Olney predicts Yankee, Damon reunion
Buster Olney says in a video blog, that he feels Damon will end up in New York because “he’s running out of other options.” He mentions that the Braves, Giants, and Tigers have pulled out of the race, making the Yankees chances even greater for obtaining Damon. He says that two things would have to happen, one being that “Damon would have to greatly reduce his salary demands,” and the other being that “Hal Steinbrenner would have to essentially rewrite his budget.” He adds that sources tell him that Hal is unlikely to do that, although many team executives say that they think Damon will end up in New York.
Balldeli never signed, although is still an option
Anthony DiComo says via the Hot Stove Blog that a report yesterday about Baldelli signing with the Yankees was incorrect, according to Brian Cashman. He adds that the Yankees are still very interested in Baldelli, should Damon not work out.
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With everyday Damon remains a free agent, I struggle to understand where things went wrong. With the thought of the game changing, season changing steal of two bases in the World Series, it’s hard to think that that player would have so much trouble finding a team.
There are a few interesting pieces of information today, all of which lead me to believe that a Damon return to New York may not be impossible.
The two front runners for Damon as of yesterday were the Tigers and Braves.
Today, we learned that they are very weak front runners. The Braves have reportedly pulled out of the race for Damon, unless it was for $1-2M. The Tigers GM also said that they have not expressed any interest in Johnny Damon.
Add all of that to the fact that the Mets signed Jerry Hairston, and you have a set up for a Damon return. The Braves could offer $1-2M, but the Yankees have that much available too, and Damon would pick New York over Atlanta.
Should this come down to the wire, I wouldn’t be surprised for both sides to compromise, and for a one-year, $4-5M deal to surface. Just putting that out there. There’s no evidence of that yet, but the stage is certainly set for it.
It’s January 6th and we are still talking about Damon. I must say, I would have never guessed that. The latest buzz on Damon came from SI.com’s John Heyman, who calls Damon’s return “still remotely possible.”
Other reports throughout the off season have revealed a one-year, $6M deal from the Yankees, and a requested two-year, $20M deal from Boras. Neither have gone through.
Fangraphs.com says that Damon deserves over $14.5M for one-year, a good case for Scott Boras. But with his age, lack of fielding ability, lack of other choices, and severe desire to play in New York, the Yankees can get him for less.
I am starting to beleive that Damon’s return to the Yankees is inevitable. I can’t tell you for how much, but I will tell you that it won’t be for a lot.
The Yankees would have no problem going into the 2010 season with the team they have now. But, Damon really wants to play in New York. No other teams, besides the Braves, have been serious about signing him. But, again, Damon doesn’t want to play in Atlanta.
So the Yankees are in the drivers seat again. The Yankees will have no problem waiting this one out untill the last day of the off season, when Damon will have no choice. I wouldn’t be surprised if this comes down to the wire, and the Yankees end up getting him for a nice, cheap deal.
But, the Yankees are serious about saving up for next off season, which would rule out the two-year deal that Damon truley wants. That, plus the fact that Boras could care less about what Damon wants, could and will be what keep Damon out of New York.
UPDATE 7:14 p.m. Ken Davidoff of Newsday tells me (via Twitter) that he doesn’t expect the Yankees to offer Damon a contract, regardless of the fact that there are no other options for Damon.
UPDATE 8:29 p.m. Asked Ken Davidoff if their were any conditions under which Damon would be a Yankee, and he gave me a sarcastic response (via Twitter). Leads me to believe that there’s a very small chance of Damon’s return.
I thought I would take a few moments to point out some interesting points on Damon. It looks at this point — and has for a while — that Damon will not be back in 2010. Boras has set his asking price a little to high for the Yankees.
Do you want Damon on the Yankees in 2010?(polls)
But here are a few reasons that I think you shouldn’t count out Damon returning to the Yankees.
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweeted a couple of weeks ago, that Damon requested a two-year, $22M deal from the Yankees, which they declined. This was after Boras said that they wouldn’t take anything less than a three-year deal. The fact that Damon was willing to bring it down to two shows that he really wants to play for the Yankees.
- No other teams have shown interest in Damon, yet.
- One possible suitor a couple of weeks ago was the Giants, who signed Mark DeRosa to play left.
- Another possible suitor was the Braves who got Melky in the trade for Vazquez.
