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How about this: Damon and the Reds

Jan 27, 2010, 2:20 PM EST

In light of this morning’s news, that moderately panicked sound you hear is Scott Boras working the phones, desperately trying to find someone that will pay Johnny Damon $2,000,001, thereby saying Boras the indignity of being totally, completely, utterly and publicly pwned by the Yankees.  Two candidates: The Reds and Tigers, according to Jerry Crasnick.

The Tigers laughed out loud when Heyman and Boras tried to prop them up as a stalking horse earlier this month. They don’t want any part of him.  But what about the Reds?

On paper it makes some sense. Cincinnati is stuck with, what, Chris Dickerson as their left fielder? And as was the case in Yankee Stadium, the cozy dimensions of Great American Ballpark may play to Mr. Damon’s strengths.

But can the Reds afford it?  They had to have Scott Rolen rejigger his contract in order to make 2010 work already, and that was before they added the Aroldis Chapman dollars.  What’s more, I don’t think Walt Jocketty is deluded about his club’s chance to compete this year (i.e. they don’t have much of one).  Adding Damon may clearly separate the Reds from the Pirates and rocket them past the Astros, but isn’t that fourth place really the top end here? I’ll even go with third if the Cubs or Brewers run into some bad luck, but I think we can all agree that even with Damon, the Reds aren’t going to be knocking on the door of the playoffs.  This is a team that is building to compete in 2011 or 2012, so why throw the money away on Damon now?

At any rate, Damon texted Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger the other day and told him that he’d have a team by Saturday. It’s Wednesday afternoon. Either Scott had better start dialing faster or else there’s going to be a news conference early next week in which the Yankees re-introduce their supremely humbled bargain basement outfielder.

  1. YANKEES1996 - Jan 27, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    I cannot think of anyone I would rather see with egg on their face more than Scott Boras, but I’m not really sure Damon to the Reds makes sense as you said. The Reds are not built to win and at JD’s age I don’t see the National League as his best option. If he is going to sign and be remotely successful I think he should be looking at AL teams.
    Boras should have represented Damon better throughout this off-season and if he had Damon would most likely not be in this position. I have no idea what kind of bullsh** Boras is feeding Damon but he appears to like it and now he is going to be playing for modest money on some team that is not going to win. I like JD but he should have handled his business with the Yankees when he had the chance, what was wrong with 2 years / $14 million.

  2. Richie - Jan 27, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    I wonder why the Mariners aren’t coming up in rumors about Damon. Jack Z won’t say how much money is left, but if Damon really would only cost a few million, then Damon would seem to make sense for them.

  3. Phil - Jan 27, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    Craig,
    It’s the Redleg way. Do something kinda smart (Chapman) and get the fans to start thinking the front office might have a clue, then pull the rug out from under the fanbase by signing a Veteran Presence. It’s also rumored the Reds are kicking the tires on Orlando Cabrera, despite having a better defensive SS in Janish and Frazier and Cozart knocking on the door.
    I think this is the sentimental side of our FO showing, kinda feeling sorry for Scotty. All those youngsters and Rolen doesn’t have anyone to talk to. So they’re gonna pick up a couple of other guys Scotty’s age to keep him from getting lonely on the DL.

  4. JeffG - Jan 27, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    Even if you don’t make the playoffs having a good player availiable at the trade deadline is a good way to replenish your farm. We’ve seen Billy Beene use this tactic.

  5. Ryan - Jan 27, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    In response to YANKEES1996, how are the Reds not built to win? They have so much potential that no one knows about yet. And response to Phil, So you would rather have a defensive .210 hitter over a decent fielding .275 hitter? Really. I am a Reds fan, and I wouldn’t mind this, the Reds are going to be close to making the playoffs this year if they stay healthy, Damon would be a huge help especially in GABP. And guys, get a clue, if you don’t know that the Reds are really young and have great youngsters, you probably dont focus on baseball as much as you should, and therefore you shouldn’t comment. And Cozart and Frazier are september call-ups if they sign Cabrera, they are good but too young right now to make an impact so they are most likely going to keep them down.

