Feb
22

When Johnny went marching away again

By


AP Photo/Rob Carr)

“I know where I want to be next year. I want to be here in New York.”

Maybe I 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 dared to believe he was telling the truth.

“This would definitely be the best place for me. I’d sure love to keep taking advantage of that right-field porch.”

It would have been simple for Damon to stay in New York City. All he had to do was tell that to his agent and urge Scott Boras to make one last contract work. After all, Damon will be playing his age 36 season in 2010, and with his defense slowing down, he’ll need to DH. With that short porch in right field, Yankee Stadium was perfectly suited to Damon’s bat, and while Brian Cashman has wisely improved the team’s defense, Damon would have had a role to play yet.

“I don’t know where else I would want to go to. 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.”

Yet, this past weekend just days before he had to report to training camp somewhere, Johnny Damon finally reached an agreement with the Detroit Tigers on a one-year deal rumored to be worth $8 million. He’ll inexplicably receive a no-trade clause, and even though his wife was reported to be unhappy with the move and even though the Yanks had extended him a multi-year offer, Damon will take his bat and glove to the pitcher’s park of Comerica and hope for the best.

In the Bronx, last week Brian Cashman sounded somewhere between a jilted lover and a shocked businessman — shocked at Scott Boras’ hubris and the way Damon and his agent seemingly misplayed this off-season. He offered the incumbent left fielder a two-year deal worth $14 million, and even though that money represented a significant pay cut for Damon, it would remain the best one Johnny had on the table all winter. At the time, Cashman too knew it would be the top offer Damon would get.

“The industry the last two free agent markets seems to be going downward and the player’s ages are going upward,” Cashman said. “It makes more sense to be patient. My attitude is if this is the place you want to be, you will make it happen. Johnny Damon professed his love for the Yankees, wanted to be here and was given every chance to be here. He’s not here anymore and I don’t feel that is the Yankees’ fault. They have to reconcile why they are not here, not me. If people want to be here and be a part of something, then find a way to work it out.”

Cashman was clearly irked at the way the negotiations went down. “Scott Boras said, ‘Bobby Abreu’s contract is $9 million a year right now on the table so why would we do that? So I expect to see a Bobby Abreu contract.’” the Yanks’ GM said. “I hope he does not sign for something less than our offer. That means he should have been a Yankee and that’s not our fault.”

At the same time, Ken Rosenthal wonders if Boras is to blame. The Fox Sports scribe believes Boras wanted to keep the Cardinals believing that the Yanks were interested in Matt Holliday and therefore never engaged the Yanks on Damon until it was far too late. From what we’ve heard in the past about Boras and from a business perspective, this conspiracy theory would make sense. After all, Holliday will make Boras far more money over the next eight or ten years than Damon will, and it just makes sense for Boras to push Damon to the side while focusing on his younger and more valuable clients.

Here we are, then, without Johnny Damon. I know my tone here sounds more annoyed than I actually am. I didn’t like Damon’s defense, and I can see his production completely falling off a cliff this year, especially away from his home run haven. Yet, something about Damon made me believe his sincerity. Today, though, I know how Red Sox fans felt after the 2005 season. Johnny Damon might talk the talk, but when it came time to walk the walk, money — and less than he could have gotten in the first place — ruled the day instead.

Categories : Rants
  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    If Johnny Damon resigns with the Tigers after next year, it’ll be the first time he resigns with his team when a free agent.

  • pat

    Oh well, we’ll just have to deal with better offense and defense from Granderson. Woe is we.

    • bexarama

      ietcvvm

    • Brian

      Better defense, yes, but better offense? Johnny Damon had a great season, while Granderson batted 250 and couldn’t hit a lefty pitcher if they were throwing softballs. Not to mention how clutch Damon was for us, something we won’t know if Curtis has ’till the season.

      Overall I don’t think the Granderson – Damon swap is a negative, but I will without a doubt miss seeing Johnny in the two hole…

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Peck Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        09:

        johnny damon ops+ 126 = tied career high

        Curtis Granderson ops+ 100

        so damon had a career year at 35 while granderson fell off from ops+ of 135 and 123 the previous 2 years at age 29.

        I will bet money that Granderson>>>>>>>>> Damon offensively this year. Regression to the mean, and the mean of the two is much higher for granderson.

        career:

        granderson ops+ 113

        Damon ops+ 105

        • JobaWockeeZ

          Johnny Damon career wRC+ – 112
          Curtis Granderson career wRC+ – 119

      • Chris

        Damon’s season looked so good because of Yankee Stadium, and Granderson’s looked bad because of Comerica. If you look at their road splits, Granderson was quite a bit better.

      • pat

        Thank you Brendog and Chris for taking care of my light work.

      • Tom Zig

        The Yankees originally signed Johnny Damon to be their CFer and their lead-off hitter. He can no longer do either of those. Pass.

        • Thomas

          I am pretty sure he can still lead off. Two years ago, he hit .303/.375/.461 leading off. Last year, he was moved into the two hole, because Jeter was hitting into many double plays as the number 2 hitter. If you want to argue Jeter is a better lead off hitter than Damon that is fine, but Jeter was always a better hitter than Damon (and should have always been leading off) and it definitely doesn’t mean Johnny Damon is a bad lead off hitter.

          • bexarama

            this. I’m pretty sure he’ll be batting leadoff for the Tigers.

            He obviously can’t play CF any more, though.

