Dec
18

Johnny Damon overplayed his hand

By

With Nick Johnson back with the Yankees, Johnny Damon‘s days in pinstripes are, barring a change of heart by both sides, over. According to reports, Damon wanted to stay in the Bronx, and he eventually lowered his demands to two years. He would not, however, compromise on the money. The Yankees, according to Ken Davidoff, smartly valued him at two years at $7 million per season, but Damon did not want to take a paycut from his $13 million salary. “I wanted it to happen. I have nothing but great things to say about the Yankees,” Damon said to Mark Feinsand. “If the Nick Johnson thing works out, it will be good for them. It’s part of baseball.”

I have to wonder why Damon let these negotiations get out of hand. Did Scott Boras think some team would give Damon $13 million over three or four years? Did Damon’s agent believe that the Bobby Abreu deal in 2009 — a one-year, $5 million — would not be revisited upon Damon? The Yankees were willing to take him back, and he wanted to return. Scott Boras, though, and perhaps Damon himself overvalued the left fielder, and now he’s going to end up taking a paycut to join another team.

Damon could have made it work for the right money; but the Yankees were willing to go in another direction; and now it’s over. Barring a rather ridiculous scenario such as the one Ken Rosenthal proposed in which the Yankees would trade Nick Swisher to free up money to resign the older and less versatile Damon, Johnny will sport another uniform next season, and that will be all his doing. “I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do,” Damon said. “I know there are some teams interested, but the Yankees are the best organization I’ve been a part of so far in my career. I wish them all the best.”

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League

222 Comments»

  1. There’s a sick part of my psyche that wants JD to sign with The Pacific Time Zone Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles, and California for a 1/5 now.

    History repeats itself.

  2. Zanath says:

    It’s really too bad Damon wouldn’t lower his demands. I would have loved to see him back, but not at his terms. If some other team wants to over pay for him, that’s their prerogative. I do wish him all the best, however. That’s what you get with Boras clients, unfortunately. I think baseball will be a better place when more players dump him like A-Rod did.

  3. Drew says:

    Johnny and Boras forgot that the market was different when he signed his last contract. Otherwise why would he want the same yearly salary?

  4. Jamal G. says:

    LOL at this paragraph from the aforementioned Ken Rosenthal article:

    Exchanging them for Johnson and Curtis Granderson might be a wash statistically — Johnson’s career OPS, when adjusted for his park and league, actually is higher than Matsui’s, and Granderson’s actually is higher than Damon’s. But c’mon, which players would you rather see in October?

    Seriously, LOL.

    • I’d rather see 2009 Damon and 2009 Matsui in October again this year.

      Are they both going to be that, though, or are they going to be less than that? That’s the question, Ken Rosenthal.

      Oh, and the other question: Are 2010 Granderson and 2010 Johnson going to improve at all as they enter their primes? Don’t forget that either, Mr. No Juice.

    • Riddering says:

      Oh, Rosenthal. If Cashman was the type of GM to be swayed by sentimentality and postseason performances, perhaps Matsui and Damon would have returned. Luckily, he’s not as horribly short-sighted as the FOX elf.

  5. Frank says:

    I liked Damon alot, but as Ben correctly points out, he and/or Boras overplayed their hand. However it turns out for him, I wish him the best.

  6. terri says:

    come the 8th or 9th ining in a tight game, we would nit be seeing Johnny D out there anyway…13 million? come on dude

    • pat says:

      FUN CAREER STAT TIME

      RISP
      Damon .296/.375/.446
      Matsui .301/.386/.481
      Johnson .279/.457/.470

      2 Outs w/ RISP
      Damon .246/.355/.375
      Matsui.256/.356/.368
      Johnson .263/.451/.474

      Late and Close
      Damon .272/.356/.417
      Matsui .325/.396/.571
      Johnson .285/.430/.459

  7. Tico says:

    I really like JD but in what universe was he getting 13 million a year for multiple years? Especially when the market for 2nd tier outfielders was already set by Bobby Abreu’s 9 million contract. A little reality check is in order.

  8. Bob Stone says:

    I like Damon and wanted him back for 2010. He is consistent in how he negotiates though.

    When he was with the Red Sox he said he wanted to re-up with the Sox and that he would never play for the Yankees. The Yankees offered him an extra $12 million and he’s in pinstripes.

    Damon said he wanted to re-sign with the Yanks in 2010. What he didn’t say is that he wanted to be back IF the Yankees were the team to offer the most money/longest term deal. I never beleived he would do anything but wait for the best offer.

    Good luck Johnny. You did well in leaving the Red Sox. You out-smarted yourosefl this time.

  9. Upstate says:

    That really sucks that Damon will not be back next year…I really liked him as a yankee and wanted to see him back in pinstripes. I thought him and Jeter were a great 1-2 punch.

