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.
- NBCSports.com reports that Derek Jeter is not getting married. Instead, it is his sister, Sharlee Jeter, who will be getting married in November.
- SportingNews.com points out that agents are saying that the Yankees only have $2 million left to spend, and that will not be enough to bring back Johnny Damon.
- MLB.com says that it is possible for the Yankees to go beyond their budget to haul in Xavier Nady, who they are very interested in. They also say that they would not go far enough to bring back Damon.
- MLB.com also points out that their are still remaining options for the Yankees in left field, beyond Jerry Hairston Jr. and Reed Johnson. Among those still available are Rocco Baldelli and former Yankee, Marcus Thames.
It’s pretty simple. Johnny Damon — or more likely Scott Boras — is asking for too much money. The Yankees, especially after winning the World Series, do not want to go crazy spending money.
All off season, the Yankees have repeatedly said that they had a budget they wanted to stick to. And while the Yankees spending ways may make that budget seem irrelevant, changing times may actually make it a reality.
The NY Post has learned that the Yankees had a completed deal for Brewers outfielder, Mike Cameron, last July, but decided to scratch the deal because of the extra $5.5 million that it would add to the payroll.
That may seem surprising to Yankee fans. Since when does $5.5 million matter to the richest team in baseball?
It started when Hal Steinbrenner took over the Yankees. It is clear that Hal is a lot more responsible about spending than his father, George, was.
In this case, the Yankees say they have $2 million left. Damon will most certainly not bring that number down. And for that reason, coupled with Hal — not George anymore — behind the owners desk, you can pretty much scratch Damon off the list.
And to those of you who look to last seasons spending spree as hope for a Damon return, let me bring something up. Last year was the first time the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs in over 10 years. The Yankees just won the World Series, so you can count out another spree.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports has now confirmed (via Twitter) that the Reds have signed the Cuban lefty, Aroldis Chapman, to a five-year deal worth $30 million. The Angels and Blue Jays were long thought to be the front runners, with the Marlins and Red Sox also in the mix.
Chapman, 22, will join a highly talented and young staff that includes Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, and Aaron Harang.
Chapman burst onto the scene in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, when he struck out eight batters in six and a third innings pitched for the Cuban team, despite going 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA. The lefty also went 11-4 with a 4.03 ERA in 2008-2009, striking out 130 in 118 1/3 IP.
As many as 15 teams went to see Chapman pitch in Cuba earlier this offseason, one of which was the Yankees. Among many perks, teams were most impressed by his triple digit fastball.
From a Yankee perspective, you can just be happy he didn’t end up within the divison. The Yankees were never really serious about him anyway. You can also be happy he didn’t end up on the Angels, which were for a long time the front runners.
But, to every team and fan in Major League Baseball, I think we can all now be worried about this staff out of Cincinnati. If you ask me, there is no younger more talented group of pitchers. Props to the Reds officials for putting that together.
Poll of the Day:
Is Chapman too much of an unknown for five-years, $30MM?(polls)
12:59 p.m. According to a tweet from Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, Aroldis Chapman has signed a $30MM deal with an unknown National League team.
1:03 p.m. Looking back at some reports, it looked as though the main suitors for Chapman were AL teams (Angels and Blue Jays.) But according to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Marlins and Nationals were two NL teams interested. Marlins offered $16MM, so it’s unlikely they brought that offer up to $30M:M.
1:26 p.m. Jeff Passan said in the same tweet that Chapmans plane landed in Ft. Lauderdale this morning. That would be an indication that it would be a Florida team. Marlins are the only NL Florida team.
1:28 p.m. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports says in another tweet that Chapmans plane left Ft. Lauderdale at 9:20 this morning en route to Cincinnati. Another source told him that the $30MM is for five years.
2:07 p.m. Buster Olney tweets that the Padres and Dodgers are not the team that signed Chapman. He adds a little later that the Rockies and Braves are also not the team. Buster also adds that the Mets have been out of the running.
2:10 p.m. Jeff Passan now tweets that the team is an NL Central team and mentions that a team source said the Red were “going after [Chapman] like crazy.”
2:23 p.m. ESPN.com now reports that Chapman is close to a MLB deal, but it is not yet complete. Chapmans representatives told ESPN.com that the Reds were “possible” although no deal was completed. One source also told ESPN The Magazine’s Jorge Arangure that the team is the Reds.
2:51 p.m. Jeff Blair says (via Twitter) that he hears Chapman has finalized a five-year, $30MM with the Reds.
Updates will come as more information becomes available.
With the regular season getting closer and closer, teams still have some holes to fill. Most of the big guys are off the market, so now things get interesting. It is now that teams make decisions on which less popular players to sign. Players that can still make a huge difference. For the Yankees, it is a necessity. Here is a list of possible remaining options for the Yankees:
This section will include players that can possibly join the Yankees, based on reports from various sources.
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Ken Rosenthal said just last night on twitter that the Yankees were one of five teams interested in Hariston. He can play some left field for the Yanks, and is a decent hitter, but he isn’t exactley starting material.
Update: Yankees are now in serious talks with Hairston, according to Chris Singleton of ESPN.com
Pretty solid veteran hitter. Can play left field.
Players that are “less possible” are players that have been discussed but have never been spoken about on the Yankees part, or have been reported to be a small possibility.
According to reports it would be very unlikely, but Yankee officials have avoided saying that it is impossible. It would be a huge lift for this team. If he comes to the Yankees and works out a deal without Boras, it’s still a possibility.
He could play the outfield for the Yankees. 31 years old and hit .273 next year.
30 years old, and could also play the outfield for the Yankees. Power numbers are up over the last couple of years. Could be a solid player for the Yankees, and has potential to possibly be a starter.
Nick played a good amount of games for the Red Sox
and got off to a great start. He fell off a bit in the second half, but
he would be a great guy to fill in at short or third when Jeter or
A-Rod needs some time off.
Great defensive player. Just turned 30 years old. His hitting has
been pretty solid and his power has increased over the past year. Could
also play infield for Yanks.
Update: Signed with Texas Rangers for one-year, $750K.
He hit .310 last year but his speed numbers have fell significantly
over his career. He turns 30 in April, and could play some infield for
the Yankees. His numbers are so unpredictable though, it would be a
39 years old and has been a solid hitter his entire career. He can
play the infield. Only problem is that last year was the worst of his
These are players that have had reports saying that you can count them out.
Good player, but has had two Tommy John surguries and wants too much money.
Who Am I Winner:
I am Lou Gehrig.
Vig from Conneticut was the first to enter the right answer. Check out his blog at yankeeholics.mlblogs.com.
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.