            • Thomas

              Well, the Tigers did draft Justin Verlander and his ability to strikeout opposing batters means the Tigers don’t give a rat’s ass about defense. Thus, I would be incredibly surprised, if Johnny Damon doesn’t just play CF, but all three OF positions at the same time.

              • bexarama

                I was super confused for a moment and then I realized what this was referring to and lol’ed. Good job.

    • Lanny

      Really should relax on touting Granderson until he gets a few clutch hits and isnt pinch hit for in late innings when a tough lefty is on the mound.

      Don’t doubt this team will miss Damons offense and presence.

  • bexarama

    A big part of me recognizes that Johnny Damon was a good Yankee and, botched Boras negotiations aside, seems like a good guy to boot. I believed his sincerity, too. I’ll always remember him fondly for the double steal, not to mention that time when he said that A-Rod could have murdered someone and that would have been worse than him doing steroids, which was the only good thing to come out of the Ster-Rod bullsh-t from a year or so ago. I hope he does well.

    A smaller part of me hopes he completely falls off a cliff.

    • Tom Zig

      With his home ballpark being Comerica, I think it’s quite likely he’ll have shitty numbers

    • Lanny

      how did his agent botch this?

      The Yankees never offered him 8 mill.

      • Benjamin

        No, they offered him two years, $14 million.If he wants to screw us over for an extra million a year, he and demon spawn Boras can go to hell. Good riddance.

        • chris

          Come on, people. Anyone who thinks a player should take a hometown discount is delusional. Everyone follows the money. The Yanks (astutely) offered him 2/14, which was an enormous pay cut. The man has an ego, and, after rocking the WS, he didn’t think he deserved a paycut. How would you all feel if you had the best year of your life at work and the boss walked in and offered you half of what you made the year before. It’s easy enough to blame Damon and Boras for miscalculating the market, but Boras has a history of getting contracts way above market value for his clients. I think Damon did want to stay in New York. But not for half his salary.

          Why isn’t anyone taking the Yankees to task for not digging a little deeper to bring him back? Because they were acting in their best economic interests. So was Damon. He’s gone. It wasn’t meant to be this year. That’s business. In restrospect, would it have been a better decision for him to take the Yanks offer? Probably. Hindsight is 20/20.

          And he’s not taking the Tigers’ offer over the Yankees’ offer. The Yankees’ offer has been off the table for a long time. He couldn’t have known two months ago that 1/8 was the best he could get.

  • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

    Just a wild thought here, but what are the odds that the Yanks knock on Detroit’s door (looking for Damon) at the deadline should the Tigers fall out of the race early, and NY needs some help in the lineup for the stretch run?

    :)

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Peck Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      He’ll inexplicably receive a no-trade clause,

      • Thomas

        I wonder if Damon got that no trade clause less for being able to pick where he was traded to and more as means to get more money. I wouldn’t be surprised if he asked whatever team is trying trade for him to give him an extra $1 million or so in order for him to waive his no trade clause.

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Peck Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          interesting theory. that’s using your noggin. color me impressed

        • Jeremy

          Shades of Bobby Abreu there. He demanded compensation to waive his NTC to go to the Yankees.

    • Brian

      I heard something about a no-trade agreement in the contract..

      • andrew

        Yea, which can be waived.

    • pete

      very, very low. If Nick Johnson, the only man on the Yanks that Damon could really replace, goes down from injury, I’d be willing to bet that a C/DH tandem of Jesus Montero and Jorge Posada would provide more punch than damon would.

      • andrew

        Willing to bet that Montero spends the whole season in AAA, even with a NJ injury.

        • pete

          eh, if the yankees have a genuine offensive need for him (which would take more than just NJ getting hurt – a bunch of guys would have to have crappy years, too), and he’s hitting .350/.420/.540 in Scranton, i’d bet he’d come up. Unless Miranda is tearing it up at a similar rate, there would really be no reason not to. This is his 4th season, 3rd full season, and he’ll be in AAA. If he’s dominating there, calling him up mid-season isn’t exactly rushing him. Like with Huba to the ‘pen, I think it should only be done if there is truly a need for him (and he is completely dominating and truly looks like his bat is 100% mlb-ready), but I think people are overselling the harm in doing it.

          • Steve in PDX

            If we have a genuine offensive need for a 20yr old we are in trouble. End of story.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      My money is on the Kitties hanging around all year and Damon going nowhere.

      • king of fruitless hypotheticals

        wtf do cats have to do with anything?

        besides a SCRUMPTIOUS little pm snack?

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    Today, though, I know how Red Sox fans felt after the 2005 season.

    The difference is you don’t have your sister-cousin-wife to comfort you inappropriately.

    • Omar

      Because of which, there also won’t be a police visit to your house on a domestic violence claim.

    • pete

      haha I hope these sentiments are geared towards Sox fans, and not Boston in general. Boston’s a great city

      • Not The Rays

        All 4 square blocks of it…

    • Jammy Jammers

      Sox fans = hill people

      • king of fruitless hypotheticals

        as an inbred-redneck-rightwingnutjob-pickuptruckdriving-hillbillywithdentalproblems, i am offended by that remark.

