The Yankees are still at it. After signing Randy Winn to help fill their hole in left field and to complete their 2010 roster, the Yankees are considering of adding another slugger to provide insurance just in case a positional player flops or gets injured.
Jonny Gomes is one of the free agent who is on the Yankees radar.... that is if Gomes is willing to accept a minor league deal.
Since the outfield is already set with Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner and the newly acquired Winn. There is no spot left in the 25 man roster. Therefore the only available position left is in the minor leagues.
If Gomes agrees on a minor league deal, he might compete for an outfield spot along with Rule 5 draft Jamie Hoffmann. Both Gomes and Hoffmann will see some time in Spring training.
This is a good move for the organization as it provides insurance and also bolster their minor league teams. If Gardner plays poorly or if Randy Winn gets injured, the Yankees will surely bring up their minor league players.... one possibility is Jonny Gomes. Other options are:
-Jamie Hoffmann (he has to see playing time or he will be sent back to the Dodgers)
-Juan Miranda (naturally a 1st base man but can play in left if needed; he can hit)
-Greg Olson (newly acquired but is still raw; needs more time in the minors)
-Nick Johnson (can play left if the Yankees bring up Jesus Montero and make him their DH)
Jamie Hoffmann is most likely to be a Yankee outfielder this season. The rest are just speculations.
It wouldn't hurt though if they add Gomes to their club. Jonny Gomes has great pure strength, which allows him to muscle the ball out of any Major League stadium. He is capable of hitting 20+ home runs if given enough playing time.
Gomes bats right and excels against left-handed pitching (a complimentary to Gardner). He is just 29 years old and is still on his prime. The Yankees can make Gomes as a platoon player in the outfield.
Let's just wait and see what will happen in the coming days. The Yankees will surely be glad having another home run threat to their organization.... even if he is listed in their minor league division.
Many Yankee fans are all torn up on the Yankees decision on signing free agent Randy Winn, who is not as spectacular as Johnny Damon. Some are expecting that Damon will come to terms with the Yankees by signing a one year, $ 3-5 million contract.
Or they assume that the Yankees will go after cheap right handed batters like Reed Johnson and Jonny Gomes to platoon with Brett Gardner who bats left.
So why Randy Winn? He is getting old and will be turning 36 on June. He has no power and his OBP and SLG has diminished. His arm is not great of an asset and most critics analyze that Winn is on his downward career. So why him? Why not use the $ 2 million on somebody else?
Although I am not a great Randy Winn supporter, I truly support the Yankees decision on signing him. Here's why:
This is the one of the main reason why until now the Yankees are not eager to sign Damon. Damon's arm is such a huge defensive liability for the Bombers last season. This year they upgraded their outfield defense by adding Curtis Granderson and still maintaning Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner.
And now with Randy Winn coming in, the Yankees would surely make better defensively. Winn played right field during his stint with the Giants and he is capable of playing 3 outfield positions for the Yanks. Joe Girardi would probably place him in left which is a much easier task for him.
A factor why the Yankees pass on to free agents who are bugged with injuries. Guys like Xavier Nady and Reed Johnson would be a nice addition to the club but will certainly spell trouble if they are out of the season because of their injuries. Why would the Yankees sign another injury risk player when they have one of their own in Nick Johnson (now position to be their everyday DH). Plus they got old guys like Posada, Jeter and A-Rod who are prone to have injuries from time to time.
Randy Winn played an average of 158 games in a season in his 3 year duty with the Mariners. And an average of 152 games played in a season on his 4 year term in San Francisco. Basically Winn is available all year round no matter what team he is playing for.
With just a one year contract with the Yankees and his role as a platoon player in left field, his age won't really be a factor anymore. Winn can play 150 games for the Bombers if they want him to.
One thing the Yankees will benefit from Winn is his speed. He is not as fast as Carl Crawford or Jacoby Ellsbury but he can manage to steal a base if the team needs him to. Winn is capable of bagging 20 steals in a season. He could also be a late inning pinch runner for the Yankees.
PRICE IS CHEAP:
The Yankees surely made their $ 200 million budget into a reality. With only $ 2 million left in their budget the organization filled their outfield hole and completed their 2010 roster by signing Randy Winn.
If Winn turns out to be the player that he was during the 2007-2008 season with the Giants, the Yankees will definitely get a bargain out of their $ 2 million. Winn had an average of .303 batting AVG, .435 SLG, 20 steals and 12 homers in his 2007-2008 stint with the Giants.
This is also an indication for the Yankees to reserve their money for the 2010 free agent class where they can get guys like Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth. With the signing of Winn the Yanks now have flexibility with their budget.
Randy Winn is a sound gap hitter and has versatility to hit anywhere in the line-up. He is not spectacular but is a steady everyday outfielder. That is why Winn is a "winning formula". He is not here to hit home runs and produce a lot of RBI's. He is here to support and be there when the team needs him.
