Posted on: January 2, 2010 7:21 am

Johnny Damon: A Champion

What can I say about Johnny Damon in pinstripes? This guy was everything the Yankees asked for and some back in 2005, when they signed him. Last year, Johnny Damon did what any player has wanted to do on a team, and that's to win a World Series. Although that alone can mark himself a successful Yankee including the fact that he stole third, on the infamous decision by Brad Lidge in the 2009 World Series, there's more to Damon's career as a bomber before 2009. That's why it's sad to see Johnny go only because of the Scott Boras greed. Yes I know that Johnny Damon's 4 year $52 million dollar contract was a joke considering that he didn't play center for all those years like the Yankees asked for, but its not our money so who are we to judge? The Yankees may have asked for a full-time center fielder the next four years when they signed Damon in 2005, but they got more from him and in another way. In 2007, Yankees fans saw Damon moved to left field, but he didn't complain and is that a bad thing? No, he wanted to help the team and a player that is a team player rather than a guy like Manny Ramirez who really plays to impress others about his name, show that Damon is one to care for the game of baseball himself. During his time in New York, Damon never hit less than 12 home runs, stayed well over 500 at-bats per year, and had no less than 144 hits in any time wearing the pinstripes. Making the 15 day DL once, proves that he's versatile enough to stay on the field healthy as Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright were not able to do as Yankees, and that's clearly the kind of guy the Yankees asked for. In 2008, Damon crashed into the left field wall during a game against the Boston Red Sox. He preserved the win by staying in the July 4th Yankee game, getting on base twice in which he ended up scoring once to preserve the Yankee 2-1 victory. Let's also not forget that after the game, Damon was quick to reporters saying that he did not want to land on the DL and would rehab as quick as possible to stay on a struggling 2008 Yankee team. That takes a lot of guts to do considering that Girardi was already under fire at the time, with some Yankee fans angry at the Yankee front office for leaving Joe Torre out there to dry. But Damon wanted to help his manager by performing for him, which brings me to another point, Johnny Damon played no less than 141 games. Damon wanted to win a championship which was clear to others, but what people don't understand sometimes is that you have to be out there to feel that championship vibe, and thats what Johnny Damon felt in the '09 campaign. Now I've never played for the Yankees but I know that if I played on a team that won a championship rather than being sidelined, I would feel that piece of the victory in my mindset. We all must realize that the Yankees sign all these players to win a championship right? So wouldn't that make a Johnny Damon a successful Yankee? Yes, because in times of struggle (2008), Johnny Damon was there and in 2009, when they won it all, Johnny Damon was there. A champion is one to stick to his wits in times of struggle and triumph at the end, so couldn't we all agree that Johnny Damon is a champion? Let's hope that Damon sticks with the Yankees and if not, lets all hope that he finds a good team out there and thank Johnny Damon, Yankees fans, for going through extreme measures in a World Champion, Yankee Uniform! What a great way to go out.

Posted on: December 28, 2009 1:04 am

2010 New York Yankees Projection

This blog will help you get a quick synopsis of the opening day 2010 roster including the starting rotation, bullpen, lineup, and utility bench. One can also notice a brief analysis of why each player is where. Feel free to comment on any errors, concerns, or just to comment.

Starting Rotation
1. C.C. Sabathia- A better question concerning the ace of the staff is why wouldn't he be the opening day starter? Sabathia is a workhorse scratching 230 innings while posting a 19-8 record and 197 strikeouts wouldn't be a bad thing to mention right?

2. A.J. Burnett- Although inconsistent at times, Burnett can look like a 10-time Cy Young Award winner. I mean he only fell 2 strikeouts behind Sabathia and his 207 innings in the '09 campaign rested a weary bullpen last summer. One major reason Burnett won't get the ball opening day is because that 4.04 era is just not best pitcher material even though the Yankees lineup is extremely potent.

3. Javier Vazquez- The reason Vazquez is at three is because his stuff managed to pull 15 wins as a Brave and that 2.87 era earned him a candidancy for the NL CY Award. People can make a case for this guy as the #2 starter because of such a low era, but we sometimes manage to forget that he pitched most of his games in Turner Field with no dh's to face, not batter-friendly Yankee Stadium, and let's not be surprised to see his era increase next year.

4. Andy Pettitte- Wow, probably the most consistent player in baseball history when it comes to year by year numbers. Andy has shown slight declines but manages to improve the year after. Last season can be considered one of those improvement years so don't be surprised if we see a small decline next year. The upside to this is that his win total will increase since he wiill be going up against #4 starters this year.

5. Joba Chamberlain- The Yankees have approximately $7 million dollars to spend this offseason and most of that will be put into the LF postion so don't expect an outside source to take his starting job. The Yankees spent a full year on this guy as a starter, why would they choose Hughes over him? Not to mention, Joba had a great season for a #5 starter so with a full year under his belt, see to it that he solidifies a place in the starting rotation for the remainder of his Yankee career.

