Dec
29

Report: Everyone too expensive for Yanks’ LF hole

By

As the Yankees have seemingly wrapped up their major off-season shopping list — Andy Pettitte, an outfielder, a DH and another starter — the team has found itself somewhat down an outfielder. Although content to stick Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner in center field to start the 2009 season, baseball commentators and fans in New York expect the team to find someone better to fill the left field spot this year. Maybe it’s because Johnny Damon was so good offensively in left; maybe it’s because a few big-name outfielder remain. Either way, left field looms.

Except a funny thing happened on the way to Spring Training: Everyone is too expensive for the Yanks in left. We know that the team and Johnny Damon probably could have come to terms on a two-year deal at an annual salary of less than $10 million, but Damon wanted more. We heard the Yanks were interested in Mark DeRosa, but he has nearly officially agreed to a two-year deal believed to be worth around $12million with the Giants that is too expensive for the Yanks.

Beyond Damon and DeRosa, a few other names have surfaced. The Yanks could look at Jermaine Dye, but Jon Heyman warns us that the team is not interested. He too is probably too expensive. Even Xavier Nady, a free agent recovering from his second Tommy John Surgery, is too expensive for the Yanks, according to Bryan Hoch. On the open market, Matt Holliday and, to a much lesser extent, Jason Bay loom large in left, but the Yanks have shown no interest at all in landing these two players. Plus, if Nady, Dye, Damon and DeRosa are too expensive, Holliday and Bay are off the charts.

So what’s going on here? Are the Yankees really looking to reign in their free-spending ways? Are they coming off a World Series win, their highest-rated season on the YES Network, with a tighter wallet? For now — and I stress the “for now” aspect of it — that seems to be the case. But why?

Simply put, for the Yankees, left field isn’t a priority. Fans of the Bombers may want to see multi-millionaire future Hall of Famers at every position. They may want to see the Yanks nab the best guys on the open market year after the year, but that’s now how Brian Cashman acts. He’s content to have Hall of Famers at third, short and catcher. He’s happy with his All Star first baseman and center fielder, his on-base machine DH, his slugging second baseman, his fun-loving, power-hitting right fielder. With those pieces in place and a pitching staff, one through five, that matches up on paper with the best of them, the Yankees do not need to spend on a left fielder.

That doesn’t, however, mean that they won’t get involved with the right player when the prices come down. Chris at iYankees has continually professed that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Yanks were working to sign Holliday quietly. I don’t think the team will go that far. I do, however, expect them to keep Scott Boras’ number on speed dial. As Johnny Damon finds that his services aren’t needed elsewhere, as left field spots around the league fill up, the Yanks will grab the last man standing for a deal on their terms.

In the end, if they have to go to war with Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann, they can. But when someone else at the right price is playing left field in April, I certainly won’t be surprised.

Categories : Hot Stove League

150 Comments»

  1. Mac says:

    Perfectly understandable. Signing someone like a Reed Johnson would be just as fine for me.

    Though last year I feel we were pretty lucky on injuries. If Posada, Jeter, Alex or Grandy go down for an extended period of time they will need to get creative.

  2. Reggie C. says:

    How much worse a platoon can Gardner/Hoffman be than Melky/Gardner? Does anybody think that we can squeeze out league average offense (.270/.330/.390) from LF?

    • Mac says:

      Yes, can’t rely on Hoffman though. Need to sign one other similar guy with more major league experience.

      • There seems to be little difference between Gardner and Hoffman. Hoffman seems to have less speed, but just a little, tiny bit more power, not much though. Hoffman IS taller. Brett does cut his hair closer.
        Hoffman is younger though, by just less than a year! 361 days younger to be exact. Both try to draw a walk, though Brett does tend to strike out a bit more. They both play a good defense.

        What do these facts* lead me to think? The Steinbrenners like scrappy white guys.

        *not actual facts.

