First, you have your too expensive property. That would be Johnny Damon. Reportedly, he wants $5 million for his services. That’s a bit more than all the other candidates we are going to be looking at. But he has more living space. If (God forbid) something were to happen to Brett Gardner as he continues to slide head first into every base (including first), he is a cringe-worthy accident waiting to happen. Damon could at least play left without being too embarrassing. It might be fun to see that noodle arm hitting Jeter with a four-bouncer again.
The next property on our list is perhaps right around budget. That would be Hideki Matsui. Nobody is going to even assign him a glove. This property doesn’t have that extra bedroom or bathroom. All Matsui is going to do is bat against right-handed pitchers. Yes, he could play left if there was an emergency, but you hope that property doesn’t have to be stretched that way.
Presumably, Raul Ibanez would be the cheaper option. This property has the least amount of living space. After all, have you seen those defensive metrics? Egads, man! Not only would the Yankees not assign him a glove, but like that scene in the movie, What’s Up Doc, there would be someone running after Ibanez and tripping him if the former Phillie even thought about heading out in that direction.
Every once in a while House Hunters will give an extra option. It doesn’t happen often, but watch enough of those shows (this is starting to sound sad, no?) and now and then a fourth option will be presented. That “off the wall” option would be Russell Branyan, who we learned today signed a minor league contract with the Yankees.
One of the staples of this television show is that each option gives us a graphic that includes the price of the property, the square footage and other information we need to guess along with the home buyers. Our version of that staple is our handy baseball statistics. Let’s take a quick look at what the Yankees would get for their money with each option. The first thing we will have to do is forget about how the players do against left-handed pitching. Andruw Jones is going to get those at bats. The statistic we will use is wOBA specific to each player’s performance against right-handed pitching. The only one of these players that might see any at bats against southpaws would be Damon. But that’s why he’s more expensive.
- Damon: .313 wOBA against right-handed pitching. .337 in 2010 and .385 in 2009.
- Matsui: .291 in 2011, .378 in 2010 and .366 in 2009.
- Ibanez: .322 in 2011, .352 in 2010 and .362 in 2009.
- Branyan: .301 in 2011, .375 in 2010 and .380 in 2009.
For the sake of comparison, Jorge Posada‘s wOBA as a left-handed batter last season was .352. Interestingly, Damon and Matsui both had higher wOBAs against left-handed pitchers last season. Just to further help you in picking these properties, Branyan is also a pretty good defensive first baseman if you believe those fielding metrics. If he got the job, there wouldn’t be a need for Eric Chavez. Damon can also allegedly play first, but nobody really wants that.
All four fell off in 2011. All are getting up there in years with Ibanez being the oldest. This is going to be one of those House Hunters where it is really hard to choose, isn’t it? No matter what you spend, you get a similar property.