Damon hasn’t closed the door on a return


While the Yankees continue to wait and wait and wait for the market for second and third tier free agent outfielders to develop, Johnny Damon toils in limbo, and he indicated to Nick Cafardo that he’s hasn’t completely closed the door on a return to the Bronx. “I knew I’d probably have to take a pay cut, just based on the way the economy is in this country and baseball,” said Damon. “But I thought I had a productive season and I think I showed people I can play and still do something at a high level.’’

Cafardo says Scott Boras came to the Yanks and proposed a $10M salary, however the Yanks are thinking more along the lines of $6-7M, a paycut Damon isn’t willing to take. He did say he’d be more than willing to play for Atlanta, who has a little bit of money to spend and a perpetual need for offense. Buster Olney says that executives from other clubs are convinced that he’ll end up back in New York.

It’s looking more and more like Johnny Damon is the Bobby Abreu of this offseason. In fact, we can say with certainty that he is. Abreu ended up taking close to a 70% paycut when he finally signed in mid-February, and while I’m not sure Johnny will have to take that big of a cut, it’s not going to be pretty.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. crawdaddie says:

    Damon will have to swallow real hard for him to return to the Yankees and I don’t see him doing it. These players have too much pride and I think it’s going to get in the way this time for Damon. The Giants or maybe the Braves will get him at that lowered pricepoint.

  2. AndrewYF says:

    Why wouldn’t Damon have to take that big of a cut? His season wasn’t all that much better than Abreu’s in 2008, and the book is out on him and Yankee Stadium.

    • Ed says:

      Abreu didn’t *need* to take that big a paycut, he just completely misread the market. He turned down better offers hoping for a deal similar to his previous one. He only lowered his demands after everyone willing to pay more signed someone else instead.

  3. Crazy Eyes Killa says:

    I want him back, because it would make this team too ridiculously good, but I think it’s a long shot at this point.

  4. Section 39 says:

    The thing is, no team is going to pay him $10 million/yr. The difference really is that other teams are more willing to give him years vs the Yanks probably only want to give him a 1yr deal with at most a vesting option. I personally prefer signing Damon, but honestly, if we signed Reed Johnson and maybe Hairston, I wouldn’t complain.

  5. crapula says:

    Did I read (here?) that the Yanks offered Damon a deal this off-season and he rejected it? Was it a one-time thing?

    I think his comments about the economy foreshadow a re-thinking of his position…he will sound all altruistic or something and take a cut. Perhaps there is some way to build in incentives. I don’t know. I’d love him back but it’s growing doubtful.

    • Mike Bk says:

      he did reject it, then he came back just before we signed NJ saying he would sign for 2/20 after reportedly not wanting anything less than what he had on his last contract.

    • Mac1 says:

      I heard (WFAN, I think) Cash supposedly offered 2/14 it might have been the counter to Damon’s 2/20.

      The 2/14 might be the best he’ll do – yes, he’s an adventure in LF, but I think the Yanks will miss his bat in the #2 hole – can’t see NJ staying healthy enough to get 500 pa and his lack of speed in that spot could be an issue

      If NJ goes down, I could see Grandy getting a shot there – which might get his obp back to 360+ levels – that may be the best spot in mlb to hit – #2 for the Yanks.

  6. Absolutely nothing more than $7MM. If he doesn’t come below that before bringing in Hairston + Johnson, then he can play elsewhere.

    • LarryM, FL. says:

      I have to agree. JD has his highest value playing in Yankee Stadium as a DH. Few teams if any will offer him 8 million for two years. Now, his value to the Yanks has dropped with the signing of NJ. Damon would actually be money spent beyond his value to the team. He’s a below average fielder but would put good offensive numbers up at the stadium. JD played his hand way too risky.

      If he signs with the Yanks it will be at the Yankee price 5-7 mill.

  7. Januz says:

    I think it is 50-50 he is coming back. I did not think he would until the Beltre contract. You could see Boras having to do another “Pillow Contract”, like he did with Beltre (This time Damon). I really hope he decides to do so.

    • Doug says:

      while a pillow contract can work for a 31-yr old 3B who plays great D, it wouldn’t work with a 36-yr old LF who plays bad D. unless the market changes dramatically, he’s going to get a worse contract next year, not better

      • andrew says:

        Disagree. See: Abreu, Bobby.

