Possible Destinations for Damon

According to Marc Craig, Johnny Damon will sign with a team sometime in the coming week. Most fans know that there are limited options for the 36 year-old outfielder, but let’s take a look at just how limited they are.

In the American League, only the Blue Jays, Rays, Yankees, Indians, Tigers, and Athletics actually have room for Damon. In the National League, only the Braves, Reds and Rockies have space. I think NL teams will shy away from Damon because of his defensive inadequacies. Also, the three NL teams have cheaper and very serviceable options in Melky Cabrera, Chris Dickerson and Dexter Fowler. Let’s take a look at each of the aforementioned teams and determine whether or not Damon could logistically end up there.

Blue Jays -The Jays already have five serviceable outfielders if you count Adam Lind, but they did shed some payroll and could add a well-known player to bring in fans.

Rays – Tampa would have to shift Carl Crawford to center and B.J. Upton to right field for Damon to fit with the Rays. I think they rather work on resigning their own players instead of adding someone like Damon.

Yankees – The Yankees have the space for Damon, but is Brian Cashman willing to exceed the budget cap? I think there is still a legitimate shot that Damon ends up in New York. It just makes the most sense.

Indians – I think the Indians would rather give prospect Michael Brantley a shot at regular playing time than sign Johnny Damon. Still, they have the space for another corner outfielder if they want to play Brantley in the minors.

Tigers – I think the Tigers honestly want to give Austin Jackson a legitimate shot at a starting job, but they could sign Damon to split time between center and left field, but I really can’t see that happening. Ryan Rayburn is an excellent player, and Carlos Guillen will likely spend time at left and and designated hitter.

Athletics – They already have a slew of inexpensive outfielders and probably lack the money to sign a player like Damon.

White Sox – The ChiSox need a designated hitter and if Damon took a major paycut there could be a match here. Their outfield is already very crowded, and Damon knows that if he becomes a DH now and only signs a one-year deal, it could really hurt his value.

Braves – The Braves already have a very full outfield. Melky Cabrera is their starting left fielder, and Eric Hinske could always pick up the slack if he falters. I don’t think the Braves want to spend the money on someone like Damon either.

Reds – The Reds outfield is pretty crowded and I can’t see them signing a player with a -9.2 UZR in 2009 after they cut one with a  -9.0 UZR. Plus they already have Laynce Nix and Wladimir Balentien.

Out of that list, only the Blue Jays, Yankees and White Sox seem like a logical destination for Damon. I would not be surprised if a mystery team swooped in, but we know the market for Damon is already very slim. I would be even less surprised if he signed an incentive-laden deal with the Yankees sometime this week, but he’ll need to meet the Yankees’ demands.

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5 Responses to Possible Destinations for Damon

  1. The Tipster says:

    Dan ,You obviously don"t follow the White Sox very closely,Ozzie is talking about a rotating DH,listen he's no worse than Scotty Pods was defensively and and much better over all.Giving Damon time off the field as a part time DH could only help Damon.As far as the money goes your'e right on.

  2. Dan LaTorraca says:

    Tipster, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. While I do not follow the ChiSox as closely as you might, I do know that a player is more valuable when they can play on both sides of the ball. Even if Damon is a below average fielder, the fact that he is more than a DH helps him get more money.

    If Damon spends even more than half his time at DH, its going to significantly hurt his value. I see what you are thinking: if Damon sits more, he'll be fresher and thus hit better – increasing his value. There is no guarantee there, other than the fact that it limits his chance of suffering an injury a little bit. It could just as easily be argued that less playing time could mess with his rhythm at the plate. Also, some players (Jason Giambi) hit better when they also play the field. Although, in Damon's case – its about even.

    Also, if he takes a one-year deal to DH and split time in the outfield now, he'll be making the same deal year-to-year until he retires. I don't think he wants that. But, if its the only legitimate offer he gets, he'll take it.

    One thing in favor of Damon signing with Chicago is the lack of upper level outfield prospects. Aside from Jordan Danks (and possibly Josh Kroeger) there are no solid outfielders waiting in the wings. I think Jared Mitchell is still a few years away. That could be incentive to sign Damon to a two-year deal.

  3. Nice article. The one team that you left out that could be in play here is the Mariners. If they move Griffey to the bench, which based on his last two seasons they probably should, that opens up an outfield spot for Damon. From what I've heard they have money to spend.

  4. The Tipster says:

    I’m impressed Dan,you have a good idea of what’s up with the Sox. Jordan Danks is on the fast track to the majors.Maybe,just maybe Kenney Williams wants a little pay back for that Betimet for Swisher trade. Signing Damon would be sweet revenge,but probably I’m dreaming. .

  5. Dan LaTorraca says:

    Thanks Tipster, much obliged. Damon actually makes a lot more sense than I previously thought. The White Sox could really use a bit more left-handed pop to join AJ and Teahen. He’d be a nice addition to the top of the order.

    Rob, I considered the Mariners, but Griffey brings fans to Safeco so I don’t think they’d bench him. He really has not hit well lately, but if anyone can rebound – its Jr.

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