"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

“Fra-gee-lei” . . . that must be Italian!

2003 Topps Nick Johnson (Topps All-Star Rookie) [Note: this was Johnson's only regular issue Topps card as a Yankee, his 2004 card showed him in an Expos uniform.]Mere days after Hideki Matsui agreed to join the Angels on a one-year contract worth $6 million, the Yankees have come to terms with Nick Johnson on a one-year deal worth a reported $5.75 million plus incentives to replace Matsui as their designated hitter. The decision to sign Johnson, so it seems to me, was less one the Yankees had made entering the offseason and more one that was made as a result of other decisions made by and about departing free agents Matsui and Johnny Damon.

Though many believe Matsui signed with the Angels because Halos manager Mike Scioscia promised him the opportunity to play left field once or twice a week (though, actually, Scioscia only promised him an opportunity in Spring Training to prove he could still play the field, which he likely can’t), and The Daily NewsMark Fiensand reported late last night that the Yankees opted not to resign Matsui primarily because of the state of his knees, I have another theory.

Based on a piece by Matsui’s agent Arn Tellem that appeared on the Huffington Post on Wednesday, I believe Matsui took the Angels’ offer without giving the Yankees a chance to match or beat it because he was afraid the Yankees, who had been focusing on negotiating with Johnny Damon, might either not make an offer (true if you believe Fiensand’s unnamed source), or might take enough time doing so that the Angels would rescind their offer. Here are the key passages from Tellem:

Hideki’s overriding concerns have always been winning and playing for a quality organization. Over his 17 seasons in pro ball, his only two teams have been the Yankees and the Yomiuri Giants. Each is the premier franchise in its respective league. Beyond the Yanks, his preferences were the Angels and the Boston Red Sox, two dominating franchises with superb players, coaches and management. But with David Ortiz entrenched as Boston’s everyday designated hitter, the Red Sox were never a real option.


Hideki chose to accept Angel’s offer rather than wait for Yankees to decide whether they wanted to bring him back. Failure to act quickly might have caused L.A. to withdraw its offer and forced Hideki to sign with a weaker team, thus forfeiting a shot at another World Series. Conflicted, Hideki stayed up all Sunday night mulling his final move in this limited game of musical free-agent chairs. He didn’t want to be left standing.

Now, I realize that almost everything an agent says in public is spin, but I see no reason for Tellem to basically admit to being the first to blink in a game of contract chicken other than having actually done so.

The catch here is that, while the Yankees might have preferred to bring back Johnny Damon as their designated hitter (he’s clearly no longer qualified to play the field, either), Damon has been firm in his desire for a contract that comfortably exceeds Bobby Abreu’s two-year, $19 million re-up with the Angels in both years and annual salary. The Yankees have wisely balked at Damon’s demands, which suddenly left them searching for option C.

Enter Nick Johnson, the once and future Yankee. As an underpowered on-base machine, Johnson is a good fit as a replacement for Damon in the number-two hole in the Yankee lineup, and as an oft-injured, defensively challenged first baseman who hit just eight homers last year in 574 plate appearances, he was willing to take a one-year deal with a base salary even lower than Matsui’s.

That’s all well and good, but there are a lot of reasons to be underwhelmed if not outright dissatisfied with the Johnson signing. First and foremost among them is his fragility. Yes, Johnson’s on-base percentage of .426 was surpassed only by MVPs Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols among qualifying batters in 2009, but it’s getting into the batters’ box in the first place that has been the challenge for Johnson. The 133 games he played in this past season were the second most of his major league career and he played just 38 games over the previous two seasons combined.

Here’s a quick look at Johnson’s injury history:

  • 1998: separated shoulder (out six weeks)
  • 2000: unknown left hand/wrist injury (missed entire season)
  • 2002: bone bruse in left wrist (missed three weeks)
  • 2003: fractured right hand (missed two months)
  • 2004: back (missed first two months); broken cheekbone (missed last six weeks)
  • 2005: bone bruse in right heel (missed a month)
  • 2006-7: broken right femur (suffered late September ’06, it wiped out his entire ’07 season)
  • 2008: torn ligaments and tendons in wrist (ended season in mid-May)
  • 2009: strained right hamstring (missed two weeks)

Johnson has had his share of fluke injuries, chief among them the foul ball that bounced back up and broke his cheekbone in 2004 and the broken leg he suffered in a collision with right fielder Austin Kearns in 2006, but the frequency and severity of his injuries is no fluke. Johnson is truly fragile and when he breaks he takes longer to heal than most players (to cite two recent examples, he was expected to return from his soft-tissue injury in 2008, but didn’t, and that broken leg, which kept him out of action for more than a calendar year, also took far longer to heal properly than was anticipated).

So, yes, Johnson’s on-base skills (.402 career OBP) would look mighty fine in the two hole, helping to set the table for Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, but there’s a good chance the Yankees will need someone else to fill that spot for a significant portion of the coming season, and if that person is Curtis Granderson (who would otherwise likely hit fifth behind Rodriguez), they’ll need someone else to take Granderson’s spot lower in the order.

The other concern about Johnson is that he slugged just .405 last year and hit just 13 home runs in 721 plate appearances over the last two seasons. Certainly being a lefty hitter in the New Yankee Stadium will help him get some Johnny Damon-style cheapies, but one wonders if his history of hand and wrist injuries, most crucially that soft-tissue injury in 2008 which took forever to heal, might have sapped his power for good. Johnson was never a big-time home-run threat, but in 2006, his best major league season, he slugged .520 with 23 homers and 46 doubles, numbers the Nick Johnson we saw in 2009 looked incapable of ever matching (and bear in mind that both of his home stadiums in 2009 rated as above average for lefty power hitters per the 2010 Bill James Handbook).

It’s being widely reported that the Johnson signing will end the Yankees’ pursuit of Damon, as well it should given Damon’s defensive limitations and the fact that, with Mark Teixeira in place, Johnson’s only position is DH. That doesn’t mean that the Yankees are set for 2010. One rumor that intrigues me concerns their interest in the similarly injury-prone Ben Sheets. Right now the Yankees’ rotation consists of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain (finally untethered by innings limits), and Phil Hughes (who will have an innings limit), with Chad Gaudin, who made some great strides with his slider after working with Dave Eiland late last year, lingering as a sixth starter/Hughes caddy. Looking at that and factoring in utility pitcher Alfredo Aceves and prospect Zach McAllister, who will start 2009 in Triple-A, I don’t feel that the Yankees need another starter. However, given the potential for injury in the rotation as assembled–particularly to the two kids, Pettitte, who will be 38 in June, and Burnett, who has yet to fully shake his own injury history despite finally turning in consecutive healthy seasons–I wouldn’t mind the Yankees taking a Johnson-like gamble on Sheets, who has tremendous upside and, after sitting out all of 2009 following elbow trouble, has very little leverage for a long-term or even a particularly pricey short-term deal.

