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Johnny Damon "definitely leaning toward staying" with Tigers

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.

  1. Tim's Neighbor - Aug 24, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    This just goes back to how insane the Damon contract search was last spring and winter. What were the Tigers thinking?

  2. GP - Aug 24, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    I’d be shocked if he went back to Boston. You don’t leave Boston, immediately go to NY, and receive anything but scorn from Red Sox fans. I don’t blame him for not wanting to go back and frankly I, for one, don’t want him back.
    As great of a run as it was, Captain Caveman has burned this particular bridge.

  3. birdmancometh - Aug 24, 2010 at 11:24 AM

    Um, “GP”, I would say that BOSTON, not Damon, burned that bridge.

  4. lukejameslarson - Aug 24, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    Detroit Tigers 8/24/2010: 62-63
    Minnesota Twins 8/24/2009 62-63
    Granted that the 2010 Twins are 5.5 games ahead of where the 2009 Tigers were at this point, but it’s not completely impossible.

  5. Jack Marshall - Aug 24, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    But never forget, Johnny has no brain, thus creating the paradox: in a man without a brain refuses take an option that is a no-brainer, is it really a no-brainer?

  6. Pisano - Aug 24, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    If he’s smart , he’ll stay right where he’s at . Boston’s grasping for straws again. Damon’s in decline anyway, that just shows how desperate Boston is .

  7. ThinMan - Aug 24, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    Johnny Damon is “leaning toward staying with the Tigers” just like he’d “never sign with the Yankees”. Johnny is, always and consistently, all about Johnny, and returning to Boston ups his chances of landing a good contract in the FA market this offseason. By Wednesday afternoon, he’ll be back in a Boston uniform.

  8. Tramatmad - Aug 24, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    Coudnt agree more! Stay the hell out of Boston Johnny. I understand its a business issue, but there is something called “integrity”. He has NONE!

  9. Pisano - Aug 24, 2010 at 11:11 PM

    I wouldn’t make book on it . Not too many players want to return to Boston once they leave .

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