Tag:Johnny Damon
Posted on: November 16, 2010 11:38 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:24 am

What's the market for Manny?

Hot Stove There's a 12-time All-Star on the market, a career .313 hitter with 555 home runs. And yet when people talk about the big names in this winter's free-agent crop, Manny Ramirez's name doesn't even come up.

As Bill Shaikin discusses in the Los Angeles Times, Ramirez, 38, has gone from front-line star to afterthought after a 2009 drug suspension and a 2010 season that saw him limited to 90 games thanks to three trips to the disabled list. He was claimed off waivers by the White Sox in August and played 24 games for Chicago, batting .261 with one homer and two RBI.

Now the guy who two years ago was worth a two-year, $45 million deal finds himself wondering where there's a market for him.

Manny Ramirez
"It's just like Vlad Guerrero," Ramirez's agent, Scott Boras, told the Times. "His last Angels season, where he had an injury season and he had 50 RBIs, was not a customary Vlad Guerrero season. He went to Texas and reestablished himself.

"This is really the course for great veteran hitters. We've seen, following an injury season, a player goes out and performs at optimum levels, because these players are still uniquely skilled. They're still great hitters."

It appears Ramirez is done as an outfielder, at least on any regular basis. There are 14 DH spots available, and many of the prominent ones are filled. Guerrero is a free agent again, as are Jim Thome, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. The Times figures the market for Ramirez could be down to the Tigers, Rays, Blue Jays and maybe the Orioles. And Ramirez will probably have to accept a one-year deal with incentives and prove he's still an impact player.

Boras is hopeful, and armed with his usual supply of Boras-speak.

"I think Manny Ramirez is a Hall of Fame hitter," he said. "Teams look at that ability and, if they adjudicate that ability is still intact, they're going to be seeking those extraordinary talents before they proceed elsewhere."

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: November 3, 2010 11:25 am
Edited on: November 4, 2010 9:01 pm

Predicting where free agents will land

Baseball is currently in a five-day period where teams have exclusivity to negotiate with players who have become free agents. Sunday at midnight, that period will expire and free up players to talk to any and all teams.

There's plenty to like about this free-agent crop, as the top players at each position is enough to put together a contending team. Plus, there are a good number of nice backup options, too.

Below, you can find Evan Brunell's predictions on where free agents will wind up, going position by position with two names at each position.

Martinez C: Victor Martinez -- Tigers. All the noise surrounding Detroit going hard after Martinez seems legit. It's part of Detroit's M.O., filling a position of desperate need to contend and Martinez is the best option and remains capable of catching. Plus, Detroit has no major block at first or DH for an eventual switch for V-Mart as Alex Avila apprentices.

C: John Buck -- Yankees. Jorge Posada will be receiving most of his at-bats as a DH and Francisco Cervelli certainly can't start. The Yankees will flex their financial muscles on a catcher which they can bring in on a short-term contract who broke out in Toronto last season. It solves the catcher conundrum short term and leaves the long term free for Austin Romine.

Dunn 1B: Adam Dunn -- Cubs. Another popular pairing that makes too much sense. The Cubs need to strike to stay in contention even as they try to get their minor-league system in order and producing over the next couple of seasons. Dunn's defense is minimized now that he's at first, and the Cubs need someone to sky them big flies. (And if the Cubs really are not going after big-name free agents , which I doubt is 100 percent true, I'll tab Dunn to the Athletics .)

1B: Aubrey Huff -- Giants. Unfortunately, while bringing in Huff eventually paid off big time for San Francisco, he is now overrated. With Brandon Belt tearing up the farm, there's no overwhelming reason to give Huff anything close to what he can get on the market. I have a feeling Brian Sabean will do what he always does, signing older players coming off big years to nonsensical contracts. You know it and I know it. Sleeper alert: The Giants move forward with a Mark DeRosa/Travis Ishikawa platoon at first, leaving Huff to land with the Mariners .

Hudson 2B: Orlando Hudson -- Padres. The O-Dog will be on the move again, looking for his fourth team in four seasons, fifth overall. He's long wanted to join the Mets, but Luis Castillo has prevented him from doing so. The Padres plan to contend, but still need the dollars to make sense for who they bring in, and it will for Hudson to plug a vacancy at second with no viable internal options.