    • ColoYank says:

      The left field situation reminds me a little of the starting rotation going into 2008, where the Yanks had Chamberlain and Hughes penciled in for two spots. There just wasn’t enough experience between the two to expect a lot. I as a fan was guilty of expecting too much from the two of them. The difference would be that the Yankees have an already-powerful lineup that could perhaps sustain below-average production from a corner outfield spot.

  3. Jeremy says:

    Cashman seems committed to avoid making a bad investment here. The Yankees often overpay, but they’ve learned to spend on the best players. Guys like DeRosa and Dye are likely to be a big waste of money. Nady too, unless he comes at a rock bottom price.

    • ColoYank says:

      I think between now and February we’ll find out how committed the Yankees are to giving Brett Gardner a full chance as a regular player. And that’s because, IMO, they believe his defense will contribute to a lot of wins, even if his offense doesn’t. And his offense could surprise. Nobody’s quite sure yet what we have in Gardner. You couldn’t say the same thing about Melky.

      • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

        Nobody’s quite sure yet what we have in Gardner. You couldn’t say the same thing about Melky.

        That’s not necessarily a good thing.

        • ColoYank says:

          Oh, I understand. I personally think he’s rather limited offensively. But I do think the Yanks value his defensive capabilities, and rightfully so.

          • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

            Gardner would probably be contributing overall if he can put up a 90-95 OPS+. I’m not sure if he could over the course of a season.

            And while his defensive stats look good, it’s also a SSS.

            Let’s see what he can offer, but personally I don’t think it will be that much.

      • Mac1 says:

        >Nobody’s quite sure yet what we have in Gardner. You couldn’t say the same thing about Melky.<

        Incorrect, on both points…

    • I don’t think Nady would be that big of a sunken cost. As a platoon player, he’s got value. He crushes lefties and is actually +1.8/150 in LF (though it’s only in 100 games). He’d be a good option for Gardner’s “caddy” and, if Gardner totally bombs out there, Nady’s a good fit.

      • Chris says:

        I agree on Nady, but the question is how much is he looking for. If he wants a deal similar to what he got last year then it’s not worth it, but if he’s willing to sign for a low base salary and a lot of incentives then I would be on board.

      • It all hinges on Nady’s health and his asking price (and the asking prices of the other options). I feel like Reed Johnson keeps coming up, but… I’m not sure even a healthy Nady is a much better option than Reed Johnson if they’re signing either of them to be the right-handed portion of a left field platoon with Gardner.

        vs. LHP, Career:
        Nady: .308/.383/.471/.854
        Johnson: .313/.378/.463/.841

        I don’t know of any major health red-flags with Johnson (please let me know if I just haven’t heard of something that’s wrong with him)… So, assuming he’s not asking for more money than Nady, isn’t he pretty clearly the better sign? Very similar offensive production, better defensive production, and a much better bill of health. Not sure what’s not to like about this guy, as the right-handed hitting portion of a platoon in the number 9 spot in the lineup.

        • Chris says:

          The two things in Nady’s favor are that he’s two years younger than Johnson and his splits against RHP:

          Nady: .270/.316/.453/.769
          Johnson: .265/.324/.383/.707

          If they were both healthy, I would take Nady. With Nady’s injury, if they’re looking for the same money, then I’d take Johnson. Without more knowledge of how much each would cost I don’t know which I’d prefer.

          • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

            I would think if either Reed Johnson or XNVI were acquired by the Yankees they would be the LF, not a platoon with Brett the Jet.

  4. ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

    I still believe they will add some outfielder before the season starts. The depth is almost non-existent with only four outfielders on the 40-man and nobody waiting in the wings now that A-Jax is gone.

  5. RkyMtnYank says:

    I just came across this article on Yahoo, first time I’ve seen RAB quoted like this. Props if it is … apologies if it is not!
    I’m not sure if this is even the RAB reference they would be referring too, but this seemed like a good place to post. Hope the link works,sorry I do not post very much.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/ru.....mlb,210959

  6. mike c says:

    just get damon already jeez. the yankees aren’t broke

  7. OUTFIELD OPTIONS says:

    If you Hoffman/Gardy make u nervous, sign Reed Johnson or Ryan Church on the cheap. I don’t want Dye, would actually prefer Vlad if you are going for a power bat instead of a sound outfielder.

