Yankees Should Sign Jonny, Cash

All off-season Brian Cashman has been telling anyone that would listen that the Yankees only had X amount of dollars to spend and that they were going to stick to their budget.  The recent signing of Randy Winn only seemed to prove that point even further.  Winn was the economical, safe option.  While I have no problem with the signing, I do think that signing a defensive minded Winn affords the Yankees the opportunity to sign a "Big Bopper."  In my opinion that "Big Bopper's" name is Jonny Gomes.  Sure the Yankees have had some problems with Gomes in the past, but the past is the past.  With Winn and Gardner the Yankees have two very good defensive options for left field.  They also have two players that historically do not hit lefties all that well.  Gomes on the other hand does hit lefties very well and with power.  Of his 86 career home runs, Gomes has hit 30 against lefties in just 515 at bats.  (Gomes has 56 home runs against RHP in almost 1200 at bats.)  His overall line against lefties: .274/.369/.517.  The issue with Gomes has always been his defense, but in 2009 Gomes posted a UZR of 1.0 in 253 innings and a UZR/150 of 1.0 in left field.  (Just for reference Bay was a -13.0 and Damon was a -9.2 in 2009 in LF)  When given platoon level at bats, Gomes flat out performs.  Over his career when given 285 plus at bats, he has hit less than 20 home runs only once. (17 in 2007) 

Bottom line is that Gomes mashes righties.  He can also field well enough (in my opinion) to platoon with Gardner/Winn as the right side of a lefty/righty split.  In addition, Gomes can also play right field and spell Swisher if needed.  Unfortunately, signing Gomes would most likely mean the end of  Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffman, who is yet another defensive minded outfielder.  Is losing Hoffman enough to keep you from making this move?  I don't think so.  According to Cot's Contracts Gomes made $600,000 in 2009 with the Reds.  Not sure what his contract demands would be for 2010, but it seems that Gomes would be financially within the scope of reason for the Yankees.  Signing Gomes just seems to make sense.  At the very least it would strengthen the bench, at the very best we'd have one heck of a left field platoon.  Let's get it done Cash!                         

15 comments… add one

  • I like the idea except I think the complicating factor is playing time. I wonder if Winn signed on based on a promise of a certain number of at bats. I also wonder if Gomes would take on a role this limited. Still, I do think the Yanks line-up has some big issues against lefties right now.

    Nick-YF February 1, 2010, 9:39 pm
  • I’m not sure that they do have big issues, Nick. The only hitters who are truly a liability against lefties are Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson, one of which (likely Gardner) can be platooned with switch-hitting Winn, who historically has been solid against LHP, what seems to be a fluke 2009 notwithstanding. Of the other guys who bat pure lefty, Nick Johnson’s career #s vs LHP are actually better than RHP, and Cano similarly kills LHP.
    I just don’t see the concern.

    AndrewYF February 2, 2010, 12:01 am
  • Maybe “big” is overstating it a bit. Granderson basically can’t hit lefties, and Gardner and Winn are also lightweights generally speaking, but especially against lefties. You have two black holes in the line-up right there. It’s not ideal, but, you’re right, the big picture is that the Yanks will be good.

    Nick-YF February 2, 2010, 12:18 am
  • I wouldn’t classify Gomes as a “Must Have” by any means, but I really feel like it’s a move that can make the Yankees that much better.
    Nick, Gomes signed with the Reds last season via a minor league deal and he took a pay cut to do so. (Went from an arb salary of $1.2, Reds paid him $600K) At this point I don’t know that he’d mind the role the Yankees can provide him. We all know there are times during the season that Swisher needs to be sat down, so Gomes gives a RH version of Swisher if and when he needs a break too. Again, agreed with both of you that the need isn’t great, but it sure would be nice to have him.

    John - YF February 2, 2010, 8:43 am
  • So Reed Johnson signed with the Dodgers for more than half of what Randy Winn signed for. When Winn signed with the Yankees I thought well maybe Johnson wants too much cash. Well that’s not the case obviously. He also couldn’t be holding out for a better situation playing time wise since the Dodgers have more OF’s than the Yankees. I have learned to trust in Cash, but this just seems really odd. More and more I am thinking he has a ton of confidence in Gardner to be an everyday players.

    John - YF February 2, 2010, 11:19 am
  • Good analysts have done a poor job showing exactly why Granderson’s numbers against LHP are so low. It isn’t LHP, per se, it was LHP pitching in Comerica.
    As such:
    Curtis Ain’t He Granderson – Career
    Comerica:
    vs. LHP: .179/.231/.259 = .490 OPS
    vs. RHP: .285/.365/.510 = .875 OPS
    Everywhere else:
    vs. LHP: .239/.306/.425 = .731 OPS
    vs. RHP: .298/.369/.545 = .914 OPS
    Sure, that .731 OPS isn’t great. But it’s: 1) An average CF; 2) Better than the Yanks have gotten full-time out of CF for the last two years; 3) Better than what Ellsbury gives in 50% of his at-bats (i.e., who’s talking about platooning him?). And Granderson only faces LHP in ~30% of his at-bats.
    The plain fact is Granderson, lefties and all, is a full-time player, unless you want to sit him in the four games at Comerica this year.
    Don’t believe me? Look at the true player:
    Granderson – Career on the Road: .284 /.353/.516 = .869
    Granderson – 2009 on the Road: .267 /.345/.516 = .861
    Do you honestly think Yankee Stadium will help or hurt that bottomline?

