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The White Sox, Tigers court Johnny Damon

Feb 18, 2010, 10:28 AM EDT

The White Sox and Tigers are getting down to brass tacks with Johnny Damon, and the lobbying has begun.

The White Sox sent A.J. Pierzynski and Ken “Hawk” Harrelson out golfing with Damon yesterday. Despite the fact that most mortals probably couldn’t stand playing one hole of putt-putt with those two characters, multiple reports came out yesterday suggesting that the White Sox have moved ahead of Detroit. Maybe Harrelson and Pierzynski were sandbagging and let the wookie win.

Tigers players are lobbying too, though they’re being a bit more reticent about it. Here’s Phil Coke:

“I wish I had his number,” Coke said, “because I’d be like, ‘Hey, man, quit messing around.”

Sadly, people listen to what they want to hear, not what they need to hear, so my guess is that Damon is a White Sox by Saturday.

  1. Jamie - Feb 18, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    So the White Sox will make room at DH for Damon (.282/.365/.489 last year) but they could only find a couple of at bats a week for Jim Thome (.249/.366/.481)? If Damon signs for anywhere around the $1.5 mil Thome got, good move for the Sox. But my guess is they will pay a lot more money for not a whole lot more production.

  2. striker - Feb 18, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    The difference is, Damon can field, Thome cannot. Damon can run, Thome cannot.

  3. Nasty Boy - Feb 18, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    I understand Thome is limited to just hitting, but you must not of seen Damon last year in the outfield .I had to hold my breath every time he went for a ball. It was like a circus act. His running is not near what it was, he’s gained alot of weight since his Bosucks days. I don’t want to bore you with his throwing ability, or lack thereof.I just want someone to sign him, no offense to Damon , but its really getting old hearing about him.

  4. Chris W - Feb 18, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    Yeah, but with Damon it’s different! They’re trying to keep him away from an AL Central oppo…..oh wait…

  5. moreflagsmorefun - Feb 18, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Damon can run and catch, you didn’t watch too many Yankee games last year did you.Damon has bad wheels and can’t play the field all year.
    Scott should have to pay Damon the money he turned down from the Yankees, 14 million and also give him a gal/guy office job at his agency.I hope your happy now Scott, you ruined everything!!!

  6. JasonC23 - Feb 18, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    No matter how poorly Damon fields or runs, I think we can all agree that he is more capable of doing either one of those activities than Jim Thome. For example, Damon could be stashed in LF sometimes; Thome could not play first ever. Seriously, ever. He could only DH.
    Whether that real but possibly minimal difference is worth however much more the Sox pay Damon above the $1.5 million the Twins signed Thome for, that’s up for debate, sure.

  7. Old Gator - Feb 18, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    Thome wore the Godzilla suit for a long time, but even as a DH he’s looking more like a “swing hard in case you hit it” type ballplayer now. He’s a latterday Harmon Killibrew – and frankly, we should all be thankful that desecration called the DH didn’t exist in Harmon’s day so we didn’t need to watch him prolong his career to the point of pathetic, given how bad his last year or so was anyway.
    .
    Anyway, Craig, the Wookie logic is a bit misapplied here. If I’m not mistaken, Han warned C3PO that Chewey would rip both of his arms off if he lost. With Damon’s arms, especially his throwing arm, he’d better have really strong teeth if he wants to intimidate the same way.
    .
    Incidentally, Craig, do you know where George Lucas got the idea for R2D2 and C3PO in the first place? You’ll pee in your Depends when you find out.

  8. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Feb 18, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Thome wore the Godzilla suit for a long time, but even as a DH he’s looking more like a “swing hard in case you hit it” type ballplayer now. He’s a latterday Harmon Killibrew – and frankly, we should all be thankful that desecration called the DH didn’t exist in Harmon’s day so we didn’t need to watch him prolong his career to the point of pathetic, given how bad his last year or so was anyway.

    While his .366 and .360 OBP the last two years isn’t otherworldly like the two prior .410+, he’s still gone first, second, first on the team the last three years. He’s hardly swinging hard in case he hits it.
    And people shouldn’t compared Damon’s [career] year last year with Thome’s. Damon was a product of YSIII.

  9. Old Gator - Feb 18, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    I watched him those last few years. He was, if not a hero of mine, a guy I admired for carrying a name like that around all his life without rupturing himself. I watched him swing in his last couple of years, and I’d watched him swing in his prime. Back then he was so strong that you could almost feel the vortex of his swing in the mezzanine seats. Trust me on this: Mark Twain was right about statistics, no matter what my dear buddy Craig thinks. I was there. He was just that good so that he hit it from time to time when he swung hard. Compare that, say, to the late Jose Canseco. And he bailed out just in time to keep his dignity more or less intact – which, of course, was my point. Today, he’d be platooning with Johnny Damon somewhere as a DH. Better he ended his days as a complete if diminished ballplayer than in that sick joke of a rocking chair slot in the AL batting order.

