Mar
05

Backing up the brittle DH

By

Updated (9:50 a.m.) When Nick Johnson was scratched from the lineup yesterday afternoon with a sore back, the Yankee Universe let out a collective groan. Here it goes again; the injury bug bites Nick Johnson.

Of course, the injury ended up being nothing very much, and the Yankees say the team is just taking it slow during day two of Spring Training. Nick caught his cleat while taking some swings in the cage, and he could have played had it been the regular season. He’ll sit out a day or two and find himself right back in the lineup this week. Lest we forget, Jorge Posada‘s surgically repaired shoulder was giving everyone conniptions last spring as well. There’s always a sore something somewhere.

But Johnson’s injury got me thinking. What if Nick were to go down? What would the Yankees do with that DH slot? Johnson has been summoned to replace Hideki Matsui as the Yanks’ go-to guy for DH. The team rightly doesn’t want to use the DH as a rotating half-day rest slot for their veterans because that would necessarily force Ramiro Peña or Francisco Cervelli, weak offensive options, into the lineup nearly every day. So Johnson, a high OBP guy with a lefty swing designed for Yankee Stadium, seemed an ideal choice.

In a sense, the Yankees don’t need a lot from Nick Johnson. Hideki Matsui hit .274/.367/.509 with 28 home runs last year in 142 games, and he put up a WAR of 2.7, eighth best in a powerhouse lineup. If Johnson, a 2.5-win player last year, can give the Yanks a pair of wins for $5.5 million, the team will be quite pleased.

A problem emerges, though, if Johnson can’t do that. If he doesn’t make 135 starts, doesn’t get his 500 plate appearances, doesn’t produce a few wins out of the DH slot. If he gets injured and misses significant time, always a distinct possible with him, the Yankees will be out a DH.

Behind Johnson, the options for designated hitter are slim. The team has Randy Winn, Marcus Thames and Jamie Hoffmann in camp fighting for two roster spots. Last year, Winn was a 1.7-win player based on WAR, but that’s because he was 16.5 fielding runs above average. His offensive output — a .302 wOBA with 2 home runs in 538 plate appearances — makes him a non-option for the DH spot. Marcus Thames had a 0.1 WAR last year. No matter how that breaks down, he wasn’t doing much hitter at all. Jamie Hoffmann has played just 72 games at AAA.

Beyond these guys making waves in camp, Juan Miranda would offer the Yanks another lefty option for DH. He’s the first guy called up when the team needs a bat, and as his prodigious home run in Tampa at the end of 2009 showed us, he can certainly hit. He’s a career .280/.366/.474 hitter in the minors and blasted 19 home runs last year at AAA. He isn’t too vulnerable to lefties either, hitting .291/.367/.507 against them in just under 200 ABs last year. His Major League Equivalents don’t scream out success, but he’s an option.

The Yankees do have a rather tantalizing ace in the hole, but would they dare use it? Jesus Montero is, acccording to a video interview he did with YES, working hard to get to the Majors, and by all accounts, he has put on a hitting clinic in batting practice this spring. In his one in-game at-bat, he singled. He has the power and the stick to DH, but the Yanks shouldn’t rush him. He needs his AAA seasoning, and when the 20-year-old shows he can mash at AAA, the Yanks can begin to think about it. In the meantime, the team has three in-house choices, and Gary Sheffield remains a free agent.

For now, we’ll rely on Nick Johnson to carry the designated hitter slot for six months this year. He gets an Interleague Play break when the Yanks hit the NL in May and June, and with Robo-Tex manning first, Johnson won’t be asked to exert himself in the field. He should be able to withstand the pressures of the season, but if any player can’t stay healthy at DH, it’s Nick Jonson. And, please, no more cleats in the batting cages.

Photo by Kathy Willens/AP

Categories : Spring Training
  • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

    Isn’t Miranda first in line for replacing NJ in the event of an injury? Shouldn’t he be, rather than Montero?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      That.

    • radnom

      Yeah, I don’t get how you can have an article on who is backing up Johnson and not mention Miranda. He would be the first one up.

  • A.D.