        X(

        • Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

          You left out “meth-addicted”. :-)

        • pete

          I seriously think you guys need to take a closer look at the city of Boston. I honestly didn’t even realize these stereotypes existed about it until today. Yeah sure the Red Sox an organization that is full to the brim of gritbearded unathletic white guys, but the city itself ain’t so bad. It’s pretty much just a huge college town. In a number of ways I much prefer it to NYC (although it’s a very enigmatic place in terms of laws – marijuana is a civil offense but if a parent gives his/her child a glass of wine, both the parent and the child could theoretically be chaged with criminal offenses, no alcohol can be served without a liquor license (i.e. no beer in a grocery store/gas station, only liquor stores, bars, and restaurants), and no alcohol can be sold on sundays except for in private restaurants – just all-around weird about alcohol). Outside of the Sox, it’s a very pretty, very down-to-earth city. Don’t hate

          • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

            The drivers suck.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              They don’t call ‘em Massholes for nothing.

              • pete

                well see these are stereotypes that i’ve heard before. the redneck thing is, if a real stereotype, totally off.

              • Thomas

                I’ve always enjoyed the term Masstards as well.

            • pete

              driving in boston is terrifying certainly. you have bumper-to-bumper traffic 4 lanes across the mass pike all moving at 65 mph while you’re trying to merge across all four of those lanes in order to take your proper exit and not inexplicably wind up in cape cod. But I wouldn’t say that the drivers “suck”. They’re actually quite good at driving. But, much like the crazy European drivers who careen around hairpin turns overlooking 400 foot cliffs at 50 mph, they will scare the shit out of you.

              Having said that, are NY drivers really any better? I’ve been hit 6 times in New York (twice while crossing the street when the walk sign was on, the other four times while I was stopped at a red light). Drivers in Boston are probably just as rude, just as likely to cut you off, just as aggressive, and just as likely to force you onto a non-toll-free highway that you didn’t want to be on as anywhere, if not more. But they aren’t going to hit you. Swerve around you way faster than you’re comfortable with, sure, but they’ll avoid hitting you, even if just barely.

              • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

                I’d say the drivers here are more technically skilled, but also take more risks. The benefit to here is the infrastructure is designed with some sense. The drivers there may not be as technically skilled, but they aren’t as rude and aggressive (though still among the top-5 in the country). Their roads are such poorly designed and they think you can make a u-turn ANYWHERE.

                New Jersey ain’t great, either.

          • Hughesus Christo

            Boston is a huge college town in some ways, but with a particularly virulent breed of frat boy running the show. They even elected one to the senate!

            • pete

              Eh, MIT/Harvard/BC make up for BU, I think. As far as the most recent election, as much as I am disappointed in MA for that, it was kind of a no-win situation. Like Bush-Kerry in ’04. Coakely was absolutely incapable of convincing anyone who initially disagreed with her opinions, which is a fatal flaw for a politician.

              But we’re treading dangerous water here. We should probs back off the politics, even if it’s only electoral

              • Hughesus Christo

                MIT and Harvard kids in Boston? Good luck with that.

                I’m not saying anything political about Scott Brown. I am making a factual statement about him being a frat boy. This is the man who drove a pickup truck around Mass and got a cheap pop from the crowd by offering up his single daughters during his victory speech.

                • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

                  That’s an expensive dowry, man. Those girls were hot.

                  /would totally vote for a politician that offered up their daughters. Maybe not Robert Byrd…

          • Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

            I was piling on to the hillbilly stereotype, not saying anything about Boston. I guess I’ve been watching too many TV shows about Meth- they’re everywhere lately. And for the record I have nothing against hillbillies!

            • Hughesus Christo

              Hillbillies are cool as long as you double bag it.

              • Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

                ??

              • Andy (different one) in chilly NYC

                OK, think I just got it. Yuck.

                • Hughesus Christo

                  I give it a 7.

          • Rick in Boston

            You got the booze on Sunday law wrong. It’s definitely available on Sundays in stores.

            • RichYF

              I think he’s referring to Connecticut. No booze after 9PM (up from 8PM 8-10 years ago) and no booze on Sundays. No booze anywhere but package stores (yeah, that’s right, package stores) and supermarkets.

              Fun stuff.

    • http://janeheller.mlblogs.com/yank_c.jpg T-Dubs

      Hey! Pedroia’s brother is NOT my cousin!

  • Chris

    This season could be very interesting for Damon playing half his games in Comerica. His road wOBA was .352 last year (.399 at home). Compare that to Granderson’s .372 road wOBA (.306 at home), and Damon could be primed for a significant regression.

  • Thomas A. Anderson

    Never take pro athletes at their word when they ar talking about contracts. The dollar rules the day. Always has. I don’t begrudge them for squeezing every dime they can out of their careers, but as fans and the media, we have to stop being surprised when they do so. Joke’s on us if we do.

    • pete

      Joke’s on us if we *are*

      /nitpick’d
      //latin teacher’s son’d

  • Omar

    Also, side note, if were talking about Damon just DHing, I’d rather have Nick Johnson anyways. I wanted him for LF instead of White Lightning, and I really don’t want Hoffmann anywhere near the team…but I mean, shit didn’t workout, Cashman found a better deal and Boras fucked the dog on his client’s negotiations.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Peck Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      i will say it again, granderson/johnson will outperform damon/matsui in every way offensively this year.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        Barely. And if Johnson gets hurt then it’ll be really hard for Granderson to carry Johnson.

        • Omar

          While that’s a valid concern IMO, Damon’s not exactly a model of durability at this point either.

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            Nor is Matsui.

            • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Peck Templeton “Brendog” Peck

              esp in the outfield. scoscia for the loss!

          • andrew

            Johnny Damon has played 141 games in 14 straight seasons… I would call that a model of durability.

