Damon reiterates desire to stay in the Bronx


Johnny Damon is engaged in a one-man lobbying effort to stay in the Bronx. Every few weeks, after delivering another huge home run or game-winning hit, Damon restates his dream of staying in New York. He said something to the effect two weeks ago and reiterated his desire again yesterday.

Speaking with beat writer Bryan Hoch before the game yesterday, Damon chatted about his desire to get to 3000 hits and his desire for one more contract. Damon is 689 hits short and says he wants to retire shortly before his 40th birthday. He obviously wants to stay in New York.

“This would definitely be the best place for me,” Damon said. “I feel like this could be my last chance to be on a winner, so I understand the free-agent game, how it is. We have a bunch of young outfielders coming up. I can’t concern myself with that. I have to go out and play every day and pretend like it could be my last chance to get to the playoffs or possibly make a World Series run.”

Damon with his nine home runs has certainly enjoyed playing in the home run-happy Yankee Stadium. He’s not afraid to admit that, either. “I’d sure love to keep taking advantage of that right-field porch,” Damon said to Hoch.

The Yanks will have a decision to make with Damon. They know what they’re getting with him. He’ll play hard, and he’ll play every day, aching or not. Considering our discussion on the age of the Yanks yesterday, though, I’m not so sure the Yankees should include Damon in their long-term plans. He’s not your prototypical DH type even though he could probably keep pace with the average AL DH.

At 35, he’s heading toward a dangerous part of his career. He’ll slow down a bit both with the bat and on the base paths. He wants just one four-year contract, but like Bobby Abreu last year, he probably won’t find it if the Yanks don’t give it to him. Right now, if I had to bet, I’d say they don’t.

Categories : News


  1. A.D. says:

    4 years would be a steep time curve, I could see perhaps 2 years, but after that one would really have to question if he can play LF still, is he going to breakdown, and if he DHes will he be blocking Montero, or some other young bat.

    Perhaps 2 + Options. I’d prefer 1 + 1 team option.

  2. A one-and-one would be preferable and I’d probably be okay with a two year deal for Johnny. I think it all depends on what the Rays do with Carl Crawford, though. If they pick up his option–even w/the intent of trading him–I think the Yankees will take Damon back.

    Bay and Holliday are candidates, too, but Bay might get locked up and we’ll have to see how Holliday rebounds after a relatively slow start. If I had to bet right now, I’d say Johnny Damon opens the 2010 season in LF for the Yankees.

  3. E. Aron says:

    Any info on what he might get in arbitration? I think we should keep him, looking at the OF free agent market in the upcoming year, but obviously the team would want 1-2 years while he would want more. So knowing what he would get as a free agent coming off the books might help the decision.

  4. If I thought Jorge Posada could (or should) be our fulltime catcher for 2010 and 2011, I’d gladly welcome Johnny back as the DH.

    Since I don’t think that’s happening, here’s what I’d rather do instead:

    1B- Tex
    DH-Posada (i think just eliminating his need to be behind the plate is the best way to keep him healthy)

    I’d pursue a short-term answer at catcher (2-3 year deal, I’m looking at Bengie Molina) and pursue one of the non-Matt-Holliday midrange options at the leftfield spot. Whomever is a good reasonable contract-to-production match amongst the Bay/Crawford/Ankiel/Cameron/Andruw Jones/Marlon Byrd group is my #2 option to be the leftfielder of the next 3-5 years. Bringing back Johnny on a one year deal (no longer than one year at a time now) is my #3 option.

    My #1 option for LF is still a 2 year deal for Manny Ramirez. Yeah, I’m crazy.

    • Say Melky’s hot streak is for real and he hits well all through ’09, would you feel comfortable giving him the LF job if AJax is ready?

      • Nah, probably not.

        We’ll still need 4 outfielders. Even if Melky hits great throughout all of ’09 and AJax comes up and also looks great for all of ’09, I still want to add one more guy to the Swisher/Melky/AJax threesome.

        I’ll say this, though; if both Melky and AJax look impressive, like, for REAL impressive, it would make me more willing to pay less for one of the lesser OF options (like, say, targeting Byrd, Jones, and Cameron as complimentary players who would come in and compete for time) rather than paying more for one of the better OF options (like Manny, Bay and Crawford).

