May
02

Damon wants to remain a Yank

By

Well aware of his impending free agency, Johnny Damon said he wants to remain with the Yankees next season. From Andrew Marchand:

“I know where I want to be next year,” Damon told 1050 ESPN New York. “I want to be here in New York. I also know New York has a lot of young outfielders coming back. Austin Jackson is in the wings. At least, in this situation, I know my chances of coming back could be slim because of the young talent the Yankees do have.”

First off all, kudos to Damon for knowing Austin Jackson’s name. I’d guess that 90% of all big leaguers couldn’t name their club’s top prospect. Secondly, the Yankees have a very unsettled outfield situation next year. Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner will presumably be around, but beyond them the only established big leaguer under contract is Nick Swisher. Brian Cashman has made it very well known that he would like the team to get younger and more athletic, however it’s hard to imagine the $200M Yankees trotting any two of Melky, Gardner and Jackson into the outfield everyday, especially since all three should be expected to provide below average production given their track record, skill set, and inexperience, respectively.

Damon has been very productive during his three-plus seasons with the Yankees, hitting .287-.363-.450 while playing acceptable defense in center and damn near Gold Glove caliber defense in left. Despite his seemingly fragile nature, Damon has played in at least 140 games for thirteen consecutive seasons. He’s a known commodity that’s familiar with New York and by all accounts will come on a short deal, which has tremendous value for a team transitioning towards younger players. There’s just no need to further handcuff the team’s future flexibility by forking over too many dollars over too many years for the decline phases of Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. Damon’s low risk and fits the club’s needs.

Given how the market played out last offseason, the Yanks should obviously decline to offer Johnny arbitration regardless of Type-A or B status because he would garner a raise from his $13M salary this year if/when he accepted. The one year, $5M deal Bobby Abreu signed with the Angels would be an ideal model for a new Damon contract. However we don’t know how the free agent landscape will shape up next year.

The other interesting bit from Marchand’s article concerned Damon’s statement that he considered retiring at one point while with the Yankees. This incident came about during the 2007 when a banged and bruised Damon didn’t know if he still had the drive to play the game. Jon Heyman first discussed this last spring, and Joe Torre Tom Verducci wrote about it in their book. If Damon is already looking forward to 2010, it’s safe to say he has put those doubts long behind him.

Categories : News

82 Comments»

  1. Alex says:

    I definitely want Damon back if it is on a one or two year contract.

    • I hope that the economy will improve and free agent prices will go back up. I don’t know if they will go back up to the way things were before, but I wouldn’t count on being able to get johnny damon for a similar contract to Abreu.

  2. Lanny says:

    He’s decent in left but I dont think anyone is thinking gold glove there. But hes not here for his glove and he wont resign for it either.

  3. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    Damon and Abreu are eerily similar players. Abreu’s lack of range is made up by his arm and Damon’s lack of arm is made up by his range.
    It will be a tough decision for the Yanks this offseason. Hopefully, the Rays screw the pooch and don’t pick up Carl Crawford’s option. But even caveat emptor applies to Crawford. Despite his age, I fear his best days may be behind him also.

    • Jamal G. says:

      Why? He had one bad year in 2008 because of injuries. Before last season, his wOBA improved from .344 to .365 over the course of the 2004-2007 seasons. He will hit for average, get on base at a league-average clip, hit for league-average power, and steal you 45-50 bases.

      Also, whatever offensive runs he gives back from getting on base less often than Johnny Damon, he will make up most of that in the field and on the basepaths.

      Crawford is currently playing in his age-27 season, I think a four-year deal would be perfect.

      • I think a team will Crawford on a one-year, $10 million deal next year. No way Tampa Bay just lets him walk. They’ll pick up the option and dish, or otherwise keep him (though I’m not sure their payroll will allow for it).

      • steve (different one) says:

        He will hit for average, get on base at a league-average clip, hit for league-average power, and steal you 45-50 bases.

        this sounds like a description of a guy you want to commit 4 years to?

        • El Generalissimo says:

          Well here’s the thing, after watching this years economy, do the rays even take the chance of not finding a trade partner? 10 million is a lot for most teams, and the rays cant have that contract on the books seeing as their payroll is already maxed out. If Crawford has another year like last no way do they exercise his option, and this year is slugging is way down, even though early.

          I dunno, I take a chance on him with a short porch in right, for LF if available on a 3-4 year deal for 8 mil a year.

