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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

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Mattymatty, quoted on Soxaholix. Quite an honor.

Jeter would be better at it than Damon, that's for sure.

Jeter has a better arm, but he'd have to actually get to balls in order to throw them back in, something Damon doesn't have any worries about.

Getting to fly balls is something Jeter has always been good at, SF. Thinking among sabermetric Yanks fans is that he'd make an excellent CF. The problem: who plays third?

As a long-term solution (ie, perhaps in a year or two) Jeter in the OF seems a natural. See Yount, Robin.

if the yankees get damon this off-season, i want whatever ball-less wonder just slammed him above to keep dissing him. seriously. i want to see that happen. no "neener neener neener" from you, O faceless YF, if JD ends up in pinstripes. you just forfeited that right.

The name didn't come out though I was signed in....so I didn't mean to be anonymous. Personally, I dont want to see Damon in CF for the Yankees. I think he's a fine player; but it's diminishing returns from here on out for Jesus Johnny.
I want to dispell the fact that Damon can cover more ground than Jeter in the outfield. I'm not saying that Damon can't cover the outfield well; but his terrible mechanics have made him seem a better "ranger" out there than he is.
Just because he runs like your uncle at a backyard barBque and plows into fenway fences much too often doesn't make him a great outfielder (though it probably makes him great to talk about at the fenway urinals during 6th inning breaks).
If, however, the Yankees DO acquire "JD" (and I'm guessing you weren't talking about the guy that won the lead-singer job on "I want to be in INXS"), I'll hope that he doesn't hurt his shoulder flying horizontally--while holding his back and neck in a fused vertical line--and that he can keep his average at 300 and his OBP above 350...and that the Yankees sign him to no more than 3 years.

Three Years - no Johnny.

The only way Damon gets to even talk to the Yankees is if Boras lowers the term to 3 years. That's not happening. So Yankee fans can comfortably laugh about the inverse relationship between Damon's hair length and arm strength all winter.

Relax beth, I think most posters on this site (as well as most Yanks/Sox fans) want to take credit for as many disses as they can. No one's ringing doorbells and running away.

"Getting to fly balls is something Jeter has always been good at".

One run into the stands mid-season does not an outfielder make, YF. This is more mythologizing. Argue all you want that Jeter would make an excellent outfielder, but his first step is pretty lousy at short, (it's extremely important in the outfield particularly as one's speed deteriorates and guess what - Jeter's will, like every other human being on earth, his supposed super-powers nothwithstanding). He also would be ever-more reliant on positioning to be a passable outfielder, so better make sure that bench coach is competent. Put him in left field and you might be able to convince me that he could make it out there. Center? Whatever.

As for who plays third, that can't be too hard. Any jackass with an ego the size of a planet can make the move over there, right? And that qualifies just about every single professional athlete!

Seriously, Bill Mueller is available and you could do a lot worse at the price he'll likely sign for.

A good first step in the infield is alot different than one in the outfield. I think the fact that Jeter had always been pretty strong going forward and backward is where the idea tht he can handle the outfield comes from. The real question would become whether or not he could learn how to judge balls off the bat in center field (spin of the ball, distance, etc)...in terms of athletic prowess and ability to run down balls, Jeter will have far more years of speed than Johnny D. Regardless, unless Eric Duncan turns out to be the real thing, we shouldn't have to worry about 3rd and ss for a few more years.

"Jeter will have far more years of speed than Johnny D"

What? Did I miss something here? Has it now been determined that Jeter has secret Dave Roberts speed that we are all not aware of? I'll bet its pretty even money in a footrace between the two, and JD doesnt need any practice or warm up games at the position - he's already better there and not to mention a better leadoff hitter than Jeter. Yankees could do worse than ponying up for that fourth or fifth year to make Boras happy.
But, by all means PLEASE move Jeter to CF. A reliable shortstop off the infield (not to mention the television every third play (OH NO - what will YF do without his customary every 35 second Jeter shot from YES) and into the outfield? MOVE the (ahem) golden glove of the golden boy to CF for the good of the team so ARod goes back to putting Jeter in his shadow?
Man, you can't make this stuff up! Someone will have to write a book about how genuine and pinstripe blue Jeter is for making such a risky move to help his team out when it needs him. At 18mil/per.

