!?!?
        (rips off shirt)

        Tony Bernazard

      • Mac says:

        Probably not. But the fact is, the Yanks shouldn’t re-sign him for anything more than 1 year at 7 million.

        • Lanny says:

          Why do you care if Johnny gets 13 mil or 7 mil? Will it affect anything they do this off season? will price of tix go down???

          Fans that agonize over salaries amaze me.

          • Mac says:

            Whether it is the Yankees or the Marlins. Money is still a major factor in every decision a baseball team makes. There is a number at which the Yanks will not considering re-signing him and that is the number I would not go over.

            And I think I care more than some might because I went to school for business and it is a major part of my day to day work activities.

            I am glad I could amaze you this evening.

            • Lanny says:

              Please dont compare the Yankees to the Florida Marlins.

              That is ridiculous.

              The Yankee revenues are thru the moon. They could probably have a payroll of 300 mil if they wanted without blinking an eye.

              And why would it matter to u or anyone here if they did? Its not like if they went down to 185 they’d lower prices would they?

              • Mike Pop says:

                Fact – Signing Lackey, Holliday or trading for Halladay now and giving him an extension would most likely have implications on the Yankees pursuing Joe Mauer, Felix Hernandez, or other FA’s of that nature.

              • NYTraveller says:

                Perhaps they don’t want to pay the equivalent of last month’s national debt in luxury tax so the Pirates and Royals can suck ass into the next millenium.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

            You amaze me, Lanny. You really do.

  12. Jobamania says:

    i’ll be glad when i no longer have to listen to the caveman’s pre/postgame interviews

  13. Lanny says:

    When has a bad LF cost a team over a season? Damon didnt seem to hurt this yr. manny never hurts. Bay didnt kill Boston this yr.

    Name the Yankee LF’s during the 90 title yrs. Didnt cost anything.

    LF defense is highly overrated. Damons bat more than makes up for any def short comings. It’s not CF.

  14. Crazy Eyes Killa says:

    Nobody wants this guy patrolling LF for them. Him and Scotty B need to wake up. Johnny literally limped to the finish line by getting taken out of that last WS game. He may have been a terribly durable guy for a long time, but he’s just not anymore, nobody especially with the current state of the nat’l economy is giving him anything near what he wants. Damon will probably come crawling back, but I hope Cashman has already signed Mike Cameron at that point.

    I think I heard they told Damon to tell them what he’s looking for rather than making any some sort of offer? Pretty ideal strategy I’d say.

    • Lanny says:

      Well be fair. You dont know what he wants. And the industry is flush with money. Dont compare it to the national economy.

      Most teams could use offense and there arent much better than Damon out there.

      • Crazy Eyes Killa says:

        True we don’t know anything about what he’s actually searching for although we’ve heard ridiculous things out of his agent. Personally, If I were a GM of a team with money to spend and a need which he filled, I wouldn’t give him anything more than 7-8 mill and a vesting option for a second yr

  15. BigBlueAL says:

    Damon has been drinking the Scott Boras kool-aid.

  16. Michael Kay says:

    I would like to think I am worthy of hooking up with Christina Aguilera.

  17. Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

    I’d love to sign Damon. A Lineup would then be:

    Jeter SS
    Damon DH
    Tex 1b
    A-Rod 3b
    Posada C
    Cano 2b
    Granderson CF
    Swisher RF
    Cabrera LF

    SICK. I don’t care if it’s a leftie or rightie.

    • Crazy Eyes Killa says:

      Nah, you gotta sign Cameron over him, I thought you already knew that……THINK ABOUT TEH D!!11!!

      • Lanny says:

        Dont get the Cameron thing at all. Would add a nice 140 k’s to the lineup.

        Damons the way to go. You can let him DH 70-90 times and let Melky play LF most days if need be.

        • Mike Pop says:

          Lanny, can you try to not be so naive. Please.

          Cameron has been discussed on here hundreds of times on why he is a potential fit. A good one at that.

          • Mike Pop says:

            Honestly. I don’t even mind you like many other regulars on here do. But sometimes, the shit is unbearable.

          • Lanny says:

            Not a Cameron fan. He’d be good in the clubhouse but hes an aging CF who cant really hit. Hes not in Damons league when it comes to offense and his defense doesnt outweigh his offensive shortcomings.

