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Pinch hitting: Doug Waage

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jan 28, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Next up in the Pinch Hitters series is Doug Waage, who looked at the numbers and saw Brett Gardner as more than an acceptable everyday outfielder. He saw him as an obvious starter for the Yankees.

Doug is a 34-year-old, lifelong Yankees fan living in Jersey City and working in Manhattan. His post has been scheduled for weeks, and it just happens to run the day after Johnny Damon was eliminated from the Yankees’ left field mix.

Doug first emailed about Gardner way back in December. He wrote, in part, “Why would the Yanks even consider any of the outfielders on the free agent market when they could possibly get 5.25 WAR out of a guy they are paying about $500,000?” He wanted to make his case on the blog, and here’s his argument.

———

To a lot of fans, starting Brett Gardner in left field is totally crazy. They view Gardner as a weak offensive player at a position where most teams stress offense over defense. Here are Gardner’s actual stats (first chart) and pro-rated stats (second chart) over 626 plate appearances (which is the number of plate appearances that Johnny Damon had in 2009).  For good measure, I’ve also included stats for Melky Cabrera, Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, and Curtis Granderson.    

Player

PA

Ave

R

HR

RBI

SB

OPS

Gardner

284

0.270

48

3

23

26

0.724

Damon

626

0.282

107

24

82

12

0.854

Melky

540

0.274

66

13

68

10

0.782

Holliday

670

0.313

94

24

109

14

0.909

Bay

638

0.267

103

36

119

13

0.921

Granderson

710

0.249

91

30

71

20

0.780

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Player

PA

Ave

R

HR

RBI

SB

OPS

Gardner

626

0.270

106

7

51

57

0.724

Damon

626

0.282

107

24

82

12

0.854

Melky

626

0.274

77

15

79

12

0.782

Holliday

626

0.313

88

22

102

13

0.909

Bay

626

0.267

101

35

117

13

0.921

Granderson

626

0.249

80

26

63

18

0.780

Gardner is the speed demon of the bunch, but he is definitely the worst hitter. Now, if these six players were DH candidates, we’d have nothing to talk about. In the outfield, though, defense is a very large part of the game, especially considering the Yankees’ spacious left field. 

To determine the value of each player’s defensive ability, as well as the number of incremental wins he adds over a replacement player, we need to look at each player;s Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and its components (UZR among them).  See Beyond the Box Score and FanGraphs for the definition and application of these stats. 

Here is the raw 2009 and pro-rated data (626 plate appearances) for all six players: 

Raw Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Player

Batting

UZR

RAR

WAR

Value

2010 Salary

“Free” Value

Gardner

2.4

7.2

20.6

2.1

$9.3

$0.4

$8.9

Damon

25.3

-9.2

30.1

3.0

$13.6

$13.0

$0.6

Melky

1.6

-1.6

15.9

1.6

$7.2

$3.1

$4.1

Holliday

36.0

5.7

56.8

5.7

$25.6

$17.0

$8.6

Bay

33.7

-13.0

34.9

3.5

$15.7

$15.0

$0.7

Granderson

6.0

1.6

33.8

3.4

$15.2

$5.5

$9.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Pro-rated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Player

Batting

UZR

RAR

WAR

Value

2010 Salary

“Free” Value

Gardner

5.3

15.9

60.8

4.6

$20.8

$0.4

$20.4

Damon

25.3

-9.2

18.0

3.0

$13.5

$13.0

$0.5

Melky

1.9

-1.9

11.5

1.9

$8.3

$3.1

$5.2

Holliday

33.6

5.3

59.1

5.3

$23.9

$17.0

$6.9

Bay

33.1

-12.8

23.0

3.3

$14.6

$15.0

-$0.4

Granderson

5.3

1.4

31.2

3.2

$14.2

$5.5

$8.7

Now there a lot of numbers here, but focusing on WAR, it’s clear that Gardner is best of the bunch outside of Matt Holliday. Gardner might not give you as many extra runs on offense, but he saves you a ton on runs on defense. Given that Damon is 36 and in the declining part of his career, and Gardner is only 26 and likely to improve, the case for Gardner is only stronger.

The final nail in the coffin for the idea of Damon in left field is cost. If you had a cheep in-house option like Gardner who could generate a 4.6 WAR in 2010 (comparable to Teixeria’s 5.1 WAR in 2009 when he was 2 nd in the MVP voting), what would you do?  I’d do what Brian Cashman did: Offer Damon a fair $7M – $10M a year to be the DH (where his defense can’t hurt the team) and play Gardner in the outfield. After Nick Johnson signed, I wouldn’t have gone after Damon for the outfield as his defense kills the team, nor would I have gone after Holliday or Bay, as the $15M-$16M in extra pay each year would lead to one more win at best. 

So, the Yanks should start Gardner in left, right? Actually, no. After spending this entire post explaining why Gardner is the best left field option for the Yanks, I think Gardner should be the team’s starting center fielder, not left fielder. Gardner ran circles around Granderson in center field in 2009, and while I expect Granderson to start the season in center, I believe he’ll end the season in left.  I think Cash agrees with me on this one.  Why else would Cash say that “Granderson is penciled in at center field” but that he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of making an adjustment, and that Gardner could play every day? Similarly, why would Granderson say that he’s “willing to play anywhere in the outfield” if Cashman or someone else hadn’t already discussed such a possibility with him?

Oh, and for everyone who thinks that Gardner needs a right-handed platoon mate like Reed Johnson because he can’t hit lefties, take a look at Gardner’s MLB and minor league splits, and then do the same for Granderson. Gardner hits lefties just fine.  We need someone like Johnson to platoon with Mr. Automatic Out vs. Lefties, Curtis Granderson (0.484 OPS vs. lefties in 2009), not Gardner (0.781 OPS vs. lefties in 2009).

Comments

comments

 

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210 Responses to “Pinch hitting: Doug Waage”

  1. Betsy -Romine wasn't built in a day January 28th, 2010 at 9:37 am

    I see people on other boards who still see AJ as a major injury risk…..reputations are what they are and they can’t be shaken (even though, in this case, AJ has been a horse for 2 years in a row and even though this newfound durability has everything to do with a change in routine and not a change in luck). Therefore, those who are not fans of NJ will continue to harp on his injury history and while conveniently forgetting to mention the necessity of Matsui having to have his knees drained.

  2. teddy January 28th, 2010 at 9:37 am

    oustanding post

  3. tex's friend January 28th, 2010 at 9:43 am

    From Scott Boras: “The Yankees never even made an offer to me regarding Johnny Damon during the entire process.”

    From Brian Cashman: “On Dec. 17, Scott’s exact words were that he would not take a penny less than $13 million a year for two years. We believed him.”

    ____

    I read damon confirmed the yankees offered him 2/ $14 M last month. This came right after Boras swore the Yankees never made an offer.

    Then Boras claimed it was contingent on whether Nick Johnson signed.

    Sounds to me like Boras screwed Damon here, and Damon has himself to blame for going along with it.

    If you arent Boras’ top FA in an offseason, he does not have your best interest at heart. Lesson learned Johnny.

  4. JohnC January 28th, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Boras is never ever in the wrong. Don’t you know that by now? I remember an interview he did when JD Drew was drafted by the Phillies, and Boras demanded a 10 mill bonus, which the Phillies balked at, while offering a very generous 4 million. He told the interviewer, ‘what they have chosen to do, is take away the love of a young man’s life’ I almost fell off the couch laughing at that comment.

  5. Rich in NJ January 28th, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I think Gardner should start in CF, but the sample size of performance of 2.4 WAR is too small to be able to confidently predict that it reflects his true talent level.

  6. Erin January 28th, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Nice job Doug :)

    Very appropriate topic for today! lol

  7. Eric January 28th, 2010 at 9:54 am

    great post. i still think a bit of platooning is in order, but i’d like to see Gardner get a fair shot….

  8. RMEL January 28th, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Great read….with a ton of good points…nice work

  9. Vincent January 28th, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Great job! I’ve been saying the same thing for months.

  10. Joe Vogel January 28th, 2010 at 10:00 am

    That may be the best elucidation of the argument yet. I would agree even if a WAR of 4.6 for Gardner turns out to be a bit generous.

  11. tex's friend January 28th, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Boras is one of those agents that is very very good at his job for some, but very dangerous for his others…

  12. m January 28th, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Can’t wait for spring training. Lots of battles will be “waged”.

    Girardi was asked by Francesa about his OF alignment, if he was open to Gardner in CF and Grander in LF (notice that? same letters, different order. clever, huh?). Girardi didn’t dismiss the idea outright. Simply said that Granderson’s played in LF and Gardner not so much. That they’ll use the spring to figure out the best alignment.

    Thanks for the post on Gardner, Doug. As many here know, he’s a favorite of mine.

    People forget that he’s young and has time and room to grow. I think his fielding, instincts, and hitting (hopefully!) will improve. He has a history of taking some time to adjust to each new level, and I don’t think it’ll be much different here.

  13. Joe Vogel January 28th, 2010 at 10:03 am

    tex’s friend
    January 28th, 2010 at 10:01 am
    Boras is one of those agents that is very very good at his job for some, but very dangerous for his others…
    ————————————————
    I may be wrong, but it seems that Boras convinces all of his clients to go for broke instead of taking the safe play in some instances. For every A-Rod or Holliday victory, there seems to be a Varitek or Damon failure.

  14. Chip January 28th, 2010 at 10:04 am

    A very good post.

    I have a few thoughts to share if anyone’s interested:

    As someone who advocated signing Randy Winn even before the team signed Nick Johnson I obviously have no issue with this move.

    I agree with Joel Sherman’s article this morning where he points out that this move allows the Yankees to move Brett Gardner back to the role where he best serves the team – as a Homer Bush type of super pinchrunner and defensive replacement.

    Or, and I don’t think this should be discounted, Gardner could be used in a trade. There is still the thought that the Yankees are going to ink either Baldelli or Gomes to a minor league deal with the idea of that player joining the Yankees as a RH bat off the bench. There were several teams interested in him earlier this winter and the Yankees have brought in three guys in Winfree, Hoffmann and Golson who are younger and have higher upsides than Gardner and two of them (Golson and Hoffmann) have excellent speed and are superior defensive players so they could make Gardner obsolete.

    There have been some guys in the media, most notably Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman, the guys on the XM morning baseball show – who have been very critical of the Yankees for letting go of guys who were very clutch performers for them last year, but this is not a new way of thinking.

    After 1996 the Yankees let World Series MVP John Wetteland leave without knowing for certain that Mariano would develop into the closer he is.

    After 2004 the Red Sox let nearly their entire core (Damon, Millar, Mueller, Foulke, Pedro, and Lowe) all leave

    The Angels have let key performers like Lackey, K-Rod, Figgins all walk away without making more than a token effort to keep any of them

    The Phillies dealt away Cliff Lee – granted they got Roy Halladay, but they could have kept them both.

    Then you look at teams that kept their roster intact with only minor changes after winning (or coming close)

    The 2001 Mets were essentially the same club that went to the WS the year before and they were awful the next season because guys like Todd Zeile and Edgardo Alfonso didn’t put together the same years that they had the year before.

    The 2009 Rays came back intact and fell apart because the bullpen that got them to the world series the year before returned to the form that made most of them journeymen in their careers.

    The bottom line is that the saying is true – it’s better to let go of a guy too early than a year too late.

    My only question at this point is what number Winn (who has traditionally worn 2) will wear.

  15. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? January 28th, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Well, we’ll be finding out, won’t we? :)

    Good job. And weren’t you lucky about the timing??!!

  16. john_halfz January 28th, 2010 at 10:06 am

    WAR is a poor stat to make your point. Defensive metrics, probably even the team proprietary ones, haven’t caught up to offensive metrics. There’s not even agreement over what level of significance to attribute to a whole season.

    Gardner is probably more valuable than most people think. But it’s a strong possibility that he comes out of the gate looking like he did at the end of last season. It still looks like he handles fastballs pretty poorly relative to the rest of the league. His OPS projections in the low 720s are hopefully accurate, but I’m fearing something in the range of 695.

