• Yanks Sign Randy Winn

    Posted by on January 27th, 2010 · Comments (53)

    Per Greg Cohen:

    Joel Sherman is reporting that the Yankees have reached and one-year agreement with outfielder Randy Winn.

    Four years ago, I would have been happy with this move. But, now, Winn is a 36-year old OF who posted an OPS+ of 75 last season. Yes, seventy-five.

    I know what the Yankees are thinking here – that Winn, the last few seasons before 2009, has hit LHP pitching pretty well. But, can he rebound do it again in 2010? Time well tell…

    Comments on Yanks Sign Randy Winn

    1. MJ
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:06 pm

      If the choices among veteran OF’ers are Damon and Winn, the Yanks are idiots for picking Winn over Damon.

      If the choices among veteran OF’ers are Winn, Baldelli, Edmonds, or Johnson, I have no problem taking Winn.

      Career vs. LHP:

      Winn: .280/.332/.426
      Baldelli: .295/.346/.485
      Edmonds: .252/.333/.434
      Johnson: .313/.378/.463

      Considering Baldelli and Johnson are oft-injured and Edmonds is a lefty, Winn is the most reliable of the four options, given that the Yanks are looking for stability in any Brett Gardner insurance policy.

      Damon was always the better choice for LF but once Cashman decided to take a walk down idiot lane with the crop of dogshit backup OF’ers, I have no problem with him picking Winn.

    2. jrk
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:06 pm

      Awesome! Getting younger! Is this serious? Stick to my guns in saying this (and most other options not including JD) is a complete waste of money. Why spend just to spend? I’m skeptical (even without numbers) this deal is worth it.

    3. jrk
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:10 pm

      Ok maybe I’m overreacting. But I’m just still bitter that Cashman was an idiot with the Damon situation.

    4. MJ
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:11 pm

      @ jrk:
      Agreed. Cashman’s ridiculous with his whole “younger/more athletic” mantra. Randy Winn (older) and Nick Johnson (less athletic) are the opposite of everything we’ve heard from Cashman for years.

      I like Cashman but, seriously, he just needs to stop with the mantras…

    5. MJ
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:12 pm

      @ jrk:
      Agree completely. Should’ve signed Damon. Mistake to have picked Gardner/Winn.

    6. yagottagotomo1
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:12 pm

      @ MJ:

      It’s obviously true that they had a budget. Cashman was not lying when he said Johnny’s talent outstripped the money he had. I happen to be pretty ambivalent about this move. If he reverts back to his 2002-2008 numbers (.294/.350/.440), it’s a good move bc of how good he is defensively. If 2009 was the start of a major decline, which is quite possible, then it will be a bad move.

      @ jrk:

      The way you get younger isnt just to play younger guys or trade all your chips for younger guys. Sometimes its about signing veterans to short term deals to fill gaps while you wait for younger guys you like. Signing Winn to a one year deal has absolutely zero bearing on their overall plan.

    7. MJ
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:16 pm

      @ yagottagotomo1:
      Makes the decision to skip out on Mike Cameron all the more indefensible. You can’t claim the desire to get younger on the perception that Cameron *might* decline suddenly and then sign an already old and bad player.

      yagottagotomo1 wrote:

      Signing Winn to a one year deal has absolutely zero bearing on their overall plan.

      Agree in principle with this but, given how the Yanks are already financially committed to a lot of money next year, it’s not like the Yanks are going to be big buyers next winter either. In reality, they’ll probably piddle around with another Winn type again next year when they could’ve just had Damon for one year at a pittance over budget.

    8. yagottagotomo1
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:16 pm

      @ MJ:

      The team is much younger and more athletic than it was 3-4 years ago. Like I said to jrk, a team getting younger doesnt mean getting younger everywhere all at once. It’s not practical.

    9. yagottagotomo1
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:17 pm

      @ MJ:
      I dont see how Cameron factors in here. Did Cashman ever say that was the reason for passing on Cameron?

    10. #15
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:18 pm

      Disappointed that things couldn’t be worked out with Damon. Winn is the type of Hinske/Hairston type you pick up later in the season, when a particular need opens up. Switch hitter (or so the media guide says), steal a few bases, can play mutliple outfield positions and generally catch the ball. Overall, a big yawn in terms of impacting the ballclub. Guess Nick the Fragile Stick is our #2 batter. If he stays healthy? Ought to work. If he breaks, and history says he will, I’m scratching my head for our # 2 batter. We’d have been a much stronger team with Damon in the 2 hole.

