Dec
18

What does Nick Johnson mean for the left field situation?

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Three Yankees who made significant contributions to the 2009 championship filed for free agency this winter: Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and Andy Pettitte. By December 18, they’ve essentially replaced all three. Andy Pettitte re-signed last week to fill his own spot. The Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson to replace Damon, and the soon-to-be-announced signing of Nick Johnson fills Matsui’s vacated DH spot. The replacements are not exact facsimiles of their 2009 counterparts, but then again, no one is.

One question many of us had upon hearing of the Yanks interest in Johnson: what does it mean for left field? Melky Cabrera isn’t the worst choice. He was, after all, the starting center fielder on the 2009 team. The problems arise when Jorge Posada needs a day off. That means both Melky and Francisco Cervelli in the lineup. In a normal backup catcher situation that’s not a huge deal, but because we can’t expect Posada to catch more than 120 games (and even that’s very optimistic), it means a lot of both in the lineup.

Had the Yankees re-signed Damon, they could have mitigated the situation for some games. Instead of resting Posada a full day, sometimes he could have played DH, with Damon playing left field. Say Posada catches 110 games this season. Under the current system, the Yankees will have both Melky and Cervelli in the lineup for 52 games, or 32 percent of the season. But, if Posada can DH for 30 more games, for a total of 140, then the Yankees would only have both Melky and Cervelli in the lineup for 22 games. That sounds a lot better.

With Johnson in the fold, that’s not possible. It has made me, and many others, wonder if the Yankees now plan to sign or trade for a full-time left fielder. Though the chances appear remote, the Yankees could still sign Damon, though they’d have to play him in left basically every day. Do they still see him as a full-time left fielder? If not, it creates a logjam at DH, though those usually find a way to become unjammed. In fact, Damon might be the only possibility for another offensive addition. The left field trade market appears bleak, and there aren’t many, if any, free agent outfielders who interest the Yanks.

To not sign another left fielder, however, leaves the Yankees vulnerable. Nick Johnson comes with a long medical history, and is no guarantee to stay healthy the entire season. If something happens to him in 2010, the Yanks would be in a very tough spot. Without any further additions, they’d probably move Nick Swisher to DH and have an outfield of Cabrera, Granderson, and Brett Gardner. Defensively that’s stellar, but offensively it would be among the lightest hitting trios in the league. Further, imagine the lineup when Jorge needs a full day off. It’s not a scenario anyone wants to see.

Many Yanks fans, myself included, dream of Matt Holliday in this scenario. From a pure performance perspective, he represents an ideal fit. Not only does he play left field full time, but he provides a middle of the order bat. Just imagine the Yankees batting order:

1. Derek Jeter
2. Nick Johnson
3. Mark Teixeira
4. Alex Rodriguez
5. Matt Holliday
6. Jorge Posada
7. Curtis Granderson
8. Nick Swisher
9. Robinson Cano

The scenario, as of right now, remains unlikely. Without contracts for any of the arbitration-eligible and reserve clause players, the team payroll stands at about $188 million. Add in another $6 to $7 million for Melky, Chad Gaudin, and Sergio Mitre, plus the money to fill out the rest of the roster, and the number gets very close to $200 million. Will the Yankees go far above that for a left fielder? It doesn’t sound like it.

Holliday will not come cheap. As he does for all of his clients, Scott Boras seeks the most possible money for Holliday. The Cardinals reportedly have on the table a five-year offer for about $15 million per year. Even if the Yankees matched that and Holliday preferred New York, that would boost payroll to over $210 million, and close to $215 million. Imagine, then, if they wanted to add another starter. They could easily start the season with a payroll over $220 million. From everything the Yankees have said this off-season, that’s not part of the plan.

As we’ve mentioned many times before, adding Holliday doesn’t just affect this year’s payroll, but the payroll for the next five years. The Yankees might not want to add that kind of commitment when they already have $140 million committed to the 2011 team, and that’s before re-signing Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. Cashman has also called next year’s free agency class “incredibly more impressive than this one,” so the Yanks might choose to wait this one out, add one more pitcher and call it an off-season. They can then make a move on perhaps a better free agent next off-season.

There’s a chance, as always, that the Yankees see the sense in adding Holliday at this point and decide to increase payroll for him. At yesterday’s Granderson press conference, Hal Steinbrenner seemed open to the idea, but reluctant. “I’m not saying yay (sic) or nay, but I’m saying we’re operating at this number and that’s that.” The chance is open, but given the immense commitment it would require, I doubt the Yankees move in that direction.

If they’re done shopping for an outfielder, the 2010 Yankees enter the season with a big risk. If healthy Nick Johnson is a great addition, but any injury would leave the Yankees offense in a tough spot. Even if they add another good starting pitcher, that’s a rough bottom of the order. I’d like to see them add a higher caliber left fielder, but given the roster and payroll constraints, I don’t expect it.

Categories : Offense

301 Comments»

  1. Well, I don’t want Holliday (from a long-term payroll perspective), but I do wish they’d DFA Mitre. Dont see why you would keep a player like him for anything other than the league minimum.

    That said, signing Sheets at 10M per would put the payroll # over 200M. Can’t see us going much higher than that.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Because Mitre provides depth and he has a good chance to improve from 2009 since he’s still in the process of fully reovering from his TJ surgery.

    • jsbrendog says:

      Dont see why you would keep a player like him for anything other than the league minimum.

      because the guy still hasn’t fully recovered form tommy john and if you cut him loose someone will give him the same or more than what you are because he showed he can get hitters out and win games in the al east last year, meaning especially in the nl someone would give him guaranteed money. He is a lightning in a bottle type guy and at the exercised option of what, 1.5 mil or something? yes. sp depth is not always cheap and 1.5 mil is cheap for someone who could come back and pitch like they did before his tommy john and as he did against the white sox. for that price it is worth it to balance that against him possibly pitching like he did against the blue jays (the time he got hammered, not the time the defense made like 4 errors even though he kept getting grounders)

      • I’m glad that he can get guys out, but he’s nothing special. And guys that are nothing special shouldn’t be getting arby raises if you’re running up against your budget ceiling. They should be cut loose.

        • jsbrendog says:

          for depth he is better than nova/mccalister and even hirsh because mitre has proven he can fill innings and get hitters out at the ml level as a starter. who else do they have who can do that?

          • Dude, have you ever even looked at Mitre’s numbers? He’s not a lightning in a bottle type pitcher. He’s not an innings eater. He’s not a guy that strikes a lot of batters out. He gives a lot of hits. He walks a lot of guys. Mitre fucking sucks. And if we’re going to pinch pennies at the end of our budget here, then let a dude making league minimum do the job.

            • jsbrendog says:

              look at the guy;’s numbers the yr he went down with tommy john. they are very good. he has not yet fully recovered. if he recovers fully and becomes that guy again he is worth triple to 6 times mroe than 1.5 mil. 1.5 mil is worth that gamble for depth.

          • Bo says:

            Id rather see Nova or McAllister than Mitre. Depth is nice when its decent. When the guy is terrible? Mitre is terrible.

    • Ed says:

      I have no issues with wanting Mitre back. My problem is with declining the option and going to arbitration. I believe his option was for about the same price as he made last season. His arbitration argument will be something like “They gave me that salary for a season I was going to miss half of, and that I wouldn’t be fully healthy for the part that I did pitch. I’ll be healthy and ready for a full season next year, so I deserve more money.” I’d expect a significant salary increase in arbitration, which makes him much less attractive.

    • eric says:

      i am totally fine starting the season with Melky in left.
      if it doesn’t work out its not that hard to trade for a left fielder mid season. how often is the april starting lineup the same as the september starting lineup anyway? give melky a shot and spend the damon/matsui savings on a middle to back of the rotation starter. and please no Holliday, enough of these long term deals.

    • History Teacher says:

      1.) Stop talking about Mitre. I don’t care for him much, but he’s depth we can hide away.
      2.) How come no one is talking about using Nady for next year. I’m not sure how his elbow is, but if he can play the outfield why not use Xman? He’s a beast when healthy.
      3.) Nice to see Nick Johnson back… a little sad to see Damon and Matsui gone though.
      4.) Granderson is going to be a monster in our line-up!
      5.) Melky and Gardner are NOT starters. Great bench players, but not everyday left fielders.

  2. Doug says:

    Joe, you talk about how weak the lineup would be when posada sits, but wouldn’t

    1. Derek Jeter
    2. Nick Johnson
    3. Mark Teixeira
    4. Alex Rodriguez
    5. Curtis Granderson
    6. Nick Swisher
    7. Robinson Cano
    8. Melky Cabrera
    9. Francisco Cervelli

    still be better than almost every other team in the league?

    and the same if johnson gets hurt:

    1. Derek Jeter
    2. Curtis Granderson
    3. Mark Teixeira
    4. Alex Rodriguez
    5. Jorge Posada (C/DH)
    6. Nick Swisher
    7. Robinson Cano
    8. Melky Cabrera
    9. Francisco Cervelli

    • My concern with the latter lineup is spelled out in the post. You’d have to replace Posada plenty of times with Gardner. Jorge can DH sometimes, but he’ll need a full day off plenty of times.

      • Doug says:

        of course. lineup does get weakly. but i contend it’s still good enough to win with. does put more pressure on the pitching side of things, though

        • Bo says:

          Any lineup with melky and cervelli in it is weak.

          But then again any backup catcher isnt going to hit.

          comes down to melky really. maybe he takes that leap this yr. They obv have faith in him if they are going to pass on damon and the rest.

      • crawdaddie says:

        Joseph,

        I think the Yankees feel Miranda can hit ML pitching, particularly, right-handed pitching.

  3. A.D. says:

    I have the sneaking suspicion that Granderson may find himself in the 2 hole, even if NJ OBP plays better there.