2B: Bill Hall -- Twins. Hall is looking for a starting job, but there are those telling him he is best suited as a super utility player. Look for Minnesota to give him a chance at the starting 2B job, but the Twins will love moving him around once they can justify it.

Jeter SS: Derek Jeter -- Yankees. I think a lot of people are going to be a bit surprised by how long the negotiations take. Despite popular sentiment, Brian Cashman is not one to pay someone beyond actual value. What he does have is disposable income that the owners can order him to pay a premium, so Cashman will do just that -- but only at a small premium.

SS: Juan Uribe -- Giants. This is one return that makes sense. Edgar Renteria isn't being brought back, even if he doesn't retire. Pablo Sandoval's struggles at third and Uribe's ability to slide to third as need be will be coveted by San Francisco, and he deserves the deal he'll sign for. It's a very weak market for shortstops, so even those that could be available in a trade (Jason Bartlett?) may have too prohibitive a price.

Beltre 3B: Adrian Beltre -- Angels. Los Angeles makes the big strike here, importing a gifted defender who had a great season with the stick. He won't hit .321 again, but he'll be a signing on the level of Torii Hunter. He's expensive but will produce and help put L.A. back into postseason contention.

3B: Miguel Tejada -- Padres. San Diego was pleased with Tejada's production after acquiring him from Houston and will sign him to play his natural position of short even though he began the transition to third base last season.

Crawford LF: Carl Crawford -- Red Sox . Crawford will spark a bidding war between the Red Sox, Angels and some other team yet to be known, plus a late charge by the Yankees (you know it'll happen). In the end, the Red Sox will win out, offering just enough to entice Crawford to Boston.

LF: Marcus Thames -- Phillies. Thames built his value this past year, establishing himself as a strong platoon option against left-handers who surprisingly held his own against righties. The Phillies are interested in bringing in another right-handed hitter to pair with Ben Francisco, and Thames seems like the perfect low-cost, high-upside option.

Damon CF: Johnny Damon -- Astros. Damon may be a center fielder, but it's in name only as he's restricted to left and DH at this point of his career. No contending team is going to be interested in starting him, but he can still land somewhere where there's a faint glimmer of a chance at the postseason. Damon can be the grizzled, scrappy veteran who can lead them to the top. Welcome to Houston, Johnny!

CF: Melky Cabrera -- Royals. Cabrera's stock is down. Way, way down. He'll have to latch on with a bottom-feeding club who gambles on his tools. Kansas City seems like the perfect place to do that. With an up-and-coming farm, he could fit in seamlessly if he takes his job seriously. If he doesn't, the Royals simply move on.

Werth RF: Jayson Werth -- White Sox. It makes a lot of sense for the White Sox to go after Werth -- they have their own bandbox and need someone who can play the outfield and who could DH in his off days. Carlos Quentin's defense needs to be hidden or moved to first if they don't bring Paul Konerko back. Helping matters is Chicago has the money to make it happen.

RF: Andruw Jones -- Braves. Coming off a strong season for the White Sox where he proved he can still bring it, just not quite as a full-time outfielder (although that possibility does exist), Jones seems like he could make a return to Atlanta. The Braves have a need to remake their outfield, and Jones seems to be a perfect piece of the puzzle.

Thome DH: Jim Thome -- Twins. No reason for Thome to leave the Twins, really. He had a strong season there, became a cult hero, has been loyal to his teams and Minnesota definitely could use this slugger back provided the two can agree on how much playing time he will get. Having Delmon Young, Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Justin Morneau doesn't leave much room for Thome, but it worked out just fine in 2010.

DH: Manny Ramirez -- Rays . Manny is a DH and probably will find the market a bit hostile towards him. He's not upper-echelon any longer, but not many teams need a DH. After long and overdrawn-out negotiations thanks to Scott Boras, ManRam will finally sign around the beginning of spring training and coast into town to help the Rays and what could be a moribund offense.

Pavano RHSP: Carl Pavano -- Brewers. Pavano is set to cash in on his success with the Twins and is certain to be in a position where he can outdo accepting arbitration thanks to a poor right-handed starter's market. Milwaukee needs to find starting pitching and fast, and the Brewers proved last year with Randy Wolf they weren't afraid to go get it. Wolf's struggles won't be enough to deter Milwaukee from Pavano, not when a Wolf-Pavano-Yovani Gallardo rotation would do wonders in the NL Central.

