"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Shave and a Haircut

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 . . .

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver