Various blogs report via Ken Davidoff that the Yanks have talked to Johnny Damon.
I like JD. I also think the Yanks made the right move in moving from him last year. JD is now 37 and to be truthful, can’t play the OF anymore. I don’t want his lack of an arm out there.
Besides, he is a lefty bat. I thought the Yanks were looking for a righty (speaking of, Kearns is back to Cleveland. Cleveland has Shelley Duncan. Could Shelley now be available? Shelley’s numbers against lefties aren’t shabby, he can play LF, RF and 1B, and is popular among Yankee fans. He’s 31 and although he is just a .227 career hitter (OPS+ 96), he is a .264 hitter vs. lefties with an .823 OPS. Against righties the OPS is just .641. As a guy who is used solely vs. lefty pitching, could Shelley be a good return? Hmmm….).
Ok, here is what I really would rather have. Brandon Laird, who could be a better option than Duncan or Damon. This winter, Laird went to the Arizona Fall League to learn the corner OF spots. In the minors, Laird (brother of Gerald) played 1B and 3B. He’s just 23, perfect for a move away from age (Damon) to youth. You already have a SS about to be 37, a 41 year old closer, a DH that will be 40 in 2011 and a 3B who will be 36. You also are praying that a pitcher who will be 39 in 2011 will return. Now do you really want a 37 year old who will struggle to get DH at bats (against the soon to be 40 year old) and who can’t play the OF anymore because of a weak arm? Laird hit .281-25-102 between AA/AAA last year. Granted .246-2-12 at AAA, so you don’t know if he needs more AAA at bats. But he a) is younger than Damon, b) would be less expensive, c) has more pop and d) if he took or takes to the corner OF could possibly fill in at 1B/3B/LF and RF as well as DH if needed; hence he’d be more versatile.
All things considered, I’d pass on JD and go with Laird. The kids need a shot sometime.