      • Mac1 says:

        If Grandy in the 2 hole can get his obp back to .360, he might be more valuable there with NJ protecting A-Rod than having Grandy not get as many pitches in the bottom of the order.

        Tough call, if NJ gets on base 40% of the time for Teix\A-Rod, that could be a lot of runs or alot of DP’s.

        • he might be more valuable there with NJ protecting A-Rod than having Grandy not get as many pitches in the bottom of the order.

          Well, there’s no such thing as protection, statistically speaking. That said, I’d much rather have the sure-thing OBP machine getting on base in front of Tex and ARod rather than in front of Swisher and Robinson “RISP” Cano.

          • Mac1 says:

            I get it, the question I’ve been wondering about though since we got Grandy is would it make a difference to his obp if he hit with those two behomths him at 3-4.

            That and of course he’s a plus runner and can actually bunt* (almost as good as Brett Gardner according to TIm McCarver).

            * – not that you want him bunting all that much…just saying he’s a athletic, fast dude.

    • jsbrendog says:

      and last year when the jeter/damon lineup switch was proposed here we all swore up and down “too bad thatll never happen cause it akes too much sense”

      i have faith in girardi to do what makes the most sense and not subscribe to the joe torre “players have roles and stay in them even if they are horrible at them or ill suited for them” philosophy

    • Bo says:

      Granderson should not hit 2. Let him hit lower and drive in runs and get acclimated to NY first.

  4. mike says:

    Nady – 1yr, 4mm with incentives gets the job done in LF. He is a righty, plays both corners, and you could give his wing a break by putting Melky in later in games or DHing Nady on occasion (or when Granderson needs a breather against LH by starting Melky in CF).

    I dont think either him or Johnson solves the protection-angle for Arod ( and I’m afraid Posada may be in that spot…) but I think Nady is an inexpensive option with good upside at a reasonable price.

    • jsbrendog says:

      4 mm guaranteed is way to much for someone coming back from an injury with a 30% success rate.

      but i agree a righty bat for depth who cna play lf and provide avg or above avg offense is solid, but that’s if he is healthy, a very very very big if at this point

      • Doug says:

        say hello to jamie hoffmann

        • jsbrendog says:

          true. forgot about him. unproven but potential yes. not bad

          • Bo says:

            hoffman in lf?

            i think they look at him like a 25th man on the roster. not a guy capable of starting 130x

            • Doug says:

              not suggesting he play out there regularly. but it was suggested we needed a righty bad for depth who can play LF. he certainly can fill that role

            • jsbrendog says:

              try reading next time buddy. this is what he was responding to

              but i agree a righty bat for depth who cna play lf and provide avg or above avg offense is solid, but that’s if he is healthy, a very very very big if at this point

              a righty bat. check. for depth. check. play lf? check. avg offense? pending. fits 3 of 4 for now and is healthy? better option than nady cause of the lower risk, lower salary, younger age, and possible upside for improvement

      • crawdaddie says:

        How do you come up with a 30% success rate? He’s not a pitcher.

  5. JobaWockeeZ says:

    It means Ken Rosenthal can overreact saying how the Yankees need Damon and if they need to can trade Nick Swisher because 2009 is his best year ever and will never repeat it again.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/s.....ees-121709

    But honestly I still want Damon back. If he really loves the Yankees as he says he does then he should consider taking a paycut. But this is Boras so he is likely gone.

    Holliday in a different year would be a great choice but I can’t see the Yankees spending that sort of money again when they are near the 200 million mark.

    Ideally Damon is our left fielder but most likely it’s Melky/Gardner.

    • Zack says:

      “The Yankees need to realize that they are not some mid-market club, but a big-money behemoth that can pay a little more or a lot more, depending upon their mood. ”

      Bitch and moan when they overpay, bitch and moan when they dont overpay. Life must be good to be in the MSM.

    • A.D. says:

      Wow Ken Rosenthal, terrible article.

      The Yankees need to realize that they are not some mid-market club, but a big-money behemoth that can pay a little more or a lot more, depending upon their mood.

      Terrible reasoning, absolutely terrible.

      Johnson’s career OPS, when adjusted for his park and league, actually is higher than Matsui’s, and Granderson’s actually is higher than Damon’s. But c’mon, which players would you rather see in October?

      The ones that give you the best chance to win, which would presumably be the better players.

    • All Praise Be To Mo says:

      Mr. Rosenthal, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  6. A.D. says:

    Scott Boras and Johnny Damon talked with the Yankees yesterday and would have considered a two-year deal. The sides weren’t close, so it now appears that Damon’s tenure with the Bombers is over.

    Interesting to note. Damon now pretty much has the Giants & Mariners (Assuming Bay & Holliday go to the Mets & Cards), with neither team seemingly very motivated to sign him unless its for the right price

  7. Jeremy says:

    I thought the Cardinals made a 8/$128 offer to Holliday? Has that story been debunked?

    Bay is out of the question, right?

