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The Purrrfect Pair


Ken Rosenthal says enough already, the Yanks and Johnny Damon/Scott Boras all need to recognize: they need each other.

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1 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 11:14 am

From said article:

Exchanging them for Johnson and Curtis Granderson might be a wash statistically -- Johnson’s career OPS, when adjusted for his park and league, actually is higher than Matsui’s, and Granderson’s actually is higher than Damon’s. But c’mon, which players would you rather see in October?

Well, that's the sort of probing, edgy analysis that really makes you think.

2 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 11:16 am

My God, I actually re-read the whole article. It's complete gibberish. Trade Swisher for Derek Lowe???

3 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Dec 18, 2009 11:45 am

monkeypants confirms that I need not click that link

4 Ben   ~  Dec 18, 2009 11:48 am

Yeah. It's a weird article. It reads like a guy writing for the sake of it. Nothing wrong with that ulitmately, but it's not really what I look for from a professional.

5 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 18, 2009 11:59 am

Yankees need Damon because I just can't watch Brett Gardner play baseball anymore.

6 51cq24   ~  Dec 18, 2009 12:14 pm

i just don't understand why either side needs the other. we certainly don't need damon at this point. and he can be a good player with any number of teams. i've rarely seen so much nonstop talk about how a player and a team need one another. i don't get it.

7 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 18, 2009 12:16 pm

[6] I don't see why a team with these resources should have scrubs in left field.

8 RagingTartabull   ~  Dec 18, 2009 12:17 pm

I read that this morning and it came across as stream-of-consciousness babbling.

-Trade Swisher for...un-named "prospects"

-Sign an "innings eater" to be a 4 starter

-Don't give Damon what he wants, but "get it done"

thats just lazy writing, plain and simple. I honestly expected better from Rosenthal, I don't always agree with him but I respect him...this just was amateur hour.

9 RagingTartabull   ~  Dec 18, 2009 12:19 pm

although the pretzels look amazing

10 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 12:22 pm

[7] Because they have spent enormous resources not to have scrubs in CF, RF, 3B, SS, 2B, 1B, C, SP, CL...

I mean, come on man, it is difficult even for the Yankees to field an all star at every position. The '98 team won 300 games with a few scrubs here and there.

Whom would you have them sign for LF? That is, assuming Damon refuses what the Yankees offer him?

11 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 18, 2009 12:26 pm


Yes .... are those available in NYC>

12 The Hawk   ~  Dec 18, 2009 12:28 pm

I know exactly what would solve the LF problem: Curtis Granderson. Put that guy in left and it takes the team to a whole new level!

13 51cq24   ~  Dec 18, 2009 12:28 pm

[7] i certainly don't want to see damon in left field.

14 RagingTartabull   ~  Dec 18, 2009 12:30 pm

everyone realizes that this is a team that just won a World Series with Melky and Gardner getting a combined 769 AB's, right?

15 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 18, 2009 12:36 pm

And now for something completely different ... Al Leiter in high school, circa SI 1984

H/T to Cliff!

16 a.O   ~  Dec 18, 2009 12:47 pm

[1] Exactly. That piece is idiotic, but what do you expect from that grinning monkey?

17 Bama Yankee   ~  Dec 18, 2009 12:55 pm

[9] & [11] What do you call those? (Is that Reese's Cups in between the pretzels?)

[15] He looks a little like Tom Cruise in Risky Business.

18 Yankster   ~  Dec 18, 2009 1:17 pm

[1] perfect encapsulation. What part of an"upgraded" world serious winner results in the subsequent characterization of being in a position of "need?"

total nonsense.

19 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 18, 2009 1:21 pm

Mariners about to acquire Milton Bradley for Carlos Silva ...

The Ms are getting quite interesting in a hurry.

20 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 1:32 pm

"The ‘98 team won 300 games with a few scrubs here and there."
Geez... you're right about the scrubs.
Actually, this year, 250 Wins would probably do it!

21 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 18, 2009 1:41 pm
22 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 18, 2009 1:43 pm

Cubs will be in need of OF help now ... would they want Gardner or Melky? Is there a match to be had from their roster?

23 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 1:43 pm

[20] I don;t know, the way the Sox have "closed the gap," the Yankees might need all 300 wins and then some just to escape the division!

The '98 Yanks gave 545+ PAs to Chad Curtis, 280 to Girardi, 150 to Luis Sojo; 28 starts to Hideki Irabu; 24 appearances to Mike Buddie; 67 G and 79 INN to a reliever with a 5.5 ERA (Stanton).