    • I think of Hoffmann/Gardner weren’t there, I’d definitely want to bring in both Church and Johnson for a platoon, but with both Gardner and Hoffmann on board, I’d rather bring on Johnson to face LHP.

    • Mac says:

      No to Vlad. Can’t play the field anymore. We already have Nick Johnson DH’ing.

      Even with his terrible 2009 season I think Vlad will show some signs of life with the bat if he becomes a regular DH. It just won’t be for the Yanks.

    • Bo says:

      It’s the Yankees. why should they go cheap?

  8. Boom By By says:

    If you thin about it, we Yanks had melky and gardner in CF providing defense in 09 and Damon supplying the offense in LF. Next year it will be Granderson in CF providing offense and defense and Gardner and Hoffman and whoever else in LF providing Defense. So Yanks will be ok. As long as there are no major injuries to the Infield where most of the power is.

  9. YankeeFan85 says:

    Is the mentality within the organization that they don’t want to lock down LF long-term because they see Carl Crawford as the long-term solution in 2011?

    • Perhaps, but I don’t think they necessarily see mini-CC as a long term solution.

    • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops says:

      My guess: Cashman knows Holliday is a way better player hen Crawford and will probably age better. So, if they want to fill LF long-term, they would probably just sign Holliday this year.

      • Mac says:

        That is entirely to much money to lock up long term especially for a position that is much easier to fill.

        Cash has continued to ensure that they will not be making a big splash in LF.

      • anon says:

        Because of Alex and Jeter. He wants to keep the corner spots fluid.

        • mike c says:

          ding ding ding. how many ~40 year old shortstops do you know of?

          • Thomas says:

            How many player are there that are 40? Not many.

            How many players at age 40 can still hit at a level to make them worthy to be a starter? Even less.

            How many players that were shortstops throughout most of there career, can hit at 40? Nearly none.

            Lack of the ability to hit at age 40 is as big of a reason there are no 40 year old shortstops as is lack of defense.
            Now if Jeter can’t hit, there is no reason to have him move to left field. Now if Jeter can still hit but can’t field SS, then maybe you can talk about him moving to LF. But as you would say, how many 40 year old player that can’t field, move to a new, non-DH, position?

            • mike c says:

              “Now if Jeter can still hit but can’t field SS, then maybe you can talk about him moving to LF.”

              this is the most likely scenario IMO

            • anon says:

              You can hide age better in the outfield. They are both already losing steps when going after grounders. Eventually they just wont be able to compensate for their bodies at the infield positions. No matter how much knowledge they have about how to read pitches and hitters and infields. Its going to catch up with them. In the outfield their ability to read the situation is put to better use in their later years.

              These are two hall of fame players who are both probably chasing the biggest hitting records there are. In the near future you could see a stretch where Alex and Jeter share LF and DH for many years. Maybe both corner spots even for the first year or two of the transition.

              You cant lock up either of those spots for 6-8 years when the franchise already has a commitment to these two guys.

              Think of it this way. When mega FA SS or 3B comes on the market. They will be all over it.

              • anon says:

                Another thing, the franchise wants to keep Jeter and Alex healthy. Not wear them out playing 150+ games at infield positions when they are 38, 39 years old.

                The records they are chasing is as much a franchise investment as anything. They stand to make a lot of money off of them chasing baseball records.

              • mike c says:

                exactly why giving a career LFer a mega contract doesn’t make sense

          • jsbrendog says:

            omar vizquel. omar vizquel. jay bell.

            • anon says:

              If Jeter and/or Alex could play SS and 3B their entire career god bless them. It would be an amazing thing. But you cant bet 100+ million that is going to happen.

              • OldYanksFan says:

                Let’s see…. a 38 year old LFer,
                with a -15 URZ/150 and an .800 OPS for….
                $15m – $20m a year.