  10. jsbrendog says:

    what if he comes crawling back for a 1 for $5-$8 mil? does cash do it and put him in lf instead of melky?

  11. A.D. says:

    Since Damon signed at 13m/yr:
    he’s been forced to move off CF
    is questionable in left
    is 4 years older
    teams have become more conscious of payroll and signing aging players.

    What of these market scenarios leads one to believe Damon could get the same money (though technically its ~900k paycut in terms of 2006 vs 2009 dollars)?

  12. Zack says:

    Got to give Cashman credit, he didnt sit around til January and let Boras affect his other decisions.

  13. radnom says:

    Perhaps Damon is just holding out for Omar to get fired so he can sign with the Mets as a player/GM?

  14. Yankee1010 says:

    Call me crazy, but I could still see a deal happening for Damon and the Yanks. Damon is obviously caving quickly and the Yanks would do well to have Damon in LF for the deal Abreu signed this year. Sure, a little less would be better, but they would have Damon as a LF this year and he could slide to DH next year and the Yanks could sign Crawford for LF.

    I’m not buying that the budget would completely rule a Damon move out. The lineup would be unreal and Melky/Gardner could take care of some defensive situations later in games. Between Damon and Johnson, there will likely be a few DL stints, so they could still rotate the DH a little bit if they want to.

    I realize Damon isn’t an ideal defensive LF, but he still does have some value and I bet they get it done.

    • radnom says:

      I think it would be in the Yankees best interest to sign a LF, and Damon is really the only one who makes sense.

      That being said, they would be better off overall by acquiring pitching depth. If they strike out there, and Damon’s best offer falls within the Yankees price range for him (which hass lowered with the Johnson signing) then yes, he could definitely come back.
      I think the chances of either of those two things happening are fairly low.

    • Drew says:

      How is Damon caving quickly? It seems pretty obvious to me that as of now he is standing pat with his crazy demands.

      • Zack says:

        Well he was at 4yrs/40m+ million, now he’s at 2yrs/26m. That caving fast for a Boras client.

      • Yankee1010 says:

        Well, quickly in the sense that he was supposedly still in the pipe dream world of 4 years about a week ago, then dropped it to 3 years a few days ago and is now at 2 years. He’s retreating quicker a Frenchman.

        I would be he’s down to 2 years and under 20 million relatively soon. It sounds like he really wants to come back and Boras is screwing him. Maybe he says let’s get the deal done with the Yanks and let’s do it now.

    • I bet if Damon does cave and settle for an Abreuesque 1/5 or something like that, it will be with another team.

      Not the Yankees. Players are generally more palatable to a massive paycut when joining a new team rather than returning to their old one.

      Pride stings like a bitch.

      • Yankee1010 says:

        Yeah, I don’t think he’s going to cave that much, and I don’t necessarily think he will have to cave that much to come back to the Yanks.

        But I do agree, he’s probably not going to take it from the Yanks because there will probably be a decent amount of teams offering him 1 year at 5 million and he’ll go somewhere else out of spite.

    • SteveD Fla says:

      I agree. I think the Yankees will offer a bit more $$$$$$$. Johnny is a real asset in the clubhouse. And when and if the yankees do offer a little more $$$ Damon will jump on it.

  15. theyankeewarrior says:

    If Damon is going to get a 1/6 like Abreu got last season, why can’t it be with the Yankees?

    I think there’s still a chance he comes back… Not a great one, but who else besides the Giants are out there for him?

  16. Evil Empire says:

    Ken Rosenthal needs to get out of The Shire more often, he’s more well suited to write about foot-hair grooming and the fastest way to get to Mordor.

  17. emac2 says:

    I would trade swisher and sign Damon but I still wouldn’t go over 2-14…maybe 16

    • jsbrendog says:

      right, trade a younger cost controlled player with power and high obp skills and league average defense for someone with below avg defense who is older and in the midst of his decline phase and could fall apart at any minute. hmmm.

      no.

    • Zack says:

      and whats the logic behind doing that move?

      • emac2 says:

        Damon is a better player then Swisher and if I can get him for less money I take it.

        • emac2 says:

          Especially if I get prospects for Swisher as well!

        • Johnny Damon, 2007-2009:
          .285/.364/.449 (114+), -5.5 OF UZR

          Nick Swisher, 2007-2009 (and remember, his 2008 was EPICALLY bad):
          .244/.362/.454 (116+), +3.1 OF UZR

          Johnny Damon: not a better player than Nick Swisher

          • jsbrendog says:

            signing damon for 2-14 is 1.95 less than nick swisher makes the next 2 yrs.

            therefore, it makes no sense for what he is proposing

            • And, again, those above numbers include Swisher’s traveshamockery of a 2008 season, where he couldn’t get out of his own way, had a horrible BABIP, and was probably in a mental funk all year long.

