The Tigers are not getting the 2009 version of Johnny Damon, according to ESPN. To expect him to hit 24 homers is naive considering he only hit seven on the road last year, and Comerica Park is one of the tougher ballparks to homer in:
To say Damon is a better bet for 14 homers than 24 in Detroit isn't any stretch, and it'd be foolish to ignore that the three players likely to bat seventh, eighth and ninth, Brandon Inge, Gerald Laird and Adam Everett, had on-base percentages of .314, .306 and .288 last season. Considering Damon had Jeter (.406) batting ahead of him, and often Melky Cabrera (.336) in either the eight or nine hole, it's also likely Damon's RBI total will suffer.
I still give credit to Boras for getting this much, but he screwed his client when he asked for another four-year, $52 million deal early in the off-season.
- The early rotation has been set. Like we expected, the order will be Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Vazquez and the #5.
- Nick Swisher got exposed in the playoffs by superior pitching (throwing him consistent off-speed stuff), so he's hoping to take his hitting 'to the next level':
Swisher and Yankee hitting coach Kevin Long huddled for two weeks in Arizona in December deconstructing Swisher's swing. Long stressed that Swisher find a comfortable hitting position with balance, so Swisher tweaked his stance to what he called "a no-stride stance - wait til you see it" and is hoping for even bigger things this season.
"I feel like (Long) understands me and when you run into coaches like that, you really need to lock in with those guys," Swisher said Friday.
- Joe Girardi would prefer to have two lefties in the pen, but who would the second one be? Boone Logan, Kei Igawa, Wilkin De La Rosa, Royce Ring and Wilkins Arias are the candidates.
- A closer look at LOOGY candidate Boone Logan:
Returning to the minor leagues [in 2006] taught Logan some humility, but he remained inconsistent. Stretches of dominance were punctured by implosions. He even lost a pregame on-field cow-milking contest to the Angels' Brandon Wood.
The White Sox included Logan in the deal that sent Vazquez to Atlanta after the 2008 season. "Wherever he goes, I go," Logan said, laughing. "I'm just hanging onto his shirttails."
- A pitcher considerably farther from the Bigs is Andrew Brackman, who, despite a terrible year, will build off his last 10 walk-less, scoreless innings as a reliever:
Nardi Contreras, the organization's pitching coordinator, visited Brackman last June and said that "everything was out of whack." The Yankees made a series of mechanical tweaks and urged him to speed up his tempo.
The most significant move, Brackman said, was when the Yankees shifted him to the bullpen. He pitched fewer innings, but more often. He focused on only two pitches - fastball and curve - and showed an aggressiveness that the Yankees had not seen for some time.
Since Brackman has a major league deal (he has to stick with the Yanks by 2012), the bullpen is his likely destination.
- Melky Cabrera as a Brave. Weird.
- In a throwback to the old days, Yankee Stadium will host a championship boxing match in early June. It will be the first boxing match there since Muhammad Ali beat Ken Norton in 1976.