        • Jamal G. says:

          Considering the alternatives, yes. I don’t want Matt Holliday or Jason Bay because of the contracts they will sign that will take them into their decline years.

          Oh, and Crawford is just a more valuable player than Damon. Other than Crawford’s injury plagued 2008 campaign, the last time Damon has been “worth” more (using WAR) than the former was 2003, Crawford’s first full season in the bigs.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

        Don’t get me wrong Jamal, I would LOVE the Yankees to get Crawford, but he does have a career .330 OBP. But with that being said, his speed AND defense is something the Yankees need.

        • Accent Shallow says:

          I waffle on Crawford for the same reasons. Speed and defense are great, but it’s really odd how he’s such a great LF and the Rays didn’t really use him in CF.

          I think he’s the kind of player who’s great to have in his pre-free agency years, but without great power/on-base skills, not sure how a long-term deal would hold up.

    • steve (different one) says:

      Abreu’s lack of range is made up by his arm

      well, not really.

  4. Do you think if the Yanks resign him he oughta get his shoulder checked?

    • Reggie C. says:

      If Melky/Gardner CF platoon doesn’t work out , and that’s a likelihood imo, then Damon’s chances dramatically improve. Chances are that Nady is going to want 4/5 years and his elbow injury pretty much just splashed those chances of getting the Yanks on board. Damon could be our LF for 2 more years. He’s losing arm strength. But that’s what happens when you get older. With Jackson in CF and Swisher in RF, the Yanks could keep the improved defensive range of the OF intact for a couple more years. I dont think Damon’s foot speed has slowed. He can still cover ground.

      • steve (different one) says:

        Chances are that Nady is going to want 4/5 years and his elbow injury pretty much just splashed those chances of getting the Yanks on board.

        sure, just like i want a pony.

        Nady won’t get more than a 2 year contract, if that.

        he’s going to have to come back and rake just to get a 2 year deal. Boras is good, but he’s not a sorceror.

        i’m guessing Nady is on the yankees’ bench next year for $2M.

        • So he’s going to take a $4 million pay cut? Or were you just being sarcastic?

          • steve (different one) says:

            no, i wasn’t.

            obviously it’s way too early to know how he comes back from the injury, but if he can’t throw and struggles at the plate, he’s not going to get paid. at all.

            if he comes back and rakes, then maybe he’ll see a 2 year deal somewhere, like i said. for something close to what he is making.

            but i would bet my house right now that he doesn’t get a 4/5 year deal. not a chance.

            Pat Burrell got 2 years $16M. Pat Burrell > Xavier Nady.

            if he doesn’t have a huge comeback, his best bet might be to just take a 1 year deal and try to re-establish his market value.

        • Mike Pop says:

          I hope Nady is on the Yanks next year for that cheap. Be a nice 4th OF, obviously.

  5. Expired Milk says:

    I would welcome Damon bacl with open arms bit only on a team friendly contract. Ths ideal person would of course be Crawford due to him being a solid hitter and a excellent OF. Not to mention Crawford probay will ot command a hefty amount unlike Holliday and Ankiel. But none of that matters if the Rays trade him or pick up his option.

  6. Mike Pop says:

    I would glady bring him back unless Crawford becomes a FA.

    Crawford
    Damon
    trade for another outfielder (peferably a young one using IPK as main prospect)
    Ankiel/Mike Cameron
    Manny
    Holliday
    Bay

    is how I would rank them for me. Lol bout Manny, never happen but would be all kinds of awesome.

  7. steve (different one) says:

    if the Sox re-up Bay, there might not be a lot of competition for Holliday if the economy continues to flounder.

    Holliday is a perfect fit, and if he can be had for only 4 years, they should pursue it.

    if not, maybe you look at Ankiel. i don’t think Ankiel is going to get the giant contract that people assume he will.

    • r.w.g. says:

      Let’s wait too see if Holliday does ANYTHING in Oakland.

      If he puts up a .270 22 85, you going to want to lock that up at Boras prices?

      • steve (different one) says:

        i’m pretty sure this is a given, right?

        Holliday isn’t a free agent until AFTER the season, no?

        • r.w.g. says:

          Yeah. He’s a free agent after the season. Which sounds like the appropriate time to decide if he’s a “perfect fit” for the Yankees. Not when he’s sporting a .294 OBP fresh after turning down $86 million over four.