    Wouldn’t Juan Miranda be the natural replacement option if NJ had to miss an extended period of time?

    Then if it is a day to day thing, rotate someone through, or something like Swisher and then can have a UZR wet dream OF.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

    DH depth chart:

    1-Nick Johnson
    2-Marcus Thames
    3-Juan Miranda
    4-(insert aging free agent veteran bat still on the market here)*
    5-Jesus Montero

    —————–

    * as in: Gary Sheffield, Jermaine Dye, Rocco Baldelli, Carlos Delgado, Fernando Tatis, Hank Blalock, Tony Clark, Feared Williams, etc.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      5-Aging veteran bat who can be had in trade for nothing
      6-Jesus Montero

      • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

        So Gary Sheffield?

        • http://I’mnotsayinghe’sgoingtobegreat,andhewillprobablyfrustrateusasmuchasMelky mustang

          We have a winner !!!!

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          (cracks open a tasty yet slightly bitter Pinstripe Sheff Black Lager™)

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            Slightly bitter? Does it get less bitter as it ages? Last time I had a bottle of Pinstripe Sheff Black Lager™, I almost had to spit it out.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

              Nope. It’s always bitter. Our brewmasters are required to be furiously angry at all times while making Sheff Black Lager™. Straight disrespect.

              • radnom

                Just FYI, black lagers (schwarzbiers) are not generally bitter..all in all they tend to be pretty light bodied.

                Perhaps it should be Sheff Black IPA.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          Sheffield would be in Tommie’s #4 spot. I’m adding a spot for a trade before getting to Montero, similar to the Thome deal from last year. There will be a ton of guys like that on the market for next to nothing.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            Yup.

            Hell, we could trade a non-prospect to the Red Sox for Mike Lowell’s contractual obligation if we really wanted to.

            Your mind: BLOWN.

            • kimonizer

              And said non-prospect would almost instantaneously become a top 10 prospect.

              • All Praise Be To Mo

                Who’s the ugliest non-prospect we have? That’s all the Red Sox seem to collect these days, I’d say Nick Johnson on the ugliness factor, but if we have to replace him, who would it be?

                • http://none Michael

                  No one is uglier than John Lackey. He’s Cape Fear ugly.

                • All Praise Be To Mo

                  I’d put Youk up against him. He looks like one of those guys from the Crazies after they’ve been all diseased.

                • http://none Michael

                  Youk is a pain in the ass, so to me, he’s pretty ugly.

    • A.D.

      Works for me Thames may just leave if he doesn’t make the squad, thus moving Miranda up on the depth chart. Otherwise if they could move the roster around enough to fit everyone on a Thames/Miranda platoon could be nice.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    What they said ^. Let’s say Johnson gets hurt in May and is out for the year, bring up Miranda, give him a good shot and he fails. In this worst case scenario, there will still be a ton of DH types available at or before the deadline. DH is always the easiest position to fill, which has only been increased the last few years. As much as I’d like to see Montero raking in the majors this year, not at the expense of his development as a catcher.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      As much as I’d like to see Montero raking in the majors this year, not at the expense of his development as a catcher.

      Repeated for emphasis. Getting Montero another solid year’s worth of development behind the plate is more important to the long-term success of the franchise than any marginal benefit his bat may have over Juan Miranda’s or Marcus Thames’s or Gary Sheffield’s or Jermaine Dye’s, especially when you consider the fact that his MLB learning curve means he may not even be an upgrade over those veterans anyway.

      In general:
      Zeus >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> everyone on the planet

      …but, for the 2010 emergency DH:
      Miranda/Thames/Sheffield/Dye >>>>>>>>>>>>>> Zeus

      • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

        Jermaine Dye? No, thanks. If it’s June and Montero’s ripping the cover off the ball, I’d be tempted to go for him over, say, Dye.

        • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

          Really? You’re willing to cut short Montero’s seasoning at C for a stopgap? Guess you’re pessimistic on his long-term ability to stay at the position.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          What if it’s June and Montero’s ripping the cover off the ball, but Dye is also ripping the cover off the ball in workouts?

