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How much was Damon's steal really worth?

Nov 4, 2009, 9:26 AM EDT

The latest collection of rumors and notes from SI’s Jon Heyman has a couple of interesting items:

Before these playoffs, the Yankees were believed willing to go for two years and $16 million for [Johnny] Damon. But that was before his solo double steal in Game 4.

That was a spiffy play and all, but is it really the sort of thing that’s going to change the calculus for a savvy team like the Yankees?  They have almost certainly made a decision as to whether they are going to go after Bay, go after, Holliday or stick with Damon before now, and probably came up with a pretty good idea as to how much they’re going to offer them some time ago.  I can’t really feature the double steal entering into it.  If someone else wants to pay for that, great, but I don’t see the Yankees being any more willing to add a “steal premium” to Damon’s deal than the Red Sox were to go the extra mile for Dave Roberts after 2004.

Manuel’s explanation that somebody should have been covering third base didn’t really cut it. If he himself couldn’t have named the person, it’s no wonder the Phillies players didn’t know who should’ve been there.

Or maybe Manuel just didn’t want to throw anyone under the bus by name. Cholly is not the greatest manager in the history of baseball, but he’s a guy who stands up for his players. Assuming that he didn’t know who should have been covering third base simply because he didn’t name a name is wrong in my view.

If the Yankees win one more game, Mike Mussina wins the award for unluckiest Yankee, beating Don Mattingly. A Yankees from 2001-2008, he will have provided the stale sandwich meat to the Yankees’ World Series wins in 2000 and 2009.

You can add Bobby Murcer to that too. Murcer showed up the year after the Yankees’ last pennant of the Mantle teams, was traded right before the Munson-Reggie teams took off, and then returned to New York after they started to decline.  Yeah, he was on a pennant winning team in 1981, but they lost.

  1. Brian - Nov 4, 2009 at 9:48 AM

    I still think that the most amazing part of Damon’s steal was that McCarver didn’t somehow try to credit Derek Jeter for it.

  2. Simon DelMonte - Nov 4, 2009 at 10:10 AM

    I forget where I saw it, but someone prior to the Double Steal was asking who the Yankees would be more likely to keep, Damon or Matsui. While I agree that Damon’s price tag hasn’t changed, I would think that Cashman and Co. would more inclined to retain Damon at the moment. So this could have some effect, but mainly on Matsui.

  3. airedale - Nov 4, 2009 at 10:48 AM

    …he was too busy trying to keep a dismayed Joe Buck from jumping off the 3rd deck!

  4. Jeff J. Snider - Nov 4, 2009 at 11:40 AM

    How come when Mike Mussina plays for eight straight Yankee teams that don’t win it all, he is “unlucky,” but when A-Rod plays for five straight, he is the reason they can’t win?

  5. Omega - Nov 4, 2009 at 11:45 AM

    I would keep Damon over Matsui and move Damon to DH, his never strong arm isn’t doing the Yankees any favors out there. He can still get the ball in play and is a good baserunner. Matsui is becoming an liablity on the bases.

  6. (Not That) Tom - Nov 4, 2009 at 11:59 AM

    Damon’s agent: Scott Boras. Should be no surprise that comment came from Heyman.

  7. Dan - Nov 4, 2009 at 12:18 PM

    Mike Mussina is the unluckiest player I’ve ever seen. Let’s not forget he also came a strike away from a perfect game against the Red Sox before Carl “I don’t believe in dinosaurs” Everett got a bloop single. He will probably come a few votes shy of the Hall of Fame, if the trend continues…

  8. asinkingship - Nov 4, 2009 at 12:41 PM

    There is [sort of] a precedent for a player’s value being overinflated because of one play…see Matthews Jr, Gary.

  9. tony - Nov 4, 2009 at 12:51 PM

    Someone give Joe Buck an energy pill. I cant believe they have a guy like him with no excitement doing play by play in the world series, This guy needs to do Tennis

  10. BillyBeaneismyHero - Nov 4, 2009 at 1:27 PM

    I wonder how much that one steal was really worth? Perhaps, it’s worth $4M, which would be great because he’s been worth roughly $48M over the life of his 4 year $52M contract.

  11. bhofferb - Nov 4, 2009 at 4:05 PM

    Seems to me that the real value of the steal was that with Damon on third, Lidge quit throwing the sinker, since a ball in the dirt could have been a disaster. Without the sinker to worry about it was much easier for the Yankees to simply wait for the fastball, which is exactly what they did.

  12. ericinboston - Nov 4, 2009 at 5:14 PM

    when did lidge start throwing a sinker? not being a total nitpick but he stopped throwing his slider.. not a sinker.

  13. Old Gator - Nov 4, 2009 at 5:18 PM

    I dunno about that. Whatever it was, it sure sank the Feelies.

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