Yankees Already Have the Perfect Number-Two Hitter: Robinson Cano

Perry ArnoldSenior Analyst IDecember 14, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 22:  Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees rounds first base on a triple to right field during the seventh inning in Game Five of the ALCS against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Angel Stadium on October 22, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Much concern with the Yankees right now centers around the need to sign Johnny Damon to fill the number two hole behind Derek Jeter.

Curtis Granderson is not a good two hitter because he strikes out too much.

But if Damon is not resigned, there is not as much to worry about. The Yankees already have the perfect man for the job.

Robinson Cano would fit very nicely behind Jeter in the lineup. In fact, looking at the 2009 numbers he looks better than Damon. And Cano is only 27 years old whereas Damon is 36.

Last year Cano hit .320 with an on base percentage of .352 and a slugging percentage of .529. His OPS+ was 129.

Compare that to Johnny Damon. Damon hit .282 with a .365 OBP, a .489 slugging percentage and an OPS+ of 126.

Cano had 204 hits compared to 155 for Damon. Cano scored 103 runs compared to 107 for Damon.  And Cano rapped 48 doubles compared to 36 for Damon and 25 home runs compared to 24 for Damon.

If Cano had been hitting in the two hole in front of Mark Teixeira and ARod, undoubtedly he would have scored more runs than he did and more than Damon did.

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Cano is probably a little slower than Damon, but Damon is prone to leg problems now and nothing is certain with him.

So if the Yanks don't resign Damon, move Cano into the two hole and the top of the Yankees order is set for a long time.