    He hasn’t spend enough time in the field for us to make meaningful conclusions. His speed is a great asset, and so far, covers for the fact that he often takes bizarre routes to the ball. I’m a little concerned that a full season out there could expose him a bit.

  17. Chris from NJ January 28th, 2010 at 10:07 am

    I think Gardner in CF and Granderson in LF is the ideal, there is plenty of room in left for Ganderson to make circus catches. I don’t think Gardner has much more upside, but if he can get his avg up to .280 or so, i think he’s a good CF on any team. If he gets every-day AB’s, he’s also a fantasy sleeper with those 50+ projected SBs!!!

  18. Chip January 28th, 2010 at 10:08 am

    My spring training battles:

    Randy Winn vs. Gardner for LF
    Ramiro Pena vs. Reegie Corona for bench
    Hoffmann vs. Gardner vs. Golson vs. Winfree for bench
    Joba vs. Hughes for 5th spot in rotation
    Aceves vs. Mitre vs. Melancon vs. Edwar vs. Albaladejo vs. Romulo Sanchez vs. Boone Logan vs. Royce Ring for the last couple of spots in the pen.

  19. blake January 28th, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Good post and you make valid points but much of them are made on projection and not actual performance or track record.

    I don’t like moving Granderson out of CF because I think they would be moving him right back there next year when they sign Crawford.

    I hope Gardner is a 4.6 WAR player but I think that is a very generous projection that doesn’t take into account the fact that teams will have better scouting reports and experience facing him in 2010.

  20. Chip January 28th, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Chris

    The problem with Gardner is that you can’t steal 1b.

  21. m January 28th, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Why trade Gardner? He’s useful and he’s cheap. Cabrera was dealt (I feel) in part because he was getting to the point where he was not a good value. In all likelihood the same thing will happen to Gardner, but not for a while.

    Cash trades guys who aren’t useful (Jackson & Claggett made it through waivers & are back with whatever team they were traded to) and keeps the cheap guys who can contribute.

  22. Chris from NJ January 28th, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Chip, very good point!

  23. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? January 28th, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Chip -

    Thanks for pointing out those things.

    And, what, you don’t think Jeter would give up his number? :lol: :lol:

  24. Bronx Jeers January 28th, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I kind of skimmed it and I do like Gardner.

    But did those figures just project Brett Gardner to be a player that was worth 20 million dollars last season?

  25. Betsy -Romine wasn't built in a day January 28th, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Boras is blowing smoke about that 2/14 offer. I don’t believe the 2/14 offer came one day before they signed Nick. I remember at the time the buzz being that the Yankees were so close to signing NJ that they never would have been engaging in talks with Damon. The idea was that they basically had an agreement with Nick and a deal was all but done; it would have been unethical to get that far while, at the same time, still reaching out to Damon with an offer. I believe the 2/14 came quite a bit before things reached this point. Boras and Damon came back with the 2/20 offer the day before Nick was signed (or thereabouts) and the Yankees rejected it for the reason I described above – they had already committed to NJ.

    LOL at Joe and Evan ripping the Yankees and claiming Cash’s ego had something to do with this. They’re probably an early indication that mediots and baseball “experts” are going to now call the off-season a “loss” for the Yankees because they lost Damon and Matsui.

  26. ty January 28th, 2010 at 10:16 am

    I just don’t get all ofthe angst regarding the Winn signing. Under optimum conditions for this season Winn should bat in the #2 hole. There he will reap the advantages that Damon has had over the last few years, batting in front of Arod and Tex.Winn is a guy that can execute hit/runs, bunts, and will offer more speed on the bases. Johnson is actually best served batting in the #5 hole where his skillset mimics Matsui’s with a bit more OBP. Moving Granderson down in the order takes pressure off of him allowing for a smoother transition to the top of the order later this season or next.

  27. Betsy -Romine wasn't built in a day January 28th, 2010 at 10:17 am

    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/yanke…ABwWZn0as0AHCK

    Quote:
    In the middle of last week, Damon called Yankees officials in New York, The Post has learned. Steinbrenner was on his honeymoon. However, a top Yankees executive told Damon that if he accepted a $6 million deal with $3 million deferred that Steinbrenner could, perhaps, be convinced to approve that; though many Yankees officials remain sure that the young Boss would never budge off of $2 million.
    But like all previous concepts, Damon considered this latest idea unacceptable after he had a strong 2009 in which he made $13 million. The Damon camp, according to sources, continued to float that they had offers in the two-year, $19 million range that Bobby Abreu received from the Angels. Boras yesterday called Damon “a great player” who has a market.

  28. Erin January 28th, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Betsy -Romine wasn’t built in a day
    January 28th, 2010 at 10:15 am

    LOL at Joe and Evan ripping the Yankees and claiming Cash’s ego had something to do with this. They’re probably an early indication that mediots and baseball “experts” are going to now call the off-season a “loss” for the Yankees because they lost Damon and Matsui.

    ***********************
    Betsy, I saw an article this morning that said the same thing-that Cashman’s ego got in the way of Damon coming back. My reaction was: :roll:

    lol

  29. Crawdaddy January 28th, 2010 at 10:18 am

    “LOL at Joe and Evan ripping the Yankees and claiming Cash’s ego had something to do with this. They’re probably an early indication that mediots and baseball “experts” are going to now call the off-season a “loss” for the Yankees because they lost Damon and Matsui.”

    That was given back in November when the Yankees were talking about losing them. It doesn’t matter what the mediots say because they’re wrong more often than they’re right.

  30. bronxbrain January 28th, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Great piece, Doug. If the timing of its appearance was coincidental, then its a beautiful coincidence. I’m not a number cruncher (although I gratefully rely on those who do sabr-rattling), but my gut confirms everything that you assert using actual evidence. We don’t yet know what sort of hitter Gardner will become after the exposure of 600 plate appearances, but now we’ll see what he can do. K Long will ensure that Gardner—a hard worker—will learn to sac bunt, to drag bunt, to slash like Mick the Quick, and to be aggressive with pitches in the strike zone. Maybe, in a year from now, we’ll find out that he couldn’t adjust to the adjustments that pitchers made by June. More likely, we’ll have discovered a unique, significant contributor to a great offense.

    I applaud Cash for showing the guts that Theo showed in not resigning Damon, Pedro, and Bay. Better to sever ties a year too soon than too late. For Cash, letting Gardy win the job may backfire, but every gutsy gamble carries risk. I applaud Cash. And I applaud you, Doug, for writing the exact article I wanted to read this morning.

  31. SJ44 January 28th, 2010 at 10:19 am

    I’m always amazed listening to sports talk hosts talk sports business. They only demonstrate what they don’t know.

    How does ego play into this from Cashman’s end? He made a 2 yr, 14 million dollar, no deferred money, offer to the guy. Damon turned it down.

    Damon doesn’t have a single offer anywhere close to that number right now. Not one.

    What is Cashman supposed to do? Offer him more money?

    If he did, these same hosts would say, “Cashman is bidding against himself”.

    Damon turned down every Yankee offer. At some point, the Yankees had to move on and they did.

    Its not their fault Johnny and Scott BADLY misread the marketplace. That’s on them.

    Take the Yankees offer of 2/14 in December, and we aren’t having any conversations about Cashman’s ego.

  32. REA in MI January 28th, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Good, thoughtful post.

    One thing I’d like to point out (unless your figures account for this fact?): The numbers that jump out most positively for Gardner are R and SB. Hwever, aren’t these artificially inflated by his many pinch-running appearences? As a result, he often scored more runs and stole more bases than he would have being in the lineup; essentially, someone had already done the hard part- getting on base.

    Just wondering.

  33. Rich in NJ January 28th, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Is it really that surprising that people who have to fill three or four hours of radio time say controversial things?

  34. austinmac January 28th, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Gardner’s value is,in my opinion,overrated. His defensive statistics cited skew the reality. I do believe he will be the 4th outfielder and not a starter. As said so well about Gardner above, you can’t steal first base. Gardner lost his job last year to Melky. That tells me his perceived value to the Yankees.

    I noticed Damon in a Daily News article talks about possibly returning in July if his new team is out of contention. That tells me two things, Damon wishes he were back and the A’s, who will likely be out of contention and looking to trade value, may be the team he is going to.

  35. Betsy -Romine wasn't built in a day January 28th, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Eh on Sherman. The Yankees will be fine…they’re still an excellent team. I forsee the media making a huge deal out of this and proclaiming the Yankees to be off-season losers. Oh well, lol.

  36. Randy January 28th, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Chris and Chip

    While it is true you can’t steel first, Gardner did have a 0.414 OBP in AAA in 2008. While It’s doubtful that he’ll reach that level in the majors, he only has 375 MLB at bats, so it’s possible that he’ll improve (perhaps significantly) in 2010. Gardner had a 0.345 OBP with the Yankees in 2009. Give his age and minor league success, a 0.375 OBP isn’t an unreasonable expectation for Gardner. Keep in mind that minor league OBP translates much better to the majors than SLG does.

  37. m January 28th, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Bronx,

    No, worth $9m in 2009, the $20m is a prorated projection.

    Regardless, we know this: he makes a $400K. We’re pretty sure that he’ll save runs. He could be a good asset.

    They could be going with the same thing as they did last season with Melky Gardner, play great defense and anything you give us on offense is just gravy.

  38. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? January 28th, 2010 at 10:23 am

    What people don’t seem to “get” is that the $13 million Damon made last season was based on his years with the Red Sox. He was finishing out a contract. A contract that was based on him being an everyday centerfielder, by the way. This is a new day. A clean slate. And the player he is now projected to be is not the same player as signed the contract 4 years ago. He is still a very good player. But not a $13 mill per season one.

  39. Eli January 28th, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I am a big Gardner proponent and agree with your points, but there is a HUGE flaw in the second part of the argument. You can’t pro-rate things like WAR and UZR simply by multiplying the way you can with counting stats. For UZR there’s a solution, the UZR/150 stat. Though note that it takes about 2 full seasons of playing time to have enough data for UZR to be really useful. For batting, you can’t just take the 2.4 he was worth this year and multiply it by 2.2 (ish) to get your number per 626 AB. WAR is not that type of stat.

    So, in general, I agree. I love Gardner, he should start in CF, and will be a well above average overall player. BUT, the argument you used to say it is bogus.

  40. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? January 28th, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Betsy -

    So, the defending WS champs are going to be the underdogs in 2010? Laughable.

    But, you know what? Good. They’ll have a chip on their shoulder.

  41. m January 28th, 2010 at 10:28 am

    What nobody is getting (talking about the writers/analysts mourning Damon’s departure) is that (imo) the Yankees saw Damon as a liability in the field. The Red Sox didn’t invent trying to win with pitching and defense. Why can’t we have pitching, defense, and offense?

    For whatever reason, Cash came to a fork in the road and chose Nick Johnson over Damon for the DH job.

  42. Damon enjoy 27....think 28 January 28th, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Thank you Waage, we needed this thread today.

    A good site for fielding is http://www.fieldingbible.com

  43. Rich in NJ January 28th, 2010 at 10:30 am

    m

    Yet they reportedly offered him $14m for two years.

  44. Betsy -Romine wasn't built in a day January 28th, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Craw, of course that’s true. Erin, we’re two peas in a pod, lol.

    I really don’t care (though it’s annoying) what Heyman (who’s probably sitting shivah today and wearing black in honor of the death of the Damon /Yankee dream) and cohorts think. All of a sudden they are killing the Yankees for letting clutch performers go when, up until yesterday, they thought the Yanks had a great off-season? How do they know that NJ can’t “do it” in the clutch? What, he’s automatically going to be bad because he doesn’t wear #55? Damon came through in the WS, but he had a bad last month of the regular season and looked horrible against the Twins; he’s not perfect (and either is Matsui). All I know is the Yankees won the WS last year and Cash was at the helm. I trust him to know what he’s doing more than I trust Heyman and co. It’s incredibly insulting to Cash to think his ego got in the way and I’ve no patience for whiners who think that way.

  45. m January 28th, 2010 at 10:32 am

    And these writers are so arrogant. Insinuating like we owed Damon something. Both sides fulfilled their contractual obligations, the Yankees chose to go in another direction.

    Damon’s accepted it quite graciously. Boras and the “experts”? Not so much.