        And then, I’d just go to camp with Swish, Melky, AJax, and say Andruw Jones and let them battle it out for the three starting spots. But frankly, Melky and AJax would have to be damn impressive for me to feel comfortable with that. I’d rather ink Crawford or Ankiel and just let AJax and Melky battle it out, also knowing that I can slide Swisher to 1B or DH on occasion and play them both simultaneously.

        • El Generalissimo says:

          If Melky is for real I would have no problem bringing damon back for a year with an option for a 2nd… contingent only on crawford. I can live with a rotational outfield of melky ajax swisher and damon. 4 guys who can pretty much play any of the positions, defensive replacements, etc.

      • Bill says:

        Nope. Melky even in a relative hot streak does not really have a corner OF type of bat. If Melky stays hot and we want to go to AJax I’d trade Melky while his value is high.

        As for Damon I don’t think he expects a 4 year deal. In fact I heard an interview with him where he said he is hoping for a 2-year deal but with the market may have to end up taking a 1 year deal. I’d definitely offer Damon a 1 year deal unless of course Crawford becomes available. Crawford is the guy I really want to replace Johnny in LF. My hope is that he is a free agent either this offseason or next, but the Rays will undoubtedly pickup his option and could trade him. With that in mind I’d try to go year-to-year with Damon. In a multi-year deal there would have to be buyout of the 2nd year. This is a buyers market right now if you’re not a big name player you aren’t going to get paid big money. If Damon comes back he’ll have to come back at a bargain, but in the end I’d expect to see him back. The way he is campaigning for it both on and off the field makes for a favorable situation and hopefully an easy negotiation. Although that last part is wishful thinking on my part.

    • A.D. says:

      I think they should move to Posada at ~50% catching, and the rest DH, maybe an occasional 1B to give Tex a day off. Then, as you say, go after short term catcher solution, where that player will be getting 50%+ playing time, so they’re not really a back-up.

    • Mmmm, let’s dream:

      1-SS Jeter (R)
      2-RF Swisher (S)
      3-1B Teixeira (S)
      4-3B ARod (R)
      5-LF ManRam (R)
      6-DH Posada (S)
      7-2B Canó (L)
      8-C Bengie Molina (R)
      9-CF Melky (S) or AJax (R)

      Sidenote: if we go with Crawford or Ankiel instead of Manny, we add another lefty bat, which is a plus.

      • Slugger27 says:

        my disapproval of manny has been well documented on this blog since november, so i wont go into it… that being said id love the idea of adding bengie molina

        posadas days of 115 games a season at catcher are behind him, and to me, its just wishful thinking on the yankees part to even try that at this point. bengie on a 2/20 or something i think would work out well, and hed start 65% to jorges 35%… jorge is the DH in the other games

        also, i would think if we did sign ankiel, he would assuredly play RF and swisher in LF, right? swish has more range (more ground to cover in LF at yankees stadium) and ankiel has the better arm

      • Slugger27 says:

        im a big fan of the bengie idea

      • Kevin G. says:

        Do you think Manny will opt out?

      • JP says:

        Anybody think the shine may go off ManRam’s hitting, you know, now that he’s probably not going to be taking birth control pills to regulate his cycle any longer?

    • Slugger27 says:

      i know his defense is terrible, and i know he strikes out a ton… but adam dunn i believe will be a FA again this offseason

      tsjc, what are your thoughts for him as a possible 2 year deal in LF? i mean, we all know his shortcomings, but were not talking about some teixeira type contract here. we know the guy gets on base and slugs outta this world.

      obviously its not my first choice, but lets say your wishes of manny dont work out, and your numerous option #2 wishes dont work out, what would your interest level be?

      im not advocating or naysaying a dunn signing either way… im just curious about what others feel about this option

    • thurdonpaul says:

      if manny is ever a Yankee, i will return as a Yankee fan when he leaves,let some other team put up with his manny being manny crap

    • Monogamouse says:

      What! There is much too much age on this team and in this outfield. The best teams in this division ( Boston, Tampa bay) have outfielders that go and “get it”! ( Ellsbury, Crawford, etc……)We need a Grady Sizemore type of player. My ideal situation would consist of a introduction of youth on the outfield. No more Swisher, No more Matsui, No more Damon. Let’s stick with Melky. And Gardner. And maybe an Austin Jackson. At least then maybe some of these fly balls to the outfield get caught!

