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Johnny Damon

It should be amazingly obvious at this point that I am a huge Yankees fan, and nothing makes me happier than seeing a guy on our team get treated fairly when it comes to his contract renewal which is why, and stick with me on this, I am ok with Johnny Damon not being resigned for two years at 22 million dollars.  Damon hit .282 with 24 homers last year and was a big part of our latest World Series victory, however, Damon is 36 years old, couldn't throw out Cecil Fielder at the plate, and has a bum leg (don't forget, he wasn't even on the field when the last out was recorded).  I admit that I was a little down when I initially heard that the Yanks had shot down his demands, but once I found that he wanted an average of 11 million for the next two years for a guy who would probably be a DH as well as a pinch hitter and spell some corner outfielders I wasn't terribly depressed anymore.
The Yankees have been saying for quite some time that they are hoping to keep their payroll at $200 million or less and with the moves they have made, they have a solid outfield and are right at their desired payroll.  I was listening to the Micahel Kay show the day they signed Winn and he made a great point, the Yankees aren't looking to find one guy to replace Damon, and we can't just compare Winn to Damon.  What we need to do is take a look at the entire outfield this year and see how it stacks up to last year's outfield.

Center Field -
Last year - Melky and Gardner - Between the two of them the Yanks got a .272 avg, 16 hr's, 91 RBI, and 36 stolen bases.  Last year Curtis Granderson hit .249 with 30 hr's , 71 rbi, and 20 stolen bases in Detroit.  I am almost certain that batting in this stadium with this lineup that his average jumps up to about .285, his hr total to go up a few to about 35, and his rbi total to be somewhere around 100.  Not that Detroit had a horrific lineup but there was no where near the amount of protection for a hitter like him that he will have with A-Rod, Jeter, Tex, Damon, Posada, and Cano batting around him.  As far as I am concerned, we have upgraded center field dramatically.

Left Field -
Last year - Johnny Damon - Damon hit .282 with 24 hr's 82 rbi, and 12 stolen bases.  Johnny also cost us $13 million, is 36 years old, and like I said before is aging drastically between his throwing arm and what he used to be most known for (other than the beard) his legs.  The 12 stolen bases (17 less than 2008) is only the beginning of the signs that he just can't move the way he used to.  If you watched the season as closely as I did you started seeing a lot more balls drop in front of him or get over his head than you used to. 
This year - My guess is you will see a platoon between Randy Winn and Brett Gardner - Winn batted .262 with 2 hr's, 51 rbi and 16 stolen bases, and oh yeah by the way - Winn signed for $2 million, and understands his role on the team.

Right field -
Mr. Swisher will remain in right field and I couldn't be happier about it.  I liked him when he was out in Oakland and love the fact that he came over to the Bronx. 

After looking over these stats and comparing the seasons I don't see a down grade in overall talent roaming the alleys in the outfield in The Bronx this year.  Another thing to remember is that the Yankees do not need to have a huge offensive out burst from their outfielders like other teams, their infield supplies a huge amount of power between A-Rod and Tex, along with Posada and Cano.

I don't blame Damon for wanting to get paid like a he did when he was younger, as wekk as try and prove that he is still as valuable as he was when he was younger.  Try and think of the way your father's are or were once they started getting a little older and wanted your help but sure as hell did not need it.  I was at my parent's house Saturday to clear the snow from their sidewalks and driveway because my father is going in for back surgery on Monday morning, and he could not help but grab a shovel and follow me around.  I liken Damon's attitude to that of an everyday man, except for the fact that he is only in his mid 30's as opposed to his mid 50's. 

Eric Rush

1 comment:

  1. You don't see a downgrade? You are quite an optimist.

    Out - Matsui, Damon, Nady, Cabrera, Hinske.

    In - Granderson, Winn (if he even makes the major league roster).