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2005-12-20 21:31
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

While we were busy yesterday fretting over possible non-tenders such as Corey Patterson, Russell Branyan (both of whom were tendered after all), and Hee Seop Choi (who was re-signed by the Dodgers), Brian Cashman was cooking up a much tastier treat. Never mind Jason Michaels, Johnny Damon is coming to the Bronx. Get that barber's chair ready.

Pending a physical and the hammering out of a few details, the Yankees will pay Damon $52 million over the next four years. My initial two bits:

  • That's the exact same deal the Yankees gave to Hideki Matsui, who is just seven months Damon's junior.
  • Damon will be 35 when his contract expires, which is how old Bernie Williams was in 2004.
  • Damon's home/road splits have been striking during his four years with the Red Sox. Fenway has added some thirty points to his batting average, but negatively effected his power:

    2005 Home: .334/.391/.440 - .106 ISP
    2005 Road: .298/.342/.438 - .140 ISP

    2002-2004 Home: .318/.388/.448 - .130 ISP
    2002-2004 Road: .278/.340/.433 - .155 ISP

    As nearly all of Damon's home runs are shots pulled down the right field line, expect Damon's power numbers to improve as a result of the move from Fenway to Yankee Stadium.

  • Not only have the Yankees just added one of the five best center fielders in the game, but they've subtracted that same player from their closest rivals, sending that gaping hole in center to Boston in exchange for Damon. Jesus Caveman was worth 5.5 wins to the Red Sox last year according to WARP. That's an eleven-win swing in the division as the result of a single move.
  • Say what you want about the likelihood of Damon remaining above average in his age 35 season, this 2006 Yankee line-up is mighty impressive:

    R - Derek Jeter (SS)
    L - Johnny Damon (CF)
    R - Alex Rodriguez (3B)
    L - Jason Giambi (1B)
    R - Gary Sheffield (RF)
    L - Hideki Matsui (LF)
    S - Jorge Posada (C)
    L - Robinson Cano (2B)
    R - Andy Phillips (DH)

    Now if the Yankees were to sign Mike Piazza and bump Phillips to the bench . . .

Comments (59)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-12-20 22:52:58
1.   no2ss
Not a huge fan of this move for all the reasons folks have mentioned, but hopefully it doesn't turn out too bad.

One other "benefit" to add to your list is that it should dampen the temptation of Torre to make Bernie a starter again.

2005-12-20 22:53:27
2.   nycfan
Exactly. People are getting way too angry about a move that undoubtedly makes us the division favorites in 2006. Damon is still a good fielder, and a very good hitter for a CF.
2005-12-20 23:01:44
3.   Maniakes
Alternately, the lineup could have Sheff DHing and Bubba in RF. That'd very likely cost us offense from Phillips, but it helps keep Sheff healthy and it's a big defensive upgrade.
2005-12-20 23:22:35
4.   das411
Sorry guys, I was comparing that lineup by defensive positions to Boston's to hopefully show just how things stack up between the two, but for some reason my list isn't appearing. Maybe some sort of coding thing, but my conclusion was:

--By my count this gives Boston a clear advantage at C, 2B, LF, and DH while the Yankees have significantly better players on 1B, SS, 3B, CF, and RF. And this is before you compare the Boston rotation with their injury history to the...six? seven? starters the NYY have under contract now. And of course, the great Mariano.

The Boston mini-dynasty may have already peaked, no?--

2005-12-20 23:26:55
5.   BklynBomber
I never gave it much thought because I didn't think it had a chance in hell of happening, but when you look at that lineup on paper... man, it's hard not to like it.

Be nice to have one or two more switch hitters, but when this crew is in the zone those matchups won't matter, especially MatsZilla.

It's up to the arms — starters and middle relief — to make the first 162 games a formality. No more 20-13 games against Tampa, please.

Where are we, about 55 days 'till pitchers and catchers? Thank goodness for the 'Jints.

2005-12-20 23:49:36
6.   Joe
Any idea what comp. pick Boston gets out of this?
2005-12-20 23:57:37
7.   Rich
Cano is better than any 2Bman the Red Sox have, and I expect 'tek's stats to suffer a serious decline in '06, as he turns 36.
2005-12-20 23:59:05
8.   joejoejoe
Hmmm...that Right-Left-Right-Left breakdown was the first argument I've seen that Torre might actually bat Damon 2nd, not first. I still say Torre will bat Damon leadoff the vast majority of the time but he might swap Damon with Jeter when the Yanks are slumping as a gut move to shake things up.

Now if only the Yanks can add a nice SP midseason. There are some decent pitchers that will be free agents in '07 (Petitte, Kerry Wood, Jason Schmidt, Doug Davis, Brad Radke) that might be available as mercenaries if their respective teams are out of the pennant race midseason. I'm greedy.

