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Johnny Damon to stay in pinstripes?

Aug 18, 2009, 8:50 AM EDT

If you would have told me before the season that the Yankees would consider bringing Johnny Damon back after his contract expires this year, I would have told you that you were crazy, but according to Tyler Kepner, that is a distinct possibility:

Before the season, there was a sense that the Yankees would allow Damon to move on and turn over his left-field spot to a prospect like Austin Jackson or a younger free agent like Matt Holliday. But Yankees officials seem to understand Damon’s value on the field and in the clubhouse, and now they would like him to return. When the Yankees want to keep a player and the player wants to stay, that is usually what happens.

Wanting him back has an awful lot to do with his return to top form this season (.281/.361/.517).  So much of that production, however, is a function of new Yankee Stadium. Fifteen of his 22 homers have come at home, and his OPS is nearly 200 points lower on the road.

This doesn’t mean that his bounceback has been a mirage or anything — make no mistake: he’s been very useful.  But it does suggest that a younger, better guy in left field — oh, like a Matt Holliday — would post at least similar gains over his career averages if given the chance. What’s more, a guy like that wouldn’t need as much time at DH as Damon suggests he needs in the article.  And with an aging Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada around, it strikes me that DH time will be at a premium in Yankee land over the next couple of years.

  1. Lardin - Aug 18, 2009 at 8:57 AM

    If the choice is Damon for 2 years, or Holliday for 5, I would rather have Damon. His numbers have not changed dramatically since he was in Boston. He understands the importance of “big games”, he understands the moment, delivers in the clutch. People are obssesed with power numbers. Damon gets on base and scores runs. Hes a number 1 or 2 hitter, and IMO is a better BASEBALL Player (vs. hitter)
    then Holliday.

  2. Rotohead - Aug 18, 2009 at 9:10 AM

    Damon’s probably going to want three years. Remember Boras is his agent and there are no discounts given. He’s making 13mm in 2009. 3 years – 42-45mm will probably be what it takes…

  3. Jason @ IIATMS - Aug 18, 2009 at 9:21 AM

    As a Yanks fan, I have been more than pleasantly surprised with Damon’s contributions over the life of this 4 year contract. I thought it was a year too many and many dollars too high. But he’s been a great top-of-the-order presence for this team and the new park seems tailored to his swing. And he’s been a great change in the personality of the team.
    Can’t play a lick of D anymore, though.
    With Matsui gone next year, the DH role will be used, as I see it, to rest the stars once a week. Jeter, ARod, Posada will all see time at DH.
    Unless the Yanks don’t go and sign Bay or Holliday, I can’t see Damon staying with a multi-year deal. I could, however, see a series of above-market one year deals for Damon to stay.

  4. Tony - Aug 18, 2009 at 9:32 AM

    I think Damon should stay a Yankees, but I also think the Yankees should bring up Austin Jackson and let the kid play next year.

  5. Josh - Aug 18, 2009 at 10:26 AM

    Jason Bay or Johnny Damon??? Is this a “Duh” moment or what? Watching Damon play left field is like watching a little leauge game, he flops around more than a bass just pulled out of the water. My grandmother could run on his arm. The Yankees paid WAY too much for Posada! And where is he going to play over the next few years?, Tex has first base locked up. Play the money and get a outstanding outfielder in Bay…

  6. Jason @ IIATMS - Aug 18, 2009 at 10:36 AM

    No argument there, Josh. I’d take Bay or Holliday over Damon, no question. But I think there is a role for Damon, unless he’s holding out for a long term deal. Hopefully the overpaying of the veterans is a thing of the past.

  7. Anthony - Aug 18, 2009 at 10:41 AM

    I seriously doubt the Red Sox will let Bay get away. He loves it there too. Damon is a nice player, especially in this stadium, but will it play the same way with the old Yankee stadium gone and the wind currents changed? Impossible to know. He is not worth 3 years at big money. I would sign him for 2 years 20 million at the most. Abreu’s deal should clearly show what teams want to pay now for guys who are in their mid 30’s and are not any good in the field. And Bobby is much better out there then Damon is.

  8. don - Aug 18, 2009 at 10:46 AM

    Matsui won’t be returning. Damon might take over the DH spot which still leaves lots of possibilities for the outfield.

  9. clyde r. allen - Aug 18, 2009 at 10:57 AM

    i think today in pro sports agents have too big a say in ewhat a player shouldget as a salary.why pay millions to a player before the first season starts.

  10. Kage10 - Aug 18, 2009 at 12:04 PM

    I just love how the Media, the Yankees and the Yankee fans all assume that the good players want to play for them? Who’s to say that Jason Bay and Matt Holliday WANT to play for the stupid Yankees? The arrogance makes me sick. Not every good player will be a sell out like Johnny Damon. I just hope I get to laugh again this year when the Yankees DON’T make the World Series with their team of All-Stars. They give NO credit to Cano, who is an awesome 2nd baseman and hitter. He would be cream of the crop had he been purchased as the star from another team. It makes no sense. Cano rocks and he gets no props. Anyway, sign Johnny Damon. He’s cute and a great lead off hitter.

  11. JOAN - Aug 18, 2009 at 12:31 PM

    They’re CRAZY IF THEY LET HIM Brian Bruney goes though, he is SO inconsistant. GO YANKEES !!!!

  12. Jason @ IIATMS - Aug 18, 2009 at 2:12 PM

    Kage10: I seem to remember Damon wanting to stay in Boston. CC only wanted to play in the NL West. blah blah blah. Keep on whining. The fact is, the might dollar talks loudest and the Yanks have the most of ’em. Hence, it’s not unreasonable to imagine either of the top two FA OF’s landing in pinstripes.
    And if you have any doubt, just ask Boston about being $10M shy on Teix as Cashman swooped in at the last minute. After they already got CC and AJ.
    Money talks. It just does!

  13. HOTROD - Aug 18, 2009 at 2:58 PM


  14. HOTROD - Aug 18, 2009 at 3:00 PM


  15. HOTROD - Aug 18, 2009 at 3:03 PM


  16. HOTROD - Aug 18, 2009 at 3:06 PM


  17. nick - Aug 18, 2009 at 4:02 PM

    keep him at 7-10m per/yr for next 2yrs. he’s prductive & a leader. he plays great at the top of the batting order & is one of the reasons the Yankees are now in first place. KEEP HIM!

  18. Rod Burrelli - Feb 15, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    You have reminded me of one of my favorite quotes: “Life is a series of collisions with the future

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