To be a successful team, the roster should be balanced which consist of superstars, regulars, supporters, reserves and their farm system.
The Yankees have their stars in A-Rod, Jeter, Sabathia, Mo and Tex. Plus their regulars like Posada, Cano, Pettitte, Joba and Phil Hughes. They got their reserves with Ramiro Pena and Juan Miranda and Jesus Montero waiting in the wings from their farm.
And now they have a supporting type of player in Randy Winn who can be an everyday type of player or can be a reserve outfielder.
Randy Winn provides balance in the team's roster and that is the "winning" formula for a potential run at the World Series title.
Last January 8 2010, I indicated in my article that the Yankees should set a deadline for Johnny Damon and his agent Scott Boras. I specifically noted there that the offer from the Yankees should no where later than January 31, 2010. Looks like the Yankees can't wait that long......
SI.com reported Saturday that the two sides spoke again within the past few days and Damon has now been given the weekend to decide whether he wants to return to the Bronx on what would be a bargain deal.
The Web site said Damon would probably have to accept a contract of no more than $5 million guaranteed. This on-again, off-again drama could officially come to a close by early next week.
The Yankees said that they are willing to go over their $ 2 million budget for a quality player like Damon. And now it all depends entirely to Johnny Damon if he still wants to be Yankee....
I say he should take it. Because of his age, defensive liability, and his silly contract demands Damon's market value has drastically went down.... way way down.
That means Damon won't be seeing any offer greater than $ 5 million. The Braves are stack up with outfielders and the Tigers have a problem of their own with their aging outfielders. It is only the Yankees that are the right team for Damon.
We all know Damon likes the Yankee Stadium. He is like Superman there, having a career high of 24 homers in two seasons (2006 & 2009). Damon can't do it in any other field.
Plus Damon will get the chance of competing again for a World Series title which could be his 3rd.
This is Damon's last chance to be a Yankee. It' a "take it or leave it" kind of a deal. The Yankees have set a deadline and the club will move on by signing cheaper outfielder ($ 2 million below) if Damon resist.
The Yankees can look to a free-agent pool that includes Xavier Nady, Randy Winn, Reed Johnson, Jermaine Dye and Jim Edmonds. Although the emphasis would be on Reed Johnson and Xavier Nady.
So the Damon saga is coming to an end. Will the Yankees roll the red carpet for the return of Johnny Damon or will we see Damon pack his bags to go to another team? Drumroll please....
Hang on to your hats folks. This is going to be exiting!
Jesus Montero is the Yankees top prospect in their farm today. He's got power and is arguably the best pure hitter in the minor leagues. Montero has a power rate of 8 from a scale of 2-8 with 8 as the highest. His bat is ready for the big leagues however his defense is not....
The Yankees envisioned Montero to be their next everyday catcher but his size and defensive liability makes the organization worried if the youngster can play that position. Montero, at the age of 20, is outgrowing his position. He is 6' 4" high and is closing in to 245 lbs, that's pretty huge for a catcher. The normal and average size of a catcher is from 5' 10"-6" high and around 180 lbs.
Instead of forcing Montero to a position that most likely he will suffer why not place him in a spot where the Yankees can maximize his talents. Why not make Montero the team full time DH.
The Boston Red Sox use this approach by cementing their 40+ home run monster David Ortiz to the DH role. Ortiz comes to play for the Red Sox with one thing in mind... to hit. The Red Sox benefited from that as they remain competitive over the years.
The Red Sox don't care about their aging position players. Whenever guys like Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell needs a rest they will let them have their "complete" day-off. But their DH is there almost every game to whack homers.
That is something the Yankees should consider. They too got old position players. Jorge Posada catching days are almost over, Jeter is getting up in age, and A-Rod is no spring chicken. This players needs rest through the course of the regular season to limit their injuries and to keep them fresh for the post-season. Why not give them a complete day off instead of a half day-off. Let the reserves like Ramiro Pena, Francisco Cervelli, Juan Miranda types to contribute and make their share. The beauty of it is the Yankees can use in full their DH, making that guy available every game.
Nick Johnson, the Yankees present DH, is not going to be there all the time. He is going to be a free agent after the 2010 season and most likely the Yankees won't sign him again.
Johnson always had a case of injuries throughout his career, you won't be surprise if he gets injured this season.
That is why it will be a good move to bring up Jesus Montero in the middle of the season and make him the full time DH thus making Johnson slide down to a reserve role (Johnson can play 1B and LF). Or Johnson can start in left field if one of the outfield guys (Gardner, Granderson, Swisher) have a slump. This makes Johnny Damon, who is a hot topic nowadays, dispensable.
Just look at the American league today, each team has their own full time DH. The Rangers signed Vladimir Guerrero, the Mariners have Ken Griffey Jr., the Athletics got back Jack Cust, the Angels stole away Hideki Matsui, the White Sox got Andruw Jones, the Twins have Jason Kubel, the Tigers have Carlos Guillen, the Royals got Billy Butler, the Indians still has Travis Hafner, the Blue Jays can use Adam Lind, the Rays has Pat Burrell, the Red Sox got Big Papi, and the Yankees have the newly acquired Nick Johnson.
