Aug 24, 2010, 10:01 AM EDT
Johnny Damon has until tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. ET to accept or decline a potential trade to the Red Sox, but said after last night’s game that he’s “definitely leaning towards staying” with the Tigers.
As part of the no-trade clause negotiated into the one-year, $8 million contract Damon signed with the Tigers in February he has the ability to nix a deal to 21 teams. That list includes the Red Sox, but interestingly does not include the Yankees or Rays, who were both blocked from possibly acquiring Damon when Boston put in a waiver claim for him.
Damon indicated to Jason Beck of MLB.com that he’s uncomfortable with the notion of both rejoining the Red Sox and playing the Yankees in a Boston uniform, saying: “What a scene that would be, playing for the Red Sox while the Yankees go there, and everybody there hates me. That’s the craziness that’s involved.”
Beck notes that “Damon’s issue with Boston appears to be the way things ended after the 2005 season” and the veteran outfielder also explained his preference for remaining in Detroit by saying: “I like to believe that we can still get back into this thing. Our schedule looks OK. We can definitely make a run.”
In reality the Tigers are below .500 and 10 games back in the AL Central, so “run” or not they’re definitely out of it. Damon has repeatedly said he loves playing in Detroit and would like to re-sign with the Tigers for next season, but as a free agent he’d still be able to do so even after accepting a move to Boston for the final six weeks.
Boston’s playoff chances aren’t particularly good either with the Red Sox back 5.5 games for both the AL East and Wild Card, but they have significantly higher odds of playing meaningful games deep into September. Accepting the move wouldn’t change Damon’s salary or status as an impending free agent, so either his love affair with the city of Detroit is truly extraordinary or the way he left Boston in 2005 makes him never, ever want to return there again. Because for a purely baseball move, accepting should be a no-brainer.