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The Case for...Johnny Damon?

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Thought exercise time: If the Giants' leadoff options dwindled to two choices, which would you choose?

A) a platoon of Eugenio Velez and Andres Torres in left field

B) an expensive one-year deal for Johnny Damon to play left field

Of course the answer is C) Someone who is younger than Velez, as defensively agile as Torres, and blessed with Damon's on-base skills.

But there is no C. Not on the free-agent list, at least. I'm sure we could come up with a handful of trade candidates, but someone who fits C's skills would command a bounty in trade, and the Giants need to reserve their bounty in case a power bat becomes available.

The problem with Damon is that his power will be greatly diminished at Mays Field, which means his OBP could suffer, too. He's left-handed, and he hit 17 of his 24 home runs in 2009 at Yankee Stadium, all to the short porch in right field. Mays Field will turn many if not most of those homers into outs. Unless he proves he can still drive the ball up the right-center field alley, outfielders will pinch in and cut off his line drives.

The other problem is that his arm is terrible and his range is diminishing by the hour. A late-inning defensive sub like Torres will ease that pain somewhat, but a glove caddy also removes Damon's bat from a team likely to play a lot of games close-and-late.

So, quick, gun to your head: A) or B)? And if you have any clever ideas for C), might as well let us have those, too.  


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