The big fish still out there in the pond, however, is Matt Holliday. I’ve been regrettably absent from the Banter since the end of the World Series, but those who have been following my frequent twitter updates know that my proposed plan for the Yankees this offseason started with Holliday, who is as perfect a fit for the Yankees’ left-field hole as Mark Teixeira was for their first-base hole a year ago. The acquisition of Curtis Granderson has allayed the need for Holliday, but unless the Yankees plan to play Granderson in left and let Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner continue to battle it out for the center field job, the Yankees’ left field hole persists.

I had given up hope of the Yankees signing Holliday Tuesday morning when Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the Cardinals had offered him an eight-year deal, but that afternoon, Buster Olney reported that the Cardinals were holding fast at five years. Holliday is a lesser player than Teixeira and there are still doubts about his ability to produce in the American League, but he is an excellent all-around player (hits for average with power and patience, good in the field, decent speed on the bases) and won’t turn 30 until next month, and the new Yankee Stadium was every bit as friendly to righty power hitters in its first season as it was to lefties. He’s well worth a five-year deal even if the annual salary creeps toward $20 million. Unlike with Teixeira, there seems to be little to no threat of the Red Sox moving in on Holliday should the Yankees fail to, but there is no superior outfielder scheduled to hit the market next offseason (Carl Crawford comes closest, but Holliday still has him beat and relies far less on his speed, a skill likely to fade as Crawford gets into his thirties).

The Yankees have said they don’t plan to pursue Holliday, but they said the same thing about Teixeira last year. Landing Holliday would make any contribution from Johnson a bonus. Failing to do so would make Johnson an important bat in the Yankee lineup, which is asking for trouble because there’s no guarantee he won’t break. I’d rather have rolled the dice on Matsui’s knees for one more year.

Tags:  Nick Johnson  Transactions

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1 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Dec 18, 2009 3:03 am

Hat tip to @leokitty on twitter for pointing out the Huffington Post piece.

2 thelarmis   ~  Dec 18, 2009 3:24 am

nick gets on base more than johnny, but johnny runs the bases much more betterer and hence, scores more runs. i wonder how that washes out...

some good holliday points in there... i wonder what cash has up his sleeve. if we do get holliday for LF, one of gritner or leche should/will be traded. i'd rather keep melky, even though he makes more (still, barely anything) and is more established (as far as trades go). i know the royales had interest in brett, but that may have dissipated by now. i'm sure hillman could use a pinch "stand there" (h/t mattpat!)

3 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 18, 2009 5:42 am

There was a lot of NJ discussion in the previous thread so I wont repeat it, but if he stays healthy, he will be very productive, and probably more productive than Matsui. While Johnson's litany of injuries is Pavano-ish, I think he will benefit from a mostly DH role, just as Matsui did last year. The Yankees have to be intimately familiar with Matsui's knees, so I don't think it is unreasonable to think that they simply decided to part company rather than they were caught off guard by his decision.

As for Holliday, sure, he'd be a nice signing, but even the Yankees can't throw out $20mn ($28mn to the Yankees because of the luxury tax) contracts like candy.

Finally, I wish I could recall where I saw it, but I recently read an article suggesting that not only does speed not decline faster as a skill, but it actually holds up better. Still, I wouldn't go crazy for Crawford.

4 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 18, 2009 6:17 am

[2] The Royals had interest in Gardner? Jeez..are they in some kind of "Brewster's Millions" situation where they HAVE to lose games??

Losing Matsui sucks for so many reasons..and not just TV schedule here! Let's just hope Nick j can keep that high OPB and not "clog the bases"!

5 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 6:30 am

[0] A more skeptical tale on this move than my own, but reasonable arguments. However, the following makes little sense to me:

but unless the Yankees plan to play Granderson in left and let Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner continue to battle it out for the center field job, the Yankees’ left field hole persists.

So, if I understand you correctly, Granderson in CF, Melky in LF = holes to fill, but Melky in CF, Granderson in LF = no holes to fill.


6 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 6:31 am

[5] "take" not "tale"

7 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 18, 2009 6:36 am

[6] You just corrected your own typo at 6:31am your time..you really ARE a professor I guess! :)

I don't see any reasons why we can't win with Melky LF, Curtis CF and Swish RF..enough O and D around the diamond...what am I missing?? Say NO to Holliday!

8 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 18, 2009 6:58 am

[4] They do need to replace Coco Crisp!

[5] I don't get that line of thinking. Granderson should be an all around above average CF'er, while Melky will could be a well above average defensive LF'er whose offense will probably lag (although it could get better). If not having a superstar at every position constitutes a hole, then I guess it's a valid view point, but otherwise, you can't discount the defensive upgrade of Melky-Grandy versus Damon-Melky. The Red Sox are being lauded for the Cameron move solely on that kind of defensive upgrade.

9 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 18, 2009 6:58 am

[7] No Holiday? What a grinch!

10 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 18, 2009 7:02 am

[6] [7] I type so fast and am often so eager to post that way too many typos get by...sometimes I even incoherently meld two thoughts into one.

Then again, consider this Bit of trivia

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

11 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 18, 2009 7:15 am

[10] Well gash durn Cletus, that dun meen we may bee sumart after all! :) Shame that is not true about writing Japanese..one mistaken character can make your whole sentence change meaning or become nonsensical.

Holliday is a good player but signing him to that kind of Giambi-type deal seems a mistake to me..they can win with the all-20s OF of Melky, Curtis and Swisher!

12 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Dec 18, 2009 7:47 am

[5] If Melky is your left-fielder you're below average at the position. I consider that a hole. Melky was able to produce at the level of an average CF in 2009, however, so if he's in center, no hole. I understand why that seems weird, but it's about ease of upgrade. It's hard to find a more productive CF (though they have in Granderson), but easy to find a more productive LF. If LF is where they stick Melky, they could have done better: hole.

13 wsporter   ~  Dec 18, 2009 8:07 am

I have a hard time analyzing these moves in a vacuum. I think the point is IF the Yankees have nothing else besides Nick at the 2 hole they are vulnerable because of his long injury history (especially to his hands or writs). However it's December we really don't know what the finished product will be. Will they make a move for Hallady, will Damon be back, how ready will Miranda and or Vasquez be to fill in during the year, will DeRosa or someone like him be brought in?

