Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Help
Cleaning House
2005-12-19 17:09
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

As I write this, Becky is furiously wrapping gifts after a long day of holiday shopping. I myself finished (and started) my shopping yesterday, though I still have to do my wrapping and send out my half of the cards. At work, our accounts department is besieged by requests from authors desperate to get their checks before the new year for tax purposes, and the rest of us are working to tie up loose ends before before the office shuts down (or the transit system does, whichever comes first).

Things are no different in Yankeeland as the past two days have brought a pair of deadlines forcing certain personnel moves. Yesterday was the deadline for free agents offered arbitration to decline or accept their team's offer. As expected, all three players the Yankees offered arbitration--Bernie Williams, Al Leiter and Ramiro Mendoza--declined. Mendoza, who would have had very little to gain by accepting arbitration coming off a year of injury rehab played under a minor-league contract, signed another minor league deal with the Yankees and will again be a non-roster invitee to spring training in 2006. Unlike last year when he was unable to play until August, however, Mendoza will be expected to compete for the final spot in the bullpen this upcoming spring.

That Leiter and Williams declined arbitration is much more significant news for the Yankees. Even though both were likely offered arbitration with the understanding that they would decline it, had either had a last-second change of heart, the Yankees would have been on the hook for a multi-million dollar one-year deal with a player with very little chance of earning such a salary (given the 20 percent maximum pay cut, Leiter would have been guaranteed a minimum of $5.6 million for 2006, Williams $9.6 million). With Williams and Leiter having declined arbitration, the Yankees now have until January 8 to re-sign either if they so desire, otherwise they will lose the right to sign them until May 1.

Word has it that the Yankees are still trying to bang out a one-year deal with Williams, with $2 million being the currently rumored price tag. That would be a $10 million pay cut for Bernie, but would also be a half-million more than Ruben Sierra earned last year to fill the same role. Sierra was not only useless as a part-time DH/pinch-hitter in 2005 (posting a WARP2 of zero), but was overpaid even by the standards of his 2004 season (Tony Clark, who had an almost perfectly identical 2004 to Sierra's, but with the added advantage of being able to contribute on defense, signed for half as much with Arizona prior to 2005). Bernie posted a .255 EQA last year (compared to the .262 mark posted by Sierra in 2004) and has suffered a steep decline in two of his last three seasons. There is no reason to believe that he will be able to contribute anything more than the occasional pinch-hit walk to the Yankees in 2006. Much as it pains me to say so, and not just because it might get me stabbed by the woman wielding scissors to my left, I do not think the Yankees should resign Bernie Williams at any price.

Speaking of erstwhile centerfielders, today is non-tender day, the day that teams must decide whether or not to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible non-free agents. As a result, there will be a flood of new free agents available once the thirty major league teams announce the names of the players whom to whom they are not tendering contracts. The non-tender list is predominantly composed of replacement level talent, but every year a few more desirable players slip into the mix because they simply no longer fit into their current team's plans at their expected arbitration-decided price tag. Last year David Eckstein and Alex Cora slipped loose in the wake of the Orlando Cabrera and Jeff Kent signings. In 2002, the Twins just couldn't bear the thought of paying David Ortiz seven figures when they already had Doug Mientkiewicz at first base (and, uh, Matt LeCroy at DH?). This year, the most compelling names rumored to finish the day without an arbitration offer, at least as far as the Yankees are concerned, are Corey Patterson, Hee Seop Choi and Russell Branyan.

Patterson, who has received a great deal of support in comments, is an average defensive center fielder whose free swinging even Dusty Baker found objectionable. A tools player with very little knowledge of the strike zone, Patterson is compelling because of his combination of raw ability (speed? check, power? check), his defensive position, and the fact that he won't turn 27 until August. However, after showing a marked improvement in his walk rate in 2004 (to a still-dismal one every 15 plate appearances), Patterson had a disaster season in 2006 that saw the Cubs send him down to triple-A for a month mid-season. There's still hope that he can rebound to build on his 2004 performance in 2005, but it's also worth noting that Patterson's injury-shortened 2003 was even better than his '04, meaning he's actually experiencing a sustained decline in his mid-20s, a bad sign for a player whose skill set doesn't suggest a reversal of that pattern and who has lost the faith of the organization that drafted him. It's also worth nothing that Patterson's availability would be the result of his being replaced by Juan Pierre, a player the Yankees should have and did find undesirable. All of which is to say that, while Patterson would certainly be worth a minor league deal, such a contract should not prevent the Yankees from continuing their efforts to pry Jason Michaels free from Philadelphia, even if Michaels has proven to be something less than Mr. Perfect himself.