  8. Mac1 says:

    Yep, NJ is as brittle as they come, but you’ve got to figure a bat would be available by the AS break.

    NJ seems anathema to getting younger and more athletic, but I guess the obp, YS III and his impressive stats against LHP made it worth the risk for Cash – no real arguement – he could be great.

    I think its 50/50 on a new LFer – I don’t think Cash wants Holliday or Bay since both are defensively challenged and will probably be overpaid.

    I guess there is a chance that Bay falls into the Yanks lap – i.e. I’ll take a 4 year deal at 15 per so I don’t go “where careers go to die a slow, painful death” (the new slogan for Citi Field).

    I bet Cash is trying to trade for a younger, athletic lfer, don’t know who realistically that could be.

    Again, my guess 50/50 on Melk as the LFer next year – wouldn’t mind seeing one more year of him to see if he can improve his .752 obp and sustain or improve his RHH – .763 obp.

    • jsbrendog says:

      Yep, NJ is as brittle as they come
      hopefully dh ing will help. he doesnt have to play the field and barring a baserunning injury should be good ::fingers crossed::

      NJ seems anathema to getting younger and more athletic, but I guess the obp, YS III and his impressive stats against LHP made it worth the risk for Cash – no real arguement – he could be great.

      it is one year so it doesn’t really go against it. just saying

      I think its 50/50 on a new LFer – I don’t think Cash wants Holliday or Bay since both are defensively challenged and will probably be overpaid.

      i thought holliday was good defensively?

      I guess there is a chance that Bay falls into the Yanks lap – i.e. I’ll take a 4 year deal at 15 per so I don’t go “where careers go to die a slow, painful death” (the new slogan for Citi Field).

      if i were cashman i still say no to bay even under these circumstances

      Again, my guess 50/50 on Melk as the LFer next year – wouldn’t mind seeing one more year of him to see if he can improve his .752 obp and sustain or improve his RHH – .763 obp.

      agreed. hopefully he can all of a sudden become awesome

      • Jeremy says:

        Agreed with everything except Bay. If in some alternate universe Bay would accept 4/$60, I think the Yankees would take it. A combination of Jeter, Johnson, Teixeira, ARod, Bay and Posada would be even more unreal than the lineups we’re accustomed to. Bay’s defense sucks but so did Damon’s in 2009.

        Problem is I don’t think Bay is accepting anything as reasonable as 4/$60 considering his age and production.

      • Mac1 says:

        I get the DH\better health thing, but I remembering him getting hit on the hand\wrist a couple of times and that knocking him out for significant time.

        He’s been on the dl with so many things, torn tendon sheath in his wrist, hammy, back, heel – he’s a gamble just driving to the park but I guess all the other guys available were too for similar and other reasons.

        I don’t think Melk will all of a sudden break out, but even a slight improvement gets him closer to a .800 ops – if he does that (and I’m not saying he can) and plays a good LF, its pretty good, at the least you have a 4th ofer who does everything, at worst, close to league average.

    • sciorsci says:

      If Melky posts a .752 OBP, I don’t think anyone will replace him in LF. He’d also become the most valuable player of all time.

  9. I think now that Holliday’s price has come down, he does make a little more sense BUT, it’s probably best if they don’t go after him. If they don’t sign him, they can use that money elsewhere–a depth starter, another reliever (Kelvim, plz!), etc.–and it would free-up payroll if they needed to make an acquisition at the deadline.

  10. Henry says:

    I read somewhere that the Yankees calculate their payroll on an average. So could the current payroll number actually be lower than 188mil?

    I say Sign Holliday and trade gardner or Melky with a cprospect or two for a starting pitcher.

    If not how about Derosa for left?

  11. matt s says:

    They still have Hoffmann for LF, he might prove to be useful and if they get another OF’er they may as well send him back to LA now, because he would otherwise just be a waste of a roster spot.

    Also, if Nick gets hurt it the yanks can give Miranda a shot.

  12. Blehhhh says:

    I think they’re waiting on Crawford next year as the next big money position player.

    • If I had to choose between Holliday this year or Crawford next year, I’d take Holliday. I really think he’ll age better than C.C. Granted, I won’t be disappointed if they get Crawford, but I don’t think it’s going to be the slam-dunk we want it to be.

      • Doug says:

        think i’d take crawford. stellar defense (yes, it probably will decline) and he’s proven he can play at an elite level in the AL and in the AL East in particular

        • But he’s also shown just average on base skills and average power. As he ages, his batting average will likely decline, as will his speed. I really think Holliday will age much better than Carl Crawford.

          • Doug says:

            outside of a blip last year, his OBP has been steadily increasing. yes, he’ll hit a decline phase at some point like all players do. and that’s why i wouldn’t offer him any more than a 4-5 year contract (ages 30-34 max)

        • Bo says:

          Holliday is the much better player especially on a long term deal. What happens when Crawford doesnt run as well as he does right now? Which kinda happens to players after they hit 30.

          Holliday is the much better bet if they were looking at it like that.

