The Yankees flirted with signing Johnny Damon this offseason, but eventually settled on Andruw Jones after they couldn’t reach an agreement with him. Apparently the problem was that the Yankees weren’t offering Damon enough playing time.
According to Ken Davidoff of Newsday, the Yankees pitched Damon a scenario where he would play two days a week in the outfield and once a week as their DH. Instead he signed a deal with the Rays for one year and $5.25 million because that just wasn’t enough playing time for Damon adding, “I have milestone I’m trying to reach.”
That milestone is 3,000 hits. Damon currently has 2,571 hits and at the age of 37, he would have almost no shot at achieving this milestone as a bench player which is why he decided against a Bronx return. Damon chose personal milestones over another chance to win.
I would bash him over this, but with the questions in the Yankees pitching staff, the Yankees are not exactly a lock to challenge for the World Series. The Rays won’t be push overs either. Sure they lost a few players, but they have a solid pitching staff and with Damon might even win a good share of games. I’m not saying the Rays are World Series contenders, but playing for them might not be as selfish as it first appears.
Considering the huge difference in their salaries, Jones is only getting paid $2 million, and the fact that Jones hits left handed pitching very well, the Yankees are probably better off with Jones than Damon.