According to Tyler Kepner of the NY Times, despite the fact that there doesn’t appear as much interest in him as expected, free agent outfielder Johnny Damon is still optimistic about this offseason and won’t rule out a return to the Bronx.
“I’m sure things will work out somewhere,” Damon told Kepner. When asked about a Yankee comeback he replied, “I never say never anymore.”
There seems to be a growing increase in the number of people who just don’t seem to think that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has any interest in retaining Damon. They are probably correct, but to be fair what Cashman never seems to do what you think he’s going to do. Just last offseason he said the Yankees didn’t have the money to be able to afford Mark Teixeira and we know how that ended.
We also found out last week that the Yankees didn’t even make a bid for free agent Jerry Hairston Jr. It could be because Cashman is waiting until Damon is off the market to make a deal. Could it be to make sure that he’s not available in their price range?
They do seem to be serious about this $2 million limit on a left fielder, but now that Chad Gaudin is signed for $2.95 million to fill essentially the same role Sergio Mitre is expected to fill. If they were able to unload Gaudin soon it’s not impossible to see the Yankees making a $5 million offer to Damon.
Although at Damon’s age, 36, he should expect some serious regression in his stats. We’ve already seen a drop in his defensive numbers and 2009 was a very strong season for him offensively so it is natural that there would be some sort of regression anyways. Throw his age back into that mix and signing Damon, even for $5 million, might not be much of an upgrade over Brett Gardner.