2005-12-21 00:30:42
9.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
What if we plug the Big Hurt into that DH spot?
2005-12-21 00:38:59
10.   Marcus
Joe, Boston gets the 28th pick in the first round. That was the Yankees' original first round pick, but the Yanks still have the 21st pick as compensation for the Phillies signing Gordon.

I like the Big Hurt as DH idea...

2005-12-21 02:19:49
11.   Rich
I would rather have a player who can play the field as one of a rotating group of DHs, because both Posada and Sheffield should be able to DH for a number of games. Signing Thomas would prevent that.
2005-12-21 02:20:31
12.   debris
"And this is before you compare the Boston rotation with their injury history to the...six? seven? starters the NYY have under contract now."

Sox injury history? I believe the Yankees have one starting pitcher, Chacon, who does not have a serious injury history. And one more, Johnson, who does not have a RECENT serious injury history. The Sox have Curt Schilling with a serious injury history and one more, Beckett, with minor injury histories.

I'll have more on the signing of Damon to more than Miguel Tejada is making later, but it is interesting to note that, at least on this blog, he's gone from a lousy centerfielder with a rag arm to a strong defensive centerfielder almost overnight.

I'll also note that while Matsui is only half a year younger than Damon, Matsui's game isn't his wheels. As Damon's wheels go, so goes the ops.

2005-12-21 03:04:11
13.   mikeplugh
I mostly don't like the move. Here's why.

1. He's a former Red Sox player.
2. He's a former Red Sox player.
3. He's a former Red Sox player.
4. He's a terrible CFer.
5. We don't need any more offense.

On the other hand, I like the move because:

1. He's a FORMER Red Sox player.
2. He's a run scorer.
3. He's the best available option.

My pro category duplicates items #1-3 of the con list with the exception of the capital emphasis. The fact that the Red Sox no longer have a viable CFer crushes them and leaves them in the position we were in prior to Damon's defection. Probably worse. At least we could have tried out Melky....

The idea that we need more offense is a little silly, but I like the fact that we have a guy who doesn't swing for the fences in our lineup and he runs well when the ball is hit on the ground.

The suggestion that we should sign the Big Hurt is no my favorite either, because we don't need any more sluggers and especially injury-prone, top dollar sluggers at the end of their careers. That's what got us in this mess to begin with. Phillips will do just fine as a part time DH/1B.....

2005-12-21 03:19:24
14.   teeth
Re: the "eleven win swing"

This is a pretty dubious claim. Firstly, I wouldn't use WARP - let alone a one-season sample - to make this argument, since the mgl-school's research on replacement level is much more persuasive than the Davenport "count 'em twice" school of RL.

Secondly, what happened was not that Damon took his 5.5 wins to New York. What happened - if you assume, as you have here, that Damon would otherwise have signed with Boston - is that the Yankees go from Bubba to Johnny, while the Sox go from Johnny to his replacement. Here's the key: the Sox get to keep their money.

Obviously, Damon's waiting is a problem for the Red Sox, because it meant that they now head out into the free agent world after it's been depleted. But that's not a huge deal, as there are still some pretty good players available, and the Sox have a ton of cash to work with.

Now, let it be said that, despite all of the optimism not long ago, Crosby's a lousy hitter, and he really is replacement level. But that only means that the difference between him and Damon is 25-35 runs, so if we rate them as equal fielders, we're talking about 3 wins. Even a generous assessment which also gives points for having Crosby on the bench instead of somebody worse couldn't get to 4 projected wins. So the Yankees just paid $13m this year for 3 extra wins, or $4m per, which is double the rule of thumb. Factor in the luxury tax and it's not too great. Factor in the 3 additional years of decline phase production at $13m per, and this is pretty bad. Even if - purely as a fan - you know that you don't have to pay this, there's no question that the Yankees make moves motivated to cut back on payroll, so there's really no justification for arguing that they should be paying whatever they want for marginal wins.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox can find someone for a mil who'll be within three wins of Damon. So we've got a six-win swing, but the Sox have $12m to counter that, which they should be able to convert into four or five wins. So I'd say the Yankees spent $13m for a win or two.

2005-12-21 03:38:34
15.   debris
teeth,

Mostly I buy your argument with one exception: "the Sox get to keep their money." If they don't find a way to spend that money, they're considerably weaker in the short run. That said, with the strength of their farm system and the money, they should be able to replace Damon quite well. That, time will tell.