Fundamentally I like this move because of the skills Nick brings and the sentimental tug of having him back . His injury history is worrisome. I think the grade on this just like the full grade on Granderson has to be incomplete until the product is finished.

I agree with Cliff's conclusion though: if this is the ultimate move on the hitting side of things it leaves the Yankees vulnerable.

14 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 8:19 am

From the Fangraphs link:
Randy Winn Giants: 20.1
J.D. Drew Red Sox: 15.7
Juan Rivera Angels: 15.0
Matt Holliday: 6.0
Curtis Granderson Tigers: 1.6
Nick Swisher Yankees: -1.7
Melky Cabrera Yankees: -2.0
Bobby Abreu Angels:-10.7
Johnny Damon Yankees: -12.1
Jacoby Ellsbury Red Sox: -18.3
Vernon Wells Toronto: -18.7
Brad Hawpe Rockies: -25.9

So.... an OF of Randy Winn, J.D. Drew and Juan Rivera would be one of the very best in MLB? (with a 17-ish)

And the 2009 Yankees OF averaged in the -5 range?

And Jacoby Ellsbury (-18.7) along with Vernon Wells (-18.3) is really one of the very worst in the game (quite a bit worse then Boobie Abreu)?

I love stats, and my eyes aren't what they used to be, but

15 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 8:25 am

Over his last 3 years (06,08,09), Nick's HRs have been 22 away and 14 at home.
I wonder if that will change a bit in YSIII.
I'll bet he hits more HRs (barring injury) then JD does in 2010
I'm guessing 16 HRs or better for Nick.

16 The Hawk   ~  Dec 18, 2009 8:42 am

[0] The acquisition of Curtis Granderson has allayed the need for Holliday, but unless the Yankees plan to play Granderson in left and let Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner continue to battle it out for the center field job, the Yankees’ left field hole persists.

Okay this keeps coming up and maybe I'm missing something. But if Granderson is a suitable Holliday replacement, what difference does it make where he plays? The line-up is exactly the same whether he's in LF or Cabrera is. It just seems crazy to me to find the OF wanting, unless two of the guys exchange where they stand out there, then it's okay. Is the convention of having a LF with some pop so strong that having that same guy in CF instead is somehow a crisis?

Am I missing something? Seriously!

17 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Dec 18, 2009 8:43 am

[16] see [12]

18 The Hawk   ~  Dec 18, 2009 8:45 am

[5] I see you already asked the same question as [16], but you'll forgive me if by repetition, this switcheroo concept has addled my mind a bit (more) and so yes ... I jumped the gun!

19 The Hawk   ~  Dec 18, 2009 8:46 am

[17] I'm way behind. It's emotions.

20 The Hawk   ~  Dec 18, 2009 8:48 am

[17] [12] Haha, you've explained it well enough for me to be pretty sure I'm not missing anything and indeed it doesn't make a lot of sense! No offense but that's a can't-see-the-forest-for-the-trees issue, I think.

21 wsporter   ~  Dec 18, 2009 8:49 am

[16] "It just seems crazy to me to find the OF wanting, unless two of the guys exchange where they stand out there, then it’s okay."

Pardon my interruption and I know your question is directed elsewhere but I couldn't help remember and observe that it was thoughts and questions like that that made me realize that the U.S. Army was not the place for me!

Please accept my apology and carry on.

22 Paul   ~  Dec 18, 2009 8:51 am

I see this signing slightly differently. They've gotten a guy, at the same production, who can occasionally play the field, but for slightly less money. But they've also kept NJ away from teams that could start Casey Kotchman at 1B. With Matsui, it seems like a wash. And OBP ages very well. Even if his power doesn't come back, he's a nice complementary player especially at #2 or even at #5.

As for LF, fast forward one year. Mauer and Lee plus Jeter and Mo. That's alot of money especially since the Sox have just as much of a need for Mauer as the Yanks. Why waste it on an overrated guy like Holliday when they could get decent enough production from Melky and Hoffman. Sure, it's a hole. But they went into 2009 with a hole in CF. That didn't turn out too badly, did it?

23 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 8:51 am

[12] I understand the concept of offensive production by position, but that logic dissolves once the players have been acquired. Let's say that Granderson was acquired as the LF. You would have been happy enough, figuring he gives adequate production at LF and Melky gives adequate production in CF. Then in the middle of the season, Girardi decides to switch them in the field--now you have Melky at below average production for LF, but Granderson at above average production in CF...and overall the team's offense is the same. At that point it doesn't matter what position each is playing.

Or look at it another way, a team that is winning with Melky in CF and Granderson in LF is not going to suddenly lose with Granderson in CF and Melky in LF.

Or look at it a third way, if the team is satisfied (offensively) with an OF of Melky, Granderson, and Swisher, it doesn't matter at which position each plays (with regards to offense).

So, if Melky is such a hole in LF but is adequate in CF, then the team should not have bothered going after Granderson, right? They should have focused entirely on filling LF, since Granderson + Melky is not an adequate offensive combo for CF + LF (regardless how configured).

In any case, this will all soon be "mute," because there is no way the team plays this season with Melky starting in LF (or CF). Finding even an adequate LF will be relatively easy...indeed, look no further than Xavier Nady (for all of his flaws).

24 The Hawk   ~  Dec 18, 2009 8:54 am

[21] Not at all; thank you for your input.

25 The Hawk   ~  Dec 18, 2009 8:56 am

[22] I really doubt that Mauer is going to leave the Twins. I'd be surprised.

26 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 18, 2009 8:58 am

Great headline, and analysis, Cliff. We're watching "A Christmas Story" with the kids this weekend.

Perhaps Damon will be back in play after Nick breaks his hand signing the contract.

I kid, I kid, bring back the *OBP!

*Oft-Broken Player!

27 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:03 am

I have argued for awhile that with the enormously strong production NY gets from ss/2base, it just alters the assessment of needs. We do not fit the normal paradigm of power at the OF corners, weak sticks and D in the middle infield. We also have massive production at 3base, and only a few teams do these days. (Consider that Beltre is in line for 10 million plus.) So I am much less worried about 'holes' in LF, say than some people. I'd look at the overall offensive production, not isolated positions.

I see NJ for Godzilla as obviously swapping one fragility for another. Though I note that reading 'Nick Johnson' and 'medical clearance' in a sentence is awfully funny. I do find the story about why Matsui went quickly to LA interesting: he wants to win, period. I'd be surprised (frankly) if his agent hadn't at least called Cashman to say Hideki was ready to jump - for this reason - and did NY have anything to say?

