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THE REALISTIC GIANTS FAN: Winn's Gone, Damon Not Coming

In the Game of Giants Mucial Chairs, Damon Left Without a Seat


Randy Winn has departed. We all knew he was leaving, but the Yankees have now made it official. The Yankees made two of my favorite offseason moves. First they ended the Nick Johnson sweepstakes by signing him rather early in the offseason, barring any chance of his presence by the bay. Now with this move they have given a good guy of the game a well deserved home. Randy Winn is by all accounts a world class gentleman, and-say what you want about the Yankees-secretly we know they are a world class organization. This will allow me to be .01% less chapped if the Yankees repeat. Don't read too far into that...I still hate 'em.

Winn will inevitably find himself in some sort of a platoon, but I'm sure the inevitable winning will help that become easier to take. Plus Winn realizes just like the rest of us that he is getting older. That being said, due to late inning defensive replacements, I expect Winn to see action in at least 120 games. It will also be a fun experiment to see just how much of a bandbox new Yankee Stadium is. If Winn hits 15 homers they need to close the yard until they fix their worse than 1995 Colorado problem. In a side note look for Johnny Damon's power numbers, outside of some way unforseen signing by Philly or Cincinnati, to return to earth. Damon and his agent baffle me, they want way more money than he's worth. He's 35, and the rest of baseball is not filled with fools. They understand that ballparks play roles. All things level Johnny Damon is no more a 25 homer guy than poor David Wright is a 5 homer guy. It's so funny that two stadiums so relatively close can play so different. I remember I was talking to my cousin from Jersey about going to New York on a visit, and he asked which part I wanted to go to. "Whichever," I said, "it's all New York."

"Uh-uh," he said, "they're all in the same city, but they're worlds apart." I always thought of this as more of a figurative statement, with no actual geographic bearing...apparently I was wrong. I've been wrong before, though. When I was little I thought Elvis was a joke, and I now understand he's the King. Age brings wisdom.

Two separate people I know asked me if Winn's departure would signal the Giants making a run at Damon. Then the subject was broached on both MLB Network's Hot Stove and CSN's Chronicle Live. Here's the realistic answer to all of that nonsense: NO. The long answer has two points. I love how people just invent roster spots. In the roster's current state the only person who will really be able to handle the bulk of right field, and by the bulk I mean at AT&T, Petco., and Coors, is Nate Schierholtz. Bringing Damon in would cause a left field cluster you know what. Where would you go from there? Make Mark De Rosa a 6 million dollar a year even less used utility guy? With Juan Uribe around as well you could start finding yourself with more forks than salad. It also wouldn't change the right field situation, as Damon's arm is weak, and weak, not even in capital letters is VERY generous. Second, I would say sign 'em all and have a grand run off in the Spring, loser be damned to the bench, but seriously, they would all have to be given too much money for that scenario. As it stands right now De Rosa will earn his money in left and get a little time in the infield. Huff will occupy first, with the occasional break to play right in the bandboxes (i.e. Houston, Philly). If Ishikawa wants to play he better get right and left fields down, and more importantly learn how to hit somewhere other than at home or the PCL.

Even with all that, I would say a bigger point may be the fact that the Giants have known Winn wasn't coming back since probably before the all-star break last year, and have shown no interest in Damon to this point, so why would the "official" exit change anything? Call me crazy, but I'd have rather seen Winn return than Bengie. With a way reduced salary Winn would have been a great bench player, and would have allowed us to not even worry about Velez, or Bowker. I see last year as just an off year for Winn, and I think he will hit better this year. I was not interested in bringing him back as a starter, though, as it is Nate's turn. In that way, it's better because Boch probably would have figured out how to put him back in the starting line-up eventually. Bengie on the other hand is not about to be the great mentor to Buster Posey everyone is envisioning. Instead Bengie, a sensitive individual, will be competitive with him. I expect to see a lot of bravado when Posey makes his inevitable appearance after he tears up minor league pitching that will now find itself another year behind his talent. Remember Bengie's shirt puffing towards Posey after hitting a meaningless late season homer in 2008? Maybe I'm a minority but I think if Buster Posey was handed the reins from opening day he would put up better numbers than Molina is about to, and Eli Whiteside would see even less playing time than he got lost year. Sadly, we will now never know.

Season's getting close everyone! Fan fest is on Saturday, and you can count on my presence, and yes, I am the type to use the mic at the question and answer sessions. I will also get some autographs, and pick up a grip of worthless free schwag. There will also be discounts on ticket packages I assume, and I'll probably grab a couple. The Fan Fest must be like those home and garden shows were to my ex, an exposition highlighting all your favorite things that warms you up for what's coming. A chance to meet with others who share your passion, no matter how insignifigant you know it to actually be, and realize you're not alone in your insanity. See ya there!

(The Realistic Giants Fan appears regularly. Feel free to contact me at realisticgiantsfan@yahoo.com)

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