            • ROBTEN

              Since coming to camp out of shape in 2007, Damon has battled calf injuries that resulted in him having to have regular rest from playing the field and forced him to leave game six. Baring a radical, Jeter-esque change in his conditioning program, it is unlikely his legs are going to miraculously improve this season (and, even if he did change his conditioning, it might not work).

              He’s “durable,” but becoming increasingly worn down by injury… something which his struggles at the end of the season might be a sign of.

              Combine that with the news that Matsui is already announcing that his knees are not 100% — and I am sure that after three months of rest, they will certainly get better as he begins playing (sarcasm) — and I don’t think it is too risky to suggest that Granderson+Johnson outproduces Damon+Matsui this year.

          • Lanny

            Compared to NJ, Damon is Cal Ripken.

        • pat

          Matsui is already not 100%

          • Hughesus Christo

            The day one of ST “My knees hurt” story was hilarious.

      • Tom Zig

        If Matsui is allowed to play in the outfield, he way wind up on the 60-day DL because his knees separated from his body.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Not so sure, Matsui’s face is rather offensive.

        • bexarama

          this is mean.

          But, I lol’ed.

        • Thomas

          How to prevent your child from ever learning to read an analog clock: http://tinyurl.com/yctsfez (safe for work, unsafe for your eyes).

        • Sean C

          Anyone else think he looked like “Shemp?” http://www.etsu.edu/math/gardn.....eboard.jpg (safe)

          • Jammy Jammers

            He absolutely did, Sean. Also, his hat fell off every time he fielded a ball.

    • pete

      I want Hoffmann really close to the team. He put up studly numbers in the minors last year and he’s supposed to be a terrific all-around defensive corner outfielder (passable in center). I think he’s got a pretty solid shot at being at least a league-average player, and a cheap one at that. Winn, to me, is great as insurance, and Thames is a quality RH bench bat, but I am more fascinated by the Gardner/Hoffmann competition than I am the supposed “5th starter competition”. I think both of those guys make the team out of ST, and they duke it out all year long, gardbrera-style.

      Somebody said earlier that “Granderson/Johnson will outproduce Damon/Matsui”. I’m going to take that a step further. Gardner/Hoffmann will out-produce Johnny Damon in 2010. Book it. Damon’s #s in Comerica will fall off a cliff, and his WAR as a DH will be crazy pedestrian, and if he plays left, his #s will look almost as bad for LFs, and his defense (especially in Comerica) will even lessen it. I’m calling it right here: in 2010, Damon will, if he DH’s, have a WAR of 2.0. If he plays left, it’ll be 1.7. Meanwhile, the Yanks are going to get 4.2 WAR out of Gardner/Hoffmann alone. 5 total out of left. Write it down.

  • YankeeGrunt

    This was Cash’s opportunity to stick it to Boras. He couldn’t do it with an All-World 3B so he did it with an aging, limp-winged corner OFer. Cashman called his bluff and Damon was left with nowhere to go but a Detroit team that can’t figure out whether it is loading up or selling off. I love Damon and I don’t blame him for what he did, he assumed that Boras knew best. I’m sure he had the shock of his life when he found out the Yanks signed Nick Johnson.

    • andrew

      i doubt boras is losing much sleep over this one.

    • Lanny

      You’re out of your mind if you think Cashman operates this team based on how he could “stick it to agents”.

      • YankeeGrunt

        I don’t think it was especially personal, I think he wanted to make it clear that he wasn’t going to be pushed around. It’s not a secret, there are GMs who are loathe to do business with Boras, and while the Yankees cannot and will not ignore any agent’s clientele (especially not one with as many All Stars as Boras) it’s not “out of my mind” to suggest that playing hardball over a guy who you feel you can afford to lose (an aging Damon) is a way to set the tone for the next negotiation.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Peck Templeton “Brendog” Peck

    At least the tigers can get that supplemental pick next yr when they offer him arb. orrrrr he’ll take it, get him 8-9 mill (maybe even 10) and they’ll be screwed.

    if a player accepts arb there is no carryover NTC from the contract right? that wouldnt make sense..

  • pete

    Once we signed Granderson, i had no qualms about bringing Johnny back to DH. Then we signed Johnson, who I feel will perform at a higher level than Johnny will in 2010, so I have no qualms about not bringing Johnny back. I certainly would have had qualms about bringing his defense back, though, and I would have had qualms about adding a Johnny Damon contract onto this team when we have replaced his bat in the outfield (and upgraded the defense), and have no available spot at DH.

    I loved what Johnny did for us. But for the yankees this year, I truly cannot see his worth being more than $3, maybe $4 million dollars. While he wouldn’t bat 9th, he would likely be our 9th best hitter. He’d be remarkable as that – probably one of the best ever if he maintained last year’s offensive production – but the better something (like the yankees offense) gets, the more it takes to significantly improve it.

    Laying off (for lack of a better term, since it clearly isn’t quite how things went down) Damon allowed the yankees to fill holes this offseason, rather than stack up unnecessary pieces to an already dominant offense. Not signing Damon allowed the Yankees to sign Park, Thames, and Winn. It allowed them to keep Gaudin and Mitre for depth. If we had signed damon, they’d have a terrible defensive left fielder whose bat is highly unlikely to make up for it significantly enough to justify his contract, they would have less bullpen depth, which would likely “force” them into putting Hughes into the pen (not necessarily saying they won’t do that anyway, but at least they don’t HAVE to now), they would have no power off the bench, and Brett Gardner would be their 4th outfielder rather than Randy Winn.