RHSP: Hiroki Kuroda -- Dodgers. Kuroda's been a bit overlooked on the national stage, as he truly is a strong pitcher. The Dodgers want -- need -- to contend, so they'll make sure Kuroda goes nowhere. They do need to slash salary, but a lot of that was tied up in Manny Ramirez, so there's plenty for Kuroda.

Lee LHSP: Cliff Lee -- Rangers. Buy into Texas being players for Lee and Lee eschewing the bright lights of New York just as long as the money is there. And it will be. The wife likes having him close to home, he's going to be on a contending team and get his money. There isn't much reason to move to New York.

LHSP: Jorge De La Rosa -- Tigers. Detroit has money to spend and a need in the rotation. De la Rosa will flirt with quite a few teams, Yankees included, but it's Detroit who will step up. It needs a strong pitcher in the rotation to have any hope of contending, and de la Rosa falls right into the bracket the Tigers are comfortable with.

Soriano RHRP: Rafael Soriano -- Angels . L.A. has said all the right things in moving forward with Fernando Rodney as a closer after moving Brian Fuentes, but the Angels bullpen was in tatters all season and Rodney is not good enough to block Soriano, who is one of the best closers in the game but will find a rough market.

RHRP: Joaquin Benoit -- Rays . Benoit's price tag is going to be high, but the Rays will be faced with a barren bullpen. Why not bring back someone they know can do it for them? They can entice Benoit with the possibility -- probability -- about taking over as closer.

LHRP: Scott Downs -- Red Sox. Downs is a Type-A free agent, but Boston will gladly fork over its second-rounder after Crawford gives Tampa Bay its first-rounder. The Red Sox want to beef up their bullpen after years of trolling through cast-offs. Downs has been coveted for a while, and Boston will take the plunge.

LHRP: Brian Fuentes -- Marlins. Florida wants to contend, but needs some help in the bullpen to do so. Knowing the Fish, they won't be looking to spend big at the position, but Fuentes is a nice, safe and affordable pick to be the new closer they want.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: October 11, 2010 10:01 am
Edited on: October 11, 2010 10:25 am

Damon would like to return to New York

Johnny Damon The Tigers will be among the teams pursuing free-agent first baseman Adam Dunn, the team told former Tiger Johnny Damon.

The Tigers told Damon they weren't going to bring him back after their season ended. Damon, 36, hit .271/.355/.401, starting 97 games as the Tigers' designated hitter.

"They told me they are looking for a prototypical type DH like Adam Dunn," Damon told the New York Post 's George A. King III . "They said they need that type of bat in the middle of the order. I am a No. 1 or No. 2 guy, so …"

Damon, who made $8 million last season, told king he would welcome a return to the Yankees.

"I would love to have that as an option," Damon said. "It would be very exciting to go back there."

Damon has a shot at 3,000 career hits. He has 2,571 hits in his career. If he played three more years, he'd have a good shot. In the last three years combined, he has 469, including 146 this past season.

The biggest issue for Damon is finding a team that will let him serve as  DH without having big power numbers. After hitting 24 homers in 2009 (17 of those at homer-happy new Yankee Stadium), he hit just eight homers in 2010.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: October 3, 2010 1:16 pm

Tigers making big decisions on 2011

Johnny Damon I'm sure Red Sox fans will be happy to hear Johnny Damon will be available this offseason.

Damon turned down a trade to the Red Sox in August because he liked Detroit so much and wanted to stay there. Apparently the Tigers think that's mighty nice, but he can move on along now.

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski talked to reporters (via Steve Kornacki of MLive.com ) before Sunday's season-finale in Baltimore and said the team wouldn't bring back Damon, catcher Gerald Laird or starter Jeremy Bonderman, although Bonderman could be invited to spring training if he doesn't find another home.

The team will also decline their $15 million option on outfielder Magglio Ordonez, Dombrowski said, but would like to bring him back at a more team-friendly price.

As for those staying, the team has offered third baseman Brandon Inge a multi-year contract and may pick up shortstop Jhonny Peralta's $7.25 million option.

Dombrowski said the team will be looking to add a middle of the order "RBI threat" with the $70.1 million coming off the team's books.

Also, manager Jim Leyland told reporters (via the Detroit Free Press ' John Lowe ) that left-hander Phil Coke will be moved from the bullpen to the rotation.

