Damon, Boras not on the same page


Throughout the course of the 2009 season, Johnny Damon spoke, seemingly without his agent Scott Boras’ permission, about his desire to stay 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 York.

Two weeks later, he expressed similar sentiments to’s Bryan Hoch. “This would definitely be the best place for me,” he said. “I’d sure love to keep taking advantage of that right-field porch.”

Finally, in August, he again made a similar statement. “I don’t know where else I would want to go to,” Damon said. “Obviously, that’s not the right thing to say when you’re about ready to approach free agency, but I’m very happy with playing in New York, and my family’s happy I play for New York. There’s no bigger place to go.”

For a Scott Boras client, Damon wasn’t exactly toeing the party line, and by noting that it’s not “the right thing to say” as a free agent, he acknowledged as much. As the Yankees, then, have been dreaming of wrapping up Damon to a short deal on something of a hometown discount, Scott Boras has tried to take control of the story. Yesterday, the superagent expressed his desire for a three- or four-year deal for Damon at market rate. At that price, consider the Yankees out of the picture.

Yet, this story is far from over, and two competing interviews — one by Damon and one by Boras — suggest to me that Damon and his agent are not on the same page. First, we have David Waldstein’s piece on Boras. Holding forth at the GM Meetings, Scott spoke about all of his clients, including Damon. “I think every player wants his fair market value,” Boras said, “and I think the New York Yankees have a history of paying players their fair market values.”

Damon meanwhile was far more forthcoming about his desire to stay in the Bronx. Speaking with Reggie Jackson and Bill Pidto on Sirius XM last night, the Yanks’ free agent left fielder was unequivocal in his love for pinstripes and his desire to come back:

Host, Bill Pidto: “So all things being equal, Johnny, you’d like to come back to the Yanks?”

Damon: “Why not? I mean, we just won a championship. That new stadium is incredible. The Steinbrenners have been the best owners in the game as long as I can remember. They want to win and they proved it last offseason…So, that being said, I’ve loved playing for New York these past four years.”

He also talked about taking less to stay:

Host, Bill Pidto: “When you look to the financial aspects of your future do you maybe say, ‘You know what? I’ll play for a little bit less if I can stay with the Yanks?’”

Johnny Damon: “Well, we have to go through the system and start negotiating if that’s what it’s going to take. We just need to start talking. We know New York has all the resources in the world but they also know I want to come back. So I’m sure it wouldn’t be too much of a problem. I’m sure there’s something we can work out.”

It’s clear that Damon isn’t being as free-spirited with his mouth as he was in May and August, but the desire is clearly there. He wants to come back to New York, and the Yankees, for the right price, will have him back. Although these quotes don’t push the story of a contract forward, it does highlight a Boras-driven tension. Scott Boras wants the most for his clients while his clients sometimes just want to stay where they are. We saw this tension flare up between Boras and A-Rod in 2007, and now it seems as though Damon is pushing back on the Boras rhetoric.

All things being equal, Boras should find a way to get Damon back on the Yanks. After all, that’s his job. But if it means fewer dollars for Matt Holliday, another top Boras client, Scott may be less willing to accommodate Damon and his lower future earnings potential.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. argenys says:

    I love Damon but not his fielding. If the Yankees decide to keep Damon and not Matsui, do you think the Yankees will still go after a fielder? Maybe Nady?

  2. Free Mike Vick says:

    I think every player wants his fair market value,” Boras said, “and I think the New York Yankees have a history of paying players their fair market values.”

    What Boras sees as “fair” market value. And actual “fair” market value are 2 completely different things.


    • Mike bk says:

      fair market value for a player like damon was just set by abreu’s deal. 9 mil 1 mil buyout 9 mil option.

    • A.D. says:

      Exactly, the issue likely won’t be that the Yankees are willing to offer something in the 9M range for 1 or 1+1 or 2 years, but that Boras goes off saying Damon is worth 4/12, which is just ridiculous.

  3. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    “The Allure of Being a Yankee” is greater than “Scott Boras’ Bullshit”.

  4. A.D. says:

    Last time I checked, agents work for players, not the other way around.

  5. steve s says:

    Interesting choice of words to begin this thread; that Damon spoke without Boras’ permission. I’d say Damon should be honest about his intentions with Boras and they should both conduct themselves in accordance with Damon’s real intentions. My guess is that since the Arod opt-out public relations debacle Boras is more cognizant of making sure he and his client are on the same page before he speaks in public.

  6. The Iron Horse says:

    To Boras, an athlete clearly equals 10% of said athlete’s contract. He could learn a thing or two from Jerry Maguire.

  7. Free Mike Vick says:

    How bad did it pain Boras to have to crawl to the yankees and give them a discount on Carlos Beltran??

    thats against everything scott boras stands for. LOL

  8. So, ultimately, the question here is, what contract level would Johnny find acceptable? The disconnect between the two, and Johnny’s adamant stance that he only wants to come back and play for the Yankees, they both mean that you can basically take Boras out of the equation.

    He’s irrelevant, and whatever he says is moot. It’s just Johnny v. us.

    Would he be fine with a one year deal? Would he demand two guaranteed years? Is the 9M that Bobby got acceptable, or does he not want a paycut from the 13M he got last year?

    I’m thinking a 1/10 with a matching 1/10 team option does it.

    • jsbrendog says:

      if so he’ll probably argue for some sort of buyout monetarily for the option just incase

    • Spaceman.Spiff says:

      I think he’d be okay with a paycut but want 2 guaranteed years for his trouble. Obviously, not based on anything of relevance, just my take.

      • andrew says:

        I agree. Even though he and Boras aren’t on the same page, Johnny will still probably want two guaranteed years. Especially after seeing Abreu get two, he will be more inclined to demand it.

  9. r.w.g. says:

    I’d rather they pay him the same salary than give him two guaranteed years.

  10. NC Saint says:

    BREAKING: Red Sox planning to offer Damon 5 years, $75 million according to “people close to the negotiations”, Jon Heyman reports.

  11. dkidd says:

    i love that damon picked up his game in the playoffs, but remember the month of september? to me, matsui seems like a better bet to stay close to his 2009 numbers

  12. JeffG says:

    I don’t necessarily think Boras and Damon are on different pages. As we saw with Damon’s talk before he became a Yankee he was sure he’d love to keep playing for Boston. There is a conditional that he fails to bring up that is quite possibly there. He wants to play for the best contract and hopes that is NY.

  13. [...] we saw how Johnny Damon and Scott Boras are not quite on the same page regarding Damon’s free agency. The Yanks’ left fielder wants to stay in the Bronx while [...]

  14. [...] a recap. Previously on “As the Johnny Damon Turns,” we discussed how Boras and Damon seemed to be at odds over Damon’s free agency. On numerous occasions during the season, Damon expressed a desire [...]

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