Only the Orioles have a weak spot from their DH (they only got Luke Scott).
The Yankees generated a lot of good numbers when they made Hideki Matsui their full time DH last year. Matsui knees were weak but his bat was strong making him a threat to opposing pitchers. This year the role is given to Nick Johnson. Somewhere in the future we could see Montero getting the DH spotlight.
It is a big advantage to a slugger to know that your primarily role is just to hit. No need to play defense but just hit. It makes the player divert all his attention to batting and nothing else. With this he can be an expert in the hitting department.
David Ortiz made a killing, it is possible for Montero to follow that trend. Montero is still young and given time he could be the next or the best designated hitter in the big leagues.
After completing their needs this off-season the Yankees now are taking their time.....
At the start of the off-season the Yankees put their attention on re-signing their reliable starting pitcher Andy Pettitte. With 3 pitchers already on board, the Yankees filled their weakness in the outfield by trading their prize prospects including Austin Jackson for Detroit's star center fielder Curtis Granderson.
With two objectives being achieved, the Bombers made their club more formidable by getting another star pitcher from a trade. The Yankees traded Melky Cabrera along with 2 minor league pitchers for Atlanta's Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan.
With Hideki Masui, the Yankees DH being out if the picture, Brian Cashman and company signed free agent and OBP slugger Nick Johnson to be their next designated hitter.
All of this transaction was done just in the month of December 2009. The Yankees fulfilled their area of concern from starting pitching to center field to their DH.
The Yankees have now a roster that can take any team in the coming 2010 season.
But one thing remains to filled.... their hole in left field. With Melky being traded there is a spot that is vacated. Brett Gardner can fill the hole in left but the Yankees said they want to get somebody (probably a right handed hitter) who can platoon for an outfield position.
The Yankees have a firm resolution that they have only $ 2 million to work with. As the day moves by another free agent outfielder gets away from the grasp of the Yankees. Guys like Marlon Bryd, Mike Cameron, Eric Hinske, and Jerry Hairston Jr was signed by other teams.
There are still a lot of good free agent outfielders out in the market. Johnny Damon is the most hottest topic and valuable free agent out there.
But there are a lot of free agents to choose from. Aside from Damon there is Rick Ankiel, Garrett Anderson, Rocco Baldelli, Jermaine Dye, Jonny Gomes, Reed Johnson, Xavier Nady, Gary Sheffield, Marcus Thames and Randy Winn.
Add more guys like Fernando Tatis, Endy Chavez, Chris Duncan and Robb Quinlan. So are a few infielders, like Felipe Lopez, who can play the outfield.
There seems to be no rush for any team — the Yankees or anyone else — to sign any of these guys. After all the Yankees are prepared for battle with their existing roster, and they are very talented even if they didn't get anybody else from the free agent pool. Like what they said they are ready to pencil in Gardner in left field. Question is are the Yankees content with this outfield line-up with no back-up or insurance when an injury might possibly occur somewhere in the season..... probably not.
That is why the Yankees needs to get somebody else to protect any possible setbacks in their outfield line-up. If I were the Yankees, I would increase my $ 2 million budget a little bit more.
This is just in case if there is a free agent who wants to be a part of the Yankees but wants a little more than $ 2 million. Damon is one guy that will be asking for more and to tell you honestly Johnny is far more better than the rest of the guys in the free agency pool.
I understand the Yankees goal to limit their budget and I support their mission to go young and athletic. But come on, $ 2 million? We all know the Yankees can do better than that.
Right now the Yankees are taking their time and not rushing things which I think is a great strategy. Who knows, Damon might eat his pride and come back to Yankees for a salary of just $ 3-4 million.
Good things comes to those who waits.... will that happen to the Yankees? We just have to wait and see.
(picture courtesy of i-Yankees)
While the Yankees are still looking for another left fielder to compete with Brett Gardner in 2010 season, the Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long is getting ready to prepare for war.
Kevin Long is responsible for Robinson's Cano turn-around season in 2009. Cano improve his production (HR, AVE, OBP, SLG). Long took some time-out with Cano during the 2008 off-season. The two met in Dominican Republic and did batting practice.
This year Long will be working again with the Yankee sluggers. Here is a list on the players that needs improvement:
Nick Swisher was great during the regular season but he vanished when the play-offs began. Opposing pitchers saw a flaw on Swisher's batting mechanics.... off-speed pitches.
Swisher's performance dip to a low of .083 in the World Series. That is not acceptable for the Yankees. And that captured the attention of Kevin Long.
Long’s first stop was to meet with Swisher in December of 2009 at Pinnacle High School in Phoenix, where the switch-hitting outfielder continued adjustments that were sparked during the World Series against the Phillies, quieting his movements and allowing him to better respond on offspeed pitches.
