When I was a senior in high school, two guys asked me out for New Year’s Eve. Neither was an actual boyfriend (I was only in love with Mickey Mantle). One was quiet and dependable. The other was a lot of fun. But I couldn’t go out with both of them, could I? Brian Cashman’s dilemma is similar. He has to choose between Matsui and Damon, now that both are free agents. Does he decide to go with the quiet, dependable one?
Matsui did win the Series MVP and he’s been nothing if not an RBI machine ever since he joined the Yankees. He’s a lefty who hits for power and average, gets along with everybody and is a complete professional. His drawbacks? He’s strictly a DH, can’t run the bases given his bad knees, and he’s 35 – hardly ready for the assisted living facility but not young in baseball years. Still, can the Yankees really afford to part with Godzilla?
Johnny Damon’s slap-happy lefty swing was made for Yankee Stadium. He’s perfect in the #2 slot, makes contact especially with two strikes, can go yard into Damon’s Deck and is a speedy and smart base runner, as we saw from his pivotal steals of second and third in the World Series. His drawbacks? His weak throwing arm is a liability in left field, his legs need to be rested for maximum effectiveness, and he’s 36 – even though it seems like only yesterday that the Yankees signed him.
I loathed him as a Red Sock, but over the four years he’s been in pinstripes I’ve grown to appreciate his all-out effort, as well as his playfulness. Can the Yankees really say goodbye to the great chemistry he has with his teammates?
My solution would be to try to bring them both back. OK, I know that’s wishful thinking. I’m not in high school anymore.
So I’d pick Matsui, because he’s a better pinch-hitter.
No, wait. I’d pick Damon, because he’s a better all-around player.
Or maybe I’d pick Matsui, because he’s Pedro Martinez’s daddy.
Or maybe I’d pick Damon, because he doesn’t need a translator.
Matsui. Damon. Matsui. Damon. I don’t know! I need to talk to Cashman right away. He’s in Chicago at the GM meetings. I have to reach him before he does something crazy, so off I go.
I guess we’ll have to wait to hear about Matsui and Damon. You can’t say I didn’t try.