              If you remove it, the equation changes even more into Swisher’s favor. He’s basically Johnny’s bat (possibly slightly better) but with plus defense and no age/injury/decline red flags.

              Look at it this way:

              Johnny Damon, wRC+, 2006-2009:
              121, 107, 130, 132

              Nick Swisher, wRC+, 2006-2009:
              126, 123, 94, 132

              Pretty equitable. But Swish is younger, healthier, a much better defender, can back up at first base and centerfield, and doesn’t need to be DH’ed to keep him fresh.

              • jsbrendog says:

                my point exactly

              • KayGee says:

                If you are going to eliminate swishers 2008, you should eliminate damon’s 2007 as well…from what information has been released, he was mentally screwed up, contemplating retirement, and ended up getting hurt from being a little out of shape…he played with nagging injuries all year and just wasn’t the same player

                • Correct.

                  I didn’t really eliminate Swisher’s 2008, though. I included it.

                • emac2 says:

                  Yeah. He didn’t eliminate the season he just needed to create support for a weak argument by dismissing it.

                • But, again, I DIDN’T DISMISS IT.

                  I just pointed out reasons why you could if you so chose. Even with Swisher’s horrible season, he’s still outproduced Johnny Damon over the past three to four years.

                • emac2 says:

                  You chose to include one in your argument while choosing to ignor the other because it didn’t support your case.

                  You can call it what you want after you get called on it but your statement is clear.

                • You chose to include one in your argument while choosing to ignor the other because it didn’t support your case.

                  NO.
                  I.
                  DID.
                  NOT.

                  All I said was, “If you remove it, the equation changes even more into Swisher’s favor”.

                  Removing Swisher’s down year is not my argument. It’s an addendum to my argument, a little throwaway line added on for emphasis. My argument is:

                  Johnny Damon, 2007-2009:
                  .285/.364/.449 (114+), -5.5 OF UZR

                  Nick Swisher, 2007-2009 (and remember, his 2008 was EPICALLY bad):
                  .244/.362/.454 (116+), +3.1 OF UZR

                  Johnny Damon: not a better player than Nick Swisher

                  That INCLUDES his bad season, it does not exclude it. Including everything and excluding nothing, Nick Swisher has outproduced Johnny Damon over the past three years.

                • emac2 says:

                  Let me help you

                  Johnny Damon, 2007-2009:
                  .285/.364/.449 (114+), -5.5 OF UZR

                  Nick Swisher, 2007-2009 (and remember, his 2008 was EPICALLY bad):
                  .244/.362/.454 (116+), +3.1 OF UZR

                  Do you notice any one sided commentary here that is in favor of your argument?

                  Maybe if you tried to make the argument that 41 points in batting average and base stealing speed wasn’t releveant it would help if you didn’t make sure a big deal out of how we should probably ignore how bad Swisher can really be.

                • jsbrendog says:

                  Maybe if you tried to make the argument that 41 points in batting average and base stealing speed wasn’t releveant

                  they are not relevent or releveant or relevant. because nick swisher is a much better player than johnny damon

                • Let me help you by eliminating all the noise and turning up the signal:

                  Johnny Damon, 2007-2009:
                  (114+), -5.5 OF UZR

                  Nick Swisher, 2007-2009
                  (116+), +3.1 OF UZR

                  Swisher and Damon: Offensive equals. Statistically negligible difference.

                  Defensively: Swisher is far better than Damon.

                  Offense + defense = Swisher is better. Even before you factor in things like age.

                • jsbrendog says:

                  but batting avg is a great stat and swisher htis 41 poitns lower!11!!1!!!11!1!1!

                  AND TEH BASE STEALING GNG!111fgG~`~`!!!STEALING OF TEH BASES!111

              • Evil Empire says:

                What about those other advanced statistics that clearly show Damon is a better player? What are they called?…oh yeah, runs and RBIs. And Johnny Damon is consistent.

                /sarcastic Joe Morgan’d

                (inspired by a JMK The Overshare post)

    • Frank says:

      Why would you trade Swisher in order to keep an older, broken down Damon?

    • A.D. says:

      This would make no sense, last year Swisher:
      -was better offensively & defensively
      -is more likely to stay healthy
      -can play the OF everyday
      -has the benefit of being able to play 1B if necessary
      -is more likely to repeat last year’s performance (figuring age & health)
      -makes less than 7M dollars a year.

      • emac2 says:

        The bottom line for me is that I would consider Damon as a DH and I wouldn’t consider Swisher.

        Neither player should be starting in the field.

        • Let me guess: You don’t think that Swisher, an above-average defender, should be starting in the field because your eyes tell you otherwise, right?

        • Evil Empire says:

          You know Swisher is actually pretty good in the field according to UZR, right?

        • A.D. says:

          But Swisher is a solid defender, so he should be starting in the field, and Damon isn’t the better offensive player. Neither last year, or career numbers.

