The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:
 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

CBSSports: Johnny Damon wants to be a Yankee, still bitter toward Rays

The serious injury to Curtis Granderson has moved Johnny Damon to make public overtures to the Yankees. Here’s what the 39-year-old, semi-retired outfielder told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News:

“I don’t expect to hear from them. If they call, if they want me, I’ll go. They are one of the only teams I would do that for. We’ll see what happens in the future. If someone calls, I could definitely get ready.”
Damon adds that he thinks he’s better than “70-80 percent of the guys out there.”

CAIRO still thinks Damon can hit a little, projecting him at .260/.332/.414 as a Yankee.  Although that’s better than just about all the other outfielders in camp aside from Brett Gardner (yes, a smidgen better than Ichiro) that only projects to be worth about 2 runs above a replacement level LF over 200 PA and he projects to give that value back on defense.  CAIRO may also be slow on picking up if Damon’s cooked since it includes his performance going back to 2009.

I’m guessing it won’t happen unless another injury pops up, although I suppose the fact that almost everyone vying for the open spot in the OF bats right-handed might mean bringing Damon to camp without any commitment would be worth a flier.  I don’t really see anything materializing here, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it.

In other news, Kevin Youkilis is being shut down with a sore left oblique.  Great.

--Posted at 9:07 am by SG / 51 Comments | - (0)

Comments

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Laughter breaking out all over Townie-town.

LoHud: “Girardi said he’s planning to keep Robertson in the eighth inning — obviously — and he considers Chamberlain a strong candidate to be the go-to seventh-inning reliever. David Aardsma is also in that mix, but Girardi seemed to be leaning toward Chamberlain.”

Oh god I can’t bear the suspense

I’d definitely give him a Spring Training invite. I mean, really, what’s the harm?

Who will pitch the seventh?

[3] There’s some harm that he plays as well in ST as a rookie, and wins the job out of camp b/c he’s a former Yankee and all that.  I’d rather give Mesa 100+ PA of time for equal performance than give that same to Damon.  Mesa has some future, probably as a 4th/5th OF, but there’s still some potential that he could be a cheap starter in 2014, and/or build his value as a potential trade-chip.  Really, they have plenty of potential starters in camp.  No none are lefty, but not that long ago we were worried that all the starters were left handed.

Hey SG, when are you going to start the “looking ahead” pieces?  Last year looks like started Feb 24th.  I know “starting catcher” isn’t too exciting right now but…

Eh.  Mesa has a grand total of 133 PA in AAA.  I don’t think it’s hurting him to have him start the year in AAA if Damon looks like he can provide more offense to start the year.

Hey SG, when are you going to start the “looking ahead” pieces?

I am trying to get my hands on PECOTA but I won’t pay for it.  Everything else is in place.  I suppose I could just go with what I have.  Maybe I’ll start this week.

I know “starting catcher” isn’t too exciting right now but…

I’m basically enthused about Cano, Gardner and to a lesser extent Jeter right now.  All the other starters leave me feeling underwhelmed.  I was sort of enthused about Grandy until he got hurt.

I like Mesa too.  You can count on his defense and he could get hot for 30 games before the league finds all the massive holes in his swing.

Damon’s importunate bleatings are unseemly.  He should blame Scott Borasshole for pricing him out of the Yankees’ range after the ‘09 season.

If Mesa plays well, I’d imagine he’ll make the team no matter what as a fourth outfielder/defensive replacement for Damon. So I’m not too worried about Mesa’s development.

Now if he does BETTER than Damon and Damon still got the job, then yeah, that’d be a problem. But that’s only a problem if the Yankees are stupid, and I don’t think we should make decisions based just on a fear of the Yankee front office being stupid.

As for starters I’m enthused for, besides the ones SG already mentioned, I’m a bit enthused for Hafner. And heck, I’m at least curious as to which Ichiro we get this year.

But yes, my interest in Damon is strictly “Let’s see what he has left” and not anything nostalgia-based, as really, screw that. He played hard ball and lost big time (“Don’t even make me a contract offer if it involves offering me less money than my current salary”...time passes…“What the hell? Why didn’t you guys make me a contract offer? I would have signed for less than my current salary!!!”), so I sure don’t feel sorry for him.

I think that asshole must have buried a second Big Poopy jersey somewhere nobody knows about. They should start breaking up concrete on an exploratory basis. Start in the steakhouse and work your way out until the place is purged.

And heck, I’m at least curious as to which Ichiro we get this year.

It’s kind of like the suspense when your doorbell rings in the middle of the night, and you’re wondering “Who could that be ? Is Publisher’s Clearinghouse still in business ? Is Carmen Electra lost and she’s upset and needing to be comforted ? Oh, boy ! I can’t wait !”