        • “… he’s proven he can play at an elite level in the AL and in the AL East in particular”

          While everyone likes to kill Holliday for his time in Oakland in 2009, during that time he had an OPS+ of 120. That’s higher than any single year of Carl Crawford’s career, he’s never had an OPS+ higher than 117.

          Holliday’s time in Oakland is a SSS, but if we’re going to look at it and draw any conclusions (just for fun), the conclusion to be drawn is that he actually can hit AL pitching, and he can hit it well. He had a bad April in Oakland, then he started to mash, and by the time he was traded his numbers had already trended back up to very respectable territory.

  13. Frank says:

    I can still see Damon coming back for 2 years. he has to realize his options are very limited, especially if he wants to play for a winner. I don’t see Holliday coming to the Yanks under any circumstances unless his price drops significantly- Yanks, I believe, are preparing for an all out blitz next off season for Crawford and Mauer, and maybe even Lee. If Damon doesn’t return, I can see them maybe targeting someone like Reed Johnson to platoon with Melky in LF: he can also play multiple positions and DH, and would be alot cheaper than DeRosa.

    • Jeremy says:

      I can see this too. Damon at an Abreu-like contract makes so much sense for both Damon and the Yankees that I still think it could happen. If another team had offered him 3/$39 or similar by now, I think we would know about it.

  14. Bo says:

    Holliday would be great. But I think they want to keep LF free for next yr for Jeter to move there.

  15. Burnettscreamfilling says:

    i hope Damon comes to senses and realizes the yanks are the best fit for him. also all this talk about him not being able to play LF fulltime is a little bit premature, last year was his first bad defensive year and everybody is ready to crucify him…remember he was playing in a new stadium and i remember quite a few LFs from visiting teams having adventures out there.. granted hes not going to be what he once was but hes probably still more than adequate.

    • Doug says:

      he’s still a serviceable LF. it’s his contract demands that got us where we are today

      • Bo says:

        Cant blame the guy for asking for what he wants.

        It just comes down to what he is willing to give up in order to play here. Not like the Yankees are offering a major paycut here. 2 yrs 20 is not an insult. but who can blame a guy for trying to get every last dollar in probably the last big contract he’ll get?

        • Doug says:

          of course not. you got to shoot for the moon when you’re talking contract, esp. one that’s likely to be your last

          • anon says:

            Looks like the Mariners are out of the Damon hunt… reports that they are trading for Bradley. So it seems like the Giants are the only team currently linked to Damon. Can’t see them bidding against themselves, so maybe there is still a shot at the Yankees getting Damon on a very team-friendly contract.

  16. RMEL says:

    How about Melky and Miranda to the Braves For Nate McLouth….He is due 12.25 million over the next 2 years with a option for a 3rd year…the Braves want to save some money and they need some at 1B…Melky is under control for the next year 3 years…..McLouth could bat 9th play all 3 OF position and even steal 20 or so bases….just putting it out there

  17. Mattingly's Love Child says:

    I know this is way out there, but how about trading for Elijah Dukes? I know he’s completely crazy. But his talent is unquestionable. Give him and Melky the opportunity to win the starting LF job in Spring Training. Loser becomes the 4th outfielder.

    • jsbrendog says:

      if melky is doing videos with mary carey in hotel rooms elijah dukes would probably end up with a donkey and cher.

    • A.D. says:

      Why bother there is already Melk, Gardner, and Hoffmann to compete for LF

    • Bo says:

      You dont add poor character guys to a good clubhouse. Theres a reason guys like dukes, bradley, guillen, etc don’t win.

      they’re the yankees. they dont need to bottom feed. dont under value good chemistry.

      • Mattingly's Love Child says:

        Chemistry comes when you’re winning games. Those idealized Yankees dynasty teams had some real assholes (Cecil Fielder-gambler, Wade Boggs-complete jerk, Roger Clemens-biggest asshole ever, and the list goes on….).

        I don’t give a shit about chemistry, and neither should the Yankees. The chemistry came last year because the best players realized that they had the best team, and so the had fun with that.

        • Exactly.

          There IS a reason guys like Dukes, Bradley, Guillen, etc. don’t win: they’re on bad teams.

          Nothing more.

        • There’s another point in Bo’s comment, though, that I think actually makes some sense. It’s this:

          “they’re the yankees. they dont need to bottom feed. dont under value good chemistry.”

          He’s right. The Yankees don’t need to take the kinds of risks other teams need to take. Let the Reds or the Nats or the Pirates take a chance on a guy with questionable character (like Dukes) or a poor history in the clubhouse (like Bradley), the Yankees don’t need to take those kinds of risks.

          And, in addition to that… Even if we don’t think character issues matter, I think the Yankees do. Cashman seemed to like bringing in good character guys in CC, AJ and Swisher last offseason, even going so far as to talk to those guys and encourage them to be themselves and let their personalities shine. I think he cares about character, and I agree with him. When you have the most financial clout in the game, why not get good players who are also good people?

