Shockingly enough, John Harper thinks the Yankees should’ve retained Johnny Damon. His title puts at least some of the blame on Damon, rightfully, but he of course ends up right in the same pitfalls as usual. Let’s cut this bad boy up (emphasis on the bad).
Still, you had to be blind not to see that Johnny Damon and the pinstripes were perfect for each other last year, and all these months apart has only made it harder to fathom that the two sides allowed such a relationship to end prematurely.
Not necessarily, John. The Yankees were aiming to get younger and more athletic this season. Re-signing Damon would not have accomplished that. I’m not finding it all that hard to fathom, especially considering the relative success of Brett Gardner.
On the other hand, Cashman was too quick to move on and sign Nick Johnson after trading for Curtis Granderson, essentially closing the door on Damon. Cashman, however, insists that Boras was telling him at the time he had a firm offer from another team for more money than he was willing to pay Damon, and that’s why he moved on.
Even with Johnson’s injury, I’d still make that move–and the Granderson trade–instead of signing Damon. While Johnson as DH loses power to Damon, I’ll take those supreme on base skills. Fun hypothetical: Nick Johnson had a 24.5% walk rate before being injured. If he had as many PAs as Damon, Johnson would have 110 walks by now.
As it turned out, Cashman didn’t have a great winter. However, strong seasons from Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner have helped the Yankees survive the predictable loss of Johnson to injury and the less predictable struggles of Curtis Granderson, and they lead lead the majors with 618 runs scored
While Granderson hasn’t performed as well at the plate as we’d like, he’s been hitting well of late. It’s also worth noting that both Curtis and Johnny have been worth 1.8 WAR this season, and that doesn’t include Granderson’s game last night which featured a homer, a walk, and some UZR busting plays.
But that doesn’t mean the Yankees wouldn’t be a better team with Damon hitting in the No. 2 spot in the lineup. That doesn’t mean they won’t miss his clutch bat – as well as that of Hideki Matsui – come the postseason.
I’ll take Nick Swisher and his .381 wOBA in the number two spot in the lineup, thank you very much. As for Matsui, he’s wOBAing .327 right now and has been up and down all season. I wouldn’t trust his bat in the playoffs anymore than I would trust Granderson’s.
Am I sad to see Johnny in another uniform after four solid years in the Bronx? Yeah, of course. Damon was a good player who was charismatic and easy to like. But, this isn’t about likability or favoritism; it’s about winning. Going into this season, Nick Johnson’s supreme on-base ability coupled Curtis Granderson’s relative youth, power, and ability to play a premium position gave the Yankees a much better chance of winning than bringing back Damon (or Matsui). Good luck for the rest of the season in Detroit, Johnny. We miss you and appreciate everything you did for us Yankee fans. And remember, it’s not personal Johnny…it’s only business.
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