      So….
      Grandy+NJ+Winn+Javy…. >, < or = to Melky+Damon+Godzilla? I think we clearly are on the plus side, with Javy's 200 servicable innings and the way he extends the starting rotation being the big difference. But, we are not as plus as we could have been with Damon in the line-up. It's 3 million dollars I'd have spent.

    11. bfriley76
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:23 pm

      Seems to me that the philosophy here might have been, if they were going to stick to the $2 million salary limit, the most value would be had going after a player with positive defensive traits, and, if I’m looking at it correctly, Winn seems to stat out as one of the better defensive outfielders in the last two years (going by UZR/150). I know defensive metrics are flawed, but if that trend continues, that’s $2 million invested well.

    12. MJ
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:24 pm

      yagottagotomo1 wrote:

      I dont see how Cameron factors in here. Did Cashman ever say that was the reason for passing on Cameron?

      My one and only argument against the Granderson trade was that a roughly equivalent player (Cameron) was available for only money. I got shot down by multiple parties with the argument that Cameron was old and *could* decline at any moment.

      I find it ironic that Cameron/Damon *could* decline at any moment — completely ignoring the fact that they hadn’t and showed no evidence of slowing down in the immediate future — but the Yanks went with Winn who could compete for 500 AB’s this year despite the fact that we already have evidence that he *has* declined.

    13. yagottagotomo1
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:29 pm

      MJ wrote:

      I find it ironic that Cameron/Damon *could* decline at any moment — completely ignoring the fact that they hadn’t and showed no evidence of slowing down in the immediate future — but the Yanks went with Winn who could compete for 500 AB’s this year despite the fact that we already have evidence that he *has* declined.

      But they got Granderson and Winn, didnt they? Meaning they added one younger guy to fill that slot, and then the extra guy is Winn. Winn isnt replacing Damon, he’s replacing Melky. Even if he cannot hit at all, his defense will make him worth about what Melky was.

    14. MJ
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:34 pm

      #15 wrote:

      So….
      Grandy+NJ+Winn+Javy…. >, < or = to Melky+Damon+Godzilla? I think we clearly are on the plus side, with Javy's 200 servicable innings and the way he extends the starting rotation being the big difference. But, we are not as plus as we could have been with Damon in the line-up. It's 3 million dollars I'd have spent.

      Vazquez is this winter’s most significant move for Cashman and it was a straight-up win for him. He gave up a 4th outfielder and a prospect that is realistically as much as 4 years away from the big leagues for a very good chance at 200 league average innings from a strikeout pitcher. That improves the club a lot and was an appropriate response to Boston signing Lackey.

      I am totally against the Nick Johnson signing and I think letting Damon go was a mistake. I was OK with Granderson — didn’t mind who we lost — but felt like Cameron was just as good an option.

      All told, the Yanks are a marginally better team from a pitching standpoint but worse offensively. In other words, they’re pretty much the same team as last year. Gave up a few runs by losing Damon, saved some of them by getting Vazquez. A neutral winter.

    15. yagottagotomo1
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:37 pm

      MJ wrote:

      All told, the Yanks are a marginally better team from a pitching standpoint but worse offensively. In other words, they’re pretty much the same team as last year. Gave up a few runs by losing Damon, saved some of them by getting Vazquez. A neutral winter.

      I think the gain in pitching is larger than the loss of offense (which really depends on what they get from Granderson), but I agree with the general sentiment that they are about as good a team as last year, maybe slightly better depending on how Vazquez and Granderson adjust.

    16. MJ
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:38 pm

      yagottagotomo1 wrote:

      Winn isnt replacing Damon, he’s replacing Melky.

      2009: Damon-Cabrera-Swisher
      2010: Winn-Granderson-Swisher

      However you cut it, the Yanks are marginally worse on offense given that even Cabrera hit better than Winn last year (that’s saying something) and we just don’t know the defensive effect yet, given how UZR/150 hated Granderson…

      The only point I was making was that for all the talk of *could* decline, we ended up taking the one that *has already* declined. The irony is priceless.