  6. Phil - Jan 27, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    Even if you don’t make the playoffs having a good player availiable at the trade deadline is a good way to replenish your farm. We’ve seen Billy Beene use this tactic.
    Well, yeah, but we’re talking about a declining 36yo with a noodle arm and bad wheels. That’s not a good player. And it’s B-E-A-N-E.

  7. Phil - Jan 27, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Ryan,
    I’m guessing I’ve been a Reds’ fan longer than you’ve been alive since I started rooting for them in Frank Robinson’s rookie season. (Do you even know when that was?) So, yeah, I know there’s some promise in Votto, Bruce, Stubbs and down on the farm.
    Damon’s wheels are going, his arm has always been bad. For less money – a lot less possibly – the Reds’ can cobble together a LF platoon that will be serviceable in a year where everything has to go absolutely right for them to even think about the WC. Keep the payroll flexibility and continue to work toward competing in 2011or 2012.
    As for Janish vs OCab, did you know that Janish had a higher WAR (1.1 to 0.6) in 2009 despite less playing time. Frazier should go north with the big club this year and be part of platoons in LF and SS, if needed. If he doesn’t it will be because Cap’n Toothpick falls in love with another aging vet or speedy automatic out like Taveras.

  8. YANKEES1996 - Jan 27, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    Ryan – Not trying to burst your bubble but take a close look at your division, do your really believe that the young (talented) Reds are any match for the Cardinals. The Reds finished 13 games out of first place last year and you believe that Johnny Damon and Cabrera are your saviours? Well, I guess all I have to say is Good Luck with that!

  9. Mike - Jan 27, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    Call me naive, but I do believe with Damon and Rolen healthy, the Reds will at least be in the thick of things come August.
    Improvements from last year;
    1) Drew Stubbs over Wily Taveras
    2) Scott Rolen for more than a month
    3) Jay Bruce over Jay Bruce
    4) Joey Votto minus the dizziness and racing heart rate
    5) A full season of Homer Bailey
    6) Johnny Cueto minus the dominican league and WBC.
    7) Aaron Harang for a whole year

  10. Phil - Jan 27, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    Mike,
    You left out the necessary punctuation. There should be question marks after all 7 of your points.
    (1) As long as Taveras is around, Dusty will play him. Only way to avoid it is DFA him and eat the salary. When that happens I’ll give you this point.
    (2) Scott Rolen over the last five seasons has average 3 trips to the 15-day DL per season. His power appears gone since his shoulder injury meaning we will get the OPS of a middle infielder at 3B
    (3) This one I’ll give you because I think Bruce has to bounce back…but we could be wrong
    (4) Again, I’ll give you this one and hope Joy’s problems are behind him.
    (5) But what will a full season of Homer mean? Do we get the Homer from last August and September or the Homer we saw before that?
    (6) Cueto still has to show he can keep it together in the 2nd half. Maybe that was from overwork and maybe not.
    (7) You assume Harang will be effective, Dusty won’t misuse him again and being in his walk year doesn’t get into his head. If he is effective, he should be traded at the deadline for more youth.
    Finally, once again our manager is Dusty Baker. Exactly what in his track record gives you confidence he can handle a young club (or not so young if they are stupid enough to sign Damon and Cabrera)?

  11. KEN - Jan 27, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    boras is nothing but a joke money grabber thinking only about himself not the players

  12. Samuel Battistone - Jan 27, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    To YANKEES1996, I have to agree with Ryan. The Reds can compete with teams like the Brewers, Cardinals and Cubs. Let’s look at all of last year, what happened? Injuries. We got our young players, and some veteran help, the last month or month and half of the year and finished 33-27 (from August 1) and 23-11 against the Central Division (in the same time from). Now when we had the young players that have a whole lot of promise to even perform better than they did last year I like our chances to knock on the door to the playoffs and even competing for the division. I think the Reds are a team to watch out for this year. As long as they stay healthy the team will perform. Then, you look at the possible rotation in Cueto, Bailey, Chapman, Volquez (after his recovery) and Arroyo/Harang. That’s a pretty damn good 5 man rotation.
    As for Orlando Cabrera, I think we need to stick with Janish. He is a great fielder and with the other bats in the lineup I can handle at mediocre batting average. If Votto hits the way he can and Dickerson, Bruce, Phillips and the rest of the team hit the way they really can I see no reason to find a replacement for Janish.