28 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:04 am

[23] You get to the heart of it, monkeypants. I think the Yankees should have prioritized Holliday over Granderson, not that I won't love Curtis in pinstripes, but yes, that's really the issue, I suppose. That and the fact that Brett Gardner's still the best CF on the team, and likely a more productive hitter than Melky, but would you put Gardner in left? Wouldn't that seem like a hole?

29 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:04 am

monkey ... yes, Nady really is the forgotten man here, isn't he? And he doesn't deserve to be entirely written off. Agreed.

30 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:06 am

I will conservatively say, over the next 5 years, Melky's AAV will be AT LEAST $5m. I believe Holliday would jump on 6/$102m ($17m AAV) and he might be had for 5/$90m ($18m AAV)

The NJ aquisition has thrown me off a bit, but I believe Cashman has been targeting Holliday all along. It's the main reason why he did not resign Matsui. So if we trade Melky (and we would be selling high), Hollday costs the team a net $13m AAV.

While I have been one of the strongest voices here to stay away from long contracts, as Cliff says, a Holliday deal mirrors the situation of the Teix deal. It is a perfect fit, and there is no 2011 OFer in sight. If also offers the flexibility we need, as we will not need a full-time DH in 2011.

Swapping Melky for Holliday and paying an extra $13m is a NO-BRAINER. The 3 or 4 extra Wins he brings could literally be the difference between making the PS or not. I believe Holliday pushes us from very good to Dynasty, with our only need over the next 4 years being starting Pitching and Jesus Montero behind the plate (and maybe a SS in the 4th year).

Jeter, Nick, Teix, ARod, Holliday, Granderson, Posada, Cano, Swisher/Gardner/Pena.
Sick... just sick! Really... salivate over then lineup a bit.

At 30, there is a chance that NJ's wrist was still healing in 2009, and he might have a little more pop in 2010. Conversely, Matsui at 35, had his knees drained THREE times, without ever once taking the field. I can't say NJ will be better then Matsui in 2010, but I believe the odds are in his favor. I love the guy and love his bat, so I am very pleased (with my fingers crossed).

31 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:10 am

[28] I'm just using Melky as a convenience. I'm in a minority on this site (among posters), but I think that Gardner is probably the better player than Melky. So, I would start Gardener over Melky.

Now you ask, would I put Gardner in LF? Why not? Sure, I prefer to put him in CF and Granderson in LF, but if it keeps Granderson happy to patrol CF, I don't see too much downside.

Actually, what I would try to do now is package Melky or Gardner in a trade, whichever commands more value and then stick the leftover in LF or, ideally, sign a cheap corner OF and move Melky/Gardner to the bench next to Hoffman.

32 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:11 am

[27] Obviously the Yankees' "problems" are exaggerated by analysis such as the above, they just won the World Series with the majors' best offense and highest payroll, but winning it all isn't so easy that you can afford to let opportunities to improve skate by. You never know when injury or performance collapse is going to strike, or when your opponents are going to have everything go right at once.

Saying that having above average production on the far right of the defensive spectrum (C, SS, 2B etc.) means the Yankees don't have to worry as much about the far left (DH, LF, RF) is a mistake. The advantage on the right of the spectrum is only and advantage if they're up to par on the left. Otherwise it all evens out and they've spent their advantage. What's more, an above average SS/2B isn't as productive as an above average LF/RF (save for the Chase Utleys and Hanley Ramirez's of the world), so being strong only on the far right of the spectrum is actually the recipe for a weaker offense (not that that's the case for the Yankees, but that's where that argument heads . . .).

33 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:13 am

[30] But, OYF, Cashman has been making noise that signings this year are definitely being made with next year's FA market in mind. Jeter and Mo are FAs at the end of next season, and there are some other big fish as well. Is Holladay worth so much this year that the team risk potentially not resigning Jeter or Mo and/or other players the organization may have targeted?

34 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:13 am

[29] He really does deserve to be written off. Really.

35 The Hawk   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:16 am

[27] I've often thought the same thing. When you're getting 100(+) HRs from your IF, for instance, the need to totally stack your OF is lessened somewhat. Now you have a CF and RF that will probably get you another 60 HR, LF's need to be a big stick is almost entirely mitigated.

36 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:16 am

[34] This season, would you rather have Melky in LF at around 4 million, or Nady in LF for around the same amount or a couple million more?

37 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:19 am

[36] Is there a third option? I think I'd actually go with Melky because of his superior defense and the remaining chance that he could improve. Nady is what he is and it's very very ordinary (and bad in the field).

38 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:22 am

Fair enough. I figure Nady gives around .800 OPS, while Melky will be lucky to match last season's .750. Is the difference in defense that great? That's not a rhetorical question...I dont know.

Third option...Rick Ankiel, assuming last season's disaster was a fluke/injury driven?

39 Paul   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:26 am

[25] Then, why hasn't he signed yet?

[28] I think you're missing the big point. Granderson over Holliday saves them at least $75M. Wouldn't you rather be put on a guy like Mauer or Lee than on Holliday. Maybe it's not an either/or, but the team does seem to be at least aware of a budget.

Still, I choose Curtis every time. He's going to crush at home and even against lefties. On the road, he's going to be top 5. Just a fantastic acquisition for peanuts - dollars and prospects.

40 Paul   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:30 am

[38] Melky is 25 years old. It's not out of the question that he takes a step forward. He reminds me of Juan Rivera. Some years up, some down, but overall he's not going to kill you.

I'm fine with Gardner too. If he were on the Sox, he'd be "OMG not Ellsbury for A-Gon!" Seriously, compare their 2009 road numbers.

41 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:36 am

Nady is AWFUL (well, in my world view where average = awful). Stop talking about him PLEASE. He had one - ONE - very good 1/2 season. And that's it. Reversion to the mean is a powerful thing.

Anyway, I STILL WANT HOLLIDAY. Mauer will not be a FA, Crawford may or may not be, but in any case is not definitely better than Holliday (in fact strong arguments can be made in each's favor). SO that leaves Lee, plus our own (Jeter and Mo) who are not going anywhere.

Given NJ's injury propensity, if we're done on O then that's a mistake. Add in the fact that I still don't think that NJ + CG 2010 > Matsui + Damon 2009 (even factoring in D), and I simply won't be happy with this off season if we don't sign Holliday. Especially when it would appear that we can get Holliday for "only" 5 years...

42 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:37 am

After a time being a Yankee fan is really a distorted world. I am not in the 'it would be bullying' to sign Holliday (or have signed Halladay) but I do see some of the suggestions about perfect fit, and we need him as reflecting a sense of unlimited resources and that fuels the perception elsewhere of a game that might be broken.

