December 21, 2005


Damon jumps to Yankees (Gordon Edes and Chris Snow, December 21, 2005, Boston Globe)

A Red Sox offseason of discontent and upheaval took another shocking turn last night when free agent center fielder Johnny Damon, who had achieved rock star status in Boston, defected to the New York Yankees, agreeing in principle to a four-year, $52 million contract that will become official when he passes a physical.

He'll remind Yankee fans of Bernie Williams...of the last two years.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 21, 2005 7:41 AM

My son the Yankee fan said it best: "Arggg, this is wrong. It is just wrong."

I agree.

Posted by: sducks at December 21, 2005 8:06 AM

Hoo-boy. The Damon situation was similar to the Pedro situation last year where some argued he was too valuable not too keep and others argued that he was going to break down and he wanted to much money. And when Pedro had a good year this year while the Red Sox pitching suffered the former were crowing.

Sox offered 4yrs $40MM which seemed a reasonable offer. The question was whether another team would go beyond 4 yrs and the Sox wouldn't match it. The 4yr deal with the Yankees shows it came down to the money, not years. The fact that the Sox didn't match the Yankees $ may indicate that they think he will break down and not be worth it.

Final note - the Boston sports press were all pretty much concluded that Damon was coming back -another wiff on their part.

Posted by: AWW at December 21, 2005 8:11 AM

We want Jeremy Reed!

Posted by: oj at December 21, 2005 8:18 AM

He's been a great player and the anti-Manny, but he is a headcase.

But how many Jeters do the Yankees want?

Posted by: David Cohen at December 21, 2005 8:31 AM

Few other tidbits checking the Boston press -

Sox are saying they negotiated with Damon late afternoon and thought things were going well and then learned a few hours later than he signed with the Yanks via public TV rather than being notified by Damon or his agent.

There has been speculation that Damon's wife, who wants to be an actress, was pushing him to go to a big market town like LA or NY.

Of course the press is now ripping into the Sox management for letting Damon go when for the past few months there were arguments he wasn't worth more than the 4yr $40MM the Sox were offering.

Posted by: AWW at December 21, 2005 8:33 AM

Wow, Damon's gone to the Yankees. And you let Nomah sign with Los Angeles. But you could redeem all this by bringing Clemens back for a season or two...

Posted by: joe shropshire at December 21, 2005 9:02 AM

The Yanks still better hope their patchwork pitching staff from last season holds up, and the young pitchers they were forced to put into the starting rotation do as well as they did towards the end of the year, or Damon's going to be doing a lot of running in centerfield in 2006.

Posted by: John at December 21, 2005 9:55 AM

Yesterday, Gonzolez (sic) with a .290 OBP is trash but today Reed with a huge .322 OBP is the second coming of Kenny Lofton.

Damon got way overpaid but he is still a massive upgrade on Williams. And the Red Sox remain the 5th best team in the league.

Posted by: Bob at December 21, 2005 10:14 AM

Reed was a rookie last year in the worst hitters park in the AL, if not baseball. Gonzalez has established that he can't get on base. Reed is also a superior defender.

Posted by: oj at December 21, 2005 10:19 AM

Right now, Boston isn't offering nearly enough for Reed. We just signed an extreme flyball pitcher, and with the Everett signing that puts Ibanez in the outfield, we need all the OF defense we can get.

Posted by: Timothy at December 21, 2005 11:28 AM

Damon has the weakest arm of any professional baseball player I have seen in the last thirty years. I watch a lot of boys travel baseball as well, Damon's arm is the equivalent of the average 10-year outfielder in the games I see. I am not delivering an insult, he obviously is superb in some other areas to compensate for this glaring almost other-worldly weakness. There are disinterested unathletic types who, having lost both arms, can throw baseballs from their mouths with awkward jerks of their necks farther than Damon has ever thrown a baseball. Damon's arm embarrasses baseball more than any steroid scandal.

Posted by: Palmcroft at December 21, 2005 11:42 AM

Palmcroft - agree that his arm is terrible but overshadowed by his hitting and running. A dream scenario the rabid Sox fan next to me had was to trade Manny for Tijada, move Damon to left field where his arm wouldn't be as big an issue, and sign a decent centerfielder.

Posted by: AWW at December 21, 2005 12:13 PM

Lucky for the Yanks that Jeter and Cano both have good arms, since they'll be cutting the ball off 300 feet from homeplate for the next 4 years.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at December 21, 2005 12:14 PM

Damon has been injured fairly often in recent years, and shoulder tendinitis tends to recur. So he could become what Bernie Williams was within a few years. Also, though he hits for average and power, he doesn't walk much, his OBP is only .353, so he can be replaced as leadoff man. That with his weak arm means the Red Sox were right to set a $10 mn limit on him.

Of course it may take them a year to get a suitable replacement, but it's still a sensible move.

Posted by: pj at December 21, 2005 12:16 PM

I was hoping the Yanks wouldp pick up the Phillies' odd-man out in center, Michaels. Oh well. I think for the first two years of the deal Damon will be very good, certainly an upgrade over Wms. And as we all know the Yanks play for now, not for 3 years from now.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at December 21, 2005 12:17 PM

Palmcroft, it could be very painful to watch the Yankee outfield next year. Matsui fields his position with an iron glove. They don't have a competent RF either.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 22, 2005 1:05 AM