The ’10 Yankees roster comes into focus

Now that the door has finally closed on all speculation of Johnny Damon’s return to the Yankees, it appears that GM Brian Cashman has completed the majority of the workload of the offseason, with only minor tweaking heading into the spring.

Randy Winn turned out to be the right-handed outfield bat that Cashman had been talking about, though he’s actually a switch-hitter. While Winn is coming off one of the most disappointing seasons of his career and was actually horrid against left-handed pitching (.158), he provides the Yankees with a good defensive option to complement Brett Gardner in the outfield as well as a veteran option and sharp baserunning instincts.

He could share time with Gardner in left field or center field, depending on where the Yankees decide to play him, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think that Winn might beat out Gardner for a job outright (be it left field or center field).

The Yankees haven’t officially announced the Winn move – he took his physical on Thursday in New York – but it’s only a matter of time. Even Joe Girardi acknowledged the transaction in an interview on Thursday with WFAN.

Cashman popped on with the Yankees Hot Stove crew Thursday night and went over a variety of issues in a 10-minute interview, noting that the book closed on Damon “a long time ago,” though the he-said, he-said drama between Cashman and agent Scott Boras continues to percolate.

Though no one can really be sure of everything that transpired, I have to imagine that Damon was genuine in his desire to return to the Yankees, based upon all of his conversations with the media. Certainly, the Yankees’ players were hoping he’d work something out, and on some level Cashman would have liked him back as well – but at his price, which they never really got close to.

“We had a strong desire to have Johnny back, but not at all costs,” Cashman said on YES.

The latest rumors have the Blue Jays and Rays among the clubs that could provide soft landing spots for Damon, and while I’m sure Damon would absolutely love playing for the Rays and commuting from his Orlando, Fla. home (as he did during Spring Training), 81 games on artificial turf at either stadium probably isn’t the ideal setting for a player who has been hampered by painful calf issues.

Remember, Damon even had to leave the clinching game of the World Series because of the calf problems, limping to the pile after Mark Teixeira caught the final out to end the Fall Classic.

Here’s a few other links from around the Yankees blogosphere that might be of interest:

  • Baseball Prospectus has picked the Yankees to finish third in the American League East at 93-69, behind the Rays (96-66) and Red Sox (95-67). While I have some debate with that prediction, if the top three teams in the division are separated by three wins when the season comes to an end, buckle up for one heck of a pennant race.
  • Cliff Corcoran compares Randy Winn to Melky Cabrera – just a decade older and on the wrong side of the production curve.  
  • Joel Sherman notes that the Yankees are still in play on Jonny Gomes, as well as considering Rocco Baldelli and Marcus Thames. If they do really go after Gomes, it’s a good thing Shelley Duncan has moved on to a new home.
  • This isn’t Yankees-related, but former Bomber Tim Redding is calling out Mike Bacsik for – he believes – intentionally giving up Barry Bonds’ 756th home run. I covered Bacsik a little bit with the Mets (including his first big league win) and he was one of the nicest guys in that clubhouse, but it certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility that he could have missed his location with a meaty fastball to Bonds.


To Be Decided
by Chad Jennings


mickeyogi, I have to agree with you, I see the Yanks winning the East by at least 5 games. I can’t really imagine a 3rd place finish. This is a better team than the “Champion 2009 Yankees”. They will get off to a much better start than in ’09. I too hope that Phil & Joba have learned to pitch in the majors. They have the talent to excel, now it’s up to them to prove it. Granderson will add another dimension in the OF, We’ll see if Winn can return to form if so, we’ll have a stronger OF. One more piece Who will be the IF backup?


I live in Atlanta and watched Javier Vazques pitch this past year. He was tremendous. Control, fastball, breaking pitch—-he was a better pitcher by far than I saw in 2004. Granderson has more power and speed than Damon. Gardner, if given regular playing time can steal 30 to 40 bases. Winn was a heck of a pickup as he can play full time or come off the bench to do a bunch of things. Phil Hughes and Joba have learned how to become major league pitchers. This is a better team than last year. Third place will only happen if the Sox and Rays both win more than 105 games!


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