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The Yankees and Damon are totally splitsville

Jan 27, 2010, 10:55 AM EDT

No matter how many times we heard the reports that the Yankees were going to stick to a budget and couldn’t give more than a couple million bucks to Johnny Damon, you always got the sense that those two kids would make it work. After all, just because the Yankees allegedly have a budget doesn’t mean they don’t have the money. And hey, they made Andy Pettitte cool his heels until late January last year, so maybe they’re doing the same thing with old Johnny D.

But now it really does seem over:

“Don’t bother paying attention,” general manager Brian Cashman said of
chatter linking the Yankees and Damon. “Johnny’s physical abilities
exceed our financial abilities at this point in time.”

agent, Scott Boras, was unavailable for comment. Meanwhile, reached by
text message on Tuesday night, Damon also said talks never got off the
ground since the Yankees’ mid-December acquisition of Nick Johnson.

“Never started again,” Damon said of any negotiations. “They have their budget.”

manager Joe Girardi refused to rule out a return, though he expressed
his doubts candidly: “I don’t see it getting done.”

Boras was unavailable for comment? The fact that even he can’t figure out a way to spin this situation may be the most revealing thing I’ve heard in weeks.

  1. Old Gator - Jan 27, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    You hate to see an otherwise likable guy like Johnny Damon get caught in the middle of a pud-yanking contest between Scott Boras and the Borg, but this “financial abilities” gambit could be read as the logical response to Boras’ “mystery team” gambit. Now this could all be perfectly legitimate, but still, it delights me to imaginer Jon Heyman quietly starting to canary-mark a few quadrants in the employment section of his local newspaper.

  2. Jonny5 - Jan 27, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    Well the good thing for Jonny D. is there is another team in the mix to pick him up. With the wonder manager Boras have no fear Johnny!!! Lmao!!! A team finally called his bluff. Awesome!

  3. Tom - Jan 27, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    There is absolutely no way that the Yankees are going to have Brett Gardner as their everyday leftfielder next season (the best team in baseball isn’t going to start one of the worst LF’ers in the majors). Now if his replacement isn’t going to be Damon I wonder who it is going to be. My first thought is Carlos Lee especially if Cashman can force the Astros to pay a large part of his remaining salary. Who else could they be targeting?

  4. YankeesfanLen - Jan 27, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    There are 3 things you CAN’T tell me:
    1. The Yankees don’t have the money
    2. Scott Boras treats his clients fair and equitably
    3. Johnny Damon is not needed, particularly for his offensive abilities.

  5. Jonny5 - Jan 27, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    Why wouldn’t they just move a guy up from their farm system? It’s not like they need any more big bats….. I’m sure they have plenty of guys with enough speed and ability to blow away Damon out there… Oh wait, Farm system… Yankees…. i get it…

  6. ray - Jan 27, 2010 at 11:36 AM

    I could still see the yanks making a move here, but I also don’t think its impossible that they’ll start Gardner. They were perfectly willing to start Gardner in centerfield last year and did so until he got hurt/Melky got hot. This is the same thing. Granderson replaces the production of Damon (assuming Damon doesn’t re-sign) and Gardner only has to replace Cabrera’s numbers, not Damon’s.
    Is he a star? nope. But batting ninth in this order with great speed and defense should be adequate in my opinion.
    It is likely that an upgrade can be made, but I don’t think it is pressing (as long as they get some depth in that outfield in case one of the starters gets hurt/doesn’t produce a la Baldelli, etc.)

  7. YANKEES 1996 - Jan 27, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    Boras was unavailable for comment? Imagine that Johnny he was probably over at Matt Hollidays’ house laughing at you! You blew it Damon you had your chance to sign, play and retire where you wanted but you followed that jacka** Boras.
    Old Gator – The “financial abilities” is not a reprisal against Boras it is real, have you seen the 2010 free agent list?

  8. spice - Jan 27, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    Do we forget that the Yankees used a left field by committee approach during the championship years from 1996 through 2000? Left field is arguably the least important position on the field. It is where you play fielders with decent range but no arm. Gardner has extraordinary range and a weak arm. Someone has to bat 9th. It may as well be him. With him on base Jeter will get more fastballs to hit because of the threat of Gardner’s speed. The Yankees have certain started the season with worse in left field. With the heft of that offense Gardner is not a crippling option and he dramatically improves left field defense over Damon.