    17. MJ
      January 27th, 2010 | 4:41 pm

      yagottagotomo1 wrote:

      think the gain in pitching is larger than the loss of offense

      Potentially, given how much better Vazquez will be in his 30+ starts than Chamberlain was in his. As you said, it’ll all depend on what Granderson can do to make us forget about the .285/.363/.458 with an average of 19 HR we just lost in the form of Damon.

    18. January 27th, 2010 | 4:56 pm

      Is it true, when the Winn deal was announced, Cashman said “Just watch, this will work out as well as when I picked up John Vander Wal”?

      And, yes, I’m kidding.

    19. MJ
      January 27th, 2010 | 5:07 pm

      Rays in on Damon for 1Y/$7M (some cash deferred):

      http://tinyurl.com/yb68ktm

      So the bridge between a good player (Damon) and a shitty one (Winn) was indeed the $5M number that people had been tossing about as recently as even this morning.

      $5M seems like a pittance in the grand scheme of things for the Yanks. I fail to understand intransigence over $5M when Winn ends up being the alternative.

    20. January 27th, 2010 | 5:10 pm

      Check the records! ;-)
      I called Damon to the Rays a long time ago.
      Smart move by them, lying in the weeds….

    21. MJ
      January 27th, 2010 | 5:23 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Indeed, you called this a few weeks ago.

      It’s pathetic when the Rays take your best offensive outfielder because you couldn’t pony up $5M extra.

      Randy Winn and Nick Johnson are now officially the two most despised Yankees on my 2010 watchlist. The two of them can and should go eff themselves.

    22. MJ
      January 27th, 2010 | 5:24 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Randy Winn and Nick Johnson are now officially the two most despised Yankees on my 2010 watchlist. The two of them can and should go eff themselves.

      (In fairness to Winn, however, I’m only mad at him because he’s not Damon. Nick Johnson is worthless all on his own).

    23. Scout
      January 27th, 2010 | 7:14 pm

      If the Yankees really lost out on Damon because of $5 million, the blame (or, to be more neutral) the responsibility lies with Hal Steinbrenner and the senior management that imposed a hard cap on the payroll. Although Cashman has sometimes asked for the payroll limit to be eased, he does this only for a player who is a clear “difference maker,” such as Tex. An aging Damon, though a nice piece, doesn’t qualify.

      Although it might seem that Cashman can ask Hal and co. to open the bank any time, the GM is smart enough to realize that he ahs to save those requests. Otherwise, like the proverbial boy who cried wolf (“Boras!”), people above him will tune him out.

      Cashman has also said that he wants to spend serious money when the free agent class justifies it, as in 2008. He did not think that was true this year, but he has indicated he expects to see better talent int he 2010 class. Time will tell. I suspect a good number fo the potential free agents won’t be there next fall.

    24. Evan3457
      January 27th, 2010 | 7:22 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Makes the decision to skip out on Mike Cameron all the more indefensible. You can’t claim the desire to get younger on the perception that Cameron *might* decline suddenly and then sign an already old and bad player.

      Agree in principle with this but, given how the Yanks are already financially committed to a lot of money next year, it’s not like the Yanks are going to be big buyers next winter either. In reality, they’ll probably piddle around with another Winn type again next year when they could’ve just had Damon for one year at a pittance over budget.

      Money is the whole point. Cameron costs nearly $8 million a year for two years; Winn costs $2 million for 1 year.

      De facto cap of $200 million is the reason for Winn and not Damon or Cameron. We may not like it, but there it is.

      Also, regardless of younger/athletic, Winn has been much better in left and right than Damon was in left the last year or two. Both UZR and BIS’ +/- agree on that.

    25. Raf
      January 27th, 2010 | 7:28 pm

      This move has me scratching my head. Makes no sense at all to me.

    26. Evan3457
      January 27th, 2010 | 7:28 pm

      MJ wrote:

      yagottagotomo1 wrote:

      Potentially, given how much better Vazquez will be in his 30+ starts than Chamberlain was in his. As you said, it’ll all depend on what Granderson can do to make us forget about the .285/.363/.458 with an average of 19 HR we just lost in the form of Damon.

