Report: Yankees have talked to Damon about DH’ing

The Bartolo Era Ends: Colon Heads To Oakland
Update: Yankees calling around for offense, have spoken to Carlos Pena

Via Jon Heyman, the Yankees have spoken to Johnny Damon about potentially returning to New York to DH. There’s a “very small chance” they would consider Jorge Posada for the role even though his retirement is not yet official, and apparently they don’t have much money to spend. We heard that before they gave Hiroki Kuroda $10M, right?

I plan on looking at Damon a bit more tomorrow, but I do think there’s some merit to bringing him back as a part-time DH. If nothing else, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Johnny rebounded nicely with the Rays last year, hitting 16 homers with 19 steals a year after going eight and eleven with the Tigers. His walk rate (7.9%) was his lowest in six years however, and we shouldn’t ignore any signs of decline at age 38.

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The Bartolo Era Ends: Colon Heads To Oakland
Update: Yankees calling around for offense, have spoken to Carlos Pena
  • Rainbow Pinstripes

    I think I’d rather go with Andruw.

    • Sayid J.

      Against lefties and righties?

    • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig Maduro

      I’d prefer to bring in Carlos Pena if he’s willing to platoon.

  • Mark in VT

    What about Eric Chavez? Doesn’t it make sense to have a rotation of starters along with Jones and Chavez?

    • TCMiller30

      Chavez couldn’t stay healthy as A-rod’s back up last year.. I don’t think he’d stay healthy a year older as A-Rod’s back up/platoon DH for an entire season.

    • CJ

      No

  • Nick87

    “Yanks not is a financial position to sign a DH bat.”

    That old chestnut.

    I know these beat writers can only tell us what there “person with knowledge” tells them, but really. They have spent the whole offseason telling this about the rotation, then Yanks sign Kuroda.

    • CJ

      Blah blah blah.
      “Nick swisher is our first baseman. Noesi will be in rotation. Montero is pujols-like. Bubba Crosby is our cf.”
      Whatever is said publicly, the opposite is more likely to happen.

  • candyforstalin

    I do think there’s some merit to bringing him back as a part-time DH.

    nope.

    • radnom

      Insightful and well reasoned response. Can you name a better option for a lefthanded DH at Damon’s likely price? If Pena is too expensive, he would be a solid plan B.

      • candyforstalin

        2010 vs rhp .337 woba
        2011 vs rhp .313 woba

        betemit. hell, posada.

        • Preston

          I do think his reverse platoon split last year is worrisome, since Andruw will be deservedly getting all the AB’s against Lefties. But that is a one year phenomenon and I can’t think of a reason why you would get a reverse platoon split as a result of aging. If anything you’d think you’d get a more pronounced platoon split (like Jeter). Betemit makes some sense, but he’s atrocious defensively and after the numbers he put up in 2011 I’m sure he’s looking to go somewhere he can play a larger role (obviously if this doesn’t happen and he can be had cheaply let’s grab him). Posada needs to stay retired.

        • Matt DiBari

          I still have nightmares of the last goround with Betemit.

          • Preston

            If signing Betemit was guaranteed to end the same way as last time I’d do it in a heartbeat. I’m a sucker for the Swish Hawk.

  • Another Bronx Dynasty

    Why not talk Posada out of retirement? After all leveryones crying over Montero & saying he is a Posada type catcher…bring back one of the Core 4 for 1 more yr & lets go for a ring!

    Last yr after all he had a hard time accepting his role but when he did he did well. In tha ALDS he was clutch…typical Posada.

  • Granderslam

    Any chance the Yankees can swing a trade for a hitter? Just wondering… I feel like with all that leftover talent, there might be some opportunities… ? Although I don’t like the idea toooo much, I’m not completely opposed to bringing Damon back, I just would prefer someone with a bit more power (Pena-esque).

    • RkyMtnYank

      Damon hit 16 homers with a .261 avg last year and he has a nice YS swing. I would take that over Pena’s what, 18 homers, and that Mo awful .200 avg.

      • whozat

        What happens when you consider numbers that reflect offensive capability more effectively, like power and discipline rate stats?

        • RkyMtnYank

          Not much at all. How many homers do you think Pena will hit? Maybe a couple more than Damon, so that is negligible. Yeah, Pena walks a little bit more but not enough to matter.
          So you think because Pena can hit the ball really really far it makes him offensive capable? I’m not impressed.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            A couple more? Pena’s hit 28 HR the last two years and that’s his lowest total in the last five seasons. Damon’s career high is 24, and he’s 38.

