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At least that was my response to an ESPN report that the Boston Red Sox have claimed former OF Johnny Damon off waivers from the Detroit Tigers. It’s unclear why Damon was on the waivers to begin with, although from my understanding, teams regularly put almost every player on waivers in August, however most aren’t claimed.
It’s also unclear at this time what the Red Sox true intentions are – whether it was to keep a competing club, like the Tampa Bay Rays or Chicago White Sox who need outfield help, from claiming him. Boston itself does need help in their injury-plagued outfield.
Damon was a member of the Red Sox championship team in 2004 which broke Boston’s 86 year championship drought. He left the Red Sox after the 2005 season, spending 4 seasons as a fan-favorite Yankee. He declined contract offers from the Yankees this off-season and instead signed with the Detroit Tigers for less money. Damon is hitting .270 with 7 homers and 40 RBI, well below his numbers while with the Yankees.
There are a few things that need to happen for Damon to join the Sox again. First, he needs to waive his no trade clause. Then, the Red Sox and Tigers have 48 hours to negotiate a trade. If that can’t be done, then the Tigers have the option of letting Damon go for nothing, or they could pull him off waivers and keep him for the remainder of the season.
The Yankees got a taste of what they are missing this season after Johnny Damon’s fifth inning home run gave the Tigers a 4-2 lead on a night that ESPN and Detroit honored longtime Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell, who passed away last week after a battle with cancer. The Yankees fell short during an eighth inning rally to finish the game down 5-4 for their second straight loss after winning 6 in a row and 9 of their previous 10 games.
The Yankees got a good look at three former members of the organization who are playing in Detroit this season. Austin Jackson, a former Triple-A star for the Bombers has led the AL in hits this season and although he was held hitless Monday night, he did have a sacrifice fly for an RBI. Johnny Damon was 1-3 with a HR and a walk. Both hitters are batting .360 and .295, respectively.
Former relief pitcher Phil Coke also faced off against his former squad, coming in during the top of the eighth with the bases loaded. After allowing one run to score on a fielder’s choice at second, Coke got Randy Winn to pop out before he was relieved of his duties with right-handed hitter Derek Jeter coming to the plate. The lefty Coke threw 5 pitches in his 2/3 of an inning.
It’s hard to see three former Yankees doing well for their new squads. Damon was a free agent acquisition for the Tigers after he and the Yankees brass couldn’t come to agreement on a contract price. Jackson and Coke were part of the deal that sent Curtis Granderson to the Bronx. After a great start to the season, including a home run in his first at-bat as a Yankee, Granderson has cooled off big time in the last few weeks, hitting only .225, and has not had an RBI since April 16 or home run since April 7. He was placed on the 15-Day DL May 2.
According to multiple media outlets on the Internet and Twitter, the first of which I saw from Tyler Kepner, Johnny Damon has signed an one-year $8 million contract, pending a physical.
Damon had little choice but to accept this offer after the White Sox took their offer off the table and there were basically no suitors left.
Rob Abruzzese at BBD has more.
Via Jon Heyman, Brian Cashman offered a one-year, $6M contract to Johnny Damon last week, however he never received a response. The deal would have included a $3M salary in 2010 with another $3M deferred without interest, and came with the promise that Hal Steinbrenner was going to sign off on it. Cashman simply never heard back from Damon and his camp, so they moved on to Randy Winn.
Heyman is a pretty solid writer who has good sources, so I’m willing to bet that either Damon thinks he’s going to get a better deal elsewhere or he has a stupid agent. This is looking more and more like Bobby Abreu last year.
For awhile there, I still thought Johnny Damon could end up with the Yankees. Now, it does not look like that is even remotely possible.
Like another Scott Boras client did in 2008-09 off-season, I think Damon (and Boras) have overestimated the market for Damon and how much $$ he would be offered. I’ll tell you one thing – he isn’t going to get the $13 Million yearly on a multi-year deal that he was hoping for. ESPN’s Andrew Marchand has already reported that there is zero chance Damon returns. He says the Yankees have already spent the money they had planned for Damon initially.
Several Yankee officials have said they planned to cut payroll and with payroll already approaching $205 Million compared to last season’s $211 Million, there is not much room to keep payroll below last year’s numbers.
It’s sad to see Damon go – I thought he was a great Yankee, but like Boras did with Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez, it seems he has overestimated the market for one of his star players and ends up costing them millions waiting for “better deals.”
I wonder if this means Boras’ days as a super-agent maybe coming to an end. Other baseball players must be noticing this trend.