    That last point might spring out as odd, since now Gardner is our 3rd outfielder. But the difference between gardner and winn is that winn is a known commodity both on defense and (to an extent) on offense. There is a very high likelihood that winn could approximate league-average overall production if starting in left next year. Gardner, on the other hand, is an unknown commodity. What we do know, however, is that if Gardner can hit well enough to hold the starting job next year, there’s a pretty solid chance that he alone outproduces Damon. So if our 4th outfielder could potentially outproduce our $8 million 3rd outfielder, that’s a pretty shitty situation for the yankees to be in. And if he can’t hit well enough to justify starting, then your bench is entirely comprised of offensive non-entities in Cervelli, Pena, and Gardner.

    In other words, the major parts of the yankees roster – their offense, rotation, and overall defense – are excellent with or without Damon (actually the defense would be much worse with than without, but i digress). The more minor parts of their roster are the pieces that would be more significantly affected by a Damon signing – the bench and the bullpen, and both are much better due to the lack of a Damon signing.

    So, much like with Matsui, while I highly appreciate what he DID for us in the past, I didn’t want Damon back. In fact, I disagreed with even the initial offer (I would have “offered” 1 year $5 million, tops) based on the very principles I outlined above. It may have been naive initially for me to take the yankees at their word regarding a budget, but as the offseason has progressed, that has shown itself to be the truth, so I stand by my initial opinion, which was that Damon was only a worthwhile option at WELL below his market price, and only as a DH, and that Matsui was, due to his knees, not worth any investment over a somewhat preposterous $2-3 million range. What either of them is worth on the open market and what they are worth to the Yankees are two entirely different entities. Just as Jeter and Mariano can be “worth” more than their performances suggest they should because of the brand name they represent, players like Damon can be worth a good deal less due to the bounty of offensive talent already present on the roster.

    /preaching to the choir’d

    • Tom Zig

      Dear lord, how long did this take you to write?

      • Thomas

        I often wonder if Pete should just start his own blog. He almost always writes very long and well though out comments that might as well be blog posts.

      • pete

        when i started, there were no comments on this thread. when i finished, it was the 29th. baha

    • Lanny

      You know paragraphs are your friend.

  • H.W. Plainview

    I used to like Johnny Damon.

    via @ed_price Johnny Damon: “This (#Tigers) is where I wanted to be from day one. … I think (Scott Boras) did a great job.”

    Like was said in the post, same story as 2005. It doesn’t get any more insincere than Johnny Damon.

    • Rose

      That crap is for the local fans who don’t know much more than the names on the back of the jerseys. The typical “Auntie So-and-So” fan. My aunt pretends to be a diehard Red Sox fan…but only knows who’s on the team, who’s good and who’s mediocre, and who won the game the night before. She doesn’t know the ins and outs…she doesn’t know the history or negotiations, etc.

      That’s basically why some players talk like this. So when the “Auntie So-and-So” fan picks up the paper or stumbles upon the 11pm news and hears this for a split second…she can fall in love with him easier.

      Meanwhile, the rest of the fans who know what’s going on know he’s full of crap but don’t care as long as he performs.

      • pete

        to be fair, though, the part about Boras having done a great job is pretty accurate. He got him an offer for 2 years and $14 million from the yankees, and he wound up getting him an $8 million deal for a team to which he can’t really add a whole lot.

    • Nady Nation

      Did he mean day 1…of February?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      BTW: “H. W. Plainview” is an awesome handle. Kudos.

  • Rose

    These baseball players aren’t that smart…and you would think they would have picked up on it by now. Varitek got it thrown back at him. Abreu did. Several aging players have been getting it handed to them but still think they have the ability to change the system single handedly. Damon is the latest one to fail.

    What’s better for a borderline Hall of Famer? (according to some analysts and writers) Play where your production is enhanced the majority of the time and get decent money? Or play where it might not be so sure…for a little bit more?

    I know when I go out and buy a car…reliability is big. When I was deciding between jobs, job security was big. If I were in Johnny Damon’s shoes…I would have treated this similarly. But more money is more important than their own legacy to some I guess.

    To each their own…

    • pete

      I think that the media may have actually had quite a bit to do with the players getting dumber about stuff like this. The media is far behind front offices in terms of all-around player evaluation, and one of its fundamental functions is to turn potentially insignificant anecdotes into stories of meaning. Thus the media fawns over players who are “clutch” and “proven winners” and “great clubhouse guys” and “veteran leaders” to a much higher degree, I can only assume, than do the much more critical-minded front offices. Which is not to say that those qualities are wholly ignored, just not considered as important as they are by the MSM.

      But of course, players are never going to be fully aware of how they are perceived by front offices, since FOs don’t exactly print out public annual reports of their opinions and evaluations, or it’d screw with their business. So a player’s only way to gain a sense of how he is perceived (unless he delves into the more critically-minded blogs like this one or, more so, fangraphs/tangotiger, etc.) is to read the stories in the paper. So players like Damon and Varitek are led to believe that they have “irreplaceable winning qualities” and other intangibles that make them franchise players and give them leverage despite their ages and/or declining production. In reality, though, players almost never have the leverage. Small-market teams have budgets that they quite literally cannot exceed under any circumstance, which means players who want to stay there HAVE to take paycuts sometimes. Once they opt for free agency, however, unless they are the absolute top-of-the-line elite, like A-Rod or Teix or CC or (to a somewhat lesser extent) Holliday, they are unlikely to have much leverage because the teams that can afford them can likely be competitive without them.

