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.”