Damaso Marte- Did you see what this guy did to Ryan Howard in the World Series? Damaso will make a case this spring training to become a set-up man but will in turn lose to Hughes considering that Hughes seems like he's got that Major league stuff down.

Alfredo Aceves- Get used to #91, Girardi loves this guy and most Yankee fans love his performance. No questions asked ,he gets a role in the 2010 Yankee bullpen.

Chad Gaudin- Great long relief guy. Second backup starter behind Phil Hughes. More starting rotation depth at this point but still lands a relief role for the Yankees next year.

David Robertson- There's a lot of ways you can describe this guy. Young. Promising yet proven and can pitch. During the playoff run last year, many guys in the bullpen we're beginning to cost the Yankees games, exept this guy who Girardi seemed to stick with every time he pitched. I could see this guy taking over at closer one of these days in the event that Rivera retires along with Hughes and Joba out of the bullpen.

Sergio Mitre- Great #5 starter in the event that 3 pitchers go down due to injuries/or end of season starter to rest the main starters for the playoffs.

Phil Hughes- Yankees fans, this is your set-up man next year. Hughes proved dominant shortly after the All-star weekend setting up for many of Rivera's saves. Like Robertson, if he doesn't move elsewhere or make the rotation, a closing role could be arranged for him in that Rivera may one day retire.

Mariano Rivera- Okay, I've been saying this guy may retire and its true because he's already advanced in age, that's not lie, but he's still proven himself the best closer in baseball during last years playoffs when others like Papelbon faultered while he did not. If Rivera stays healthy all year and does not reveal any injuries like he did after the World Series, then Mo has the potential to be next year's Rolaid's Relief Man of the Year.

Starting Lineup

SS Derek Jeter- Although advanced in age, Jeter has not shown any signs of declinement. In fact his numbers seem to improve as the years go by. More home runs and the fact that his defence did not show much faulter last year, shows his inability to decline. Jeter's 30 stolen bases along with being the all-time Yankee hits leader makes him leadoff hitter in this powerful lineup.

CF Curtis Granderson- Speedy. 1st year in the Bronx, and willing to make a name for himself in pinstripes. Granderson is an excellent defender posting only 3 errors committed and not to mention that his arm is an upgrade from Damon's although Damon played LF last year.

1B Mark Teixeira- Man had the Red Sox got this guy, I don't think the Yankees would have brought home any trophies to the Bronx. Teixeira's glove, bat, and great attitude brings a great presence in the clubhouse. This guy had 39 home runs in his first year and expect more next year since he's now experienced the ride in New York last year. Teixeira's slow starts may disintegrate due to the short porch in left field and the fact that he's a little more settled in now that he knows trades involving him won't occur anytime soon.

3B Alex Rodriguez- This guy would've had 40 home runs had he not missed the first month of the season. His hip is fine; turns out A-rod didn't need surgery this offseason and is on pace to be prepared for spring training. Even after missing a month, A-Rod only trailed fellow teammate Mark Teixeira by 9 home runs, making it certain that he can still produce, and those question marks about him hitting in the clutch have dissolved. Don't be surprised if you hear Michael Kay exclamating "See Ya!" after one of A-Rod's many at bats next year, since we can expect more from last year's home run totals.

LF Nick Swisher- Has that home-run pop to him even though he lead the team in strikeouts last year. Swisher plays a vital role in chemistry in the Yankee clubhouse and can boost a team's morale fast. Swisher has also got a good arm for a right fielder and may be able to lead in outfield assists now that Melky is gone.

2B Robinson Cano- Cano has a great bat and has shown defensive improvements as years go by. Expect Cano's home run totals to reach 30 at most if he can stay healthy. This is the year Cano must perform to stay a Yankee for years to come and he will be determined to prove himself.

DH Nick Johnson- Another stint as a Yankee could possibly spell the end of Damon's pinstripes along with the fact that Damon's last demands were 2 years at @20 million dollars per year. Johnson has great on base percentage allowing guys like Cano and Swisher to score when on the basepaths. If he can stay healthy, expect his home run total to jump from his single-digit 8 last season.

C Jorge Posada- As years go by, his place in the lineup seems to drop, and will continue to do so. If Posada shows any drastic forms of decline, the Yankees just might be more determine to sign Joe Mauer next offseason. As Yankee fans, we all love Posada, but unless his numbers can improve, this may be his last year in pinstripes considering the fact that the 2010 free agent class holds great talent. WHen healthy, Posada can hit his average 20 homers and still keep that average above sub-par.