          • emac2 says:

            It depends what stats matter.

            Anyone who thinks Swisher is a better offensive player then Damon is a fool, a liar or a lying fool.

            • Anyone who thinks Swisher is a better offensive player then Damon is a fool, a liar or a lying fool.

              Or: someone who has taken the time to think about it without preconceptions.

              I return you to:

              Johnny Damon, 2007-2009:
              .285/.364/.449 (114+), -5.5 OF UZR

              Nick Swisher, 2007-2009:
              .244/.362/.454 (116+), +3.1 OF UZR

              Also:
              Johnny Damon, birthdate: 11/5/1973
              Nick Swisher, birthdate: 11/25/1980

              Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.

              • emac2 says:

                “Or: someone who has taken the time to think about it without preconceptions.”

                Or perhaps not.

              • emac2 says:

                Are you really going to look at that triple slash and say that 41 point in batting average, excellent speed and baserunning skills means less then 5 pointsd in slugging percentage?

                Do you really not even know what else Damon does on the bases?

                or his value as a back up leadoff hitter?

                • What I’m really going to say is, in terms of raw offensive production, they’re equal. In terms of defensive production, Swisher’s got Johnny beat by miles.

                  Now, you can say that the offensive stats that Johnny adds to the raw tripleslash, like steals and baserunning close the offensive gap between him and Swisher, or maybe even put him slightly ahead.

                  It’s still not enough to make up for the defensive deficiency, age, and injury risk.

                  Swisher >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Damon

                • emac2 says:

                  They are not equal.

                  They aren’t really even close to even as hitters. One is a plus and one is a minus.

                  Swisher might be the better fielder but he simply isn’t a hitter that presents a problem and as such his very average defense simply makes him a very average player.

                  Damon is still an elite hitter.

                  End of story – If I can pay less money for someone who at least has an elite tool and provides back up at a much more critical position (leadoff hitter) I go with that.

                  This idea that Swishers defense in right field compensates for his inability to put the bat on the ball is sadly mistaken

                • jsbrendog says:

                  all of this is batshit insane

                  h/t tjsc

                • They aren’t really even close to even as hitters. One is a plus and one is a minus.

                  Johnny Damon, OPS+, 2007-2009: 114
                  Nick Swisher, OPS+, 2007-2009: 116

                • Johnny Damon, plate appearances & total bases, 2007-2009:
                  1854, 736

                  Nick Swisher, plate appearances & total bases, 2007-2009:
                  1854, 697

                  So, with utterly identical times up at the dish, even counting Johnny’s vastly superior contact skills and better batting average and ability to steal second base and flawless baserunning, over the past three seasons, Johnny’s gotten exactly 39 more bases than Swisher has.

                  13 extra bases reached per year. That’s Damon’s “huge” offensive plus and Swisher’s “huge” offensive minus.

                  39 more bases in three years.

                  :: rolls eyes ::

                • emac2 says:

                  Why think when you can use handystat?

                  A wonderful compilation of several stats that we find the most valuable. 9 out of 10 really important people agree that YOU will look smarter using handystat instead letting those stupid educons trick you.

                  Use Handystat instead of humming when thinking seems to be indicated.

                  Use Handystat to make final judgements about players without having to review any raw numbers yourself.

                  Use Handystat when what everyone sees and has known for years doesn’t support your argument du jour.

                  Handystat

                  Use it today

                  Handystat is a trademark of the Fox broadcasting netwrok and the WWF. All rights restricted.

                • I have no idea where you’re going with this.

                  Since you’re not making arguments anymore (if you were before), though, I’ll just go ahead and leave you to your own affairs. Have a nice day, emac2.

                • emac2 says:

                  I was just checking to see if you would post the same stats again.

                  ..Hoping for some superbold text or something cool.

                • dalelama says:

                  My belief is if you want an outfielder you go Swisher if you want a DH you go Damon. All I know is that with 2 out in the bottom of the ninth and a running in scoring position I would rather have Damon at the dish than Swisher. Damon has proven he is a big game clutch player while Swisher swallowed the bit this post season.

        • Jordan - Undecided 2010 says:

          This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed this today.

          What part of:

          NICK SWISHER IS A GOOD OUTFIELDER

          is not getting through?

          • jsbrendog says:

            see:

            joba chamberlain is a starting pitcher

            posada is a terrible catcher

            jeter sucks defensively

            whatelse am i missing?

          • emac2 says:

            The part in all caps.

            • Jordan - Undecided 2010 says:

              How about the part where your insight and knowledge fails?

              • emac2 says:

                What part is that?

                • jsbrendog says:

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                • emac2 says:

                  Is there a bigger crime in the world then the money you are stealing from your boss?

                • jsbrendog says:

                  your air consumption.