“To Swish’s credit, he wanted to get it right and he wanted to start early,” Long said. “He’s a man on a mission. I think the playoffs opened up his eyes to how pitchers can throw offspeed pitches over and over again to expose you. He was ready to take another step forward.”
Swisher’s postseason was one of frustration, best identified by his bases-loaded popup against the Angels’ Brian Fuentes in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. “Swish is a fastball hitter, and in the playoffs, he got a steady diet of offspeed stuff,” Long said. “They were able to throw them for strikes, and Swish’s swing has a lot of movement to it. The new mechanics are going to control some of those movements and put him in a better position.
“We’ve got his hands closer to his body, and we’ve got to get him consistent with his lower half. If we do all of those things, you might see a guy who’s able to react better to an off-speed pitch.”
Needs to improve on: Off-speed pitches
Granderson is a great addition for the Yankees. His power numbers will be felt and might see a career high in home runs with the Yankee Stadium short right field porch.
The problem is Granderson's weakness against lefties.
He's obviously more productive against right-handed pitching, but he's had productive years against left-handed pitching -- and a lot of non-productive years," Long said. "My job is to try to get him to feel as comfortable as possible, without forcing it. I don't know what he's done in the past, but I'd really like to get a sense of his mentality against left-handed pitching."
Needs to improve on: Batting against left handed pitchers
Gardner is visioned to be the Yankees starting left fielder and batting in the 9th hole. To maximize the speedster's talent Long has to improve on Gardner's batting consistency and on-base percentage to get on base. When he is on base he can create havoc with his speed.
Bunting is a skill that Gardner needs to use a lot to be more effective. He doesn't need to hit home runs, his goal is just to reach 1st base and let his quickness do the rest.
Needs to improve on: Getting on base to maximize his speed
I already mentioned that Cano has improved in almost every category. What he needs to develop is Runners in scoring position (RISP). Cano is poor in RISP forcing to end an inning with men on base. That is why Cano is batting in the 7th hole because of this flaw.
If Cano improve on this he can be position in the 5th hole giving protection to A-Rod.
Needs to improve on: Runners in scoring position
That's 5 regular players that Long needs to give attention to be more competitive in the 2010 season. Long also needs to spend some time with their reserves. Guys like Francisco Cervelli, Ramiro Pena, Juan Miranda (possibly), and Jamie Hoffmann.
Kevin Long is also waiting for the coming of the Yankees new outfielder. As of now the only available free agents that the Yankees are interested in are Johnny Damon, Reed Johnson, Jonny Gomes and Rocco Baldelli.
That is why it is important to get one if this guys on board so that Long will have enough time to condition them and develop their weakness.
It's going to be a busy off-season for Kevin Long. For most people Spring is the best time to have vacation. For Kevin Long it's work, work and work.
Will we ever see Johnny Damon wearing a Yankee jersey.... in fact will we ever see him wearing a jersey of any kind at all?
"Please somebody sign my guy!". This has been a shut out of Sports agent Scott Boras, whom a couple months ago declared to the world that Damon deserves a salary like Yankee Icon Derek Jeter ($ 20 million annually). Now both Boras and Damon are worried if they will even get 25 % of Jeter's salary ($ 5 million).
Definitely Boras and Damon are in a losing situation. They had their chance before when the Yankees choose Damon over Matsui. But the two parties couldn't agree with their price. Initially Damon is asking a $ 14 million salary. So the Yankees move to Plan-B and signed free agent Nick Johnson at a economical price of $ 5.75 million. Damon went back to the Yankees and said that he is willing to lower his asking price to $ 10 million. Apparently Damon came to late.
There was another chance for Damon when the Yankees traded their outfielder Melky Cabrera for a starting pitcher. With left field being vacated, the Yankees once again are interested with Damon but with a lower offer ($ 6-7 million) since they are obliged to pay an annual salary of $ 11.5 million to their new starting pitcher (Javier Vazquez). But still Damon won't budge.
Now the Yankees have announce that they have only $ 2 million left to spend for a left fielder. That price put a nail in the coffin for Damon. There's no way he will sign at that price.
In conclusion, both Damon and Boras place themselves in a hole. The Yankees made their offer... twice. They had their chance and they blew it. Now they are like vultures looking for good meat to eat (if there is any left).
The Braves are interested. But it will be impossible for them to sign Damon unless Damon lowers his price to $ 1-2 million. Right now the Braves are looking at an outfield of McClouth in CF, a Diaz/Melky split in left and Heyward in right, with Hinske on the bench. Bringing in Damon would then give them five outfielders as well as tie up their excess money that could be used during the season, and it seems pretty evident that they are looking to cut their costs.
The Tigers are in the mix but I doubt if they are really serious. They got outfielders that are old. Magglio Ordonez will be turning 36 on January 28 while Carlos Guillen is 34. Adding Damon will not only make their roster much older but they will be weak defensively.