          Isn’t it worth a half-year’s pay for a guy like Dye to get solid DH production at the ML level while still being able to give Zeus a full year’s work behind the dish refining his defense and prepping for 2011? I think it is.

          • http://none Michael

            Dye might be a risk worth taking, but I wonder why no one is trying to bring him in? Two years ago, he was very good. Last year, he was just okay.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          In a sense, the Yankees don’t need a lot from Nick Johnson. Hideki Matsui hit .274/.367/.509 with 28 home runs last year in 142 games, and he put up a WAR of 2.7, eighth best in a powerhouse lineup.

          Replacing a beat up Johnson with Montero would be shortsighted. It would be a luxury, not a necessity. If this team is struggling on offense so badly that Montero is needed, then they are in some serious trouble.

          • http://none Michael

            Matsui was incredible last year. He was the best DH in baseball, and it wasn’t even close. he played in 142 games, but that’s misleading because he was often pinch hitting—and hitting home runs doing so.

            Nick Johnson has his work cut out for him to have a year like that. If NJ bats .280 with 10 home runs I’ll be impressed.

            • Rick in Boston

              Eh, some nitpicking on that point since there’s definitely some selective bias there:

              Matsui pinch hit 26 times during the regular season last year and homered once. Overall, he went 8/21 with 5 walks.

              • http://none Michael

                I guess it felt like he always came through.
                He did hit a pinch homer in WS. Maybe 2?

        • http://none Michael

          I think it would be great to bring in one of our own like Montero. Dye is old, and he’s having more trouble playing the field every year.

          Arod and Jete are getting old. It’s time to give some of the younger guys a shot, and this way, they can bring him along slowly, instead of throwing him in at catcher, and it’s sink or swim.

          • andrew

            Yea, but a ton of his value is tied to him at catcher, so we probably shouldn’t give up on him there yet.

            • http://None Michael

              They wouldn’t need to give up on him at catcher,
              just give him a chance to get his feet wet.

              I don’t think they’d make him the only back up until he shows significant improvement.

              Cervelli is a capable back up. Maybe they’ll carry 3 catchers at some point.

              Didn’t we have Girardi, Jorge and Leyritz at one point?

  • http://I’mnotsayinghe’sgoingtobegreat,andhewillprobablyfrustrateusasmuchasMelky mustang

    Anyone who thinks that Bo can be out there sometimes should read the local papers today they are taking the NJ injury to a whole new level of “sport writing”.
    Come on guys it’s the THREE GAME OF SPRING TRAINING.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Game two actually :)

      That makes it even worse! You’d think he broke his neck or something. It’s a sore back, happens to, literally, everyone.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        I’ve got a dollar that says 2010 Nick Johnson misses less game time both in the spring and in the regular season than 2010 Johnny Damon does.

        • Aj

          Wow. I’ll take that dollar.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            Mark it down. You’re on.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          +Hideki Matsui

        • http://I’mnotsayinghe’sgoingtobegreat,andhewillprobablyfrustrateusasmuchasMelky mustang

          I don’t think I would go that far, but what’s the over under on NJ DL time this season ?

          • http://I’mnotsayinghe’sgoingtobegreat,andhewillprobablyfrustrateusasmuchasMelky mustang

            I’m thinking 15 days. Over? Under? anyone ?

            • Joe

              Over

            • Accent Shallow

              If that’s the line, everyone bets the over.

            • KyleLitke

              I’ll actually take the under, I think him DHing and sitting every now and then to get other guys DH days will keep him healthy. I do think he might occasionally be banged up, maybe his back acts up a little, but I’ll take the chance that him not playing the field except occasionally will keep him off the DL.

        • http://none Michael

          How many times has Damon been hurt enough to not play?

          • All Praise Be To Mo

            How many times was he hurt enough that we wished he didn’t play?

            • http://none Michael

              You don’t think Damon did well here?

              • All Praise Be To Mo

                I think he did very well here, but at the same time when he was hurting he was costing the team out there when we had Brett Gardner on the bench who would more than capably replace him. But his pride (and the body of a 30 yr old according to some) wouldn’t allow him to put himself on the dl or sit out a few games.

