Thursday, December 22, 2005

Damon is a Yankee

Well the first words out of my clock radio this morning (and that really isn't an exaggeration) were 'Damon signed a 4 year deal with the Yankees...' Morning Neil...

I really do have mixed reactions to this deal - Damon's re-signing would have provided some stability in an off-season that has been relatively turbulent so far - but staying the same for staying the same's sake is usually not productive. Truthfully, Johnny Damon isn't worth $13m per, not even as an icon, particularly not as the icon of a team that peaked 2 years ago.

The Red Sox are going through an interesting period in their history where a number of significant 'marque' players are reaching free agency in a relatively short period of time - Garciaparra (who didn't quite make FA), Martinez, Lowe, Varitek and now Damon. And it is interesting because the consensus arguement on the most significant of these who have departed, and the one who stayed, is that the players were likely worth high money for two years... but after that... was Pedro worth his 4 year deal? is JD worth is his 4 year deal? is V'tek worth his 4 year deal - well the Sox will only have to live with the consequences of one of those deals, and I still think that they made the right decison in all of these cases.

The Yankees continue to follow the 'pay for past performance' model - and they are perhaps the only team that can continue to afford this approach. Paying for past performance tends to have predictable results - particularly when the performance you are buying is wrapped up in a (season age) 33 year old packet. Neil may not believe me, but players tend to regress as they age, players with certain skill sets - say those where a large part of the value the generate is based on speed - decline faster. You may get my subtle point - JD's skill set will typically decline faster than, say, a hitter whose value is generated by their power.

But in Johnny's, and Pedro's, case, the 'next year' Red Sox are poorer for their departure - that is known. Making the arguement that the 2008 and 2009 Red Sox are better off... that may be true, but it is not much consolation, particularly today.

There have been quite a few things said today about the deal that I wouldn't mind noting, with a raised (insert your favoured Bond actor here) eyebrow!
  • "The Yankees, meanwhile, have no major holes. Their off-season work is all but complete, and they have done it at the expense of their rivals." New York Times
  • "I think the leadoff role has been under-appreciated. A good leadoff hitter is tough to find and I think New York just found the best leadoff hitter in the game." Johnny Damon
  • "So now your Boston Red Sox have no center fielder, no shortstop, and no first baseman to go along with no Theo Epstein and no clue." CHB - The Boston Globe
  • "when you factor in that YS swing that Damon has" Neil M
Let's start at the top -
  • yes the Yankees had a hole a CF, but really, it wasn't a $13M hole - and to state that a team with that starting rotation has no major holes... well ok.
  • ah Johnny, we may miss your beard and flowing locks... but I for one won't miss the idiot act.
  • why does CHB cover the Red Sox - he clearly hates the task? Why not retire, give someone else the job?
  • when I run the statistics / eyesight debate in my mind it is this kind of comment that drives me to statistics. If you look here MLB provides a tool to determine whether someone has a YS swing, and truthfully you need to hit a lot less singles than JD does to take advantage of the "short" left field porch in NY. Two HR's in one post season don't give him a YS swing - as evidenced by 3 HR's in 180 or so YS AB's.

0 threw a strike:

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