  9. Tom - Jan 27, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    I’m sure the Yankees are going to start the season with Gardner out there but I don’t see why they would use him as a starter in the playoffs. There have certainly been teams that have started bad players that have won World Series’ (the 2008 Phillies started Pedro Feliz, the 2007 Red Sox Julio Lugo, the 2006 Cardinals So Taguchi ) but why would you want to do that if you didn’t have to? The worst player the Yankees have started lately has been Melky Cabrera — and now they are going to start a guy that Melky beat out last year? That doesn’t seem to make any sense.

  10. Simon DelMonte - Jan 27, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    It seems just a bit sad that the offensive heroes of the World Series won’t be there for Ring Day. It’s completely understandable, of course. But given what Matsui and Damon did, it will be strange when they show the highlights and the players aren’t in the house.

  11. flayankee - Jan 27, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    I’d love to see Johnny back but he had his chance at 2years 14mil. and turned it down. Let’s face it the Yanks are chomping at the bit waiting for Carl Crawford to become a free agent after the 2010 season. I think Carl is going to look great in Pinstripes!!!!

  12. Talex - Jan 27, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    The Yankees won the World Series, have very good starting pitching, and now with all the good will of winning the WS again they can take risks and not overspend. Before this, there was an urgency to win the WS again before George passed away; that’s where all their dumb moves of Kevin Brown and Jason Giambi and Randy Johnson came into play. Now they’ve won and they can take more risks or start the season with a backup and pick someone else’s salary dumb up at the trading deadline for next to nothing. Plus you have to figure the Yankees are weighing their options–a declining Johnny Damon for 2010 or stud Cliff Lee for 2011. Which would you choose?

  13. Billy - Jan 27, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    Melky was an awsome center fielder, and he put up descent numbers at the plate this year as well. Don’t forget that he ended up being on of the better bats in the world series. I’m sad they traded him.
    Please don’t bring Johnny “No Arm” back. My dead grandmother could run on him. And Matsui was even worse in the field.
    It’s too bad that Cashman doesn’t give two hoots about defense. Never has.

  14. gumbercules - Jan 27, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    I’ll have to say, Cashman just uttered the most polite way of saying “you suck” in recent memory. The physical ability/financial ability quote is gold, Jerry, gold.

  15. marty holder - Jan 27, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    Matsui WILL be at The Stadium for Ring Day!Yankees open at home vs Angels!Damon should have NEVER listened to Boras!How much $ does Damon need?He just made $52 million over 4 years!Unbeleivable!

  16. Curious George - Jan 27, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    “Someone has to bat 9th. It may as well be him. With him on base Jeter will get more fastballs to hit because of the threat of Gardner’s speed.”
    Did you just fall off the back of the cliche truck?

  17. gfd - Jan 27, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    Ysnkees farm is ranked 15th in case you didn’t notice. Cashman has been building it for the last 5 yrs duh!

  18. PJ - Jan 27, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    Well now the only two that got the key hits in the post season are gone. Matsui and Damon. Cashman should look at the boxscores and see who drove in the winning runs. They both came through when they were needed.

  19. Yankee Girl - Jan 27, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Unfortunately Scott Boras strikes again. He starts talking trash…makes salary demands that arent reasonable and who gets screwed in the end…Damon. Boras is too egotistical to admit that he just f’d his client. They should have taken the $14 million or so over two years that the Yankees offered and called it a day. It would have been a win win all the way around.

  20. Yankee Girl - Jan 27, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    Unfortunately Scott Boras strikes again. He starts talking trash…makes salary demands that arent reasonable and who gets screwed in the end…Damon. Boras is too egotistical to admit that he just f’d his client. They should have taken the $14 million or so over two years that the Yankees offered and called it a day. It would have been a win win all the way around.

  21. moreflagsmorefun - Jan 27, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    I told you this in NOVEMBER, he has BAD WHEELS, the DH will be open
    to revolve regulars in and out, Pittsburg, Kansas City or some other minor league team will be dumping salary after the Allstar game and they will pick up a few outfielders for the run to protect what is our birth right.Cash has had enough of the Boras shenanigans
    and doesn’t drink the Boras kool-aid anymore.

  22. moreflagsmorefun - Jan 27, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    I guess A-Rod was passing out gatorade and fresh towels for them as they returned to the dugout.Thanks for the info, I guess I was watching a different world series.

  23. moreflagsmorefun - Jan 27, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    worst left fielder, he was a defensive replacement in Center, you saying he can’t play left field. I love Manny- wood but are you saying Brett is worst?

  24. Simon DelMonte - Jan 27, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    Then we have the solution: Damon should sign with Anaheim, too.

  25. Ben - Jan 27, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    Usually when baseball has the least going on, these stories seem to get everyone excited. I swear, people act like the Yankees are going to lose 90 games with Gardner starting. Yawn…

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