Russell Branyan is very much Patterson's opposite. A corner infielder who can also play some corner outfield, Branyan is a lead-footed Three True Outcomes superstar. Branyan has walked, homered or struckout in 53 percent of his career plate appearances, a major league record for players who have come to the plate more than one thousand times. It's the strikeouts which might motivate his non-tender (80 in 242 PAs in 2005), but the walks and the homers are why the Yankees might want to consider picking him up should he become available. A career .553 slugger in the minors, Branyan has homered at a rate of 33 dingers per 600 PA in the majors, while his already solid walk rate improved to one every 6 PA in 2005. Branyan would work quite nicely as the left-handed half of a DH platoon with the similarly-skilled, but opposite-handed Andy Phillips (who is only 16 months Branyan's junior), leaving the non-starter to serve as a corner utility man/pinch-hitter.

Of course the non-tender jackpot would be Choi. A lefty-hitting first baseman long adored by the sabermetric community for his combination of power and patience, Choi is entering his age-27 season, and could finally have his long-awaited break out season were he to take regular aim at the short porch in Yankee Stadium in the role prescribed for the older Branyan above (minus the off-day utility ability, but with a much higher upside). After being jerked around by the Cubs for two seasons, Choi looked to be having his break-out season with the Marlins in 2004, hitting .270/.388/.495 through the trading deadline, only to collapse upon arriving in LA, leading to another season of being jerked in and out of the line-up in 2005. Choi, who earned just $351,500 in 2005, could be available because of the recent signing of Nomar Garciaparra to man first for the Dodgers, and would make a mighty fine consolation prize for the Yankees.

As for the players about whom the Yankees must decide today, Shawn Chacon is a no-brainer to be offered arbitration. Aaron Small, having earned the league minimum last year, is similarly a no-brainer, though as the Yankee pen continues to fill up, I'm more and more tempted to say that the Yankees should use Small in a deal for Michaels, assuming of course that the Phillies, who reportedly want a major league starter in return, aren't interested in Wright or would require too much cash to take Pavano.

That just leaves Wayne Franklin, who, though he was likely to be non-tendered anyway, is more expendable than ever given the recent acquisitions of lefty swing man Ron Villone and LOOGY Mike Myers. Similarly, given the suddenly crowded lefty situation in the Yankee pen, it seems increasingly unlikely that Al Leiter will sign a minor league deal to try to win a LOOGY spot in spring training, and thus will likely retire. If only the same could be said for poor Bernie.

Comments (73)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-12-20 04:32:56
1.   Levy2020
For CF, I'm surprised that no one has considered Lofton. I think most folks are in agreement that Melky is going to grow into the role and Bubba - barring absolute breakout - is only going to be there for two or three seasons.

As much as I like Bubba, I'm looking at anything to fill up the hole where Damon can get in!

2005-12-20 04:57:31
2.   bp1
Oy. What a nightmare scenario - having to choose between Kenny Lofton and Johnny Damon. Just give Bubba a season to catch fly balls and make our pitchers just a little better. Bat him 9th and let the other guys score the runs. Leave those other two out on the curb.

Just say No to Johnny Damon.

(and Lofton).

BP

2005-12-20 05:46:47
3.   searay
I really haven't seen Melky's name thrown out there too much, but he may be in the mix will a strong spring. Last year's showing aside, he was voted the Yanks best average hitter and defensive outfielder, in their minor league system, prior to last season by Baseball America. I hope anything we do helps keep a spot open for him down the road, and therefore also like the idea of using Bubba for a year.
2005-12-20 06:36:42
4.   domvjr
According to mlbtraderumors.com, looks like the Yanks might pick up Dotel. He claims he will be ready for opening day. It would be a great pickup, and give the team some flexibility in trading Small, Pavano or Wright. I hope this goes down!
2005-12-20 07:01:02
5.   Sliced Bread
Cleaning house, indeed.