- All of the teams that showed any interest at all were from the National League. It’s very unlikey that a NL team will take him because there is no DH, and I doubt they will risk having Damon as their everyday left fielder.
So don’t count it out. It’s quite obvious that Damon really, really wants to play for the Yankees. They also may end up being the only choice for him. The only thing between Damon and the Yankees is Boras. If Boras backed down, Damon would be on the Yankees. There are only two ways Damon ends up on the Yankees: (a) Damon goes to the Yankees, alone, and works out a deal, or (b) Boras realizes that the Yankees are their only choice and takes a cheaper deal. But don’t expect (b) to happen until, very, very late.
The NY Post reported a couple of days ago that Cashman wanted to get a starter by the New Year. Today, that goal was accomplished. It has been confirmed by MLB.com that the Yankees have traded Melky Cabrera to the Braves for SP Javier Vazquez. I’ve said it before, the Yankees needed a starting pitcher. But, was the price too high? Let’s take a look:
- He had a 2.87 ERA last year in 32 starts.
- He had a 5.41 SO/BB ratio last year.
- He strikes out 8.1 batters per nine innings in his career.
- He has a career 3.48 SO/BB ratio.
- He gave up just 0.8 HR’s per nine innings last year.
- He has 200+ strikeouts in his last three seasons.
- Melky has never hit over .280 or had an OBP over .360 in five career seasons.
- Melky only hits an average of 10 homers per year.
- The Yankees needed a starter more than anything else.
- He could have said no to this trade, so you know he wants to pitch in New York.
- Melky is a good outfielder.
- The Yankees now need an outfielder, unless they trust Gardner everyday.
- Vazquez had a 4.91 ERA in his one year with the Yankees.
- Vazquez will cost more than Melky over the next couple of years.
Smart or Smack?:
Smart. To me, the question with any trade is: Is you team better equipped to win? The answer here is yes. The Yankees really needed a starter. Vazquez is a verteran who has proved that he can be dominating. Yes he has had medioker years, but as a number three or four starter, that would be okay. As for Melky, he never really made a difference. The only reason people don’t like this deal is because they think Melky has great potential. Well, he hasn’t shown that in five seasons. You can’t fall in love with these guys who you are wating to see production from. In the end, the Yankees are now a stronger team.
UPDATE 6:14 p.m. Just remember that this deal is taken out of context. The Yankees are now players for an outfielder such as Jermaine Dye (Jon Heyman) and still Johnny Damon (Yankees.com). Better off talking about this trade in a month.
UPDATE 6:59 p.m. You can add Mark DeRosa to that list of possibilities (WFAN.com).
UPDATE 7:03 p.m. Also remember that the Yankees are unlikely to make a big deal for a Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, considering what the free agent market plays out for next year. Maybe Carl Crawford is a possibility?
It’s the free agents that nobody talks about that can make a big difference. Rafael Soriano is one of them. I had no idea he was even out there until the NY Post reported a couple of days ago that the Yankees were interested in him. For a guy that nobody has talked about, he can make a big difference. Lets take a look:
Age/Type FA: 29/A
Last season: (1-6) 2.97 ERA 27 SV 3.78 SO/BB 1.057 WHIP
Career (8 seasons): (8-18) 2.92 ERA 43 SV 3.51 SO/BB 1.037 WHIP
- He is only 29 years old and will be 30 by the beginning of next season.
- He has had an ERA below three in his last two seasons.
- He had a 12.1 SO/9 ratio last season.
- He can be a solid set-up man for Rivera.
- If you put him in the bullpen, then Hughes can focus more on starting.
- He is a type A that was offered arbitration. That means the only way the Yankees can get him is if he turns it down, in which case they would also lose a first round draft pick.
- He walks a lot of people, with a 3.2 BB/9 ratio last season and a 5.8 ratio the year before.
- I want Chamberlain to be the set-up man.
Chat or Chuck?:
Chat. Soriano was a pretty dominant pitcher with the Braves. You just need to hope that the Yankees can work out some of that walks problem. Other than that, he is pretty dominant. As for the draft pick — which to me is the only problem — the Yankees aren’t going to get much anyway this year, having the last pick. The bottom line is that the Yankees bullpen needs improvements, and Soriano provides that. If he works out, you can also put Hughes where he belongs: As a starter.