Blog Entry

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

Posted on: February 16, 2012 2:13 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 2:28 pm
Johnny Damon doesn't get it, doesn't get why he's not getting offers after the year he had. Damon didn't get why he didn't receive an offer from the incumbent Rays after he was a leader for them in the clubhouse and on the field, and now he doesn't get why he seemingly is running second as a candidate to be the Yankees' left-handed DH.

"I think it's a perfect fit,'' Damon said of the Yankees by phone. "But for some reason you have the year I had, especially with a team that has trouble scoring, and you can't even get a call to continue playing."

It is hard to blame Damon for feeling left out. The whole thing does seem very odd, indeed.

Damon said he never got an offer from the Rays even though he had a very nice year, hitting 16 home runs with 73 RBIs with 19 stolen bases and a .261 batting average while playing home games in the ballpark that was the best pitchers' park American League last year. He also put together an improbable streak of five consecutive games with game-winning hits and became a leader with the young team that had a magical finish. Now he is concerned that the Yankees are leaning toward someone else (namely Raul Ibanez), and indeed the team's baseball people do seem to be favoring Ibanez for the DH role even though it seems no final decision will be made until the Yankees complete the long-discussed deal with Pittsburgh to send A.J. Burnett out of town and save themselves about $13 million of the $33 million owed Burnett.

Meanwhile, different reasons have been heard why the Yankees favor Ibanez, one sillier than the next.

One reason heard is that Ibanez hit better against right-handed pitchers last year, and if you count .256 as better than .255, then yes, that is the case. But it seems like that would be far from a driving force in a decision.

Another is that Ibanez is a better defender at this stage, and while he might well be, Damon is faster and the reality is that they are probably pretty close to comparable at this point. Damon didn't play much defense last year when the Rays had better defensive alternatives such as Brandon Jennings, B.J. Upton and Sam Fuld. "When you have Jennings and Upton, of course I'm going to DH," Damon said. "When I played out there, I held my own."

But even if Ibanez is slightly better with the glove now, having played it regularly in Philly, defense seems like a funny way to pick a DH.

Yet another reason heard recently is that Damon's .326 on-base percentage last year is a sign he's thinking too much about 3,000 hits and not getting on like before. This is the winner for sheer ridiculousness of course, as Ibanez's 2011 on-base percentage of .289 (with 33 walks all year) would be the statistic of concern, not Damon's .326. Speaking of 3,000 and the suggestion he's too focused on it, Damon said, "It makes for good talk. ... Everyone wants to get to the mark. But I never started playing the game for that. I never had any intention of getting to 3,000 hits -- it's never been a driving force for me. I always had the intention of being a good teammate."

Damon is more than a fine teammate, he's been a key man on two World Series winners, the historic 2004 Boston Red Sox and the 2009 Yankees. Damon is a winner, always has been. Ibanez is by all accounts a very nice fellow, but Damon is a big clubhouse presence who always has been the one to stand up and answer the tough questions when things aren't going well.

Damon, who at 38 is also a year younger than Ibanez, may not be the defender he once was, but the job is for a DH, and Damon has all the experience at that. Damon also has a superb history in the American League East, having thrived for all three of the big teams in that division.

Damon and the Yankees had a very public breakup a couple winters ago when he was expected to wind up back in pinstripes. The sides never got together when a deal had once seemed like a foregone conclusion. But Yankees people say there are no lingering bad feelings.

It can't be about the money, either, because Damon hasn't gotten an offer. He said he didn't get one from Tampa, which gave Luke Scott a $5 million deal off an injury year, and he hasn't gotten one from the Yankees yet. So Tampa took Scott off a year of injuries, and Damon sees that Ibanez may get the job he wants after Ibanez's season of outs.

Damon is in Hawaii enjoying a planned vacation. But he has one eye on the phone.

"Hopefully it rings soon," he said, "and whether it rings in a few minutes or a few weeks, I'll be ready with the bat."

Category: MLB

Since: Jan 18, 2011
Posted on: February 17, 2012 1:42 pm

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

It's sad that Ibanez and Damon didn't stay in KC the past several years...the Royals might have won some games.

Since: May 25, 2011
Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:49 pm

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

Damon is a yankee and should retire as one!!!!!

Really?? He raped the Yankess wallet like he did The Royals, Red Sox, Rays and Togers. Yankee fans rightfully called him "Chicken Arm" when he played for the Red Sox. He is a mercenary that takes the money and he is desperate and you want him to"retire" in a Yankee uniform. he would be happy to if they pay him enough. The Yankees are loaded again this year, they don't need a pick pocket.

West Coast Guy
Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:39 am
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Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:58 am

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

Damon probably already spent his millions expecting 1 more big pay day.Besides, not many unemployed people I know go to Hawaii on vacation.I expect the best Damon can hope for is a 1 year 1 million deal.Or retire.

Since: Mar 18, 2007
Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:51 am

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

Hang it up had your glory..take your millions and go enjoy your life! ..let the young kids get their chance!

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: February 17, 2012 8:29 am

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

If Johnny D comes down on his asking price, he can sign today, but he is playing hardball with negotiations. I don't blame him in the least, its a man's responsibility to try and get all the money he can to support his family, especially for an athlete that has so many years of earning potential.

Just don't complain about how this is turning into a game of chicken. The Yankees are hoping Damon blinks.

Since: Feb 16, 2012
Posted on: February 17, 2012 7:56 am

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

Brandon Jennings? I didnt know the Rays had a player named Brandon Jennings.....Somebody should tell Desmond Jennings that his brother is making a run for the outfield spot.....

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:33 am

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

Why isn't Damon signed yet? Hmm...he can't play defense, and he doesn't have a good enough bat to be a full-time DH. sure is a mystery why he's unemployed. Undecided

Since: Nov 11, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:00 am

Damon doesn't get why his phone is silent

Beancake, the Red Sox are the one team he won't play for.  He thought the Red Sox front office lied to him and then trashed him when he left, and worse, the fans not only booed him, but were throwing objects at him on his return to Boston.  He truly does hate Boston 

West Coast Guy
Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: February 16, 2012 10:35 pm
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