The New York Yankees apparently are on the hunt for a part-time designated hitter after trading Jesus Montero. So expect to hear the announcement that Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui will return to pinstripes any day now.
The Montero trade clears the path for one of the World Series heroes to come back to the Bronx and try to recapture the magic of 2009. The Yankees won’t overpay for either of them and won’t promise them much in the way of playing time. But if Damon or Matsui are realistic about their options, they might consider a return to the Yankees to be their best chance for another championship.
However, Damon already has a pair of World Series rings and is 277 hits shy of the magic 3,000-hit mark to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame so he might opt for a team that will guarantee him more playing time. Matsui is still immensely popular in New York, as shown by the loud cheers and long standing ovations that he received every time he stepped up to the plate as a member of the Angels and the A’s, even with former teammates such as Derek Jeter. If he is willing to settle for less money, the Yankees would likely welcome him back.
The Yankees do not really need to hire a designated hitter. They could go with a rotation that has position players such as Jeter and Alex Rodriguez fill the slot once or twice a week to rest their aging bones. Truthfully, I would much rather have a younger back-up who could help Eduardo Nunez spell the regulars. At this point of their careers, neither Damon nor Matsui can be counted on for regular work in the field.
But I may have the minority opinion on this one, as we Yankee fans are suckers for nostalgia and the great tradition of the Bronx Bombers. As long as either Damon or Matsui could be had for the right price, I don’t think the Yankees have any problem bringing one of them back into the fold. They’ve done it before with Tino Martinez, a move that thrilled me beyond belief despite Tino’s rough years away from the Yankees because he is a personal favorite of mine (like I said, we are suckers for nostalgia). So a Damon or Matsui reunion could be imminent, a prospect that will make a lot of Yankee fans very happy.
Thanks to Keith Allison for the Damon photo and edogisgod for the Matsui photo via Wikipedia.