randy winn yankees, johnny damon, randy winn stats, brett gardner, randy wynn
Randy Winn, Randy Winn Yankees, Winn, not Damon, becomes Yankees' answer in LF. The New York Yankees have apparently settled on who will be their starting left fielder for the 2010 season ... and it's NOTJohnny Damon.
Many baseball experts had predicted the Yanks and Damon would reach a compromise so he could bring his 24-homer bat back to the Bronx. But that's not going to be the case now that the Yankees have reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with free agent Randy Winn.
Winn, who at age 35 is seven months younger than Damon, hit .262 with 51 RBI and 16 stolen bases for the Giants last season (and hit 22 fewer home runs than Damon did). But he's a solid defender and a switch-hitter -- two things Damon isn't. Plus, he comes at a bargain price that fits into the Yankees budget. (If you can believe you're actually reading that sentence.)
Yankees GM Brian Cashman recently said he was looking for a right-handed outfield bat. But Winn hit just .154 against left-handed pitchers in 2009 with an OPS of .384. However as Fox Sports.com' John Halpin notes, his career OPS marks are much more stable -- .765 vs. lefties, .758 vs. RHP.
Despite signing with the majors' top offensive team, Winn's fantasy value doesn't really change much. Interestingly, I have him in a virtual dead heat among my outfielder rankings with former Yankee Melky Cabrera (83rd among OFs in mixed leagues). Winn's presence also figures to drop Brett Gardnerdown to fourth-outfielder status, where we thought he'd be anyway this season.
The most interesting aspect of the move is where it leaves Damon in the free agent marketplace.
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports that the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds could use a left fielder and agent Scott Boras is looking to stir up interest. But neither team has expressed a desire to pay what Damon is likely asking. From a fantasy standpoint, Damon would make a nice fit with the White Sox as their full-time DH (ahead of Andruw Jones and/or Mark Kotsay). Or a nice outfielder/DH with the Rays, Mariners or A's.