Tyler Kepner has the shake down on the Johnson-Damon drama:
Johnson is not precisely taking over for Damon. In the big picture, the Yankees are swapping two older left-handed hitters who made $26 million in 2009 (Damon and Hideki Matsui) for two younger left-handed hitters whose contracts average about $14 million in 2010 (Curtis Granderson and Johnson). They are replacing a speed guy and a slow guy with another speed guy and another slow guy.
I know some folks wanted Damon back; some think Cash made a wrong choice, and the Yanks' will regret it when they have a sore Johnson in June.
These are negotiations. I pretend that I'm not budging, you pretend that your not budging. Sometimes, one of us thinks we're not serious when we really are. The difference in real value of Damon/Matsui vs Granderson/Johnson is marginal, and this gives Cashman a little more leverage in future negotiations with Scott Boras. Next time Boras makes an outrageous demand to Brian Cashman, and Cash replies "That's unreasonable, so I'll go to my other options," Boras will be quicker to buckle.
Greg Fertel of Pending Pinstripes thinks that Brett Gardner could be a better left fielder than Jason Bay next season when we weigh offense, defense and baserunning.
I call malarkey because Joe G. proved in September and the postseason that he doesn't think Gardner gives him the best chance to win. If Joe G. has someone else, anyone else to run out there, he will use the other guy. Whether it's an ice-cold Melky or Nick Swisher having a Soriano-esque bout of futility at the plate, Joe G. thinks that GGBG's speed can only be a weapon off the bench.
Gardner has the potential (assuming no regression in the notoriously fickle UZR), but I don't think he'd ever get the opportunity.
Who's the greatest Yankee to ever wear #14? YankeeNumbers gives you the full run-down. My short list is down to Lou Piniella, Bill Skowron and Miguel Cairo. Grand Central has some work to do to put himself in that company.
The most important baseball man to ever wear 14 as a Yankee is easy, though: Bobby Cox.
Donnie Collins replaced Chad Jennings at the SWB Blog, and he's doing a fine job. He notes that former Yankee farmhand Eric Hacker has signed a minor league deal with the Giants- Hacker was DFA'd and traded to the Pirates for Romulo Sanchez, who is currently on the Yankees' 40-man and has an outside shot at making the bullpen out of Spring Training.
This is something else that Cashman has done well lately: holding on to the right guys, and flipping the marginal guys for other marginal guys he can have an extra season or two to develop.
Pitchers and catchers report in the longest 8 weeks of the year.
I try to always cite my sources. I think I link to one of Cot's Baseball Contracts, Baseball-Reference, and Fangraphs every single day. And there's a reason: they're awesome. The work they do updating and sharing their respective information is as important as anything happening on the internet (from a baseball standpoint).
In the spirit of the season, I want to say a huge thank you to the folks who run each of those sites. What I do would be impossible without what they do.