How do the Hall of Fame cases of Vladimir Guerrero, Johnny Damon, and Manny Ramirez stack up?
The waning days of a great player's career are rarely pretty, but it's one thing for that career to peter out with a smattering of at-bats amid a late-season farewell tour, quite another when the sudden realization of doneness is reached early in the season, suggesting that the player has taken things a bridge too far. Perhaps because teams have grown more rational when it comes to filling out the designated hitter slot and thus willing to spend less money on aging veterans, this spring found a handful of former star outfielders scrambling for jobs. Once given the chance to see if they have anything left to offer, they struggled. In light of myriad "Is he a Hall of Famer?" questions I've received via Twitter as they pertain to these cooked players, I figured it was time to round up a few for a quick JAWS-based look.
Just because he might get 3,000 hits doesn't mean voters can't put up a fight.
I like Johnny Damon. I really do. He’s been a perfectly good player, or better, for a lot of years. But as much as I like Johnny Damon, I love the Hall of Fame much more. I love the Hall of Fame even though it refuses to love me back, what with its induction of Jim Rice, its refusal to tell BBWAA voters that PEDs were far too pervasive to ban an entire generation, and its inconvenient location preventing yearly pilgrimages. I love the Hall of Fame, so I will defend it from Johnny Damon.
Johnny Damon's biggest supporter for the Hall of Fame, interestingly enough, is Johnny Damon. Damon told Tyler Kepner, "I think even if you look at my numbers now, how high I am on the runs list [33rd], how high I am on the doubles list [43rd], and you also have to take into account the ballparks that I've played in. I've played in some pretty tough ones for left-handers. If I played in Yankee Stadium my whole career, my 230 home runs turn into 300, easy.” He is also 56th all-time with 2,730 hits. Damon also makes "a case for being a clean player in our generation."
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A look at how Carlos Pena and Luke Scott compare to those they're replacing in Tampa Bay, Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman
“Team identity” is a sugar pill of analytics. It sounds good but means nothing. When a team makes sweeping changes, said identity comes into question. Usually, the vague term is applied to an overall philosophy—is this team all pitching and defense, or do they live and die by the three-run home run sort of stuff. It can also apply to the complexion of the roster and the minutiae that comes with.
Over the past fortnight, the Rays have changed their team identity in at least one way. By adding Luke Scott and Carlos Pena, they have ensured new opening day starters at the positions furthest to the right on the defensive spectrum. The Rays have also tweaked the playing style at those positions. Neither Johnny Damon nor Casey Kotchman, the predecessors at the positions, offered a lot of power, but making a lot of contact can breed fanfare—to the point where many, Damon included, were disappointed to find the Rays pursuing upgrades at the positions.
With the signing of Randy Winn effectively ending Johnny Damon's tenure in pinstripes, where will he land next?
Even Yogi Berra would agree: it's over. For any Yankees fan clinging to a shred of hope that the team would somehow come to its senses and find a way to fit Johnny Damon back into their budget, Thursday's announcement of Randy Winn's signing to a one-year, $2-million deal dashed those hopes. It's not that the Yankees and Damon didn't try to find some middle ground; they clearly did, continuing to pump life into the story long after most observers had written the possibility off, or at least grown tired of the story. Now, the question is which options remain for Damon?
Johnny Damon's double steal in the ninth inning of Game Four sparked the Yankees' rally.
Everyone has seen variations of the double steal. Runners on first and third, the runner from first breaks for second, the catcher throws to second and the runner from third takes off for home and scores. Or runners on first and second and both advance a base on the same pitch.
Derek has a rundown of a Game You May Have Heard About.
So the question is, why are we back with these two teams? They came into this weekend series a game and a half apart in the standings atop the AL East. So far, the Yankees have taken the first three games-sweeping a Friday doubleheader that featured an afternoon blowout and the longest nine-inning game in major league history in the nightcap, then blasting past the Sox in the late innings of Saturday's game. With two games left in the series, the Red Sox have the opportunity to salvage the series, or to watch a prime chance slip through their fingers. With the level of competition we are seeing in the AL Central, the loser of this division race is anything but guaranteed a playoff spot via the wild card.
We kick off the new year with some response to the Johnny Damon defection, the Matt Lawton positive test, rumblings in the AL East, and more.
"It's just disappointing, man--it seems like the fricking wheels are falling off. Personally, I want to stay with the Red Sox but this could mean that I'm the pitcher who would have to go to another team if they need another center fielder. I'm just hoping we can get (outfielder) Dave Roberts (of San Diego) for David Wells to alleviate that." --Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo, after Johnny Damon signed with the Yankees (Boston Herald)