I think Paul is right, To assess Grandy vs Holliday is to ignore 75 million. Who can do that? Well, maybe the Yankee fanbase, but it doesn't look as if Cashman is so instantly inclined. And do we have an inherent right to have an offense with ZERO weaknesses? A bench worth 40 million a year? The micro-analysis can take us that way. I'm reminded of Bottom in Midsummer Night's Dream: "Let ME play Thisbe, too!' Let ME have Holliday too!

I'd like him, I think he's a fit as much as OYF thinks so. But I'm not so sure we should be indulging ourselves with going after everyone who might fit at any cost. (I do see OYF's math, where he 'only' adds 13 million a year if Leche is spilled.)

Cliff, I'm not sure your analysis of 'spending' the infield (and catcher, as you say) bat advantage is really right, though I like the phrasing. I see it much more as not needing to get agitated about THIS team having its below-average production located in LF. I'm looking at overall run-production, spread across the projected lineup.

43 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:39 am

[22] In theory, OPS+ is adjusted for league and park.
Holliday, career OPS+: 133, wOBA .400 ($18m AAV)
Teixeira, career OPS+: 136, wOBA .391 ($22.5m AAV)
Mauer,, career OPS+: 136, wOBA .384 ($20+m AAV?)

Holliday might be considered overvalued if you take his numbers at face value, without considering the Coors Effect. So what if he is really a 128 OPS guys instead on 133? Maybe his 'real' career OPS is .875-.900 instead of (his actual) .933? Still a stud or not?

And I'm repeating myself, but for his career, Holliday's OPS against RHP is 75 pts higher then against LHP. Over his career, he hits approximately twice as many fly balls to RF and he hits to LF. He is one of the very few RH hitters who should play very well as YSIII.

FanGraphs has Holliday's AVERAGE VALUE over the last 3 years at $26m/yr. Even if you discount his value by 20%(!) due to the Coors/NL effect, he is still worth $18m/yr.

So, you don't want to give a LONG contract to Holliday, even though we have NO LFer on the farm in sight for years, but you will give a LONG contract to a Catcher while 4 of our top 10 prospects are Catchers?

And Mauer doesn't help us this year. Holliday all but guarantees us the PS (and more) in 2010.

Our farm is rich in arms and especially Catchers.... but is all but void of position players. Doesn't this have to be considered when looking forward?

44 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:44 am

[41] He had one – ONE – very good 1/2 season. And that’s it.

Yes. But he also had seasons with the following OPS totals:

.790, .813, .805, .867 and two other seasons at .760.

He's not "terrible," he's terribly average. And if the competition is between him and Melky, he starts to look a lot better by comparison, unless Melky improves a good deal with the stick (I'm skeptical, but it's certainly not impossible).

45 The Hawk   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:44 am

[39] I don't think Mauer hasn't signed because he intends to leave. Do you?

46 The Hawk   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:44 am

[39] I don't think Mauer hasn't signed because he intends to leave. Do you?

47 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:46 am

[44] damned open tag!

48 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:47 am

[45][46] HELLO! ::echo:: HELLO! ... Hello ... hello ... hell ... :: echo::

49 The Hawk   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:48 am

I always feel a strange kind of pride when I get a double post. Sure, it's luck - but it's also hard to do here. So bully for me.

50 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:50 am

[33] Jeter makes $22m this year. If/when he is re-signed (at age 37), unless then Yankees are INSANE, I would guess $4-7m comes off the books. If Mo is re-signed (at 41!), he can't cost more then $15m/yr, so again, I'll guess $2-3m should come off the books. Also, while ARod makes $32m this year, his AAV drops $12m over the next 7 years. ($1.7m/yr).

As for Cashman's statements.....
Where do you think the Military learned about 'STEALTH' technology from!

51 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:50 am

[22] Very good point on the total picture. NJ makes a ton of sense for Boston, while Matsui had no place to play there. That is a worthy consideration.

[28] Gardner doesn't have enough of a sample to be considered better at anything. If you want to call Melky a hole in LF that's fine, but what counts is the strength of the entire team. The Yankees may have a hole or two, but elsewhere they have these huge piles of dirt with which to fill in the empty space.

52 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:50 am

[44] As I said, average - especially in this context = awful. He's sufficiently close to Melky offensively, way way way worse defensively, and much more expensive. Added up, it's a non-starter. To sign him at this point would be a travesty.

Here's a wonderful quote from RAB:

"To not sign another left fielder, however, leaves the Yankees vulnerable. Nick Johnson comes with a long medical history, and is no guarantee to stay healthy the entire season. If something happens to him in 2010, the Yanks would be in a very tough spot. Without any further additions, they’d probably move Nick Swisher to DH and have an outfield of Cabrera, Granderson, and Brett Gardner. Defensively that’s stellar, but offensively it would be among the lightest hitting trios in the league. Further, imagine the lineup when Jorge needs a full day off. It’s not a scenario anyone wants to see."

I would amend the paragraph to read "WHEN something happens to [NJ] in 2010..."

Posada will likely need at least 40 and perhaps as many as 60 days not behind the plate. Maybe half of those will be a full day off. Do you really want 30 games with Melky, Gardner, and Cervelli in the lineup while NJ is hurt? I sure don't...

And this is not chicken little stuff. Planning an injury contingency plan has to be part of the thought process. The O as is leaves us on a razor thin edge.

53 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:50 am

[30] The reason Holliday is not akin to Teixiera is because the Yankees had a lot more money coming off the books (and fewer long term commitments).

A lot of the debate on this issue is circular. The key question is do the Yankees have a spending limit. If so, then signing Holliday is far from a no-brainer, and guys like Granderson and NJ have increased value. If not, then by all mean they should go out and sign Holliday this year, Mauer next year and whomever else the year after that.

54 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:51 am

[36] Does Defense enter this equaltion? Also, it has been stated here that full recovery after TWO TJ surgeries is around 30%.

55 Paul   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:53 am

"Add in the fact that I still don’t think that NJ + CG 2010 > Matsui + Damon 2009 (even factoring in D)"

I don't agree with that one bit. The Yankees got younger and saved significant money while upgrading their team. Compare the offense of the old guys with the new guys and it's a net gain, especially if you expect both to regress this year. Now add in defense and it isn't even close.

"Our farm is rich in arms and especially Catchers…. but is all but void of position players. Doesn’t this have to be considered when looking forward?"

Better to trade for a HOF catcher. Mid-season that might just be a possibility. And LFs that hit like Holliday are easily had. Catchers that hit like Mauer come around once a generation.

56 Paul   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:58 am

[45] Why hasn't he signed then? The Pohlad family certainly has the money if they want to spend it on one guy who is the organization.