2005-12-21 04:16:02
16.   yankeesrule
I would put damon in the leadoff stot it would keap Jeter in the 2 hole. Plus Berinie is likly to be back as the DH next year.

this would be my lineup

1.Damon CF
2.Jeter SS
3.AROD 3B
4.Giambi 1B
5.Shefield RF
6.Matsui LF
7.Posada C
8.Williams DH
9.Cano 2B

the only problem is that cano is batting last but i cant point out any "easy outs" in any posible 2006 yankees lineup

2005-12-21 04:24:39
17.   debris
First off, this is deal made possible by the Yankees economic advantage. The Red Sox absolutely could not afford to spend the kind of money on Damon that the Yanks did. At 32, Damon is likely to decline as a performer, and beyond that, because of the type of player he is, reliant on speed and playing with little caution, he's likely to decline precipitously. The Yanks can afford to overpay and, eventually, possibly eat; the Sox cannot. Buster Olney reported yesterday, even before Damon signed with the Yanks, that the Sox were thinking of moving on and spending the money elsewhere. The remaining holdout in favor of signing Damon was Larry Lucchino, whose power seems to be waning in the aftermath of the Theo debacle.

First off, how good a player is Damon. First, defense. On this blog, he has gone from a miserable defender to a good one overnight. The truth lies somewhere in between. Using RAA as a benchmark, he's gone from a slightly above average fielder to a slight below average fielder in 2005, a 10 point decline from 2004 to 2005. How much of that was due to actual decline and how much to his being banged up? He ran into the bullpen wall in Fenway in May and hurt his shoulder sliding in August. The first injury hobbled him for a week or two, the second compromised the last two months of his season, both in the field and at the plate. My guess, GUESS, is that injuries notwithstanding, he was an adequate fielder in 2005 in terms of running down balls, but still with a lousy arm, though probably not quite as lousy as has been made out here. That said, he is aging and slowing and he is Johnny Damon. And Johnny Damon thinks he's Pete Reiser. His style of play will not change, he'll continue to throw his body at whatever he can, be it bases, walls or teammates (OK, that was Damian Jackson's fault.) and his style of play will likely precipitate his decline.

How good a player is Damon offensively and how good is he likely to be in the future? Damon has been wildly inconsistent. He has been very good (2004,2000,1999), good (2005,2002,1998), mediocre (2003), and lousy (2001,1997,1996.) However, as Cliff points out, Fenway Park has a notorious history for inflating the offensive number of left-handed hitters, Damon being no exception. If you simply look at Damon's road numbers, over his four year in Boston, he was good (2005), good (2004), lousy (2003), and good (2002.) Cliff is correct that Damon pulls his home runs, though to right, not left, as Cliff stated. That said, he really pulls them, wrapping them around the Pesky Pole and I don't believe that Yankee will improve his power numbers considerably. His power numbers will also depend on his approach to the ball. Last year, he consciously slapped the ball to left resulting in reduced power and increased average. His overall offensive production will also depend on his health as his late shoulder injury resulted in a .252 average in August and .290 in September.

How good a signing is this for the Yankees? Obviously, he's a major upgrade in center for 2006 and possibly in 2007. Beyond that, I agree with most everything I've read on this blog: by 2008, Damon at $13 M is likely to turn into Bernie 2005.

How bad is this for the Red Sox? Right now, the 2006 Red Sox have strengthened their pitching staff immeasurably, both in the bullpen and starting rotation. They have two good young relievers, Hansen and Delcarmen, for whom they currently have no space on the roster. Schilling will have had 16 month to rehab from his surgery and will have been through his regular off-season regimen. How much is left there? Foulke will have had the full off-season to recover from his knee surgeries and the trauma of the nasty divorce that contributed to the fouling of his 2005 season. They have upgraded at first base and second base. They have holes at short and center field. And their payroll, $125 M in 2005, stands today at $104 M. If they enter the season at $104 M, they will increase their bottom line by $21 M, but field a weaker lineup. If they find a way to spend another $10-15 M to effectively fill their shortstop and center field needs, they can enter the season a consderably stronger team.

2005-12-21 04:28:54
18.   singledd
I dont like it!
Aside from the 'he's very Red' thing, I think we have overpaid (yet again) for a player, and will suffer 1 or 2 years (more if he's injured) of medium production at a hign cost. Also, we now continue to have one of the worst fielding/throwing OF's in baseball.

Over the next 2 years, we will see many younger, more talented OFers on the market.

And why did Damon (7 yrs/84 mil asshole) NOT sign with the Sox? I thought they offered him a similar deal? Do they know something we don't?

We better have great pitching next year.... because every time a ball is hit to the outfield, it's gonna be 'close your eyes and pray'. We have guaranteed men going from 1st to 3rd, and scoing from 1st and 2nd at an unpresidented rate.

In 3 years JD will have to just run the ball in from the outfield. Now he is getting Vlad money. Discusting!