I've been one of Bernie's staunchest supporters since the Dinkins administration, but the next time I want to see #51 at the Stadium will be his proud induction to Monument Park.

Given that the average age of "our" pitching staff is about the same as the Rolling Stones' -- and the fact that Mr. Mariano Rivera can't possibly maintain this level of effortless superiority much longer -- it's urgent that the Yanks get younger and faster this season, wherever they can.

It would be much better for the Yanks long-term, and probably even short-term, for Bernie's at-bats, and fielding opportunities to be given to a young player like Melky Cabrera.

I don't think money is driving Bernie at this point. Nor do I believe he has any meaningful goals to achieve in the way of statistics.

I think what's driving Bernie is a shot at one more for the road.

We can't blame Bernie for defending his turf. He's been clinging to that sacred fifth-of-an-acre(?) for about 14 years.

Now, it is time to move two young Yankees into Bernie's double-wide, corner locker inside the clubhouse that Ruth built.

Sign me up for the Bubba and Melky way in 2006 -- and please, please spare us Johnny Haircut.

2005-12-20 08:33:33
6.   murphy
i just can't with till mid-june when crosby goes on a tear and sterling starts referring to him as "Bubba Ruth" when he hits home runs.
2005-12-20 08:55:56
7.   Freddy Toliver
I'd be all for a Choi or Patterson signing IF the Yanks are committed to playing them. For both players, a change of scenery and a reduction in the pressure to be a primary producer could be beneficial. Each is young and was a top prospect at one point, something the Yanks need right now.

Along those lines, I'd rather have Choi, since he can play defense and move Giambi to DH. I'm a fan of a Bubba/Melky experiment in CF, if only so we can see what they'll do and get this lineup a bit younger in the process.

The Yanks need to continue to break in a couple young players each year while the core of the lineup ages. It would be nice to build upon last season's introduction and development of Cano & Wang by getting 2-3 more young players broken in this year. CF, 1B/DH, and middle relief are prime spots to do this in 2006.

2005-12-20 10:08:05
8.   joejoejoe
From the ESPN article on Jason Michaels:
"The 29-year-old Michaels was accused of punching Officer Timothy Taylor, wrestling him to the ground and ripping his shirt, requiring several officers to subdue him."

Punching a cop? How stupid do you have to be to get in a bar fight with a uniformed officer? Anybody who can twist their ideals to make Michaels a higher character guy than Milton Bradley didn't have any ideals in the first place. I hope the Yanks drop their pursuit of Michaels.

2005-12-20 10:18:50
9.   standuptriple
What about the rumor coming out of Seattle of Reed for Pavano or Wang (or to Beantown for Arroyo or Clement)? I'd love to part ways with Pavano for Reed and get younger in the process.
2005-12-20 10:44:14
10.   ChuckM
Lofton signed w/the Dodgers (thank God) so it looks like a trade is the most likely avenue for a CF. I wouoldn't mind seeing some sort of three-team deal to bring Alex Rios to town...
2005-12-20 10:54:35
11.   brockdc
Having Giambi DH more than a game a week doesn't make sense statistically. If acquired, Choi could play the majority of his time at DH and then get shifted to 1b as a late-inning replacement for Giambi. Also, this is the only scenario in which I see Bernie being valuable, as he could become the late-inning DH replacement for Choi.
2005-12-20 11:13:49
12.   standuptriple
You probably wouldn't want to shift your DH to the field unless it's dire circumstances.
2005-12-20 11:24:10
13.   Cliff Corcoran
In reverse order:

BrockDC, you're dead on about Giambi playing first, but Andy Phillips is a fine defensive replacement for him. If Choi were to move from DH to 1B in the late innings, the Yanks would lose the DH and their pitchers would have to hit. You can't sub in a new DH if you move your DH to the field.

ChuckM, Alex Rios of the Blue Jays? He's not only a corner outfielder, but he hasn't hit a lick since double-A.