      The correct measure is not Vazquez (2010) vs. Joba (2009). It is Vazquez (2010) vs Wang/Hughes/Mitre/Gaudin (2009), because Joba will likely be the #5. Even if Vazquez ERA is 4.75, that’s at least a 30-run gain for the rotation.

    27. Evan3457
      January 27th, 2010 | 7:31 pm

      Raf wrote:

      This move has me scratching my head. Makes no sense at all to me.

      $$$$$, that’s all.

      De facto hard cap is the only way it makes sense at all. Hal really means it, it seems. Or Cashman is using that as an excuse to justify dropping Damon.

    28. Evan3457
      January 27th, 2010 | 7:34 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Check the records!
      I called Damon to the Rays a long time ago.
      Smart move by them, lying in the weeds….

      Yes, it is. He’ll be extra motivated to stick it to the Yankees, 19 games head-to-head. Let’s see if the Yanks’ pitching can keep him from putting the Rays back into the post-season…at the Yankees’ expense.

      The Rays will have to DH him, which makes me wonder how they’ll rid themselves of Burrell.

    29. Raf
      January 27th, 2010 | 7:41 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      $$$$$, that’s all.

      Still doesn’t make sense.

    30. Corey
      January 27th, 2010 | 7:45 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:
      $$$$$, that’s all.
      Still doesn’t make sense.

      Like I said to clint earlier in the day…it seems like they just signed a right handed OFer cause they said they were going to.

    31. Raf
      January 27th, 2010 | 7:46 pm

      Anyway, if Winn doesn’t work out, he’ll be replaced. OF’ers are a dime a dozen, which makes me even more curious as to why they dropped a couple of mill on Winn.

    32. GDH
      January 27th, 2010 | 8:38 pm

      I don’t mind where we’re at. Winn’s a non-move. He’s basically an older Gardener with a possible upside if he remembers how to hit again. Plus defense & speed, minus offense. The only move I didn’t like was Johnson over Damon. Period. The rest improve us. And Johnson over Damon may yet work out, as much as I hate taking that risk.

      It’s possible (and it would be sad) that Cashman is making an example of Damon to Scott Boras, more for next year and the year after than this year. I still don’t see it for a lousy few million. Hated losing #55 and Damon too. They both came up HUGE in the playoffs.

    33. 77yankees
      January 27th, 2010 | 8:39 pm

      I guess Billy Sample wasn’t available, no?

      We can already begin the speculation what OF the Yanks will trade for in July. Adam Dunn? David DeJesus? Magglio Ordonez?

      On the plus side, we can count the days until Carl Crawford becomes a free agent.

    34. GDH
      January 27th, 2010 | 8:40 pm

      @ GDH:
      I mean to say – Johnson over Damon for DH. They already had Curtis in CF. Damon takes a backup OF and the main DH job. He can play defense and you can DH others. For an extra 2 million over Johnson, that is SO worth it in my book.

    35. MJ
      January 27th, 2010 | 9:11 pm

      @ GDH:
      In that context, the decision to lose Damon makes even less sense. Damon is a very good hitter and versatile enough to play a defensive position. Johnson is redundant defensively, has no power, is always hurt and is thus exclusively a DH.

      For $7M to Damon or $6M to Johnson, I’d take Damon every time. I just hate the winter Cashman pulled off, other than the Vazquez trade.

    36. GDH
      January 27th, 2010 | 10:33 pm

      @ MJ:
      Yes – and that was in fact the context in which Johnson was signed. He accurately predicted that the market sucked for Damon, but then instead of taking advantage of it to get Damon (clearly the better choice to DH over Johnson) at a reduced rate he signs Johnson right away. That’s the part I don’t get – hindsight’s 20/20, but if his number was 7M, if he waited he certainly would have got Damon at that price. Either he really didn’t want Damon, or Boras really chafed his butt.

    37. Evan3457
      January 28th, 2010 | 1:05 am

      GDH wrote:

      @ MJ:
      Yes – and that was in fact the context in which Johnson was signed. He accurately predicted that the market sucked for Damon, but then instead of taking advantage of it to get Damon (clearly the better choice to DH over Johnson) at a reduced rate he signs Johnson right away. That’s the part I don’t get – hindsight’s 20/20, but if his number was 7M, if he waited he certainly would have got Damon at that price. Either he really didn’t want Damon, or Boras really chafed his butt.