2005-12-21 04:34:56
19.   debris
singledd,

The Yanks offered $52 M over four years, the Sox offered $40. Given the chance, I think the Sox would have gone as high as $44-46, but certainly not $52.

2005-12-21 04:42:10
20.   Levy2020
Like everyone else, I'm sure that Damon will be "good" next year, but I'm absolutely convinced that we'll be paying Damon $13 million in 2011 to be worse than Bernie at $12 million in 2005. . .

And there's really a character factor that makes that unacceptable. I mean, couldn't we have gotten Milton Bradley instead?

And I think that blocking Bubba/Melky is silly just like getting Womack to block Robinson Cano/Eric Duncan (even for 2 years) was silly.

But I don't know why people are so quick to discount the Red Sox. . . Schilling proved that pitching acquisitions make the big difference. I would rather have Ortiz, Beckett, and Mota than Ortiz and Damon.

2005-12-21 04:45:07
21.   Levy2020
Oh, and if a Bubba Crosby Centerfield was unacceptable, an Andy Phillips everday DH is especially so. He's the defensive substitution for Pete's sakes.

There should be a Piazza or a Frank Thomas out there for a low price. . .

Don't let it be Raffy!

2005-12-21 04:51:54
22.   debris
I don't understand all the talk about Damon's character. Yes, he's not the brightest guy in the world, but he's been great in the community and great in the clubhouse. I've never heard a bad word ABOUT the guy, though I've heard too much FROM him.
2005-12-21 04:56:48
23.   Nick from Washington Heights
Do we lose draft picks to the Sox?
2005-12-21 05:00:10
24.   debris
The Sox get the Yanks first round pick, 28th overall, plus they get an additional pick in the sandwich round. The Yanks have already gained, I believe, Philadelphia's first round pick for the Gordon signing.

The Yanks break even in this, but the Sox add two picks.

2005-12-21 05:11:52
25.   Rags
I left you on the Debris
At the Sunday morning market
You were sorting through the odds and ends.
You was looking for a bargain

I heard your footsteps at the front door,
And that old familiar love song,
Cause you knew you'd find me waiting there
At the top of the stairs.

I went there and back
Just to see how far it was
And you, you tried to tell me
But I had to learn for myself.

Theres more trouble at the depot,
With the general workers union
And you said, "They'll never change a thing.
Well, they won't fight and their not working."

Oh you was my hero
How you are my good friend
I've been there and back
And I know how far it is

But I left you on the Debris
Now we both know you got no money.
And I wonder what you would have done
Without me hanging around.

-Ronnie Lane, The Faces - A Nod Is as Good as a Wink . . . To A Blind Horse

2005-12-21 05:19:48
26.   Sliced Bread
"The Damon Shift" (the AL East's oddest new defensive alignment) is going to test
A-rod's range, as Jeter will have to be re-positioned to short-center to cut-off Johnny's weak-winged throws.

Oh well, this was as cruelly inevitable as Brad Pitt dumping Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie. It's an instant upgrade for Brad (aka the Yanks), but Angie's kinky quirks (aka Damon's deficiencies) make this another big celebrity breakup waiting to happen.

2005-12-21 05:23:51
27.   Dimelo
I don't like this move. I would have rathered the Yanks let Damon be...well Damon..in Boston rather than NY. I love the wording how one team tries harder vs. another. What it came down to was money, one team offered more money vs. another.
2005-12-21 05:26:03
28.   murphy
i was really hoping we wouldn't even have to talk about damon seriously here. aside from the fact that we just gave runners and automatic pass from 1st to 3rd, this is also evidence of a potentially larger issue:

while many of we commentors have spent the last two weeks lauding cashman for his patience and potential creativity, this reeks of yankee hot stove seasons of the past. y'know, go out and get a middle-aged mediocre player and pay him too much to watch him decline. so much for the "rebuilding" period.

also: while goldman and others have pointed out that jeter is ACTUALLY a better leadoff hitter than cpt. caveman, i think we should bat damon leadoff so we can spend the summer watching jeter slap the ball the other way and have runners on first and third before the other guys even record an out.

final thought/observation: the last two big yankee FA's to arrive newly-shorn/shaven? randy johnson and jason giambi. as much as i look forward to seeing apeman cut that stupid looking mane, his predecessors spell a rocky tenure in the bronx.

here's to a season of watching damon fall short of expectations by the media and bronx baterers.

2005-12-21 05:34:47
29.   Sliced Bread
The more I think about Johnny SuperCuts in Yankee pinstripes, the more I remember how much I hated Javy Vazquez.

We just purchased a $52-million dollar bottle of Bernie-lite, to go with our dollar-an-ounce Becks beers at the Stadium.

