I’m Still Alive and The Yankees are LOADEDFebruary 23, 2010
In case you hadn’t noticed I have been completely inactive since the World Series ended. Lazy offseason, or four month long celebration? Or perhaps I was busy with the Jets having an awesome year out of nowhere. But now I am left with only the lowly Nets and turn to the Yankees for comfort.
When the team last left us, Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon were playoff heroes and there was no way the Yankees could part ways with them. Well, unfortunately, baseball is business and players play for money as well as rings (Johnny Damon doesn’t seem so shy about parading this, and that’s something he should be respected for).
Strangely enough the Yankees have a payroll cap, and apparently hit it this offseason. So, Damon is now a Tiger and Matsui an Angel. The former I can live with, but this is a sight I will never be able to absorb:
Somehow, losing two guys who put up a combined 5.8 WAR and were very clutch come playoff time was probably the right direction to go. Both are older players, one can not play the field and one can not play the field well, and both were replaced by younger players with as good or better potential for the upcoming season.
Matsui’s replacement did not turn out to be significantly cheaper, and he also may be the most injury plagued player in baseball east of Mike Hampton. But Nick Johnson, who is returning to the Yankees after being shipped out as part of the trade for Randy Johnson way back in 2005, provides something you can never have too much of: great patience and on base skills. You just can not go wrong with a player who has a career on base percentage of .402, especially when it comes with the potential for 50-60 extra base hits. Playing DH should minimize Johnson’s injury risk, as should the fact that he is going to get a good portion of days off whenever Posada and A-rod need to DH as a day off. Another thing to consider is the nature of Johnson’s injury history. While the list of his injuries is extensive, there is also the same stroke of bad luck throughout Johnson’s career that painted Mark Prior’s path. Johnson broke his leg in a late season collision in 2006, and has also suffered from wrist injuries throughout his career. Those were no-existent last season, however, and hopefully that will spell a healthy season for Johnson, which in turn would almost assure a productive and valuable one.
The Yankees’ other fan favorite replacing player is someone who is certain to be at least as popular as his predecessor. Curtis Granderson is a well spoken and happy go lucky dude who should fit in right along side of fellow awesome guy Nick Swisher.
Granderson is a player who has had some serious issues with left handers in his career (as his splits will corroborate). He has been so good against righties in his career that it’s been masked for the most part, aside from his down season last year. Yankee Stadium is going to mask a lot of those issues, though. Granderson is going to enjoy the same kind of advantages that Johnny Damon took while playing there, and could very easily top 30 homers. Then again, he could just as easily end up a platoon player, which would also make him overpaid for his last several seasons and is also probably the reason the Tigers wanted to be rid of him. But again, a mix of Yankee Stadium’s short right field and an occasional rest versus lefties should get Granderson to rebound to his ’07 or ’08 form.
The Yankees also featured a lot of turnover in the pitching department, something I’ll ramble about later on. In the mean time be warmed through the icy winter by the knowledge that I am back with hopefully regular updating. Or if not that then this.