  10. TF in Tampa - Feb 18, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    It’s hard to fly like an eagle when your surrounded with turkeys.
    Just think about it, we as humans elevate our working habits to minimally equal or attempt to rise above the people around us.
    I’m having a difficult time here, wondering how Johnny is going to perform as either a Tiger or White Sox, since he’s no longer in the company of such superstar talent as Jeter, A-Rod, Texiera, Mo, Posada, Swisher [well, scratch Nick, he's the clubhouse comic but not the caliper of these guys].
    Not to mention that his wife, [if she's anything like mine] wants to be in a more cosmopolitan setting. Detroit, I don’t think so!
    Please believe me, if Johnny can’t be a Yankee, I only wish him the best where ever he plays. He took some bad advice from Borass in not signing with the Yanks, but life does and will go on.

  11. Joe L. - Feb 18, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    The fact they sent Hawk and AJ makes me think the true purpose of that outing was to scare Damon away. Ye gods, that would be an annoying few hours. One time, AJ!!! One time!

  12. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Feb 18, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Not going to get into the Mark Twain comment, but it just isn’t valid. It’s one thing to bring it up when you take a poll of 100 people and try to extrapolate it to 300M+, like all those CNN/USAToday ones, and another to take historical data of every single at bat of a person’s career. But I digress:

    Today, he’d be platooning with Johnny Damon somewhere as a DH. Better he ended his days as a complete if diminished ballplayer than in that sick joke of a rocking chair slot in the AL batting order.

    Why would he platoon with Damon?
    Career:
    Thome – .277/.404/.557 146OPS+
    Damon – .288/.355/.439 105OPS+
    advantage Thome
    vs RHP:
    Thome – .294/.429/.614
    Damon – .291/.359/.453
    advantage Thome
    vs LFP:
    Thome – .238/.341/.422
    Damon – .283/.346/.403
    Push

  13. Old Gator - Feb 18, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    Church:
    Nothing personal – I genuinely respect your high regard for stats – but I’m really getting tired of people taking me seriously. It’s not what my father wanted for me, and it’s certainly not what I want for my kids.
    Anyway, two points:
    (a) I guess that if what I saw with my own eyes wasn’t “valid,” I gotta go back through my entire life and find stats with which to evaluate everything I thought I saw. I suspect I’ll keep coming up with numbers like 38-24-36 and few if any percentages, but those are cases in which I wouldn’t want to take on Mark Twain either. But it still boils back down to this: I saw Killebrew play in his prime and I saw him play at the end of his career. He had a swing quick and smooth as a rattlesnake strike and then he had one like the horizontal equivalent of John Henry driving a rail spike. Cite all the numbers you want. Believe my observations valid or not. But if what we experience as fans in the seats has no validity and only stats have validity in your eyes, perhaps you ought to stop going to ballgames altogether and do nothing but plot OBPs, SGPs and BAs with idorus. That’s fine if that’s what turns you on, and stats have of course always been a big part of the discussion, even before we talked ourselves into believing that we could make the discussion “scientific” through the perfection of statistical analyses. Maybe we can, but frankly, I still think that the majority of fans bring our hearts to the game as well as our cerebral cortices. If you reduced all of fandom to the stat-heads, there might – might – be enough of a market to support two or three teams on a barnstorming basis in cities like Cambridge, Mass., New Haven, Connecticut, Austin, Texas, Edina, MN. and Stanford, California. From where I sat, Killibrew looked great, then he didn’t, and if you find my firsthand observations invalid, well, I guess I don’t need to tell you where you can shove it. To me, there was some real dignity and fortuitousness in that he got out just in time – and to this old timer that beats hanging around like a gimpy caveman with a club waiting for a mammoth to lumber past your hiding place behind a boulder, no matter what the stats look like.
    (b) The Johnny Damon comment merely meant that Damon looks pathetic to me, a once-great ballplayer with diminished skills overvaluing himself and trying to hang on in an age of diluted talent, over-expansion, and a slot in the batting order that the Player’s Association preserves as a nursing home for aging or damaged ballplayers with diminished skills. It also meant that I was glad that some of the great ballplayers of my youth didn’t have the option of hanging on till the last shred of talent was expended. It wasn’t meant to invite statistical analysis, which was completely irrelevant to my point.

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