So the Yankees are reportedly going to sign Randy Winn for a few million. Winn, a right-handed batter, brings a couple of possibilities to the Yankees. He either puts a right-handed bat (he is a switch hitter) in the line up instead of Gardner or Granderson (more likely the former) and it effectively closes the door on Johnny Damon's Yankee career. The other possibility is that he replaces Gardner completely.
One of the questions the signing brings is how much Randy Winn has left to offer. A career .762 OPS and Winn finished last year at .671. At the age of 35, does he have anything left, or was last year what you are going to get from now on? His BABIP was .308 which is right about where it should have been. In other words, he wasn't lucky or unlucky. So he fully deserved the low level he finished up with.
Now here is the devastating part. He is being brought in primarily to bat right handed and balance out the lefties, Granderson and Gardner. BUT, his batting line against lefties last year? Ugh, try .158/.184/.200. Now that's ugly. Even Gardner could do that with one hand, right?
So how does this move make sense? To add a bit of fairness to this evaluation, while Winn's over all BABIP was .308, his BABIP was under .200 batting from the right side. That's pretty unlucky. Winn's career numbers against lefties are .280/.332/.426. Not great, but better than last year (understatement alert!). To continue the fairness end of things, Winn posted an .812 OPS as a right-handed batter in 2008. So maybe last year was just a fluke.
Let's take a minute to talk about the other ramifications. Damon's Yankee career is dead. Scott Boras really didn't gauge this one correctly. The Yankees would have welcomed Damon back, but not for $10 million a year. Damon has been a popular player, but his wheels are falling off (lots of calf problems) and it will be nice for Yankee fans to see a throw actually make it to the infield once in a while. Damon was fun. But he is done.
Brett Gardner can't get a break can he? The Yankees get rid of his main competition in Melky Cabrera and then along comes Winn. Let's face it, the Yankees do not believe in Brett Gardner. And as much as the Fan wanted to see what happened if he got 500 at bats, it's not to be. First the Fuld dream in Chicago dies and now Gardner. The Fan could be wrong, but there is no way that Gardner gets 300 at bats now, never mind 500. The kid was simply fun to watch. Yeah, we know...fun doesn't equal stats and Gardner didn't excite anyone with his OPS or even his OBP. But he sure was a lot of fun.
Okay, bottom line: If Winn can prove that last year was a fluke (on all fronts) and can continue to bring superior defense from the corner outfield spots (he's much less effective in center), then a platoon role makes a lot of sense for the chump change the Yankees spent on him. The Yankees might miss Matsui and Damon in the post season. Or they may not. Who knows. But if last year wasn't a fluke for Winn...If the guy has simply gotten too old to be effective, then this is a bad deal. Time will tell.