  5. ChrisS says:

    I like Damon as a player. I like his attitude.

    But he’s in a tough position for negotiatin’.

  6. Drew says:

    I wouldn’t mind a 2 year deal with a mutual option. Say 24 million plus a 12 million option. Johnny’s bat and ability to lead off or hit anywhere in the lineup is great for us. He can DH and spell our guys in the corners over the next couple years. He’s one old guy I’d like to see us keep.

  7. mos says:

    Put me on the “bring back Damon” list. I’m a fan of his hustle. I wish my son were old enough for him to understand me when I point to Damon on the TV and say “that’s how you should play the game in a few years”.

  8. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    Not a snowball’s chance in hell the Yanks give Damon a 4 year deal.

    I would be very uncomfortable offering him any more than a 1 + 1 deal, and no way do they offer him arb.

    MLB attendance is already down 7% from last year, and it will only decline as the season progresses. It will be another buyers market this off season, which means that it is very unlikely the Rays pick up Crawford’s option.

    • It will be another buyers market this off season, which means that it is very unlikely the Rays pick up Crawford’s option.

      True… unless the Rays are just totally strapped for cash and can’t take the risk that they’ll meet payroll. But yeah, I’m finding it hard to dream of Crawford because I can’t see the Rays not exercising that option, particularly since they know we’d have an instant hard on for him bigger than the one Al Davis had for Darrius Heyward-Bey.

      • Slugger27 says:

        I’m finding it hard to dream of Crawford because I can’t see the Rays not exercising that option, particularly since they know we’d have an instant hard on for him bigger than the one Al Davis had for Darrius Heyward-Bey.

        this is an excellent point and i dont think it gets brought up enough… its easy to say the rays cant afford it cuz theyre the rays and dismiss it

        the rays arent stupid… they know who their 2 biggest division threats are, and they know both of those teams have a gaping hole in LF for 2010… that knowledge influencing their decision cant be understated…. id be willing to be if the yanks and sox were set in LF for years to come they would have a lot easier time letting him walk

    • Chris says:

      MLB attendance isn’t down 7% from last year. The article that reported that compared the average attendance so far this year with the average for all of last year. Since attendance improves when schools let out, that’s not a fair comparison.

  9. Axl says:

    He’s also been playing through a bunch of injuries during his time with the Yankees so far. Yes, he’s been productive and he’s certainly making a case for him in another career year…but those minor injuries he’s been able to play through might not be so easy as he makes his way towards 40. The last thing we need is Damon, Jeter, Arod, Teixeira, etc…all in their mid-to-late 30′s taking up the majority of the line up. If we think we’re lathargic and inconsistent this year…when and if that happens…we’ll make this year look like 1998.

  10. Tank the Frank (formerly just "Frank") says:

    There’s no way he gets a 4 year deal. The economy has spoken. He knows the Yankes will give him the best deal.. 2 years with an option.

  11. Mister Delaware says:

    I love Damon, would hate to see him go, but every year of Damon in LF is another year of Jeter at SS.

    (Or have we given up on the idea of improving the IF defense at the expense of Derek’s pride?)

    • We haven’t given up on it.

      But it’s not going to happen for 2010. It’s just not. I want it, you want it, but it’s not going to happen.

      2011 is the absolute earliest I could see Jeter accepting a move. The new contract negotiation is where we have a modicum of leverage. Tell Mr. Captain that he can come back for 2 or 3 more years to chase 3000 hits, but he has to give up the SS spot.

      In any event, it doesn’t make strategic sense to make the move this offseason anyway, since there’s no good SS free agents (but there’s plenty of good LF free agents.)

      • Chris says:

        Unless you can get an elite SS to replace him, or he regresses significantly this year or next, there is no reason to move Jeter off SS. It’s frustrating to watch a slow roller hit 6″ away from him get through, but so far in his career his offense has added more value than his defense has taken away.

        • Not necessarily.

          If you subscribe to my theory that Jeter would be an average, or possibly even a plus defensive leftfielder, than he’s basically removed from the equation.

          The real breakdown is

          the net offensive+defensive production of whomever we’d put in LF if we leave Jeter at SS


          the net offensive+defensive production of whomever we’d put at SS if we move Jeter to LF, added to the marginal upgrade we’d have by the Jeter’s improved defensive production at LF vs. his old defensive production at SS.

