The Red Sox Play a Game of Damon Roulette

You know which team is most worried about Johnny Damon coming to Boston? I’ll tell you …. contrary to what the lovelorn and nostalgic Yankee fan might tell you, it’s not the New York Yankees. And despite what Joe Maddon might say,  it’s not the Tampa Bay Rays. No, it’s the Boston Red Sox. Because a day from now, the Red Sox might learn they are the owners of a $1.8 house that they don’t really want nor really need.  

Now the Tigers, according to a Peter Gammons report, are trying to convince Damon that the Sox have a legitimate interest in Damon. Meaning Boston didn’t move on Damon just to block him from going to Tampa. How they would know this I don’t know but evidently, the Tigers want to save two million bucks and are concerned Damon is not going to cooperate.  So that is the story they are pitching, at least to Gammons.

I’m sorry, but I don’t believe Gammons (or the Tigers) on this one. People, the Red Sox don’t need Johnny Damon and they sure as hell don’t need him for the not so inconsequential sum of two million dollars. Yes, he might be a slight improvement over Nava. And against a tough pitcher, he might give you a better at bat than Billy Ballgame. But we are talking small steps here. And for two million dollars, Damon represents poor value. The Sox have to know this.

With that in mind, I believe the Sox played a little Russian Roulette here. They didn’t want him in Tampa, they knew he had a no-trade with Boston, and they are betting he won’t come. Whether that is because he is still bitter over Boston’s 2005 contract offer or he doesn’t want to alienate his fans in NY, I don’t know.  But my sense is the Sox don’t think he will show up and would be relieved if he turns them down. And less you think Boston might actually give something up for Damon, I think the best Detroit could hope for is Ralph, the 19-yr old assistant groundskeeper for the Greenville Drive.

Now it’s no secret I am not a Damon guy. NEVER have been and I’m not about to start. Sure, I respected Damon’s offensive game (at times). But his clumsy defense left me speechless. His stupidity was irksome. And I always found him to be a tremendously insecure guy who desperately wanted love and attention. Sorry John, that doesn’t work for me.

So I am rooting against this transaction. Come tomorrow, I hope Damon turns down Boston, John Henry gets to keep his two million dollars, and Billy Ballgame is starting for the Sox on Friday night against Dave Price. Unfortunately, despite initial reports to the contrary, I think there is a pretty good chance Damon will be back in Boston. And that is because he wants the love. This is a guy who doesn’t enjoy being the villain. And I think at the end of the day, he will see this as an opportunity to repair a burnt bridge.  Stay tuned.

 I can’t believe this ….. but I actually have more to say on Damon ……

* When I hear people like Buster Olney refer to Damon as a potential hall of famer, I sometimes scratch my head and wonder if they are talking about some HOF that isn’t located in Cooperstown, New York.

* This is the Damon HOF case: he was a very good offensive player who now has almost 2600 hits. Give him three more years and he will reach 3000 and no one with 3000 hits is not in the HOF. Add in 1700 runs and 400 steals and Damon’s supporters will tell you he is a lock.

First off, if you think Damon is going to play full-time for the next three years, we shouldn’t be having this conversation because you first need to get off the pipe. Second, if he fails to reach 3000, it should be pointed out that Damon is a two-time all-star with not a single top-10 MVP credit on his resume. Third, from 2005-2008, he was probably the worst defensive CF in the game and that includes AA and AAA. Four, his profile actually looks a little bit like Brett Butler’s and do you know how many years Butler even stayed on the ballot? Try …. One! Five, Tim Raines wipes his ass with Damon’s resume and Raines is still not within 250 miles of Cooperstown.  So if Johnny Damon somehow sticks around long enough to get 3000 hits, I will give him points for longevity and ask him how he intends to vote in next year’s 2016 presidential election. But the bet here is if he does strike 3000, he is 50/50 to start a new and exclusive club for 3000 guys who couldn’t crack Cooperstown.   

* The Globe’s Pete Abraham is reporting the shit out of the Damon story but that should come as no surprise to anyone who follows Abraham. He already has three posts up on the Globe’s blog related to Damon and the bet here is we will have another one today and perhaps two tomorrow. [Editor’s Note: Bingo, a little after four, Abraham is out with an update as JD called him while he was on his way to Tigers Stadium. It’s pretty clear to these eyes that Abraham either has a man-crush on Damon or he loves the fact that JD actually returns his calls. Eithe rway, he is clearly giddy over this story.] 

* Up above, I slammed Damon’s intelligence without providing any evidence or source material. For that I apologize. But here is exhibit QQ, from today’s Globe:  

“The only reason why I would be considering it is to help out this team [Tigers] in the future,’’ said Damon. “I love the Tigers organization, and I love the fact that they’re up-front and honest. If somehow they can get a good prospect back, a player that can help this team in the future, it would be beneficial for them. I would like to remain a Tiger, so I think that’s why these next hours are pretty important.’’

So his decision hinges on what the Sox offer the Tigers? Is he being serious? And if he is being serious, is it because he wants Detroit to make out or does he NEED Boston to demonstrate their committment and the way to do this is by giving up a credible prospect? Boston, if you want me, you’re gonna have to show me how much! More likely, this is just another example of Damon’s mind pulling in many separate directions at once and the product of this tug-o-war is not pretty.

* Exhibit RR, this just in …. “Papi is very excited,” said Damon. “He thinks I could make quite a difference.” There is nothing quite like putting words in someone else’s mouth to make yourself look good.  Upon further review, this piece of evidence doesn’t necessarily make Damon look stupid. Instead, it makes him look like a narcissist.

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