  46. sean January 28th, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Finally a Pro-Gardner post

    My favorite Pinch Hitting Article to date

    The kid can play, give him a shot to impress us

  47. GeorgeInJax January 28th, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Before his thumb injury last year Gardner had a (not great) but O.K. OBP. I’m not trying to anoint him a superstar, but just having a decent OBP in the 9 hole is going to get him driven in by the top of the lineup.
    OBP is the key offensive stat for BG as with his speed he can take some of the pitchers focus away & create more havoc for the defense. Jeter & Johnson will have bigger holes to get the ball through the infield.
    I’m ready to sit back & watch, hoping he develops into a good player.

  48. Betsy -Romine wasn't built in a day January 28th, 2010 at 10:33 am

    SJ, I shut the radio off – I had to; I couldn’t take that crap anymore.

  49. timo January 28th, 2010 at 10:34 am

    The Winn signing (given his terrible split against lefties) is a vote of no confidence in Gardner by the only people who count: Cashman and Girardi. If they wanted Gardner to play a lot, they would have gotten a Reed Johnson for a platoon. Instead they wanted somebody else, anybody else, to play every day. And Winn will be the everyday starter to begin the season, no matter what happens in ST. He’s being paid for that and that is the Yankee way.

  50. m January 28th, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Rich,

    Good point. Boras of course denies any negotiations at all. I need to find that article with the good timeline, I thought the offer came before the NJ signing. Damon said that the Yankees signed Nick, and that was pretty much it.

  51. Noreaster January 28th, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Great post.

    I’m all in favor of playing Gardner in center this year except for the fact that I’m not totally sold on Gardner’s offense. I’d start him in left, platoon him if he struggles early and see if he continues his improvement with the bat in a less stressful position (so he doesn’t have to answer questions about an established player like Granderson moving to make room for him in center). If he plays the way this post thinks he will play, move him to center after the allstar break.

    This way Granderson gets use to NY without having to also get use to a new position, and there is less pressure on Gardner.

  52. stuckey January 28th, 2010 at 10:38 am

    “Attendance is down because fewer people can afford the games. The demand is there, but the price isn’t. If attendance is down, the team has less revenue. Less revenue in my business means you can afford less payroll. The Yankees are operating now more like a real business.”

    4-5, someone else responded to this but it bears repeating.. not only are you relying on a flawed premise, you’re ignoring your OWN criticism, which is HIGHER ticket prices.

    Revenue isn’t solely tied to gross ticket sales, it’s a product of gross ticket sales x ticket prices.

    If you’re interested in the TRUTH rather than spouting half-a**ed arguments out of immature frustration you can simply get a thumbnail projection by multiplying attendance vs average ticket price for 2009 and 2008. This will be far from exact, but should illuminate for you the quite obvious point you’re somehow overlooking.

    If you’re somehow convinced less attendance automatically equates to less revenue, I hope whatever business you’re in isn’t dependent on your math or reasoning skills.

  53. Bronx Jeers January 28th, 2010 at 10:39 am

    “Regardless, we know this: he makes a $400K. We’re pretty sure that he’ll save runs. He could be a good asset.”

    And I fully agree.

    But in what market is Gardner worth anything near what those figures say? How does Brett Gardner somehow project to be a more valuable player than all those others players?

    The point I’m trying to make is that we’ve seen many guest posts that concentrated on these types of sabremetrics and in many cases I feel that these numbers only really exist in the abstract. They don’t really mean anything standing on their own.

  54. Randy January 28th, 2010 at 10:40 am

    timo,

    With all do respect, $2M isn’t veteran starter pay. $2M is veteran backup pay. Show me one free agent starting OF that signed for $2M or less in 2010. There isn’t one. As far as who starts, we’ll have to see. I’m all for the Yankees winning and if Winn’s offense rebounds and Gardner struggles, I’m guessing that Winn will see more at bats.

  55. Damon enjoy 27....think 28 January 28th, 2010 at 10:40 am

    The Lee/Halladay deal is still being negatively viewed in Philly. http://www.thefightins.com blog discuses it as well and the beat writers in their papers.

    GM Amaro dug a hole with one hand (trading Lee,) and filling it in with the other hand (signing Halladay,) resulting in a lateral move. Halladay is great, but without postseason experience. Lee was the pitcher that helped them win 2 games in the WS.

  56. Betsy -Romine wasn't built in a day January 28th, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Doreen, good point about Damon’s contract.

    The Yankees are a very confident team and I don’t think they care what the media says about them. They know how good they are and showed that last season (they aren’t the big mouth Phillies who need to let everyone know how great they are). I don’t think they will have a chip on their shoulder because that sort of motivation I think is for teams that aren’t that confident and need something to spur them on.

  57. greg January 28th, 2010 at 10:42 am

    “What is Cashman supposed to do? Offer him more money?”

    SJ,

    I don’t think most people are upset at Cashman for not bidding against himself. It’s the signing of Randy Winn that angers us. I’m a baseball junkie and watched him numerous times last season, and he is flat out awful. It’s OK to say you don’t need an all-star at every position, but there is no reason to make LF a joke. And if Randy Winn is the starter, that position is now a joke.

  58. rodg12 January 28th, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Eli hit the nail on the head here. Doug’s post (while still pretty good) used some flawed stats in the second half…

  59. Rich in NJ January 28th, 2010 at 10:42 am

    m

    You’re right. I think Boras’s claim is that the offer was contingent on them not signing Nick. Who knows what the truth is?

    The reason I wanted Damon back is that I thought his presence on the roster would have offered them insurance against injuries at a number of positions (because of the way his offense could have offset various losses).

  60. m January 28th, 2010 at 10:42 am

    This was the best account I saw, but in light of the he said/he said between Cash & Boras I don’t know if it’s entirely accurate:

    According to a person familiar with the negotiations, Boras initially told the Yankees that Damon wouldn’t sign for less than $13 million a year. But when talks heated up between Yankees and Johnson — a player who essentially replaces Damon near the top of the lineup — the source said Damon’s camp lowered its demand to two years, at $11 million year.

    The Yankees countered with a two-year offer at $7 million a year. Still, an agreement wasn’t reached. Johnson signed a deal with the Yankees, essentially ending Damon’s time in New York.

    http://www.nj.com/yankees/inde.....eaded.html

  61. greg January 28th, 2010 at 10:43 am

    And if Winn is as pathetic as he was with SF last season, he will get booed (deservedly so) early and often.

  62. Gardner in CF January 28th, 2010 at 10:43 am

    REA in MI January 28th, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Good, thoughtful post.

    One thing I’d like to point out (unless your figures account for this fact?): The numbers that jump out most positively for Gardner are R and SB. Hwever, aren’t these artificially inflated by his many pinch-running appearences? As a result, he often scored more runs and stole more bases than he would have being in the lineup; essentially, someone had already done the hard part- getting on base.

    Just wondering.

    Obviously he can’t pinch run more than once a game. His OBP says he reached safely more than once every 3 plate appearances. Playing full-time he’ll see plenty of opportunities to run.

  63. Gardner in CF January 28th, 2010 at 10:44 am

    greg January 28th, 2010 at 10:43 am

    And if Winn is as pathetic as he was with SF last season, he will get booed (deservedly so) early and often.

    If he’s that bad, he won’t play.

  64. SJ44 January 28th, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Gardner is the starting LF and Winn will be the 4th OF off the bench.

  65. blake January 28th, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Higher prices + lower sales can be = to lower prices + higher sales.

    Two ways to get to the same result.

  66. Chip January 28th, 2010 at 10:46 am

    M – He could trade Gardner because, as pointed out above, the team has brought in a few young outfielders who have similar skill sets and higher upsides than Brett at this point.

    Randy – Gardner’s not exactly a young prospect – he’ll be 27 this season. I would say he is what he is.

    And Joe and Evan on the fan should worry less about Cashman’s “ego” and more about the fact that Fernando Nieve is going to be their number 5 starter.

  67. bronxbrain January 28th, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Posters on the blogs worry about what happens to the lineup if any two big hitters miss major time. J. Sherman yesterday suggested that he expected Nick Johnson to go down quickly. My question: If Johnson does get injured, say, on July 1, after SWB has played for several weeks, given Jesus a bit more experience behind the plate, and watched him rake, do you think the Yankees would consider calling him up, letting him catch twice a week and DH the rest? Or is that irresponsible and hasty? I don’t know if it would be the smart longterm move, but it would sure inject some of that power that so many fans believe will be lacking from the current lineup. By the end of the season, we could have out five-slot hitter. Thoughts?

  68. rodg12 January 28th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Gardner in CF January 28th, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Obviously he can’t pinch run more than once a game. His OBP says he reached safely more than once every 3 plate appearances. Playing full-time he’ll see plenty of opportunities to run.
    _______
    This doesn’t change the fact that his R/PA and SB/PA stats last year were skewed by his numerous pinch running apperances…

  69. Comet January 28th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Rosenthal’s take on Damon:

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/s.....mon-012710

  70. Chip January 28th, 2010 at 10:48 am

    SJ -

    I disagree. I think Gardner will have to compete with Winn for the starting job.

    And frankly that’s how it should be. Brett Gardner has done nothing in his time in the majors to warrant being handed a starting job.

  71. rodg12 January 28th, 2010 at 10:49 am

    bronxbrain January 28th, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Posters on the blogs worry about what happens to the lineup if any two big hitters miss major time. J. Sherman yesterday suggested that he expected Nick Johnson to go down quickly. My question: If Johnson does get injured, say, on July 1, after SWB has played for several weeks, given Jesus a bit more experience behind the plate, and watched him rake, do you think the Yankees would consider calling him up, letting him catch twice a week and DH the rest? Or is that irresponsible and hasty? I don’t know if it would be the smart longterm move, but it would sure inject some of that power that so many fans believe will be lacking from the current lineup. By the end of the season, we could have out five-slot hitter. Thoughts?
    ______________
    My guess is that in that situation, Mirandi would get the first call up. If he then struggles and/or Montero absolutely rakes at AAA, at that point I could see Montero being called up to DH and catch.

  72. SJ44 January 28th, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Winn had a bad year last year. Swisher had a bad year in 2008 and bounced back.

    What if Winn bounces back to anything resembling his 2008 numbers? If he does, is it a bad signing.

    Too many people are fixated on last year. You look at the entirety of the player, and the role he is going to play on the team, and make a judgment from there.

    He’s going to be the 4th OF on the team. In that regard, he’s better than Jeremy Hermida, the Red Sox 4th OF.

    Gardner is going to get a chance to play everyday. If he’s not up to the task, they will make adjustments.

    You can’t have it both ways. You can’t cry for the Yankees to player younger players, and get younger and more athletic, and then complain when they give Gardner a shot.

    They have a veteran backing him up. Let’s see what happens.

    They gave Damon every fair chance to come back. He chose not to. There is nothing else they could have done, short of overpaying for his services. Which was never an option.

  73. DaSaint007 January 28th, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Yankee OF will be just fine. Lots of flexibility, which is Cashman’s mantra. Speed, defense and affordability, allows for several options to upgrade the OF next offseason, similar to how they passed on Santana for CC and AJ the following year.

    I can GUARANTEE that opening day 2011, the outfield will not consist of Gardner, Granderson and Swisher. Certainly one, and possibly two of those names will change.

    This team is being reformed into one that features strikeout pitching, run-prevention/defense, and major core offense simultaneously.

    Kudos to the Yankee front office.

  74. SJ44 January 28th, 2010 at 10:51 am

    One of the Yankee broadcasters told me this morning Gardner is the starting LF and Winn is the 4th OF.

    I think that person, who is close to Girardi, knows what is going on.

    Winn was signed for backup money. He only “competes” for the job if Gardner shows he can’t do it.

  75. vey January 28th, 2010 at 10:51 am

    The writers are upset Cashman took their favorite swiping at him, point away from them, Yankees are old. Cashman keeps getting younger every trade, (except the core 4) Yankees are younger! They can’t handle it!

  76. Rich in NJ January 28th, 2010 at 10:52 am

    “Rosenthal’s take on Damon:”

    When a player is coming off his best offensive season, and his skillset appears to be well suited for the home park, its’ not unreasonable to think he will be missed.