                • http://none Michael

                  That’s true.

                  But I think he’s a tough guy, and with him, you take the good with the bad. I’m not saying Nick Johnson isn’t a talented player, but he’s hurt every year.

                  What makes you think he’ll play more than a guy who battles through injuries, and gets out there basically no matter what?

      • http://I’mnotsayinghe’sgoingtobegreat,andhewillprobablyfrustrateusasmuchasMelky mustang

        Just look on the back of the Post and don’t even bother to buy it unless you want to waste your money.

        Wow just wow

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          The Post is a shitrag.

          • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

            Horrible idea. Ever see the way the ink rubs off on your fingers when you’re reading it? THINK ON THAT.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

              I laughed.

  • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

    Admittedly, I forgot about Juan Miranda. He’d be in between the Winn/Thames duo and Montero. I think the Yanks would kick the tires on Gary Sheffield too if he remains unsigned and Johnson were to be sufficiently injured. Funny I forgot him considering I advocated for the Yanks to sign him a few weeks ago.

    • http://I’mnotsayinghe’sgoingtobegreat,andhewillprobablyfrustrateusasmuchasMelky mustang

      agree

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      You have shamed us all, Kabak.

      • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

        Luckily I can update the post after the fact. Done and done.

        • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

          As a question of blogger ethics…

          Isn’t it proper to use an UPDATE or EDIT to indicate to the reader that you added it after the fact? Because the way it is now makes it look like you thought of it all along, which isn’t really accurate.

          /nitpick’d
          //just wondering what the proper protocol is’d

          • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

            It says updated at the time with the time stamp…

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

              I believe the proper blogger ethics in a situation like this is to delete the post altogether and pretend like you never said what you said.

              Sincerely,
              Ian O’Connor

          • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

            But yes, unless we’re just making grammatical corrections, we’ll slap the Updated (X:XX) timestamp on it. You’re right about the ethics question there.

            • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

              OK cool. Just wondering. Also just accusing you of blogger malpractice. FRAUDSTER!

              • Accent Shallow

                Already tarnished credibility of this socialist website, et cetera, et cetera

            • http://iheartrerun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/rerun.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Just my two cents, but I think, if the edit is substantive, that a short editor’s note explaining why the edit was made and to what the edit pertained would be appropriate.

              • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

                So you mean: Edited because I wrote this post at 2 a.m. and forgot about Juan Miranda?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Just when I think you can’t get any dumber, you go and do something like this.

          … and TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF!!!!

        • A.D.

          Very smooth

  • Aj

    Ugh. Can’t get on base if he’s not healthy.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      YOU’RE RIGHT!!!!

      (freaks out; looks at calendar, realizes it’s March 5th; stops freaking out)

  • A.D.

    Bringing up Zeus would give the interesting possibility of having him & Posada split DH and catching duties more regularly, thus allowing Zeus to still work on catching, and Posada to have a little wear and tear over the season.

    That said no reason to get ahead of ourselves, let Zeus get a full year development in AAA, unless he’s really needed.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      That is an excellent counterargument to the “leave Montero in AAA and sign a Sheff/Dye” concept.

      If Zeus is still getting work behind the plate AND Posada’s getting less wear and tear, it would be a lovely solution. I’m intrigued.

      • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

        Do you option Cervelli back to AAA?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Meh, probably not at first, but if Zeus looks like he can handle catching/hitting in the bigs without embarrassing himself, yeah, you do eventually.

        • A.D.

          Probably not because assuming that your DH is always your other catcher you’d prefer to have that 3rd option to not lose your DH if something happens to your starting catcher that day.

        • http://none Michael

          pass ball city.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        I’m intrigued.

        Not to the level of arousal?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          No, not yet.

          I still prefer the Sheff signing idea, but the joint C/DH Posada/Montero tandem is a decent alternative.

    • http://I’mnotsayinghe’sgoingtobegreat,andhewillprobablyfrustrateusasmuchasMelky mustang

      Not a bad idea.