            • Nick Swisher, career:
              1B – 1749.2 inn, -4.8 UZR, -3.5 UZR/150
              LF – 925.2 inn, +4.6 UZR, +5.6 UZR/150
              CF – 1019.1 inn, -7.4 UZR, -9.5 UZR/150
              RF – 2642.2 inn, +11.3 UZR, +6.0 UZR/150
              OF – 4587.2 inn, + 8.5 UZR, +2.6 UZR/150

              Nick Swisher has played four positions in his life. He is below average in two of them: first base and centerfield.

              He is above average, WELL above average, in the other two: leftfield and rightfield. None of these are small sample sizes.

              Also, don’t forget that UZR now includes outfielder ARM stats, so his throwing arm is included in that statistical encaptulation of Swisher’s above average OF skills.

    • Riddering says:

      I’d trade Swisher & Gardner and sign Damon AND Vlad.

      Boom. That just happened.

    • pete says:

      johnny damon: horrendously terrible in the field, old, offensively the same as Swish except faster, except he’s old and has 1.3 working knees, so won’t be much faster for long and his offense is likely to start declining soon

      nick swisher: slightly better than average in the field, offensively the same as damon, entering his prime, better power, likely to improve based on his not hitting at all at home

      Nick Swisher: better than Johnny Damon. younger, more power, same obp, better fielder. stop arguing with this because you are so very very wrong.

      Think of it this way: johnny damon adds the same number of runs overall to his team as nick swish on offense. and then he subtracts a bunch on D, while Swish adds a few. And btw, damon’s “-5.5 UZR” is a composite that includes his being an above average left fielder in ’08, before he fell off a cliff that he will, at his age, have a very hard time climbing back up. So really, for the sake of 2010 and even more so 2011, Johnny Damon is giving you, best case scenario, the same offense as Swisher (and more likely a little worse offense), and is quite possibly at least 2.5 WINS worse on D. So again, Nick Swisher is better now and will soon be WAYYYY better than Johnny Damon.

      The argument of course shifts if you make Johnny a DH, but Nick Johnson is already our DH. And without Nick Johnson at DH, johnny suddenly goes back up to that $13 mil range, which makes him pointless when you could approximate/improve on his production for less from both Nick Johnson and Nick Swisher.

  18. dch says:

    It would be nice if they could add him on a 1 year contract now. It shouldn’t have ended this way. If they didn’t want him-thats one thing-but it going down this way because his agent totally misread the market for a guy his age, with his glove and arm-not the way it should have ended.

    • Evil Empire says:

      Hopefully its a lesson learned for other players and their agents (Boras included). At least Damon’s already enjoy some big pay days in his career.

  19. Reggie C. says:

    There’s a sadness to this article. Wish Damon the best. Don’t take shit from Minaya now!

  20. JeffG says:

    I think 2 years 14 was low balling a little… I wish a compromise could have been worked out to mirror what Abreau sighned for this year. I still kind of hope that Damon could come back to play left but now the 14mil would probably put us over budget after adding a pitcher.

  21. Riddering says:

    Damon’s quotes sound like a eulogy for his Yankee career.

    Ah, well. Bring on the year of C-Grand and Biggy Johnson.

  22. All of this aside, it was nice of Damon to insult the Red Sox on his way out. That earns him some points in my book.

    • ecksodia says:

      If some team offers him the money he wants, I bet they’ll be “the best organization he’s ever been a part of” after 2 years or so.

      I kid, I kid.

  23. Ed says:

    $7m/year seems rather surprising to me.

    With Ibanez, Burrell, Dunn, Bradley, and Abreu (2009) all getting around $10m/year, I would’ve expected a similar offer. Boras and Damon probably did too. Asking for $13m when you’re expecting a bid of about $10m doesn’t sound too bad – a little tame for Boras actually. Asking for $13m and hearing $7m is a huge difference though.

    • With Ibanez, Burrell, Dunn, Bradley, and Abreu (2009) all getting around $10m/year, I would’ve expected a similar offer.

      I’m not sure how analogous to those guys Damon really is. That’s a mixed bag of A) guys who outhit Johnny, like Ibañez and Dunn and B) guys who got contracts far beyond their worth that their teams regret, like Burrell and Bradley.

      Abreu’s 2009 deal is probably his best comp, yes. But, Bobby’s still in better physical shape injury-wise, and actually played a good outfield last year (in defiance of all logic). Even getting a deal as good as him may be asking for too much.

      Think of it this way: If we were currently in the market for a LF/DH and neither Bobby nor Johnny had ever played a game in pinstripes before (thus eliminating any loyalties or memories of them), who would you be more interested in signing to a 2/18ish deal, Abreu or Damon?

      I’d pick Abreu.

      • Bob Stone says:

        i actually saw a few games where Bobby chased a fly ball and got NEAR the wall. Amazing.

      • Ed says:

        I’m not sure how analogous to those guys Damon really is.

