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Jon Heyman really, really wants Johnny Damon and Scott Boras to get paid

Feb 12, 2010, 1:25 PM EDT

SI.com’s Jon Heyman is sometimes accused of being a mouthpiece for agent Scott Boras. Heyman understandably doesn’t like that and tries to squash the notion, but sometimes it’s awfully tough not to get that impression.
Boras’ highest profile client among remaining free agents is Johnny Damon and Heyman has been giving daily (and sometimes hourly) updates about all the teams supposedly interested in the 36-year-old outfielder. His latest column takes that to a whole different level, beginning with this intro:

Damon, with the matinee-idol looks and obvious love of the big stage, is starring in his very own soap opera this winter. At first, it was thought that he was going to cash in big-time following his home run of a regular season and his World Series heroics. Then it appeared to many he was going to be shut out, the winter’s biggest loser. Now it looks like he’s going to do just fine, maybe even better than fine.

That reads like a cross between romance novel and sales pitch. Not only does Damon have “matinee-idol looks and obvious love of the big stage” he’s “going to do just fine, maybe even better than fine” despite turning down offers that will surely top whatever he ends up with. Heyman goes on to criticize the Yankees for choosing to replace Damon with Nick Johnson at a fraction of the price and then writes:

Damon was supposedly hankering for a multiyear deal. Yet, now that he is said to have offers for one and two years from the Tigers, he is thought to be considering taking a one-year offer from either them, the White Sox or Braves over the two-year offer.

There is no “supposedly” about Damon’s desire for a multi-year deal. If he was willing to take one year this whole time he’d have signed already and would likely still be with the Yankees. And the notion that he’s now being offered multi-year deals from several teams but may decide, at age 36, to accept a one-year contract is … well, people have sold bridges in Brooklyn with less outlandish sales pitches.

It can’t possibly be because he doesn’t love Detroit. He’s been publicly cited as a lover of the Detroit Red Wings, Steve Yzerman and even octopi.

Well, obviously if he claims to like the local hockey team, one of that team’s greatest players, and creatures fans throw onto the ice, the Tigers would be making a huge mistake by not signing him. Or something.

In a sometimes dead winter, Damon has been our saving grace. We can only hope that he can keep the mystery going for one more week, when pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

This actually strikes me as a rare bit of pure, unbiased honesty, because Heyman has written approximately 50 million words about Damon during the past three months.

Everyone in baseball is watching to see whether baseball’s most famous agent, Scott Boras, will finally be stuck with a bad deal on a very good player. And a few undoubtedly are hoping.

I’m amused by the spin that Damon signing for less than he was offered by the Yankees would represent Boras “finally” making a bad deal, as if he’s never mis-stepped previously.

All the early talk of multiyear megadeals and public suggestions that Damon shouldn’t receive a pay cut from the $13 million he made each of the last four seasons unrealistically raised the bar at a time his demographic was falling in free agency.

Saving the best for last, Heyman is now suggesting that the “public” rather than his hyperbole-spewing, hype-machine agent was behind reports of Damon not wanting to accept a pay cut. Apparently it’s all our fault. Sorry, Johnny.

  1. Oscar Gamble - Feb 12, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    Damon should have fired Boras a month ago.

  2. Jonny5 - Feb 12, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    Does heyman have no shame? No shame at all? I wonder what his cut of the deal will be?

  3. Jonny5 - Feb 12, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    “Damon, with the matinee-idol looks ”
    I wasn’t aware that a shaved Neanderthal had matine idol looks myself……

  4. Tom - Feb 12, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Why does everyone assume that Damon just does whatever Boras tells him to do? Does everyone think that Damon is that stupid? Boras is just an adviser, nothing more. He presents the offers and Damon decides what to do. Damon appears to have been blinded by all the mega-offers Boras has been able to get rather than taking a realistic look at his own value.

  5. Tom - Feb 12, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    Why does everyone assume that Damon just does whatever Boras tells him to do? Does everyone think that Damon is that stupid? Boras is just an adviser, nothing more. He presents the offers and Damon decides what to do. Damon appears to have been blinded by all the mega-offers Boras has been able to get rather than taking a realistic look at his own value.

  6. d - Feb 12, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    matinee-idol looks, a caveman could do it…
    I wonder if Heyman on the flip side of his business card has “PR agent, Scott Boras Corp” on it.

  7. Union - Feb 12, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    I actually refuse to support SI because of Heyman. The guy really is a joke. It just amazes me at how crappy SI has become. Have you actually even seen there magazine lately? It’s like 50 pages with half of them being advertisement now. If it wasn’t for Polanski, I don’t think I would even remember SI existed.

  8. Jeff - Feb 12, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    “Matinee-idol looks?” What is this, Variety circa 1948?

  9. Joey B - Feb 12, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    “Does everyone think that Damon is that stupid?”
    Of course.

  10. Interest Piqued - Feb 12, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    I know who you mean Union, however:
    Roman Polanski = Director, producer, writer and convicted statutory rapist
    Joe Posnanski = Great Baseball Writer
    Or, I could be mistaken…

  11. hermitfool - Feb 12, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    Jon Heyman=Scott Boros’ favorite butt boy
    SI has no shame, but then it’s part of Time Inc., which practically invented modern era shameless journalism.

  12. jwb - Feb 12, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    “I wasn’t aware that a shaved Neanderthal had matinee idol looks myself……”
    That look drove the ladies crazy during the Pleistocene epoch.

  13. ecp - Feb 12, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    Buster Olney had an interesting comment in his blog today:
    “Along the way Thursday, I was told by someone in baseball that he was asked to leak word of a particular two-year offer to Damon — to stir the pot and artificially nudge those involved in the bidding.”
    http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=olney_buster
    (Subscription only, sorry.)
    Given the rapidity with which Damon has accepted (not) the Tigers’ supposed two year offer, I wonder if it’s real.

  14. Ryan - Feb 12, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    CTB – Another blog I read, engadget, has a moratorium on posting articles about Monster Audio because of their shady sales tactics and litiguous nature; can we get a moratorium on all Heyman-Boras articles? There isn’t an ounce of truth in any of them, making reading them worthless.

  15. DavidC - Feb 12, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Not to defend the opposite view or anything, but I think by “public suggestions” he meant suggestions made to the general public by Johnny/Boras, not suggestions made by the public.
    Can someone with some accounting sense explain the reasoning of this: The Braves make Damon an offer of $4MM (50% deferred). So to top that, Detroit suggests not a marginal increase to become the high bidder (say $5MM, or even $4MM not deferred), but instead double the length and nearly triple the cash value (2 yrs/$14MM). Do they not know which numbers come between 4 and 14? There are at LEAST6 or 7 numbers in between there, maybe even more ;-)

  16. Old Gator - Feb 12, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    Godzilla (the reptilian one) had matinee idol looks too. Let’s hope that Johnny Damon doesn’t have his breath – which might explain why he isn’t signed yet.

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