On and off again this winter we have heard that Johnny Damon and the New York Yankees haven’t been talking about bringing the outfielder back. Damon had been wanting a three year deal from the Yankees worth in excess of $10 million annually.
The 36-year-old had a tremendous 2009 season, finishing with a .282/.365/.489 batting line, 24 home runs, 82 RBI and 107 runs scored in 550 at-bats.
With Hideki Matsui signed by the Angels and Melky Cabrera traded to the Braves the Yankees currently have Brent Garnder listed atop the depth chart in left field. Gardner finished last year hitting .270/.345/.379 with 3 homers, 23 RBI, and 48 runs scored while stealing 26 bases last year.
That alone has many believing that despite Damon, his agent Scott Boras and the Yankees not talking that something will eventually get done to bring him back to the Bronx.
Brian Cashman and the Yankees front office either have little interest in bringing back Damon or they have played their cards excellently to avoid paying him a huge contract. With the number of teams interested in Damon dwindling his value has also went down. Leaving some to suspect that the Yankees will now swoop in and sign him.
It’s been back and forth between Mark Bowman of MLB.com and David O’Brien of the AJC to whether the Braves are seriously looking at Damon. Damon to Atlanta would be great for the Braves as it would allow them to put him in left field which would allow Jason Heyward to stay in the minors and get needed at-bats he’s missed since his latest string of injuries.
Last winter Bobby Abreu signed a $5 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. It may take that to happen for the Braves to have a real shot at him. Though some believe the Braves may only be able to sign Damon should he fall in the range of $1-2 million, a number no one can truly see him falling to. For example Colby Lewis recently got $5 million over 2 years and he spent the last two years in Japan after no success in the majors. There’s simply no way Damon gets paid less then Colby Lewis.
The Detroit Tigers were linked to Damon in the last few days but management denied they were even considering him. Considering the Tigers are financially stressed and have been looking for at-bats for Ryan Raburn it’s easy to see why these two aren’t a pair.
There’s always the chance he could join the New York Mets but Boras and the Mets are at odds over Carlos Beltran’s recent surgery.
One thing is for sure. We haven’t heard the end of this one.