SUT: Jeremy Reed would be worth a gamble. Though only a Pavano gamble, not a Wang gamble.

Joex3: Kudos for bringing up Bradley in connection with Michaels with regards to their off-field behavior. As I'm sure Milton would be the first to tell you, the difference in the reputations has more than a little to do with the color of their skin. That said, I don't think you can condemn one at the expense of the other (Bradley was never charged with spousal abuse, but the allegations are as detailed as the account you quote in 8). For what it's worth, I thought Bradley was the best available CF heading into this offseason--taking age, price, and committment into account--but now that he's found a home for 2006, I think Michaels is the best available option.

As for Bubba/Melky--I saw Melky Cabrera play center from the right field bleachers last year and it was horrifying. I'm dumbfouded as to how the player I saw could have come to the Yankees with such a impressive defensive reputation. What's more, Cabrera didn't hit at any level last year. Cabrera's just 21 and should be given time to develop. He shouldn't be allowed to set foot in Yankee Stadium without a ticket in 2006.

As for Bubba, I could see him working in a platoon, but he needs a partner such as Gary Matthews, a switch-hitter who's stronger from the right side. But that would be a one-year solution at best.

2005-12-20 11:24:30
14.   debris
standup,

Why would the Yanks trade Wang for Reed? Why would Seattle trade Reed for Pavano? Which would Seattle find more attractive: Pavano's bum arm or his bloated contract?

Olney is reporting that there is considerable sentiment in the Sox front office to move past Damon and move on Reed. Lucchino, who seems to be losing power, is, according to Olney, the main holdout for Damon.

As a Sox fan, I'd like to see them go for Reed rather than Damon as long as they come up with a reasonable way to spend the leftover money on a quality shortstop and commit to keeping Manny.

2005-12-20 11:33:47
15.   Dimelo
Everyone needs a good laugh today, try reading today's soxaholix.
http://www.soxaholix.com/tp/2005/12/great_money_fle.html
2005-12-20 11:41:26
16.   ChuckM
Rios has actually played all 3 OF positions-he's not just a corner OF. He got shifted to the corner when Wells got healthy. He's also only gonna be 25. I'm not saying it's a perfect solution, just saying it's worth exploring since all the other options out there have warts as well...
2005-12-20 11:48:13
17.   ChuckM
Actually, I just double-checked and he played CF throughout the minors-they moved him to the corner since Vernon had the CF job locked up by then...
2005-12-20 12:01:34
18.   Murray
During the course of his brief career, Milton Bradley has exhibited a continuous pattern of anti-social behavior, both on and off the field. So far as I can tell, Jason Michaels is alleged to have performed one extremely stupid anti-social act off the field that most of us just learned about in this post. Even suggesting that the different perception of the two has anything to do with race does real victims of prejudice a great injustice.
2005-12-20 12:01:42
19.   Cliff Corcoran
Fair enough, ChuckM, my bad. Doesn't change the fact that he's a complete dud at the plate, however.
2005-12-20 12:25:34
20.   ChuckM
He's still only turning 25, I think it's fair to say other guys have been given more leeway to prove that they can't hit. He's at least got more upside than Bubba and supposedly the Jays are trying to move him on the cheap. I don't see why Reed would get a fee pass and not Rios. Yeah, I understand the Safeco factor, but they both have pretty good minor league track records. Although I definitely wouldn't be upset if they picked up Reed, either...
2005-12-20 12:53:37
21.   nycfan
The race issue may not apply in this case, but i think it does in general. Jeff Kent has probably been one of the worst clubhouse guys in baseball the past few years, but guys like Plaschke call him a repected player while constantly dumping on Bradley and Bonds. When a white guy gets angry on the field, it's always because he is a "warrior" or "really cares about winning". When its a minority than he's a crybaby.
2005-12-20 13:11:09
22.   brockdc
standuptriple, Cliff:

Good points about shifting (or not shifting) the DH - my faux pas.