        • Doug says:

          true, but he resigned with his own team and immediately after the season ended. he (or his agent) smartly realized that the FA market for him was not going to be great again.

          you think a team other than the angels would have given him that 2/20 contract?

          • radnom says:

            So what? He put up a good year and learned from his mistakes in the previous offseason. The one year deal still worked out for him.

            • Doug says:

              yeah, but now you’re implying that the 1-yr deal was a choice by him last year. it wasn’t, as far as what i recall. that’s all he could get.

              • radnom says:

                Yes, but what indication is there in this situation that Damon can land a longer deal?
                I’m not implying it was a choice for Abreu, I’m just saying it worked which contradicts your claim that it can’t work for Damon.
                If he indeed has a choice between a 1 yr deal or a couple years at a lower AAV, he might be better off taking the 1 year.

                • Doug says:

                  i hear you on damon. maybe it’d work for damon.

                  i was just trying to differentiate his situation from beltre, who actually turned down two different 3-year deals for his chance at reentering the market again next year.

                • radnom says:

                  I wasn’t referring to Beltre specifically, but I agree that it was a much safer decision for him, especially as he was coming off an injury plagued season in a tough hitters park (as opposed to Damon with a resurgent year in YS).
                  I just had a quibble with the comment that it would require a drastic market shift for Damon to get a better contract next offseason, but I think you see what I mean.

                • Drew says:

                  Re: Beltre

                  From what I remember those 3 yr deals were about 24 mil. He really only turned down 4 ish mil if he can reach his incentive for a 10 mil option.
                  It would make his deal a 2/19.

                  It’s not the huge “Boston Discount” writers will have you believe. Besides, he’s probably salivating when he thinks of the Monster.

                • Doug says:

                  i do see what you mean, radmon, and i certainly can’t disagree

      • radnom says:

        Um….Bobby Abreu?

  8. KDB says:

    The door hasn’t closed for Damon, but it has for me. In the event that he decides to return for minimal money he’ll be Mr. Unhappy. He should choose to entertain longer, if less spectacular offers from
    the Nats, or Orioles, both of whom could actually use his talents. The Yankees with, or without him are in good shape.
    I don’t think the Yankees gave NJ 5.5 Million to be the highest paid benchwarmer in baseball. Nick has the tools to be a great OBP guy, but nobody in their right mind wants him playing large minutes at a position, for that you sign Mr. Hairston again.

    • Drew says:

      Obviously Damon would sign as a LFer…

    • radnom says:


      First of all I why is everyone so sure they can predict Damon’s emotions based on a hypothetical contract? Where did you get you psychology degree? And how long have you known Johnny for?

      Secondly, what does Nick Johnson have to do with this? Damon would be brought in to play LF, not DH.

    • AndrewYF says:

      An unhappy Damon is still better than Gardner/whomever.

      • Drew says:

        Plus if he’s unhappy we could just buy him a puppy.

      • radnom says:

        I love how anytime someone brings up clubhouse chemistry its shouted down as nonsense narrative but not in this one specific situation.
        Not to mention the fact that no one has any freaking clue how he would react.

        • Ed says:

          “Clubhouse chemistry” is usually referring to how the roster as a whole will get along. How will everyone get along if you throw a jerk into the mix? That’s what people are blowing off. If a team is winning, the players tend to get along.

          This is more about concern over creating a rift between Damon and the management. It’s a different scenario. It was fueled by Cashman making comments that a lot of players aren’t comfortable resigning with the same team at a large reduction in salary.

    • JMK aka The Overshare's Garden Apartment Complex says:

      +18. Best Doctoral thesis ever!

  9. Howard Cosell says:

    Its clear Damon has decided that money is the main incentive not winning a championship. And when you have a couple of World Series rings – who could judge him?

    Complete opposite of Beltre…….


  10. pete luciano says:

    How cheap will J Dye get? His ops vs lefties was 900 and almost 800 total. He’s right handed and probably no worse than Damon in the field. He hit 27 HR’s last yr is a solid veteran and could provide a nice platoon with Gardner or play every day if Gardner fails. I still wouldn’t mind Damon a 1 yr at 5-6 million but Dye is right handed and might be cheaper. Jeter, Johnson, Tex, Arod, Posada, Cano, Dye, Swisher, and Granderson. There’s balance left right and if Hairston is signed as a utility man gives an option to ph for Grandy late in games vs lefties and still have Gardner for defensive replacement late in games for cf. How cheap will he go, I haven’t heard anyone interested in him.