                WHO WOULDN’T WANT THAT?

                ARod is our DH when he can’t play 3rd base anymore. The guy is in AMAZING shape has has 3 years or more there. Jeter’s value is as a SS. Hopefully they go 2 years at a time with him.

    • Mac says:

      I don’t know if they are seeing Crawford. But they certainly want to be in the mix for a top starter like Beckett, Lee, Webb, Cain ect…

      Mauer and Dunn are two other guys I am sure they will look at as well.

      They won’t have a ton of money coming off the books next year because they will more than likely resign Jeter/Mo and need to replace at least Pettitte or Javier with another starter.

    • Bo says:

      There is one reason why they want LF open.

      Jeter needs someplace to play after this season.

  10. How much could Nady really command? Especially coming off a serious arm injury…?

  11. I just went to type in Gardner’s name in FanGraphs and totally type G-r-i-t-n and they stopped.

    Wouldn’t it be awesome if he actually switched his name to Gritner? Oh to dream…

  12. Mo says:

    Great headline, “Report: Everyone too expensive” – hilarious.
    Reed Johnson is a waste of money and roster space. I would rather see what Hoffman can do, probably similar to Reed.
    I still suggest a trade for Chase Headley or Rajai Davis and/or sign Jack Cust. I know everybody hates Cust but he does two thinks extremely well hit homers and draw walks. Rajai Davis also does two things extremely well shag balls and swipe bags.
    I feel Headley could become a long term solution and think he can be an O’Neill-type player. Don’t kill me on that comparison, O’Neill is my all-time favorite Yank.

    • Steve H says:

      I don’t hate Cust as a DH. I hate Cust with a glove on. There is nowhere to put Cust on this team.

    • pete says:

      I disagree that Reed Johnson is a waste of roster space/money. Excellent defender, hits LHP very well, makes for an ideal 4th outfielder type, as he’d be able to spell either Gardner or Granderson against tough lefties (usually gardner, but if gardner’s hot and granderson’s cold, you could go that route).

      Jack Cust is hideously bad in the field. This team already has 8 good to elite hitters. Having one that’s just below league average (when baserunning is accounted for) but plays defense at an elite level is not going to be enough of an issue to force the yanks into overspending or overcommitting.

  13. Hand of Abbot says:

    No rush on any of this. When it’s all said and done. Damon signs for 1 year, $8mm. No long term contract and one of Crawford, Jeter or Montero plays LF eventually in ’11 orr ’12.

  14. Doug says:

    Yes, things can change tomorrow, but latest quote from a yankee official (who are these people anyway?):

    “No chance on Matt Holliday, no chance on Jason Bay,” the official said. “Zero. None. Underline it.”

  15. Mo says:

    Between Gardner’s holes and inexperience he has been overmatched at times, the injury prone Johnson, and the aging Jorge the Yanks are going to need some reliable offensive depth.

    • Evil Empire says:

      You can stay that for any team. No one is flawless. Even with this 3 – given, legitimate- “what ifs”, 2/3 of the lineup is as sure of a thing as you could ask for. THAT is your reliable offensive depth.

      • YankFan says:

        Exactly, people seem to forget that if the NYY score 100 less runs they would still be 5th in MLB. With improved pitching & Defense.

      • Bo says:

        For 200+ mill you should aspire to be flawless.

        Especially when you have a good farm system like they have now.

        Why put out subpar talent at a position when you dont have to?

    • Steve H says:

      Between Gardner’s, Melky’s holes and inexperience he has been overmatched at times, the injury prone Johnson Matsui , and the aging Jorge the Yanks are going to need some reliable offensive depth.

      Similar issues in 2009, and it was the best offense in baseball, and oh, won the WS.

  16. Okay, there will probably be a sizeable portion that don’t believe this could be possible since they have a pre-existing dislike for Gardner, but here it goes anyway.

    First: I fully acknowledge he has a SSS of data and of course more would be better, but this is hypothetical and on the optomistic side of the spectrum.