57 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:06 am

OK ... here's the $64,000 question ....

Last year, Jeter led off and Damon batted 2nd ...

In 2010, I assume Jeter leads off again, but does slow-footed Nick the not-so-quick occupy the 2 hole?

58 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:08 am

[41] It would be hard for any two players to match that production. In fact, I doubt 2010 Matsui and Damon would be better than 2009 Matsui and Damon.

59 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:11 am

[54] Of course it does. But I do not know how much worse Nady is on defense such as to offset his (possible) advantages over Melky on offense. Also, why must we consider Nady a LF? Couldn't the Yankees swap Swisher into LF and put Nady into RF?

Look, I'm not a Nady fan. But if Melky/GArdner is such a hole in corner OF, and one is looking for a legitimate corner OF (or at least someone who *seems* like a corner OF), then there are worse options than Nady.

Ultimately, this is much ado about nothing, or at least very little. Melky just about league average last year (based on OPS+)...he is not really the "hole" that he is being made out to, and I am not his biggest fan. Yes, ideally the Yankees would get LF production from LF. But this all comes down to Granderson. If he slugs like he did two years ago, it won't matter at all...it will be like the 1998 team that won despite the very Melky-like Chad Curtis starting in LF.

I was more skeptical about Granderson when the deal was announced---you can check out my comments on these threads---but at this point all we can do is sit back and wait to see if Cashman had the crystal ball in good working order.

60 Paul   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:12 am

[57] I'd be surprised if Granderson doesn't quickly become the #2 hitter. Put NJ at #5 and let Jorge and Cano and then Swisher take shots at driving him in. But I'm sure this will be the one thing that Girardi tinkers with all Spring.

61 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:13 am

[57] Sure, why not? Heck, I would bat slow-footed Swisher second.

62 The Hawk   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:14 am

[56] So you think he's angling to leave the Twins?

63 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:15 am

[10] Vrey ncie, wlilaim!

64 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:15 am

I'm also not one bit convinced that they do not resign Damon and use him as the primary LF despite his atrocious defense. It all depends on the price tag.

65 The Hawk   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:15 am

[58] This is key. Sure, no-one knows the future, but I think it's a good bet Damon and Matsui were not, as a tandem, going to do as well in 2010 as in 2009. Particularly Damon.

66 Paul   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:16 am

On Nady, it ain't happening. Hoffman more than replicates his skillset and provides more flexibility. It's looking more and more like the Yankee offense is set. And I don't have one problem with it. They have OF depth and they went young on the bench. Maybe they pickup a Hinske but that's it.

One more pitcher (Sheets please) and then Cashman and Crew finally take their much needed, and deserved, vacation.

67 The Hawk   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:17 am

[66] Cosign.

68 Paul   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:19 am

[62] The Twins have given him no real choice, have they? They should be throwing $100M at him without blinking.

[64] Only if he signs a one-year deal. I don't see it.

69 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:24 am

I said: As for Cashman’s statements….. Where do you think the Military learned about ‘STEALTH’ technology from! (tough crowd here)

[42] Hoss... We both remember Gene Michael as the SS who mastered the hidden ball trick, as opposed to the 'office guy'. And I too do not like the sense of entitlement that many feel... and you know my posts favor being financial prudent. I believe Cashman wants a payroll under $200m(hopefully for a few years to come) and I agree.

However.... some facts need to be considered:
1) Our FIRST priority is winning the WS... every year. This is really an insane goal.... but that's it. Maybe it's better to Win with a $200m payroll then to lose with a $180m payroll?

2) It looks like the Sox payroll will be $160-170m this year... so our main competition is spending money also. And the Phillies, the guys who have been in the WS the last 2 years... just paid for Halliday

3) If we DON'T get Holliday this year, will we really carry a $5m LFer (Melky-ish) for he next 5 years? Or will we spend $10-12m on a LFer in 2011 or 2012?

4) Maybe the economy is a bit better for the FA class of 2011 and even better the next year. So, does waiting a year or 2 for a more 'Yankeelike' LFer make sense?

5) As mentioned, the Sox and Phillies got better. One year, we tied the Sox for the Division. A 3-4 Win swing could literally make a big difference to the PS outcome. This ain't horseshoes, right?

6) If we can get him for 5/$90, we get him for his age 30-34 years. This is not like the Giambi deal (to age 37)... and even with the Steroids and injuries, Giambi and his .925 OPS as a Yankee was worth $17m/AAV.

The (only?) one thing Cashman has said that I believe, is the talk about 'the right player'... the 'good fit'. Looking ahead, considering our farm, the type of player Holliday is (nice guy, gritty, and the PERFECT RH bat for YSIII), he is a GREAT fit. Really.

I want him Not because 'I want every great player', but because he is too good of a fit to turn down.

And I LOVE (as a fan) the idea of having the same starting lineup for the next 3 or 4 years, ONLY having to look at SP and Bench over the next 3-4 years, and unlike the Sox, not playing musical chairs with our players every year or 2.

Holliday is just TOO damn good a fit to turn down. You see this... yes?

70 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:24 am

A Hall-of-Fame tweet from Jonah Keri, on Keith Law's discussion of the term "OBP Jesus" for Nick Johnson:

If Nick Johnson is the OBP Jesus, that would explain why his body keeps dying for our sins.

71 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:26 am


Its our own ..... OBP .... Jesus .... someone to get on base, at good rates ...
(sorry, I must be in a depeche mode)

72 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:29 am

[55] Disagree completely. NJ's defense as an upgrade over Matsui's (non-existent) defense is almost entirely negated by the fact that we already have a gold glove all star at 1B. Yes, we can put NJ at 1B and DH Tex here and keep both bats in the lineup. But other combinations of players (including those we had last year) allowed us to keep Tex in the lineup on his 'off' days. And what is this going to happen, maybe 5 times over the course of a season?? 10 worst case?? Negligible value.

As for CG over Damon, of course, no doubt about it - CG's D is dramatically improved over Damons. However, if CG is in CF, then the more apt comparison is Melky in LF vs Damon in LF. Still a marked improvement, no doubt. But for that gain to swamp JD's offensive production advantage relies on several factors:

1) NJ staying healthy for more or less a full season. That has NEVER happened. Not once, ever.
2) CG learns how to hit lefties at even a league average level.
3) Both JD and Matsui's offensive production dropping fairly dramatically which, at YSIII would likely not have happened. Cannot simply point to their production in 2010 on other teams and say "see?" b/c we all know that both were tailor made for YSIII.