That leaves the Yankees. I really can see no other teams getting involved, and I think it comes down to deciding between a one year commitment in Atlanta and one in New York. The reason Damon hasn’t heard from the Yankees is because both parties know, whoever contacts the other first looks like they are in a greater need. To me, this is why Brian Cashman is great; he sets a value and refuses to go over what that value is. This skill is especially important when dealing with Boras; A-Rod was the only player I can think of that the Yankees overpaid what they felt he was worth, and that was a Steinbrenner move.
If Boras and Damon keeps on playing this game, they might not be in any team come spring training. Damon's case is much even worse than Bobby Abreu's story in the 2008 off-season. They should make a move now or else Boras and Damon will come begging for a job at the start of the season.
It's crunch time and Damon is heavily relying on his agent Boras to bring him to promise land. But the way this thing progress, I won't be surprise if Damon ends up in a different league. A league outside of baseball.... The WWE pays good, perhaps Boras should talk to chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. Maybe they could get a $ 20 million offer that they eagerly project.
There are rumors although not serious that the Yankees should trade for Tampa Bay Ray's left fielder Carl Crawford. Crawford is going to be a free agent at the end of the 2010 season but some experts suggest that the Yankees should gun for him and not wait the free agency.
I don't think the trade rumor is real. First of all why would the Rays trade their star to a team that is within their division? That will be total catastrophe. It is like handing a pennant to the Yankees. If the Rays going to trade Crawford, they are going to do it when they are out of contention. And most likely they are going to trade Crawford out of their division (the National league perhaps).
One thing for sure, the Rays are not going to let him walk and get nothing. The Rays future plans is to build a team around Longoria and prospects, competitive yet cheap, just like Minnesota.
So if Crawford ask for more money, the Rays will be force to let him go (or better trade him before the season ends). Crawford will be looking for a 5 year $ 75 million dollar deal and that means that only a couple of teams will be in on him anyway. The Yankees and Red Sox will surely be active if Crawford is available.
The Rays are looking for a catcher prospect and a 1st base in case they lose Carlos Pena (who will be a free agent also). If the Yankees are interested they can offer catching prospect Austin Romine (not Montero please), 1st baseman Juan Miranda and some pitching prospect.
If amazingly the Yankees able to trade for Crawford, the Bombers can have a speedy and reliable defensive outfielders. Crawford will be position in left while Brett Gardner will be patrolling center. Curtis Granderson can slide down to right field.
This means the Yankees can trade Nick Swisher (who will be earning $ 9 million in 2011) and use the money for pitching.
The Yankees will not be a one dimensional team if that happens. They got power and speed in their line-up.
In order to improve the Yankees line-up (speed-wise) the Yanks should trade their prospects now and get Crawford for the 2010 season at a bargain rate. Crawford will earn $ 10 million this year and the Bombers must then trade Swisher before his limited no-trade clause becomes active in 2011 (may block deals to 6 clubs).
Crawford is much better than Swisher. Crawford 50+ base stealing skills is something the Yankees should not take for granted. Crawford is still young (28) and his speed and skills will be consistent for another 4-6 years.
If the Yankees get Crawford, they will be a run and gun team but also with home run power. Aside from Crawford, the Yanks have Jeter, A-Rod, Granderson and Gardner that can run and steal bases. That's more than one half of the Yankees line-up that can kill opponents with their quickness.
For this year the Yankees intention is to rent Crawford for the 2010 season. See how will things fare. By the end of the season and Crawford doesn't want to come back on Yankees' terms ( meaning a lot less than $ 15 million plus) they can let him walk.... and get somebody else like Jason Werth.
If Crawford demands a contract for more than 5 years, the Yankees should say no. Because that would take him well into those years past his prime where he won't even be able to steal bags anymore. But that's all in the future.
As for now, just be contented with our current line-up and don't expect to much on Carl Crawford playing with the Yankees. The probability is way way far from reality.
Yes we all heard of Derek Jeter and long time girlfriend Minka Kelly tying the knot on November 5 (Sorry ladies!), but that's only the tip of the iceberg. This year would also be Jeter's contract year which is essential for both him and the Yankees.
Definitely the Yankees will offer the Yankees team captain a contract extension. After-all Jeter is probably the "icon" for the Yankees organization. Jeter gave the Yankees a generous contribution of 5 World Series titles, an instrumental for the team's late 90's dynasty, and is the Yankees all-time hit leader ( surpassing Lou Gehrig).
Since he first came to the league in 1995, Jeter brought along with him his hitting prowess, base stealing skills, excellent defensive aptitude (4 Gold Glove awards), his reputation as reliable contributor in the post-season (Captain Clutch), and is regarded as a consummate professional, by teammates and opponents alike.
It's very possible for the Yankees to offer Jeter an contract extension for 4-5 years. Anything less would be an insult not only to Jeter but to the whole Yankee community.
Jeter is 35 and is still on his prime. He could still be effective for another 2-3 years.
