One of the things that struck me while reliving the glorious 2009 playoff run was how frequently Johnny Damon seemed to keep showing up on the bases and scoring. I think Damon's poor ALDS made me forget that he rebounded to perform quite nicely in the final two rounds.
Then I started to think about what the team will look like with Nick the Stick in the two-hole. And while I obviously think it's going to be great, with Stick providing plenty of RBI opportunities for Tex and A-Rod, I do wonder if Johnson's lack of speed will be a hindrance of
any kind. We're not going to see Stick go first to third all that often if ever, and there may be circumstances where he might not even be able to score from second depending on where/how a potential RBI hit is struck.
I realize this is all completely circumstantial and likely unquantifiable and also flies in the face of my sabermetric biases. I was also arguably the biggest Johnson proponent on the Internet, so
I'm obviously very excited to have OBP Jesus on the team. And Johnson's lack of speed won't much matter when he is presumably being driven in by extra base hits.
That being said, while seeing Damon in action in a highlight reel is certainly no reason to cave into overpaying him, if some sort of reasonable deal can be made to bring Johnny back, he's definitely still the best option for left field, defensive warts and all. We all know Brett Gardner is not a realistic starting outfielder, though he is an ideal late-inning replacement. Additionally, I'm not sold on throwing a huge contract at Carl Crawford next year, so even if Damon will only come back for two, the Yankees should go for it.