  • ADam

    Keep Sheff far far far away from this clubhouse… I’d rather have any of the inside guys rather than sheff

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      Production >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> disposition

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Production >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> disposition especially in baseball.

      • steve s

        Care to reflect on the meaning of “inexorably destined” as per the discussion we had about Mr. Johnson a few days ago?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Care to remember that the post noted “it’s nothing big” and “if this was the regular season he would have played”?

          • steve s

            What else are the Yanks going to say about NJ at this point other than its nothing big? I’m certainly hoping its true but this is just not a case of bad luck; the guy will be DL’d sometime this season as sure as he will also be an on-base machine. That’s my only point.

            • Big Juan

              Dude. Chill out on this Johnson stuff.

              I have a shitty back. Today when I was walking up the stairs, I stubbed my toe and felt a tweak in my back. It hurt for two minutes than I was fine.

              I’m not saying this is exactly what happened to Johnson, but this shit happens all the time.

              You’d probably be complaining just as loudly if you you found out that Johnson had tweaked his back and the Yankees let him play even though there’s absolutely nothing wrong.

            • KyleLitke

              You don’t know that. While he has had some injuries that you could argue make him injury prone, half of his injuries are fluke mishaps in the field, where he’ll barely be playing short of an injury to Teixeira. Yes, there’s still potential for the back or wrist to act up (which I don’t believe it really has in years), but he won’t break his leg in a collision or get hit by a ball taking a crazy hop.

      • Accent Shallow

        This is easy for us to say (and I’d certainly hope that Cashman doesn’t weigh personality too heavily in player acquisition), but after Sheff’s comments in re: Jeter, would the Yankees consider bringing him back?

        I get the impression that they would not, barring desperation. Of course, that’s just an impression I got from vague beat writer hints, so who knows.

      • Chris

        I’m not convinced that Sheffield’s production would be worth much. Sure, he’s almost guaranteed to be better than Hoffman, Thames or Winn, but that’s not saying a whole lot. I don’t think that a 41 year old Sheffield would be more productive than Miranda.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    In a sense, the Yankees don’t need a lot from Nick Johnson. Hideki Matsui hit .274/.367/.509 with 28 home runs last year in 142 games, and he put up a WAR of 2.7, eighth best in a powerhouse lineup.

    Isn’t that a bit misleading. Matsui played no games in the field last year. Nick Johnson might play some but it won’t be a lot. Since he’ll mainly DH I wouldn’t say they “don’t need a lot” from him since they actually kinda do if he’s only DH’ing.

  • Stryker

    now that edwar’s gone, i expect to see NJ have his 36 back.

  • Rose

    He needs his AAA seasoning, and when the 20-year-old shows he can mash at AAA, the Yanks can begin to think about it.

    People often compare Jesus Montero’s upside to Miguel Cabrera.

    Miguel Cabrera:
    Age, First Year in Majors: 20
    Total Minor League Games Played: 368 (Class A and above: 303)
    Total Minor League PA: 1597
    Total Hits in Minors: 409
    Total 2B in Minors: 103
    Total HR in Minors: 28
    Total RBI in Minors: 228
    Overall Batting Line in Minors: .286/.350/.431 (.782)
    Total Games Played in AAA: 0

    Jesus Montero
    Current Age: 20
    Total Minor League Games Played: 257 (Class A and above: 224)
    Total Minor League PA: 1071
    Total Hits in Minors: 318
    Total 2B in Minors: 65
    Total HR in Minors: 37
    Total RBI in Minors: 176
    Overall Batting Line in Minors: .325/.379/.509 (.888)
    Total Games Played in AAA: 0

    Miguel Cabrera played in 79 more games than Jesus Montero has so far. But we’re not talking about Jesus Montero starting with the team. Say (God forbid) Nick “The Stick” goes down around the All Star Break…in AAA (140 game schedule), Montero could have somewhere around that much time.

    Seems pretty good to me.

    • A.D.

      1. Never realized Miguel Cabrera never played in AAA

      2. His numbers were pretty eh, before that season in AA

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      Miguel Cabrera
      BAC: 0.26

      Jesus Montero
      BAC: 0.00

      • Rose

        LOL. Exactly.