    • Matt ACTY says:

      I’m not big on Ankiel at all.

  8. Joey H says:

    WOO HOO! Let’s see if they can make it 5 in a row. I’ll be there guys. And good for Damon he’s a good guy. His durability is something to keep in mind.

  9. r.w.g. says:

    Matsui is up at the DH spot, too. If Johnny has a representative season, which so far he’s been having, I think a short term contract at similar money to what he’s making would be a great idea.

  10. smokey says:

    assuming matsui is gone too and damon resigns then we have damon jeter and posada. none of them are particularly good fielders at this point in their careers and should only be worse next season. if jeter could play left that would be a huge asset. if posada could dh and catch one or two games a week that would be good too. i am having a hard time seeing how damon would fit in. if only there were a really good defensive catcher who could bat 270 and hit about 12-15 hr and a ss who could do the same.

    • Matt ACTY says:

      if jeter could play left that would be a huge asset.

      I don’t see how this could be an asset. For all we know, Jeter could be Manny-like out in left. To boot, his bat would also probably not justify LF. Whatever value Derek Jeter has at this point is in his bat. It’s best to leave that value at a position where it most benefits the Yankees and that is SS. Yes, his defense there is bad…very bad. But his bat there is very, very, very good, one of the best in the league. At least if Jeter is kept at SS, he retains some of his value.

      And again, why are we perpetuating this myth of Damon as a bad fielder just because he’s old and has a bad arm? I’ll point to Jamal’s post from earlier:

      http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-361027

      • steve (different one) says:

        Jeter’s defense, while not likely to stay at quite this level, has been pretty good since the beginning of 2008.

        Jeter’s playing good defense this year, and we should acknowledge that.

        • Matt ACTY says:

          Yeah, he’s been awesome this year via UZR (14.3/150). Last year, he was only -0.7/150 so that’s good news. Maybe he’s in an upswing?

          • smokey says:

            jeter offensively is as good if not beter than damon. jeters offense is fine in the outfield. all of this is making the (large)assumption that jeter would be a very good outfielder. obviously if he were to be a worse fielder than damon it would not be a good move.
            btw isnt defense at ss way more essential to a ball club than defense at a corner of spot.

            • Matt ACTY says:

              Yeah SS defense is more important but if Jeter plays bad defense in left while providing only an average or below average positional bat, then he gives the Yankees very little in terms of value. At SS, his bat makes up the majority of his value and does a lot to combat a bad, but seemingly improving (at least 08-09 so far), glove.

              Damon’s bat is able to get by in LF because he plays absolutely great defense out there. If Jeter plays bad defense in left (which is very likely) and has a not-so-hot LF bat, it’s not a good thing for the Yankees. It’s better to keep him where his bat can give the team the most value, and that’s at SS.

              • Dan says:

                They’ve been trying for generations to find a stat that reflects defensive quality and they apparantly have not found one yet if any stat says that JD is a good defender. Trust your eyes, not some convoluted stat. JD can no longer go back on a ball so plays deeper letting balls fall kin front of him. Runners always take the extra base and tag up and score on anything medium depth in left.
                If he still played for the sox and said he wanted to come back we would all be laughing at that possibility.

  11. El Generalissimo says:

    We cannot sign damon as a DH, we need the DH more then ever to rest players, let Posada, Arod and Jeter get a breather. We need everyday players with defense, to cover our other defensive inefficiencies. If he is going to play LF fine, but not as a DH.

  12. Jamal G. says:

    Would you guys live with a defensively supreme, offensively challenged outfield consisting of Nick Swisher, Austin Jackson and Melky Cabrera from left to right, respectively, if it meant signing Manny Ramirez for the DH spot?

    • Jamal G. says:

      Also, you could live with Manny in left field for a couple games a week to give Jorge Posada a breather.

      • smokey says:

        i like your idea. the thing i worry about is if manny starts his antics, and his age(which has not been a problem yet -at all.) the other worry i have is that i think posada will serve this team far better as a dh in2010 and 2011 – imo his defense is terrible and is causing him to get banged up which will effect his production

    • Stryker says:

      yes.

      i wouldn’t consider nick swisher offensively challenged per se but yes, i would take that outfield. the yankees don’t need bonafide sluggers at every position spot. a-rod, cano (if he keeps it up), posada, and teixeira should be able to provide more than enough offense to cover what the yankees could have in any other outfielder (holliday, bay, or otherwise). add in manny and it’s perfect IMO.