            • kevin

              garrett jones- .345obp and 14hrs vs rhp

              prob can get him in trade for r pena

              • kevin

                well maybe not for pena he kind of sucks but the cost should not be anything crazy

          • candyforstalin

            for the love of god.

          • whozat

            No, I’m talking about the fact that Pena walked 16.7% of the time last year and Damon walked 7.9%. Which led to Pena having an OBP 30 points higher than Johnny. Which is a big difference.

          • Needed Pitching

            The role would be mostly against RHP.
            Pena vs. RHP last season – .255AVG/.892 OPS/ .383 wOBA
            Damon: 255/715/313

            not even close

            • RkyMtnYank

              So statistically you all make some good points. Pena would be marginally better but in part time duty who knows what that would turn into. Especially for the money.
              I’m not a big Damon fan by any stretch but I know do know how painful it is for me to watch Pena so I’d rather not do that.

              • Needed Pitching

                Marginally better??? .383 wOBA isn’t marginally better than .313 wOBA. And part time duty is slightly understating it. Pena could easily start 100+ games even if he was a strict platoon player. .383 wOBA over 100+ starts sounds good to me. As for the money, we don’t know what it would take to sign either, or how much the Yankees are willing to spend, so it’s really impossible to evaluate that aspect of it.

              • G

                I see you’ve discovered time travel. Impressive, I didn’t think we had those in 1985.

                This is 2012, please use a real stat like OPS or wOBA. By those measurements Peña is a great hitter.

                Peña vs. Righties in 2011: .892 OPS
                Andruw vs. Lefties in 2011: .923 OPS

                Put those two in a platoon and you’ve got one hell of a DH.

                • G

                  That not those*

                • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

                  Then for those of us who watch the games rather than a calculator, the pick would be Damon. Pena has never impressed me. Not even in 2008. Damon has always had something special…an intangible way of winning and you have to believe he’ll find a little bit of youth hitting in Yankee Stadium. Now sabr-heads…breath slowly into a paper bag until you relax.

                  • Plank

                    Is that you Murray Chass?

  • Ken

    Trade pitching depth for a DH. Any shot at trading AJ for Adam Dunn? Maybe move some bullpen depth for a good bat? Rafael Soriano could go………..

    • Granderslam

      Carlos Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Adam Dunn, Jason Bay….those come to mind.

      • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig Maduro

        I hope we treat Alfonso Soriano like the plague. I do not want to see him in Yankees pinstripes constantly flailing at sliders three or inches off of the plate.

      • Landry

        So chase AJ’s bad contract out of town with a worse contract?

      • Ken

        Jason Bay would be worth a shot at DH. AJ would be an upgrade for the Mets Rotation, hahahaha.

  • Matt

    I really think Wilson betemit would be perfect to fill the Chavez role from last year an he could be someone who could dh occasionally

  • Plank

    Damon didn’t really decline or rebound last year. He had the same season he’s had for the past decade and a half with the exception of a few blips here and there. His career has been freakishly consistent.

    Can he do it one more year? Probably, though he’s going to get too old one of these years and age 38 is a good guess as the year it will happen. Do I want him in pinstripes? Not when there are better players at similar or lower prices *cough*Pena*cough*.

    If it’s a week before spring training and he’s the only one left without a partner, I would be happy to have him back. Not at this point.

    • Plank

      DHs I would rather have than Damon:

      Fielder (I know)
      Pena
      Manny Ramirez (I know, I know)
      Kotchman

      Butler would be cool if he was available, but I think Pena is better, costs about the same salary, and don’t have to trade Phil Hughes to get him.

      • Landry

        Manny still has to sit out a 50 game suspension.

        • Plank

          They can sign Nick Johnson and he will be good for the first 10 games or so. That’s only 40 games without a DH.

          • Landry

            Nick might break his wrist signing the contract.

            • Plank

              Getting on a plane with Nick Johnson and Eric Chavez would be like boarding and seeing Richie Valens and the Big Bopper. I would immediately disembark because it would be clear to me Sam Jackson would soon be announcing the presence snakes on the plane.

              • Landry

                +1

  • Brooklyn Ed

    Take this as a gain of salt…

    The New York Yankees have dominated Major League Baseball’s headlines lately for their free agent signing of Hiroki Kuroda and trade for Michael Pineda in recent days. Now they might be at it again for a potent bat to add to their line-up. The latest rumor on the Interwebs has the Kansas City Royals dealing Billy Butler to the Yankees in some deal that includes young pitcher Phil Hughes of the Yankees.

    http://kansascity.sbnation.com.....r-for-phil

    • Granderslam

      I wish, but it doesn’t seem too credible.