          So, we may not need an “elite” SS replacement for Jeter in order for the switch to be beneficial, just an SS who can equal the production of our alternative leftfielder MINUS the defensive negative that the leftfielder would be offsetting.

          The removal of Jeter’s defensive negative accomplished by the switch lowers the bar of the production discrepancy between the alternative LF or SS options.

          Meaning, a stud LF and Jeter at SS may in fact be outproduced by an average SS and Jeter in LF. Because Jeter at SS and Jeter in LF are not equal values, per se

          ECONOMICS FTW!

          • andrew says:

            Econ final in a couple days… i only wish the questions asked could be on the value of a Jeter position change. comparative advantage.

          • Axl says:

            But Jeter has never played LF so we don’t know how he will exactly play out there. For all we know he could absolutely hate playing out there and that alone could effect his production…both defensively and offensively…whether he puts on the “I’m doing this for the team” act or not. It’s extremely hard to tell. But if he winds up being a decent LF…then your plan surely makes sense. But you have to factor in that Scenario B is a gamble…while Scenario A would be more of a sure thing. Thus, making Scenario A more attractive to the conservative eye.

            • Agreed on all points. All of my post is based on my theory that Jeter will be a much better defensive outfielder than he is a defensive shortstop, based on my observations of his strengths and weaknesses and my historical recollections of other players I think are similar.

              • Axl says:

                Fair enough. I hope your theories are correct. If he can play a decent LF we could get a very good SS…although the position looks to be heading back into what it was a long time ago. Hanley Ramirez probably shouldn’t be playing SS. Otherwise I’d try to nab him from Florida…although we’d probably have absolutely nothing to offer at that point.

          • JP says:


            But that’s the dispassionate, one year window approach.

            It’s not a good thing to go into every season not knowing who will be playing where. Having Jeter level offense at SS is nice, it’s incredible, actually, but it isn’t a prerequisite for winning. Having good pitching is, though, and good defense helps pitching. So, setting aside the number crunching for a minute, it’s a good idea to think in terms of developing the next regular Yankee shortstop.

            That is, if you have a reasonable candidate. If Pena gets alot of playing time this season, and continues to perform at or close to his current level, I say it’s time for tough love and to move him into the regular SS role, and move Jeter to LF. Maybe you’re sacrificing some production for next season, but you’re also, perhaps, solidifying your infield with a slick defender and someone who contributes on offense.

            Jeter can play LF, backup at 3b, etc.

            When an OF comes along who blows Derek out of the water in terms of offense, well, then that’s when Jeter starts winding it down as a regular. He’s 34 so I know this is premature, but if his offense in the next few years is something along the lines of his 2009 pace, you have to ask if it really makes sense having such a lousy defensive shortstop just to have that leeetle bit of extra offense from the position.

            I’m almost certainly dreaming; Tommie is almost certainly right that Derek won’t move until 2011, but for me, I’d like to see him as LF in 2010, and, when AJ is ready or the next great OF free agent comes along, he becomes an OF-DH-UT guy.

            But who am I kidding? He’s a G*d in NY and the Yankees will never do that to him. He’ll get his 3000th hit while still holding an infielder’s glove and dragging his cement legs around the left side of second.

    • Tom Zig says:

      Until we get Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, or JJ Hardy

  12. A.D. says:

    Given that the Yankees probably can’t offer him arb, have him decline, and then get draft picks, since he wants to come back, and will make more in arb than the free market, then they’re better off trying to negotiate for him making less money than he does now, and bringing him back.

    • Drew says:

      Given what guys like Abreu got this year. Can we be so sure that arbitration will be high for Johnny? Damon’s numbers probably won’t be as good as Bobby’s last year.

      • Drew, this is wrong all around.

        What Abreu got as a free agent is not related to what he would have won in arbitration, nor is it related to what Johnny would get in arbitration this coming offseason. Doesn’t work that way.

        Damon’s making 13M this season. That, and the fact that he’s accumulated a lot of service time (which HELPS HIM in the arb process, not hurts him) and the fact that he’d be coming off a good season means he’d probably get a raise in arb.

        Even if we offered and he accepted and we said “Look at what Abreu made in 2009, that means 2010 Johnny Damon is only worth 6M”, Johnny would probably counteroffer at least 16M. And the arbitrator would pick his number over our number.

