• Melky To Hit The Pines When Giambi Returns?

    Posted by on July 26th, 2007 · Comments (17)

    Sure sounds like it when you read in between the lines. From the Daily News -

    “What Johnny [Damon] is giving us right now is really important,” Torre said. “At the top of the order, his bat is coming alive, his legs are feeling good and his stolen base percentage is terrific.”

    Damon’s 19 runs this month rank third on the team behind Hideki Matsui (24) and Alex Rodriguez (22), who leads the majors with 95 on the season. Damon, who has stolen 18 bases in 20 attempts this season, leads the Yankees in July with five thefts.

    Despite his low batting average, Damon believes his ability to get on base and score are the most important aspects of his job. His team-leading 19 walks this month indicate that, even when he has slumped, he’s still been able to help the Yanks go.

    “Batting average has never won games,” Damon said. “Scoring runs and driving them in do.”

    Throughout the course of the season, Damon has been forced to deal with nagging injuries. Those issues have left him day-to-day in terms of being in the lineup, but Jason Giambi’s injury allowed Torre to utilize Damon as the designated hitter and put Melky Cabrera, the superior fielder, in center, two moves that have benefited the Yankees.

    With Giambi due back in the coming weeks, Torre will have to balance the playing time for all of them, but it would be difficult to take Cabrera out of center field.

    “When it gets closer, we’ll figure it out,” Torre said.

    “Hopefully I’ll get more playing time and stay in the lineup; we’ll just have to ride it out,” Damon said. “I think we have a good mix now. Whatever Joe decides to put out there, we’re deeper on our bench and a lot more players are fresh.”

    Matsui, Damon, Abreu and Giambi are all going to play – money talks, after all. That means either Phillips or Cabrera have to sit. And, since Joe won’t play Giambi at first, it’s looking like bad news for Melky when Giambi comes back to full-time duty.

    Shame, Cabrera deserves to start – based on his performance over the last three months.

    Maybe it’s time to reconsider the Damon to first base move? Keep Phillips for late inning defense and for when you want to sit Abreu against a nasty lefty. Nah, it makes too much sense.

    Comments on Melky To Hit The Pines When Giambi Returns?

    1. Raf
      July 26th, 2007 | 12:03 pm

      It would make more sense to rotate Matsui-Damon in LF, Damon-Cabrera in CF, Giambi-Matsui-Damon @ DH, & Giambi-Phillips-Posada @ 1b…

      Well, it makes sense in my head :)

    2. July 26th, 2007 | 12:13 pm

      “Maybe it’s time to reconsider the Damon to first base move? Keep Phillips for late inning defense and for when you want to sit Abreu against a nasty lefty. Nah, it makes too much sense.”

      Remember Gary Sheffield?

    3. July 26th, 2007 | 12:28 pm

      Sure, but, the Yankees had/have more time to make this work for Damon than they did with Sheff.

    4. MJ
      July 26th, 2007 | 12:36 pm

      Sabermetric gurus opinions notwithstanding, I’ll be really sorry to see Melky sitting again. As much as I’ve come to like Giambi as a person, I wish the team would buy him out already. If he can’t play the field and if he’s always breaking down physically, he’s just not worth the roster spot. And Torre, God forbid he should actually play the people that deserve to play. Instead we get to watch Johnny Damon’s slow bat pop everything up to SS and Jason Giambi hit into the shift…lovely.

    5. July 26th, 2007 | 12:45 pm

      Yet, there’s been nary a peep about Damon’s taking balls at first or getting in any work there at all.

    6. arz_cards_rule
      July 26th, 2007 | 1:27 pm

      If you are interested in acquiring ANY Yankees games on DVD, please visit http://www.sell.com/22WX45

      The games are free with the purchase of a $4.00 sports card of my choice. Shipping is also free.

      Thanks!

      By the way, long time reader – always enjoy reading your stuff Steve.

    7. TurnTwo
      July 26th, 2007 | 1:28 pm

      i think melky is dynamic enough as an everyday player and CF that he can bring to the yankees what damon does and more, while as a DH, damon can not bring to the team what Giambi does.

      when i saw that the yankees and braves had considered a Damon swap, but that the Braves deemed the price to be “too high,” it made me think what that price was, and what they needed to do to just work it out.

    8. baileywalk
      July 26th, 2007 | 1:49 pm

      My gut tells me that the Braves rumor is bullshit, but if it will help get Johnny to Atlanta, I will get down on my knees and pray.

      If Torre does his typically boneheaded thing and sits Melky, then Giambi will get blamed for the whole thing, but this is strictly Torre. Damon is just a mess this year. They’ve already acknowledged that Melky is the better centerfielder by playing him there and using Damon as the DH.

      Damon is not only not hitting, but his arm is deadly for the pitching staff.

      I think Steve has the right idea — if Damon HAS to play, then see if he can handle first base. I’d rather sit Phillips than Melky.

    9. baileywalk
      July 26th, 2007 | 2:13 pm

      Sorry to get waaaaay off-topic here, but Peter Abraham actually had something pretty interesting and bizarre on his site: A-Rod is going to get an at-bat in the suspended game in Baltimore. If he hits a home run that home run is credited to that game, and his home run last night in KC will be considered his 500th. Talk about an anticlimax.

    10. July 26th, 2007 | 2:35 pm

      Heck, I just wrote that two days ago:

      http://www.waswatching.com/archives/2007/07/alexs_500th.html

    11. Don
      July 26th, 2007 | 2:46 pm

      Money was probably the problem if the Braves rumours were true. The Braves are up for sale and are limited as to how much salary they can add.

      As to what Pete Abraham said, I believe he is wrong. ML baseball isn’t using those numbered balls since Alex was at #496 for nothing.

    12. Garcia
      July 26th, 2007 | 2:48 pm

      Steve, Sorry…but I don’t see how what you wrote two days ago is what Pete Abe has written today. Never do you reference that weird scenario that Pete Abe was talking about.

      I think that was the point, the weird scenario that ARod’s homerun from last night could in fact be his 500th versus 499.

    13. Raf
      July 26th, 2007 | 2:59 pm

      As to what Pete Abraham said, I believe he is wrong. ML baseball isn’t using those numbered balls since Alex was at #496 for nothing.
      ================
      Bailey & Pete have right.

    14. rbj
      July 26th, 2007 | 3:32 pm

      Does Jason have anything left to play first?

    15. baileywalk
      July 26th, 2007 | 4:05 pm

      Heck, I just wrote that two days ago:
      ——-

      Didn’t mean to shortchange you, Steve, but the weird scenario will be that if A-Rod hits a home run in the suspended game, it changes his numbers retroactively — meaning every home run from that game on jumps one notch (498 becomes 499, 499 becomes 500, etc.). So if A-Rod knocks one out of Camden, that home run last night was officially his 500th. Which, honestly, would suck for Alex (in the sense that it would be an anticlimactic celebration).

    16. rbj
      July 26th, 2007 | 4:35 pm

      Dunno if it would be anticlimactic. Definitely a weird route to 500, but I think he’d celebrate just fine. What he should do is belt one out tonight just to make it all moot.

    17. baileywalk
      July 26th, 2007 | 5:21 pm

      It only matters what he does in Baltimore. If he hits a home run in the suspended game, that home run last night is his 500th. So if he hits one today, they will celebrate it as his 500th, but a homer in the suspended game will mean they actually celebrated his 501th. The whole this is odd and, honestly, it would just be better if A-Rod didn’t hit a home run in the suspended game.

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