        You could single out each one of them and make a case why he’s different. They’re all 2nd tier free agents, each with their own glaring flaw.

        That’s a mixed bag of A) guys who outhit Johnny, like Ibañez and Dunn

        Those guys are also horrendous fielders with no speed. Damon had a bad UZR this year, but it does stand out as the exception in his career, so you could argue it as a fluke. Damon at least has said be believes he was a good defender.

        and B) guys who got contracts far beyond their worth that their teams regret, like Burrell and Bradley.

        Their teams may regret it, but the market is defined but what teams paid, not by what they wish they paid. There’s always a bunch of free agent signings that teams regret.

        If we were currently in the market for a LF/DH and neither Bobby nor Johnny had ever played a game in pinstripes before (thus eliminating any loyalties or memories of them), who would you be more interested in signing to a 2/18ish deal, Abreu or Damon?

        Today, I’d probably have a slight preference for Abreu. A year ago I’d go the other way. I’d be ok with either though.

      • dalelama says:

        Damon without hesitation.

    • radnom says:

      If starting negotiations at $13 million is reasonable if you’re eventually willing to settle for $10 million than why is it not reasonable for the Yankees to start at $7 million (with the assumption that they would go to $10 as well)?

  24. Drew says:

    Heh. Now Davidoff is reporting JD asked for 2/22.

    Sorry Johnny, Cash runs this shit, not you.

  25. Sam says:

    I dunno. I think that Damon really believed what Boras was telling him about the market, and when that all turned out to be untrue, Damon looked at Boras, then looked at Yankee Stadium, then back and forth, back and forth, faster and faster, until his head exploded. Damon didn’t exactly strike me as the kind of guy who did a lot of analytical thinking. In fact, here is a brief, one-act play I’ve written about how things might have gone down:

    Boras: “Hey Johnny, we’re gonna get you a new 4 year deal, for your current salary!”
    Johnny: “Duh-wah? Oh good! Me play baseball, make money!
    Boras: “Yes, Johnny. You play baseball, make money!”
    Johnny: “Johnny like play baseball. Ha ha”
    Boras: (under his breath) Idiot.
    (a month later)
    Boras: Well Johnny, it looks like we misjudged the market.
    Johnny: Mis-what-the who now?
    Boras: Yes, well, you might have to play baseball for less money.
    Johnny: (temper tantrum rising) I don’t WANNA play for LESS MONEY! YOU TOLD ME I COULD PLAY FOR MONEY!
    Boras: Someone give this guy a Vicodin, Jesus Christ.
    Johnny: (head explodes)

    That’s what I think happened.

    Read all about it on my blog!

  26. JMK aka The Overshare says:

    Well, I guess we should have offered him arb., huh?

    • A.D. says:

      Assuming that he wouldn’t have accepted since it would have been a 13M+ pay day

      • Ed says:

        Justify that. What would his argument for $13m be? Who would he use as a comparison? How would he counter when the Yankees point out all the outfielders who signed for about $10m over the last two offseasons?

        Problem seems to be the Yankees were only willing to pay $7m, and I don’t see a reasonable comparison to use as justification.

    • pat says:

      Eh, it can go either way. If the money we saved by giving Johnson 5.5 instead of Damon 14 or 15 can be used to acquire a guy like Sheets I’d say it was worth not taking the risk. If we’re gonna just sit on the savings then we probably should hav offered arbitration.

      I’d rather have Johnson+Sheets over Damon+ 2 picks. That’s probably an oversimplification but that’s how I see it.

    • Mike bk says:

      i hope that is some serious sarcasm. then we would be stuck paying him 13-15 mil next year. maybe he would have declined hoping he could get a multi-year deal but i doubt it and too big a risk.

      • You’re assuming a guy who seems to think he can find a 3 or 4 year deal for $40M plus would have decided, WITHIN ONE WEEK OF THE YANKEES MAKING AN ARBITRATION OFFER, to accept a one-year deal.

        Johnny Damon… Boston folk-hero who said he’d never play for the Yankees and wanted to stay in Boston, and then accepted a deal with the Yankees for one more year and a few million more than Boston offered him… Represented by Scott Boras – no further explanation needed… Coming off of a career-year and looking for what will probably be the last big financial score of his career.

        That’s the guy about whom you think one would have to be expressing sarcasm if they were to assert that the Yankees should have offered him arbitration because he would have declined the offer and given the Yankees an extra first-round pick and a first-round compensation pick in the 2010 draft. Within a week at the very beginning of the free agency period, that’s the guy you think it would have to be sarcasm to suggest was not going to accept an arbitration offer and take a one-year contract instead of either testing the market or declining and then trying to negotiate with the Yankees anyway.

        I respectfully disagree.

        • Ugh, how often are you gonna beat that drum!

          /radnom’d

          (Just teasing you, buddy. Not said with malice.)