        Even best case scenario for us, I can’t see us paying Johnny any less than, say 11M via arb. Bare minimum. I’d put the odds at him getting a raise through arb at at least 65%.

        • Drew says:

          Okay. I thought that the arbitrator looks at dollars given out to comparable players. Then sets the contract somewhere around those numbers. That’s not the case?

          • Yes, the arbitrator looks at comparable salaries for guys with similar service times as one of his/her determining factors.

            Right now, Bobby Abreu is the outlier. Most corner outfielders with 10+ years in the bigs aren’t making Bobby Abreu money, they’re making Vlad Guerrero money and Ichiro money.

            The market correction is a factor, but not enough of one yet to mean that Johnny Damon becomes the first player ever to have his salary cut in arbitration.

        • jim p says:

          So, you don’t offer arbitration, and sign him as a free agent, this being where he wants to be. No?

          Given the market, I doubt he’d get 16M as a free agent.

      • Slugger27 says:

        it starts with his current salary which is 13M

        if he were to accept arbitration, u can be sure hes getting 15 or 16 mill next season

  13. JP says:

    Another player steps it up in the contract year…


  14. Axl says:

    Does anybody think Jason Bay is actually this good? Or is it just because he’s on the Red Sox and they seem to be having everything work out for them in recent years…

    I mean I knew he was good…but his numbers weren’t THAT much better than Xavier Nady’s on the Pirates. They were better…but not to the point where he’d turn into an exact replacement for Manny Ramirez.

    • JP says:

      To answer your first question, no, I didn’t think he was this good. And I don’t think he is. But, I’d never looked at his baseball-reference page before yesterday, and you know, he’s actually alot better than I thought he was. His record is not a 45 homer guy and an offense-carrying impact player, like he seems to be now, but it’s very, very good.

      Look at the numbers. He’s actually quite a bit better than Nady. 10-15 more homers per year, with better OBP is a pretty stout difference.

      • Axl says:

        It’s a difference…but it’s not a difference to the point where they go to two separate competing teams…and Bay carry’s the team with several single handed victories while Nady kind of just blends in with the crowd continuing to accept mediocrity.

        • JP says:

          You have a way with words, Axl. No doubt, had the Red Sox got Nady, he’d have a) not gotten injured, b) be hitting .405 now, and c) he’d be laughing at Bay, who’d be hitting .212 for the Yankees with 3 homers and 5 OF errors.

    • Tom Zig says:

      contract year + being on the Red Sox

  15. dan says:

    RAB on LoHud this past January:

    (It’s about Damon)

    • Tank the Frank (formerly just "Frank") says:

      “Thanks to the RAB guys. They’ve been a great addition to the Yankees blog universe.”

      They’ve also passed you in terms of importance, content and substance. Aahhhh… it’s fun looking back at the past.

  16. JP says:

    And, judging by recent years, I’d say Cashman probably won’t sign him. The exception might be if nobody else is ready, they let Matsui go, and he accepts a 1 year deal with a team option for the second.

    As a/k/a would say, it’s sort of a numbers crunch…chances are decent that Damon would out-perform any current Yankee minor league outfielder, and it’s not inconceivable he’d outperform Carl Crawford, although that’s a bit of a stretch.

    So, in the cost benefit analysis, do you pay for Damon’s production, knowing he’s on the decline, and might get injured, or do you accept less, to save money (on something that comes along later that you need more), and to allow a minor league player to develop?

    Much depends on what happens this season. Damon keeps this production up, it’s going to be hard to cut him loose. However, if he misses 30 games, and Melky throws up a .290/14/85/.490, Damon is history.

  17. Bill says:

    JD can’t throw, field or bunt. Time to bring up Austin.
    This team needs to get younger.

  18. William says:

    If he’ll take a one, maybe two year deal, then the Yankees should definitely entertain thoughts about keeping Damon. He is still productive and has the kind of attitude that seems perfect for NY. I also really respect his sense of accountability.

  19. I love Damon, but not for four years.

    One and one or two and one I can work with.

  20. JRVJ says:

    With all due respect, I REALLY don’t agree with the majority of the comments here, particularly as pertaining to arbitration.

    Look, the Yanks have $13MM coming off the books from Matsui (who almost certainly won’t get signed), plus $6MM+ in buyouts for Giambi and Pavano (yes, I know on the last one).