    As Branch Rickey said, it’s better to move a player a year too early than a year too late. Maybe that’s true of Damon and/or Matsui. We’ll see.

  77. SJ44 January 28th, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Or…..You may see Granderson starting in LF and Gardner in CF. That alignment also wouldn’t shock me.

  78. stuckey January 28th, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I have zero problem with anyone not liking Gardner. I take issue with the attempts to rationalize what’s strictly a biased opinion.

    What metrics are available for Gardner suggests its as likely as he’ll be fine as not, if not more so. That’s not a certainly, but a probability.

    - His career arc/performance is undeniable. He has improved every level, including at the ML level.

    - He has just 345 ML AB’s. This is just to small a sample size to make wholesale judgments on ANY player.

    - That pitchers will adjust to him in 2010 has no weight in the argument because that rational applies to ANY player in his second(ish) year with less than 500 AB. There is nothing to the argument to suggest Gardner is any more or less able to ADJUST, as all prospective ML’s must do.

    - We know for a FACT his rare skill set (speed) allows him to somewhat underperform average OBP and slugging expectations, and adds to his adjusted/effective metrics.

    Again, don’t like him? Fine, and you’re well within your rights. And I’ll personally again say I won’t be surprised if he’s the stating LF in 2012 or a 1st year bench coach at Staten Island.

    BUT, at this moment, if you’re convinced Gardner will fail or be limited to a certain role, it IS out of RASH, personal bias.

    THAT is a fact.

  79. m January 28th, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Chip,

    Keep them all. Hoffman is the only one you got to worry about. If he doesn’t stay on the 25, then he goes back to the Dodgers. If he’s THAT good, then just outright Gardner to AAA with his remaining option.

    The reason we got those last 3 OF with upside was because they were 1) available 2) organizational depth at the position was thin.

    First take killing the Yankees for letting Hideki & Damon go. W/E. One of them’s a mets fan.

  80. Shame Spencer January 28th, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Letting go of Damon does hurt offensively, but the writers and sports talk guys freaking out about this is sort of ridiculous. Sherman saying we let “pride” get in the way?? Please. If pride was a factor in Yankee decision making, Arod wouldn’t even be on our team right now. We knew before the season was over that Damon was unlikely to return. Cash made a lot of good moves that will hopefully make our starting pitching stronger, our defense better, and our financial flexibility for a trade/next offseason better.

  81. timo January 28th, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Randy,

    1. Winn’s 2M isn’t a lot but it’s 5x 400K. Cashman doesn’t like to pay people to sit.

    2. There’s been one poster on this board, “petea”, who has struck me as having genuine inside info. He only posts very occasionally. He had Winn as one of the top signing possibilities a long time ago. Immediately after the news came out yesterday, he made one post stating that Winn would start and Gardner would be the backup. I believe that to be true.

  82. Rick January 28th, 2010 at 10:54 am

    There will not likely be a presser with Randy Winn but spring training interviews will show him to be a quietly likeable player willing to do what his manager feels is best for the team. He’ll blend in well as he’s done throughout his 12-year major league career.
    Meanwhile after the 1st year under their belts and sporting World Series rings, C.C. Sabathia amd Mark Teixeira will feel comfortable in taking on more leadership roles with Swisher continuing to keep everybody loose.
    In effect, Winn is an older version of Melky plus the addition of Javy Vasquez.
    Above all, Cashman did all his moves without depleting the farm system. Others will develop to replace Vizcaino and Jackson.

  83. SJ44 January 28th, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Rosenthal’s “take” is in a vaccum.

    Curtis Granderson, a younger version of Johnny Damon, is replacing Johnny Damon.

    Is it unreasonable to assume Curtis can put up “Damon numbers” as a Yankee?

    I think not.

  84. Bodhisattva - Destiny Wears Pinstripes January 28th, 2010 at 10:56 am

    austinmac
    January 28th, 2010 at 10:21 am
    Gardner’s value is,in my opinion,overrated. His defensive statistics cited skew the reality. I do believe he will be the 4th outfielder and not a starter. As said so well about Gardner above, you can’t steal first base. Gardner lost his job last year to Melky. That tells me his perceived value to the Yankees.
    =====

    He not only lost the job to Melky, he lost it under a manager who wanted in the worst way for Gardner to be the every day CF.

    That is significant. Girardi reluctantly handed the keys to CF to Melky.

  85. GI Joe January 28th, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I think Gardy is gonna be a good 9th hitter.

    And with his speed, he can swipe enough bases so Jeter doesn’t ground into a double play.

  86. Yankee Trader January 28th, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Chad-

    I’m just catching up, but wanted to say your input on “The Good and Bad of Randy Winn” was excellent!

    A few thoughts:

    As marvelous an at bat he had against Lidge and the heads up steal of third, Damon did come up lame in the 6th game, and would not have been available for a game seven.

    Yes, I think most on this blog would have liked to keep Damon in the two spot, but mainly as a DH, and the two year offer would have turned out to be the best offer given this offseason for a DH position. I look at it as his loss, because if he signs a one year contract as a DH in the AL, no matter how well he does, his value will be based as a DH.

    Now to Winn. Against righties, he could actually be a plus in the two spot, as his batting average last year against righties was as good as Damons, he has plus speed and an excellent steals ratio.

    As far as the bench is concerned, I’m not too worried, and remember when Cervelli plays, Posada becomes a bench option.Plus there are possible very inexpensive bench options still on the free agent market, like Baldelli, Gomes and maybe Thames.

    Thoughts??

  87. Chip January 28th, 2010 at 10:58 am

    For those of you who are annoyed at the way the media is talking about the Yankees in light of them holding to a ‘budget’ I would offer this bit of advice:

    Just let it go.

    The Yankees can’t win for trying – if they sign players then we hear “it’s a sham, baseball needs to get a salary cap to stop this, other teams can’t compete with the big bad Yankees.” and when the Yankees pass on a player for financial reasons we hear “How can the Yankees, with so much money, pass on such an obvious player for financial reasons.”

    Just accept the fact that the Yankees will always be in the wrong according to the media. You’ll live longer.

    That said, this has been a fantastic winter for Cashman.

    He’s gotten the team younger and better defensively.
    He’s brought in 2 All-Star performers in Granderson and Vazquez without giving up any players of consequence
    He did not get in a situation where he overpaid for a single free agent
    He kept the team on the same level offensively as where it was last year
    He did not give up any draft picks as compensation for signing free agents.

    And, with the signings of Winfree, Moronta (both of whom I think will end up developing into very good players), and Golson he has improved the quality of upper level outfielders in the organization, despite trading away Austin Jackson.

  88. Noreaster January 28th, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Rosenthal’s article missed the mark. Damon was replaced with Granderson and Matsui was replaced with Johnson. Gardner / Winn replaces Melky and slides over to left. We just got 1) younger 2) better defensively 3) Improved our speed 4) Improved our OBP. Plus, with money saved we were able to trade for the best #4 starter in baseball.

    This has been a masterful off season for the good guys.

  89. GreenBeret7 January 28th, 2010 at 10:59 am

    If Gardner does just the things that he’s equiped to do as a hitter, he’ll do fine. If he hits a few home runs in Spring training and early in the season like he did in 2009, he’s in trouble. His job is to drag bunts, sacrifice early in the counts and slash and dash. If he starts hitting the ball in the air again, he’ll go in the tank.

  90. Rich in NJ January 28th, 2010 at 10:59 am

    “Curtis Granderson, a younger version of Johnny Damon, is replacing Johnny Damon.

    Is it unreasonable to assume Curtis can put up “Damon numbers” as a Yankee?”

    Right, but how much better would the Yankees have been with Granderson and Damon?

  91. Gardner in CF January 28th, 2010 at 11:00 am

    rodg12 January 28th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    This doesn’t change the fact that his R/PA and SB/PA stats last year were skewed by his numerous pinch running apperances…

    Right, it doens’t. I was more arguing the “you can’t steal first” argument.

  92. stuckey January 28th, 2010 at 11:01 am

    “Randy – Gardner’s not exactly a young prospect – he’ll be 27 this season. I would say he is what he is.”

    But what is he? He OPS’s over 900 for two straight months last season?

    His 2009 overall figures (including the late and early struggles) showed demonstrative improvement over his 2008 numbers.

    Even were we to agree as an older prospect he’ll likely reach his ceiling sooner than later, it’s unreasonable to assume he’s reached it in his second 250 ML AB’s.

    If in his next 300 ML AB’s he performs the same level, I may agree with your point. But a VERY simple rule of thumb to follow in sports is don’t stop expecting a player to improve, until he actually… you know … stops improving.

    The guy deserves a few more months and sample size of ABs to show us what he can do. For no other reason than ALL players do.

  93. RayVT January 28th, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Interesting post but not accurate. I appreciate your efforts and even your view. The difficult part in statistics is making sure they apply. Basically you assumed CG was good and went about trying to prove it. I hope you are correct in the real world about this, but your data is hosed at best.

    Also, it doesn’t meet the snicker test. There is no way CG is as good as you state. I have seen him in person and he is overmatched. He is a somewhat lousy fielder who compensates for it a bit with terrific speed. His arm is weak at best and will be really shown up even more at LF. Granderson is a much better CF than CG, yet your data says otherwise. I believe the only reason Granderson may move to LF is because like Melky he is a much better corner OF than CG. Personally, I believe Hoffman wins the starting LF job anyway.

  94. Chip January 28th, 2010 at 11:02 am

    SJ -

    I agree that Winn was signed for “back-up” money and also that Gardner is a Girardi favorite, but I think that if Winn outperforms Gardner this spring that it will be very tough for Girardi to justify benching the veteran in favor of Gardner. Like I said, I’m not handing Winn the job, I just think there should be an open competition for it.

    And I think the other thing we can take from this is that either Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford (or both) will be New York Yankees in 2011.

  95. Noreaster January 28th, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Rich, I agree in that I would have preferred to have Damon as our DH, but it didn’t happen. Boras overplayed his hand with Damon like he did with Tek last year. The only difference with Damon was that the Yankees had the option of bringing back a former player at a reasonable price who has performed well in NY.

    Is Damon better than Johnson. Yes. But it didn’t happen. We’ll be fine with Johnson at DH.

  96. Betsy -Romine wasn't built in a day January 28th, 2010 at 11:04 am

    That’s some take by Rosenthal; he must have thought about that for all of a few minutes. Damon will miss YS as well…..I suppose when the Yankees actually end up being good this year, it will surprise a few folks. Nothing they do is good enough. If they overpay, it’s bad; if they don’t, it’s bad.

  97. Chip January 28th, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Right, but how much better would the Yankees have been with Granderson and Damon

    Rich – there’s a tradeoff. Yes, 1-9 the Yankee lineup would have been deeper with Damon than it will be with Gardner/Winn in the 9 spot. Defensively the team is a ton better with either Winn or Gardner in the OF instead of Damon.

    This isn’t the first time this season we’ve seen this tradeoff – the Sox let Bay go and are benching Lowell in favor of Cameron and Beltre. They know they will take a hit offensively but defensively they are a far stronger team and, like the Yankees, know that even with a slightly weaker offensive team they are still going to score a ton of runs.

  98. Bodhisattva - Destiny Wears Pinstripes January 28th, 2010 at 11:06 am

    You can’t have it both ways. You can’t cry for the Yankees to player younger players, and get younger and more athletic, and then complain when they give Gardner a shot.
    =====

    You most certainly can express skepticism (crying is a derogatory term and therefore meaningless here).

    All “young” players are not the same guy, and all young players don’t have the same upside.

    Having watched Gardner in the minors and in his brief Yankee career live many times, not only am I skeptical about his ability to hit major league pitching, I am also dubious about his now mythical defensive abilities.

    He gets poor jumps, turns the wrong way, runs with his glove extended, for crying out loud, when he is supposed to be “closing” on the ball, and is an adventure when it comes to balls hit over his head to the CF wall.

    I do think he will be a much sounder player defensively in LF, where he can run, at an angle, the ball down in the LCF gap. His strength is coast-to-coast. He has not demonstrated – live, in 3D – that he is a good instinctive OF.

