August 14, 2009

What to do with Damon and Matsui

There is a lot of talk about what to do with Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui after this season in the Yankees blogosphere, so I feel I must chime in.

Joel Sherman is reporting that the Yankees will not bring Matsui back next season because he clogs the DH role. Sadly, it’s the right move for an aging team like the Yanks, allowing Joe Girardi to rotate Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez and I hope, Damon too.

Matsui simply cannot play the field because he can barely run around the bases. If he plays in the majors next season, it is almost guaranteed it will be in the American League as an all-time DH. That’s one $52 million deal off the payroll, now onto Damon’s.

Damon will be 36 years old next season, but he will be coming off perhaps his best season of his career — or at least in pinstripes. His slugging percentage and OPS are at career-high’s right now, and he is three homers and 28 RBI shy of his career highs. It’s safe to say that he has been playing for a new contract with the Yankees, as he has said publicly he would like to stay in the Bronx.

This is a case that the player has exceeded expectations and has earned the new contract he is hoping for. No, I don’t want the Yankees to agree to another $10+ MM per year deal for him. But something along the lines of a two-year deal at $6-7 MM per, plus a lot of incentives. It’s hard not to like Damon in the new stadium next year, and I hope the Yankees realize that.

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