    Damon is being paid $13MM, and it’s not unreasonable to think that this is what he’d make in arbitration in the 2009-2010.

    What is the down side of offering Damon arbitration? That he gets $2 or $3MM more per year for 2010?

    COnsidering that the Yankees don’t particularly look to be buyers in the 2009-2010 off-season (not that there’s much to buy, other than maybe a better catcher and utility player), the Yanks could offer arbitration to Damon and they’ll still probably come out with less payroll for 2010.

    • There isn’t really a downside to offering arbitration, if you’re okay with bringing Johnny back and paying him more.

      I’d rather do what we did with Andy Pettitte this year, though, and not offer arb and instead offer a one year slightly reduced salary. We’re still getting the player, we’re just also getting a small savngs and trying to match his salary to his production level a bit more. Also hedges our bets allowing us more payroll flexibility to go add salary in a midseason replacement deal if Johnny collapses during the season.

      • Axl says:

        We should be doing this with all of our players…

        Our payroll would be hovering around $100MM right now and staying there unfortunately…

      • JRVJ says:

        Ok, first, neither you nor A.D. addressed my comment vis-a-vis the actual Yankee payroll in 2010 and regarding what the Yanks may want to go shopping for in the 2009-2010 off-season.

        Look, of course I’d rather have Damon sign for less than he gets now on a one year contract. However, Damon is no dummy, and he’ll want to get more than (as per A.D.’s example) $9 or $11MM for 2010, with no security for 2011.

        Also, I strongly think (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here, but I have over at BTF/Primer) that the Yanks will end up on the receiving end of Abreu trades, once teams are out of contention (or slightly so) because of the economy (boy, I would have liked it if Seattle had bitten on the Washburn salary dump last year).

        Ultimately, these are the Yankees, and we don’t really know what the situation will be after the season – assuming the same facts as now, having Damon for one year and one year only is probably a good risk for the Yanks (phrased differently, $15MM in 2010 vs. no Damon is no big risk, what with Matsui going off-the books after this season).

        Ultimately, I would MUCH RATHER have Damon back for one year, than have the Yanks go and sign a Matt Holliday.

        • Axl says:

          Agree on everything but the Washburn nonsense. He’s a bum…although he could have perhaps had his notorious hot start…when the rest of the team decided to take a nap…then they could have swapped roles later on…I see what you’re sayin…I gotcha…

        • Ok, first, neither you nor A.D. addressed my comment vis-a-vis the actual Yankee payroll in 2010 and regarding what the Yanks may want to go shopping for in the 2009-2010 off-season.

          I think my comments vis-à-vis what the Yanks may want to go shopping for are outlined above in fairly lucid detail.

          Look, of course I’d rather have Damon sign for less than he gets now on a one year contract. However, Damon is no dummy, and he’ll want to get more than (as per A.D.’s example) $9 or $11MM for 2010, with no security for 2011.

          Okay… I agree. Where are you going with this? You lost me. Is there an implied point there I’m missing?

          Also, I strongly think (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here, but I have over at BTF/Primer) that the Yanks will end up on the receiving end of Abreu trades, once teams are out of contention (or slightly so) because of the economy (boy, I would have liked it if Seattle had bitten on the Washburn salary dump last year).

          To whom are you referring? I agree that we may try to buy some guys that other teams don’t want to pay, but who specifically do you think this would be and how would any of those moves affect our plans for 2010?

          Ultimately, these are the Yankees, and we don’t really know what the situation will be after the season – assuming the same facts as now, having Damon for one year and one year only is probably a good risk for the Yanks (phrased differently, $15MM in 2010 vs. no Damon is no big risk, what with Matsui going off-the books after this season).


          Ultimately, I would MUCH RATHER have Damon back for one year, than have the Yanks go and sign a Matt Holliday.

          Agreed, as I implied above. Don’t see how that relates to the decision to offer or not offer Damon arbitration.

    • A.D. says:

      Because the Yankees could structure a much better deal, instead of 16M, maybe they can get 9M + 2M for 450+ PA or something along those lines, with a team option for ’11. All of which is much better than overpaying him by several million. Figure if Damon wants to stay + Yanks want him back, as long as there isn’t a huge discrepancy on pay they can get this done before arb decision date.