"not to mention a better leadoff hitter than Jeter."

How did you figure that? Are you working in Scott Boras's office? Jeter's OBP was .389 in 2005. His career OBP is .386. Damon's was .366 in 2005, and is .353 for his career.

Nick, Jeter is by every measure a better hitter than Damon. But isn't Jeter's rep that he's a better #2 hitter than a leadoff? I couldn't locate a site that differentiates their numbers by their spot in the batting order in order to understand the specific claim that Brad makes - I think it's probably going to show that Jeter is, in fact, the statistically better leadoff hitter regardless, but I'd like to see it.

It actually makes me wonder if the whole "Jeter is better at #2" thing is actually another myth, created either by Jeter himself, the media, the fans, or perhaps even Jeter's mom, since she obviously knows he prefers hitting second, and what mom wouldn't be out to protect her son's interests...

SF, Boras's hilarious report about Johnny Damon argues that Damon would be a perfect fit because his leading off would enable Jeter to slot back into the #2 where his career stats are better. He ignores the fact that Jeter spent his prime years (1997-2000) as the #2 hitter, and only recently (during the years after his prime) became the leadoff hitter. The numbers are skewed as a result, showing Jeter to be a better #2 hitter.

Chicken and egg thing, Nick - which contributed to the numbers, Jeter being in his prime or Jeter being in the #2 spot? I think it's hard to say. You can't blame Boras for citing actual facts, though, even if he exploits their context. He's an agent!

In other news, Murray Chass obliges us today with the utterly predictable (see my first comment to YF) citing of Jeter's stand-fall last year in claiming why he would make a good CF:

"you need to think of only two Jeter plays: his full-out, headfirst dive into the third-base stands to catch a foul pop and his remarkable dash across the infield in the playoff game with Oakland where he snared a throw from the outfield that was going awry and threw out Jeremy Giambi at the plate with a backhand flip."

And of course, I once saw Bengie Molina make an insane grab off a pop foul, but there's no way I'd consider that enough evidence to move him to the outfield. My point is not that Molina and Jeter would make equivalently bad outfielders, but that to cherry-pick that one play from last season is lazy evidentiary research into whether Jeter would actually be any good out there.

Two points of response here:

On Jeets batting leadoff vs. no 2. An article in a recent SABR journal (and I think Bill James as well) has suggested that placement in batting order isn't that relevant or useful. You want your best player's to bat as often as possible, so having them high in the order is the primary concern. As both the 1and 2 automatically bat in the first, I suppose you'd want the one wiith the higher power numbers following, but this is really getting picky when you're talking Jeter and Damon. Nick's point about Jeets skew because of his prime is on target. Also, I'd wonder what kind of improvements Damon made shifting from Oakland to Boston--a pitcher;s park to a hitter's park. So whatever,

Jeter in CF: Please don't compare my analysis to that of Murray Chass. Jeter's few spectacular catches are not the reason I feel he would convert from short. It's his general excellence in tracking flies. His weakness on the infield is hard-hit balls to his left. But a fly ball is a different story, and there his excellent instincts can makeup for a bad jump. On the other hand, he's not getting any younger. His speed is going to be diminishing over time. The Yanks don't need a repeat of the Bernie problem. Putting Jeter in left doesn't make sense to me, because he loses too much of his comparative value by switching to such a strong hitting position.

I wasn't comparing you to Chass, only citing the fact that I fully expected people to cite the faceplant as an example of why Jeter would make a good outfielder. You didn't do that, but Chass obliged, thankfully.

I think your points are well taken, specifically regarding Jeter's age and relative value as an outfielder. Jeter turns 32 this year, so why would they move him to a position where speed makes a pretty big difference? Williams suffered visibly in center mostly because he was so damn slow. In the spirit of what you said, do the Yankees really want a $20M outfielder with diminishing skills?

