Sorry for the delay. I had the chance to hop on an early flight home, and I went for it. Good to be back home.
So...with Randy Winn and the Yankees committed to one another, do we finally believe the Yankees are done with Johnny Damon? Or will we have to wait until Damon signs with another team? Ever since the Yankees signed Nick Johnson, Damon had become less of a priority for the Yankees, who wanted to emphasize youth, defense and versatility. It made sense, in their minds, to bring back Damon at a reasonable price (the two years and $14 million) only if he spent a lot of time at DH, which became impossible once Johnson hopped aboard.
Winn? He ain't young, that's for certain, and his 2009 was just brutal. But his 2008 and 2007 splits against lefty pitchers were better, and his defense is still an asset. In theory, I like the changes the Yankees have made this winter, getting Curtis Granderson and Winn to replace Melky Cabrera and Damon in the outfield mix and replacing Hideki Matsui with Nick Johnson. I'm curious to see how it plays out in reality.
--As for Damon, the A's have made him a one-year offer for about $7 million, but he's not quite jumping at the opportunity. My Newsday colleague Jim Baumbach noted recently that Damon didn' t enjoy his one season in Oakland. As you can see here, his 2001 campaign, with the A's, was his second-worst season in the big leagues from an offensive standpoint. It wouldn't surprise me if Damon waited around a little longer to see if anything else surfaced.
--From Port St. Lucie...it was pretty quiet this morning. I'm going to write a story on Daniel Murphy, who insists that he is wiser than he was a year ago. That his struggles in 2009 humbled him, and that he has transformed from a strictly opposite-field hitter to one willing to use the entire field.
Murphy was driving back to his Jacksonville home today, and he said he planned to set up shop in Port St. Lucie for good on Super Bowl Sunday.
Oliver Perez played catch, then hopped in a limo for the airport, where he was headed back to his Phoenix home. He said he plans to throw off a mound twice a week until spring training.
Jerry Manuel said that Pat Misch would be a starting pitcher during spring training, and that Bobby Parnell would be a reliever.
--UPDATE, 7:32 p.m.: Mike Puma of the New York Post first reported that the Mets are close to re-signing Fernando Tatis. From speaking with someone in the loop, that wording might be a tad strong. But Tatis now ranks above Carlos Delgado on the Mets' radar, and it wouldn't be a surprise at all if Tatis were the right-handed component of a first-base platoon with Murphy in 2010.
Last week, I made a leap and suggested that the Mets were the favorites to sign Delgado. That turned out, too, to be a tad strong, as ultimately, the Mets just didn't see enough of Delgado on defense to commit to him.