            Hes a feast or famine guy who doesnt feast on good/elite pitching.

            Damon is perfect for this lineup.

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

              Can you explain the ERic thing with TSJC? I really don’t get it.

              (As for Cameron, he is above average offensively and plays much better defense, so he is not that less valuable than Damon.)

            • Look, I’m not as big a Cameron fan as other people around here, but there’s one important part of your argument you have to explain further. According to the more commonly used metrics, Cameron’s offense and defense together yield a net positive. In fact, they yield such a net positive that he was one of the 5 most valuable center fielders, according to WAR, in MLB in 2009. He probably won’t rank that high moving forward, but the fact remains that the metrics like the guy and put him, generally, in the top 5-10 center fielders in the game, year in and year out.

              I get that Cameron’s bat isn’t so great, and I don’t think even the biggest Cameron proponent would try to tell you he’s some amazing offensive force or anything. But are you relying on anything other than your gut when you say Cameron’s “defense doesn’t outweigh his offensive shortcomings?”

              • Lanny, I tried to engage you in a reasoned conversation here. I’m sure it’s no fun for you to have the RAB mob instantly mock you every time you post a comment, but when you don’t even bother to respond when someone responds to you calmly and tries to have a normal conversation with you, you can’t be too surprised when people don’t take anything you say seriously.

        • Crazy Eyes Killa says:

          Or you can sign Cameron because he gives you great flexibility that Damon doesnt, and has just aged significantly better as well. This strategy allows you to address the DH situation from within if need be, or at any point in the future; which is nice since it’s the easiest thing to find

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

        I would love to sign Cameron.

        I’d be happy with either one. Or both.

    • Drew says:

      I think C-Grand will be behind Swish’s nice obp.

    • Jacob says:

      you have to break up Cano and Grandy. Two leftys in a row and espicially Grandy not being able to touch them at all is not a good idea

    • Reggie C. says:

      I think you have to drop Posada from the 5th spot. Power remains Granderson’s consistent calling card as a hitter.

      Behind Arod:
      5. Granderson
      6. Posada
      7. Cano
      8. Swisher
      9. Melk

    • Crazy Eyes Killa says:

      I really think someone needs to hold that five hole down, it hurt the Yanks a little bit right after Alex came back last year, and thats the biggest issue with letting Matsui walk. I think I prefer having Matsui to Damon, because I think Granderson could possibly man that 2hole in place of Damon. You gotta think Granderson will become at least a little more professional of a hitter as a Yankee….or he’ll think short porch every time….Not that I’d want to bat Cameron (my preference of who the Yanks sign)5th I wouldnt, but he’d play the field and do it well, allowing Jorge to settle more comfortably into the DH spot/5 hole than would be the case if Johnny is around clogging that up, and with strong bats at all three OF positions, Jorge’s replacement at catcher is the only possible hole in that lineup.

      • Crazy Eyes Killa says:

        Jeter SS- R
        Granderson CF- L
        Teix 1B-S
        A-Rod 3B-R
        Jorge DH-S
        Cano 2B-L
        Swisher RF-S
        Cameron LF- R
        Cervelli/??? C

        Thats how it should look on days Jorge doesnt catch, so depending on who you DH, thats presumably the Yanks B lineup? Get Cameron, Not Damon

  18. Jacob says:

    Its not necesarily his ability to catch flies (well he does make me clinch every time a fly ball is hit his way), its his ladies arm.

    • Lanny says:

      When did his crappy arm really hurt?

      Did you see the Angels running wild on it? The Phillies?

      I didnt see it. I’m not saying hes a GG out there but don’t make it seem like hes a stiff. They can survive his glove out there 100x.

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

        They can survive with Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre as the 5th starter. Doesn’t mean they should.

      • Alex S says:

        Damon is a great hitter and Mike Cameron’s stats aren’t a huge dropoff. The rest of the offense can make up for it two-fold. so it comes down to $ and years. Damon wants more money and multiple years, Cameron does not. Therefore Cameron is a better investment

  19. steve (different one) says:

    Mariano Rivera is good at baseball.

    /sit back and waits for Lanny to disagree

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

      P’shaw. He only works one aspect of the game, and he’s not even the best at that. Trevor Hoffman has more saves.


      Waits for inevitable response from a pissed off Lanny wondering why I villainize him like this. Because he does nothing to deserve it.