      • Tampa Yankee says:

        And who is to say that being in a clubhouse where that shit wouldn’t be tolerated or where there are strong veteran/professional personalities, he won’t turn the other cheek and straighten himself out? People can change/wise up in the proper settings aka winning teams.

        The dudes’ played for the shitty Rays and shittier Natinals. Maybe coming to a winning team would do him well.

        • WayneD says:

          People who threaten to shoot & kill their wife & HER CHILDREN don’t do so because they play on shitty teams.

          They do so because they’re scumbags. Period.

          No to Dukes; we’re not talking about minor character issues here: he’s sick!

          And yes, character does matter. The Yanks let Abreu go because of his negative influence on both Cano & Melky, and both of those guys played markedly better once Abreu was gone, which indicates that:

          1. Character does matter.

          2. You can’t expect Jeter & the other character guys on the Yanks to rein in the stupidity & bad behavior of others.

  18. Doug says:

    can still see them making a push for dejesus. thing is, he’s not THAT much better than melky and for what the royals would probably ask for, it likely wouldn’t be worth it.

    • Keanu Reeves says:

      The other thing is he’s not a young guy anymore. He’s going to be 30 years old. Not saying that’s a deal breaker, but it makes me a little less interested.

    • Steve H says:

      Agreed. Dejesus is not enough of an upgrade over Melky to trade prospects for him and pay him more than Melky.

  19. mustang says:

    Trade Swisher for a pitcher who not coming of a injury and is making less money. Add Holliday with what’s left.

  20. Burnettscreamfilling says:

    crawford is overrated people…wait before you crucify me…he’s a speedster who doesn’t hit homeruns and he’ll be almost 30 when free agent time comes around..rememeber speedsters with little power usually don’t age well. (unless your name is ichiro…)

  21. A.D. says:

    Cashman has also called next year’s free agency class “incredibly more impressive than this one,”

    Really? Outside of the catchers (V-Mart & Mauer) & the starting pitching (Beckett, Lee, Webb, Hudson) there isn’t a whole lot of excitement that’s actually going to be a FA. For OF its Crawford, Dunn, and Werth that don’t have options. Dunn is a DH playing LF and Holliday is far superior to Crawford or Werth.

  22. pat says:

    I don’t think Damon is off the table. Signing Nick Johnson is a win win for Cashman. He gets a solid DH for a good price and is simultaneously a very good bargaining chip to use against Damon. If Johnny really wants a chance to win a ring or two before he’s completely shit he’ll come back on Cash’s terms.

    • mike says:

      Damon wants ( i believe ) 2 things – a chance to play alot and make alot.

      with NJ here i think he will more likely return, as Damon does not want to be pigeon-holed into a DH spot, because at that he will never be able to reach milestones for HOF consideration ( 3000 hits etc)

      However, if he can still play the outfield, he will get more AB’s for the next few years, and this will get him closer to thoise HOF thresholds.

      2 yrs 33mm/ + 2mm buyout in 2012

  23. Patrick says:

    What if they signed Hinske for bench depth and DH depth? He can plan the OF in a pinch and also provide a little pop. If anything happened to Johnson, he wouldn’t be the worst option in the league. Not the best, but he’s also pretty cheap.

    • Frank says:

      The problem I see with Hinske is the Yanks would likely need a RH bat, not another LH bat. Thus, their interest in DeRosa(per Olney’s tweet just a few minutes ago).

  24. Jordan - Undecided 2010 says:

    I’m not sure what is the best option any more for LF. I most definitely do not want Melky starting in LF, or anywhere on this team, for that matter. Shocking, I know.

    Yesterday I moved on to having Gardner in CF and Granderson in LF, maximizing their defensive values. The amount of ground covered would be something Yankees fans haven’t seen in a long time.

    I figured I wanted this to be a one year option and then move onto the 2011 free agent crop that is supposedly much better. But looking at that class, there’s only 4 options worth giving any semblence of thought to: Crawford, Werth, Manny and DeJesus.

    Many of us know the plus and minus factors associated with each, and Crawford is the dream option, but I’m not sure I want to put all my proverbial eggs in the Crawford basket.

    Holliday, dare I say is looking better and better. That isn’t to say I want to give him an 8 year deal. If the Cardinals are willing to do that, bon voyage. But for 5 years and the right money, it might be the best option.

    I’m still very undecided.

  25. Ok, let me say something I was just thinking…

    Yes, next year’s free agent class is indeed far superior than this one. But you know where it is superior? In starting pitching. You know what? It’s not like Justin Upton or Ryan Braun are free agents. Are Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth better than Matt Holliday? Do you think they’re going to sign for that much less than Matt? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am, too, skeptical about signing him over financial flexibility. And man, wouldn’t he look great in pinstripes? I would be so pumped up if they signed him for anything between 5/80 and 5/90. I guess it is wishful thinking.