I see too that you want to bat NJ 5th? A guy with ZERO pop in his bat? Why so he can push guys over one bag? He'll be in the 2 hole where he belongs. IF he stays healthy that is.


73 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:33 am

[59] I'm not sure. And you are not qualifying Nady's injury status and his chances/ability to come back to being 'an averager' player.

Frankly, when you look at Gardner's speed, defense, age and salary, I would like to give him at least ONE year to see what he really has. I can't help but feel that just learning to bunt would increase his BA 25 points (and his OPS 50+ points). And with Gardy, because of SBs, you have to judge him by an wOBA type stat rather then just OPS.

Frankly, I think there is a 50/50 chance that Gardner could be more valuable then Nady (and Melky) at $0.5m/yr... and if we DO want to keep signing big FAs, it is very important to have/develop as many cheap players as possible.

74 rbj   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:35 am

Very underwhelmed by this move. He doesn't play the outfield, doesn't play the infield other than first, which is usually going to be manned by Teix. DH could be any bat or used as a half-day off for Posada, A-Rod, Teix, et al.,

Not sure what he adds to the team.

75 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:38 am

[69] The payroll will be just below $200mn without Holliday (assuming the Yankees allocate $7-10mn to a pitcher). If they add him, it will likely be closer to $220mn.

Also, what makes you think Melky is going to make $5mn this year?

Finally, ti doesn't matter what was done "on year". The Yankees were significantly better than Boston last year, so by no means do I think they have closed the gap.

[72] Nick Johnson has never stayed healthy, but he has also never been a primary DH. As for swamping "Damon's offensive production", it should be noted that Granderson has been a more productive offensive player over the last three years (even without hitting lefties well...and playing in a park that is death on lefties).

I also think it's a fallacy that Matsui is uniquely suited to YSIII.

76 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:40 am

[74] DH could be any bat


I think that misses the point of the DH, no? Regardless of whether they signed Nick Johnson or someone else, reserving the DH spot for half-days off would have meant about 400 ABs of at DH by the likes of...Hoffman?

Wrong answer. They needed to sign a more or less FT DH to take up the 400 or so ABs they gave Matsui last year. That is not even a matter of debate. Whether Johnson is an adequate DH replacement is a separate discussion.

77 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:43 am

[74] If he is healthy (and that's a big IF, but maybe being a DH will help), Nick Johnson is a legitimate offensive force. I mean, his CAREER OBP is over 4. If that doesn't add to the team, I don't know what would.

78 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:44 am

Buster Olney tweets ...
If Johnson passes physical,NYY will move on to next targets -- definitely a starting pitcher, and quite possibly Mark DeRosa, if $ are right

79 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:44 am

[73] Frankly, when you look at Gardner’s speed, defense, age and salary, I would like to give him at least ONE year to see what he really has.

I agree entirely.

My point is that there is unwarranted fear by some 'round these parts that somehow the Yankees will go this year without a "real" LF and thus create a "hole". But more or less average and cheap corner OF options will present themselves. And none of this will matter if Granderson is as productive as the more optimistic predict he will. If so, there is really no need to fret about not adding Holliday to lineup.

80 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:46 am

[78] DeRosa...of the 35 years and .750 OPS last season? He's a nice supersub, but could he be a legitimate LF option? In either role, surely no team needs DeRosa and Melky and GArdy and Hoffman?

81 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:53 am

NJ's wrist injuries is certainly a concern. He has always had hand issues. But including his broken leg AND cheek in his injury prone rap may be unfair. Is anyone afraid that he might break his leg or cheek again in 2010? And one has to think that not playing the field at least helps counter his potential injury risk.

If Nick plays a full year with the Yanks and posts his career .371 wOBA, he is probably worth $10m next year, If nothing else, as a contract year, he should be very motivated.

FWIW, FanGraphs vaued him at $10.9m last year, and projects his 2010 value at $15m. (Granted, this is as a 1Bman, not DH). FanGraphs vaued Matsui at $11.0m last year, and projects his 2010 value at $8.6m.

And someone asked how much is better fielding worth? Well (again, FWIW), because of his poor fielding, for his career, Fangraphs valued Matsui at $47.8m, while over that time he was paid $73.0m.

82 rbj   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:53 am

[76] I meant that you could get a number of other guys to DH. Heck, you could bring back Matsui or Damon (who's contract wants are ridiculous) though I think having a rotating DH would work. A-Rod is probably still going to need rest one day a week, maybe he could DH then (depending on what the doctors say).

[77] I have no faith that Johnson will stay healthy. I would have loved to have him be the new Yankee 1B when he came up, but the injuries and his lack of ability to play anywhere other than first, where the Yankees already have an MVP candidate, makes me wondering about this decision.

I don't hate it, just puzzled that wasn't there someone else on the market the Yankees could use. Or an outfield with Melky, Curtis, Swisher, and Gardner, have one of the first three DH a bit. Or even Nady.

[79] Yankees had a revolving LF in 1998. Didn't turn out so bad then. So I agree.

83 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:57 am

[75] Over 3 years sure, but how about last year? And that's looking at 1 pair in isolation, what about both pair?

Tell you what - gentleman's wager: Matsui + Damon in 2010 OPS+ will be higher than CG + NJ OPS+ 2010. That takes any home field advantage out of the equation (though I disagree with you about Matsui and YSIII).

Also, you seriously don't think the RS or Phillies closed the gap in this off season so far?!? Seriously? That is a notion I find completely preposterous.

Even if you allow (which I will not outside this point) that CG + NJ will be better than Matsui + JD, do you seriously think they will produce an increase in overall production greater at the margin than what the RS added in Lackey and Cameron?

84 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:57 am

"Also, what makes you think Melky is going to make $5mn this year?"
I said $25m over the next 5 years. Reasonable? I'm guessing $3m in 2010. Certainly $7m in 2014 is not a stretch.

85 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 10:58 am

[82] Yes, a number of other guys could DH. Like...Matsui, Vlad, Thome, Delgado, Johnson, Damon. Wait, all of these guys are aging or have injury concerns or see to be on the decline or will be too costly.They would all be risks in one way or another. I'm not sure Johnson represents a significantly greater risk to survive 100 games and 400 ABs.

86 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 18, 2009 11:00 am

Oh god PLEASE don't sign DeRosa. What a waste. At that point you may as well give the shot to Gardner. What a waste of $ and time....awful, simply awful. No better than Nady in that regard.

87 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 18, 2009 11:02 am

Jerry Hairston, Jr. anyone?

88 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 11:04 am

[83] do you seriously think they will produce an increase in overall production greater at the margin than what the RS added in Lackey and Cameron?