    • Did Mariano Rivera hit any HRs this year? He’s good at pitching, not at baseball. What’s the point of talking about him as a baseball player when he only performs one task!?


      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

        That’s almost exactly what I said, phrased differently.

        Refresh button fail?

        • Per the time-stamps, clearly I was writing my comment while you posted yours. That’s not a refresh-button fail, that’s just something that’s unavoidable from time to time.

          I’ll stand by my comment, I covered more of the Lanny-ness than you did. You missed the ‘choose an irrelevant and unmentioned aspect of the game and then pound the straw-man’ and the ‘question why the comment/conversation you’re participating in even exists’ parts of Lannypalooza.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

            You just do this to piss me off, don’t you?

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster) says:

            BTW, I got the ‘choose an irrelevant and unmentioned aspect of the game’ down, just not in quite as much detail.

            I was pointing out that, since Mo only pitches, he clearly is not as good as position players, making him bad at baseball. A ridiculous train of logic that seems to fit the Lanny bill.

            As for the ‘question why the comment/conversation you’re participating in even exists’ part of Lannypalooza, I decided to focus less on the actual diret comment and more on making fun of the fact that Lanny, were he still here, would inevitably respond to my comment, saying how I make fun of him and how my comments are just as illogical as his. Lanny reserves a special hatred for TSJC and I, I think.

          • Also, not enough superfluous punctuation and complaining about being repetitive (even though you’re the most needlessly repetitive asstard on the page).

      • Little late on this one. Suppuku for me.

  20. Crazy Eyes Killa says:

    Damon = Clog standing between Jorge holding down the 5 hole and the DH role a lot
    Cameron = Above average outfielder offensively and defensively who can play all 3 OF positions

    Oversimplified, but thats pretty much how it is.

  21. chriskeo says:

    I am starting to think that Matsui may be the best option for the Yankees in the DH spot, they keep Melky to play LF. Matsui could use a break once a week or more, and they use that time to rest a “regular.” You just live with Cervelli or Pena’s bat for those 1 or 2 games a week.

    • I think I’m with you. I really can’t decide what I think they should do, but the one thing I keep coming back to all offseason is what a good fit Matsui is in this lineup/roster. He’s a better hitter than Damon and Cameron, and unless you’re signing 2 more players, Belky Bartokomous is going to be in the lineup anyway so LF would be covered quite adequately, at least defensively.

      If Matsui can be had on a relatively cheap, 1-year deal, I still think I vote for that option.

    • Crazy Eyes Killa says:

      Thats a good plan, but Posada needs more rest than that. You could have him bat fifth via the DH role when he’s not catching, but not if Damon is in it, so you sign Mike Cameron instead and move onto pitching and the bench

  22. The Red Sox discussed a Curtis Granderson trade with the Tigers, according to Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe. Apparently, the Tigers wanted Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury (Michael Silverman reporting).

    Anytime the Yanks make a move, the Red Sox have to do damage control, and it usually looks something like this.

    • Steve H says:

      I heard they asked for Theo’s 1st born, Casey Kelly, the 2008 Lars Anderson, and the Sox next 20 1st round picks (even though they are untradeable).

  23. Reggie C. says:

    Have you guys kicked this MLBTR blurb about already?

    Apparently, the Rangers offered BOTH neftali feliz & justin smoak to the Marlins for Josh Johnson. The ‘Fish turned them down!! The team wants to try to extend Johnson. WOW. If the extension doesn’t happen, heads will roll.

    • Drew says:

      Eh, Smoak is still very much a prospect.
      As for Feliz, is he a starter or a reliever… I’m not sure if he was injured or if Texas just chose to put em in the pen in the MInors this year. Of 45 Appearances only 13 were starts.

      Josh Johnson is an Ace.

    • Steve H says:

      Of course the Marlins turned it down, Smoak could be had for Brad Penny.

  24. whitey says:

    Pass on Mike C

  25. TheLastClown says:

    Couldn’t Johnny have been saying that his D was bad at the beginning of the year, got a bit better, but that he overall was a positive for the team?

    Cause if that’s what he was getting at, he’s right.

  26. [...] Damon might not understand the negative value of his defense, but he does understand his standing with the Yankees. From Mike Puma of The Post: “I know I [...]

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