From Jon Heyman (SI):
The reason Girardi employs Hideki Matsui as his DH over Posada is that Girardi and Yankees higher-ups believe Matsui is a slightly better offensive player. Girardi was merely being diplomatic when he claimed the reason Mastui’s getting the starts at DH over Posada the games that Molina catches is because Masui is more accustomed to DHing. That was the p.c. answer, but not the right one.
So, according to Jon Heyman, the Yankees think Hideki Matsui is a “slightly better” offensive player than Jorge Posada. Now, while I don’t want to deviate from my primary point, I actually agree if we’re viewing this from a strictly offensive perspective. Obviously, Jorge is more valuable when you factor in his position, however, a comparison of the two is not the main point here. Rather, I’m interested in what it means for Matsui to be viewed as a better hitter than Posada by Joe Girardi and various other Yankee personnel.
If we are to believe Heyman and his assertion that the Yankees consider Matsui a “slightly better” offensive player than Posada, then, I ask, do the Yankees consider Johnny Damon a “slightly better” offensive player, as well? I doubt that they do given Posada’s switch-hitting prowess, plate patience, and power. Therefore, if the Yankees think Matsui is a better hitter than Posada, wouldn’t that mean that they’re more inclined to bring him back in 2010 rather than resign Johnny Damon? After all, one is “slightly better” than Posada and the other, in my opinion, isn’t really on that level, offensively. Clearly, I’m trying to glean some insights (probably too much) from Heyman’s comment.
Also, to clarify, I’m speaking in regards to the designated hitter role in 2010—not left field. As Bill Madden notes, the Yankees see Damon as a “liability in the outfield” (the correct viewpoint), meaning that they’re willing to bring back one of the two—Matsui or Damon—as the 2010 DH. If the Yankees truly believe that Matsui is a better run producer than Damon, wouldn’t he then have the advantage? Then again, Damon can roam the outfield in a pinch and, despite his poor fielding, that does provide some roster flexibility when trying to rest other players. It’s a tough call, really.
I actually think that Matsui is probably the best choice for the DH role, as he has been extremely successful there this season. That doesn’t necessarily mean the end for Damon, though. If the Yankees can’t find a suitable left fielder, perhaps a one-year deal for Damon wouldn’t be too bad. However, I doubt he’ll duplicate his numbers from this season and his defense will probably decline further. What do you think? Who would you like to see return if you had to choose between the two players? Or, perhaps you’d like to see someone else brought into the fold?
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