I don't mean to speak for William, but can we really say what the RS have "added" without considering what they will have (or may have) lost. Does adding 37 y.o. Cameron make up for losing Bay? And possibly losing Lowell? Do they have another blockbuster lined up? Otherwise, that 's a lot of missing O. And signing Marco Scutaro is not going to put lots of runs on the board.

89 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 11:19 am

[83[ Agreed 100%. If our goals is truly a WS ring, you especially can't ignor Boston's improvements, and Philadelphia's (to a lesser extent) also come into play.

I NEED A VOTE... confirmation.... feedback.
On the DH issue:
Jorge himself, on RADIO, said he KNOWS he can only Catch "110 to 115 games". And my guess is rough, tough, proud Jorge is not underestimating this. SO......

DH Jorge: 40 games.
NL games: 10 Games
ARod/Jeter: 15 games.
I won't include Tex, as when he DH'es, Nick could play first.

That's 40% of the DH ABs spoken for. Is this a reasonable assessment? Just saying' that if Miggy Cairo is our DH, he only plays in 100 games.

Also, I agree the fact that NJ 'plays a position' has minimal value, as he is blocked by Teix. But it does have some value. If NJ can play 1B 20-25 games, against flyball pitchers and/or LHP, and Teix can DH those games. it is measurable rest of Teix, especially if he has some 'minor bumps and bruises' at those times.

Many guys play the field155+ games. But that doesn't mean they wouldn't be a bit fresher and a bit better (think Jeter) if 20 of those games were at DH.

90 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 18, 2009 11:21 am

[81] It doesn't really impact your post, but I wouldn't go overboard with the Fangraph's data. A lot of those "salary" figures are based on some questionable underlying assumptions. They are a nice relative tool, but really shouldn't be regarded as absolute.

91 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 18, 2009 11:27 am

[83] But why would you want to compare a 36 year old and 29 year old based on one season? I'd gladly take you up on your wager, but you really can't add up OPS+, so we'll have to settle on another method. Besides, with NJ's prodigious OBP, I definitely wouldn't want to use OPS as the measuring stick.

As for your second point, I didn't say the Sox haven't improved...I just don't think they have significantly closed the gap, mostly because I think the gap is starting off pretty big.

As for the Phillies, who cares what they do...the Yankees only have to deal with them in the World Series. Also, Halladay is great, but how much better can he be for the Phillies than Lee was in the post season?

92 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 11:30 am

Mark Feinsand (Daily News) says:
"I spoke with Damon earlier tonight, and while he declined to discuss any specifics about his negotiations, he was clearly disappointed that the Yankees had decided to move on without him.

'I wanted it to happen. I have nothing but great things to say about the Yankees,' Damon said. “If the Nick Johnson thing works out, it will be good for them. It’s part of baseball.”

Does JD have Boris's telephone number?

93 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 18, 2009 11:31 am

[83] Also, are you counting the loss of Bay and to a lesser degree Lowell?

[84] Does it matter what he will make over the next 5 years? There is no guarantee that the Yankees will keep him, unless of course he does continue to improve, in which case $5mn would be a bargain.

[86] DeRosa is a pretty good hitter who gets on base and plays many positions. Nady is coming off major surgery and Brett Gardner can't hit. I am not a big DeRosa fan, but he is better than those two.

94 wsporter   ~  Dec 18, 2009 12:07 pm

[69] Yes!

I like the net cost analysis done on moving Melky and bringing in Holliday. It just seems to make too much sense not to do from a pure baseball perspective. What the accountants and money managers think I have no idea!

95 Paul   ~  Dec 18, 2009 12:38 pm

I'll slap $100 on the table to say that the OPS+ of Grandy and NJ > Damon and Matsui in 2010. Grandy is going to be north of 130 and NJ will be around 120. Matsui might hit 120-130, but Damon will be around 110.

Of course, none of that covers Grandy's defense nor the fact the Yanks saved about $10 million.

Holliday is a big mistake for the money. Let him continue to pad his stats in the NL.

I don't see how the Sox have improved. The pitching isn't scary and the offense - the reason they got swept out of the post-season - actually took a step backward. We're lucky they went stupid with Cameron and Scutaro rather than smart with Figgins and Hardy.

96 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 1:05 pm

[93] My point is we are going to pay SOMETHING for a LFer.
If Holliday becomes our new LFer, then looking at the NET impact means subtracting the 'old' traded LFer's salary.

What will Werth cost (if we get him) in 2011? $14m?
So, is $16m for Holliday (in then hand) in 2010
a better 'fit' then $14m for Werth (in the bush) in 2011?
Is saving X dollars in 2010 really that important if we plan on spending X dollars in 2011?

97 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 1:17 pm

[94] I would also point out that wilth Holliday signed, in 2011, there is absolutely NO need for a DH. Posada for 60 games, Swisher, ARod, Jeter. Miranda, Montero. So, the net dollars, assuming 5/$80 for Holliday:
2010: Trade Melky (no replacement needed) - net $13m
2011: NJ is gone (no replacement needed) - net $7.5m

I wish we had just gotten Holliday instead of NJ.
I do think payroll considerations over the next 5 years is very important.... but not so in any ONE specific year.

I can't afford to borrow $10k.
Although, if I had a guaranteed EXTRA $10k coming in 12 months,
I would feel differently.
If Cashman plans of going with an economical LFer over the next 5 years, so be it. But IF he wants an impact LFer after this year.... then what's the point in passing on Holliday?

98 Yankster   ~  Dec 18, 2009 3:21 pm

[95] I agree and will put up another hundred next to yours. Even though OPS+ is a terrible way to measure relative performance for these players given the improvements in defense and OBP and the way the Yankees have optimized the lineup for patience and wearing down pitchers, I'll still bet that NJ + CJ 2010 > than Mats and JD 2010. If they are even equal, the Yankees will obviously have improved given the much lower cost, so it's a stupid bet, but still one I'll win.

99 Yankster   ~  Dec 18, 2009 3:27 pm

Also, as many have said, Cashman is definitely working on getting Holliday, though obviously not at any cost. There is 0 chance that the Yankees are not in on the negotiation at this point. Holliday would virtually guarantee a Yankee dynasty. That said, I don't think we need him, and I'd prefer to do it for less money.

Also, I do think the Yankees seem like they are signaling to Jeter and Mariano that the well of money is not limitless. Capping "ability to pay" is a negotiation 101 strategy and the best way to show the cap is authentic is to have a painful cap experience before the negotiation starts - to show it's real. Bypassing Holliday (who would great improve the team) would be exactly that kind of signal.

100 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 18, 2009 4:34 pm

I wonder how long Jeter's next deal will be for.

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