But sometimes it’s just a bag of pooh those punk kids set on fire and ran.

Trading for Soriano seems like a pretty good idea now. He is coming from a 4 WAR season. The Cubs will eat like 22 of the 36 million remaining, making him a cheap replacement over Granderson next season.

I know he will cost a prospect, but not a good one, just a decent one. And before last season he had 3 horrible seasons.

[13] It was a bail bondsman.

Soriano is a costly two-year solution to a thirty game problem.  Pass.

For those wanting to go with Damon, I’d ask you this question - if a young player in the upper levels of the Yankees organization can’t get a shot when they need to cover 100 PA’s because a starter is injured in ST, when can he get his shot? Seeing what someone does over a month, if nothing else, gives us information on which to evaluate their ability to contribute in the future. That has value.

Soriano is a cheap solution to what could be a bigger problem. Both Matsui and Gardner lost an entire year to early season injury, and Gardner is still a question mark. Granderson could well not come back anything close to himself. He won’t be hitting 40 home runs, though he could still hit the 200 K mark if he returns by the ASB. Ichiro is 60 years old, playing year-to-year at this point, and will be 70 next year.

I know he will cost a prospect, but not a good one, just a decent one.

None of our prospects work out for us, anyway. Do the deal.

For those wanting to go with Damon, I’d ask you this question - if a young player in the upper levels of the Yankees organization can’t get a shot when they need to cover 100 PA’s because a starter is injured in ST, when can he get his shot? Seeing what someone does over a month, if nothing else, gives us information on which to evaluate their ability to contribute in the future. That has value.

But we’re not talking about an injury in the season where they have to make a decision sight unseeen. We’re talking about them all being given a chance to compete for the job. They’re getting their shot. They’re giving us information on which to evaluate their ability to contribute in the future. And if they don’t play as well as Damon for the next month, he gets the job over them.

But yes, if this happened during the season and they went with Damon sight unseen over one of their minor league guys, then yes, that’d be awful.

I’d like to see Mustelier get a shot.  He seems especially likely to be hot at the plate until holes are discovered.

For those wanting to go with Damon, I’d ask you this question - if a young player in the upper levels of the Yankees organization can’t get a shot when they need to cover 100 PA’s because a starter is injured in ST, when can he get his shot?

I think it’s less about going with Damon, and more about bringing him in to see what he has left since it won’t cost anything.  What if Gardner and/or Ichiro get hurt now?  Do we really want to see an OF for a month and a half with two of Rivera/Diaz/Mesa/Mustelier/Almonte in it?

The Yankees really have no depth right now.  I don’t see the problem with trying to address that.

I’d like to see Mustelier get a shot.

I’m really hoping he hits .400 and Diaz/Rivera hit .000 and he forces his way into the lineup.  He really seems likes their best internal option as long as he can play passable defense.

[18] Soriano is 70 years old and will be 80 next year.  He’d be on the team in 2014 when Masonic Temple Williams, Slade Heathcott Slocumb and Tyler Texas Austin Texas may be due to arrive.

[20] How many PA’s are these guys going to get in ST? 50? 75? Would you use that to evaluate anything, ever? And if you would, I’d ask why you would choose that data over what the guy had done in the minors and what Damon has done in his last few seasons.

[22] Bringing him into to camp because our depth is depleted and we need to protect against another injury, sure, I can get behind that.  But it seemed to me that the conversation (because of the article we started with) was about Damon coming in to cover Granderson’s absence on the 25 man roster.

[20, 25] FWIW, Steve Goldman agrees with me.

[20] Isn’t that why the option system exists ? To give players a chance to break into the majors as something other than an all-or-nothing-one-shot basis ?

[22] This.

A non-contract or MiLB contract training camp invitation is the 40 year old has-been player’s version of the option system.

Manny Ramirez is signing with a Taiwanese team even though the food is better on Canal Street.

How many PA’s are these guys going to get in ST? 50? 75? Would you use that to evaluate anything, ever? And if you would, I’d ask why you would choose that data over what the guy had done in the minors and what Damon has done in his last few seasons.

You don’t use PA and data from spring training.  You use physical observations about bat speed and foot speed and reflexes.  Did Damon have a .239 BABIP in 2012 because he’s not hitting the ball hard any more, or does he still have some pop in his bat?

This is the same sort of discussion we had about Bartolo Colon being looked at in the spring of 2011.  You weren’t going to take him because he threw 16 good innings.  You were going to take him because he was throwing a 92-95 mph sinker that dropped about two feet.