If Jeter signs a long contract with the Yankees (which we think he will), he could slide down to the DH spot on his last years because of a potential dip on his speed and defensive skills.
The Yankees Captain is due to earn $ 21 million this year but the question is how much will the Yankees give him annually on his contract extension. The first 2-3 years is critical for a salary raise because Jeter is still at his peak. The Yankees can lower his salary on his latter years of his contract (similar to Alex Rodriquez contract).
After Jeter retires there is also an outside chance for him to be on the Yankees coaching staff. Or maybe a broadcasting job. The possibilities are endless for the future Hall of Famer.
Besides he will be married soon to a beautiful and talented lady. Jeter can shy away for the lime light and have "more private time" with his family. He is already wealthy not only through his salary but to his endorsements.
2010 is really a big year for Derek Jeter. Not only professionally but personally. Jeter will be having a different kind of ring..... a wedding ring.
That's too bad for the Jeter's female admirers, they will be mourning when the Yankees' most eligible bachelor walk up the aisle and say "I Do".
Congratulations to you "El Capitan"! Hope you will have an amazing year this year.
The Yankees are seriously thinking of adding another outfielder to complete their 2010 roster. But before they do any actions they should look at there present option to play left field..... that guy is no other than Brett Gardner.
Brett Gardner is the right man for left field. His has quick feet that can roam the outfield and he hustles to track down fly balls. He is not afraid to sacrifice his body even to the point of injury. We've seen him number of times in the past smashing to the wall just to catch the ball.
Gardner with right fielder Nick Swisher and new center fielder Curtis Granderson have excellent defensive skills and is an upgrade compared to the Yankees 2009 outfield roster.
Gardner is a perfect fit in the 9th hole. His patience at the plate gives him a lot of walks where he can use his talent to steal bases. With Jeter and OBP monster Nick Johnson at the top of the order, it will be easy for them to bring Gardner home (Gardner normally steal 2nd base). This is an automatic RBI for the team.
Gardner has little power but he compensates it with his consistent batting. He has a .270 average and a OBP of .345, he uses the whole field while making consistent hard contact.
But the main reason what makes Gardner valuable to the Yankees is his speed. Gardner's skills are enticing that the Yankees choose Gardner over co-team mate and outfielder Melky Cabrera (who is a excellent defensive player) to be traded to the Braves to get a starting pitcher.
Gardner is the fastest base runner in the organization. He has solid base running instincts and is adept at picking spots, knowing when it's more valuable to the team for him to use the threat of a stolen base to get the pitcher to throw fastballs to the heart of the order.
Gardner's legs is his greatest asset. There was one time where he made an inside the park home run (a difficult feat) against the Minnesota Twins on May 15, 2009. It took Gardner only 14 seconds to go around the bases, a total distance of 360 feet. That's lightning quick.
Gardner just played 108 games in 2009 but he managed to steal 26 bases. Just imagine what he could achieve if he completes the whole season. He could be a 40-50 base stealer adding another element to the Yankees power-house roster.
It's difficult to say what will Gardner bring in 2010. But if stays healthy and remain consistent the Yankees will much be better off without Johnny Damon. The Yankees will be better if they platooned Gardner with Reed Johnson, Jerry Hairston Jr., or even Jonny Gomes.
It will entirely depend on Gardner's performance this coming season. Speed and base stealing is an under-rated skill that goes over look. But this skills are the ones that made baseball team win ball games. It gives an element of surprise to opposing teams.
Every team wants to add speed and base stealing. The Yankees have that in Brett Gardner.
Everybody is getting tired of the "Johnny Damon rumors". The Yankees have move elsewhere (when Damon still insisted with his high contract demand) by signing free agent Nick Johnson since Matsui couldn't wait much longer.
The Damon rumors was dead until the Yankees traded Melky Cabrera. Now the left field spot is open again and the Damon rumors started swirling in. Still nothing is happening.
I'm sure Damon still has value, his bat is still a hot property and is a shoo-in at the top of the order. But Damon has to be realistic with his weaknesses. He's getting old, has a weak arm, and his injuries will go up as the years goes by. Therefore Damon should be considerate and must lower his asking price especially if no one is biting to his 2 year $ 20 million demand.
Why can't he see that he will benefit a lot of he signs with the Yankees. His production especially his home runs stats will still be there (thanks to the Yankee Stadium). And he will get a chance of winning another World Series title.
Look what Damon did to the Yankees so far..... the Yankees lost the chance to sign Hideki Matsui, who most people say is a much better hitter and DH than new acquisition Nick Johnson. Because of the waiting game Matsui was forced to look for another team just to secure his job for the next season since at that time the Yankees 1st priority is signing Damon. It's a good thing Nick Johnson was still available or else things could have been worse.
Everyday the Yankees are losing options for a new left fielder..... Marlon Byrd signed with the Cubs, Mike Cameron went to Boston, and big names like Jason Bay and Matt Holliday signed with the Mets and the Cardinals respectively.
