Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
One week ago today, our pal Murray, a long-time Bronx Banter reader wrote, "I consider a transit strike in New York more likely than Johnny Planet of the Apes signing with the Yankees."
2-2, whatta ya say? All praise Murray the Sage!
I shall never forget his kindness, nor the bananas he gave me.
Johnny Damon: "I think the leadoff role has been under-appreciated. A good leadoff hitter is tough to find and I think New York just found the best leadoff hitter in the game."
Man he is cool.
The best opionator in the world. ever.
The best speller in the werld. ever.
I'd still like to see an upgrade at DH....
I think the Sox brass would rather stopgap with, say, Torii Hunter and spend the money on Andruw Jones or Vernon Wells next winter. They're both better players than Damon and probably won't command any more money in next year's market than Damon got in this year's.
If Hunter isn't available now, he will be in June.
I suddenly realized that Damon won't be in CF for 2008/2009. Lacking the arm for RF he will be playing 1B, possibly as early as 2007.
There, I feel much better now.
A 1B with a probable .800 OPS in 2007 is going to make you feel much better? Jeez, aren't we the YANKEES? Time to go back to sleep on that one.
This is where Cash can get more creative and tinker with "chemistry."
I don't like Damon, but I don't have to: he's still the right addition to the Yankees, and will play a better centerfield than the proposed in-house solutions. I wish Damon had a better throwing arm, but I also wish there had been no transit strike.
I would have said "probable sub .800 OPS," but I found the prospect too depressing to type.
Main point is that if we're playing our "Center Field Solution" at 1B in 2007 and paying him 13 million a year to do it, the Yankees are deader than dead.
I think that almost qualifies as a Rickey Henderson quote. Didn't he say something like "Lou Brock was a great basestealer, but today I am the greatest." Humility at its best.
Tim Raines and Marquis Grissom are two recent examples of OFs that have played into their mid 30s with only mild decline. Damon isn't the player Raines was but he's far better than Grissom. And both Damon and Matsui will be younger at the end of their contracts than Sheffield (age 36) was last year. Barring injury, Damon will be solid and possibly great as a Yankee.
Considering that he was good, but certainly not great as a Red Sox, and that his numbers were significantly inflated by his home park, how can you claim that he will be great as a Yankee? Typically, players do not get better as they move into their mid-30s.
Sure, he'll be a fine offensive upgrade for a year or two, but at what price? A Yankee fan friend of mine referred to JD this morning as a Band Aid.
I'd rather have Torii Hunter or even newly non-tendered Eric Byrnes for one year and Vernon Wells or Andruw Jones for the following three than Johnny Damon for four. My best guess is that given next year's much more attractive free agent crop that Wells and Jones won't get any more money than George will be paying Damon.
1. Tim Raines (914)...Got hit with the Lupus stick, still managed to hit around the .280s thru age 41.
2. Willie Davis (905)...Another .280s hitter thru his late 30s, no great OBP.
3. Cesar Cedeno (900)...
4. Ben Chapman (894)
5. Pete Rose (893)...Got a lot of hits.
6. Claudell Washington (888)...Stole home in 1988, while on the Yanks.
7. Jose Cardenal (885)
8. Lou Brock (884)
9. Gregg Jefferies (878) I hated this guy.
10.Jimmy Sheckard (877)
I hate the fact that Damon is on the Yankees, but he is better than Hunter, and Byrnes isn't even close. He will make the Yankees better for the next 2 years, and unless the Red Sox make a trade for a good CF (which hurts the minor league system or the pitching staff), it makes the Red Sox worse.
If the Sox are able to add Jones or Wells then they will be in great shape in 2007 and beyond. I don't see JP letting Wells go for less than $52 million though, considering what he just paid Burnett and BJ Ryan. Andrew Jones probably won't cost less either. Anyone know Jones' agent?
