Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Matt Lawton, Yankee

I'm a little confused by the logic of the Matt Lawton trade. The Yankees have two principal problems, now that their starters are pitching well: center field and middle relief. Lawton, though an outfielder, is no center fielder. He's projected to be our left fielder, with Hideki Matsui moving to center. Which moves Bernie Williams to DH. Which puts Jason Giambi, one of the worst fielders in the majors, to first (and puts Tino Martinez on the bench).

So: you've got a slight defensive improvement in center field (Matsui over Williams), a slight defensive downgrade in left field (if Lawton were better than Matsui, he'd be in center), and a substantial defensive downgrade at first. Net, that's a downgrade.

So the upside must be offensive, right? Well, we're effectively replacing Martinez with Lawton. Lawton's stats this season: .268 batting average, 11 home runs, 49 RBI. Martinez's stats this season: .237 batting average, 17 home runs, 47 RBI. That's basically a wash. Both are lefties, on the wrong side of 30, with declining skills.

So, we've added $8 million in payroll to make the team worse defensively. Huh? Is there some kind of Guinness world record for "most bad contracts on one team" that Steinbrenner is gunning for?