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Report: The Yankees sign Randy Winn

Jan 27, 2010, 3:53 PM EDT

Joel Sherman reports. One year deal. Sherman says it’s for that last $2 million that Johnny Damon couldn’t stoop to take.

I suppose there are ways the Yankees could rub Johnny Damon and Scott Boras’ face in it more than they already have today, but I’m struggling to imagine how.  Signing Canseco, maybe?  Ruben Rivera? Ronan Tynan?

As for Winn, he had 790 OPSs and played good right field defense in 2007 and 2008, but fell all of
the way to .262/.318/.353 last season. What’s worse is that while he’s a switch hitter, he hit.158/.184/.200 in 125 plate appearances vs lefties last year, which is the single worst split since at least 1954 (Retrosheet doesn’t have data before then) (thanks to Jay Jaffe for that tidbit).

Ultimately Winn is a bench player who could back up Nick Swisher and whoever gets the left field job (though if he brings anything different to the table than does Brett Gardner I’m struggling to see what it is).  He’s also taking up the last Yankee roster spot into which Johnny Damon could have dreamed of falling.  UPDATE: Wow, even Heyman has written Damon off.

  1. Phil - Jan 27, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    I suppose there are ways the Yankees could rub Johnny Damon and Scott Boras’ face in it more than they already have today, but I’m struggling to imagine how. Signing Canseco, maybe? Ruben Rivera? Ronan Tynan?
    Rumor is they’re going to sign the Jewish lady Tynan offended because her arm is better than Damon’s.

  2. YANKEES1996 - Jan 27, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    Budget is budget I guess, but this seems like a tremendous waste of money no matter how much he signed for. I would have to say that signing Randy Winn is a huge rub it in the face of Boras and Damon and I cannot think of another signing that would have demonstrated that as well as this one.

  3. YankeesfanLen - Jan 27, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    I can hear John Sterling now- “Randy Winn…….THEEEEEEEE Randy Winn!”

  4. Chris Simonds - Jan 27, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    My question is what did Damon ever do to make Cashman behave like such an asshole? Answer: probably nothing. This just looks like Cashman wanting to stick it to Boras. Damon helped the Yankees in his time there, a lot. Overpaid? I suppose, but no more than AJ Burnett is now. Budget? The Yankees? Please. Right now, Brian Cashman looks to me like a very small man.
    Maybe there is something about Damon that ticks off GM’s with big budgets. Theo Epstein gave him the brush off too. But probably it’s all just Boras backlash. Get a different agent, Johnny.

  5. cowdisciple - Jan 27, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    It’s hard to know how to split the blame out between Boras and Damon, but their camp’s demands early this offseason were ridiculous. As a Yankee-hater I wish Cashman had caved, though.
    Cashman gets my grudging respect for not caving early and countering with his own style of hardball once the FA market got established.

  6. bh0673 - Jan 27, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    I think it was a combination of Damon’s value on the market was greater then the Yankees budget but I also think they have their eyes on Carl Crawford who will be a free agent next year. Giving Damon a multi year contract doesn’t fir that plan, but a one year contract to Winn gives them an option.

  7. Doug - Jan 27, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    I live outside SF and this is a good signing.
    For $2M instead of $7M the Yanks get much better
    defense and a great arm, giving up some hitting
    that they don’t need. Wynn is a good #3 or #4
    outfielder and a great “clubhouse presence” as they say.
    A real pro and a great guy.

  8. John F - Jan 27, 2010 at 8:18 PM

    As a Yankee fan I’m sorry to see Johnny go, but he made his own bed. Blaming Cashman is ludicrous. Boras wouldn’t let Damon sign for a couple of years and $10-$12M two months ago and Damon’s pride drew its own line in the sand when he said he wouldn’t take a pay cut at his age in this economy. Having Boras as your agent should only work once. After your children’s children’s children have been taken care of by the first go ’round, Boras should be axed immediately. No need for him. Johnny had to know he’s been criticized over and over for his arm and after bluffing for the first month with no results, you gotta make your stand. Even A-Rod knew to cut bait and deal direct. Johnny really wanted to stay and Cashman would have liked him back, but it wasn’t going to be at 3 years $39M…ever. Both Nady and Abreu both shed light on the Yankees’ plight. Just as in trade discussions with other teams, the Yankees are expected to overpay. That’s just how it is. If they don’t the deal goes to someone else for much less. Same with free agents. Discount yes, but not for them. They don’t complain about it, but boy do they get roasted when they try to hold the line. Cashman reports to the Steinbrenners. It was not his call on Sheffield vs Guerrero several years ago and it’s not his call now on Damon. If Damon had come to them and said he’d sign for a year and $6M six weeks ago, he could have lobbied the Steinbrenners and it’d be done. Now Damon will sign a one year deal with (probably) a non contender for $4M. He was taking a cut either way. He should have seen this coming and if not he should have seen the writing on the wall after one month. Why pay Boras again? Once bitten twice shy with that guy. Maybe Cashman does have it in for Boras, but you can bet the Steinbrenners would not let pettiness get in the way of a chance to repeat. I think they wanted to level things out after last year. The fans will pour in anyway. The whole thing is stupid. I like Nick Johnson and I’m not at all sure about Randy Winn (other than his character), but this could have all been avoided with a little common sense. I don’t like it, but I’m not blaming Cashman. That guy can’t win no matter what he does..inside the Yankee universe or outside amongst the haters. It’s a thankless job.

