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Damon will give Acta more options to improve the lineup.
Although Damon has been a leadoff hitter for most of his career, he’s spent the last three season with the Yankees, Tigers and Rays hitting out of the two hole. Again, the consistency of his numbers reveals why Damon is closing in on 3,000 career hits. Over the past three seasons hitting second, he’s produced a respectable .269/.348/.446 slash line. Compare that with Asdrubal Cabrera’s numbers hitting second over the same time span 295/.343/.444, and you’ll see Damon still has plenty of game left.
Noting Damon’s success hitting lefties, Acta has a variety of options to juggle his lineup.
Against LHP, Damon can either hit leadoff or second, with the Tribe’s "super-utility man" Jason Donald manning center field and leading off. Regardless if Donald is new to the position or not, the addition of Damon makes Aaron Cunningham instantly expendable, and that news couldn’t be more welcome for Tribe fans. With Damon in the fold and Jose Lopez brought in as another right-handed utility infielder, Donald should get his chances to learn center. He’s a smart ball player and athletic enough to handle the transition.
If Manny wants to keep Damon in the lineup against RHP, he can bat leadoff and move Brantley to the bottom third of the order. Ideally, the lineups could look something like this:
Against RHP: Damon, Cabrera, Choo, Hafner, Santana (hits almost 100 points higher when hitting fifth than fourth for his career), Kipnis (he need more at-bats than Kotchman), Brantley, Kotchman, Hannahan
Against LHP: Donald (CF), Damon (DH), Cabrera (SS, hits LHP and RHP about equally), Santana (1B, hits LHP well), Choo (RF, doesn’t hit LHP as well as RHP) Duncan (LF), Hannahan (3B), Lopez (2B), Marson