Recently, Brian Cashman signed outfielders Randy Winn and Marcus Thames to compete with Brett Gardner to see who gets to solidify the number 9 spot in our lineup. Cashman did this in place of signing an established outfielder such as Johnny Damon, Matt Holiday, or Jason Bay.
"We weren't trying to find a clean up hitter. We already have players for that. When I looked over our roster the one glaring hole was at the number 9 spot. It seemed like we just didn't have a player crappy enough to play there."
When he realized this, Cashman set out to fill this hole.
"I quickly got on the phone and called Hal to talk budget. Hal said 'We got $20 million we can use if you want to sign Damon.' But I said 'No thanks, how much do we spend on office supplies in a year?' Hal tells me about $2.5 million. I said that's still too much for the kind of crappy player I'm looking for, but if I split that money among three different players, I think we'll be in the ballpark."
So Cashman used that money to secure salaries for three players who he's hoping will compete for the number 9 hole. These players are Brett Gardner, Marcus Thames, and Randy Winn.
"What I'm really hoping for is a quadruple A player. Someone who is too good to keep in Triple A, but bad enough that you want to hide them at the end of your lineup. I don't know if we've found him, but somewhere in our organization this player has to exist."
What attracted Cashman to the players he's secured?
"You see, Gardner is fast, but his speed is also why I don't think he's bad enough for the 9-spot. Thames can't hit for crap, but when he does hit, he hits it a long way, and that's a little too risky for the 9-spot. Then there's Randy Winn, who plays good defense, a little too good, so I just don't know. All these players display tendencies towards being crappy, but none of them really stand out as being the best crappiest player for the 9-spot."