2005-12-20 13:14:21
23.   Cliff Corcoran
Murray, my counter would be that we don't know for sure that Michaels has been a more solid citizen, and I'm tempted to say that the reason we don't know is because he's white. If he were black we'd hear about the transgressions that didn't wind up in court as well.
2005-12-20 13:15:58
24.   ChuckM
Jeff Kent is a jackass and the majority of baseball knows it. Which is why he had a hard time sticking w/teams until he proved he could hit the hell out of the ball. Even after that, he's worn out his welcome pretty quickly at every stop along the way. So I wouldn't expect Bradley to last too long anywhere until he puts up similar #'s...
2005-12-20 13:18:09
25.   brockdc
"Andy Phillips is a fine defensive replacement for him."

Cliff, I love that you're saying this, though I had no idea how adroit Phillips was in the field. I'd always just assumed he was adequate and a slight upgrade (defensively) over Giambi. Are you going by his AAA defensive stats?

Hopefully, we'll get a chance to see a bit more of that defensive prowess this year at first sack, though I won't hold my breath.

By the way, Cliff, are you planning on presenting your ideal opening day Yankee roster, similar to the one you posted on your blog last winter?

2005-12-20 13:31:23
26.   NetShrine
Dotel the Yankee.
http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/5182962
Puke.
2005-12-20 13:46:32
27.   brockdc
Sweet.
2005-12-20 13:47:34
28.   Cliff Corcoran
BrockDC: I'm basing my evaluation of Phillips' defense at first on my own observation and the fact that he's also held down second and third base in the minors. He appears to have good hands, quick reactions and have a good knowledge of what to do with the ball once he has it.

As for the Dream Team concept I ran over at the BRB, I skipped it this year because of the dearth of useful free agents. I generally try to stay away from gross speculation and it is impossible to suggest a way of overhauling a roster via trades without getting in to gross speculation. I can push certain acquisitions (such as Michaels), but until I know what the Yanks would have to give up to get that one player, I can't speculate about what else they should do lest this turn into WFAN or this:

http://makeashorterlink.com/?Y2484285C

I suppose my Dream Team would have had Giles in right, Sheffield at DH, maybe Bradley in CF, Matsui back in left, Rodriguez, Jeter, Cano and Giambi around the horn with Posada behind the plate. I was tempted to suggest the Yankees sign Ramon Hernandez or Bengie Molina to back-up Posada, but that wasn't a realistic suggestion as both men were looking for big paydays to remain starters, as well they should have.

I think the Yankees have done well to avoid sacrificing payroll or prospects for starting pitching, and, while I would have declined Tanyon Sturtze's option and offered him a minor league deal, I can't complain too much about their approach to the bullpen (Ryan and Wagner cost too much, Gordon wanted to close--the two lefties they've signed have come at the right price). And, of course, I'm delighted about the way they've purged their dead weight (Womack, Sierra, et al).

As it stands now, the Yankees need to fill their bench, and should start by finding a CF (Michaels) and a DH (Piazza? Choi?), which would add Crosby and Phillips to the very lonely Kelly Stinnett.

2005-12-20 14:17:08
29.   standuptriple
debris,

You can pretty much substitue Arroyo for Wang and Clement for Pavano (and sub head for arm) and the same arguments apply. Just admit that the Sox will re-sign Damon and overpay/overcommit.
I don't see anything wrong with the Dotel move (although I haven't seen $#'s), but it seems like they're doing what the Sox did with Miller. Little risk, posible big extra arm mid season. The fact that he shut himself down last year could be a big benefit, I just hope there are IP clauses in the contract.

2005-12-20 14:22:56
30.   brockdc
Signing Dotel's a smart move, providing they don't overpay.

Cliff, I'd take Choi over Piazza. With Stinnett on the roster, all Piazza could really be good for is DH duty. With that said, do we know for a fact that he can hit anymore?

2005-12-20 14:54:02
31.   Zack
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2266553

$2 mill for Dotel to pitch half of a season seems like a bit much, but we shall see I suppose...