        • Ed says:

          You’re assuming a guy who seems to think he can find a 3 or 4 year deal for $40M plus would have decided, WITHIN ONE WEEK OF THE YANKEES MAKING AN ARBITRATION OFFER, to accept a one-year deal.

          You’re assuming he really believed he could get a contract like that. When has Scott Boras ever started off making what sounded like a reasonable demand?

          I’m not saying that he would’ve accepted arbitration. Just that he probably didn’t really expect that sort of money.

          • Sure, of course… But saying that is worlds different than saying he would have accepted a 1-year contract within one week of the arbitration offer and before dipping his toe into the market.

            • The only counterargument to this is, the arb offers go out on Dec 1 and the answers have to be back by Dec 7.

              It’s not like Johnny Damon wouldn’t “have a toe in the market” on December 7. His market isn’t fully formed, no, but I bet he had a decent view of what it would look like; free agency has already begun, a few deals have been signed, and Boras has been working the phones.

              Maybe Johnny does get spooked by the lack of interest and accept arb. December 7th isn’t late, but it also isn’t early.

              There’s a problem with the analogy, for example, but both Soriano and Betancourt looked at the market and decided to take the one-year payday and hit the market a year later.

              I think Boras is the key figure here. He’s the one who ALWAYS takes his clients to free agency. Johnny being a Boras client should have caused us to be less risk-averse vis-a-vis Johnny accepting arbitration, but I don’t know if we should be as cavalier about non-Boras clients always rejecting arb and going to the market simply because they’re squeezed by the suddenness of the December 7th deadline.

              It’s gonna have to be case by case.

              • I agree with all of this, you definitely have to look at these situations on a case by case basis. And yeah, Damon could have dipped his toe into the market during that one week and come running back to accept the arbitration offer… I just highly doubt that would have happened, given the context of the situation. Maybe the “dipping his toe into the market” analogy wasn’t totally accurate… By December 7th he could have dipped his toe in the market, for sure… But I highly doubt (can’t really find words for how strongly I doubt this) that Damon/Boras would have decided, by December 7th, that they would have gotten a read on the market from that toe-dipping that would have led them to accept a one-year deal for Damon. There’s just very little about either of those guys that points to them making that decision, especially when you consider the context (coming off a career year, looking for a payday, track-record of taking the best offer in terms of years/money, Boras having other clients who might use Damon’s contract as a comparison in their own negotiations, Boras’s track-record with arbitration decisions… The list goes on and on.).

                • And yeah, Damon could have dipped his toe into the market during that one week and come running back to accept the arbitration offer… I just highly doubt that would have happened, given the context of the situation.

                  I agree. Cashman is risk averse with arbitration offers, and he may be correct in that general strategy, but in the specific case of Damon/Boras (and possibly last year with Abreu/Greenberg, although that one is dicier) he probably should have looked at the player/agent tandem as utterly unlikely to EVER accept an arb offer and thus made the offer.

                • Ed says:

                  but in the specific case of Damon/Boras (and possibly last year with Abreu/Greenberg, although that one is dicier) he probably should have looked at the player/agent tandem as utterly unlikely to EVER accept an arb offer and thus made the offer.

                  I feel the other way. Abreu himself was pretty open to talking to the press about wanting a 3 year deal. This is Boras demanding the 3 year deal, and he’s a guy who’s known for always making a public demand that’s far higher than what he’s aiming for.

                  Also, Boras got burned last year when he told Varitek to decline arbitration last year. Both Damon and Varitek are guys worth a lot more to their teams than to other teams, so I could see Boras reversing course.

                • Dude… Both sides of the argument are out there at this point. I don’t know… I mean, if you still think Boras/Damon would have accepted the arbitration offer, then good for you. But continuing to have the same conversation that’s been had before and that seems to have run its course here doesn’t really teach us anything new.

            • Ed says:

              Well, to continue on with my thought…

              With the demands Boras was publicly stating, it makes no sense to accept arbitration. The lower his real expectations are, the more sense arbitration makes.

              If his real expectations are more like 2/$20m, arbitration isn’t a clear cut no. Especially if he values coming back to the Yankees as much as he claims.

              • Ok, but now you’re talking about fantasy-land… Yes, of course, if Boras really super-secretly expected to get 2 years/$20M for Damon, arbitration would have looked pretty attractive. The context of the situation, for all the reasons that have been stated here and elsewhere ad nauseum about this topic, don’t lead to that conclusion, though. We have no indication that Boras expected a deal that low and actually, from what we know of the negotiations, it took a while and it took a few other options coming off the market for Boras/Damon to even get down to the 2 year range and indicate any willingness to negotiate.

                Yes, if Boras thought he’d only get something like 2/$20M, he might have accepted arbitration, but none of the information we have indicate that Boras or Damon thought that or that they would have come so far off from their initial position that they would have accepted a 1 year deal by December 7th before the free agent pieces started to fall and the market took shape.