      • Bo says:

        The downside is paying him 18 mill when a player of his caliber is going for 5 on the open market. Seems like a big difference.

        • That’s if you believe those players are truly of his “caliber”.

          Including this year, Damon has wOBA’d .362, .340, .373, and .437 (SSS) during his Yankee tenure. While Crawford and Ankiel are all younger and possibly improving, neither of them have career wOBA’s approaching that and they both lack OBP skills. Bay is a better hitter but we may have to overpay drastically to pry him away from Boston, and Holliday may well have been a Coors Field mirage.

          Johnny Damon might be the best non-Bay hitter on the market. Seriously.

          • JP says:

            I think you’re right, but remember Johnny Damon’s OBP numbers through age 27 (Crawford’s age) are very similar to Crawford’s.

            Locking up Crawford for 4-5 years, at a reasonable salary, would be better than Damon for 2, maybe.

    • BklynJT says:

      Would the arbitration value of players take into account the state of the economy, comparable player contrasts, and the fact that Damon is at a declining age. I don’t understand why arbitration automatically means that a player is getting a raise. I do know there is some rule that arbitration players can’t take more than a X% salary deduction.

    • Monogamouse says:

      However, I disagree. With myself, that is. Earlier I sounded off with the team needing to get younger. Matsui needs to stay on our team, if for no other reason, the Asian Contingent! The money he generates from Japan, not to mention a gooley gum of clutch hits, makes him the perfect D.H. When his knees finally do heal, he can contribute part time in the outfield. Damon can’t throw, Swisher has no range. Don’t take it the wrong way. I love what both have done so far offensively. But Swisher is slowing down already, and let’s face the truth, Damon can’t keep this up all year. As I’ve said to some people who listen to me,( not really), Get used to 2nd place this year. We don’t have the horses to keep up with Boston, and unfortunately I don’t believe the “wild card” is coming out of the east this year. We will, at least, do better than last year. Hopefully Girardi doesn’t end up paying for it with his job.

  21. dkidd says:

    for the next 5 years, this team is built around the rotation. to support that plan, i would do everything possible to improve the outfield defense and pitch calling. let damon walk, make posada the full time DH, and sign/trade for a catcher the staff feels comfortable with

    • Bo says:

      And forget about hitting and scoring runs. Good plan.

      • Axl says:

        Especially when the rotation in it’s “1st year” looks like the Washington Generals out there.

      • dkidd says:

        it worked in 1996

        • dkidd says:

          we wouldn’t be “forgetting about hitting and scoring runs”

          we’re paying half a billion dollars to a-rod and tex. that suggests to me that we think the 2 of them are the centerpieces of the offense. just because damon is the only guy hitting right now, it doesn’t mean the offense would crumble like a house of cards if he was gone

          bengie molina

          isn’t exactly a nl west line-up

          • A.D. says:

            Then we would have to resign Nady, which I doubt is going to happen.

          • Axl says:

            No…but if it’s anything like April and May of 2009 it might as well be…

            • dkidd says:

              the line-up is hard to watch right now. but by signing cc/burnett/tex to crazy $$$, we’ve committed to building the team around starting pitching and a 1-2 punch of arod/tex. i love johnny damon, but if he’s the key to our offense, it’s game over anyway

              • Axl says:

                Precisely. Money doesn’t breed success. Success breeds money. Sometimes you need to compliment the big checkbook players with young hungry guys who want that money…and who are of course capable. Gardner, Ransom, Pena, majority of the bullpen guys…maybe even Melky…they’re not capable. You accompany a bunch of slightly hungry – incapable players with big bank check guys…you get what I like to call…”zero success”

      • JP says:


        When’s ORtiz’s contract up? Maybe Boston will let him go to us, and we can afford to go with AJ/Melky/Gardner in the OF. We can trade Nady and Swisher for a package of pitching prospects and David Eckstein.

        • dkidd says:

          you’re right. improving the defense didn’t work out in 1996.

          • JP says:

            I’m not sure I agree that the key to ’96 was improved defense, and I don’t disagree with you that they need better defense to help the pitchers. but I think infield defense is far more improtant than outfield defense for the staff. TO suggest that you forsake offense from the outfield because ARod and Tex can carry the team is an iffy proposition.

            But hey, you may be right.

    • JRVJ says:

      BTW – Damon is a VERY GOOD defensive LF.