2005-12-20 14:57:36
32.   Cliff Corcoran
Stinnett does not make Piazza's catching unnecessary, Piazza makes Stinnett's catching unnecessary.
2005-12-20 15:10:07
33.   pdc7
just throwing this out there but i am trying to find (2) tickets for Tuesday May 9, 2006 home game against the red sucks. I live in florida, first time @ the stadium. Need good seats to soak everything in. if you can help
email me @ hec122695@hotmail.com thanks
2005-12-20 15:11:39
34.   standuptriple
I think Randy likes Piazza about as much as he likes cameras in his face.
2005-12-20 15:14:17
35.   standuptriple
pdc7,
I got scalped tickets at my only experience there over a decade ago. I was one row from the very top behind homeplate. It didn't matter. The place is magic/electric. You'll have a phenomenal time anywhere. Oh, and Go Yanks! Beat those Sox!
2005-12-20 15:35:22
36.   Levy2020
I prefer Choi's youth to Piazza. Plus, I'm still not convinced by statistics that say Giambi hits better as a first baseman than as a DH. It doesn't make logical sense and probably correlated with Giambi's slump rather than has a causative relationship.
2005-12-20 15:46:59
37.   Marcus
Levy2020, you can look at Giambi's stats going back to his Oakland days and the pattern shows up throughout. He didn't play DH as much in Oaklnad as he does in NY, but the pattern is there. I don't know if logic has anything to do with it, perhaps it's more a psychological thing. I remember when the Yankees first signed him, maybe even at the news conference for the signing, he kept reiterating that he was a 1B not a DH and didn't want to play DH (this was when Nick Johnson was still in the picture). So maybe he gets psyched out sitting on the bench too much. Regardless, if you look at the stats it doesn't suggest it had anything to do with his tumor slump. He just plain sucked in 2004 overall.
2005-12-20 15:52:17
38.   Nick from Washington Heights
Giambi's numbers might be skewed by the fact that he usually plays DH when he's injured. Still, there's a pretty big split.

I like the idea of picking up Choi, although I seriously doubt it will happen.

So, is the bullpen much better than last year's? Or am I getting too excited about a couple of flame throwers?

2005-12-20 17:39:40
39.   Cliff Corcoran
As reported on the Griddle, Patterson was tendered a contract by the Cubs. Also the Dodgers re-signed Choi to a one-year deal.

Meanwhile, the Dotel deal is not yet official but is being reported as 1yr/$2 million with $3 million worth of appearance incentives and another $2.5 million worth of games-finished incentives. More on this once it becomes official.

2005-12-20 17:41:17
40.   yankz
DH options are running out fast.
2005-12-20 19:01:28
41.   yankz
OK, after reading the Cub Town post, maybe Jones isn't so great...
2005-12-20 19:07:12
42.   brockdc
I'm with Zack - getting Dotel would've been more of a boon if there were a club option for a second year. Still, if he returns to form - even if it's not until July or August, he could be huge. Lots of ifs there, though.
2005-12-20 19:07:25
43.   Cliff Corcoran
Branyan was also tendered a contract.

This is why I hate to speculate.

Patterson? Choi? Branyan? Never mind.

2005-12-20 20:00:48
44.   tom yf
http://cbs4boston.com/sports/local_story_354222357.html

This portends great calamities.

2005-12-20 20:02:59
45.   yankz
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

This is a dream.

I will wake up tomorrow, and Johnny Apeman will be in Boston.

2005-12-20 20:07:48
46.   Simone
What a f'ing nightmare! Is this really confirmed? It can't be true. I'm desperate for this not to be true.
2005-12-20 20:08:48
47.   brockdc
Just so everyone knows - the Yanks apparently just agreed to terms with their new DH, Johnny Damon. Now all we need to do is acquire a centerfielder and we're set.
2005-12-20 20:09:58
48.   brockdc
Merry effing Christmas. #$%#!!
2005-12-20 20:14:43
49.   Simone
In two years, Damon and Giambi will be fighting to be the Yankees DH.
2005-12-20 20:15:49
50.   Zavo
I'm sick to my stomach. I thought Cashman had a clue - guess I was wrong.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-12-20 20:17:20
51.   Shawn Clap
ARGHHH!

Can you imagine being responsible for Grampa Damons contract in the year 2009???

Of course the Yanks pull this crap AFTER the tix go on sale. Who do I contact for my refund?