"We need a left-hander in the rotation," Leyland said.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: September 5, 2010 4:01 pm

Rookies celebrate first hits

Max St. Pierre After Tigers call-up Max St. Pierre got his first hit in Saturday's game, Johnny Damon pulled the ol' fake toss into the stands trick.

I saw that last night and my first thought was, "nobody buys that anymore, do they?"

The cousin of St. Pierre's wife, Jerome Gabaldon, not only bought it, but it cost him $20.

"My cousin-in-law ran down and bought the ball from the guy for 20 bucks," St. Piere told Steve Kornacki of MLive.com . "He thought it was the ball from my first hit. And when I told him it wasn't, he said, 'how can you be sure which ball he threw?' So, I guess I've got both of them. I gave the ball from the hit to my wife. It's pretty special."

St. Pierre noted he didn't fall for the trick from Damon.

It was a special night for the 30-year old St. Pierre, who was called up for the first time after 14 years in the minor leagues. St. Pierre was called up Friday and in the starting lineup on Saturday.

St. Pierre received a standing ovation after his first hit from the fans in Kansas City. St. Pierre before being lifted for a pinch runner. His hit started the team's winning rally.

His teammates were just as excited as St. Pierre.

"It's genuine," the Tigers' Will Rhymes told the Detroit News . "We've really been rooting for him to get a chance."

Rhymes was asked if it was just because he's a good guy?

"That, but also because we've seen guys who've played a long time and for whatever reason never got a chance," Rhymes said. "Guys who were good players but never saw what Max saw today [his name in the lineup].

"We couldn't be happier for him."

Yonder Alonso In a much different situation, Reds rookie Yonder Alonso also picked up his first hit of his career. Alonso was a first-round pick and signed a major-league contract after he was picked in 2008. He got had a ground-rule double Saturday as a pinch-hitter in St. Louis.

The Cardinals got the ball back, but Alonso told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon he wasn't going to take any chance in losing it.

"I told [Cardinals second baseman] Aaron Miles, 'Hey, somebody better get that thing. if not, I'll go get it myself.' But I saw them try and go get it," Alonso said.

Alonso gave the ball to his father, Luis, who was a professional baseball player in Cuba and defected to the United States when Alonso was 10.

"He's just done so much for me and has always been there for me," Alonso said. "I came to the States because of him. He left his dream of playing baseball for me. I'm playing for him now. It's pretty emotional."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: August 24, 2010 4:24 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:56 am

Damon: 'I'm not going'

Johnny Damon Johnny Damon will stay in Detroit, he told reporters.

"I'm not going," Damon said Tuesday, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck on Twitter .

Damon was claimed off waivers by the Red Sox on Monday and had until Wednesday to approve a deal.

He was scheduled to meet with Detroit management on Tuesday about his future with the team. Damon, a free agent after the season, said he'd like to return to the Tigers next season.

Damon seemed rankled by Boston fans, who taunted him after he left as a free agent to join the Yankees. His former teammate, David Ortiz, reportedly called Damon to try to convince him to return to the Red Sox.

UPDATE: Tom Gage of the Detroit News has more from Damon:
"My teammates want me here and they think we can make a strong push to make this Central race interesting. That's why I'm going to stay.

"The tough thing is that there are no guarantees where I will be next year," he said. "As much as I would love to be back here next year, that's something the team doesn't really decide until the off-season.

"I'm OK with that. I know that going to Boston possible could have helped out my free agency for next year, but so be it." 

The Tigers are 10 games behind the Twins in the American League Central with 37 games remaining.

UPDATE: Red Sox players expressed disappointment, but understanding at the news.

From the Providence Journal :

"Playing with Johnny, the way he plays the game and the way he goes about his business, would have been a welcome visit to have him back here," said Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, one of only a handful of players left who overlapped with Damon in Boston. "He would have been a big addition to our team with what he can do."

Said designated hitter David Ortiz, "I was hoping he would come, but it was something that neither you or I could decide. He's the one that had to decide what to do for his own and do whatever he wanted to do."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: August 23, 2010 11:02 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2010 11:14 pm

Damon 'leaning toward' staying in Detroit

Johnny Damon Johnny Damon told reporters after Monday night's game that he's leaning toward staying with the Tigers.

"My gut and everything else tells me Detroit's the place for me," Damon told reporters (via MLB.com's Jason Beck's Twitter ).