2005-12-21 05:35:48
30.   Levy2020
Shawn Chacon shaved a monster beard apparently.
2005-12-21 05:42:44
31.   markp
What's not to like?
The Yankees have been trying to trade for a lesser CF all off-season. Nobody was willing to do so without getting more than we wanted to trade in return (apparently most wanted Cano or Duncan or similar.)
Damon may have been the only CF option, and CF was a gaping hole on this team.
Damon didn't cost anything but money and a low first round draft choice.
As has been mentioned, he's a top five CF.
The "speed guys decline quicker" argument is exactly wrong. Slow sluggers with high walk rates decline quicker than speed guys.
I really don't care if it hurts Boston, but saying it helps them isn't right either. If it was helpful, why would they be willing to pay a couple mil less per year for four years? And there's no guarantee they'll get Crisp, Reed, or anyone else to fill that hole without sacrificing some good prospects if at all.
Damon is five years younger than Bernie, so if they decline at the same rate, he'll have his big fall-off season in the last year of the contract.
Finally, the money thing. GS was willing to spend about 6 million more over the four year contract than Boston. What's the big deal? Brown, Karsay, and several other big salaries came off the books this year. We paid a little more to make sure we got the player we wanted (and the best player available) to fill our most obvious hole.
Damon, from everything I've heard, is a good clubhouse guy. He was one of the Bosox that had fun goofing around with the Queer Eye guys and he makes jokes at his won expense all the time.
2005-12-21 05:53:57
32.   sabernar
I'm not a fan of the 4 year contract to Damon, but look at the upside: it's only money. We didn't have trade away our prospects for Jason Michaels or Jeremy Reed or whoever. Sure, we gave up a draft pick, but Damon only cost money, not players. I think that's definately a plus.
2005-12-21 05:59:13
33.   jdsarduy
I'm not keen on Damon either but we didn't have any choices and it is better than what we have now in CF.
Yes he is overpaid but so are most players.
He can play CF and if he hits around 300. 10-15 home runs then he's only improving the team. His numbers might start declining but I don't think it will happen overnight, I would give him 2 yrs before that happens.
With all the pitchers the Yanks have I think they'll make a deal and lets hope they do sign Cairo.
Still think the Yanks might go after a CF next yr.

Even though
the Red Sox have a lot questions marks right now I wouldn't worry about them.
They have money and by trading Manny and Wells they can probably fill their holes. I expect them to do make some big moves now that Damon is lost.

2005-12-21 06:05:28
34.   kylepetterson
First off, I have to say, I think Damon, although not great, is going to be far better than we would like to believe. It seems, thanks to history, that we as Yankees fans think the worst of every all-star we bring in. Why? Because we always bring in the elderly washed up all-stars for, like, 80 ga-jillion dollars plus 14 years worth of options.

Second: He's a celebrity. That means more money for the team. I like that.

Third: Holy crap! Murray is a genius! To quote from 12-14-05 "I consider a transit strike in New York more likely than Johnny Planet of the Apes signing with the Yankees." Do you know something we don't?

2005-12-21 06:06:43
35.   bfriley76
Anyone else concerned about long term implications for this? More than likely this means the Sox will be gunning for Jones or Wells come NEXT offseason. Unless the Yanks shift Damon to Left, Matsui to right (after Sheff leaves via free agency) and go after one of these two (Jones preferrably) I'm going to be upset.
2005-12-21 06:07:51
36.   Alex Belth
I first found out the news in the middle of the night when I woke up and decided to check to see if there had been any resolution in the Transit Strike. There had not. So I quickly flipped to ESPN news and heard about Damon. So much for falling back to sleep.

I was not a fan of the Yankees going after Damon. I thought he was a good Red Sox and was happy for him to remain there, beard and all. You had to figure he was going to be over-paid one way or the other, especially in this winter's market. So the Yanks essentially gave him what they gave Matsui--so much for the Bombers being above the spending fray.

So now the Yanks have a good offensive outfield. Matsui and Damon have rag arms. At least Damon has speed and can run balls down, but they are going to be a rag-arm unit and that's all there is to it. Offensively, I love how he's painted as the "ideal lead-off man the Yanks have been lacking," when DJ did just fine in that spot last year. But no matter, for the next couple of years, the idea of Damon and Jeter up top gives the Yanks there best 1-2 punch since Knoblauch was in town.

My first thoughts last night were about Damon getting hurt, about the bad things that could happen. But, at the very least, this puts a new wrinkle into the Yanks-Sox rivalry (as if it needed one!). Emotionally, it is a loss for the Sox, though they might be better off going in another direction.

For the Bombers, you just got to hope to get 2-3 good offensive years from Damon, hope he stays fast, and remains healthy. Hey, at least Jeter and Cano have strong arms for the relay throws...