      • Rose

        He could have seen what happened with Bobby Abreu and taken the lower dollar Yankees deal to continue his production (like Abreu did)…and then with that extra year of reliability…he may have had a better chance of getting a 2010 style Bobby Abreu 2 year deal…in 2011. Not by the Yankees…but perhaps another team. The Rays if they fail to re-sign Crawford? Or if they’re fed up with Pat Burrell? The Phillies to replace Jayson Werth in their small puny OF? There would be more options I’m thinking…

        • pete

          yes but Johnny Damon is an adult. It’s not like Boras didn’t tell him that offer was on the table. Johnny should have taken it. I’m sure Boras said “I think i can get you a better one”, which was shitty advice, but i’d say overall, the fact that he managed to net Damon an $8 million deal (to go along with a couple of quality offers) suggests that he’s still pretty good at his job, which is to get offers. As far as assessing offers, it’s a whole other story, but that’s not truly the job of an agent. Boras is paid to get his clients offers on which they make the decision to accept or not accept (albeit usually with his advice).

    • Lanny

      He wanted the most money.

      Isn’t 8 mill more than what the Yankees offered?

      You do realize players dont play for the fans. Hes got mouths to feed and a short time to make as much money as he can.

      • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

        Oh, give me a break. “He’s got mouths to feed”? He’s made nearly $100 million in his career just by playing. He’s not done yet. And he could have gotten more job security and more money from the Yanks had he taken the two-year, $14 million offer.

        Last I checked, two years is better than one, and $14 million is more than $8 million. I’d bet money on Damon’s not earning $6 million next year.

  • Rooney87

    Johnny was a great player for us but I’m not gonna miss him I think if you compare hitting JD at 2 last year with Nick Johnson at 2 this year I think NJ will be as good with his OBP. JD did benefit allot from Yankee stadium and hitting in that line up in front of Tex/Alex. I think allot of teams saw this in the offseason so no big offers I think if you put 09 Damon in anyother lineup I don’t think his stats will be as good.

  • Kiko Jones

    As I’ve said in the past, very rarely does a bitter rival become an esteemed family member as quickly as Damon did. He was a big part of my fave Yankee team since the ’77-’78 bunch and I appreciate everything he did here, wish him much success in Detroit, and if I happen to be in the Bronx when he returns in August, I will rise to my feet and show my appreciation.

  • Rose

    To be honest, I’m flabbergasted at the price Damon got.

    Spring Training is already upon us and nobody was really in on Damon besides the Tigers and the White Sox for no reason at all.

    You would think that with the Damon group somewhat panicking to find a place to go…the Tigers could have gotten Johnny for less than $8M. Oh well.

    • pete

      honestly me too. Why anyone would offer him more than $5 million is beyond me at this point. Nobody needed him. There were places where he would have fit in well, but there was no glaring hole that he could fill on any team. He had no leverage whatsoever. He could have said “well these guys offered me more” and the right move by that FO would have been to say “oh. well ok then, have fun, good luck, sorry we couldn’t reach an agreement”

      • Rose

        Precisely. At a $3-4M price I could see more teams getting involved…because then he’s dipping into the Eric Hinske range…but $8M? I would have thought somewhere around $5M…or perhaps a Matsuian $6.5M stricly due to the time period in the offseason. $8M seems extremely high for it almost being March and there being almost no interest other than the Tigers…who could have continued on just fine without him as well.

    • A.D.

      Agreed, no idea why the Tigers shelled out that much

  • Cecala

    On his press conference with Detroit he just said, “This is where I wanted to be all along.”

    He can go F himself. He will have fun seeing all his stats go down and getting ready to practice his golf swing when the Tigers do not even make the playoffs.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      Better to piss off the fanbase of his former team rather than his future/current team though, right?

      • A.D.

        One would figure he could just say “I’m excited to be in Detroit, they’re always a contender, have a real strong team, looking forward to adding to it.

    • Thomas

      “This is where I wanted to be all along.”

      What a load of bull. No one wants to be in Detroit.

      • Cecala

        Exactly, his wife didn’t even want Detroit. That press conference made him sound dumber than usual.

      • bexarama

        Ouch

      • ROBTEN

        “There’s no way I can go play for the Yankees, but I know they are going to come after me hard. It’s definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar, which the Yankees are going to offer me. It’s not what I need.”

        Sincerely,
        Johnny Damon
        May 2005

        “I know where I want to be next year. I want to be here in New York.”

        Sincerely,
        Johnny Damon
        May 2009

        Detroit “is where I wanted to be all along.”

        Sincerely,
        Johnny Damon
        February 2010

        “Playing for the Rays is all I ever thought about since I started in this league.”

        Sincerely,
        Johnny Damon
        January 2011

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Ever since I was a little kid growing up in Orlando, I dreamed of playing for the Nippon Ham Fighters. Today that dream is finally a reality.

          Sincerely,
          Johnny Damon
          March 2012

          • pete

            “To be quite honest, I’m not sure how I ended up here. I mean I never dreamed when I retired three years ago that I’d ever wind up a New York Met. Never in a million years.”

            Sincerely,
            Johnny Damon
            March 2016

            • Thomas

              Damon: I’ve played in Kansas, Oakland, Boston, Detroit, Nippon Ham, and New York for both the Yankees and the Mets, but here in Miami is where I’ve always wanted to play.
              GM: This is Minnesota.
              Damon: Pssshhh. Who cares?

        • chris

          We’re criticizing baseball players for their insincerity in saying how happy they are to be with their teams now? I can list a few moral failings shared by many players more serious than white lies praising their new team.