    Anyway, I believe as of today that Brett Gardner is the answer in LF for the 2010 season.

    Take if you will Franklin Gutierrez, who also has a relatively small sample size of data compared an average veteran. His UZR/150 for his MLB career in CF is 26.3. Gardner’s career CF UZR/150 is 27.6.

    In 2009, Gardner had a wRC+ of 107. Gutierrez had a wRC+ of 108.

    In 2009, Gardner had a WAR value of 2.1, Gutierrez a WAR value of 5.9.

    Gardner will be moving to LF, which typically leads to a higher UZR/150.

    Is it so outlandish to say that with a full season of ABs, Gardner could possibly reach a 3.0 WAR? I get that LF dimishes his position adjustment, but that’s the adjustment from 5.9 for Gutierrez in CF to Gardner in LF. Just think about it being possible if he performs at his current UZR/150 numbers and has around a wRC+ 105 for 2010.

    I definitely think 3.0 WAR is possible.

    Johnny Damon had a 3.0 WAR in 2009.

    • Evil Empire says:

      Is a 3.0 WAR possible? Sure, its possible. But its damn unlikely.

        • Evil Empire says:

          Because he’s an unknown commodity that looked overmatched offensively, and its a much higher probability for him to fizzle out entirely as to opposed to posting up an above average WAR.

          • That’s not actually an argument, just your personal opinion.

            • Doug says:

              yes, but it’s actually a lot of people’s personal opinions

            • Evil Empire says:

              Its common sense and a fundamental knowledge of baseball.

              Gardner is a great defensive outfielder but his bat is a HUGE question mark. If he can OBP .340 than I’d be more than happy with the guy, but even that # seems tough for him to reach.

              Pawlilkowski wrote a great article about Gardner about a month ago that basically sums up my thoughts on him:

              http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....yer-21482/

              • You can literally say that about any player coming up with less than a full season of play.

                • Evil Empire says:

                  To different extents. Ask any person about someone like Matt Wieters or Gordon Beckham, and you’ll hear a much different story than if you ask about Brett Gardner or some other schlub.

              • Podsednik is a -5.6 UZR/150 CF in over 3,000 innings.

                Gardner isn’t that.

                Gardner’s value comes from a league average bat plus above average, possibly elite level defense (again, SSS, but entirely possible).

                I don’t know anyone who thinks Gardner is going to blossom into a .310/.375/.375 hitter.

                • Evil Empire says:

                  If Gardner can be a league average bat than that would be amazing considering his defense.

                  But who says he’s going to be league average? That’s a huge leap of faith to say that, one I am not willing to take based on less than 300 major league PAs.

                • It’s not a huge leap by any stretch. If he posts a wRC+ of 100, he’s league average. That is entirely possible, and more likely than you give him credit for.

                  Would you be willing to say Colby Rasmus is going to be at least league average?

                  How about Delmon Young 3 years ago?

                  Why? Because of their prospect status?

                  Anything is possible and denying any realm of hope that Gardner could be a replacement level bat is biased and unreasonable.

                • Evil Empire says:

                  I don’t deny the realm of the hope, I just choose to not live in it. I prefer a more realistic approach to player evaluations instead of banking on a guy’s ultimate upside (which in Gardner’s case, is being about league average offensively and stellar defensively).

                  As for Colby Rasmus, that dude needs to work on his OBP skills, but at least he’s shown he can hit for moderate power.

                  And Delmon Young is an absurd example. I could probably use him as a counter-argument to what you’re saying, considering that even a player with as much upside as him can fizzle out to overall below-average – in my eyes, that doesn’t bode well for Gardner, though I get your point that baseball is a crazy sport and anything can happen. Just like anyone can wRC+ 100 in a SSS.

    • Doug says:

      those on the pessimistic side of the spectrum believe that given a full season of ABs, gardner’s flaws and holes will become more apparent, will be more fully exploited, and that his numbers will in fact, decline.