    And to conclude that “you can’t” complain about wanting the Yankees to get younger and more athletic and then object to Gardner, I would say – if Gardner were Austin Jackson, then you would have a more reasonable point.

  99. Rich in NJ January 28th, 2010 at 11:06 am

    “Rich, I agree in that I would have preferred to have Damon as our DH, but it didn’t happen. Boras overplayed his hand with Damon like he did with Tek last year. The only difference with Damon was that the Yankees had the option of bringing back a former player at a reasonable price who has performed well in NY.”

    I assign at least 50% of the blame to Damon.

    “Is Damon better than Johnson. Yes. But it didn’t happen. We’ll be fine with Johnson at DH.”

    I actually think Nick can be better than Damon.

  100. GI Joe January 28th, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Crawford > Jayson Werth

    Carl is two years younger and doesn’t have strike out as often.

  101. Noreaster January 28th, 2010 at 11:07 am

    As for Damon vs. Gardner there is no comparison. Damon could not field well enough to play everyday in LF. We all saw him stagger his way around fly balls to his left last year. He might have been worse this year! He is done as an everyday fielder.

  102. stuckey January 28th, 2010 at 11:07 am

    “I have seen him in person and he is overmatched.”

    Ray, let’s not use the word “Brett Gardner” for a moment.

    I have one simple question for you:

    Have you ever seen a successful Major League Baseball player look overmatched in his first 350 ABs?

    I’m going to answer my own question assuming you will subsequently and honestly.

    I have… a LOT.

    You?

  103. upstate kate January 28th, 2010 at 11:07 am

    I take what Rosenthal and Heyman say w/ a grain of salt. They were both so sure that Damon would re-sign w/ the Yankees. Since they are wrong, they have to trash the move.

  104. GI Joe January 28th, 2010 at 11:08 am

    also Crawford bats left, while Werth bats right

  105. Tom in NJ January 28th, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Bill James projections: BA/OBP/SLG/OPS

    Damon: .278/.355/.430/.785

    Matsui: .282/.367/.475/.842

    Melky: .278/.341/.406/.747

    Granderson: .275/.353/.491/.844

    Johnson: .277/.414/.434/.848

    Winn: .276/.337/.389/.726

    Gardner: .277/.368/.375/.743

  106. Chip January 28th, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Betsy –

    BINGO

    Whatever team signs Johnny Damon (unless it’s the Reds or Orioles) is not going to get the same Johnny Damon that played last season for the Yankees.

    Damon hit 17 of his 24 homeruns at Yankee Stadium, he slugged almost 100 points higher at home than on the road, in other words, Johnny Damon in Yankee Stadium was a far better offensive player than the Johnny Damon we’re going to see this coming season – put him in a park like Tampa or Oakland and his power numbers are going to drop down into the 15-20 HR range at best.

  107. Noreaster January 28th, 2010 at 11:10 am

    “I actually think Nick can be better than Damon.”

    The one thing about Damon (and Matsui for that matter) is that he is clutch in big moments. He was great in the playoffs this year and he killed us in 04. But I agree that Nick can be better during the regular season. Time will tell.

  108. Rich in NJ January 28th, 2010 at 11:10 am

    “Rich – there’s a tradeoff. Yes, 1-9 the Yankee lineup would have been deeper with Damon than it will be with Gardner/Winn in the 9 spot. Defensively the team is a ton better with either Winn or Gardner in the OF instead of Damon.”

    You’re right, although as was pointed out to me when I knocked Damon’s defense earlier in this offseason, his defense, while not as good as Garnder or Winn’s, may have been worse last season than it could be going forward because he was adjusting to playing in NYS.

    That said, I would love to see Gardner in CF and Granderson in LF. I hope it happens.

  109. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? January 28th, 2010 at 11:13 am

    upstate kate -

    I was going to post something exactly like that! The media does not like to be wrong. ;)

    And even if they said that it was a slim chance that a deal would be made, in their heart of hearts they could not see Damon going anywhere else, and they believed with all their hearts the Yankees would give in. They misjudged both sides, actually.

  110. GreenBeret7 January 28th, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Nice little article on Jesus Montero from MLB.

    http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com.....8;c_id=nyy

  111. ray (sox fan) January 28th, 2010 at 11:13 am

    “He’s going to be the 4th OF on the team. In that regard, he’s better than Jeremy Hermida, the Red Sox 4th OF”

    ——————————————————–
    SJ, I would argue that it is debatable, but would quickly add it is only my opinion.

    If we go strictly by last year’s stats I would give the edge to Hermida.

    If last year was simply a bad year for Winn, and not the start of a decline at his age then I would give the edge to Winn.

  112. Rick January 28th, 2010 at 11:14 am

    More on Randy Winn :

    http://riveraveblues.com/

  113. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? January 28th, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Actually, how do we know how “clutch” Damon was in the playoffs? They were one and done in the first two years and not even in the playoffs in the third year of his contract.

    He had one ultra-stellar at-bat and a very heads-up stolen bases play that seems to be upping the ante here. (I’m not saying he didn’t have other good at bats in these playoffs, just that it’s really the one that stands out.)

  114. Chip January 28th, 2010 at 11:18 am

    It sounds like the Yankees are still close to adding either Gomes or Baldelli on a minor league contract.

    I think if they do that, it only adds to my opinion that Winn will start in LF and Gardner will either be traded or sent to AAA

  115. Chip January 28th, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Bigger news on that then Randy Winn stuff is that the Yankees are in fact hiring Kevin Towers as a consultant to the GM.

  116. rodg12 January 28th, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Thanks for the link GB. How ya doing? Still staying away from those cigs (aka cancer sticks ;) )?

  117. GreenBeret7 January 28th, 2010 at 11:20 am

    There’s a difference in a young player looking overmatched and a young player looking like he was scared to death of swinging the bat. During the last month and a half, Gardner looked scared to swing the bat.

  118. Patrick January 28th, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Doug, good guest post but there are some things wrong with your conclusions.

    First of all, I agree, Gardner should (and will) be a starting outfielder on the Yankees in 2010. I’m not sure that it will be in CF but it’s possible. I think that will be a decision Girardi has to make in spring training based on what he sees of both Granderson and Gardner. We can’t rely on Gardner’s UZR numbers, it’s simply too small of a sample.

    We should also keep in mind that while Gardner put up respectable numbers (for a CF) at the plate, Girardi picked his spots well. Who’s to say what happens when Gardner starts every day? Again, his lefty split numbers are too small a sample size to come to any reasonable conclusion. Gardner very well might get exposed as an every day player.

    This is the reason that you can’t pro-rate his WAR if he had played a full season. Maybe you could if that player had several years in the big leagues, but after just 2 portions of 2 seasons? I don’t think so.

    Despite my problems with your post, I agree with the overall conclusion. I think Gardner is a good, cost-effective solution for the outfield and I do think he should start in CF on opening day and beyond.

    Finally, I must agree with SJ44, Damon not signing with the Yankees is all on him and his agent. He was given a more than fair offer at the beginning of the offseason and he declined that offer. Boras clearly misread the market for Johnny and now it’s coming back to bite them.

  119. RayVT January 28th, 2010 at 11:22 am

    stuckey
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:07 am

    LOL! Of course I’ve seen players overmatched at times in the begining of their careers. (Gardner) is beyond just being overmatched. He looks clueless. I hope he turns out to be a terrific player, but I just don’t believe he will. I get so tired of these stat people taking Gardners data and concluding he is one step below Holiday or Lou Brock. He isn’t. Seriously I doubt he will ever be a starter for > 6 mos as a Yankee. He can run!! He can’t throw, field, hit or even think on the field. But he can run!!! Guess what? Hoffman can run too! And he can field & throw!!! He also has a high upside as a hitter. Hmmm!!! That said, I believe Hoffman will start or Winn will. Gardy is a SB threat as a PR. (Note, so are several others that the Yankees added.)

    BTW, this would not be the first time I’m wrong nor the last.

  120. GreenBeret7 January 28th, 2010 at 11:23 am

    rodg12
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:20 am
    Thanks for the link GB. How ya doing? Still staying away from those cigs (aka cancer sticks )?

    ————————————————————

    Thanks, Rodg. I’m doing fine. Thanks for asking. Yes, I’m “clean”. My problem now is that I’m addicted to the candy cigarettes.

  121. Carl January 28th, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Doreen – Ain’t it Just “Grand”?

    That 3 run bomb off of Verlander was nice. That 3 run bomb off of Westbrooke was nice also.

    I seriously don’t want Johnny back though.

  122. stuckey January 28th, 2010 at 11:23 am

    “Actually, how do we know how “clutch” Damon was in the playoffs? They were one and done in the first two years and not even in the playoffs in the third year of his contract.”

    EXACTLY… and what this mostly does isn’t to criticize Damon or Matsui’s skills, but demonstrate that individual, anecdotal performances just doesn’t carry much weight.

    The idea that Damon and/or Matsui will be the difference maker (which cannot be replicated or approximated) in a post-season run defies the simple laws of average and probability.

  123. Patrick January 28th, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Oh, one more point. I hated the Randy Winn signing yesterday but today I’ve rethought my stance a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t like it (especially for $2 million), but there is a chance Winn bounces back from his awful 2009. If he does, he’s a good 4th outfielder. If not, he’s a waste of $2 million.

    And lets be clear, Nick Swisher is not a valid comparison for Randy Winn. Coming off 2008, Swisher was still in his prime years. Randy Winn is on the downside of his career and his skills don’t really age well (hitting for average, defense, speed).

  124. Shame Spencer January 28th, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Man, spring training can’t come soon enough. There are so many stories I look forward to seeing play out:

    1) Will Johnson stay healthy/be productive at DH?
    2) Who will end up in CF/LF?
    3) Who will be the first to go down with an injury?
    4) How will Javey fair?
    5) Who will be our number 5 starter?
    6) How does the bullpen look in April? June? August?
    7) Will the “pie in the face” trend continue?
    8) Will A-Rod’s new piece be as popular with the YES network cameras as K-hud?

    .. and thats just the tip of the iceberg. I can’t WAIT till spring training starts!

  125. Jerkface January 28th, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Nick Johnson has incredible RISP and late and close numbers. He is as ‘clutch’ as any player. (despite clutch not existing)

  126. austinmac January 28th, 2010 at 11:27 am

    I think it would be a wrong move to hand the LF job to Gardner. Let him show he can get on base.

    Winn of two and three years ago was far better than Gardner. Winn of last year wan’t better than many outfielders in the majors.

    Would the Yankees have been better with Damon? Absolutely. Did they have a realistic chance to re-sign him? Perhaps not.

    What can we as Yankee fans do? Cheer for the new guys and hope they do well.

  127. Chip January 28th, 2010 at 11:27 am

    I actually agree with Green Brat on something – Brett Gardner looked terrified to be at the plate at times last year. As if he was hoping to get hit or walked because he had no confidence in his ability to put the ball in play.

  128. Jerkface January 28th, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Also baseball seasons for an ‘age’ count how old you are by a certain cutoff. Next season is Gardner’s age 26 season. If you want to say he is going to be ’27′ next season, well Melky will be 26. So obviously melky will not improve then either.

  129. Erica - always OPPC - Is done with Brian Cashman! January 28th, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Doreen – Ain’t it Just “Grand”?
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:17 am
    Actually, how do we know how “clutch” Damon was in the playoffs? They were one and done in the first two years and not even in the playoffs in the third year of his contract.

    ****************

    I believe he was quite clutch in Game 7 in the 2004 ALCS
    (Unfortunately, he was on the other side then)

  130. RayVT January 28th, 2010 at 11:29 am

    GreenBeret7
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:20 am
    There’s a difference in a young player looking overmatched and a young player looking like he was scared to death of swinging the bat. During the last month and a half, Gardner looked scared to swing the bat.

    I agree GB!!!! When I saw Gardner in ST he was better, but he was swinging at the 1st pitch (ST fastballs) from very weak pitchers. (WBC effect!) When he faced a decent SP he was outmatched then. He isn’t some youngster at 26. He wasn’t a 21 yr old Melky in the MLB way before his time. The Yankees have some youngsters to try in LF, Hoffman & Curtis being a couple of them. Winn is the safe steady bet.