      • Mark L.

        Yeah, that is a fan site, basically BleacherReport with few pop-ups – no actual journalism

    • JohnnyC

      If they’re bent on keeping their payroll down, it won’t help that Butler is making $8 million in 2012. If they’re willing to pay 8 mil, they’ll sign a FA and keep Hughes, no?

      • Paul VuvuZuvella

        Agree. And he’s making a lot through 2014. I would like to see Phil go in a trade for a good young hitter with a favorable contract. I’m not interested in Damon or Lee. I’d like to see the hitter provide roster flexibility on the defensive side too and platoon with Jones at DH.

    • CJ

      It makes sense. Kc has hosner moustakas gordon, and I think they have another big hitting prospect (not sure). I’m sure there are teams that really like Hughes, especially outside if NY.

      • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig Maduro

        Wil Myers, but I think he’s at least a couple of levels away.

    • Landry

      This almost makes too much sense to happen. I don’t know if he can now, but he spent about half his minor league games in the outfield.

  • P

    I don’t even see how Carlos Pena vs Damon is a debate. You sign Pena, without hesitation

    • Need Pitching

      $$$

    • RkyMtnYank

      Why?

      • Plank

        Because he’s a better hitter. He will create more runs for the Yankees than Damon would.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Bring back Matsui so my Montero missing can be somewhat cured.

    • Nick

      ditto. hed also probably sign for almost nothing

    • http://twitter.com/WashntonYankee Alex C.

      NO

      • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig Maduro

        +1

        I hate how the Montero trade has sparked this interest in bringing back old Yankees. I love what Matsui, Damon and Posada have done for the Yanks as much as anyone, but damn, they’re not the answer.

        • JobaWockeeZ

          .273/.327/.468 bs lefties last year. Still has some value.

          • Needed Pitching

            except he would play primarily against RHP

      • JobaWockeeZ

        I mean yeah he’s not that good anymore but screw it I’m still sad.

      • Landry

        Agreed!

  • Mark L.

    If we’re going for a pure DH, might as well save a few million and sign Michael Aubrey to a mL deal

  • Mickey S

    Manny. On a one year, one million dollar deal.

    • Plank

      Seriously. The Yankees wouldn’t do it though, because they are allergic to awesome. No mustaches or long hair? Seriously? It’s 2012 and they are baseball players, not mutual fund managers.

    • JohnnyC

      What do you do for the first 50 game sof the season?

      • Plank

        Jorge Vazquez maybe?

  • Rey22

    Russel Branyan for a platoon DH with Jones. He’ll probably be cheap, hit a couple of bombs at YS, and if he sucks, ditch him and trade for someone at the deadline. He sucked last year, but before that he’s always been a decent option against righties.

    • Jankees27

      i hear richie sexson’s been working out, why not give him a call?

      /notgoingdownthatroad’d

    • Landry

      Branyan would have a hard time hitting HRs not facing the Yankees.

  • Heisenberg

    Seth Smith for Phil Hughes

    • CS Yankee

      Rox get Swisher, Hughes, AJ, Cervelli, Warren & Gardner (plus 20M$ for AJ)
      Yanks get CarGo & Seth Smith

      /beyonddreaming’d

  • Monterowasdinero

    Pena is the guy.

    Damon second choice.

    Jorge for old timer’s day.

  • tony

    Lets see where the guy is now. I believe machine said I’m the only one who thinks Damon makes sense. Where are you now.

  • Monterowasdinero

    Pineda/Kuroda/Pena

    will have to help us recover from Montero shock….

  • UncleArgyle

    If the Yankees are really looking for a platoon DH on the cheap there is an option that might make some sense. Now saying his name makes my skin crawl, but statistically there is merit. JD Drew. Yeah he has no heart and is a pussy, but besides last year he absolutely destroys right handed pitching. He’s younger than Damon and is still an asset in the field. An Andruw Jones/JD Drew DH could be monsterous….and cost effective. Just a thought

  • Dalelama

    Lets just make Damon our designated post season clutch hitter. It is the one big thing this team is missing.

  • Nathan

    I wouldn’t mind Johnny back for nostalgia reasons. As long as the price is right and he understands he’ll likely split DH duties. My guess is that Johnny signs somewhere he can get the most ABs to get to 3000.

    • Plank

      That’s a good point. He’s 2 good seasons away from 3000 hits and more likely 3 mediocre seasons away.

  • Ken

    I really think Jason Bay could be the guy. We deal AJ or other BS contracts for him. Or the Mets eat a chunk of his hefty contract……….