      No, actually, it’s easy to explain. At least, I think it is…

      If he doesn’t move on Johnson, Nick takes another offer elsewhere for similar money (Giants were rumored to want him at first base).

      Once that happens, Cashman is out of acceptable #2 hitter alternatives, and Boras knows it. There may not be other interested teams to bid Damon up at his “demand” price, but there are no other acceptable players to fill the role, and that alone drives Damon’s price back up.

      Boras “slow plays” every negotiation until he gets the offer he wants. The Yanks were not willing to play his game and get nailed in the wallet. They wanted to move before there were no other options left than to come crawling back to Boras, forcing them to cough up a big-money long-term deal.

      Boras wouldn’t change his tactics to accommodate, and the result is that Damon will be playing for some other team this season, and for less money, and possibly only one year.

    38. Evan3457
      January 28th, 2010 | 1:07 am

      MJ wrote:

      @ GDH:
      In that context, the decision to lose Damon makes even less sense. Damon is a very good hitter and versatile enough to play a defensive position. Johnson is redundant defensively, has no power, is always hurt and is thus exclusively a DH.

      For $7M to Damon or $6M to Johnson, I’d take Damon every time. I just hate the winter Cashman pulled off, other than the Vazquez trade.

      But the Vazquez trade is tied into the Damon decision. “The money for Damon” went into getting Vazquez for the rotation.

      We may not like the salary cap. We may not agree with it. Cashman may be using it as an excuse here; I don’t really know.

      But, like it or not, the cap exists. The proof: Damon won’t be back this year.

    39. MJ
      January 28th, 2010 | 8:46 am

      @ Evan3457:
      The Giants wanted Nick Johnson? Great, he should’ve been allowed to sign in SF.

      I don’t buy the argument that the market for “#2 hitters” was exclusively Damon and Johnson. It’s just a lineup slot, not a position. Sure, Damon fits great in the #2 hole and, sure, on paper, Nick Johnson’s high OBP game fits there as well. But you can really hit anyone #2. We saw Cano up there several times between 2005-2008, we saw Melky up there and, if memory serves, we even saw A-Rod there a few times in 2006 when he was slumping.

      I very much doubt that Damon would’ve had increased leverage with the Yankees based exclusively on a slot in the lineup. Not one single other team has made a public offer to Damon as of 1/27/10 and I can’t think of a single time where a free agent’s leverage has been tied not to a team need but to a specific lineup slot.

      Assuming that no teams have made concrete offers to Damon — a relatively safe assumption — then Damon would’ve had no more leverage had Johnson signed in SF.

      I’m just not buying your argument.

    40. Jake1
      January 28th, 2010 | 9:15 am

      can we call this what it is? a terrible signing.

      damon is perfect for this lineup and this team. a clutch proven ny player.

    41. Jake1
      January 28th, 2010 | 9:18 am

      the budget thing is funny too. if theres a real budget why are they giving deals to mitre? gaudin?

      who would u rather have? damon or those scrubs? dont forget they r paying the kei man.

    42. Corey
      January 28th, 2010 | 9:49 am

      Perhaps Cashman and I shared the same feelings about Damon? I mean, it is possible that Cashman believed Damon wore out his welcome, no?

    43. MJ
      January 28th, 2010 | 10:26 am

      Corey wrote:

      I mean, it is possible that Cashman believed Damon wore out his welcome, no?

      If that’s the case, Cashman should be fired. Personal dislike is not a good enough reason to not bring back a player as productive as Damon.

      For the record, I don’t think that’s what happened here. I very highly doubt that Cashman would let personal feelings get in the way of what’s best for his ballclub.

    44. bfriley76
      January 28th, 2010 | 10:30 am

      MJ wrote:

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      It’s pathetic when the Rays take your best offensive outfielder because you couldn’t pony up $5M extra.

      But would it have been $5 million extra for the Yankees. Sure, Damon may end up signing a $7 million contract now that the Yankees have moved on, but can we know for sure that he would have accepted that from NY?