      • Hughesus Christo

        I keep reading stories about how the hipsters are creating a third base in the hollowed-out shell that is Detroit in 2010. I feel like Damon would enjoy that crowd, certainly if he grows the Jesus beard again.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        What a load of bull. No one wants to be in Detroit.

        Except for Magglio Ordonez, of course.

    • The Mad Prince in Pinstripes

      Are you serious? He actually said that?!

      Whatever. We can chuckle at Johnny when he’s sitting home in October and we’re in the playoffs.

      Detroit…why would ANYONE in their right mind actually want to play in Detroit.

      They got some solid players for sure, but still…its Detroit.

      That’s like going from driving a Saleen to driving a Ford Focus.

      • pete

        tbh, i’d rather drive a Ford Focus than a Saleen. Saleen’s are ugly fuckin cars. Focuses are wonderfully status-quo.

        • The Mad Prince in Pinstripes

          another man’s trash is another’s treasure.

          gas mileage out the door, Saleen’s are far superior automobiles, but then again, the Saleen and Focus are completely different types.

          If it maeks you feel better, you can substitute the Pinto for the Focus in my original analogy.

          • The Mad Prince in Pinstripes

            Oh, and since your name is pete, you remind of Peter Abraham and I was wondering to myself earlier this morning what Peter Abraham would have to say about A-Rod now, what with his playing an integral role in our winning the World Series.

            I am sure all of you remember how hardcore he bashed A-Rod and the Yankees during his last contract discussion.

            • bexarama

              http://d.yimg.com/a/p/ap/20100.....lkw109.jpg

              In the post of the year, Giuseppe Franco says that the Yankees cannot win the World Series without Alex Rodriguez.

              The Yankees have won 26 World Series without him. Somehow.

              Alex has never never played in one World Series game.

              I would suggest that if the Yankees did not have Alex, they would be far more likely to win over the long term. His 24 + 1 mentality is not conducive to championship play.

          • pete

            if i could pick any car, mileage out the window, i suppose it’d be the Maybach 57s or maybe just a Bentley. I’m not a huge Rolls fan, and non-luxury supercars just seem kindof pointless to me, since I have yet to find a road that doesn’t have speed limits. Just b/c a car CAN go 256 mph doesn’t mean you’ll ever actually get a chance to drive it that fast

      • Lanny

        Don’t sell a team short that trots out Verlander and Porcello every 5 days and play in a bad division.

  • http://iheartrerun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/rerun.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    Regarding all the statements Damon made about wanting to stay in NY with the Yankees… I’m sorry, but letting yourself be swayed by that stuff, at all, was a bit naive, to say the least. I know I’m repeating myself and I’ve said all this before, but why should today be any different than any other day…

    The default position, when evaluating free agents, is to disregard anything they say about where they want to play and just look to the money they’re being offered. This isn’t a knock on the players, that’s just the way the world works, with few exceptions. In addition, this is one particular player with an established track record of taking the best monetary offer over any sort of emotional attachment to a city/team and in contradiction of his own public statements. Damon was one of the most public faces of what will probably go down as the single most important and beloved Red Sox team ever, and he spurned them and everything he meant to that team/city and everything that team/city meant to him, not only for the most money on the market, but for the most money from the Yankees, of all teams.

    Buying into any player’s public statements during free agency is foolish, but I really just thought it was absolutely ridiculous regarding this particular player.

    • http://iheartrerun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/rerun.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Oh I forgot one minor detail: Damon’s agent is Scott Boras. Yet another reason why it was silly to pay any attention to anything he said about wanting to stay with the Yankees.

  • The Mad Prince in Pinstripes

    This is all water under the bridge now.

    I think that Boras is to blame in part, but ultimately it is Damon who makes the decisions based on the advice of his agent.

    I wish Johnny the best, no question, but the Yankees will be just fine in the long haul.

    I do wonder how he’ll end up doing hitting in Comerica over 81 games.

    • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

      This is all water under the near a bridge.

      /Kramer’d

      • The Mad Prince in Pinstripes

        Nice.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

    Firstly, this is all way overblown. He has a limited window in which he can maximize his career earnings. He wants to get everything he can out of it. Should we feel cheated or care about his posturing via the media? No, of course not. We shouldn’t be naive enough in the first place to put much stock in his comments. At the end of the day his allegiance is to the best deal for his family, not some team owned by billionaires. We all know he overplayed his hand, but people get way too emotional about this. Some might even consider tossing their season tickets!

    Anyway, getting back to it, would he have preferred to have gone to the Yankees if they’d offered a deal more to his liking? Yes, but not necessarily because he has a great emotional attachment to the city or organization. Playing for the Yankees in a stadium tailor-built for his offensive production provides him the most value. I still think the Yankees would have been his top choice, but they balked when they realized he was going to play “hardball” and they found better, younger options on the cheap.

    None of this makes Damon a bad guy. Should he give a fuck about his boss? Why? The Yankees have as little sentimentality as he did. I don’t give a fuck about my boss, and frankly, he doesn’t give a fuck about me. I’m looking to see what I can get in compensation for what I do, and he’s looking to find someone young, inexpensive and capable for a salary lower than what other, more established employees would command. When I either become too expensive, demand more than what they’re willing to pay, or really suck at my job, the relationship will be terminated. That’s unfortunately the state of employer/employee relations right now.

    There’s no Willie Loman in baseball, either. He did what most people would do when positioning themselves for a job, except he’s under the microscope and he lost at the poker table.