  11. nate is great for #28 says:

    JD is not going to get a better deal with other teams, unless the giants offer him 8-9. they need a left handed bat badly in that lineup. I see him back in pinstripes with a yanks contract with incentives. He should take a one year deal and test the market next season. Ego is the only thing stopping that from getting done. Read his own website, it says he was one of the most sought after free agents ever after 2004 season. Thats a funny interpretation of events from his camp’s view. I think he still thinks he is top tier.

  12. Richard Deegan says:

    “I knew I’d probably have to take a pay cut, …” Probably? So he thought someone would go for $13MM/year? That’s why JD had Borass tell the Yanks not to even call unless it was AT LEAST $13 MM for 3 years. He might have gotten 2@ $10MM at that point, but better to posture, right? Then as the NL slides outta sight, along with KC, Bosox and Chisox (and after Grandy), he blinks, and when his market is down to $14/ over 2 yrs, he asks for $20MM for two. Now his market’s closer to $10 MM for 2 yrs, but he might not wake up until it hits $4 or $5 MM for one, and then he’ll ask for the $14MM over two.

  13. nate is great for #28 says:

    Yes, a real good agent(Boras is only if ur top 10% talent) that would be looking out for damons interests should have seen this coming with all the left fielders out there in a terrible recession/market. If JD wants is going to be getting a 1 year deal (i don t see more than that unless its at 5-6 per year at this point), he should resign with the yanks to pad his stats for next season as a free agent. Anywhere else he goes, he will lose power/production and be in worse shape next year.

  14. Benjamin says:

    FINALLY, Johnny boy seems to have gotten his head outta his ass and realized Scott Boras DOES NOT have his best interests at heart. We probably settle on like a 1 year deal at 9 with a mutual option for ’11. Get this done Cash!

  15. nate is great for #28 says:

    I agree with the comment that the Beltre deal has created a desire by the Yanks brass to put a slugger out in lf. Dye and Damon are going to be the 2 guys looking to cash in. Which ever one signs there will be getting a better deal than the other will eventually get. I love Damon as a clutch player and hitter in Yanks stadium, but Dye platooning with Gardy would make alot of sense with the rh and lh power,speed, defense components.

  16. nate is great for #28 says:

    he would def sign a deal like that (9mil+option), i doubt he will get it tho. As it stands,7mil with some incentives is going to be a tough sell as long as dye is out there.

  17. Mike J says:

    Just sign him! I can depend on Nick Johnson to be healthy for an entire season (has he ever been healthly for an entire season). Rotate between DH and LF….and hit #2!! Let’s just get it done for heaven sake!!!

  18. Mike J says:

    CORRECTION…”I can’t depend on Nick Johnson to be healthy”…Sorry

  19. Brian says:

    Let’s knock off the foreplay and the nonsense. 1 year, $8 million. Just get it done already.

  20. Richard Deegan says:

    Have your way and sign him, but for no more than $5-6MM. Mostly a DH, sharing time with Johnson (worst case, 40 games for NJ), Posada (best case, 40 games for JP), and the Gold Dust Twins at short and third. TG for Russo!!!!

  21. LarryM, FL. says:

    Does anyone have any concerns that JD goes backwards physically which will impact on his offensive numbers. He is 36 presently in very good shape but battles lower leg issues throughout the latter portion of the season. Cashman may have this in mind. He does have access to medical history on JD that we don’t.

  22. canadien tuxedo says:

    I dont think damon will end up with much more than the 5 mil plus incentives vladdy got

  23. FrankFernandez says:

    I think he’s history; we added two lefty bats in Grandy and Nick and once the latter was signed, bringing Damon back stopped making perfect sense. Cash keeps saying he wants a righty bat for LF and, for once, he just might be telling the truth.

  24. justiceserved says:

    Johnson replaced Matsui, Granderson replaced Cabrera, why not Damon to replace Damon? They are going to get mediocrity in the 2-3m a year range as ridiculous as that sounds, so offer him 15m for two years.

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