Again, I don’t think the Yankees should bring Damon to camp with any kind of guarantee that he’ll be starting the year on the 25 man roster to fill in for Granderson.  But Mesa’s going to the WBC, and Damon’s almost certainly a better option against RHP than Rivera or Diaz and there’s no harm in seeing if he can make a case for himself.

[18] There’s nothing wrong with looking into acquiring Soriano.  At the right price he’s fine to have on the team.  ZIPS only projects 1.9 fWAR so we shouldn’t overstate his value.  But yes, he’d make a fine LF, and later fine platoon OF.  He’s also decent at DH if Hafner goes down, etc.  But Yankees need to be careful to not send too much away.

[29] Sure, all that stuff is important.  However, there’s a limit to what we can observe with Damon in ST.  There’s also a danger that the Yankee coaching staff over-values what they see in Damon - who helped Yankees win their last WS and is a “proven veteran” - over Mesa, and keeps Damon.  Less being “stupid” than being sub-optimal.  Really I was hoping Mesa made the team out of ST before Granderson got hurt, and now I’m hoping even more, and I don’t want to see more impediments in his way for a 1 run increase.

[29] Colon came off a lost 2010, an experimental shoulder procedure (and in retrospect, probably steroids or HGH) and was pitching well in winter ball. He was also scouted by Tony Pena. Regardless of all that, I’d even be willing to remove context from the discussion and say that if a formerly good pitcher comes into camp showing velocity that he used to have, then it’s something that you can use to evaluate his future effectiveness.  There are discussions about Vazquez and Kazmir from this offseason where I believe that you can apply that same though process.

Not so much for hitters, in my opinion. And, if perhaps there was a case to be made that you could use the same thought process for hitters, using that rationale for Damon is flawed.  He *did* play last season, and was terrible. Matt Diaz is probably a more analagous case to Colon than Damon is.

Again, depth - sure. If the Yankees have another injury to an OF, they will be really exposed.  But 100 PA’s of Mustelier or even Mesa (you seem to be intersted in Mustelier) would really benefit this organization much more than a 40 year old stop gap would. 

Maybe we’re talking about two different thought processes that both result in the same thing. I’d agree with bringing Damon into camp in case someone else gets injured - but if no one gets injured, they should go with an internal option. I think I’ve read a few other posts where people want to compare how Damon looks/does in camp to how Player X (Mustelier, Mesa, etc.) looks/does in camp, and then pick the best one. I disagree with that approach.

[8] Thanks.  Cano definitely excited to see.  If you’re ignoring pitchers for who to be “enthused” about for now (and I think a lot of the pitchers I’m excited to see), definitely also Gardner and Jeter.  IDK if I’d say “enthused” or “excited”, but I’m certainly very interested to see what we get from Ichiro! (is 2nd half more him and can he be league-average or better), Youkilis (there’s a non-zero chance he can repeat 2011), Teix (if he stays healthy 2011’s 4.3 fWAR is within reach), and Cervelli.  Cervelli says he fixed some bad habits with his throwing and given his reputation and numbers in the minors it’s possible he could be an above average defender and average (for a catcher) with the bat.

And of course, I’m always interest to see what the kids have, and would like to see any of the young OF (Mesa, Mustelier, Almonte), IF (Adams and Joseph, even Pirela), and C (later Romine).  I think we know logically it will be a success if they are worth 2 wins collectively.  But there’s always a chance one or more of them has a breakout and is worth 2 wins by themselves and gets into the conversation for the future.

I think I’ve read a few other posts where people want to compare how Damon looks/does in camp to how Player X (Mustelier, Mesa, etc.) looks/does in camp, and then pick the best one. I disagree with that approach.

I agree that I disagree.  I also think if the Yankees thought that Damon had ANYTHING left they would have thought about signing him last year instead of Raul.  Or brought him to camp on a MiLB deal already this year - since though he isn’t RH as mentioned they don’t have much depth.

Also (also) even though Mesa will be in WBC for a while, if Damon is in camp and playing well (or well enough) eventually that will take PA away from Mesa and Mustelier.  Making it less likely they pick one of them (they’ll have seen more of Damon) and even if they do pick one of the minor-league players, that player won’t have as many PA heading into season as is optimal.

Also, who here REALLY thinks Damon will go quitely when Granderson comes back?

Also, who here REALLY thinks Damon will go quitely when Granderson comes back?

What’s he going to do when he gets DFA’d?  Go live on his houseboat?

[34] If the PLAN is to DFA a player in 6 weeks, you need a new plan.

But yes, I can see Damon making a pest of himself in the media when Granderson is getting close to being done with his rehab.  I can see him being a pain immediately after, and the papers would LOVE to print it.  Considering that he WON’T be any better than what the Yankees have in house, why would we want to add that in?