  131. GeorgeInJax January 28th, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Stuckey,
    You said BG looked “overmatched”
    He was hitting fine before his thumb injury. Afterwards he swing was really off & he did look bad. the healthy BG will do fine. If he has a decent OBP he’ll score 90 runs or more.

  132. Jerkface January 28th, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I actually agree with Green Brat on something – Brett Gardner looked terrified to be at the plate at times last year. As if he was hoping to get hit or walked because he had no confidence in his ability to put the ball in play.

    Melky looked confused for the past 3 years at times, as if he didn’t know what the wooden thing in his hand was supposed to do or why that mean man was throwing spheres at him.

    Stuff like this has absolutely no weight. Jeter looks nervous or scared all the time vs hard throwers, you can see him fidget with his hands because he is scared of being hit in the wrist.

  133. rodg12 January 28th, 2010 at 11:30 am

    GreenBeret7 January 28th, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Thanks, Rodg. I’m doing fine. Thanks for asking. Yes, I’m “clean”. My problem now is that I’m addicted to the candy cigarettes.
    _______________
    Good to hear. Might have to start calling you the Candy Man then…

  134. 86w183 January 28th, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I love how a particular moment or series can distort reality in most minds.

    Last year Damon went 1-12 against Minnesota. He hit .300 in the Anaheim series and .364 versus Philadelphia.

    For his career he’s a .279 post-season hitter with a .783 OPS. It’s good, but hardly remarkable.

    Alex Rodriguez, the guy who can’t hit in the clutch, is a career .302 post-season hitter with a .977 OPS.

  135. Yankee Trader January 28th, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Man, spring training can’t come soon enough. There are so many stories I look forward to seeing play out:

    1) Will Johnson stay healthy/be productive at DH?-Yes
    2) Who will end up in CF/LF?-Granderson/Winn
    3) Who will be the first to go down with an injury?-Marte
    4) How will Javey fair?-Great
    5) Who will be our number 5 starter?-Hughes
    6) How does the bullpen look in April? June? August?-if the starters can pitch 6-7 inning outings-Fine.
    7) Will the “pie in the face” trend continue?-Definitely as will Girardi’s bonding methods.

  136. austinmac January 28th, 2010 at 11:31 am

    GB7–Congrats on the cigarettes. I sucked on cinnamon candy until Brachs had its most profitable year ever.

    I saw your reference the other day to Commander Cody. There’s a guy who played Austin a lot.

  137. Erin January 28th, 2010 at 11:31 am

    GreenBeret7
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:23 am
    rodg12
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:20 am
    Thanks for the link GB. How ya doing? Still staying away from those cigs (aka cancer sticks )?

    ————————————————————

    Thanks, Rodg. I’m doing fine. Thanks for asking. Yes, I’m “clean”. My problem now is that I’m addicted to the candy cigarettes.

    *********************
    My mom raves about candy cigarettes. They’re hard to find-whenever I’m in a store that actually sells them, I always pick her up a couple of packs. :)

  138. stuckey January 28th, 2010 at 11:31 am

    “LOL! Of course I’ve seen players overmatched at times in the begining of their careers. (Gardner) is beyond just being overmatched. He looks clueless.”

    So in all seriousness, do you take his success at the minor league level, and his success in ST and the months of June and July as just pure dumb luck?

    “He can’t throw, field,”

    The metrics suggest otherwise.

    Is it at all possible, that while going it “ugly” he actually manages to get things done on a baseball field?

    “BTW, this would not be the first time I’m wrong nor the last.”

    Fair enough

  139. Erin January 28th, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Shame Spencer
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:24 am

    7) Will the “pie in the face” trend continue?

    *********************
    Absolutely :D

    I’m really hoping Jeter gets a pie this year-he missed out on all of the fun last year. lol

  140. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? January 28th, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Stuckey -

    That is exactly what I meant to point out.

    Carl -

    A question. Is it considered clutch if they don’t end up winning? Not just the game, but the series? He’s a good player and he often comes up big. But so do other players. And sometimes it’s enough and sometimes it isn’t. And mostly, players are pretty interchangeable over time.

    I will miss Damon and Matsui. I like them both. I thought they were perfect for the Yankees, but mainly I liked that you knew what they brought to the table and any newcomer to Yankee Universe is suspect.

    But many things have to come together to win a WS. Obviously having Damon and Matsui on the team in 2006, 2007 and 2008 did not help them go the distance.

  141. Frank January 28th, 2010 at 11:34 am

    “Crawford > Jayson Werth

    Carl is two years younger and doesn’t have strike out as often.”

    Crawford doesn’t stike out as much as Werth , but he doesn’t get on base as much as Werth either. Werth has more power, and has it to all fields. Werth has a much better arm. I’d be fine with either guy, but Werth is at least the offensive player Crawford is and is more versatile in the OF because he has the arm that allows him to play all three positions whereas Crawford is pretty much locked into left.

  142. Jerkface January 28th, 2010 at 11:35 am

    There are only 2 players in baseball whose faces never show any emotion other than cold, unfeeling, robotic domination. Albert Pujols and Mariano Rivera.

    Why don’t you armchair psychologists stop trying to analyze a player because they didn’t get a hit when you wanted them to get a hit. (Gardner obviously collected a lot of hits at times when you were not looking, and did not pee his pants while doing so)

  143. Carl January 28th, 2010 at 11:36 am

    86w183

    A-Rod proved in Seattle he could hit in the clutch. Last year though he had a legendary performance.

  144. murphydog January 28th, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Sherman is entitled to his opinion. But “Pride”?

    Fans tend to confuse “pride” with business judgment. It’s not “pride” if the Yankees feel they were being asked to pay too much for a player with quaky legs, fielding challenges and new found power only because he played in Yankee Stadium. Cashman said over four years ago that he wanted to get younger, cheaper, more athletic. If Damon doesn’t fit the organization’s marching orders, how is that “pride”?

    Are you “prideful” if you walk out of a car dealer because they want you to overpay? A car is basic transportation and some level of extras – how much extra is up to you. But be reasonable: when you go car shopping, you are not required to purchase a used Cadillac AND overpay for it.

    The Yankees have a few bodies that can play LF, a basic, serviceable LF. That’s the level of asset they wanted in LF. Not pride, just a business decision. If it flops, Cash will have to wear it.

  145. Irabu's Son January 28th, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I’m sold on Gardner after reading this post. And I’d like him to get 600 PA’s just to see how many stolen bases he could get. I can’t remember the last time a Yankee led the AL in steals (Rickey?)

  146. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? January 28th, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Erica -

    Yes, that was clutch of him in 2004. :)

    I know this is not the outcome you wanted. It will be strange without Damon and without Matsui.

  147. Shame Spencer January 28th, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Yankee Trader – thanks for clearing all that up, I wont even need to watch the season now! ;)

    ..and I’m also really hoping to see Jeter get hit with a pie. The very idea made Michael Kay so damn giddy last year that if it doesnt happen this year he may explode.

  148. pat January 28th, 2010 at 11:42 am

    “The media does not like to be wrong.”

    Doreen

    Look how many myths the Yankees have debunked in the last year…

    Girardi’s players don’t like him, Alex will bring chaos to the team, AJ will go in the DL in 2009, Alex isn’t clutch, can’t win with a 35 yr old SS, can’t win with Gardner/Melky in CF, CC is good but not in the postseason, can’t win with starters on 3 days rest, Yankees throw money at free agents, Yankees have unlimited payroll…….

    Now if Cano could start hitting with RISP and Tex has a hot April they may be lost. :wink:

  149. DT - OPPC member January 28th, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Damon wasn’t going to be a full time LF in 2010. (for the Yanks at least)

    The separation papers were signed in December when Nick Johnson was brought in to DH. That was Damon’s primary role going forward.

    The Damon/Yankee divorce became final this week, but the marriage really ended in December.

  150. Erica - always OPPC - Is done with Brian Cashman! January 28th, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Doreen – Ain’t it Just “Grand”?
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:38 am
    Erica -

    Yes, that was clutch of him in 2004.

    I know this is not the outcome you wanted. It will be strange without Damon and without Matsui.

    ****************

    I am pretty bummed. I will really just miss seeing him playing everyday.

    And to be honest with you, I am rather dispirited by the insensitivity by the “good riddence” attitude of some posters on here. I probably won’t be posting much

  151. GreenBeret7 January 28th, 2010 at 11:44 am

    It wasn’t that Gardner “wasn’t getting hits when we wanted him to”. It was because he wasn’t swinging at pitches down the middle of the plate with 1 and 2 strikes. It’s difficult to work out walks when you’re 0-2 and 1-2 all the time.

  152. Frank January 28th, 2010 at 11:45 am

    1) Will Johnson stay healthy/be productive at DH?

    Yes….Until he gets hurt around Memorial Day.

    2) Who will end up in CF/LF?

    Granderson and Winn

    3) Who will be the first to go down with an injury?

    Posada

    4) How will Javey fair?

    Well. He’s the #2 starter in mind. 15-17 wins, 3.6-3.7 ERA

    5) Who will be our number 5 starter?

    Phil Hughes

    6) How does the bullpen look in April? June? August?

    No reason to think it won’t be pretty strong. Mo closes, Joba in the 8th, Robertson/Marte 7th, Aceves and others as needed.

    7) Will the “pie in the face” trend continue?

    Won’t happen with the freakish frequency we saw in ’09, but sure.

  153. GreenBeret7 January 28th, 2010 at 11:46 am

    rodg12
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:30 am
    GreenBeret7 January 28th, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Thanks, Rodg. I’m doing fine. Thanks for asking. Yes, I’m “clean”. My problem now is that I’m addicted to the candy cigarettes.
    _______________
    Good to hear. Might have to start calling you the Candy Man then…

    ————————————————————

    I’ll know when I start lighting the candy cigarettes that I’ve gone over the edge. I’ve been close at times, though.

  154. randy l. January 28th, 2010 at 11:46 am

    “Now there a lot of numbers here, but focusing on WAR, it’s clear that Gardner is best of the bunch outside of Matt Holliday. ”

    gardner was a better player overall than jason bay last year?

    gardner was better players than granderson last year?

    girardi didn’t even think he was better player than melky because he sat his butt on the bench .most of the world series until melky was injured.

    this pinch hitter needs to go back to the bench.

  155. stuckey January 28th, 2010 at 11:46 am

    No one can ever take Matsui’s Game 6 away from him, but a few facts that bear repeating.

    He came up with 6 men on base that game, including 3 or 4 in scoring position. Success is combination of performances AND opportunity.

    And in World Series play (where his rep is now legendary) he won’t even be able to play in half the games.

    And the odds of him having another game 6 is LONG.

    Again, not to take it away from him at ALL. But moments in time are great and romantic, but have little qualitative weight.

  156. RayVT January 28th, 2010 at 11:48 am

    stuckey
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:31 am

    I like your posts & thoughts. I hope BG succeeds, but I don’t think his capabilites support that thought.

    The use of the stats to suggest BG will do in 600 ABs is crazy. He played mostly against RHP and as a full time starter he will get the tough LHP pitchers too. Plus playing everyday is grueling. Most 2nd year players slump badly (AKA Soph Slump).

  157. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? January 28th, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Erica -

    Maybe the Mets will sign him?

    I’d probably avoid this place for a while too, if I felt as strongly as you did. But you’d be missed.

  158. Erin January 28th, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Erica – always OPPC – Is done with Brian Cashman!
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:43 am

    And to be honest with you, I am rather dispirited by the insensitivity by the “good riddence” attitude of some posters on here. I probably won’t be posting much

    *************************
    I’m sorry to hear that :(
    Who am I going to talk about Sesame Street with???

    For the record, I was disappointed to hear that Damon wouldn’t be returning

  159. Frank January 28th, 2010 at 11:49 am

    “Yankees throw money at free agents”

    This was debunked??? If they didn’t throw money at free agents, they’re sitting on 26 championships.

  160. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? January 28th, 2010 at 11:51 am

    pat -

    That had me laughing! Yes, now Cano and Tex have to do their part to totally shatter all matters of “common knowledge.”