24 Greg G   ~  Dec 18, 2009 2:06 pm

I think the Yankees are playing this smart, but pretty cold like last year. They got Nick Swisher and some may have thought they would have him as their 1st baseman, before signing Tex. They got 2 high priced starters and then were able to get Pettite on an incentive laden contract.

This year they got Granderson and Johnson to put pressure on Damon. They are cheaper and younger, and if Damon does come back it will be at the Yanks price. It also does not leave them too far off from a complete team.

This team as constituted should be good enough to be in 1st or striking distance of 1st before the trade deadline. They don't have a deep pile of prospects to deal, but enough to get something done as inevitably other teams will want to deal off expensive contracts. (Especially in this economy). Not dealing off the farm for Doc Halladay might have been a very good thing, The Phils are slightly better, but they also spun off Lee.

Next year the Yanks can take a stab at getting King Felix or Lee without having to give up the prospects as the Mariners are unlikely to sign both.

This team is not the final product that Cashman will be putting on the field on opening day. Fewer teams have the resources or are willing to spend the resources this year. After Holliday and Bay land where they will, Damon will either come around and take the Yanks offer or go to a non-contender and still not get his price.

It is also possible that teams will be trading more after the big FA's are off the board.

I like what the Yanks are doing, and let's remember that this team won the WS last year. They needed a little youthening and are getting that. It is not like they signed Johnson to a big contract for multiple years. That is seat cushion money to the Yanks, but also a little insurance. Nick as a DH might be able to stay healthier, and if they rotate in Arod, Tex, Jeter and Posada into the DH spot they can also give him a few days off.

25 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 18, 2009 2:07 pm

[10] Marlon Byrd, Hinske, Vlad, Jermaine Dye, Misty the Magic Unicorn, I really don't care. When we got Granderson, I thought that meant I would no longer have to watch Brett Gardner stand there and take two strikes down the middle before hitting a foul pop.

And now he's back, and I'm depressed. Maybe in a week when I'm resigned to this I'll feel better.

26 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 2:09 pm

The Sox have “closed the gap” ?
The Gap is Closed?!?!?!?
(Women and childen first!)

By the way, FanGraphs has a 'wRC' stat... a Runs Created stat of some sort. Does it INCLUDE DEFENSE?

2009 Bay (112) was a full 33% better then 2009 Cameron (84).
So IF it does include D, it's a serious downgrade.
However, swapping their old #5 for Lackey is a BIG upgrade.

I think we have a better team then the Sox.
My issue is last year every position player except ARod
had a better then career average year. If per chance in 2010, a number of players (like Jeter, Swisher, Melky, Cano, Posada, Teix) have worse then career average years, then the same basic team could easily have 10 Wins less. (remember 2008?)

With old guys Matsui and JD gone, this is somewhat mitigated, but I expect less production from some group of Jeter, Swisher, Melky, Cano, Posada, and Teix.

And MP... you're a bright guy. What past teams did with past players has absolutely nothing to do with the price of tea in China.

27 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 2:19 pm

[26] That's good...I don;t drink tea.

My point is, of course, that is overwrought to complain about "scrubs" (well really, "scrub", at one position, who is not really a scrub but pretty much a league average batter [Melky]), even invoking the Yankees resources as part of the complaint.

Inconceivable given their resources would be, say, starting Miguel Cairo at 1B or having a rotating DH (which is to say, no DH). But carrying one weaker bat at one position because you field All-Stars at 6 or 8 other positions seems a bit much.

28 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 2:21 pm

[26] Jeter, Swisher, Melky, Cano, Posada, and Teix.

Yes. But by the same token, one could expect improved production from some subset of those, especially Melky and Cano.

29 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 18, 2009 2:27 pm

[27] I think I could live with Melky. I can't take another season of Melky and 300 AB from Gardner, which I think they'll find a way to do.

30 The Hawk   ~  Dec 18, 2009 2:33 pm

[28] Yeah I don't think it's unreasonable to expect Tex and Swisher to do about the same. I'd say a drop-off for Jeter is almost guaranteed, but you never know. Same with George.

31 wsporter   ~  Dec 18, 2009 2:42 pm

Rotating Dh ≈ Rotating Closer/ brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

32 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 18, 2009 2:51 pm

and we'll have a full year of A-Rod, rather than 5/6 of a season ...

33 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 3:04 pm

[30] Well.... Teix bested his career OPS (.923) by 25 pts (.948), but he could do better. Swishers OPS of .869 was a career best (.818 average).... so I'm not sure he will better that. Melky also tied his career year (OPS .752 vs ,716 average), but there's a lot of room to be better... so maybe. Cano ALSO had a fine OPS year (.871 vs a career .818), but he is talented enough tpo get better.

