What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Naturally, the reason the question is even being asked is because of the uniform he is wearing in the above picture. Anybody who dons the Yankee pinstripes is automatically assumed to be one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Concomitantly, they tend to be dramatically over-rated. When they are also represented by uber-agent Scott Boras, the inflation of value hits levels not seen since the Weimar Republic.
Let’s play a game called “Baseball Frankenstein.” The object is to create the worst player possible by taking some of the worst individual skills of major leaguers. One might start with the foot speed of Bengie Molina. It would be hard to imagine worse fielding skills than those of Adam Dunn. When it comes to the bat, add the power of Luis Castillo, and Jack Cust’s batting average.
While one could argue over the aforementioned ingredients, there’s no doubt that this creature must have the throwing arm of Johnny Damon. This is a throwing motion that is riduculed by 13-year old softball-playing girls. Damon routinely can’t hit the cut-off man on the fly, let alone gun a runner down at the plate. Sports Illustrated did a poll of 380 major-league players, and 54 percent said Damon possessed the “worst arm” of any outfielder. This explains why opposing third base coaches now risk shredding their rotator cuffs enthusiastically windmilling runners home from second on even sharply-hit singles to Damon.
It is because of this inability to throw that prompted the Yankess to move Damon from center to left field two years ago. Even so, his arm still proves to be a liability. So much so that teams are overlooking his offense as his defense may cost a team more than Damon can provide. Damon hit .282 last season with a career-high 24 home runs. But defense has become a hot commodity amongst general managers, so much so that out of the top 50 finishers in the Holy Grail of offensive stats, OPS, only two are currently available on the open market: Damon and defensive clank-meister Russell Branyan.
In this recently begun era of financial restraint and advanced defensive statistics, baseball’s general managers like to bolster their rosters with strong fielders (see the Red Sox’ signings of Adrian Beltre and Mike Cameron and almost every non-pitching acquisition Jack Zduriencik has made in his 15 months as the Mariners’ general manager), not only because fielding represents a newly focused-upon way to win, but also because the salaries commanded by top defensive players have yet to catch up with those of sluggers or staff aces.
Now Damon is 36 years old, and even though the Yankees two years ago shifted him to left field from center, his arm has become a genuine liability. Damon has been a free agent for more than two months, and during that time he has discovered how the free-agent market treats formerly highly paid defensively flawed 36-year-olds.
The answer: Not kindly.