  13. Mike - Jan 27, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    1) Common mistake, Taveras may get more playing time than many would like, but Dusty sat him last year after Stubbs came up. Dusty also made a number of points about not being happy with Taveras.
    2)Scott Rolen for 120 games(With Juan Francisco and/or Todd Frazier filling in the other 40+ games) in 2010 or Edwin Encarnacion,Adam Rosales, Drew Sutton, and Danny Richar for 120 games in 2009.
    5)My guess is something in between. Still much better than most teams have from their 4th starter. Most pitchers don’t get worse from their age 23 season to their age 24 season.
    6)Fine he has to prove it. Most pitchers don’t get worse from their age 23 season to their age 24 season.
    Aside from pitch counts, I’d say he’s handled the young players great. Despite many people griping about how Dusty only plays vets, Jay Bruce was never rumored to be benched, he handled Votto great all things considered, and he let youngsters gain confidence for the last two years.
    Drew Stubbs, Joey Votto, Daniel Ray Hererra, Nick Massett, Jared Burton, Homer Bailey, and Paul Janish all played better than anyone would have anticipated going into last year.
    Jay Bruce was not as good and Johnny Cueto stagnated a little bit. What makes you think Dusty wasn’t useful in bringing the best out of the young team last year.
    Just curious what has Dusty done to the “young” club in the past two years that you haven’t liked.

  14. Phil - Jan 27, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    Samuel,
    I love optimism as much as the next guy, but do you see all the “ifs” in your post? We have to avoid injuries. The young players have to play better. The “possible” rotation – your words – including the optimistic hope that Volquez will be able to give us anything this season and that Chapman’s ready to come north (not very likely). I think we might have a winning season and that’s good enough for me in ’10.
    I like Cinderellas as much as the next guy. I remember 1961. But you can’t plan on something like another 1961(and we had Frank Robinson in his prime then). If everything gels, great. But I don’t want to see the FO throw money at overpriced veterans in their decline years on the outside chance we can win the WC and get eliminated by the Phillies in the first round. There’s a lot of promise in the system for ’11, ’12 and beyond. Patience is a virtue here. I’m like Yankees’ fans. I want to win the Series. Anything less is a disappointment.

  15. Samuel Battistone - Jan 27, 2010 at 5:58 PM

    I did say if we stay healthy, but for any team that’s an “if” at the beginning of the season. Let’s take that out of the mix, the injuries. The Reds stay healthy this year, how can you not like their chances? Hell, I’ll even take the possible out of the rotation and say that’s a pretty good rotation. Even if Chapman doesn’t come up yet. We have a lot of young talent with a nice mix of veteran experience. I’ll say it right now, I’m confident in saying the Reds will at the minimum get a wild card.

  16. Ryan - Jan 27, 2010 at 6:03 PM

    If you are a huge Reds fan old man, then you would know that the Reds just inked Miguel Cairo to a minor league deal. And why was it necesssary to reply to my comment like that, do you really think I care how long you have been a fan? I would’ve been that long if I was that old. And I most likely know more about their depth than you right now so you can express your opinions but I will most likely not agree. Whatever, Look at what Bruce did when he came back from his injury, he batted over .325, I understand that that was a short period of time, but, while he was rehabbing, he stated that he was going to make adjustments to his swing, so I dont think that he will go backwards in his improvement. And as for Homer Bailey, once they sent him down after a stretch of bad starts, he learned a split-finger, came up, and completely owned. He wont go backwards. I feel that the Reds are ready to make a run at the playoffs this year with the line-up the way it is, but with an addition of O-Cab or Damon, we will have added a hitter. GO REDS!