It may be the case that Jeter is in perfect shape, that he lasts another 5-7 years with no regression in his physical abilities, but I think that's pretty bad risk management, to cite my favorite criterion. For the long run, and to beat a totally decomposing horse, they would have been far better off moving Jeter to third and leaving A-Rod at short, for both players' career's sakes.

Or maybe they're better off....as they are. Jeter is solid defensively at short, and his hitting at that position is a big bonus. At third, his hitting isn't quite as big an advantage. But A-Rod is a huge bump at any slot, and his defense there is valuable too. Anyway, the Jeter at short, A-Rod at third lineup has worked for the Yankees. Their problems are elsewhere. Creating a mess by breaking this up to fix another mess (CF) is not that desirable. Either way you have a problem.

I'm in Soxaholic! Whoo hooo! So, when do the royalty checks start rollling in?

(thanks for the heads up, john)

Batting 1st
439 1830 353 581 93 14 54 211 196 317 45 21 .317 .390 .472 .862

Batting 2nd
847 3462 656 1084 175 25 100 440 366 607 143 26 .313 .386 .465 .851

sorry...that was a terribly confusing set of numbers. I meant to leave the first 2 numbers: Games and ABs...and then the avg. OBP. (skip the slg.) and the OPS.

Interestingly enough, both Uncle Damon and Derek "the Truth" Jeter bat the best in the 3rd position (of course that's a sample for each of around 100ABs). However, with 2 outs and runners on, historically Jeter bats above 300 with an almost 400 OBP while Johnny bats 257 with a 350 OBP...
But to be fair...they both could start a thread about their respective love-lives that would last until the end of times.
All I'm saying is that I really don't want Johnny Damon on my team. He's a more over-rated player at this point in his career than Jeter and if they were both up for free-agency and Jeter would only sign as a Center Fielder (with no prior CF experience), I would pay more money and a longer contract to Jeter than to Damon.

Well, Walein, Jeter is signed to a $20M/year contract, and that isn't getting renegotiated. So if the Yankees were to hypothetically move him to CF then the comparison is Jeter at $20M/year versus Damon at, say, $12-13M/year +/-. I don't know why (in a pure "value vacuum", of course, which doesn't exist) you'd ever choose Jeter; their isn't that big a difference in their performance, at least statistically, to account for such a salary discrepancy. The Yankees finances make per annum salary a kind of non-factor, but you'd be far better served, as YF says, keeping the Jeter money in a position like shortstop rather than sticking it at center, whatever their performances might be. The market for high-production outfielders is just much deeper than for shortstops.

As silly as it sounds, the Yankees and Red Sox may be better off, from a pure dollar value standpoint, signing Milton Bradley rather than signing Damon. Of course, dollars are only part of the deal, for good reason.

Bob Klapisch gets in on the Jeter for CF nonsense at ESPN:

"It all goes back to that obsessive need to catch everything in the air -- evidenced by his crashing into the stands for a foul ball against the Red Sox on July 1, 2004."

I agree. I want Jeter at shortstop. I guess I'm really just allowing the base Yankee fan in me to emerge just long enough to do a bit of Johnny Damon bashing...albeit in an irrational, convoluted sort of way. The real worry right now is Farnsworth for 3 years...which is good if you need him to protect Wayne Gretzky circa 1988.

"Getting to fly balls is something Jeter has always been good at".

*/immaturity

Wasn't that Semenko, Walein?

Correct that, Gretzky was on the Kings then, which means it would have been Jay Miller, one of the classic NHL goons.

Yeah. I'm not "feeling" the Farnsworth talk at all...unless we get him for one day in a wrestling match for charity.

How about the Yankees sign Nomar to a one year deal and stick him in center?

I'd like them to get Nomar and Frucal (fill out the infield) and stick womack behind the plate for Johnson (every fifth day)...but I'm a dreamer.

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