      • Understood. That’s 100% logical. I am more optomistic on Gardner, no doubt. But after posting a 2.1 WAR last year in such a small amount of playing time, is an additonal 0.9 WAR so out of the realm of possibilities?

        • pete says:

          the thing is, though, gardner seemed to get really lucky last year offensively. He barely played when he was cold because of Melky, and he only ever really hit in favorable matchups. With a caddy like Johnson, he could potentially do the same this year, but it still remains to be seen what Gardner can actually do in an extended sample.

          • Seemed to get really lucky isn’t really an argument. And what favorable matchups?

            There will most definitely be ups and downs offensively throughout the year, there are for every player.

            • pete says:

              You’re right, I shouldn’t say “seemed to get lucky”. I should say “got lucky”. Melky Cabrera had a very solid offensive season this year, and Gardner was well-hidden throughout the season, only really starting when the matchups favored him over Melky, a superior hitter. Thus he was not playing against the same competition he’d be facing in a full, uncomplimented season. This is why I think he needs a caddy like Reed Johnson, who hits lefties very well and is also an excellent fielder.

        • Doug says:

          well, if i’m understanding the WAR statistic even somewhat correctly, if gardner played LF instead of CF last season (with the same prowess), then his WAR would have been something like 1.2 instead of 2.1 due to the positional adjustment.

          so to me, it’s would he be able to get an additional 1.8 from playing everyday. much, much less likely

        • Optimistic was always a word I couldn’t spell right the first time. It strikes again, damnit.

    • anon says:

      I actually like Gardner in LF. I dont care if we do a Gardner/whoever platoon there.

    • pete says:

      it’s also unfair at this point to proclaim that Gardner can play defense at the Gutierez level. Gutierez is the best defensive outfielder (nay, best defensive baseball player) in MLB right now. Gardner is a really fast guy who has looked good out there so far, but there’s really no guarantee that he doesn’t pull an Ellsbury next year. Not saying it’s going to happen, and I agree that Gardner + Reed Johnson is the best answer to left field 2010, all things considered, but it is very hard to project off of Gardner’s sample sizes.

      • pete says:

        there’s also no guarantee that Gardner plays left – if the yankees brass think that his numbers last year were an indication of actual ability and not a sample size thing (that is, that he’ll actually put up something in the +15 or higher range in CF, then he’ll play center.

        • He should play CF, in my opinion.

          But Cashman has said time and time again Granderson was acquired to play CF.

          So until that changes, it has to be assumed Gardner will play LF.

          Furthermore, if he does play CF, his WAR value will be adjusted accordingly, making his possible WAR ceiling even higher.

          • pete says:

            He actually said that the only way Granderson wouldn’t play center is if there was somebody on the team who was better in center. If Gardner puts up a UZR similar to his SSS UZR/150, then he is better.

      • Ellsbury isn’t a good defensive CFer though.

        Gardner has never proved he isn’t, ever.

        It’s more unlikely that Gardner regresses to an Ellsbury-like -10+ UZR/150 than he posts a 10+ UZR/150 again, which is well below his average so far.

        • pete says:

          But ellsbury was never a bad defensive CFer until this year, and it’s not at all unlikely that he bounces back. Gardner, however, MUST defend at an elite level to merit a starting job on this team.

          • Well I can’t totally refute that because he posted a 6.0 UZR/150 in 2008 and negative UZR/150 in 2009 and 2007 (very SSS).

            But Ellsbury has never been in Gardner’s category as far a defense. It’s just not an accurate comparison according to that data that is available.

          • dayan says:

            Gardner is an elite defender at CF. I know that his UZR and ZR projections are based on SSS, but his speed plays very well for CF, he’s getting better routes and getting more experience at the big leagues. So he should get better defensevely for the next 2 or 3 years.

            I don’t get why people see LF as a hole when Granderson is a top 5 LF in the majors.

            • Doug says:

              if he’s already elite and is going to get better over the next 2/3 years, how will we describe him at that time? superelite? superlative?