  17. Samuel Battistone - Jan 27, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    Ryan- I agree! GO REDS!!!!

  18. Samuel Battistone - Jan 27, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    Ryan- I agree! GO REDS!!!!

  19. Phil - Jan 27, 2010 at 11:44 PM

    Your rudeness and bad grammar aside, I’ll offer this. If you continue to rely on batting average as a determinant, your credibility will be suspect always. Second, Miguel Cairo…you’re kidding, right?
    I appreciate your optimism, but you are just a fanboy who doesn’t seem willing to take a cold, hard look at reality. We have some promising young talent. If it all works out, we’ll be a force in the NL Central in a few years. We are not there yet. We have the liability of Dusty (and that’s a huge liability) and the uncertainty that’s always associated with a group of young players with promise who are yet unproven. We’re saddled with a FO that doesn’t seem to be able to articulate a clear plan and couldn’t stick to it if they could. We have an owner that wants to be the Baby Boss and meddles in player acquisition without the requisite knowledge (and seems to make decisions when he’s three sheets to the wind – see the Rolen acquisition). Our front office is home to two failed GMs – Bill Bavasi and Cam Bonifay – who have decision-making power. That is scary.
    While there is a lot to be excited about, this is a club whose management has been unable to define and implement a clear plan for player development and continued competition in the free agent era. Despite multiple changes in the FO staff, the Reds have failed over the last three decades to come up with a coherent and consistent approach to remaining competitive. The only thing in my mind that keeps us from being the worst organization in MLB is the Kansas City Royals. I hope I’m wrong, but your wishing it so won’t make it happen.
    In short, this is a club that is about to give us as fans some things to get excited about. But it won’t happen in 2010 and it won’t happen as long as Cap’n Toothpick is in the dugout. Take the long view and be patient (and hope Jocketty and Castellini don’t fuck it up…because clearly they could). Oh, and try not to view a fan like me as a traitor because I won’t drink the Kool-Aid.

  20. twins2010 - Jan 28, 2010 at 12:49 AM

    Obviously the Reds have some really good young talent, and more on the way. But Cueto stil has to do it for a full year, as does Bruce. Stubbs has what, 180 ABs in the majors? Rolen is consistent, but getting older, Phillips is fine, but also getting older, Dickerson still has to win the starting job. Taveras stinks, Hernandez is getting old and is oft injured. Votto is great but has some issues himself. Cueto is a stud, but wore down late last year. Arroyo never has two good halves to a season, Harang was pretty mediocre at best even beforr he got hurt. And Volquez is done for 2010. And the bullpen is pretty average at best. Sure, they can finish ahead ot the Astros, Pirates and probably the Cubs, but it seems to me that it will take a career season for these players, coupled with the Cards and Brewers falling back for the Reds to compete this season. But I do love their future and think they are coming!
    As far as Cabrera, even of he does hit .275, he has no power, no speed and no OB%. And his defense has slipped greatly in the last few years – ask the Twins! Better off with the defense of Janish until the kids are ready.
    I don’t think Phil was being critical of you or the Reds, merely pointing out that they are improving, but are not all the way there yet. No reason to attack.

  21. Shely - Jan 28, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    Let me speak for the entire City of Cincinnati.:
    We don’t need another old timer on this team! He is just going to take up space and deny a chance for some young talent to come up and develop. Any team that signs him should be in a position to use him sparingly as a D H or pinch hitter. We don’t want another reclamation job on a guy with bad knees and getting too old to play. We need an every day player in the OF. If he were a pitcher who could help in the BP or close, OK, but this guy would take a spot on the roster which we can not afford.

  22. Fast Eddy - Jan 28, 2010 at 8:51 AM

    First, I will say that the Braves got it right. They can’t use Damon. The Reds can’t either. Well, I know of the perfect place for him. The Cards just lost Ankiel. They could use a part timer in the OF to fill in for Ludwig and Holliday. He would not be under too much pressure to perform, as they have power and hitting. He could pinch hit also. If the birds can sign him for about 2-3 Mil for one year, that would be a good fit. I am not so sure of Detroit. That situation is much like the Braves.

  23. Fast Eddy - Jan 28, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    Ryan my boy.. Your heart is in the right place, but your brain is not working. No one can build a team with old men. The only value Damon has is to be a fill in for some team with star OF’s who need a rest once in a while. The Reds need to develop the young players(by playing). They have to get good journeymen players to hold down the fort until they develop. They have a great start with the pitching staff, but not in the field. I do agree with you that he Reds will surprise a lot of people if; IF the pitching comes around as I think they will.

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