Sure the Yankees are waiting for Damon's value to plummet down to their likings but they make a risk of losing more free agent outfielders. Free agent Reed Johnson and Jonny Gomes, both the Yankees are interested in, are a practical choice but they won't be available soon. The Yankees must make a move to complete their roster and be ready for spring training.
The Yankees must make an ultimatum to Johnny Damon. Make an offer for one year with a basic salary of $6-7 million plus incentives.
And the Yankees should set a deadline for that offer.... let's say until the end of January. At the end of that month and Damon is still playing "hard to get" then the Yankees must move on and sign another outfielder.... a cheaper one.
Setting a deadline for Damon is critical for the Yankees in so many ways. For one Damon would be pressured and will be forced to sign with the Yankees knowing there's nobody out there that is willing to give him a better offer. And if Damon resist, there are still a lot of free agents available this month which the Yankees can grab to.
And lastly, Kevin Long (Yankees hitting coach) needs to prepare new acquisitions for batting practice to condition them for the upcoming season.
The Yankees are strict with their $ 200 million budget. They should also be strict with Johnny Damon. This should be the message of the Yankees for Damon:
"Sign before January 31 or else.........."
The Yankees has a hole in left field. 4th outfielder and reserve Brett Gardner is the projected left fielder for 2010 but he is not that consistent. Johnny Damon is an option and is known to deliver in clutch situations but can the Yankees afford his contract demands.
What if the Yankees has "supernatural powers" and rose Hall of Famer Babe Ruth from the dead. Having Babe Ruth back to the team will bring great wonders.
Having Babe Ruth will solve the Yankees problem in left field. Babe Ruth can fill the spot in left or play right field (he is known as a right fielder) and move Nick Swisher to left.
Babe is known as a power hitter. He hit 59 home runs in 1921 and 60 in 1927. Imagine having a slugger who can hit 50+ homers in one season. That would definitely place Ruth as the Yankees no. 3 hitter moving Mark Teixiera to the 5th hole behind Alex Rodriguez. Here is the possible line-up in 2010:
Nick Johnson = 2nd
Babe Ruth = 3rd
Alex Rodriguez = 4th
Mark Teixeira = 5th
Curtis Granderson = 6h
Jorge Posada = 7th
Robinson Cano = 8th
Nick Swisher = 9th
The top of the order have guys that have a high on-base percentage which will clog up the bases. The heart of the order are monstrous with Babe who can hit 50+ homers and A-Rod and Tex with 30-40+ homers. The bottom of the line-up are still a threat where all of them can hit 20+ home runs. There are no holes in the line-up. All of them are productive hitters which will be a nightmare to opposing teams.
Salary wise, Babe Ruth is even cheaper than Damon. Ruth would only demand $ 20,000 ($212,733 in current dollar terms). That's even lower than the minimum salary. Reserve infielder Ramiro Pena in fact has a higher salary ($400,000). That's really a bargain for the Yankees and definitely a big factor to their cost-cutting plan.
If somebody gets injured in the rotation Babe Ruth can also fill in as a starting pitcher. Babe have played as a starting pitcher during his stint with the Boston Red Sox. He once had an ERA of 1.75 and is suited to compose a shut-out game.
Or the Yankees can put back young studs like Joba and Phil Hughes back in the bullpen and insert Babe Ruth as their no. 5 starter.
Babe Ruth is a 7 time World Series champion. He won 3 as pitcher with the Red Sox and won 4 as a slugger with the Yankees. Only Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte are the only Yankee active players that has 4 World Series title under there belts (Jorge Posada has 3).
That means Babe Ruth is proven to perform and excel in the spotlight. He is not a Hall of Famer for nothing.
You just wonder how will the Red Sox react when they will face "again" the guy they sold to the Yankees. It will be a revival of the "Curse of the Bambino" where the Red Sox failed to win a World Series for a span of 86 years. If the belief is true that will be good news for the Yankees as they have eliminate their arch-rival from winning a World Series for 8-9 decades.
Having the "Babe", the "Bambino" or the "Sultan of Swat" will not only make the Yankees a better team but they will be heavily favorites to win the World Series.
If only Babe Ruth was alive.......
The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox is probably the most popular rivalry in baseball history. Whenever this two powerhouse clubs faces each other the intensity level will go up, sparks will fly, and emotions will be at its peak. This two teams are at each others throat that they will celebrate like they won a World Series title when they got the division pennant.
It's amazing how the MLB rules manage to put this two rival team in one division. It is like putting a mongoose and a cobra in one small cage and letting them go at it.
Whenever the Red Sox gets a star pitcher the Yankees will counter with a pitcher of their own. They will keep on doing it even to the extent of extending their payroll budget.