      • If you don’t like the Gutierrez comparison, see Morgan, Nyjer – 2009.

    • Bo says:

      What has Gardner possibly shown to think he can do anything close to what Damon has done??

      Damon is a hall of fame type player. Gardner will be lucky to be a 4th OF for a decade.

  17. Dan says:

    What about someone like marlon byrd on a 1 or 2 year deal. I would imagine that he would be in cashman’s budget. Decent stop gap measure.

  18. poppop says:

    why aren’t Marlon Byrd or Ryan Church being talked about more as options ?

  19. E-ROC says:

    Jerry Hairston FTW.

  20. YankFanDave says:

    Uncharacteristic exaggeration. To expect, or even want, the Yanks to upgrade LF does not equal “fans…want multi-millionaire future Hall of Famers at every position” or “they may want to see the Yanks nab the best guys on the open market year after the year.”

    Several of the options mentioned by you are hardly “future hall of famers”, considered “the best guys on the open market”, or even “multi-millionaires.” Come on, Johnson, DeRosa, Byrd, etc.. do not fit those descriptions.

    I like our team now but still think we needs addl depth, run production and coverage for ARod. I loved the Damon/Matsui vs. Granderson/Johnson comparison of OBP/SLG that was favorable to who now have but what about:
    Gone:
    .282/24/82
    .292/28/90
    Added:
    .249/30/71
    .291/8/62
    That does not include the loss of run production from Hairston/Henske/Cabrera.

    Additionally, consider that the Yanks will have a 38 y.o. catcher who played only 51 games year before last; a career .273 hitter at DH with highs of 23 hr and 77 rbi; and, a LFer with just 150 ML games exp (only 17 of those in LF.) Their bench currently is an infielder with 69 games of ML exp; a 4th OF with 22 games of ML exp; and, a catcher with 45 games of ML exp.

    There is a middle ground where it is sensible to hope the Yanks add an upgrade in LF but doesn’t have to be a star.

    • Evil Empire says:

      Examining the batting average, HR total, and RBIs (lol) from a single season is not exactly the ideal method of evaluating and comparing different players.

      I’m not concerned about the loss of run production from Hairston/Hinske/Cabrera either, plus there is a lack recognition in this post for the improvement in run prevention that can be found in the outfield defense and the pitching staff as Vazquez and the 2010 version of Chamberlain project to be major upgrades.

      • YankFanDave says:

        Just using a small set of metrics to illustrate a point I am concerned about, loss of run production. If you aren’t that’s OK, but btw if you use those metrics over extended seasons it only gets worse.

        • Run production is created by OBP and SLG and the Nick Johnson/Curtis Granderson aren’t far behind Damon and Matsui in that regard.

          The offense is not a huge concern, even if they score many less runs they will likely still be in the top echelon of offense in the AL.

        • Evil Empire says:

          RBIs are hardly a valid metric these days. Its context sensitive, and batting in the Nationals/Marlins lineup will make it ugly. As for batting average, it only tells a little bit of the story. OBP is a *MUCH* better metric since it completely measures the rate at which a player does not make an out.

          I’m not concerned about a loss of run production because I’m not concerned that this offense will be any worse than if we had Damon and Matsui. I say the 2010 versions of Granderson and Johnson look better than the 2010 versions of Damon and Matsui, given the age discrepancy and the fact that both guys had two of the best years in their careers.

          Additionally, a healthy Rodriguez will far surpass the production put up by 2009′s Ransom + injured Rodriguez.

          • Bo says:

            Using RBI’s is a fine way to separate some players. Driving in runs is a key aspect of the game don’t you think?

            I dont know how it happened but when did the ability to drive in runs become a negative????

            • Pasqua says:

              It’s not a negative, but it’s not representative of a player’s worth. Guys at the bottom of the order, for instance, will get less AB in a season and, therefore, fewer opportunities to knock guys in (also consider that many of their RBI opportunities will never come to pass because better offensive players in the middle of a lineup will often drive them in first.)