  161. austinmac January 28th, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Erica–Their are those among us that will miss Damon too. We would also miss you on this board. So, we ask that you hang in there.

  162. upstate kate January 28th, 2010 at 11:53 am

    ah Erica, I am bummed too. I will miss not only Johnny, but also Matsui, Melky and Coke…I really liked the 2009 team. I have my 2009 WS poster hanging on my office wall, so I can look at that instead of this endless snow.

    I am not saying I wont like the 2010 team, or that I don’t understand why changes had to be made.

  163. GreenBeret7 January 28th, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Mac, Billy C. Cody put on some great shows in Austin. His bad “The Lost Planet Airmen” was a good band, great sound. Loved the outlaw country sound of Cody, Nelson, Jennings, Kristofferson, Asleep At The Wheel and Lacy J. Dalton.

    Cody and Jerry Garcia put together a mini-supergroup just for fun (New Riders Of The Purple Sage) that was great. That was great music coming out of austin for years. I used to attend the old Willie Nelson 4th Of July Picnics when I was incountry. Unbelievable sounds, free LSD (Lone star Draft).

  164. Bodhisattva - Destiny Wears Pinstripes January 28th, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Again, not to take it away from him at ALL. But moments in time are great and romantic, but have little qualitative weight.
    ======

    Matsui-san and legions of Yankee fans say: how’s this for qualitative weight?

    http://assets.nydailynews.com/.....trophy.jpg

  165. Tom in NJ January 28th, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Erica, chin up and be proud!

    You fought the good fight and there was someting quixotically heroic in your undying belief that Damon would comeback.

    Besides, here’s what Davidoff tweeted after the Winn signing: “It’s not “official” that Johnny Damon is gone from the #Yankees until he signs somewhere else.”

    Stranger things have happened!

  166. m January 28th, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Looking through the Damon photo retrospective brings up a lot of good memories. I got through 10 comments and stopped in shock after I saw Rebecca use a profane word!

    Rebecca, where are you?!

  167. Erin January 28th, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Bodhisattva – Destiny Wears Pinstripes
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:55 am
    Again, not to take it away from him at ALL. But moments in time are great and romantic, but have little qualitative weight.
    ======

    Matsui-san and legions of Yankee fans say: how’s this for qualitative weight?

    http://assets.nydailynews.com/…..trophy.jpg

    ********************
    I have a little copy of that up in my cubicle!! I will miss Matsui-san

  168. Erica - always OPPC - Is done with Brian Cashman! January 28th, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Awww- Thank you guys
    (Erin, Doreen, Austinmac, & Kate)

    I’ll probably get over it soon. I am just swamped with work right now and having a crummy week and can’t really find time to process everything. Working 12 hours a day is not helping anything either. I tend to avoid things I don’t like, so I might just stay quiet until the topic dies down

  169. Betsy -Romine wasn't built in a day January 28th, 2010 at 11:58 am

    The pie will certainly continue, though the Yanks probably won’t have as many walk-offs (they may very well win more games in regulation).

    I was very happy to see a little blurb in one of the baseball mags that come out this time of year (I think it was Athlon) that said AJ is serious with a goofy side and that his teammates think he strikes a good balance. I’m still waiting for Jeter to get that pie – and when he does, he’s going to love it. He looks like he’s ready for it whenever he’s asked about it, lol

  170. Erica - always OPPC - Is done with Brian Cashman! January 28th, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Tom in NJ
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:56 am
    Erica, chin up and be proud!

    You fought the good fight and there was someting quixotically heroic in your undying belief that Damon would comeback.

    Besides, here’s what Davidoff tweeted after the Winn signing: “It’s not “official” that Johnny Damon is gone from the #Yankees until he signs somewhere else.”

    Stranger things have happened!

    *******************

    Thats why I am not paying Nick yet!!! LOL

  171. GreenBeret7 January 28th, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Erin
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:31 am
    GreenBeret7
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:23 am
    rodg12
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:20 am
    Thanks for the link GB. How ya doing? Still staying away from those cigs (aka cancer sticks )?

    ————————————————————

    Thanks, Rodg. I’m doing fine. Thanks for asking. Yes, I’m “clean”. My problem now is that I’m addicted to the candy cigarettes.

    *********************
    My mom raves about candy cigarettes. They’re hard to find-whenever I’m in a store that actually sells them, I always pick her up a couple of packs.

    ————————————————————

    Somehow, it’s not quite the same when I go in and ask for a carton of candy cigarettes. It loses some in the translation.

  172. Bodhisattva - Destiny Wears Pinstripes January 28th, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I have a little copy of that up in my cubicle!! I will miss Matsui-san
    ====

    Erin,

    This should have been taken care of.

  173. Bronx Jeers January 28th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    “And to be honest with you, I am rather dispirited by the insensitivity by the “good riddence” attitude of some posters on here. I probably won’t be posting much”

    Please ignore them Erica.

    Those detractors are just Gravedancers.

    Johnny was a great Yankee and a tremendous contributor.

    Like his PGF is on this blog.

  174. m January 28th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Oops. Forgot to mention it’s the River Ave Blues retrospective. Providing the link because the second comment’s pretty funny:

    http://riveraveblues.com/2010/.....nny-23035/

  175. Erica - always OPPC - Is done with Brian Cashman! January 28th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Tom in NJ-

    Side note: I once played the word “Quixote” in Scrabble for 119 points

  176. Bodhisattva - Destiny Wears Pinstripes January 28th, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Johnny D will be missed.

  177. Frank January 28th, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Erica:

    I think many will miss Damon. Both his play on the field and his overall presence.

    In the end though, no man is bigger than the team. Cashman wanted Damon and was prepared to bring him back at a pretty reasonable number. I know you’re aggravated with Cashman, but it’s hard not to believe he’s doing what he feels is best for the team within the constraints of the considerable budget he’s been allowed. Can’t ask more than that from a GM.

  178. RayVT January 28th, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Erica – always OPPC – Is done with Brian Cashman!
    January 28th, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Well they didn’t sign Tex until after they signed Swish to play 1st!

    So, maybe they signed Winn before Damon comes marching home again!! (I still hope so too.)

  179. Bodhisattva - Destiny Wears Pinstripes January 28th, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    RayVT,

    It’d have to be Johnny coming crawling home again.

    Would that it were so.

  180. pat January 28th, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Erica

    We will be anxiously awaiting your new PBF selection but take your time. The first one is often a rebound not a keeper so be sure to choose wisely.

  181. bruceb January 28th, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    What I don’t understand is why the Yanks are so concerned about budget coming off a Championship year? I know every business has to have a financial plan but I really do believe that failing to re-sign Damon could mean the difference between us having another great season and an average one. I love Brett Gardner as a bench player but I forecast that two months into the season, the fans will be castigating Cashman for letting Damon go.

  182. Tom in NJ January 28th, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    “Side note: I once played the word “Quixote” in Scrabble for 119 points”

    Nice!

    It’s my favorite book.

  183. Frank Da Tank January 28th, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Twenty days away from pitchers and catchers. The key loses are Damon, Matsui, Melky, Phil Coke and believe it or not Chien Ming Wang as well as some pieces like Brian Bruney, Nady, Hinske and Hairston Jr.

    The Farm took a hit losing Austin Jackson, Arodys Vizcaino, Ian Kennedy and Michael Dunn.

    Despite all that the Yankees have improved the team and upgraded both the defense and the pitching staff.

    December 9th a great day for Cash he signs Andy then traded for Curtis Granderson – Last year he hit 30 HR with 71 RBI and 157 hits with 97 runs.

    December 22nd Traded and acquired Javier Vazquez.

    December 23rd Yankees sign Nick Johnson – .273 career Avg. 831 career OPS.

    January 27th sign Randy Winn 141 career hits and .286 career Avg.

    Loosing the production from Matsui and Damon will diminish the Yankees productivity. Their combined homeruns hit were 52 not to mention the leadership and the other production provided in the line up. That said the Yankees saved over 26 million dollars. They are both getting older and do not contribute in the field as well as in years past.

    The Winn signing will free up an outfield spot next year when they go get Tampa’s own C.C Crawford. Winn can steal bases play better D and he is younger.

    Granderson is a young athletic, middle of the order guy who will benefit from hitting at Yankee Stadium.

    This is how I picture the lineup and rest of 25 man roster.

    Jeter SS
    Johnson DH
    Teixeira 1B
    A-Rod 3B
    Granderson CF
    Posada C
    Cano 2B
    Swisher RF
    Winn LF

    Starting Pitchers
    Sabathia
    Burnett
    Pettitte
    Vazquez
    Chamberlain

    Bullpen from importance

    Rivera
    Robertson
    Hughes
    Melancon
    Albaladejo
    Marte
    Aceves

    Bench

    Cervelli C
    Pena infield
    Miranda DH/1b
    Garner outfield

    The Yankees are a better team than last year and they will need to out slug the Sox (since they have a better starting pitching staff than the bomber) yet despite that, the Yankees have a better Defensive team and bullpen.

    GO YANKEES!!

  184. m January 28th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    bruceb,

    Think of it as Nick Johnson replacing Johnny Damon. Damon wasn’t going to be much of a LF this season. The decline came fast and hard.

  185. Erica - always OPPC - Is done with Brian Cashman! January 28th, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    new thread re: platooning LF :arrow:

  186. Chad Jennings January 28th, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    New post

  187. S.o.S. January 28th, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Winn 141 career hits?
    I guess 2 million dollars doesnt get you much these days.

    Im sorry fellas. Im going to have to be the villian here. Damon showed from the start that it was always about the money and not about the team. From coming out and saying I would never be a Yankee to Dont even present an offer if it isnt at 13 mil. Nick Johnson took less to comeback home. He also was signed to be the dh. That pretty much put the nail in Johnny’s coffin. I rooted for him when he was a Yank just like any other player. But once HE decided to play hard ball and go for more change. He became an after thought. This situation reminds me alot of the Giambi one last off season. Plenty wanted him back but in the end, letting him go was the best thing Cash could have done. I see Damon continuing his spiral decline this upcoming season and beyond. Some here wanted him to resign more than he did himself. Thats not a player i want on my team. Better letting him go now than later. Time to move on and welcome out 2010 squad.

  188. Shang-Wang January 28th, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Any time I see…

    ” He saw him as an obvious starter for the Yankees.”

    I can’t take this post seriously. Yes, we like his speed and enthusiasm, but he hasn’t proven that he can hit at the major league level. I’m not asking for an all-star at every position, but he just doesn’t cut it on this roster. Sorry…

  189. trisha - OPPC forever - (new lucky picture from last day at the old Stadium) BRING ON THE GHOSTS! January 28th, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I’m amused by anyone who points to a career year in the last year of a contract year! Yeah, that’s a novelty.

    IMO some people never have the ability to look at the big picture and get really stuck in the weeds. Those are the people who will still be whining about Damon not coming back in the middle of the season. In fact, the first time Garnder or Winn mess up, watch for the Greek chorus to fly in.

    It takes a mature person to realize that the Yankee organization is much smarter than the entire fan base put together. After all, it wasn’t the negotiating strategy of the fan base that brought the Yankees to where they are.

    When your favorite player is no longer with the team, you suck it up; and if you’re at all aware, you realize that the team will continue to thrive and survive, despite your hurt feelings. You also realize that nobody is cornering the market on what should have happened, if you read the posts. For every person who is wearing black today because Damon is gone, there are as many who have either moved on or, horrors, actually believe it’s for the best.

    I may have strong opinions but I think what really grounds me is the knowledge that the real brains are the ones making the decisions, not the ones crowing or whining about them. I have had favorite players who are no longer around but I swear the minute I found out they were not going to be a part of the team, I quickly figured out that the Yankees made a decision for the good of the team. The Yankees are an organization built around winning – psychically and interactively. Especially now that Torre is gone, they don’t do anything in a punishing sense. If they felt they needed Damon to win, Damon would be here.

    I guess I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that there are actually fans who feel personally hurt when something happens with which they don’t agree. But it’s apparent that they do. That’s pretty weird.

    IMO if you’re a fan of the laundry you root for the laundry. Winn is here. I swear that some of you are probably rooting for him to fail so you can assuage your own hurt feelings and turn around and say “I TOLD YOU SO!”