  9. CDC - Jan 27, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    Is Damon going to at least get a “Dear John” letter from the Steinbrenners ?

  10. Curious George - Jan 27, 2010 at 9:43 PM

    “For $2M instead of $7M the Yanks get much better
    defense and a great arm, giving up some hitting
    that they don’t need.”
    Why don’t they need hitting? What a ridiculous thing to say.

  11. Ray - Jan 27, 2010 at 10:49 PM

    I think Doug was saying that the Yankees already have a stacked lineup, and the hitting that they lose in going from Damon to Winn, they make up for with Winn’s superior defense and arm. The Yankees can afford to make that move because of the depth of their offense.
    Of course hitting is needed, but its not the only important aspect of the game.

  12. Robert Greene - Jan 27, 2010 at 10:56 PM

    Totally agree with signing as it went down. They do not need Damon period. End of story. They got better fielder, better arm and better ball player period.

  13. Ben - Jan 27, 2010 at 11:45 PM

    Curious George exemplifies the damned if you do, damned if you don’t BS standards that the Yanks are always held to. It’s a sheer disappointment or a clear failure if they have anything but a slow, unathletic, guy that swings for the fences. The Yanks will have a strong outfield this year. The power will come from Swisher and Granderson, while the defense will come from Granderson and Gardner and Winn. People really have nothing to talk about, so they just end up over-analyzing what the 9th hitter is going to do in the Yankees lineup. Ridiculous really.

  14. mike b. - Jan 28, 2010 at 12:01 AM


  15. Curious George - Jan 28, 2010 at 12:31 AM

    “I think Doug was saying that the Yankees already have a stacked lineup, and the hitting that they lose in going from Damon to Winn, they make up for with Winn’s superior defense and arm. The Yankees can afford to make that move because of the depth of their offense.”
    And this is where quantitative analysis gets trumped by a dubious line of reasoning that I just can’t fathom.
    Damon is worth x units of value to a team: a portion of that is his offense and a portion is his defense (even if his defense is a negative). Winn is worth y units of value to a team. While the defensive component of Winn’s game is likely greater than that of Damon’s game, Damon’s net value, x, certainly exceeds Winn’s net value, y, so disparate are their offensive abilities. And that would be true (x>y) on the Yankees or the Giants or the Royals. Any team would be better with Damon’s x than Winn’s y, even an offensive juggernaut.
    Winn and/or Gardner will provide less net value in 2010 than will Damon. That means the Yankees will be a poorer team for it. If that means they drop from 103 wins to, say, 100 wins, that’s still a drop. Perhaps their off-season calculus has them coming out ahead in their minds, though, if their agenda was to concede some ground on the talent front with the offset being the setting of a precedent in their dealings with Scott Boras.

  16. alan p - Jan 28, 2010 at 7:45 AM

    With the loss of Matsui and now Damon, the Yankees are not the team they were. Two proven extremely clutch players, and their “replacements” just aren’t. So the Steinbrenner’s save some $, and will field a weaker team in 2010.

  17. Talex - Jan 28, 2010 at 8:25 AM

    Once again some people just don’t get it: Curtis Granderson is the one who is replacing Johnny Damon; not Brett Gardner or Randy Winn. Gardner and Winn are replacing Melky Cabrera! Acquiring Curtis Granderson to play centerfield made Damon expendible, so that is the X replacing the X. Granderson gives you superior speed and defensive, slightly more power, but less on-base percentage. I like Damon a lot, but a younger Granderson is a huge upgrade over Damon. And over the course of 162 games I have no doubt that Gardiner will be a huge improvement over Melky. Gardiner takes a ton more pitches, gets on base more, is lightening quick, and is just a better all around ballplayer. He basically was a rookie last season and if you go back and remember who Melky played when he first came up–well it was quite embarressing if you remember: him dropping balls and grounding out weakly every at-bat. But the Yankees saw his potential and stuck with him. Brett is better than him. And Damon let his greed get in the way of probably the best offer he was going to get. Too bad. But the Yankees not locking themselves in to a player on the downside who can’t play defense is the right thing to do. All you have to do is think about Giambi and a host of other players they were locked into who spit the bit. Good luck to Johnny. Give Cashman an A on this one!

  18. Alan p - Jan 28, 2010 at 8:52 AM

    Regarding Talex’s comments re Brett Gardner….he reminds me of the Wesley Snipes character in “Major League”, where the coach keeps punishing him for hitting pop flys. If Gardner could somehow learn to hit the ball on the ground, he’d be a huge asset with his speed. He doesn’t have near the punch of Cabrera, but he could contribute a bunch of infield hits that would make up for it. He already bunts well, so he could be a weapon.

  19. Mike - Jan 28, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    I’ll miss Johnny looking like he doesn’t knoq where the ball is on a routine fly,lol.However, he was the catalyst in many come from behind wins along with Melky and Hideki. It is easy to replace bodies but it’s not so easy to replace heart. Lets hope that these three professionals won’t be missed that much or else it is going to be a long season. If you look back, how many come from behind or walk off wins did these three contribute to last season.

  20. Issac Maez - Jan 29, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    What the… you will not belief this. My stupid dog actually farted on my ankle!? I mean what’s the matter with this!? I care for this thing and I get that in return. I even now will not really belief this. Anyway, you have a number of interesting facts there in your post. I knew Yahoo will bring me to some useful stuff today :). Alright have to hunt this pet now! Have a nice evening you all!

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