…that is the question. However, it would seem that the question has been answered. From Moshe’s post, via Pete Caldera:
Out in the Bronx, there is no cause to add a slugging left fielder to the Yankees’ lineup.
“Our team is, for the most part, set,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday by phone from his office at Yankee Stadium……..
“We have a left fielder,” Cashman said, adding, “We do like Brett Gardner.”
“With the money we had to spend, we chose to spend it in those spots,” Cashman said. “We’re just playing with the bench right now.”
Still, the Yankees have room for another outfielder – preferably a right-handed bat; Cashman acknowledged that he’s searching for a right-handed hitter.
It would seem, then, that the Yankees will only be searching for:
“right-handed hitting outfielder that Joe can look on the bench and say, I’m not going to start one of my left-handers, I’m going to start a right-hander.”
We heard recently, though, that Cashman may be open to signing Damon to a one year deal. I’d imagine that scenario would only happen if/when Johnny Damon’s price comes down. If he could be had for one year at about $6MM or so, that’d be a great move. But, is it possible that a platoon could be more valuable to the Yankees than Johnny Damon? Let’s investigate it, using Wins Above Replacement as our template. I’ll be comparing Johnny Damon by himself against a platoon of Brett Gardner and one of the following: free agents: Reed Johnson, Rocco Baldelli, Xavier Nady, and Johnny Gomes and the in house option, Jamie Hoffmann. I’ll be using the players’ CHONE projected wOBAs, which can be found on the players FanGraphs pages.
From this post, we get our process. Instead of using the CAIRO projections, though, I’ll be using CHONE projections for wOBA this time.
Using the previously mentioned process, Gardner projects to be a 1.25 WAR player. Now, let’s pair that with Johnson, Gomes, Baldelli, and Nady.
Johnson: 1.20 + 1.25 = 2.45 WAR*
Gomes: 1.19 + 1.25 = 2.44 WAR*
Baldelli: 1.23 + 1.25 = 2.48 WAR*
Nady: 1.31 + 1.25 = 2.56 WAR*
Hoffmann: 0.42+ 1.25 = 1.67 WAR*
* There were no UZR projections for LF for either Baldelli, Nady, or Hoffmann (who scouts say is a plus defender, so he could be much better) so I assumed 0 runs for them; it’s also worth noting that these projections include entire projections, not just projections for vs. LHP, which is when these would get the majority of, if not all of their playing time.
Now that we’ve got the possibilities of a platoon–anywhere from 2.44-2.56 WAR–let’s see what Johnny Damon projects to bring to the table. Damon would bring, by himself, 1.89 WAR. He actually projects to have the highest wOBA of any of the players–.352–but his negative position adjustment and a -2 projection in left field bring him down quite a bit. Signing Damon would, however, be slightly better than sticking with Hoffmann and Gardner.
It would seem, based on this rather unscientific experiment, that the Yankees would probably be better off if they did, in fact, let Johnny Damon be on his way and picked up a free agent right handed bat to caddy along with Brett Gardner for around 700 plate appearances.
Image Credit: NY Daily News