Aug 18, 2009, 8:50 AM EDT
If you would have told me before the season that the Yankees would consider bringing Johnny Damon back after his contract expires this year, I would have told you that you were crazy, but according to Tyler Kepner, that is a distinct possibility:
Before the season, there was a sense that the Yankees would allow Damon to move on and turn over his left-field spot to a prospect like Austin Jackson or a younger free agent like Matt Holliday. But Yankees officials seem to understand Damon’s value on the field and in the clubhouse, and now they would like him to return. When the Yankees want to keep a player and the player wants to stay, that is usually what happens.
Wanting him back has an awful lot to do with his return to top form this season (.281/.361/.517). So much of that production, however, is a function of new Yankee Stadium. Fifteen of his 22 homers have come at home, and his OPS is nearly 200 points lower on the road.
This doesn’t mean that his bounceback has been a mirage or anything — make no mistake: he’s been very useful. But it does suggest that a younger, better guy in left field — oh, like a Matt Holliday — would post at least similar gains over his career averages if given the chance. What’s more, a guy like that wouldn’t need as much time at DH as Damon suggests he needs in the article. And with an aging Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada around, it strikes me that DH time will be at a premium in Yankee land over the next couple of years.
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