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Nick Johnson will be the Yankees' number 2 hitter

Mar 4, 2010, 10:20 AM EDT

No, Joe Girardi hasn’t announced it, but the Star Ledger’s Marc Carig has deduced as much from what Girardi said about the two slot yesterday. Girardi’s comments:

“On-base is extremely important to me because the guys behind him
can all hit the ball out of the ballpark. So, yes, you’d love to have a guy that had an extremely
high on-base percentage that can run and hit for power. But if you had
that guy he might hit somewhere else . . .You like to have guys who can run, but as I said,
because of the guys in front of him, that becomes less important. You
don’t have to be a flyer.”

I agree with Carig that this is Girardi basically saying, without saying it, that Nick Johnson is batting second this year. Which makes total sense. He’s an OBP God, and with A-Rod and Teixeira hitting three and four, anyone who has guys stealing bases in front of them should be summarily shot.

I think Nick Johnson’s addition is the single most underrated move of the offseason.  If he stays healthy — and really, his injuries tend to be more freak things than chronic things — the Yankees are going to score tons and tons of runs.

  1. Lardin - Mar 4, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    guys who are above average should still be running. Damon and Jeter ran alot last year. Nick Johnson should never ever ever ever be running. But I have zero problem with Jeter picking his spots…

  2. Charles Gates - Mar 4, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    Johnson stole 10 bases in ’06, so it’s not like he’s a total base clogger.

  3. Jonny5 - Mar 4, 2010 at 10:47 AM

    Well we get to see the NYY / Philly scrimmage today………

  4. Nasty Boy - Mar 4, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    I agree with the above. The only weak link in the order is Gardner. I think before too long he will be replaced, just as last year. If Randy Winn isn’t consistent,you can bet they will make a trade for an all around outfielder.They have a surplus of pitching , with Gaudin, Mitre ,Aceves, Hughes, and Chamberlain. Any of these pitchers will bring a very good outfielder.

  5. ReinDeerGames - Mar 4, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    The Yankees don’t run much out of the 2nd slot anyway. Look at Jeter’s SBs in ’08 and then ’09. Look at Damon’s in ’08 and ’09.
    I think they will bat Granderson 6th in the lineup, and let him free on the bases, sort of act like a middle of the order leadoff man. Once the lineup turns, Gardner and Jeter both have speed as well.
    Another thing (and River Ave Blues mentioned it a while back) is that Johnson kills fastballs in his career. And he’s more likely to see fastballs while hitting with Jeter on base, and Tex and Arod behind him, which should help him hit the ball better as well.
    I really like the signing for them, and could be one of those “Why didn’t our team do this” kind of thing at the end of the year.

  6. Curious George - Mar 4, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    How long before the first “clogging the bases” nonsense comes from a NY scribe who’d prefer the speedier but less OBPerific Granderson in the 2-hole?

  7. berselius - Mar 4, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    I wonder if we’ll see the Yankees score 1000 runs this year

  8. APBA Guy - Mar 4, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    Only 4 comments for a Yankees post?
    Anyway, it’s basic concept: Jeter leads off with an OBP around .405, then Johnson with .425. Jeter can still run enough to loosen up the defense, distract the pitcher, etc, feeding Johnson, who also has a high BA, a lot of fastballs.
    Johnson doesn’t need to run in this circumstance. And these two guys on base (which will happen about 16+% of Tex’s at bats) will produce a lot more runs. Consider also that Tex gets on base around .383, so the probability of bases loaded for A-Rod with these 3 hitters on base is an astonishing .064. That works out to around 6 grand slams next year for A-Rod with the top 3 on base alone, not including combinations of other players, plus guys hitting after A-Rod etc..
    More intriguing is the real possibility of Carl Crawford being dealt to the Yankees mid-year to fill in at left field. The Yankees could easily trade Montero plus one of Joba/Hughes, etc, plus cash, or any combination that makes it a win-win for TB and NY.
    Frightening what having a lot of money and a very, very smart front office can do for a team.
    But I think having the Yankees in the sport is overall a good thing. It gives other franchises a tangible target and raises fan interest in general. When I was a kid the very first game my dad took me to was the Yankees v. the Nats, before they moved. I don’t remember much about the game, just the excited feeling I had seeing the best team play against the local boys, an excitement that seemed to be shared by about 40,000 others that day. Especially when Mantle came to bat.
    Even the beloved A’s get a good crowd when the Yankees play in the Mausoleum. And who knows, if Ben Sheets is healthy and on form, there might actually be some excitement in Oakland, rather than the usual tepid appreciation for a system well executed by AAA talent.

  9. Curious George - Mar 4, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    “I think they will bat Granderson 6th in the lineup, and let him free on the bases, sort of act like a middle of the order leadoff man.”
    .
    There’s a line of thinking that says speed plays better in the bottom of the order. Nick Johnson will be batting ahead of guys who hit a lot of homeruns. Granderson would be batting ahead of guys who hit a lot of singles, where his stolen bases would have more value.

