Tigers’ signing of Damon a tad perplexing

I get it – Johnny Damon can hit a little and that’s why the Tigers just finalized a one-year, $8 million deal with the free agent over the weekend. But just because he can hit, doesn’t mean the signing makes sense.

Damon won’t hit another 24 home runs and drive in another 80-plus RBI this season away from Yankee Stadium. Even though he holds a .363 batting average in 189 plate appearances at Comerica Park, it’s likely that he’ll he max out at 15 home runs, 70 RBIs and hit around .290 in a full season in Detroit.

Is that worth $8 million even if it’s only for one year? Is that worth pushing a deserving Ryan Rayburn (who hit 16 home runs and slugged .533 in 261 at bats last season) into a rotation with Damon, Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez?

To me, it’s not. I think the Tigers overpaid for what they’ll eventually get in Damon and I’m confused as to why they traded a younger and more athletic Curtis Granderson just so they could turn around and pay a 36-year-old with a wet noodle for an arm. I realize Granderson struggled mightily against left-handed pitching, but he brings way more to the table defensively than Damon does and he’s eight years younger. I just don’t get how one year of Johnny Damon was worth $8 million to a club that will probably wind up in the middle of the AL Central again this year, especially when they already had a DH in Guillen.

If Damon comes in and flourishes at the top of the Tigers’ lineup, I’ll gladly eat my words. But I just don’t see a lot of value in a club paying $8 million for a player that will certainly have declining numbers.

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Report: White Sox pull offer for Damon

According to ESPN Chicago’s Bruce Levine, the White Sox have pulled their offer for Johnny Damon, leading many to believe that the Tigers are now the clear favorites to land the free agent outfielder.

“It became clear to us in our recent negotiations that the money that we were offering was not going to be good enough for Johnny at this time,” White Sox general manager Kenny Williams told ESPNChicago.com. “At this particular point, we feel it’s necessary to withdraw our offer.”

The White Sox made a $6 million offer for Damon, according to major league sources.

Asked if the White Sox would get back into the running for Damon at some point, Williams said: “As you can see by the way that we kept going after this situation, we are very much interested in the player. All I can say is that I reiterate at this time that this offer for now is off the table.”

Only in Scott Boras’ world is Johnny Damon worth $6 million. The White Sox made the right decision here by pulling the offer on the table and not getting into a potential bidding war with the Tigers over a 36-year-old player that can’t play the field and isn’t likely to hit 20-plus home runs (or even 15-plus home runs) outside of Yankee Stadium.

Boras and Damon should come to the realization that it’s either Detroit or come down on their demands.

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Johnny Damon must think he’s Manny Ramirez

If Johnny Damon’s mission was to become the most annoying man in baseball this offseason, then he’s already succeeded.

Damon is half a player. As he proved last year in New York, he can still swing a pretty good stick and he still has enough speed in his 36-year-old legs to be dangerous on the base paths. But he’s a liability in the outfield and his arm strength often resembles that of a T-baller. There’s also no guarantee that he’ll be a good hitter outside of Yankee Stadium, so writing that he’s even half a player might be too generous.

How has this guy managed to turn the back half of the MLB offseason into the Johnny Damon hour? He’s the last big name on the market and I use the words “big name” loosely. He’s received offers from the Braves and Tigers, yet he still remains unsigned. Why?

Damon is doing his best Manny Ramirez impression this offseason. Instead of coming to terms with his value and signing a fair deal, he has decided to drag out contract negations as long as possible. Spring training is ready to kick off and he’s still deciding on where and how much to sign for.

Of course, this entire situation reeks of Scott Boras, who is also Manny’s agent. Boras battled with the Dodgers last year over Manny’s contract before finally caving in and settling for a two-year deal. Considering he’s about to do the same thing with Damon, it’s clear that Boras hasn’t learned his lesson yet. Damon was never going to get a multi-year contract for over $10 million like Boras wanted after last season. Yet Boras continues to overvalue his clients and drum up a false market for them by publicly stating tons of teams are interested in his free agents when the truth of the matter is they’re not.

I’ve got a newsflash for both Damon and Boras: Johnny ain’t that good. He should stop with all of the, “I’m a difference maker” nonsense and take whatever deal Detroit currently has on the table. That’s not only advice, but it’s a plea too because I’m sick of reading about when he’s going to sign.

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Tigers, Damon exchange contract proposals

According to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.com, the Tigers and free agent Johnny Damon have traded contract proposals, but no deal is imminent as of now.

A one-year, $7 million deal is possible, as is a two-year contract worth $14 million. But the source downplayed the chances of a one-year deal with a player option for 2011 — similar to the contract that Adrian Beltre, another Scott Boras client, signed with the Red Sox.

Some people in the industry have wondered why the Tigers offered Damon a two-year contract last week, at a time when it’s questionable that any other team is interested in signing the 36-year-old to a deal of that length.

Similarly, many believe it would be foolish for Damon to turn down a two-year deal, because it could be difficult for him to replicate his Yankee Stadium success of 2009 while playing in Detroit’s more spacious Comerica Park.

I don’t think Damon will produce the same numbers this year as he did last season while playing in Yankee Stadium. And considering he’s 36 and a liability in the outfield, a one-year deal makes the most sense. I understand Damon wants a longer commitment, but the Tigers (and any team for that matter) shouldn’t oblige.

If Detroit could sign him to a one-year deal with a team option for the second year, then maybe the two sides can come to an agreement. Either way, it looks like Damon is getting closer to finally finding a home in 2010.

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Bidding war for Damon starting to emerge?

Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Braves have offered Johnny Damon a one-year contract, while a source also tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.com that the Tigers could use an infielder, but are devoted to pursuing Damon.

Bowman notes that the one-year deal that the Braves offered Damon includes deferred money, so if the Tigers offer more guaranteed loot or add another year onto the deal, the former Yankee could wind up in Detroit. Scott Boras has been clamoring for about a week that Damon loves the Red Wings and may wind up in Motown, but the deciding factor will ultimately be which team offers the most money and years.

Damon batted .282 with 24 home runs and scored 107 runs last season, so his offense would be welcome in Atlanta. But if he winds up in the National League, the Braves will have nowhere to hide the disaster Damon calls a left arm. If he goes to Detroit, at least the Tigers could use him as a DH, as well as in an outfield rotation. (Although the mere thought of having Damon and Magglio Ordonez in the same outfield should make most Tiger fans dizzy.)

Boras has been craving this kind of bidding action for Damon and he may have finally got it with these two clubs. Whoever winds up signing him better hope the 36-year-old slap hitter can produce outside of Yankee Stadium. He hit 24 home runs last year, but the new Yankee Stadium is a wind tunnel and he’s liable to hit closer to his career average (13 dingers) away from the park next season.

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