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Moving from Damon: Breaking Down LF

By Mike Silva ~ January 18th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees, Offseason Speculation.

It appears the marriage between Johnny Damon and the Yankees is done. More than likely Brett Gardner will get a chance to earn the starting left field job this spring. There are other possible options that may fit the Yankees budget as well. Let’s take a look at them:

Xavier Nady – might have the most upside of them all. According to Scott Boras, Nady will be ready to play the field come spring training. Remember, he is less than a year removed from his second Tommy John surgery. I think Nady has the best upside since, if healthy, has 30 homers/100 RBI potential. His righty bat could balance out a lineup that is a bit lefty heavy.

Rocco Baldelli – Very intriguing option. His medical issues (fatigue) have been well documented, but he helped the Red Sox off the bench. I am not sure he can produce at the same level as his early days in Tampa, but can certainly hit left handed pitching, provide power, and be a solid platoon partner for Gardner.

Reed Johnson – Another version of Baldelli who hits left handed pitching very well (OPS of .900). If it came down to Johnson or Baldelli I would go with Johnson since he has a more recent track record of success.

Jonny Gomes – Not hearing much about Gomes. I am surprised since he had a nice season in Cincinnati (20 HR, OPS of .879). He did play at a favorable hitter’s park, but his splits were pretty even home and away. He also crushes left handed pitching.

Personally, I would still try to find room for Damon, but we have exhausted that debate. The fact that the Yankees haven’t had much contact with Boras tells you they aren’t interested. My next choice would be Nady. If his health checks out he is the only one of the group that has a proven track record as an everyday player. He is a good bottom of the order hitter and, as I said, has 30 homer/100 RBI potential. If that doesn’t work out then Gomes or Johnson would suffice. I am sure there is a large contingency that just wants Gardner to get the everyday job.

Let’s hear your thoughts.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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8 Responses to Moving from Damon: Breaking Down LF

  1. kas

    Brett Gardner..UGH…


    I’m Looking for Brett Gardner to assume the CENTERFIELD job and become a star, Followed by Curtis Granderson being the 2010 All Star Leftfielder banging 35 homeruns and driving in 120 batting 5th.

  3. DrJ3205

    In addition to his contribution as a hitter, Damon adds a number of intangibles to the team. None of the other players mentioned add what Damon gave, and still could give, the Yankees as a team player. It will be a shame to see him provide his kind of leadership and esprit de corps to another team. Of course, his leaving the Yankees is still speculation, and it is not clear that the “debate has been exhausted.”

  4. justiceserved

    Granderson should play left & Gardner center as he has more range, so you need someone who can cover some ground. Gomes may be able to.

  5. Mario

    Either the Yankees are stupid or they’ve analyzed the market and they’re trying to save a buck like any good businessman would. I see Damon back in pinstripes, 1 year 6 mil. watch

  6. brianp1031

    Johnny Damon’s problem is … well… Johnny Damon. He has been watching what Boras has done for his other clients, and listening to what Boras tells him, that he’s indispensable and can command the money that he wants. Unfortunately for Johnny, Boras has neglected to tell him the whole truth, that a 36 year old player with weak legs, and an even weaker arm, is not on the top of most teams’ wish list, especially in a market where a ballplayers value is declining.
    His one perfect fit is the New York Yankees. Over the last few years the Yanks have made a home for him and utilized all of his talents. Any other team that might pick him up this off season will relegate him to a supporting backup role with limited plate appearances. Also, one other thing for Johnny to consider, any team that picks him up now won’t be a contender.
    After so many years of being on a contending team, is Johnny ready to go to a team that most likely won’t make the playoffs and will play him sparingly. I think Johnny wants to play on a championship caliber team and possibly make on last run at glory before he hangs up his glove and becomes a permanent DH. He has more than made his money throughout his career and now needs to work on cementing a legacy. He should take a page from Alex Rodriquez’s book and reach out to Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenner’s and make a deal that keeps him in the Bronx where he is a perfect fit.

  7. Jonathan

    Damon will end up with Atlanta. They need another OF and could really use a guy to hit leadoff while moving Nate McLouth a little lower in the order. His price should drop enough, if it hasn’t already, for the Braves to sign him up. I’m pretty positive the ATL is Damon’s destination here soon.

  8. Jeff

    Damon to Atlanta is a possibility. Still the Yankees are the best fit for him and the team. Although I was against putting him in the two hole inititially it helped limit the double plays. NY will not have a number two hitter. Johnson will clog the basis, Granderson strikes out too much, maybe Cano can hit 2nd.
    Realistically if the Yankees can get Damon for 1 year 8 million and a mutual option for 2011 with a 1-2 million buyout Cashman should ask for a bit extra. I understand the Yankees hesitation considering they are targeting Carl Crawford for next year but Damon is an experienced veteran who can still play LF and DH. I don’t quite get the Johnson signing. We need Damon!

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