  10. Tim Kelly - Mar 4, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    Does the “if” in “If he stays healthy – the Yankees are going to score tons and tons of runs” automatically assume the opposite will happen “if not”? I’m not sure of my grammar, and God knows there are a million grammarians lurking in blog comments the world over, but you didn’t just say that the Yankees need Nick Johnson to be healthy in order to score a bunch of runs, did you Craig?
    Surely the Yankees will score tons and tons of runs regardless of Nick Johnson’s health, if Jeter, AROD, & Teixeira are healthy…
    (And BTW Craig, severely belated kudos on the full-time gig)

  11. Old Gator - Mar 4, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    Another blown call by the penurious clowns who run the Feesh. He’s good enough to play for the Borg but cheapskate McLoria couldn’t cough up the shekels to keep him. Yet another reason why Joeprodolsharklife Stadium will be for lovers this season – a damned sight more privacy can be had there during a Feesh game than, say, parked in the mangroves off the Rickenbacker Causeway someplace. And if they can get under the blue tarps, anything goes; everyone else will just think it’s the wind.

  12. jackie boy - Mar 4, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    What the hell are you talking about ? are you on drugs ? I think its time for you to have a urine test, or better yet a rectal exam.

  13. Old Gator - Mar 4, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    I’m up for a urine test. Let me know if it tastes salty to you.

  14. Charles Gates - Mar 4, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    It’s called a dictionary. Or Google, if you prefer.

  15. ditmars1929 - Mar 4, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    Gator, I have no interest if you’re salty or not. In fact, that’s a disgusting topic with no place here. I don’t go there, sorry. But seriously, I do appreciate your humor but this is a baseball blog. Can you talk about baseball without the bullshit, obscure references and your grandstanding?

  16. Old Gator - Mar 4, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    Nope.

  17. jackie boy - Mar 4, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    Check with your mother first , then I’ll think about it.

  18. jackie boy - Mar 4, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    Your right on , on second thought , forget the urine , and rectal exam for old gator , perhaps a shrink would be a better fit.

  19. Dan W - Mar 4, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    Yeah, no Grandstanding Old Gator,
    I HATE grandstanding

  20. peteinfla - Mar 4, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    Not that Old Gator needs me or anyone else to come to his defense, but I look forward to reading his posts everyday. And there is always a related to topic baseball reference in them, before he goes off on God only knows what subject comes to him. (Sorry Gator, I meant Buddha). If you don’t like his posts, don’t read them, but I know alot of us regular readers look forward to them!

  21. Old Gator - Mar 4, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    Glad to hear you’re capable of thinking about it. I had my doubts. Now see if you can come up with a less cliched rejoinder on the next round.
    .
    Reply to Ditmars1929: sorry, hit that “post comment” button by accident. I was about to observe that the urine test metaphor wasn’t mine, but our dear little jackie boy’s, as above. I never indulge in coarse scatalogical ripostes unprovoked – although, admittedly, I am very easily provoked. Perhaps if you are easily offended, though, you can find a blog where baseball, that distilled essence of everything that is good and pure in American life – such as is left of it – is discussed without any alien qualities like bullshit, obscure references and grandstanding. Of course, then you’d be talking about NCAA college baseball, wouldn’t you?

  22. Old Gator - Mar 4, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    Well gee Pete, despite my all but perfect self-sufficiency – I don’t much that I haven’t got right here in my immunodeficiency bubble up at the J. B. Rhine institute at Duke – I’m grateful to you for coming to my defense anyway – you know, like the Allies were to Stalin for seizing the Kuril Islands the day after Japan surrendered. As Bernie Birnbaum famously observed about friends to Tommy in Miller’s Crossing, “you can’t have too many.” Tell you what: to show my gratitude, next time you see that nice middle-aged lady with the white surgical hat doling out free samples of fresh squeezed Florida orange juice at the local Publix (at least the stuff they haven’t sold for ethanol), give me a ring and I’ll run over there and stake you to a round.
    .
    If, that is, this accursed sub-70s weather lets up enough for me to go outside.
    .
    And here’s your relevant baseball reference, just to show you that I can promulgate one after one of my seizures as easily as before it: Feesh spring opener this afternoon. Yeee-haaaaaa!

  23. Mrs. Gator - Mar 4, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    Oh no, you got out again.
    .
    Okay, Mr.Man. Back on the drip feed. And let’s have another look at those ankles.
    .
    Ah, they’ve healed. Okay, then….

  24. ditmars1929 - Mar 4, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Gator, let’s just agree that you are an asshole. It’s a baseball blog. Tell me what you think about baseball, and I would be very interested to know of your opinions. Who’s your favorite team? Who do think will win the AL pennant? Or the NL race? What do you think are the weaknesses on your favorite team heading into Spring Training, and what kind of trades can help your team? Instead, you’re talking about Stalin, Japan, a really bad movie, orange juice, and a grocery chain. What the hell is wrong with you?

  25. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 4, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    “Tell me what you think about baseball, and I would be very
    interested to know of your opinions. Who’s your favorite team? Who do think will win the AL pennant? Or the NL race? What do you think are the weaknesses on your favorite team heading into Spring Training, and what kind of trades can help your team?”
    God, I hope no one holds me to those questions, because once ATH gets going I’m going to steadfastly ignore that stuff.

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