In Posada’s injury there have been disturbing implications that Girardi could reside among the group of blinkered skippers. Posada’s shoulder strain, which apparently will not force him to the disabled list, was said to interfere with his throwing, not his hitting. The possibility existed, then, that even if the injury prevented him from getting behind the plate for an extended period of time, he would still be able to swing the bat as the designated hitter.
Girardi apparently rejected this suggestion, not wanting to remove Hideki Matsui from his DH role. By extension, this also means that he did not want to move Matsui to left field (a position he has proved healthy enough to play) and bench Johnny Damon. This would have been a tremendous misjudgment. In his career, Damon has rarely been much more than a slightly above-average hitter at the best of times, and a below-average hitter at his worst and the minimum contribution expected from his bat has only risen as Damon has shifted to left field, more of a power position than center. Last year, major-league left fielders batted .277 AVG/.347 OBA/.453 SLG. The year before they hit .278/.354/.464.
It is doubtful that Damon’s hitting will rise to that level. It did not last year, it has not over the course of his career, and it has not during the present season. Posada, however, should reach those numbers with ease, though he is older and unlikely to repeat last year’s .338 batting average. A .277/.380/.478 hitter, he is more likely to come closer in failing to reach them than Damon. The Yankees would also gain an additional benefit from shifting Damon to the bench, adding the pinch runner and outfield substitute they are lacking.
What do you think?