      From Sherman at the NY Post:

      In the middle of last week, Damon called Yankees officials in New York, The Post has learned. Steinbrenner was on his honeymoon. However, a top Yankees executive told Damon that if he accepted a $6 million deal with $3 million deferred that Steinbrenner could, perhaps, be convinced to approve that; though many Yankees officials remain sure that the young Boss would never budge off of $2 million.

      But like all previous concepts, Damon considered this latest idea unacceptable after he had a strong 2009 in which he made $13 million. The Damon camp, according to sources, continued to float that they had offers in the two-year, $19 million range that Bobby Abreu received from the Angels. Boras yesterday called Damon “a great player” who has a market.

      http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/yankees/divorce_leaves_both_sides_hurting_Xp931a3HABwWZn0as0AHCK

    45. Corey
      January 28th, 2010 | 10:33 am

      MJ wrote:

      Corey wrote:
      I mean, it is possible that Cashman believed Damon wore out his welcome, no?
      If that’s the case, Cashman should be fired. Personal dislike is not a good enough reason to not bring back a player as productive as Damon.
      For the record, I don’t think that’s what happened here. I very highly doubt that Cashman would let personal feelings get in the way of what’s best for his ballclub.

      Or perhaps it’s not just his thoughts, and its the thoughts of the whole team? Just playin devil’s advocate, throwin out different scenarios.

    46. GDH
      January 28th, 2010 | 11:07 am

      @ Evan3457:
      I can accept the #2 hitter argument, but if the two sides really were that far apart (ie. 1 year, 5-7 M or 2/19M) then Cashman is simply doing the math and calculating that with Johnson he gets most of what he gets for Damon offensively at a third of the price, and Damon’s OF defense is pathertic and easily replaceable.

      It’s either that or Boras pissed him off (quite possible).

      That said, we would all do well to remember that as well liked and productive as Damon is, he is NOT a loyalist. He has repeatedly gone to whatever team pays the most, even if just a little more.

    47. YankCrank
      January 28th, 2010 | 11:29 am

      I’ve had a day to digest the outcome of this signing and I have a couple conclusions.

      1. Shame on both Brian Cashman and the Johnny Damon/Scott Boras camp. The Yankees are clearly a better team with Johnny Damon and Johnny Damon is clearly going to be a more valuable player as part of a Yankee lineup and in Yankee Stadium. Maybe the Yankees really had a budget they wanted to stick to, maybe Cashman was sick of Boras’ crap, maybe Damon should have accepted a large pay cut and Boras shouldn’t have played his usual game deep in January, idk. All I know is this is now a lose/lose situation for both parties. Too bad.

      2. With that being said, it’s time to move on. Damon will be on another team and now we need look at Randy Winn, who does have value in his game. Winn is an above-average defender at both corners, he’s above average on the base path and if we look at his low BABIP against lefties last year (.178), he can be a decent candidate for a bounceback.

      He’s a switch hitting OFer who will bat 9th when he’s playing, can steal a base off the bench, is a good late-inning defensive sub and if his poor 2009 was more of a declining year than an off year, you can DFA him. Lot’s of flexibility with the Winn situation.

      3. I’ll miss Johnny, and always remember where I was when I learned he signed with the Yankees. Idk if i’ve ever been more surprised with anything in my entire life.

    48. MJ
      January 28th, 2010 | 11:48 am

      Corey wrote:

      Or perhaps it’s not just his thoughts, and its the thoughts of the whole team? Just playin devil’s advocate, throwin out different scenarios.

      Not sure what you mean here. I’ve never seen a single report that claimed Damon wasn’t well-liked by his teammates or employers. Apart from a run-in with Randy Johnson in 2006 — and who hasn’t had a run-in with RJ at some point? — I never saw anything negative.

      Unless I misunderstood what you meant, I think you’re pulling stuff out of thin air. Devil’s advocate is fine but shouldn’t it be based on something at least remotely tangible or possible?

    49. MJ
      January 28th, 2010 | 11:52 am

      bfriley76 wrote:

      But would it have been $5 million extra for the Yankees. Sure, Damon may end up signing a $7 million contract now that the Yankees have moved on, but can we know for sure that he would have accepted that from NY?

      Would it have only been an extra $5M for the Yanks? I don’t know. But if Damon wants to be employed by a ballclub this year, that’s what he’ll likely be signing for. Hence, that’s what it was always going to be for the Yanks too.

      I don’t blame the Yanks for not bidding against themselves here. The market is clearly no more than $7M/year right now. Where I blame the Yanks is for letting $5M separate them from a good ballplayer when the alternatives are clearly not as good.

    50. Evan3457
      January 28th, 2010 | 12:20 pm

      MJ wrote:

      @ Evan3457:
      The Giants wanted Nick Johnson? Great, he should’ve been allowed to sign in SF.
      I don’t buy the argument that the market for “#2 hitters” was exclusively Damon and Johnson. It’s just a lineup slot, not a position. Sure, Damon fits great in the #2 hole and, sure, on paper, Nick Johnson’s high OBP game fits there as well. But you can really hit anyone #2. We saw Cano up there several times between 2005-2008, we saw Melky up there and, if memory serves, we even saw A-Rod there a few times in 2006 when he was slumping.
      I very much doubt that Damon would’ve had increased leverage with the Yankees based exclusively on a slot in the lineup. Not one single other team has made a public offer to Damon as of 1/27/10 and I can’t think of a single time where a free agent’s leverage has been tied not to a team need but to a specific lineup slot.
      Assuming that no teams have made concrete offers to Damon — a relatively safe assumption — then Damon would’ve had no more leverage had Johnson signed in SF.
      I’m just not buying your argument.

      The OBP at #2 is the whole point.

      Of course, “anyone can bat #2″. The Yanks could bat Posada there. They could bat Cervelli #2. They could bat Mariano there. That’s not desirable.

      I can’t think of another hitter on the market (besides Johnson) with that skill at that level for that price. Maybe I’m missing someone. Cashman and his analysts may have seen the market as two, and only two hitters, and he might have come to the conclusion that he wasn’t going to let Boras put him over the barrel after Johnson signed somewhere.

      What was the leverage? The leverage would be that the Yanks intend to win the title every year, and having a weak #2 would hinder that measurably.

    51. MJ
      January 28th, 2010 | 1:01 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      Assuming there were only two choices for the Yanks — Johnson or Damon — and Johnson had signed elsewhere, I still don’t see the leverage Boras would have over the Yankees if no other team made a concrete offer to his client.

      Remember, as of yesterday afternoon, the Yanks were the only team that had made any public offers to Johnny Damon, first for 2Y/$20M, then for 2Y/$14M. I fail to see Boras’s leverage in the scenario you’ve created.

      -Separately-

      Evan3457 wrote:

      I can’t think of another hitter on the market (besides Johnson) with that skill at that level for that price.

      The following 10 playes were free agents with an OBP over .355:

      Marco Scutaro
      Hideki Matsui
      Felipe Lopez
      Adam LaRoche
      Nick Johnson
      Orlando Hudson
      Matt Holliday
      Chone Figgins
      Johnny Damon
      Jason Bay

    52. Evan3457
      January 28th, 2010 | 10:05 pm

      Cross off:

      Scutaro (not signing to DH, offense likely headed for a dropoff in 2010 as 2009 was a career outlier)

      Matsui (didn’t trust his knees to keep him originally, and signed quickly with the Angels, so he was no longer on the table by late December).

      Lopez (career OBP of .338; not signing him for DH, desire from year-to-year questionable)

      LaRoche (career OBP .343, more like a #6 hitter than a #2 hitter)

      Orlando Hudson (not signing him for DH, he’s not signing to back up Cano)

      Matt Holliday (too expensive, obviously)

      Chone Figgins (ditto)

      Jason Bay (ditto, ditto)

      ….and you’re back to Damon and Johnson.

    53. Evan3457
      January 28th, 2010 | 10:10 pm

      Again, the leverage is simply this: with Johnson off the market, there is no other #2 type high OBP hitter available for anywhere near that price. Boras would know this, and wait until the Yanks were desperate.

      It is the Yanks’ need to win every season that creates the organization mania about not leaving holes in the lineup and rotation (i.e., they bid against themselves, and there need not be another offer).

      Whether Cashman could’ve waited longer for Damon under those circumstances is debateable. Maybe he would’ve.
      ============================
      LaRoche was a possible alternative. Is he better than Johnson? Maybe. I don’t know. More durable, certainly. It would appear he was not the type of hitter the Yanks were looking for. They never seriously considered him. Not sure why.

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