Hardball Talk: If it’s February, it must be time for Jon Heyman to stump for Johnny Damon
I love Johnny Damon and will always thank him for his 2009 heroics in Yankees pinstripes.
So much that it almost dulls the pain of his 2004 grand slam off Javier Vasquez that pretty much sealed the deal on my beloved Bombers before we’d escaped the second inning of that now infamous Game 7 in the ALCS.
Add to that the fact that he has always been willing to play hurt, been a true grinder at the plate and one who let his hustle make-up for his shortcomings (namely that wet noodle of an arm he had his whole career) and Johnny Damon quickly becomes one of my favorite players all-time.
I hope he finds a job and gets his three thousand hits. I really, really do.
If and when he ever does, I will be at the front of the line championing his cause for induction into Cooperstown.
BUT Craig Calcaterra hit this one out of the park:
My favorite all-time “Jon Heyman trying to get Johnny Damon a job” column came two years ago when Heyman noted Damon’s “matinee-idol looks and obvious love of the big stage,” and parroted previous Scott Boras comments about Damon’s love of Detroit while wondering why oh why Damon had not yet been signed by someone.
He’s got a new one out now, and it has the air of a conspiracy theory:
‘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 … It is hard to blame Damon for feeling left out. The whole thing does seem very odd, indeed.’
Heyman goes on to note the Yankees’ seeming preference for Raul Ibanez, saying that each of the reasons why the Yankees apparently prefer Ibanez is “sillier than the next.” Judge for yourself, but they don’t sound that silly to me. Ibanez can play defense a little. Damon really can’t. I’d probably still prefer Damnon myself, but it’s not “silly” for someone to disagree on that.
But you know what is silly? That there isn’t one word in the column about what Damon’s contract demands are. Because if you want to compare Damon and Ibanez, or if you want to assess whether Damon not having any contract offers is odd or not, one might want to know whether Damon is offering his services at a reasonable rate.
There was zero mention of the fact Ibanez would sign for around one million dollars (he just signed on the dotted line for $1.1 million) and Damon was asking for $5 mil and change.
That alone makes up for any difference in production, but in truth there wasn’t that much difference between the two to begin with so I don’t know where Heyman was coming from on that whole “silly” argument.
In the end a part-time, platoon DH is just that…a part-time, platoon DH.