When San Francisco Giant fans look to right field on Opening Day of the 2010 Major League Baseball season, an unfamiliar sight will greet them—an orange and black uniform, but no Randy Winn underneath it. Since coming over from the Seattle Mariners in the middle of the 2005 campaign, Winn had called that expanse of AT&T Park his home while pulling spot-duty in left and center.
Those days are history. What was inevitable is now official.
His new home is all the way across the country in the Big Apple. By virtue of the contract he just autographed with the New York Yankees—worth somewhere "in the neighborhood of $2 million," which is a nice neighborhood—the 35-year-old ballplayer will now get his mail at the New Yankee Stadium.
The new agreement represents a substantial pay decrease from the $9.6 million Winn earned in 2009, but that's what happens when the final vapors of an extension run out at an advanced age. Oh well, such is the "cruelty" of professional sports.
It's a bittersweet day in the Bay Area because Randy Winn is a local boy and he was an excellent Giant—both on the field and in the clubhouse. Nevertheless, the San Francisco offense demands significant production and/or youth, which are no longer Randy's calling cards, so it was time for a change.
Of course, slot the Santa Clara grad into a lineup as obscenely prolific as the Bombers' and I wouldn't be surprised in the least to see Winn shine in the new light. This is a guy who doesn't strike out much and, until last year, got on base at a .350-60 clip while flirting shamelessly with a .300 batting average.
Furthermore, Winn was born to be a supporting actor—in the City, he was asked to be one of the headliners, and that could explain last season's semi-collapse.
In New York City, he'll be just another fichus in the lobby.
Regardless of how the Winn signing turns out for the Pinstripes on the field, I'd say it's already an unmitigated triumph for the Show and those of us who love it.
See, Johnny Damon is (probably was) convinced he's worth $13 million . For one year.
Based on Damon's brilliant public record, it's safe to say that notion didn't originate from the ballplayer. The dude never strikes me as a complex thinker, one prone to objectively assessing the free agent market, his skill set, and arriving at a calculated number.
Nope, let's welcome that illustrious beacon of humanity, Scott Boras, to the increasingly ugly picture.
Granted, with the so-called super-agent in the frame, we're now at our grotesque peak.
The out-of-work outfielder is a member of Boras' stable of high-priced talent and that almost certainly means the puppet-master is the one playing hardball. Damon's lips might be moving, but the words are planted.
Which means yet another colossal backfire is on Scott Boras. Again.
First, there was the Alex Rodriguez opt-out debacle, which A-Rod and the Yanks eventually solved by circumventing Boras.
Then came the Manny Ramirez fiasco—the flight from the Boston Red Sox, the futile negotiations with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the performance-enhancing drug soap opera, and a general situation in La La Land that is in an advanced state of decay with an entire year left to go.
Maybe I'm jumping the gun. Maybe Damon gets his money from another team; anyone buying that?
If the richest and most freewheeling franchise in the sport won't pony up the cash, chances are very good nobody else will. With Winn's ink dry on the paper, the New York Yankees no longer need Damon.
Indeed, they may not have room for him.
That sound you heard was leverage leaving the building with the Bronx Bombers' checkbook.
Without those deep pockets keeping the bidding artificially high, chances are very good that Boras will have to swallow his ego (a considerable feat) and pawn Damon off to a lesser wallet for a fraction of that initial figure.
In other words, Winn's contract almost guarantees Boras another embarrassing defeat.
And that's a good day for everyone.
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