  26. steve s says:

    If Red Sox trade for Gonzales and Holliday is still on the market the Yanks will go after him as one plausible rationale Yanks can hang their hat on for increasing the budget is that RS have closed the budget gap significantly this off-season (when the Yanks state publically they have a budget it is nothing more than a negotiating ploy; if the Yanks were floundering at mid-season does anyone seriously think they would not add payroll to try and right the ship?) Damon needs to think long and hard about whether Boras’ inherent conflict in trying to place Holliday this off-season has hurt him; the reported Yankee offer (2 for $19M) is the best he’s going to get but Boras needs the Yanks as a landing place for Holliday until Holliday signs somewhere.

    • Keanu Reeves says:

      If Red Sox trade for Gonzales

      I’m not holding my breath. Even as much as ESPN wants it to happen.

      • Reggie C. says:

        I’m convinced there’s no package of RS prospects (that Theo’s willing to package) + Ellsbury that can come anywhere close to equating fair value for A-Gonzalez.

        And the ESPN talk that Gonzalez might be more available at the trading deadline is nonsense. Pads may not be competing, but Gonzalez is still making only 6 million in 2011.

        • Keanu Reeves says:

          This.

        • Steve H says:

          Ellsbury will be arbitration eligible in 2 years (while Gonzalez will remain cheap), I doubt San Diego would even want Ellsbury. He’s going to get expensive real quick, and Boras is his agent. And he’s not some young up and comer, he’s 26, A-Gonz is 27.

  27. Steve H says:

    If Melky is a league average hitter again, I have no problem with him playing LF and hitting 8th or 9th. He’s not an automatic out, and if the concern is that he doesn’t have a corner OF bat, then put him in CF and Grandy in LF if it’s more aesthetically pleasing(not really though). While there may be a slight downgrade in offense, the improved defense should more than make up for it. And you’re replacing an older Matsui/Damon and with younger Grandy/Johnson, while improving defense in both CF and LF.

    All of that being said, if Holliday is available at 5/90, 6/105 I’d jump at that.

    • Jordan - Undecided 2010 says:

      Putting Melky in CF because his bat is “hideable” there is not logical. The best range guy should play CF and that’s Granderson.

      As much as I don’t like Melky Cabrera as a starting option on this team, putting him back in CF is an even worse option.

      Not to say you are subscribing to that idea, Steve H, just saying in general.

      • Steve H says:

        No, definitely don’t want Melky in CF. I’m just saying that if the Melky’s bat plays in CF (and it does, see #27), an OF of Melky/Grandy/Swisher is just as playable as an OF of Grandy/Melky/Swish. I certainly don’t want Melky in CF, but I’m fine with him in LF, due to the Granderson pickup.

        • No, definitely don’t want Melky in CF. I’m just saying that if the Melky’s bat plays in CF (and it does, see #27), an OF of Melky/Grandy/Swisher is just as playable as an OF of Grandy/Melky/Swish. I certainly don’t want Melky in CF, but I’m fine with him in LF, due to the Granderson pickup.

          I have nothing to add, I just wanted to repeat that louder to make sure everyone heard it.

          • Mattingly's Love Child says:

            I’m not sure this can be said loudly enough.

            I love the idea of trading for someone crazy and giving them a shot to take the job from Melky, but either way you look at it, the Yanks are stacked. They don’t need Holliday or Bay to get over the top. They are the defending WS CHamps. They replaced Damon with Granderson (upgrade), they replaced Matsui with Johnson (lateral move), and replaced Pettite with himself. I like the team now. We all need to chill the fuck out. Let the Mets spend a fortune for Bay, let the Cards bid against themselves on Holliday, and then kick some ass come April.

            • Evil Empire says:

              Exactly. I don’t see the need for all of this craziness.

              We have a solid baseball team based on the foundation of the motherfucking world series champions. We won 103 games despite Chien Ming Wrong making a handful of starters (basically giving away at least 6 games)and Cody god damn Ransom replacing A-Rod for 1/6th of the season.

              So far, the team has net upgraded. UPGRADED. We have two young high upside starters, and we need one of them to succeed. If we want to get another SP great, sure, I’m cool with that. But regardless of what else we do, this team is built to win now, just like it always did. I don’t give a fuck about what Boston wants to do, let them go all in for 2010 and force themselves to either spend more than they want to or screw up their long term future. Fuck it. Fuck them. Fuck the negative nancies who probably shit themselves and were ready to jump off a cliff when we lost game 1 of the World Series (amongst many other silly “moments of doubt”). We’ve got this shit.

  28. Doug says:

    olney tweet from a few minutes ago:

    “If Johnson passes physical,NYY will move on to next targets — definitely a starting pitcher, and quite possibly Mark DeRosa, if $ are right”

  29. Deeznutz says:

    Do you think either Cuddyer or Kubel of the Twins would be available in a trade? Seems that Cuddyer (or Swisher) could make the move from RF to LF and his contract is reasonable at $9.4M this year and 10.5M next. You’d think the Twins would be willing to listen in on offers to save that much money that they could then use to try and retain Mauer. Any idea on what sort of package Cuddyer would require?