2005-12-21 06:23:58
37.   Oscar Azocar
I can't say that I'm a fan of this deal. I was hoping that they would just get a one-year solution at center (or just use Bubba), then overpay for Vernon Wells rather than Damon or wait to see how Melky was developing.

Damon has been an inconsistent offensive performer, and his defensive stats were down. His Rate 2 went from 104 in '04 to 97 in '05. As a comparison, Bernie went from 97 in '04 to 100 in '05 (I was surprised to find that). So our outfield defense has probably stayed the same, though I argue that it will be worse since Shef and Matsui are a year older. The question is if Damon's added offense offsets the decline in outfield defense. The win-share analysis would indicate an improvement, but I'm hoping Damon still has a few of his good offensive years left.

Of course, I could care less about his contract in '07-'09 if he gets some timely hits in the playoffs that lead the Yankees to a world championship this year :)

2005-12-21 06:27:51
38.   DarrenF
I know Damon will play CF. However ...

Damon LF
Jeter SS
ARod 3b
Giambi 1b
Sheffield DH
Matsui RF
Posada C
Cano 2b
Crosby CF

Just sayin' ...

2005-12-21 06:39:46
39.   Dimelo
DarrenF, I like the lineup except that I'd move Posada down one and Cano up one. You need to offer the 2nd year rookie some protection.
2005-12-21 06:41:18
40.   Howie
Bubba still seems like the best option in CF. JD can play in left, giving us two guys that can chase down balls in the biggest part of the Stadium. Our lineup is still scary even if Bubba bats ninth.

Matsui can play right, so at least you have decent (but not great) arms in CF and RF. And Sheff can stay healthy (and out of Bubba's way) as DH.

Andy and Bernie give you two solid options of the bench, and Bernie can sub for Bubba when Wang pitches for some extra offense.

2005-12-21 06:48:28
41.   Dimelo
It seems Yankee fans are split pretty even on Damon coming to the Yankees. Some websites like it (baseballmusings, waswatching), some hate the move (nomaas, replacement level Yankee blog). It's gotten my mind off the Redskins and has me thinking about baseball again - always a good thing by the way.

It is not often that I agree with Debris, but it is funny to see people change their tune now that Damon is one of "our guys".
One thing I do like about this move, it has pissed off the nation once again. This Red Sox fan doesn't try to be subtle about his feelings:
http://letsgosox.blogspot.com/2005/12/f-thiswhere-have-you-gone-bill-lee.html

I really hate the Munson line, but I appreciate reading people's raw emotions. That stuff goes unappreciated nowadays in the PC world we live in.

2005-12-21 07:05:45
42.   kylepetterson
Wow! That guy is angry! I love when adults get this way about pro sports. Brings out the best in some us, doesn't it?
2005-12-21 07:07:13
43.   Dimelo
kyle, at least he's not saluting to Der Fuehrer like the Italian Soccer player.
2005-12-21 07:16:12
44.   debris
I confess I have mixed feelings about the deal. I would have favored the Sox giving Damon what they offered $40/4. But as I've stated here before, I don't think he's worth that. I was including the fourth year for "career service."

The Sox do pick up two draft choices and, as well as they've done in the draft in recent years, I suppose that means they can deal one or two off now, as they probably have to.

A much better option for the Sox than Damon is prying Torii Hunter and his M $12.75 contract ($10.75 for 2006, plus $2 buyout of the 2007 option) from the Twins and then going after Vernon Wells or Andruw Jones next winter. I would think it wouldn't take a whole lot to get Pohlad to unload Torii's deal.

That also, by the way, would have been a much better option for the Yankees had they prospects that a) they'd have been willing to deal and that b) Minnesota wanted.

2005-12-21 07:19:54
45.   murphy
weren't Matsui's numbers ridiculous when he DH'ed this year? keep sheff in right cos he's got a better arm.
2005-12-21 07:27:02
46.   BobbyBaseBall
I, too, am torn about the deal. On the one hand, we picked up an (albeit aging) speedy base-stealing leadoff man. On the other, its Johnny Freakin' Damon.

Damon does, however, give Torre some options for the lineup. Unlike last year where it was basically carved in granite, this years Yanks have much more flexibility. Bubba can now spell Mats, Sheff AND Damon in the field on any given night, with them DHing.

Most importantly, as also pointed out above, WE KEEP ALL OF OUR PROSPECTS. Still have Cano and Wang, which one (or both) would've been the centerpiece to any deal we could've made. Let Boston continue ravaging its farm system for risks like Beckett and possibly Reed.