    However, take this with you. No matter how Winn or Gardner or anyone else performs, you have no idea how Damon would have performed were he brought back. Please don’t pretend you do.

    Erica, this has nothing to do with you. I know how fond you have been as Johnny as a player. It has to hurt to see him go. But I think I also know you well enough to know that you are not rooting against anyone else who comes here.

    By the way, I have never seen Brian Cashman as a man of huge ego. Quite the opposite. That anyone suggests that he let his ego get in the way of the team winning is frankly ludicrous.

  190. trisha - OPPC forever - (new lucky picture from last day at the old Stadium) BRING ON THE GHOSTS! January 28th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    S.O.S. – I guess one person’s villian is another person’s voice of reason.

    You are not alone in your thinking.

  191. Facebook Status January 28th, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Great post!

    However, UZR had Damon slightly above average in left for 07 and 08. Perhaps his defense didn’t fall off the cliffs in 09 and his defense is somewhere in between, thus bumping up his WAR?

    Also, recall that UZR definitely requires at least 2 years of data to become significant. Could you be overvaluing Gardner based on his relatively few reps in the OF while also undervaluing Damon again because of an insignificantly bad sample from one year?

  192. 86w183 January 28th, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Erica —-

    Good idea to back away while the ruminations continue, but don’t be long gone or something will have to start GTDWER (Guess The Day When Erica Returns!)

    I think there’s every possibility that Granderson and Johnson will combine for similar productivity as Damon/Matsui at about half the 2009 price.

    If that’s the case, the Yanks need Winn/Gardner to replace Melky’s productivity. That’s not a great hurdle to clear.

  193. Pat M. January 28th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I see Billy Beane signing Johnny Damon, and come July when the A’s have fallen back in the race, Beane will spin off Sheets & Damon for younger players to teams that are desperate for a starter and a corner offensive type outfielder……That’s what Billy does…..Randy Winn will surprise many here…..

  194. stuckey January 28th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    “I know every business has to have a financial plan but I really do believe that failing to re-sign Damon could mean the difference between us having another great season and an average one.”

    What’s your “belief” based on bruce? Because it doesn’t hold water under ANY intellectual scrutiny.

    Explain how the difference between a best case Johnny Damon and a worst case Curtis Granderson takes the Yankees from great and average?

    Show your math…

  195. stuckey January 28th, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    “Most 2nd year players slump badly (AKA Soph Slump).”

    Ray, no, they don’t. That’s a cliche’. It’s like “bad things happen in threes”. They of course DO sometimes, and when it happens is reinforces the idea. Generally the mind remembers the circumstances that reinforces a notion and forgets the circumstances that don’t.

    But as always, I’m open to seeing some statistical support (which WOULD exist) that suggest “most” players have worse second years.

    I’ll even make it easier for you. Show me a demonstrative pattern that suggests everyday (in 2009) Yankee players slumped in their sophomore years?

  196. saucY January 28th, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    good post. i’ve agreed Gardner should be the starter. and i noticed some already pointed out the flaws in your pro-rated logic.

    in addition to WAR and UZR, i don’t think you can pro-rate offensive stats like Runs and Stolen bases, which are not tied to plate appearances. Especially with Gardner where a lot of the opportunities for his runs and stolen bases were generated by being a pinch-runner.

    but maybe i’m missing something?

  197. Don January 28th, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    The sample size for Gardner seems a bit small. We really can’t be sure that he is going to be a consistent .270 hitter and compile all the other pro-rated stats on a regular basis, but let’s hope for the best.

  198. Tripps78 January 28th, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    This post is disrespectful to Curtis Granderson. He’s one of the best players on the team behind A-Rod, Tex, Jeter. Granderson is right behind those guys. Gardner is a spare part. Come on dude. Granderson went 20HR, 20 triples, 20 steals a few years back. He’s in his prime. No one is taking at-bats from Granderson in the outfield because he is the best one out there.

  199. Matt January 28th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Great post Doug!
    You did a good job of arguing Gardner’s case, I am still not totally sold on him as a long term solution as he seemed to look lost in the playoffs and in the clutch in season at bats I remember, albeit a limited sample size.
    That being said, I am all for giving him a try, the Yankees do not have much to lsoe by doing so.
    I like the Winn signing which effectivly serves as a great backup plan.
    Give Gardner the first shot though, hopefully.
    If he can prive his worth in Center or LF, hitting $.275 or so with no power but tons of steals than Winn becomes a great signing to rest everyone here and there.
    Rest Grandy against some tough Lefties, Swisher taken out for Winn as a defensive replacement in right, etc..
    And if Garder proves he is only a 4A hitter, than he makes a great pinch runner and defensive replacement while Winn starts everyday instead.
    Works well, worst case scenerio if Gardner flops and Winn shows his age and hits like he did last year in SF, then the Yanks still have time to make a July trade without any real effect on the post season or making the playoffs.
    This team looks stacked, as long as they remain healthy the 9th hitter should not matter much and the pitchers should really benefit from an OF defense that could include Grandy, Gardy and Winn at times.
    As Doug mentions I feel more comfortable trying this out than going forward with Damon in LF for the whole year.

  200. Guthrie Sayen January 28th, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Superior post, Doug. I hope Chad and Sam bring you back for another during spring training or the season.

  201. Enough Pitching Changes January 28th, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    “I think there’s every possibility that Granderson and Johnson will combine for similar productivity as Damon/Matsui at about half the 2009 price.
    If that’s the case, the Yanks need Winn/Gardner to replace Melky’s productivity. That’s not a great hurdle to clear.”

    Well said…melky will not be hard to replace

  202. Enough Pitching Changes January 28th, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    “I am not saying I wont like the 2010 team, or that I don’t understand why changes had to be made.”

    teams make changes every off-season..you try to improve your team both on the field and in the check book. Cashman brought in a bunch of guys…nick johnson, winn, javy who have one year deals..that way he can make some serious moves next year when the free agent class is top notch..seriously if they brought damon back for 2 years..for say 10 million a year…it would make signing free agents like carl crawford etc…more difficult…Also youwould have an even older damon playing leftfield…I love damon but I will not miss his defense in left field

  203. Enough Pitching Changes January 28th, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    “Actually, how do we know how “clutch” Damon was in the playoffs? They were one and done in the first two years and not even in the playoffs in the third year of his contract.”

    damon always played well in the playoffs for the yanks..even when they lost..damon is a very good offensive player..BUT YOU CAN NOT PAY him 13 million dollars a year the way he plays defense..

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  205. pistol pete January 28th, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Gardners projections are not linear. He’s projected to score more runs and get more steals than he will because he pinch ran a lot and someone got on base for him. Also, the more part time players play the more their weaknesses are exposed. Oh are we going to miss Johnny bat and experience, especially in the post season.

  206. pistol pete January 28th, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    I’ve been beating up Winn pretty good, don’t like the signing, but as long as we have him does anyone know why he had such a bad yr last yr especially against leftys when he wasn’t so bad against them in other yrs. Was there an injury he played thru etc. Please come up with something, I hope it’s not that he’s just getting older and deteriorating.

  207. Doug Waage January 30th, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    The author Doug Waage here. I want to thank everyone for their comments and I wanted to address some of the more prevalent criticisms to my post.

    Criticism 1: Gardner’s sample size of plate appearances and defensive innings are not large enough to make a full year comparison.

    Response 1: Fair enough. Unfortunately, Gardner was a rookie last year and only had 284 plate appearances. I wish he had more so that we could have a better set of data with which to work with. My question back is: What set of data should I have used to attempt to calculate Gardner’s offensive and defensive value over a full season if not his most recent season in the majors?

    For a larger set of plate appearances you have to go back to his 2008 AAA season, when he had a 0.414 OBP and a 0.422 SLG. Using those offensive stats and Gardner’s 426 plate appearances (2/3 of a MLB season) you add another WAR to his total (more if you give him a full year of at bats). This isn’t a good measure because many players don’t achieve the same level of success in the majors as they do in AAA.

    Perhaps instead I should have used some of the 2010 projected stats out there from Baseball Prospectus (BP), or Bill James, or something. Supposedly, Baseball Prospectus’s forecasts have historically been the most accurate, so let’s use those (the Bill James stat projections are very similar):

    Player PA Ave R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SB OBP SLG OPS
    Gardner10 524 0.268 82 122 22 8 5 43 62 36 0.361 0.387 0.748
    Gardner09 284 0.270 48 67 6 6 3 23 26 26 0.345 0.379 0.724

    Now on a like for like bases using 626 plate appearances like in the post:

    Player PA Ave R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SB OBP SLG OPS
    Gardner10 626 0.268 98 146 26 10 6 51 74 43 0.361 0.387 0.748
    Gardner09 626 0.270 106 148 13 13 7 51 57 57 0.345 0.379 0.724

    The only meaningful differences are (a) BP has 13 more doubles, (b) 16 fewer steels, and (c) a higher OPS. Net/Net, the BP projections have Gardner having a better offensive season per plate appearance than in 2009. So my projections on offense were not too aggressive. If anything, they were too conservative. So my offensive projections for a full season were not too aggressive. Using the numbers, the BP projection for Gardner’s 2009 wRAA is 6.2, vs. my 5.3 pro-rated number, so almost 1 run better (which is not significant).

    Criticism 2: Gardner’s sample size on defense is too small to get a true value for his defense. Or, “You can’t just pro-rate his UZR, it is better to use UZR/150 games to get a better measure of his defensive ability.”

    Response 2: I again agree that we have the same limited sample size of data problem that we had with batting. Again, there is not much I can do about it. I do agree that there is some merit in using UZR/150 and that we should use as much MLB data as we can for measuring Gardner’s defense. With this in mind, I took a look at Gardner’s career UZR/150 games. Gardner’s MLB career is just getting started, but he has logged 934 innings in the Yankees outfield at the MLB level, so I think it is a decent enough sample size. So what do I find? Gardner’s career UZR/150 games is 28.8. Now I was estimating that Gardner would have a UZR of 15.9 over a full season, so I was 12.9 or 45% too low on the number of runs that Gardner prevents in the outfield over a full season. Anyone can look this up by going to fangraphs.com and looking at Gardner’s career UZR/150.

    Now just how good is a UZR/150 of 28.8? UZR is a new stat for me (and for a lot of fans) so I did some stat analysis on fangraphs.com and what I found surprised me. Looking at all the outfield stats for Gardner (2008 and 2009), and limiting the pool of players to those with at least as many innings played as Gardner (934 innings or more over the last 2 seasons), Gardner was the 2nd best defensive outfielder in the game. Only Niger Morgan had a higher UZR/150 of 32. For comparison, Damon was the 28th worst out of 114 qualifying outfielders, with a -7.9 UZR/150, (or about as good as Pat Burrell, Carlos Lee, and Manny Ramirez…not the best outfielders). So playing Gardner over Damon in the outfield prevents 36.7 more runs over a year. That’s 1 fewer run allowed every 4 games. That’s a big number.

    Conclusion:

    So what happens to Gardner’s WAR with this new data over a full season of 626 plate appearances? The Offense number goes from 5.3 to 6.2. The UZR goes from 15.2 to 28.8. The replacement number stays at 20.9 and the positional adjustment goes to 0.9 (85% of Gardner’s innings were in CF at 2.5 and 15% are in LF at -7.5). Taken all together Gardner produces a Runs Above Replacement (RAR) of 51.1 and a WAR of 5.1, which compares favorably to the 4.6 WAR from my original analysis.

    So who are other players that delivered a WAR near 5.1 (between 4.9 and 5.3 in 2009)?

    Derrek Lee
    Dustin Pedroia
    Pablo Sandoval
    Mark Teixeira
    Ichiro Suzuki
    Matt Kemp
    Shin-Soo Choo
    Niger Morgan
    Victor Martinez

    Not a bad list of comparable players. So for $400K a year, the Yanks potentially get a 5 WAR player. Damon was only a 3 WAR player last year, so the Yanks can potentially win 2 more games in 2010 just by playing Gardner instead of Damon, and for millions less in salary cost. Not a bad deal.

    I again welcome any and all comments as to the accuracy of my analysis.

    - Doug

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