despite your loyalty to the sox, i usually respect your opinions here. however, as 26 points out, hunter is NOT better than damon, or not significantly so much better than damon to be worthy of trading away a good bit of talent for. he's also in his 30s and coming off of a season ending injury. his career OBP is lower than damon's, and his career slugging is in the same neighborhood. and eric byrnes? please. he's geting to be 30, has only been a "full time player" for a couple of years, and has a career ops of .762. and as for vernon wells and andruw jones? i'll give you wells, although he has not emerged as the superstar he appeared to be a couple of years. he's only 27, so it could still happen. as for jones, well he will hit some home runs (assuming that 2055 was the real jones, and not every other year he's been in the bigs). but if it's not a homer, it's not much else. and rob neyer has convinced me that he's no longer the gold glover he once was out in cf. i'm not saying that the sox can't win with any of those guys, just that those guys, to me, do not signal anything special (again, except for maybe wells).
and as for the change of tune on this blog, well i seem to recall that you were the one who was fine with the sox paying damon for the past rather than the future not so long ago. and now you're saying they're better off without him?
no malice here, just making conversation.
as for me, i never wanted damon, but i will have to live with him. as such, i will go ahead and rott for him. let';s face it, we're more or less rooting for the uniforms anyway. we're gonna have him for 4 years as no one will take that contract from us, so we better just make the best of it. i hated kevin brown, but i still wanted him to win each of his 14 starts for the yanks. (not sure about that numer, but it seems about right to me.)
And as I said, in terms of Damon's defense, we won a lot with Bernie in CF with a noodle arm and no instincts, we can do it with Damon too..
Certainly, Damon is a better hitter than Hunter, but the defensive offset makes it fairly close. But I didn't say Hunter was better than Damon. I said that 1 year of Hunter and 3 of Wells or Jones is better than 4 of Damon, much better.
And I dare say that the Yanks won't even be in the market for Jones or Wells. What would they do then with Damon? They're certainly not going to move a Gold Glove centerfielder to right in favor of Damon and they certainly can't put Damon in right.
And I'm not sure where I saw it but some think Damon will benefit from the short RF in Yankee Stadium and have a slight HR boost even as his doubles drop.
I always liked watching Damon, a little jitery, but fun to watch. he seems like a loose character, in the best way. So while I'm not sure how much sense it all makes, it certainly isn't breaking the bank, and now we get to watch him for four years. Again, putting my GM hat aside, as a fan there's no way i'd rather watch Bubba Crosby take his hacks over Damon.
I was fine paying Damon $40 for 4, nothing close to what George is giving him. And I was recognizing that the Sox would have been overpaying him by $10-15 for "past service." In essence, to my mind George is paying Johnny for what he did for the Sox, not what he is likely to do for the Yanks.
First, Varitek is getting $10 per year not $13.5. He's getting $9 M per year, plus a $4 M signing bonus. And, to my mind, he was overpaid to the tune of about $10 M, again for "career service."
As for Loretta, he's pretty much shown what he can do, although he's coming off an injury plagued year. Youkilis? Sometimes you just have to give a young player a chance to see what he can do. I don't expect much power, but I do expect a lot of OBP, intelligence on the bases, deep counts.
As for my underestimating Damon, I'm just parroting the comments of Rob Neyer and Cliff Corcoran.
You MUST have a strong arm in right field. You can't put Johnny Damon there. That is simply giving runs away.
As for Damon's power increase, Cliff was citing the short porch in right, neglecting the fact that Fenway has an equally short right field corner, where Damon's power lies.
Damon is certainly fun to watch and will be a great factor in the clubhouse, no doubt. He is a pure hustle player, too much so, as he plays banged up a lot.
As for Damon playing to his historical averages, they are not particularly strong once you remove him from Fenway. As posted on this very blog today, Damon has averaged .340 obp away from Fenway. Rob Neyer points out that Yankee Stadium depresses OBP and figures Damon at .320-.340 as a Yankee. That is not worth $13 million even if you got Gold Glove defense. Not even close.
3 HRs - all to right.
The more I surf around the blogosphere the better I feel. Goldman likes the move. So the Lombardi, so does Manhken. So does Pinto. I'm optimistic.
The Sox, meanwhile, will have to trade for a CF that everyone knows they need. If I were the Mariners or anyone else, I would raise the asking price right away. Of course they won't, b/c of the "conspiracy" but the Sox NEED someone to play CF...
Damon ht 3 HR in Boston last year, all no-doubters, and yes has hit his share of Pesky Pole HR in his career. But I'd be willing to bet he'll convert his fair share of long fly outs from Fenway into bombs in the Bronx.
But hey, whatever you can do to twist the facts and make yourself feel better, go nuts.
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