Picking A Lefty DH HGTV Style

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.

William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

14 thoughts on “Picking A Lefty DH HGTV Style

  1. J. Wagner

    Damon would be my top choice, but at that 5mil price point is a real turnoff. I really like the Branyan signing and maybe he can prove himself in the minors. Very low risk and a move in line with the past minor league deals for aging veterans. And how could I have never heard his nickname before… "Russel the Muscle"? That is such a funny nickname. Anyway, in the end I think we end up with Ibanez though, and that wouldn't bother me one bit.

  2. J. Wagner

    Ibanez and Matsui would be the houses with either bad neighborhoods or terrible views, like a large warehouse next door. Just don't go outside or look out a window (ie let them play in the field) and you may end up liking the place.

    • You've got the spirit! Perfect.

  3. David

    House Hunters International is, by far, the superior show and hugely entertaining (plus, you should also try Property Brothers).

    Actually, Property Brothers would make shopping for a DH more fun — one is the agent who sells us the DH, the other is the trainer who fixes up the DH once we have him!

    • williamjtasker

      Love the International, especially Italy and the tropics. Love the Property Brothers and that analogy works too. My favorite is still Mike Holmes.

  4. jay_robertson

    Not a bad analogy; we've been house-hunting for our son the last 6 months. You (or the tv show) have left out the biggest bummer – when you've found the perfect house, and then someone else comes in and scoops it up. Sometimes even for LESS money. (think Cliff Lee)

    Tho in this case, I think we're pretty safe – the odds of someone "stealing" Damon for 5 mil have to be as slim as the odds of the Giants winning the Super Bowl – back when they were 7-7.

    • williamjtasker

      Another good analogy of the properties being stolen. Good luck with the house hunt.

  5. bravo116

    Great Post. My wife loves that show.

  6. Why wouldn't we be assuming Andruw Jones, who wasn't bad in the OF last year, would get any time in the corner spot if any of the starters got hurt?

    • williamjtasker

      The assumption is that Jones would still be in a platoon situation even if forced into outfield duty.

      • So, both players would be in the every day lineup, except one would be playing the field based on the handedness of the pitcher? That doesn't make much sense to me.

  7. Michael P

    I don't know how off the wall it would be to see Branyon do well in a DH platoon situation. He would certainly add some pop to the lineup, and would only be batting in the back 3 so strikeouts wouldn't be as big an issue. Hopefully he can do the job well, could end up as another smart Cashman signing like the ones of Chavez, Garcia, and Colon last year.

    • williamjtasker

      Branyan is intriguing, no doubt. I'm rooting for him for some reason.

  8. jay_robertson

    HEY! – just read – Angels want to move Abreu – maybe we could swap AJ for Bobby, and pay the Angels the difference in salary. – we'd end up with an expensive 4th outfielder/dh – but I liked him when he was here the first time…

    I know – 9 million – but a lot of folks are trying to trade AJ for a bag of peanuts – Abreu might be better.

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