Now, Damon has said recently he likes the Tigers and would prefer to stay with the team. However, he said he could return to Detroit as a free agent even if he were traded.

"I could still come back here next season," Damon told the Detroit News on Friday.

That was when it was an abstract --- Monday he was claimed by the Red Sox and he can invoke his no-trade clause to reject a deal to Boston.

It seems, though, he got his feelings hurt by Boston fans when he left the Red Sox to sign with the Yankees and maybe that's keeping him away.

At least one Red Sox, David Ortiz, said he'd call Damon and try to talk him into coming, so that could still happen (he has until Wednesday to decide), but I'm not sure I'd put any cash on it.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: August 23, 2010 4:02 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2010 7:07 pm

Report: Red Sox claim Johnny Damon

Johnny Damon Could the Caveman be headed back to his old haunts?

The Red Sox claimed Johnny Damon on waivers Monday, giving the team 48 hours to get Damon back into a Red Sox uniform as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports .

Damon, of course, is perhaps best known for two things: his time in a Red Sox uniform where he banded together with other "Idiots" and won a World Series in 2004. He's also renowned for saying he would never play for the Yankees, then doing just that and nabbing a championship ring in 2009.

In his first year with the Tigers, Damon has split time between left field and designated hitter, hitting .270/.355/.409 and proving he's still got some thump left in the bat as a 36-year-old. Damon is finishing up a $8 million deal, meaning the Red Sox would have to assume just over a million left on the salary -- and perhaps some players, if the Tigers won't deal Damon without getting names in return.

Detroit is 11 games out of first place, essentially done for the season. They are expected to make Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta available through waiver deals as well. It's possible the Tigers would revoke trade waivers on Damon if they can't get anything beyond salary relief, but for a team out of the race and in a city with plenty of economic struggles, it's hard to imagine the Tigers not forking Damon over.

Damon has played just two games in the field since July 28, serving as the team's primary DH, so Damon isn't exactly required for outfield depth. The Tigers could DH Carlos Guillen when he returns from the disabled list or give both Ryan Raburn and Brennan Boesch full time duty. As for Damon in Boston, he would replace the motley crew of Daniel Nava, Bill Hall and Darnell McDonald, taking over left-field duties.

As Sherman notes , Damon said last season he would not consider returning to the Red Sox because of his experience moving from Boston to New York and not wanting to go through that another time. However, that was before the Yankees didn't bring Damon back, who willingly letting him go while the Red Sox chased his services. In addition, it's been proven that Damon doesn't always stick to his word. The chance for Damon to go back to his old stomping grounds and try to engineer another comeback will be very difficult for him to turn down.

And yet, he may not be inclined to do just that, as AOL Fanhouse's Ed Price reports .

The Red Sox certainly hope he changes his mind, however. Boston's left-field combo of Nava, Hall and McDonald is not enough to vault the team solidly into contention with an upcoming series against the Rays. Nava is a great story, but has struggled in his last 10 games, hitting .158. In addition, Nava hasn't proved himself on the major-league stage yet, while Damon doesn't blanch from the bright lights.

As for Hall, he would certainly lose playing time but would at least be in a time share with Jed Lowrie at second -- not to mention that Damon probably wouldn't be a full-time player with the terrible defense he brings to the game these days. Darnell McDonald (especially against left-handers) and Bill Hall would still see ample time in left, mostly in parks with a large left field as opposed to the Green Monster at Fenway.

Can you imagine Damon's return to Fenway Park? One thing's for sure: the boos would become cheers -- especially if Damon brings back the famed beard.

-- Evan Brunell

UPDATE: Even if Damon is undecided, David Ortiz isn't. Ortiz gave his unconditional support to a Damon resurrection in Boston.

Ortiz said to reporters (via the Boston Herald ): "Let me call him right now. … That would be great, man. You know Johnny. Johnny’s a fun person to be around. I’m pretty sure he’d be excited to be back. For all those people that did him wrong, he could put that back together — make 'em forget about the Yankees.”

Catcher Jason Varitek said Damon is a "special player" and "one hell of a teammate."

UPDATE: Damon said he won't be thinking about his future during tonight's game (for the Tigers, by the way): "I promise I won't think about it during the game. I'll think about trying to get hits and stuff." (Via MLB.com's Jason Beck's Twitter .)

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com