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Damon: "The Yankees haven't made an offer"

Dec 14, 2009, 8:00 AM EDT

Johnny Damon, walking back the rumors from the weekend:

“My friends and family are calling to tell me about this offer and what
I want and it’s all wrong.  The Yankees
haven’t made an offer and I haven’t told them what I want. Everything
else is not true. Two years, four years, all that happens when Scott talks to the
Yankees. That comes later but we haven’t had any talks
at all. I don’t know where all this stuff came from.”

Maybe it’s lawyerly withdrawal setting in, but I think that this statement is deviously consistent with what was reported over the weekend.  Let’s parse:

“The Yankees haven’t made an offer . . .”  Well, that doesn’t contradict any of the business from over the weekend, because according to the previous report, Boras told them not to bother.

“I haven’t told them what I want.”  I guess there are a couple of cute ways to handle this: (a) “I haven’t told them what I, you know, really want, I just told them the lowest possible place they had best start the bidding; or (b) “I haven’t told them what I want, my agent has.”

Yes, I know I’m reading way too much into those statements. Johnny Damon is a number of wonderful things, but a master of obfuscatory syntax is probably not one of them. And it’s not like this is a legal proceeding. There’s no need to stretch to reconcile contradictory reports. If Damon or his agent say one thing on one day and another thing on another, no one is really gonna squawk.

No, in reality this is probably just a case of Damon playing good cop to Scott Boras’ bad cop in an effort to counteract the overwhelmingly negative response to his reported demands and to set it up nicely for him to accept the Yankees’ two-year offer without having to admit that he caved in the face of the team’s superior leverage.

But hey, we’re entering the slowest time of the entire annual baseball news cycle, so this sort of flyspecking is to be expected.

  1. hop - Dec 14, 2009 at 8:41 AM

    and if the Yanks are smart they will not offer damon a contract.

  2. John Pileggi - Dec 14, 2009 at 8:58 AM

    This will be a long winter for Mr. Boras. Customarily, he does not give home town discounts. Holliday would be happy in St. Louis. Damon would be happy in New York. But, looks like each will not enter into protracted bidding. Not sure who that leaves to sign guys who have significant issues (age, fit, etc.).

  3. YankeesfanLen - Dec 14, 2009 at 9:10 AM

    Damon will blink (more), the Yankees will keep Johnny and go 2Y/23M and we’ll forget this ever happened.
    Doesn’t this happen every year? Cashman had to have had regrets about Abreu when he ended up with Swisher in right in’09.
    One stat I’ve never seen articulated: Aren’t the Yanks #1 when it comes to keeping veteran free agents?

  4. Frank E Bus - Dec 14, 2009 at 9:26 AM

    I don’t follow baseball that close any more, but when I did, I was not impressed with J. Dammom staats or “BB” contribution to the Yankee games….
    If he needs to be molley coddled, let him go….

  5. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Dec 14, 2009 at 9:33 AM

    Cashman had to have had regrets about Abreu when he ended up with Swisher in right in’09.

  6. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Dec 14, 2009 at 9:34 AM

    Cashman had to have had regrets about Abreu when he ended up with Swisher in right in’09.

    WAR:
    Nick Swisher: 3.5
    Bobby Abreu: 2.2
    Their batting was similiar (19.7 Swisher vs 19.4 Abreu), but Abreu is atrocious in right while Swisher is average.
    That was not a bad move by Cashman.

  7. Old Gator - Dec 14, 2009 at 10:13 AM

    Speaking of Scott Boras, isn’t it time for Blyleven to think of something else to write about so they can take down that mug shot of everyone’s favorite agent that’s been dominating the Baseball home page like the mask of Zardoz? The guy looks like Harvey Keitel with a facelift.

  8. Joebob - Dec 14, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    yes because 25 HRs and 25 SBs and over 100 runs is really not smart to have…granted he doesn’t field well but he is one of the best #2 hitters in the game

  9. hop - Dec 14, 2009 at 10:45 AM

    he’s 36 years old, can’t play the field very good anymore, everyone and their brother runs on his arm, and they have to rest him a lot to save his legs during the year. Tell me where signing this guy is smart? I could see maybe a 1 year deal but anything over that is asking for punishment and from what i been reading he wont accept that so the hell with him.

  10. AJ Gallo - Dec 14, 2009 at 10:56 AM

    Craig, I don’t think you’re reading into this too much at all. As a matter of fact, I think your surmise is right on the money. Words and phrases are carefully picked when describing these situations. Sure he hasn’t told them what he wants or the Yanks haven’t told him what they’re offering, the agent is doing that. Not Damon. So yeah, it’s splitting hairs, but deceptively factual. This is Boras’ MO. He negotiates and the player throws his palms upward and says, “I know nothing.”

  11. YANKEES1996 - Dec 14, 2009 at 10:57 AM

    I believe the Damon deal will get done but Johnny is going to have to realize it is going to be at the Yankees discretion not Scott Boras’s. Damon should take the 2 years / 20 or so million and be happy. If he wants the 4 year deal he is going to have to go somewhere else, after the Granderson trade Melky is going to be the everday left fielder and Gardner will be the outfield platoon guy.

  12. HopandLen - Dec 14, 2009 at 11:00 AM

    Hop and Len = dumbest Yankee posters, ever

  13. paul - Dec 14, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    Don’t forget Damon’s power numbers don’t exactly translate to any other stadium except maybe Philiadelphia. Those are both even shorter than what is marked on the walls. Damon’s still a good player. Gives all out on every play, always has. Boras will be planting the “Back to Boston” rumors soon to light a fire under Cashman.

  14. chas - Dec 14, 2009 at 11:13 AM

    Yea, Damon doesn’t have to play left field, he can DH cause the Yanks are going to dump Godzilla! Damon isn’t going anywhere except to Yankee Stadium – you watch. You heard it hear first!

  15. Old Gator - Dec 14, 2009 at 11:17 AM

    Somehow I don’t think the prospect of a gimpy, aging outfielder useful mainly as a DH without much power going to the Beanbags will “light a fire” under Brian Cashman – not when his options include a gimpy, aging outfielder useful mainly as a DH with plenty of pop left in his bat and an uncanny knack for crushing the ball in clutch situations. Aside from which, if I’m Johnny Damon, I really want to stop and think twice about whether or not he’ll be warmly greeted as the prodigal son for showing up at Fenway, having enthusiastically allowed himself to be made Borg in the first place and now unable to do most of the stuff he did there years ago. Hell, I think Mitch Williams could go back to the Feelies with more peace of mind.

  16. Bea - Dec 14, 2009 at 11:47 AM

    If the Yankees are smart they WILl offer Damon a contract.

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