2005-12-21 07:33:37
47.   kylepetterson
"at least he's not saluting to Der Fuehrer like the Italian Soccer player"

I don't get this joke. Maybe it's because I follow soccer almost as much as I follow the Italians, which is not at all.

Ich bin ein kick awesome speller.

2005-12-21 07:47:52
48.   pwicked
Interesting how everyone mentions the cost. "We could get so-n-so for this much", etc. WHO CARES HOW MUCH $$ GEORGE LOSES? Be thankful the Yanks have an owner willing to pay for the current lineup, even if it means losing money. Besides, does anyone think 13mil for J. "Demon" is a bad bidnezz decision? Curses to the BloSux! Let the Yankee Machine Roll!!
2005-12-21 07:56:32
49.   Alvaro Espinoza
Maybe the Yanks can sign Beltran in '09!!! Man, why is this team so far behind the curve on signing CF'ers lately? Damon would have been a great signing... in 2001!

I'm pretty much indifferent about this move:

- didn't get younger
- average fielder w/ no arm
- overpaid (had to in order to get him)

Yes, he fits nicely into the 1-2 void this team has experienced the past couple of season and will score oodles of runs. But it's not another bat that was a priority.

I would have been just fine w/ Bubba at a fraction of the price. He performed admirably down the stretch in '05 and deserved, as much as anyone, a shot to play this year.

2005-12-21 08:01:45
50.   sabernar
It looks like Eric Byrnes was non-tendered. Why couldn't we just sign him cheap? He's an above average OF who can play all 3 positions. Actually, since we know he can hit, he would probably be a better reserve OF than Crosby.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-12-21 08:06:22
51.   Alvaro Espinoza
"Interesting how everyone mentions the cost. "We could get so-n-so for this much", etc. WHO CARES HOW MUCH $$ GEORGE LOSES? Be thankful the Yanks have an owner willing to pay for the current lineup, even if it means losing money. Besides, does anyone think 13mil for J. "Demon" is a bad bidnezz decision? Curses to the BloSux! Let the Yankee Machine Roll!! "

Obviously, no one cares how much George loses. The important question is:

How beneficial can it be for MLB to permit a handful of teams, most notably NYY, to consistently demonstrate obnoxiously gawdy payrolls? A discussion for another day but I think it hurts more than it helps and current efforts to reign in spending have proved futile.

2005-12-21 08:09:44
52.   Dimelo
Kyle, this is the article on the wacky Italians:
http://www.deadspin.com/sports/soccer/those-charming-italian-soccer-fans-142565.php
2005-12-21 08:15:33
53.   Dimelo
I hate it when people go off on the Yanks and their spending, when teams like the Angels, Mets and BoSox are doing the same thing. The Yanks don't have to operate in a mode to help baseball, the a-holes in power (Selig and the players union) are the one's with that burden of responsibility. This is not only about money, but about location too. The Yanks, Sawx, Mets, Angels, Cubs, White Sox, etc, are in very attractive areas to live in the United States. KC, Tampa Bay (geriatric central), Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Colorado, etc, are not in attractive areas to live. It is why the big city teams attract the best players. There are many dynamics, other than money, which need to be answered.
2005-12-21 08:51:11
54.   JL25and3
"How beneficial can it be for MLB to permit a handful of teams, most notably NYY, to consistently demonstrate obnoxiously gawdy payrolls?"

It could be argued that the Yankee payroll is good for MLB. Between revenue sharing and the luxury tax, George is subsidizing the other teams.

2005-12-21 09:15:21
55.   Zack
debris, How can you advocate trading for Hunter, who will make one mill a year less, and then signign Wells, who will command as much if not more, if the whole problem is economic? I don't buy that line. Saying the Sox couldn't sign Damon because they don't have the money is like saying the same thing for the Mets. They have the money, they are just chosing to spend it otherwise. I believe that the Sox have for a long time been getting a sweet deal on NESN, their owner is actually worth more $$ than George, and, if I'm not mistaken, the Sox will never lack for a supportive, free spending fan base. So how can you say they couldn't sign Damon for less than Varitek?? The Sox have the money, so do the Yanks, the Mets, the Cubs, the Orioles, the Phillies, the Dodgers, and a few others...

To me, no matter who the Sox go and trade for now, which they will have to do, it weakens them. They not only lose, say Arroyo, but they get a, yes, younger CF most likely, but an offensively weaker one. Reed is young and has talent, but hes not there yet. And take away Damon from the top of that order, and who is getting on base for Ortiz? If the Sox are batting Reed, Loretta, Ortiz, Manny, you have to see thoe rbi #'s drop.

My basic take is that this signing was far less important for the Yanks than Sox. Sox fans can say what they want about his defense, age, the cost, getting younger, being better in the long run, but Damon meant a lot more to their team than he will to ours...