    • Rose

      Montero has 9 more home runs than Cabrera in 79 less games.

      Pretty cool.

    • Rick in Boston

      But Montero is also playing a much more demanding defensive position. Sure Cabrera came up as a 3B, but Montero is in AAA to catch everyday.

      • Rose

        I agree. But that 70-something extra AAA games before the All Star Break may still be valuable. Quality over Quantity!

  • dark side of the goon

    My only issue is that Mats was a big game guy and his numbers are a bit deceiving. I know he ran hot and cold but when he was hot, he was red hot. I’m trying to be okay with NJ, I was a fan of his when he was here the last time, but I think that some of us will invoke the ghost of Hitdecki a few times this season.

    • Rose

      Nick Johnson’s OBP is ridiculous though. Which could be a blessing and burden…because the more he’s on base…the more opportunities he has to get injured. Hopefully Tex or Arod just keep hitting home runs everytime he gets on so he can jog at his own pace… :)

      Matsui was a monster. I’ll always miss Matsui because no matter where the team was in a game…he seemed to remain the same. I’d go to games where the entire rest of the team would seem lathargic and not be able to hit, the pitching would be awful…but Matsui would still be Matsui…roping balls off the wall…hitting home runs. I’ll miss his poise the most. Nothing seemed to ever rattle the guy.

    • Zack

      Nick Johnson Career Situational Stats

      Runners on: (1150 AB) .293/.437/.481
      RISP: (652 AB) .279/.457/.470
      RISP w/ 2 outs: (312 AB) .263/.451/.474
      Bases loaded: (69 AB) .377/.440/.536

      Nick Johnson = Good hitter in big spots

      • king of fruitless hypotheticals

        Bases loaded: (69 AB) .377/.440/.536

        would like to see lots of this…

  • AMSkollar

    The other option could be to play Winn in RF, where his defense seems to be even more valuable, and have Swisher be the DH. It changes the complexion of the team a bit, but we would still have a great offense, and we would improve our outfield defense. Then you have Thames on the bench for power.

  • king of fruitless hypotheticals

    somebody smart walk the math through here please:

    if the johnson goes soft midseason, could we not also replace him with some kind of swisher? those numbers arent all that far apart…then forcing hoffmann et al to take to right field.

    Swisher–NJ
    Hoffmann–Swisher

    how much worse are those numbers?

  • mryankee

    I say bring back Frank Thomas

  • KyleLitke

    Well, I doubt Winn would DH if he was the guy, in all likelihood he’d play right field and Swisher would DH, which would increase his value a bit (even though Swisher isn’t awful in the field), or they’d go with Miranda. Either way it’s a dropoff from Johnson and not an ideal solution though.

  • Charles Hudson

    Too bad Frank Thomas – or Chipper Jones for that matter – never had the opportunity to DH for the Yanks. Hearing that his team is being “cautious” or “taking it slow” with Nick Johnson due to a minor injury is like hearing that A-Rod is dating an attractive woman.

  • chriso

    If Nick Johnson goes down with an injury, I wouldn’t worry about it at all.

    Posada would become the DH and Joe Girardi, I mean Francisco Cervelli, would be the full-time catcher. (Easy to mistake Girardi for Cervelli. both +defensive catchers with mediocre RH bats).
    Jesus Montero would become the back-up catcher. And the Yankees might even be a better team that way.

    • Charles Hudson

      You make a great point. Pride has probably interfered in the plans somewhat but these days DH is certainly the ideal spot for Posada.

    • MikeD

      Having Posada replace Johnson at DH appears fine at first glance, but that’s not what would be happening. Posada’s bat was already in the line-up at the catcher’s slot, so that means it would be Cervelli’s bat that would replace Johnson’s. That’s a big offensive drop. Unless he develops some pop, Cervelli does not project as a regular MLB catcher. He’s a back-up.

      • Charles Hudson

        You make a great point too. Unfortunately just signing Johnson to a contract at all virtually assures that someone would need to replace him in the lineup at any given moment.