RF Rick Ankiel- What? Many reading this blog may go through the roof when I mention this guy, but it does make sense. I understand Jason Bay and Holliday are out there but the Yankees dont want to go after them due to financial reasons and injury question-marks. The Yankees are looking for a short-term OF now that Damon and Cabrera are gone and they don't want to play Gardner on an everyday basis because the 2010 free agent class will hold guys like Carl Crawford. Ankiel will be asking around 1 year at 6 million dollars to play in New York and that's perfect financially because Cashman will be able to achieve the goal at lowering the budget and be able to sign a terrific outfielder next year. Ankiel. once a pither, is now a converted outfielder with an astounding arm and carries great speed in the outfield. The Yankees want an outfield where nobody can run on them, and Ankiel does wonders when it comes to outfield assists. The reason why he bats last in the lineup though, is because he strikeouts plenty. And big time strikeout guys don't normally bat up front although Ankiel does have the abiliity to launch 25 homers next year. (Ankiel only had 11 homers last year but he only played a half a season with half amount of at bats (372). Yankee stadium short porch will allow him to hit much more)

C Francisco Cervelli- Makes opening day roster if the Yankees don't grab any other catchers from any outside source.

OF Jamie Hoffmann- Great speed but not versatile enough to man the outfield everyday.

OF Brett Gardner- Will platoon with Ankiel as well as the rest of the outfield during their offdays,

IF Juan Miranda- Has great pop in the bat and will back up for guys like A-Rod and mostly Teixeira even though the Yankees already have 3 other potential first baseman (Swisher, Johnson, and starter Teixeira). Depth to the bolstered Yankee lineup.

Interesting Facts

Damon was not added due to the fact that his last demand on December 20 was 2 years at $20 million dollars per year. Damon does not make sense financially and the Yankee do want to get younger.
Holliday and Bay also don't make sense financially if Cashman is trying to lower the budget which would leave the team $7 million left to spend.
Ankiel made $2.875 million last year and would probably accept a $6 million dollar contract given that he was injured for half the year.
Nady could aslo take the spot for Ankiel since Nady is still a cheap outfielder and has already experienced the Yankee media.
Cashman is looking for one more outfielder so don't expect the opening outfield to look like this: Gardner, Granderson, Swisher.
Feel free to air out any concerns in this blog. I will respond A.S.A.P.

Posted on: November 27, 2009 5:12 am

2010 New York Yankees: A Possibility Cashman

Starting Rotation
C.C. Sabathia
John Lackey (Signed if Wang is non-tendered to free agency)
A.J Burnett (Not as consistent as Lackey but still dominant, so Number 3 starter)
Andy Pettitte (This guy wants 300 wins, he'll be around for another World Series ring)
Joba Chamberlain (No more Joba Rules, its time to crack the rotation full-time)

David Robertson (2nd string set-up)
Phil Coke (1-2 out appearances)
Damaso Marte (Dominant agains Ryan Howard) (Will be turned to for power hitters like David Ortiz)
Brian Bruney (Middle Relief)
Chad Gaudin (Middle Relief)
Phil Hughes (Rivera is aging and will eventually faulter even though he hasn't really showed the signs, his future replacement needs to be in New York by now and Hughes is the future) (1st string set-up)
Mariano Rivera (This man has been around since Jeter wore turtlenecks back in "96) (Proved himself best closer of baseball in 2009 playoffs due to the fact that he did not faulter when even Papelbon did) (There's always room for the best closer in the game, so this is Girardi's man in the 9th)

Defensive Alignment
C Jorge Posada (Platooned with Cervelli/Molina) (If not starter here, will DH)
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Robinson Cano
SS Derek Jeter (Some DH)
3B Alex Rodriguez (Some DH)
LF Json Bay (Moves to RF when anyone besides Johnny Damon is the DH) (Replaces Matsui's roster spot)
CF Melky Cabrera (Benched if anyone besides Johnny Damon is the DH)
RF Nick Swisher (Moves to CF if anyone besides Johnny Damon is the DH)
DH Johnny Damon (When not at DH, he will be in LF)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (Infield/Outfield Replacement)
Eric Hinske (Replaces at DH when anyone is given night off)
Brett Gardney (Outfield Replacement)
Francisco Cervelli/Bengie Molina (Catcher Replacement) (Molina is on team only if returned, Cervelli is only on team if Molina is not there)
Manager Joe Girardi (Will Last 2010 Season easily)
General Manager Brian Cashman (Same status as Girardi)
This is what I want to see Brian Cashman achieve next year. If Lackey is not signed, Wang better be on the team. If that occurs, Wang becomes 4th starter while Burnett and Pettitte slide one starter up. If Matt Holliday is signed instead of Jason Bay, same rules apply with my DH system. If the Yankees cash in on Roy Halladay, same rules apply in rotation as if Lackey was Halladay. Halladay would be #2 starter, nothing else changes. If Bengie Molina is on the team than Francisco Cervelli is not, but if Cervelli is on the team, then Bengie Molina is not. Thank Hideki Matsui for those wonderful years as a New York Yankee and hope he signs with the Mariners rather than Boston.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or