  30. aj says:

    Do you guys think that Boras finally fully screwed over a client in Damon? the Whole four years thing seemed to make the yanks look elsewhere. And did you hear the MLBTR story on the top? Damon said that he’s ready to move on but NYY is the best organization he’s ever been a part of.

    Take that Boston!

    • A.D. says:

      Well Boras screwed Varitek last year, so Damon would be the 2nd client.

    • JohnnyC says:

      Well, Boras gets a bigger commission from Holliday signing with the Yankees than Damon. Doesn’t seem like a wise thing to do, longterm though. As good as Boras is, there are a zillion agents out there.

  31. aj says:

    I’m sad to lose Damon and his wife. I always thought she was the best looking of the Yankee wives.

  32. ADam says:

    I’m not huge on Holliday, hes not coming to the yanks anyway…. don’t need em, would just be another huge contract… Have to get Jete and Mo back next year too….

  33. Drew says:

    I really hope we don’t sign Holliday. He’s a really good player but the implications are too great. In 2011, C-Grand, Robbie, Swish and Teix are due an extra 9 million. The we have all our arb raises. Jete and Mo will earn the same salary, give or take a couple mil.
    If we want to make a move on a guy like Mauer, I’d rather keep a cheap option in LF for 2010.

    • I’m not sure that “Let’s not sign Holliday now so we can have money to sign Mauer later” is a good idea, all things considered.

      There’s a very, very, very good chance Mauer isn’t there next winter.

      • Drew says:

        I do agree generally. I don’t like the idea of not signing a good player because we may get a good player next year. However, if we don’t sign Mauer and assuming JoPo continues catching then our DH hole is wide open with many options out in the market. Not to mention AP, Cliff Lee and Beckett(no thnx) out there.

        Bottom line, if we sign Holliday @ around 15ish mil, I won’t be upset. Like Johnson, Holliday will slide perfectly into our lineup.

      • Evil Empire says:

        The way I see it as of right now, Mauer is a member of one of two teams in 2011: the Twins, or the Red Sox.

        Both teams need him more than anyone else, including the Yankees. But ask me again in June and depending on how Montero’s been doing, maybe I’ll be singing a different tune.

      • Lifetime of Question Marks says:

        Even if Mauer isn’t available, I would love to have as much money as possible to throw at a stud pitcher next year. That being said, I hope we don’t hand out anything but 1 yr deals from here on out.

      • Yeah… And even if he is, what if the choice is between Holliday in LF and Montero/Posada/Romine/other at catcher or Melky in LF and Mauer at C? This is an oversimplification, but it has to be considered… The Yankees have a ton of prospects at C, but nothing really in the OF until we see what Heathcott/DeLeon become.

        I still prefer Mauer, since he’s the best player of the lot and who knows what happens a year or two from now with the guys on the FA and trade markets and the guys in the development system, but these other considerations have to be taken into account.

    • Mike HC says:

      I agree with you. Holliday is an excellent player, but I would take a pass on him. Find a cheap option in LF, and then possibly make a trade mid season if something opens up. Keep the Holliday money for another player, maybe Mauer, maybe a starter.

  34. Virginia Yank says:

    I think I may be missing something (OF subs maybe?). But if Granderson will provide roughly equivalent offense to Damon’s, and Johnson will approximate Matsui’s offense, how are the Yankees anything but about the same on offense and a better defensive club versus last year?

  35. Rod says:

    I don’t understand why the Yankees need to get a LFer especially someone like Derosa. Gardner projects as a 2.7 WAR player versus 2.4 for Derosa. Moving Gardner to LF would give his defense a bump and potentially make him even more valuable. The only thing the Yankees need now is another swing man who can potentially make 15-20 starts over the course of the season.

  36. karlovau says:

    Idea from “left field” as it were. Teixeira played the outfield in his early career. When Posada needs a half day off, why not Johnson to first and Teixeira to left?

  37. Jon says:

    Can Swisher play a decent LF? Perhaps see if Jermaine Dye would take a one year deal, stick him in right and move Swish to left? That’s assuming Dye has anything left, and his second half last year would suggest he’s a corpse at this point. Still, he had a pretty damn good 1st half.

  38. Grover says:

    Would any of you want Damon to return for $8-9M for one year over the other alternatives? I’d still rather have him in the two hole and he was certainly clutch last year. Who do you guys see as Damon’s suitors? I’ve read the Giants but we know they are cheap. If the Angels land Lowe or Vasquez and Rivera is part of the price would the Angels look to Damon in left and leadoff now that Figgins has departed? I don’t see them handing Matthews jr. and Willits the job. I had also heard the White Sox but I think Pierre rules out Damon there as well. As he is seen as an awful outfielder and now a DH with fielding ability, I think there is a chance he comes back to the Yanks to play left on a one year deal and wait for a Johnson injury or simply justify the contract by taking some time off on the bench.

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