This year is no different. The Red Sox, with a formidable pitching staff that consist of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Dice-K, Clay Buchholz, and Tim Wakefield, still went to the free agency market and signed "prized" free agent John Lackey. This move is an indication that the Red Sox wants to take back what the Yankees gained in 2009 and that is the World Series crown.
The Yankees, knowing that the Red Sox is boosting their pitching staff, added another stud pitcher to strengthen their rotation that already have a powerful cast of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Andy Pettitte, and probably including Joba Chamberlain and/or Phil Hughes. The Yankees traded their outfielder Melky Cabrera plus others in their farm system to get Atlanta's ace Javier Vazquez.
Now the starting staff of the Yankees is pretty much even with the Red Sox.
In the outfield the Yankees traded their prospects Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, and Ian Kennedy for Detroit's star Curtis Granderson to improve their defense. The Red Sox countered by signing free agent Mike Cameron.
In the infield the Yankees signed free agent Nick Johnson to compensate for the departure of Hideki Matsui. Nick Johnson is targeted to be the Yankees' regular DH and spell Mark Teixeira at 1st base from time to time. The Red Sox got aggressive by signing free agent Marco Scutaro to upgrade their short stop position and just recently they signed slugger Adrian Beltre (pending physical) to improve their 3rd base position formerly held by injury plague Mike Lowell.
And both teams are not yet done. We heard rumors that the Red Sox are previously interested with Padre's star Adrian Gonzalez and they are looking to trade Mike Lowell for the Mets 2nd baseman Luis Castillo.
The Yankees are keeping their windows open for a possible comeback of Johnny Damon, who they are looking forward to stabilize their top of the order line-up.
It's tooth and nail for both of these teams and neither is backing out and giving way in quest for another World Series title. It's going to be amazing to see this two teams battle it out in the coming 2010 season. I am very eager and impatient to witness the next Yankee-Red Sox match. There will be bloodshed everywhere. It's going to be intense!
Forgive? I won't able to forgive both the Yankees and Johnny Damon if they were not able to come to terms. Everybody knows and even baseball critics agree that both parties need each other. The Yankees have said that they have only $ 4 million to spend for an outfielder and they said that they are even willing to let reserve outfielder Brett Gardner to start in left. Although this might a be a reasonable plan it is not a reinforced one.
The Yankees need more depth and batting power and they should not hesitate to look further. Johnny Damon is proven and the Yankees is his comfort zone. So here is my message to the Yankees administration and to Johnny Damon:
TO THE YANKEES:
My advice for Yankees specifically to GM Brian Cashman is to talk to the owners and management and add a little more for the budget. The budget for a left fielder is $ 4 million. Sure they can get a free agent like Reed Johnson or Jerry Hairston Jr. (good supporting guys) but are they capable of hitting consistently and playing in pressure games.
Johnny Damon is the guy for the Yankees. He loves hitting in the Yankee Stadium (20+ homers) and is a perfect compliment to Derek Jeter at the top of the order. With Damon on board and probably hitting in the 2nd hole, this will slide newly acquired Curtis Granderson to the 5th spot and Nick Johnson to the 8th or 9th hole. This means that the Yankees will have an imposing line-up maybe even better than the 2009 World Series Yankee line-up.
If you really think about it why should the Yankees be seriously strict with their $ 200 million salary budget for 2010 when they will still be penalized for exceeding the salary cap next season. Even if they spend an extra $ 10 million for a left fielder they would still make profit. I just don't really get it. They are the New York Yankees, and the defending champions of baseball. They don't win by being sticklers when it comes to the payroll. Hell, they aren't the New York Mets. They offered bad contracts to worse players in the past, but Damon is not one of them. Be a little more fair.
Give Johnny Damon an offer of $ 7-9 million for one year with an option of one year extension. Maybe two years if Damon still persist. But get it done.
TO JOHNNY DAMON:
Seriously, Damon should get the hell away from the Boras-ish demands and come to the Yankees, like Alex Rodriguez did back in 2007, and work this out with them, if he really intend to be a Yankee again.
Damon is 36 years old, has a weak arm, and is becoming to be a defensive liability in the outfield. He has leg problems and showed signs of wear and tear especially during Game 6 of the World Series where he strained his right calf in the 3rd inning. The DH position is where Damon will be placed sometime in the future. That limits his option to sign with a NL club since there is no DH.
NL clubs is concerned about his diminishing defensive skills while AL teams can't afford him. Teams like the Braves, Giants and Cubs that were interested in signing Damon has gone to other free agents and only the Yankees is the really serious team left. Damon has to realize that the Yankee stadium is his sanctuary. That short right field porch gives Damon a career high of 24 home runs in 2006 and in 2009. If he signs with other clubs his stats will go down.
Deep down, if Damon comes to the Yankees and say that he wants to do whatever it takes to be a Yankee, they will work something out for him. Damon did help them win a championship in November, and he is still one of the more popular players on the team.
So to Johnny Damon, swallow that pride, bypass Boras and sign with the Yankees. It's better to sign with a championship caliber team than with a losing ball club.