    • That does not include the loss of run production from Hairston/Henske/Cabrera.

      Their production was negligible, and JHJ and Hinske aren’t necessarily out of the picture. Guys like that don’t sign right now because every team is first trying to fill their starting spots.

  21. slappy white says:

    hopefully when Damon realizes nobody else is gonna pay him we can get him on a 1 year 10 mil deal and then Carl Crawford next year

  22. [...] Confidence Poll « Report: Everyone too expensive for Yanks’ LF hole Dec [...]

  23. OldYanksFan says:

    A few thoughts……
    Gardner is a CFer…. and his value is as a CFer. He was never intended to have value as a LFer. Defensively, while we are talking SSS, we have all seen that he can cover vast amounts of ground and even catch the ball. I won’t call him elite, but he is certainly above average.

    As a CFer….
    with his D and Speed….
    a .680 to .700 OPS would be fine, for our ‘worst player’.

    However, OPS undervalues OBP (compared to SLG) and doesn’t count SBs/CS%. So, I would say wOBA is a much better stat to evaluate him. As a CFer and an above average defender, a wOBA of .330-.340 would be fine… and by fine, I mean borderline. But because he is free, and we already have a killer offense and questionable defense, Gardner’s borderline fits in with our lineup and payroll.

    I say (and this applies to Joba, Phil and all kids who may make the team) give him a chance or trade him. His value as a LIDR and PRer is nice, but not that valuable to take up a roster spot.

    I WANT to see him play at least a 1/2 year.
    We can obsorb it.
    And adjust as needed after the ASB.

  24. OldYanksFan says:

    Wow…. people don’t like Gardner despite his D and speed, yet they want (to pay $13+m/yr for) Carl Crawford and his career 103 OPS+ and .335 OBP? I don’t get it.

    He has a career wRC+ of 111, compared to, let’s say Damon, with a 112. His assets are his BA and legs… the first things to go. He will be 29 for the 2011 season.

    Yes, granted, he’s a very nice player… but overvalued. I hear people talking about numbers like 4/$60. That’s nuts. He is Not in the class of Holliday. Jason Werth has a career wRC+ of 123.

    Pass on Crawford.

  25. dayan says:

    Gardner had a WAR of 2.1 in 2009 with only 108 games played last year and he earned 400k. Do you realize that his value was near 9 million and his salry 400k?

  26. [...] Benjamin Kabak of Yankees Blog, RiverAveBlues.com does not believe the Yankees are stressing out one bit about the team’s left field [...]

  27. JimG says:

    Here is the solution for left field. Have a daily contest and let a fan plan the field. To admistrate the contest and extra insurance will only cost about 1 million for the whole season. Does that seem like a reasonable solution for a 200mil/season club. It makes better sense than adding Jermaine Dye. We wil get about the same production and this way at least some of the fans will be happy.

    What do you think Cash?

    • Bo says:

      I’ll play along.

      So what happens when said fan pulls a Daniel Murphy and costs a team a game?

      Will you be calling for Jermaine Dye??

  28. Legend says:

    We should sign Fernando Tatis and Jerry Hairston. Our team against RHP will look like this:
    1 Jeter ss
    2 Johnson DH
    3 Texiera 1B
    4 A Rod 3B
    5 Granderson-LF
    6 Posada C
    7 Cano 2B
    8 Swisher RF
    9 Gardner CF
    Bench: Cervelli, Hairston, Tatis, Hoffman
    Against LHP we use Tatis in LF and Hoffman in CF. Against some lefties Cano sits and haiston plays 2B.

  29. KJC says:

    Since many bloggers, not necessarily on this blog, relish discovering microscopic deficiencies ad nauseam with regard to major league baseball players they are vicariously attempting to protect the Yankees from obtaining, would some stouthearted statistician assume the position of devil’s advocate and offer reasons why Marlon Byrd is unsuitable for the role of Yankees left-fielder?

  30. gfd says:

    REED JOHNSON, A PERFECT FIT !!

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