Pinstripe Poison

January 29, 2010 4:00 PM

Yankees' Winn, Damon's Loss

The Yankees signed Randy Winn to a $2 million, one-year contract this week, filling the hole left when Johnny Damon turned down their two-year, $14 million offer that Scott Boras, Damon's agent, says did not exist. (Damon told the NY Times otherwise.)

(AP PhotoJack Dempsey).jpgThey're not exactly buying Winn at the peak of his market. Last season with San Francisco, he had an astonishingly bad year, with an OPS of .671, and an OPS+ of 75. (OPS+ measures a player against his league in on-base average and slugging, adjusted for his home ballpark. One hundred is average; Winn's season was 25% worse than average in the weaker National League.) Over the last ten years, Winn's 2009 season ranks in the bottom 15 for all outfielders -- a group containing over 600 player/seasons (min. 502 plate appearances).

Johnny Damon, Yankees.jpgDamon, who turned 36 the day after the World Series ended, had the best OPS+ of his career in 2009, bolstered by the slipstream that blew towards the right field stands in the House That Ruthlessness Built (17 HR at home, 7 on the road). He was a defensive liability when he joined the Yankees in 2005, and the years have done nothing for his range or arm. Other contenders may wonder how much of his power surge will vanish in another park, or fear he won't be able to sustain his .330 batting average on balls in play on the road.

Damon's agent, Scott Boras, was supposedly looking for two years and $20 million, a serious commitment from any team to a 36-year-old outfielder with limited power, especially now, when players once again age according to the calendar and not their pharmacologist.

Winn's a switch-hitter (using the last two syllables loosely) with almost no platoon differential (.758 v. RHP, .764 v. LHP). He's a much better defender than Damon. If he winds up playing as much in 2010 as Damon did in 2009, the Yankees will be noticeably weaker at a prime offensive position.

Who knew the Steinbrenners had a budget? Are season ticket renewals running a little slow?

January 18, 2010 3:40 PM

Jeter's Women: The One Area Where He's Not Overrated

The blogosphere is full of reports that Derek Jeter will marry Minka Kelly, perhaps in November, perhaps at Oheka Castle in Cold Spring Hills, NY. (The now ultra-luxe party spot has had a checkered history. Built originally as a private estate for Otto HErmann KAhn, it has served as a retreat for New York's sanitation workers, a Merchant Marine radio school, and Eastern Military Academy.)

Jeter's dating history is a Who's Who of Wow, comparing in quality to what Wilt Chamberlain and Warren Beatty had in quantity. Mariah Carey, Miss Universe Lara Dutta, Joy Enriquez, Jordana Brewster, former Miss Teen USA Vanessa Minnillo, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel (clearly he was getting into a rut), Scarlett Johannson, Gabrielle Union, Adriana Lima, and -- finally? -- everybody's favorite cheerleader/girlfriend/born-again-wannabe from Friday Night Lights.

Good to know there's one part of Jeter's game that's not overrated.
Minka Kelly, Derek Jeter, AP.jpg
There's just one thing that gets to me about every photo of Derek and Minka: Why do they never look happy together? If one of them's smiling, the other's looking somewhere else. Even in their New York Post water frolic pictures they look like they're contemplating root canal, not incredibly photogenic foreplay.

Minka, Minka -- think it over. And give me a call if you have any questions.

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