    Rob February 2, 2010, 6:47 pm
  • John – all indications are that the Yankees liked Winn more than Johnson. And if you look at the numbers, it’s easy to see why: Johnson is truly nothing more than a part-time, oft-injured platoon player who plays mediocre or worse defense at the corners. Randy Winn is an everyday player who, before what seems to be a strange fluke last year, has hit RHP and LHP equally well. He plays fantastic defense (in RF at least), is at least able to play CF, and can even run the bases quite well.
    It’s not hard to see the reasoning when you consider that the Yankees simply wanted a better-quality player. That speaks to me that the Yankees aren’t at all comfortable with Gardner in LF, and they want a guy who won’t get injured or absolutely blow in case Gardner doesn’t work out. Damon was their first choice, but because negotiations were going so terribly, and because their Plan B, Randy Winn, was about to sign elsewhere, they chose Winn. I’m not even sure Reed Johnson was a viable option: he’s not healthy enough to play every day, he doesn’t play all that great defense, he doesn’t run well, and he’s absolutely horrid against RHP. The only thing he does well is hit LHP – and that’s not very valuable, considering something like 75% of pitchers are right-handed. All this hooplah about the Yankees being vulnerable against LHP is a relic of the bygone era when the Yankees really did suck against LHP. But check last year – they hit LHP better than RHP, and they didn’t exactly lose their LHP-bashers.
    Anyway, when you consider it in that light, it makes a lot more sense.

    AndrewYF February 2, 2010, 8:24 pm
  • You don’t have to sell me on the value of Randy Winn, you are preaching to the choir. I think Randy Winn is a fine baseball player, who although he struggled last season, has been very consistent in what he is.
    In addition, I do not think the Yankees need help hitting left handed pitching overall. As Andrew stated there are far more RHP’s than there are LHP’s and the Yankees are not statistically deficient overall in this area. My main point was that Jonny Gomes kills LHP, neither Gardner or Winn do that. Jonny Gomes hits for power, neither Gardner or Winn can do that. As I stated I am not sure how many AB’s Gomes could get, but even in small sample sizes he has very good success against RHP in both the power and OBP area. So if you are going to have Winn and Gardner, both who play very solid defense, then a guy like Gomes would be a good compliment to them both in addition to Swisher. I don’t know what Jamie Hoffman can bring that Winn and Gardner can’t, Gomes adds a dimension that none of those players can. I guess in a nice neat package: Winn, Hoffman and Gardner are very similar (with some variation in speed and so on)Gomes just brings something different, whether it be off the bench or as a role player.
    I don’t think the Yankees have to have Jonny Gomes to win, I just feel in my opinion he’s a compliment to what they already have. He’s also coming of a year in which he signed a minor league deal and made less than a million dollars. Is it a must, no, would it be nice, I think so.
    Also, you are spot on about Johnson. I just thought in an effort not to expose Gardner (to LHP and overuse) having a guy who hits LHP very well would be an asset. Everything you said is correct, he’s fragile, he’s not fast, etc…I just keep thinking back to last season when Melky and Gardner gave each other a break and how well it seemed to work when one or the other was hitting a wall. Not that Winn can’t be that guy, I was purely looking at numbers is all.

    John - YF February 2, 2010, 11:12 pm
  • Gardner is from my hometown (Holly Hill, SC; cool fact: Willy Randolph’s parents live here as well) and was a friend and classmate of my sister so I am biased. I’d like to see him in center and Grandy in left. That would give us our best defensive outfield, with great coverage in center (and also help out Swish, who needs all the help he can get). I haven’t kept up with Winn since he left Tampa Bay, but he seems solid enough.
    My God, though. This team is deep. Our relief pitching beyond Mo is underrated. Defense is solid. The bench has everything but a home run threat.
    We just need to start breaking in a catcher of the future, as it looks like Mauer is going to be a Twin for a while.

    DustyDrB - YF February 3, 2010, 5:58 pm
  • Cool Dusty! Love Charleston! My Grandparents lived on Edisto Island for years and then built a house in North Charleston…such a cool city! I used to drive dowm from Wilmington to visit them and hit the bars downtown…
    I found a cool blog article you guys might find interesting since we always talk about payroll stuff:
    http://sabermetricresearch.blogspot.com/2010/02/does-it-matter-that-yankees-keep-buying.html

    krueg February 5, 2010, 10:17 am
  • Hey since both of you seem to be SC experts…I am taking my HS team down to SC for our Spring Training trip at the Ripken Experience. I won’t be able to get away too often, but is there anything in the nearby vicinity to the complex that I should see/do? Thanks fellas.

    John - YF February 5, 2010, 12:38 pm
  • Where exactly in SC are you guys going John???

    krueg February 5, 2010, 1:56 pm
  • I believe the Ripken Experience is in Myrtle Beach. Matter of fact I am certain of it.

    John - YF February 5, 2010, 2:09 pm
  • MYRTLE VEGAS???? That is my old stomping grounds, kind of…used to be able to gamble there but I don’t think you can anymore.
    It’s really like redneck Disney World there…all kinds of stuff for high school kids to do, mini-golf, go carts, themed restaurants, the beach, sneaking beers, hooking up with southern chicks…they should have a blast!!! ;)

    krueg February 5, 2010, 4:41 pm
  • Krueg’s right. Charleston (where I live now) tries to go for “classy”, Myrtle Beach goes for dumb fun. There are lots of different kinds of parks with games, go-karts, and the like. There’s a putt-putt place on every corner. Also Broadway at the Beach has a pretty nice IMAX theater and a cool little sports memorabilia shop.
    There’s also a strip club – The Pink Pony. Never been, but I hear they have great burgers.

    DustyDrB - YF February 6, 2010, 12:24 pm

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