On the other hand, he will help our offense, and as long as, not that this will happen, but as long as we can work someone else in to take over after two years, what we didn't do with Bernie, we will be ok. Remember, we won many titles with Bernie throwing in from CF too...

2005-12-21 09:15:54
56.   wsporter
In reference to this Damon deal I have to say the more I think about it the more I like it. What were the Yankees options? How could they have done better in terms of the past & potential benefit of the player obtained over the player he will replace or those that the Yankees might have obtained? Also consider cost in terms of players given up, money expended in this instance as well as those costs expressed in terms of what they would have had to expend on alternate replacements.

Damon certainly seems to be a far superior player to a Bubba/Bernie hybrid by any reasonable, relevant measure. We gave up no players, only a draft choice. Given the Matsui deal and a couple of the other cockamamie deals out there (see J. D. Drew) the money in the deal doesn't seem over the top. It looks like we got better in those terms.

As far as forgone opportunities are concerned I guess the answer is, it depends on who you're talking about. Irregardless, (or regardless as we say in the United States proper) I can't see that there is a player out there, AVAILABLE TO US, who will bring us the past/potential performance mix that Damon does; certainly not a free agent and certainly not a player from whom we would have to trade. As I said last night, I just can't hate this move. I suspect come October I may actually love it. Right now I'll worry about this October. October of 2007 and 08 may be another matter.

In the short term at least Boston takes it in the shorts and in direct proportion to the benefit we obtain. If that were the only decision criteria we looked at this would be worth it. So eat that Lucky Lu, Evil Empire my ass.

2005-12-21 09:32:19
57.   Ramone
I'd rather have Bubba Crosby (or another decent-defender/poor-hitter), $50 million, and the opportunity to make a deal for an a-list DH down the line. I'd rather have a stable of young prospects to groom. I'd rather have another dynasty, starting in the next year or two, rather than a marginally increased chance of winning the WS this year (which, lets be honest, will come down to pitching anyway).

If the best thing about this deal is that Boston is denied Damon's services then that doesn't cut it for me. I prefer the idea of improving the Yankees to beat the Red Sox rather than trying to knock them down a peg so they are weaker competition.

2005-12-21 09:52:00
58.   debris
Zack,

What the Yankees can do that the Sox and others can't is throw away money. Signing Damon for one or two good years while paying for four is something the Sox can't do. As for Varitek, the Sox offered Damon the same money they are paying Tek. The Yanks upped the ante by $12 M.

Remember the Sox led the league in runs scored last year with a very thin offense. They got nothing from first base and little from second short, or right field. As for the lineup in front of Manny and Papi, I'd lead off The Greek God of Walks and follow him with Loretta. Two smart players of average speed, high on base percentage, and who work deep counts. They don't need Youkilis to steal bases, just get on base. That's what I would do. While I expect Loretta to hit second, I don't give Francoma the good sense to try Youkilis as a leadoff hitter and more than he had the good sense to see what Petagine could do with more than six at bats in September.

Rob Neyer has an article on espn.com this morning projecting Damon, adjusting for home ball park, to have an on base percentage next year of between .320 and .340. That pretty much jives with what Cliff Corcoran posted here this morning. With his average-at-best defensive capabilities, Damon shouldn't be paid half of what he's getting. Hell, Youkilis or Eric Byrnes can do that.

Scott Boras is good. Very, very good. He sure earned his keep yesterday.

2005-12-21 11:35:39
59.   Freddy Toliver
I don't like the signing, but can understand why people are doing a Kerryesque flip-flop on the issue.

No Yanks fan likes Damon, but most like Damon more than putting Bernie out there often - which we knew would happen in the absence of a high profile CF.

What I think most wanted to happen was to get a younger CF with some upside, like Michaels (who isn't all that young), Patterson, or Reed. I don't think anyone ever mentioned Brynes, but with 3 teams giving up on him just last year, there must be a problem there.

I think the move makes the team better, no doubt. The defense does not get worse - Bernie, despite some defensive stats saying otherwise, was deplorable out there. Not only not getting to balls that could have been caught, but playing tentatively and actually dropping easy fly balls. Damon is not better than Crosby or most of the other CFs mentioned, but he won't be worse than Bernie of 2005.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a Damon hater. I never liked getting Boggs or Clemens and was happy the day that each of them left. Neither of them played particularly well in pinstripes (boggs had only one average season for him, and clemens won two CYs before and one after leaving the yanks). I don't expect Damon to perform to his career statistics from pre-NYY days. But he's probably better than Bubby/Melky for this season and next, at least.

I told my wife I'd stop being a Yanks fan if they signed the anti-christ Damon, but, like the saint she is, she already absolved me of that commitment.

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