Winter Meetings: Girardi Presser, Hiroyuki Nakajima, and Jesus Montero All Day and All of the Night

I regret to say that nothing of note came out of Joe Girardi's media availability this afternoon. The entire coaching staff will be back. Montero questions. More Montero questions. Also, Montero questions. The media tried to find places for Montero to play other than designated hitter. Girardi deflected them. Russell Martin will catch 120 games. Francisco Cervelli will be on the roster and also catch. If the season opened today, Nick Swisher would be the reserve first baseman, not Montero. Montero is pigeonholed. Period. Whatever his offensive potential, his defensive utility is so limited that it is easy to imagine him being dealt for position players or pitchers who may have more overall value due to their ability not only to hit, if not as well, but also run and catch the ball. Remember, a ballplayer's value is determined by the totality of his contribution, not any single aspect of his game. Having a productive DH would be an asset to the Yankees, but there are many ways to fill that position, whereas there are only so many avenues to acquiring a solid pitcher or outfielder. I am not arguing for such a move, merely advocating an open mind on the subject.

That said, Girardi feels that his team is pretty much set and that explains the team's inactivity this week. Remember he said that, because unless you're the manager of the '27 Yankees, it's probably not a safe thing to assume. Heck, I'm sure not even Miller Huggins didn't assume it—that's why he died at 51. Well, that and the lack of antibiotics.

As you have no doubt heard by now, the Yankees won the bidding war, if war is the right term for something that cost only $2 million, for negotating rights to Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima. This is not the same as saying they have won Nakajima—they have bid on his phone number. If they succeed in signing him, they will have acquired a 29-year-old (he turns 30 at the end of July) right-handed hitting middle infielder who has shown consistent .300-hitting ability and pop in Japan playing for the Seibu Lipons. How that translates to the majors is your guess, but aside from Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki, position players who hit like stars in Japan have had difficulty having the same kind of impact here. We're talking Tadahito Iguchi, Kenji Johjima, Kosuke Fukudome, Akinori Iwamura, and so on. He might have more pop than Eduardo Nunez and certainly is a better hitter than Ramiro Pena. The Yankees need to protect themselves against an A-Rod, Cano, or Jeter injury, because neither of the incumbents should play every day.

Finally, don't get too worked up about Bobby Valentine saying "I hate the Yankees" today. He had his tongue well in cheek.

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