      • Generally speaking, yes.

        He’s down pretty markedly this year, though. UZR said he was +6.7 in 659 innings in LF last year. So far in 2009, he’s -4.4 in 259 innings.

      • Bob Stone says:

        I don’t know if it’s just me but Damon looks more and more awkward (like the proverbial girl trying to throw a baseball off the wrong foot)in the field this year. He’s about a far from being the classic “graceful” outfielder as there is. Don’t get me wrong – I love Johnny – going back to when he killed the Yanks when he was on the BoSox. I’m glad he’s here instead of Boston. I’m just aksing if anyone else has noticed his awkwardness.

      • JP says:

        Yeah…but at one point last year he mentioned how much he loved playing DH and not having to play OF. Another reason I’m not sure I want to put my chips on him with another contract.

  22. Arod, all the time says:

    Damon reiterates desire to stay in the Bronx, where even above average first basemen are given 6 figure contracts.

    How about a little honesty, boys? Especially with Damon, it’s about the money, stupid.

  23. Klemy says:

    I can live with Damon on a 1 and 1, anything more feels like limiting options to me. If Crawford does become available, I’d love to get him, I just don’t see it happening. I wouldn’t mind Bay either, but I think this year is going to earn him a better contract then he was due for before his trade to Boston last year.

    • I’m weary of Bay. He’s on the wrong side of 30 now and is playing out of his mind. Sure, it’s good, but if Boston doesn’t wrap him up mid-season, he’ll probably get way too big a contract.

  24. bg90027 says:

    I’d try to sign him to a one year deal but also be willing to go to arbitration with him. Assuming he’d do that, I’d rather end up paying him a few extra million on a one year deal than go 2 years with Damon or 4-5 years with someone like Matt Holliday. I don’t think Damon is a similar situation to Pettite. Damon wants to come back, but he’s not only looking at coming back or retiring like Pettite was. He also isn’t likely to be coming off a terrible second half like Pettite was. Then in 2011, we can look at going after Crawford as a FA, Damon again on another one year deal, or turning what will likely be a surplus of top pitching prospects at AAA into a young OFer.

  25. Doctor J says:

    We can not have Damon as an everyday player beyond 2010 unless you are getting significantly younger/faster/and + defensively at 2-3 other positions. I know Johnny has been a gamer, but as he ages, he will be less and less likely to play through his injuries. I would definitely have him on my bench beyond 2010 at a significantly reduced rate, however.

  26. Mike HC says:

    Damon was just on the Howard Stern Show the other day, making fun of Baba Booey’s opening pitch at citi field. Artie Lange was joking around with him, saying things like how much do you have to pay for weed, which Damon responded jokingly, “we get that for free.” When asked about how many women A-Rod is getting, he just laughed and said he can’t talk about that. When asked where he will play next year, he said, “if we don’t win a championship this year, a lot of the guys will be on different teams.” Lange responded by saying have fun in “Seattle,” and Damon laughed. It was a short, funny interview over the phone. Thought I would share it.

  27. Ladd Jasper, Jr. says:

    I would offer Johnny Damon a two (2) year contract and trade Matsui
    for an above average ball player that comes to work everyday and gives his best.Alfonso Soriano would be an excellent player to return to the Bronx. I would also be looking at obtaining another
    young left hander pitcher. Andy Petitte has more than paid his dues to our bombers; however he will be hanging up his spikes soon.
    The Yanks need to look at their farm leagues as well. Quit spending Big Money so that the avwerage American family can go to the Ball park again.

  28. [...] Get those dogs on a leash / Damon reiterates desire to stay in the Bronx [...]

  29. Mr.Jones says:

    If Cashman gives Damon a four year deal he should be fired on the spot. Is everyone forgetting that this guy wanted to retire 2 years ago? And that he throws like my 7 year old niece?
    True he is off to a tremendous start but it is May 15th. Come see me in July and let’s see how Damon is holding up then.
    2 years $10 million…DONE

  30. [...] where does this leave us with regard to Johnny Damon? Well, earlier this year, Damon reiterated his desire to stay in the Bronx, and at the time, we figured a two-year deal might not be the worst thing the Yanks could do. Yet [...]

  31. [...] weeks later, he expressed similar sentiments to’s Bryan Hoch. “This would definitely be the best place for me,” he said. [...]

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