Because if we don’t add that in, then the paper is going to find their controversy elsewhere?  Most likely a place that starts with A and ends with -Rod?

Eh, I guess the more I think about it the less I am on board with Damon in any capacity.

I think Damon is likely d-u-n done, as well, but I don’t think it hurts to see if he isn’t.

I am personally partial to Neal. Good defender, decent hitter, didn’t do much for the Indians last year but it was only 20 or so at-bats.

In his only Spring Training game, 1 for 2 with a stolen base.

If Mustelier’s defense isn’t up to snuff, Neal is probably the best choice.

ESPN had this dumb article the other day pointing out that the Yankees projected starting lineup would project to have the worst runs per game of any Yankee team since 1991.

How is that even interesting to point out when Jeter will be back soon, maybe even by Opening Day and Grandy will be back in May?

It is interesting to note that the same article pointed out that the lineup without Jeter, A-Rod and Grandy would still project to win 83 games over a whole season.

Soooo…in other words, nothing noteworthy at all about that article.

By the way, the same article projected C-Stew as the starting character. I tend to believe Cervello is the likely starter. What do you all think?

[37] It only hurts if the Yankees make a mistake to give him PA’s in the regular season.  I guess part of my point is that though yes, the Yankees need to worry about adding to their chance of winning this year, they also need to worry about how they’re going to build a young, cheap(er) team going forward.  I can’t see Damon adding enough value over one of the kids to have it make more sense for him to be on the team.

Neal would fit.  IDK if he’s any better than Mesa though.  He is about 7 months younger.  I think either one should be acceptable, or Mustelier if he can play acceptable outfield defense.

Mike A. floated the idea of putting Joseph in a corner OF spot.  The theory being he may be the best hitter of the guys ticketed for AAA this year, and though his defense isn’t anything great at 2B he may be able to handle the OF.  Plus he’s young enough that he probably has some more upside.

[40] I think it will depend a lot on Cervelli’s defense, how it looks in ST.  In particular, throwing to 2nd.  Now THAT’S something you can get empirical data on, timing him on how long it takes ball to reach 2nd from time it touches his mitt, accuracy, etc.  Supposedly, Cervelli said he got into some bad habits for his throwing, and that’s why his CS% was so poor.  He believes he corrected them.  I could see that being true, as he had fine numbers in the minors (before his initial callup) and his rookie year.

So if it looks like his defense is at least average, I think he’ll probably be the nominal starting catcher, and Cervelli the backup.  That said - assuming both stay healthy - performance throughout the year will dictate who plays more.

So if it looks like his defense is at least average, I think he’ll probably be the nominal starting catcher, and Cervelli the backup.  That said - assuming both stay healthy - performance throughout the year will dictate who plays more.

Did you mean to write “and Stewart the backup”?

Joba claims he can start, probably looking forward to free agency

Yeah, I saw that. That was pretty interesting, especially as Girardi was just talking about him as a possible closer of the future (just not on the Yankees, of course, since D-Rob pretty much has that job secured).

Joba is signed through NEXT season, as well, right?

[45] Joba is signed through NEXT season, as well, right?

No.

So 2014 free agent means he’s a free agent after THIS season? Gotcha. Thanks!

The reason to consider Soriano isn’t really Granderson’s injury.  It’s that Ichiro is our starting RFer and Granderson, when healthy, has been known to struggle against LHP.  Sori is a RHH.  That sets up a pretty interesting OF corner platoon/rotation thingy.

I say this w/o knowing the details on Sori’s contract, what the Cubs are willing to do, etc.

[48] I agree, but that was true before Granderson’s injury.  I think it’s a little *more* relevent now b/c they’re without Granderson for at least a month, could easily linger to a couple of months.

I think Soriano is owed $32MM over the next two years.  Cubs were willing to pay either $10MM or $22MM (don’t remember if they were willing to pay $10MM or all but $10MM).  The former isn’t very attractive, b/c IDK if Soriano is worth $11MM in 2014 right now.  Either at “fair market” nor for Yankee budget.  The latter is attractive salary-wise, but could cost more in prospects, and I’m not sure if Yankees should give up much more than IPK+Melky…er, Warren+Adams.  Also, Soriano has an NTC, so he may want to extract something more from Yanks.

Basically, I’m sure Cashman has inquired, and if the price is reasonable he would do.

I think it was $36M due to Soriano and the Cubs would pay $26M of it, but they would expect actual talent back in return.

Pretty sure Soriano’s already said he’d be willing to accept a trade to the Yankees.

I wouldn’t do it, personally.

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