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.
The Red Sox have some tough decisions to make in advance of the World Series next week; namely, what to do with some of their hottest-hitting players once the series shifts to a National League park — and National League rules. During a press conference on Saturday, manager Alex Cora said he’d be open to the idea of starting All-Star right fielder Mookie Betts at second base when the club’s regular DH, J.D. Martinez, is forced to play the outfield during away games.
The Red Sox carry home field advantage through the Fall Classic, so Games 1 and 2 will be played at Fenway Park — as well as Games 6 and 7, should those become necessary. Depending on the outcome of NLCS Game 7 later tonight, World Series Games 3 through 5 will be played at Dodger Stadium or Miller Park. That’s when Betts might take over the keystone from Ian Kinsler and Brock Holt, both of whom have shared second base duties over the course of the 2018 postseason.
The idea isn’t without merit. Betts and Martinez comprise two of the team’s top talents at the plate and, should the Red Sox need to stave off elimination in Games 4 and 5, sitting either of them doesn’t make sense. The 26-year-old Betts led the team with a staggering .346/.438/.640 batting line, 32 home runs, 30 stolen bases, and career-best 10.4 fWAR over 614 PA, while Martinez posted some career totals of his own, slashing .330/.402/.629 with 43 home runs, a 1.031 OPS, and 5.9 fWAR in 649 PA. This wouldn’t be the first time Betts has taken reps at second, either, as he’s logged 15 games at the position over the course of his five-year career, most recently during a 4-1 win over the Yankees in August.
Whether or not Betts is considered a lock for all three games is another question, one to which Cora didn’t give a definite answer. “I don’t know, man,” the skipper told reporters Saturday. “[Betts] already played second during the regular season, so there’s always a chance, I guess.” He later added that while Betts would be taking ground balls at second, it’s part of the routine he’s maintained all year — so nothing should be read into it until a clear decision has been announced.