However, Jeter bested his 2008 OPS numbers by exactly 100 pts, so losing 50-75 pts isn't unreasonable to expect. Posada bested his 2008 OPS by 110 pts (wow!) and will be 39... so again, a regression of 50-75 pts isn't unreasonable to expect.

There is always prayer (did you guys know the Republicans had a big prayer meeting and literally begged God to defeat Obama's healthcare bill???), but realistically speaking, team wise, 2009 will be hard to beat, or even approach (an extra 50 OPS pts from Melky won't do it).

Just sayin' last year was a bit of a magic year. The difference will hopefully be Phil and Joba beginning to hit their potential. And AJ's 106 ERA+ could certaily get better (or he could break his leg or cheekbone).

Barring serious injury, I think we currently have a 98 win team.

34 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 3:13 pm

Quick Question:
What is the BETTER DEFENSIVE plan:
Melky in LF and Grandy in CF, or visa-versa?

And when Swisher comes out for a LIDR....
Is it Melky in RF, Gardy in CF and Granderson in LF?

Harder Question: What is the BETTER OFFENSIVE plan?

35 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 3:38 pm

[33] However, Jeter bested his 2008 OPS numbers by exactly 100 pts, so losing 50-75 pts isn’t unreasonable to expect.

What an odd compariosn. 2008 was clearly an outlier. Look at his career (.847) and last several years: .844, .823, .839, .900, .840, .771, .871

The more reasonable prediction would regression to, say, .830 or .840.

Similarly with Swisher, whose last four years are: .864, .836, .743, .869

Hmm...which of these are not like the others. Again, some regression is likely, but surely his career .818 is misleadingly low.

As for Posada, you are not really going to base expectations on his injury savaged 2008 season?

You are correct to be cautious, even pessimistic, but you're just cherry-picking with those particular comparisons.

did you guys know the Republicans had a big prayer meeting and literally begged God to defeat Obama’s healthcare bill???

We really shouldn't broach politics and/or religion, but anything that can possibly defeat that monstrosity should be tried.

36 Bama Yankee   ~  Dec 18, 2009 3:39 pm

[33] Pretty efficient post. You worked Politics and Religion into one sentence... Although, I'm not sure I understand why you included it in with your other comments.

37 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 3:55 pm

[36] Because it was more rediculous then every Yankee having an even better year in 2010?

Jeter had a .871 OPS in 2009, so an .830 OPS would be 40 points. However, when does age have him dropping significantly delow his career average?

True about Posada. Took too quick a look. His .885 OPS 'only' bested his career average by 26 points. But again, he will be 39. Is there a cliff far ahead? An .825 OPS would be pretty damn good for a 39 year old catcher. But gotta admit, Po keeps surprising me. Remember in 2005, at 33, Posada posted a .782 OPS, and most of the Banter was ready to retire him? Not to mention Jeter's .771 OPS in 2008. Baseball is a funny game.

Anyway, jus' tryin' to be realistic. Aside from ARod and Po to start the year, we were lucky with injuries? Yes, Wang was terrible luck, but he is not on the 2010 team, and Nady was lost, but I feel that helped the team, as Swisher played better then Nady would have.

Right now, do you think we are looking better then 98 Wins?

38 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 3:57 pm

Also, in 2009, Jeter had an advantage, as ARod was dating Kate Hudson. I mean, no more ARod begging for sleepovers had to be a relief!

39 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 18, 2009 4:05 pm

2009 road stats (to eliminate the comfy YS bump in stats)

Matsui .286 .383 .567 .949 .272
Swisher .268 .361 .585 .945 .275
Hinske .250 .339 .604 .943 .219
A-Rod .313 .413 .525 .938 .352
Teixeira .272 .380 .502 .882 .288
Jeter .337 .399 .437 .836 .378
Cano .303 .333 .498 .832 .316
Damon .284 .349 .446 .795 .330
Pena .308 .345 .442 .788 .400
Posada .245 .327 .432 .760 .285
Brett Gardner .289 .350 .408 .759 .333
Melky Cabrera .278 .336 .409 .745 .300
Francisco Cervelli .283 .306 .391 .697 .293
Jerry Hairston .220 .339 .260 .599 .250
Jose Molina .225 .287 .288 .575 .293

40 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 4:12 pm

[37] I scanned over baseball-reference and counted about 30 teams in the last 20 years wit 98 wins or more, or about 1 or 2 per year. I would say the odds are against any team being better than 98 wins in any case, even the strongest teams in the league.

So if pressed, no, I would not predict more than 98 wins.