2005-12-20 20:17:53
52.   Simone
Make that Damon, Giambi, and Matsui will be fighting to be the DH. Hopefully, Sheffield will be gone by then.
2005-12-20 20:18:11
53.   yankz
Check out waswatching. Im holding out hope that this is a joke.
2005-12-20 20:18:55
54.   brockdc
Brian Cashman is a bad contract junkie. He needs to admit that he has a problem.
2005-12-20 20:20:20
55.   Simone
Four years of Johnny Damon! Can you imagine his defense in 2 years? Blech. Just as long as he hits 2nd and does not lead off.
2005-12-20 20:21:20
56.   brockdc
This is what you get for all your Bubba bashing, you naysaying bastards!
2005-12-20 20:23:40
57.   Simone
But why? Why did he sign with the Yankees? Why didn't Boston match this offer? It isn't that outrageous a contract. I can't take this.

Olney talking to ESPNews about Damon. The Yankees made Damon this offer and demanded he respond today before the non-tendered deadline. They keep referring to Damon as a leading off guy. Nooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

2005-12-20 20:24:52
58.   Nick from Washington Heights
someone say something positive. I will:

We scored something like 980 runs with Bubba Crosby and Tony Womack in center. For the next two years, we're going over the 1000 run mark. Who needs defense!

2005-12-20 20:28:52
59.   nycfan
I don't know why everyone thinks he is such a bad defender. Most metrics have had him as above average every year. Rate had him a little below last year, but that seems to be the only one.
2005-12-20 20:32:24
60.   brockdc
And to think, today started off with such innocent "banter" about the benefits and drawbacks of a Hee-Sop-Choi signing. Who knew it would end with this fiasco.

In case anyone's interested, I located an artist's rendering of what Damon might look like in the last year of his contract:

http://www.wtf.1accesshost.com/images/ferrell2.jpg

2005-12-20 20:34:46
61.   wsporter
Simone, supposing the deal is finalized, why do you believe Damon should bat 2nd instead of lead-off?

Yeah right Boras, he had five year offers from how many teams? You sack of crap.

Nick from WH is right we're going to score some damn runs, but the balloon is going to come due in this one in two years. The numbers aren't insane so its not like Jeter or A-Rod suddenly becoming replacement level. Its not a 2003 or 2004 Giambi situation staring us in the face but .... just glad its not my money.

2005-12-20 20:35:25
62.   Levy2020
Hey, I'm a Nets fan. Maybe Johnny will fail the physical?

Please?

:=:

2005-12-20 20:41:53
63.   BklynBomber
The sky is falling! OK, he's here. I wouldn't have pulled the trigger on this one, and as much I wanted to give Bubba a full shot — at least we didn't lose a Cano or Wang in the process.

It could be worse...

If nothing else, I can't wait for the official press conference to see the U.S. Marine buzz.

2005-12-20 20:44:17
64.   seamus
"Its not a 2003 or 2004 Giambi situation staring us in the face but .... just glad its not my money. "

I don't know. I'd be kindof just happy to HAVE that kind of money...

2005-12-20 20:48:52
65.   Zack
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Now this means that basically we will be right back where we were come two seasons, with an aged, uber-weak armed CF who can't catch up with fly balls anymore. At least it was only 4 years, which means he will be 36, and really 35 if we need to replace him a year early.

Maybe, to be an eternal optimist, we can have him man center for one year alone, have him mainly man CF the following year and mix in a kid, then have them split the third year with the kid taking over full time in the 4th. Right? Right????

2005-12-20 20:50:56
66.   seamus
sure, moving Damon to right or something makes a lot of sense. This is a good signing. We've added speed in the lineup too. Some folks are exagerating his age. While his defense has declined some he is still 5 years younger than Bernie.
2005-12-20 21:01:07
67.   wsporter
Seamus, what kind of money is that?

For anyone who gets excited about such things take another gander at Damon's range numbers over at baseball reference. The guy has a bad wing and throws like a girl (sorry ladies) but he can run and catch the ball. Offensively he is superb. His runs created numbers are stellar, even last years. We'll get some good ball out of the guy. This isn't the worst thing that could have happened. In his 3rd year he and Giambi only have one more coincidental year. Jeez, as upset as everyone seems to be you'd think we just found out the government's been spying on us.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/d/damonjo01.shtml

2005-12-20 21:17:58
68.   brockdc
wsporter,

It's not that I think Damon's an incompetent ballplayer - that would be insanity. It's just that NY could've gotten a cheaper option who's better defensively...which is what this team needs at the moment.