    • Kiko Jones

      Amen.

  • FMV

    TylerKepner: Damon meant (and said later) that the Tigers were his first choice AFTER it was clear he would not be back with Yanks.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      After it was clear he screwed the pooch. The ball was in his court. He could have signed that two-year, $14-million deal. He didn’t. I have no sympathy for that.

      • Cecala

        On baseball tonight he said the Yankees never offered him a contract, only if NJ did not sign. Is he playing the media for sympathy?

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          Read my post here. Brian Cashman said on the record to reporters that he had a 2-year, $14-million offer on the table to Boras and Damon that their camp refused. Who do you believe?

          • Cecala

            Obviously Cashman. It is just annoying because it will turn into NY mistreated Damon, ect.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            The Yankees offered Damo a 2/14 and told him UP FRONT that they offer was only good as long as they didn’t first sign a contract with Nick Johnson. Boras and Damon sat on the 2/14 for a week, calling the Cashman’s bluff.

            Cashman then signed Nick to a 1/5.75 a week later, true to his word, and immediately pulled the offer, true to his word again.

            • http://iheartrerun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/rerun.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              “Cashman then signed Nick to a 1/5.75 a week later, true to his word, and immediately pulled the offer, true to his word again.”

              I’m going to go ahead and pimp my own comment here, forgive me… But I’d kind of like to add TSJC’s thought, above, to what I said about Cashman’s performance the last couple of years, here:

              http://riveraveblues.com/2010/.....ent-761001

              Add on to that comment the fact that Cashman, as TSJC alluded to above, has sent a loud and clear message to the rest of baseball that he does not make idle threats. The next time someone thinks they can call Cashman’s bluff and winds up with egg on their face, they’ll only have themselves to blame.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                Cashman: You have 24 hours to sign the contract. And, to show you that I’m serious… you have TWELVE hours to sign the contract.

      • pete

        I don’t have sympathy. I have gratitude. I’m quite happy we’re not going to be paying Damon $14 million over the next two years.

      • Lanny

        Dont assume that contract was ever formally offered to him.

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          Brian Cashman said it was. You want to believe Scott Boras and Damon over Cashman? Fine. But it would behoove to actually read the post you’re commenting on before spewing crap like this all over the place.

  • bexarama

    Wait, now people on Twitter are saying Johnny said something like “if the Tigers played the Yankees in the playoff last year instead of the Twins, there probably would have been a different outcome.” Wha?! There’s a difference between “blah blah, I’m so happy to play for Detroit, great organization, I always wanted to come here” and saying… that.

    • pat

      He’s right. There would have been a different outcome. The Yankees would have beaten the Tigers instead of the Twinsies.

      • Bob Stone

        ietcvm

    • Snakes on the mother effin plane

      He does seem quite good at drinking the kool aid. I’ll give him that.

    • Lanny

      Name someone that wanted to face Verlander twice in a 5 gamer?

      • Jack

        Name someone that wanted to face Sabathia in a 5 gamer.

        • bexarama

          CC sucks!!! We’re gonna own him!!!!! The situations are EXACTLY THE SAME as last year!!!

          /Philly fans prior to the WS’d

      • bexarama

        I sure as heck didn’t, I was cheering for the Twins to win the Central, but it’s a pretty big leap to go from there to “the Tigers would have won that series.” Yankees were 5-1 against the Tigers on the year.

        • http://www.miraluka.com woainidepigu

          I, for one, would love to only see Verlander’s face twice in 5 game series.

  • Lanny

    This team will really miss Damon. You can say what you want about his defense but Gardner isn’t half the player he is and brittle NJ hasnt proved he can stay on the field for any length of time. There are some players who take to the big stage and thrive. Damon is one of them. Time will tell if Granderson is.

    • http://www.miraluka.com woainidepigu

      Yes, time will tell if the team will miss Damon or not due to yet-to-be-seen contributions by Nick Johnson and Curtis Granderson.

      And time would have told whether or not Damon could perform in 2010 as he did in 2009. Time does tell, however, that he is getting older.

      But I guess I’m just reiterating points you’ve already said which sort of go on to make your main points moot.

      Thanks.

  • warren96

    Looks like Johnny is doing his acting gig again, putting down the Yankees.
    He’s such a mercenary.
    A credit to today’s free agents.
    He has a future in being an Agent, in the line of Scott Boras.

  • Joel

    There is missing information in the Damon saga. Whether you agree with Cashman or not, he wanted Damon back and offered the 2-year deal which Damon/Boras rejected. Yet in the end when Yanks could have swooped in (ala Texiera deal) and signed Damon for one year for little more than $8M (to beat Tigers offer), they didn’t. (I wonder if Boras made one last call to Cashman.) So something changed in Cashman’s thinking about whether he wanted Damon. I don’t buy the notion that signing Nick Johnson, Randy Winn, and Marcus Thames would stand in the way of signing Damon if Yanks wanted him. So something changed. Maybe Cashman just wanted to stick it to Boras one time. But I don’t buy that either. Bottom line is if you want a player you go get him. So in the end, Yanks did not want Damon. Why is that, when they wanted him a month ago for two years but didn’t when they could have had him for one year?

    • Kiko Jones

      Good question.

  • Pete C.

    Players have to realize Boras is only as good as the market. Nobody was getting insane money, maybe Holiday, other than that, hey there’s a recession going on. Damon had to understand that.
    Or so you’d think, I’ll miss him at the plate and on the bases, but I don’t think everybodies running on the left fielder this season.

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