    • Jamal G. says:

      Hold on, I just had an orgasm thinking about this lineup:

      Jeter (SS; R)
      Swisher (LF; S)
      Manny (DH; R)
      ARod (3B; R)
      Teixeira (1B; S)
      Cano (2B; L)
      Posada (C; S)
      Cabrera (RF; S)
      Jackson (CF; R)

    • Matt ACTY says:

      Yeah, I would take that. For curiosity’s sake, who’s the fourth OF? Gardner? Nady?

      It’ll be interesting to see how Jackson’s defense comes along. The scouts say one thing but the numbers say another. Granted, we’ve got to take MiL UZR numbers with a grain of salt.

      • Stryker says:

        It’ll be interesting to see how Jackson’s defense comes along. The scouts say one thing but the numbers say another. Granted, we’ve got to take MiL UZR numbers with a grain of salt.

        yeahhh i know we’ve been over this but i don’t know what/who to believe when it comes to ajax. the numbers show he’s kinda shitty out there and then scouts all say different things as far as his skill set goes. it’s rough.

    • Accent Shallow says:

      No. There’s no way to justify Melky in RF for an entire year unless he really has taken a major step forward offensively.

      Additionally, it’s hard to get excited about Manny since a) he’s gonna be 37, and b) he’s likely closer to the guy he was in ’07 and ’08 with the Red Sox, than the guy he was in ’08 with the Dodgers. I wouldn’t be too bummed about Manny as DH for a year or two, but he’s no longer such a force that you could give up offense at offensively-oriented positions (i.e. corner OF) to get his bat in the lineup.

      • Matt ACTY says:

        In ’07, Manny wOBA’d .375. That was his worst full season wOBA ever. He wOBA’d .223 in 54 ABs in ’93 and .372 in 290 ABs in ’94. Every year aside from those and ’07, he’s wOBA’d over .400. Even if he was in ’07 form, that’s fine with me from a DH.

  13. pollo says:

    That’s nice Damon.

    Unless you’re signing for a 2 year 10 mil contract at max I don’t want you back. By next year’s time you’re nothing more than a bench player.

    • Stryker says:

      ouch.

      just out of curiosity – who do you want?

      • pollo says:

        Last name Holliday, first name Matt. We have 26 mil coming off the books and we’re the fucking Yankees.

        • Matt ACTY says:

          Let’s see Matty H. survive a year in the Big Boy league and in a pitchers park (even though I think his H/A splits are overblown, he’s OPS’d .800+ on the road each year from 06-08) before we’re guaranteeing the guy a spot.

        • Stryker says:

          wowwwwwwwwww.

          why do you want holliday on the yankees, exactly? because, while he’s a nice player, nothing about his playing (defense, bat, or otherwise) really jumps out as OMGZ-WE-NEED-HIM-AT-ANY-COST

      • pollo says:

        Actually I lied, looking over some of the contracts we only free up about 13 mil thanks to Teix, Sabbathia, Cano, Swisher and Jeter’s escalating contracts.

  14. Matt ACTY says:

    Jose Molina’s contract is also expiring–what do we think will happen there? Will they bring him back on a year to year basis or will Frankie C. be the backup catcher?

    • Stryker says:

      i would like jose back. he’s in a league of his own defensively and a few pitchers have REALLY taken a liking to him.

      i don’t think the yankees will re-sign him but at this point i don’t think cervelli is the answer either.

  15. Stryker says:

    by the way – casey fossum was picked up by the yanks and assigned to AAA. he’s starting today.

  16. Nikhil R. says:

    I always felt that the Yanks should resign Damon for a 2 year contract then dish out a massive contract to Holliday. Like Mike said, it would help the Yanks transition to players like A-Jax and we know that Damon is a proven commodity so we don’t have to worry about the “He can’t handle New York” BS. Hopefully 2/$12-$14 million will do it.

  17. [...] 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 [...]

  18. [...] in New York and continue to play for the Yankees. “I know where I want to be next year,” Damon told 1050 ESPN New York in early May. “I want to be here in New [...]

  19. [...] let myself get suckered in by Johnny Damon last spring and summer. Maybe I listened to him speak in radio interviews and locker room chats in May, after games in August and on Sirius XM as recently as November and [...]

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