The Damon acquisition also portends a conspicuous regression back to the hasty, wasteful moves of previous years.

I think this can work, though, if Joe keeps Bubba in the OF rotation. Putting Crosby out there to spell all three of those guys - especially Sheff in RF - will keep legs fresh and maintain the defensive integrity of the OF. But, then again, that would make sense.

2005-12-20 21:25:39
69.   seamus
hasty and wasteful would have been a 7 year deal like Boras wanted. 4 years is reasonable.
2005-12-20 21:30:01
70.   BklynBomber
#67 — wsporter, if you mean finding out how Carter and Clinton were spying on us, yes — that is pretty upsetting. But agreed, not as upsetting as signing a decent temporary fix for CF, while at the same time removing a proven offensive weapon from our greatest rival. Again, I was not down with going after Damon for a number of reasons and I never thought he'd sign here — I thought Boros was using the Yanks to squeeze more money out of Beantown.

That said, and now that reality is sinking in, it's hard to deny that this will be a pretty interesting lineup.

2005-12-20 21:36:59
71.   bp1
This is like a bad dream.

I guess the silver lining in this storm cloud is that A-Rod will no longer be Public Enemy #1 in the RSN after this. I can only imagine the boos that will greet Johnny Haircut when he steps into the batter's box for the first time in Fenway in a Yankee uniform. It won't be pretty, I'm sure.

(sigh)

Four years of Johnny Damon. Four years of runners taking 2nd base on cheap hits. Four years of runners scoring on shallow fly balls. Four years of first-to-third. Four years of silly one-armed swings. Four years or remembering the grand freakin slam off Javy. Four years of ff'ing through his at bats.

Hopefully Jeter will slip him Aaron Boone's phone number and say the team is meeting for a bit of driveway roundball. A torn ACL is our only way out of this. Kidding of course (I think).

Man. Michael Kay is gonna have a field day with this on his show tomorrow. I might just have to tune in to hear the talk.

Poor Bubba. I wonder if he believed he had a shot at the job for Opening Day. Unless he gets moved to another team, this is probably it for him.

Someone say something to make me feel better. Someone list the upsides of this deal. I can't seem to do it myself.

BP

2005-12-20 21:51:31
72.   wsporter
brockdc

It seems to me teams create victories by creating positive run differential. We create run differential in two ways: 1. by scoring runs and 2. by preventing the other team from scoring. I don't think we can or should limit ourselves by announcing that the only way we will cure a position hole is to focus on only one of those areas. Damon will contribute positively to run differential and therefore victories. As I look at it that's the bottom line. Damon's offense contributes more runs than his defense costs. In fact Damon's defensive Win Shares were ranked 4th in the league among outfielders. He's not costing runs. Of all the silly metrics we use to summarize the descriptive stats I like runs created because they look at the total package. Damon's have been impressive in the past hitting at the top of a powerful lineup. I would guess that they will continue to be impressive. Damon's VORP is second among CF's to Sizemore. Again impressive. I can't bring myself to hate this move. Name a reasonable alternative that was within our grasp and lets figure out if he would add more value than Damon.

"NY could've gotten a cheaper option …" I don't understand this sudden concern for Mr. Stienbrenner's money. If we don't spend prospects or players we need that's the only cost that concerns me. If the Yankees do have more cash with which to make moves this spring and summer I say "you go George". For four years, I just can't bring myself to hate this move. I think were better.

2005-12-20 23:26:06
73.   brockdc
wsporter,

I suppose it's the robbing Peter to pay Paul principal that I have an aversion to. All your points are strong and true - Damon is clearly the best centerfielder available at the moment. And, even better, he costs us no propects or key players. However, don't forget that the current version of the Yankees are on a budget. Which means that a Rocket Clemens signing is now even more implausible; and, come next year, the likelihood of acquiring a huge impact player with all the tools, a la Vernon Wells, is all the more remote. I'd write more, but I think this thread's probably dead by now.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.