41 Bama Yankee   ~  Dec 18, 2009 4:31 pm

[37] "Because it was more rediculous then every Yankee having an even better year in 2010?"

Okay, I see. I thought you might have been trying to see how many commenting guidelines you could break with one sentence...

42 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 18, 2009 5:06 pm

What is wrong with this sentence?
From ESPN:
"The Mariners and Chicago Cubs have announced a trade that sends right-handed pitcher Carlos Silva to Seattle for outfielder Milton Bradley."

Anyway, I THINK Seattle just got a bit better.

43 Raf   ~  Dec 18, 2009 5:19 pm

[42] I'm looking, and I don't see anything wrong with that sentence. Good pickup for the M's

44 wsporter   ~  Dec 18, 2009 6:11 pm

[42] Shouldn't Silva be headed to Chi and Milton the other way?

45 Raf   ~  Dec 18, 2009 7:05 pm

[44] Damn flu medication... You're right

46 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Dec 18, 2009 7:13 pm

MLB Rumors says Damon came back to Yanks with 2 for 20 but by then Johnson was signed so 'there was no going back' ... honestly? This makes very little sense, unless Damon was pegged as the DH primarily, which I guess is possible. But it means he is NOT seen as a left fielder, period, because he could be signed to play there, leaving DH for NJ. Hell Damon could DH after a year of NJ, even.

Is this budgetary? Cash won't add $10 million a year to this roster (he will add 5-7 for a pitcher, I am guessing). That does nix Holliday, to OYF's chagrin, IF it is true. Cashman is not a very predictable dude, which is good.

So LF, as matters stand, is another year of Leche is More (than Gardner), or not. I'm okay with that, on the whole. Hell, so often we hear people saying here, let's see what the kids can do.

47 thelarmis   ~  Dec 18, 2009 7:48 pm

[46] i just saw that and was coming here to post it. makes no sense to me. i would totally do 2/20 for JD. this is weird...

48 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:02 pm

[46] If we kick Damon to the curb and spend that money on one of the junkpile of pitchers out there, I will be displeased.

49 thelarmis   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:18 pm

[48] you and me both. 2 years, 20 mil = do it!

50 monkeypants   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:21 pm

[46] et al.

Juts remember that I predicted Damon would be back, regardless of the Nick Johnson deal. If his price has come, the Yanks will sign him (otherwise, why not offer arbitration?), unless they have a big LF surprise planned.

Johnny will be manning LF next year, methinks.

51 thelarmis   ~  Dec 18, 2009 9:34 pm

[50] "Juts" !!! ; )

i'm cool w/ him coming back. and he obviously wants to be in da bronx. i'm cool with it...

52 Paul   ~  Dec 19, 2009 7:35 am

Saw that about Damon this morning. I say: Good for the Yanks. Everyone once in a while you need to shove it up Boras' arse. He flat out lies during negotiations. And so we kept wasting their time (seriously - four years at 13?). Wednesday night he wanted 2/26, when the Yankees countered with 2/14, he should have said 2/18 and been done with it. Instead, he tried to eek every last penny and with an unrealistic counter offer (relative to Abreu - who had a better season on the road). 2/20 would have been great if that's what he started with. They would have quickly found common ground. But once the Yanks got Grandy, Boras should have quickly got his act together. Now Damon will be lucky to get a one-year deal.

53 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Dec 19, 2009 9:17 am

[52] The problem is, Paul, and this comes up a lot ... are you punishing the team and player because you are pissed at the agent, or 'sending a message'? We sure didn't send Boras a message on A Rod, did we? He might have been briefly embarrassed for his WS stunting, but the contract made him an insane sum of money.

I don't think it is in the Yankees' interest to work out who the roster will be in 2010 based on sticking it to Boris. If Damon got to 2/20, which was where most people thought he'd end up, it makes sense to say no ONLY if Cash (and Girardi?) had decided he was essentially a DH going forward. If they'd made that call, though, Matsui was a better play, to my mind. If Damon is okay in left for a year (primarily) then the one year for Nick J made a lot of sense, with Damon DHing in his 2nd year (primarily).

I don't get the money aspect, since Johnson is very cheap, and shouldn't affect the 10 million a year. It feels like something's missing here, though we can all overanalyze in winter! (Hell, we overanbalyze here all year long!) It may be that there's another expensive piece in mind... or saving room for one at the deadline. Some of those free agents we've discussed will come on the market in summer.

54 The Hawk   ~  Dec 19, 2009 9:49 am

[53] I don't think there's another major piece to be added, not on offense. I think they feel they're in fine shape and don't really need Damon anymore. There's something to be said for that; the line-up should be solid, and the OF as it stands defensively is better than last year.

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