Cashman Made A Mistake Signing Winn

Last offseason the Yankees were in the market for an outfielder that could hit lefties. The tricky thing was that Johnny Damon was a free agent.

The Yankees didn’t want Damon though. They didn’t want to deal with the hassle of dealing with his agent Scott Boras and certainly didn’t want to give in to his multi-year contract demands. The Yankees had long term plans that Damon’s multi-year deal would have interfered with and had a young outfielder named Brett Gardner who had such flashy defense that they felt compelled to give him a shot.

So the Yankees tried to make it clear that they weren’t interested in Damon, despite the fact that nobody believed them myself included. At the same time they were looking for a bat that they could platoon against lefties. Part of the thing they did to do this was establish very publicly that they were only looking to spend $2 million tops.

Their net was not cast wide enough for Damon, but it turned out that it was wide enough to catch Randy Winn in. Understand, Winn is somebody that Brian Cashman has liked for years. He’s been trying to trade for him ever since his days with Seattle. Winn had just come off a year where he was getting paid $8.25 million and Cashman has been dealing with a stubborn player all offseason. My guess is that he couldn’t believe that Winn, with all of his experience, was so willing to take what was obviously a low-ball offer.

The Yankees said all offseason that they were searching for an outfielder who could hit lefties and signed Winn instead. Winn had been good throughout his career against lefties, but in recent years he has become over-matched by them. He was 0-for-11 against southpaws as a Yankee. Winn’s contract was loaded with incentives for plate appearances against lefties and in the end he faced them 11 times.

Luckily for the Yankees they were able to nab Marcus Thames on a minor league contract and he’s worked out pretty well. But it does say a lot that the Yankees cut Winn before it’s even June. It signals that even they realize they made a mistake. Keeping Kevin Russo around, a guy who until this season had never played a single game in the outfield, in Winn’s place is another sign that they realize they’ve made a mistake.

—-

Another related note, with Russo on the roster and the Yankees in the market for an outfield bat (ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported this yesterday) Ramiro Pena should be very worried about his spot on the roster. If Russo keeps playing well and the Yankees do trade for a bat then it could be the end for Pena.

This entry was posted in Editorial and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Cashman Made A Mistake Signing Winn

  1. Brian Burkhart says:

    Saying they realize they made a mistake might not be the right way to put it. It was a $1.1 million dollar investment that didn't really pan out, but where else would they have invested that money? Seems like Chan Ho Park is a similar situation: low cost veteran who isn't playing that well. But in both cases they really only stand to lose a little money.

    Also, when Cash signed Winn, he made a comment about how he was really looking for a backup outfielder in case of injury who was good all around; Thames was more of the right-handed bat signed to hit lefties.

  2. smurfy says:

    Yeah, it's kinda sad it didn't work. Randy seemed a real nice guy. Noticed him in the handshake line the other night, just after Swish's homer won the game: he looked like the forgotten guy, like you feel among a foursome when you couldn't hit a drive all day.

  3. You make a good point, they were just taking a flyer on a veteran. But at the time a lot of us thought they would still target Reed Johnson. If you notice, Johnson has played all three outfield positions and has done a great job against lefties. When the Yankees signed Winn they should have been signing Johnson.

  4. Eric Communiello says:

    I was pretty happy about the Winn signing when it happened because on paper he provided everything the Yankees would need him for. He just didn’t perform when the Yankees needed him to. I’m still pretty surprised they DFA’d him so soon.

  5. I liked the deal too, but I was really surprised at the time that they signed him.

    I think they must have been really disappointed in him too. They obviously wanted him to bat against lefties otherwise they wouldn’t have worked incentives against lefties into his contract the way they did.

  6. Jeffrey says:

    They let him go because of the great job that Thames has been doing and Gardner's stellar play. He was just the odd man out and I wouldn't be surprised to see him do pretty well in St. Louis.

    I don't see where Reed Johnson would fit in now – there are already two CF's in Granderson and Gardner and Thames has really hit lefties (and righties) well.

  7. Well being as their backup outfielder is Kevin Russo who has all of 15 games experience in the outfield, I’d say Reed Johnson would fit in perfectly. Imagine an outfield of Thames-Johnson-Swisher against lefties? Then Gardner-Granderson-Swisher against righties. That outfield would give you over a .900 OPS every day.