                • Ed says:

                  How is that fantasy land?

                  What indications have we had that anyone would offer Damon 3 years?

                  Offhand, the only outfielder to significantly top $10m/year in the past 2 offseasons is Torii Hunter. Am I missing someone?

                  2/$20 is about dead on what he should have been expecting based on the market of the past 2 offseasons. Maybe 3/$30 if he got really lucky.

                  Boras *always* overshoots on both years and money.

                • It’s fantasy-land because I don’t think we have any indication that Boras went into this offseason thinking Damon would settle for 2/$20M from the Yankees. To me, that’s not all that different from saying ‘well maybe Boras would accept the arbitration offer if he pooped at 5 AM on December 7th, but wouldn’t accept the offer if he didn’t poop at 5 AM on December 7th.’

                  The indications we have that they expected to get a better deal have been discussed in this thread and other threads, again, ad nauseum. I see no reason to restate them all.

                  The market is, probably, going to lead to Damon taking a deal that is below his initial position. For the reasons stated a zillion times here and elsewhere, I don’t think that means he would have accepted a 1 year deal on December 7th. You feel differently, which is fabulous. Enough already.

                  (I’ve clearly checked out of this convo, so I’ll just be quiet now. Go ahead and post your thoughts if you’d like.)

      • No, we probably wouldn’t be stuck paying him 13-15M next year, because the benefit of hindsight of the past two winters tells us that Johnny would have most certainly declined.

  27. A.D. says:

    It appears that the Boras bullying & “magic” for older players may be drying up with teams

  28. Mike bk says:

    if damon could be had for 1 year 8 mil maybe an option w 1 mil buyout. so basically 1 yr 9 mil would you live w his d in lf?

  29. emac2 says:

    Don’t forget to take a multi year view as well.

    Saving 10 mil this year and suffering though maybe helps us afford Crawford next year.

    Getting a bunch of average guys on 10 mil 2 year deals might not be worth it.

    • jsbrendog says:

      exactly why you do not sign johnny damon to a 2 yr contract and keep nick swisher in rf

    • Steve H says:

      Suffering thru what exactly?

      /sets self up to be amazed by response

      • emac2 says:

        Suffering through a year of Gardner instead of someone making 8+ mil

        • Steve H says:

          A year of Gardner doing what? Gardner is the 4th/5th OF. And he carries value there as a defensive replacement and pinch runner.

          • emac2 says:

            You asked me what I was referring too and I was referring to taking whatever you think we are going to end up with and taking off an 8 million dollar player who gets replaced with a minimum wage guy.

            We can digress into a seperate argument about who is or should be there but my point was about taking a multi year view to whatever budget you think we are going to end up with and “suffering” with an inferior player this year to save money to get an elite player next year.

            Sort of like

            Cabrera and Gardiner this year and Gardner & Pujols next year

            Instead of Swisher and Damon this year and next

            – Is it worth it

            I’m just using the names here to show my point. Which is that saving money on Johnson and other such moves allow options that will not be there if we fill those spots with average players.

          • emac2 says:

            Sorry about that – I thought I had responded to someone else and given my first post some context.

  30. Stultus Magnus says:

    That was rather silly of Rosenthal…

  31. Don says:

    I truly appreciate what Cash is doing but if the 2/26 (from Damon) and 2/14 (Yanks) offers are correct, let them meet halfway at 2/20 and call it a day.

    That is basically what Abreu signed for this year. Get this done and roll a sick lineup out there 90% of the time.

    • emac2 says:

      Sure – Who do we cut to make up the difference?

      Or are the Yankees too cheap for you and just need to spend whatever you want?

      • Don says:

        I dont feel that way at all. Johnson is a pay cut from what Matsui made last year and Damon would be receiving a $3 million pay cut as well.

        If they are entertaining Derosa, it might be worth the extra $2 mill per year over the next 2 years to have the known NYY quantity in Damon.

        If its a decision between Damon and Sheets or Derosa, Sheets, and Chapman – one would have to reconsider bringing back Damon.

  32. Don says:

    …in that its probably worth to have more pitching and take a shot on Derosa.

  33. EB says:

    I think Damon is taking a shot at Jeter

    /2009 meme of the year?

  34. SoxFan in Delaware says:

    awww poor Johnny Douchebag. Left the Red Sox for the Bigger and Better deal and just got out played by Cashman. Good luck in San Diego or Oakland or Seattle or Wash for 5 mil like you deserve. HAHA.. Made my weekend.

  35. [...] has definitely painted his client into a corner, as now Damon is stuck competing against two elite players at the same position on the open market, [...]

  36. JoiseyFan says:

    Smart money sez Damon won’t be back in MLB next year. Only team that really wanted him was the Yanks. (Seriously, you consider Washington or SF a MLB team?)

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