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Johnny Damon won’t be signing with the Yankees

Feb 18, 2012, 10:22 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

Jon Heyman is still doing his best to find Johnny Damon a job, but it won’t be with the Yankees.

General manager Brian Cashman told George King of the New York Post that Damon contacted the Yankees looking for work and “I told him the truth … he is not the No. 1 option if and when I turn to DH options.”

Or as Damon put it: “We both are looking at other options now.”

Damon is no longer an impact hitter, but neither is the guy the Yankees are said to be pursuing, Raul Ibanez. In fact, last season Ibanez hit .245 with a .707 OPS in 144 games for the Phillies and Damon hit .261 with a .743 OPS in 150 games for the Rays. Damon is also two years younger, so either he’s looking for significantly more money than Ibanez or the Yankees simply don’t want anything to do with a reunion.

  1. uyf1950 - Feb 18, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    Apparently Johnny finally got the not so subtle hint. Time to move on.

    • yankeesfanlen - Feb 19, 2012 at 11:39 AM

      Yeah, Johnny is a great guy, but I guess we wouldn’t want him to grow older by the day as DH. Raul we can at least rag on without disappointment.

  2. djpostl - Feb 19, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    It has everything to do with the fact Damon (and Matsui for that matter) are viewed as players you can’t put in the field defensively, even for just a game or two.

    Ibanez is no Bret Gardner but he is “serviceable” in the field.

    I am quite sure if either one of the two former Yanks fit the bill they’d get more of a look than Raul.

    • paperlions - Feb 19, 2012 at 10:14 AM

      If by “serviceable” you mean, the worst every day OF in the majors, you are correct. Damon can’t be any worse out there than Ibanez, and he was a much better hitter than Ibanez last year. I wouldn’t be excited about either one as a DH (indeed, it is kind of embarrassing that a team with their payroll will get so little production from the “hitter” spot in their lineup)…..not sure why people are fooling themselves into thinking Ibanez is anything other than horrible in the field.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 19, 2012 at 12:10 PM

        Not sure why people are fooling themselves into thinking how either one of them is going to do in the field. Since neither will or would probably get more then 5 games in the outfield anyway.

        Gardner, Granderson and Swisher are the starting outfields with Jones the 4th outfielder. I have no doubt if you blink you will have missed any chance of seeing either Damon or Ibanez playing the outfield for the Yankees in 2012.

        As for their offense as I check their numbers from last year it doesn’t seem to me that Damon’s offensive performance was better at all. They both seemed be be pretty close statically. But when I look back I see that neither the Tigers or Rays we willing to re-sign Damon when his initial 1 year deal with them expired. That tends to make me think. But, that’s just my opinion.

      • paperlions - Feb 19, 2012 at 12:58 PM

        They were not anything like pretty close….Ibanez played in the easier league in a hitters park; Damon played in the toughest division in an extreme pitchers park. Plus, 37 pts of OBP is a huge difference.

      • paperlions - Feb 19, 2012 at 1:03 PM

        I agree that Ibanez or Damon have no business playing the field…but fans/media keep saying that it is a reason to prefer Ibanez, which is simply incorrect.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 19, 2012 at 3:22 PM

        paperlions – and when they each only get 30 to 35% of the AB’s they got last year as full time players for their respective teams the overall difference will be insignificant. Because their playing time is much reduced.

        Besides you bring up Damon playing in a tougher park. But you neglect to mention Ibanez faced 6 of the 8 top team pitching staffs in the ML’s, while Damon only faced 2 of the top 8 (based on ERA). And Ibanez faced 6 of the top 9 ML teams based on strike outs, while Damon faced 3 of the top 9 teams. So things have way of evening out.

        There is more then one factor that can effect a players OBP #(s) that you quote I believe.

    • baseballisboring - Feb 19, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      I think it’s more about Scott Boras than Ibanez being servicable in the field, because he’s really not at all. He’s even worse than Damon is. His UZR/150’s for the last 4 years: -7.4 in ’08, +4.9 in ’09, -7.2 in ’10 and -21.8 last year.

      • djpostl - Feb 22, 2012 at 7:55 PM

        I like to use all stats available but even so I know that UZR isn’t the end all of things. Damon has limited range (even if it’s better than Ibanez) but Raul has ten times the arm Johny does (even as mediocre as his is). I think there was a reason why the Tigers and Rays had no desire to have Damon play more than a dozen games or so with a glove yet the Phillies had no worries about putting Ibanez in for hundreds of them.

        In the end it seems like money was the driving factor, as Damon is still asking for 5 million or so. The Yanks were able to bring Ibanez, Chavez and hand out a few minor league deals to the likes of Bill Hall for what it would have cost merely for Damon.

      • baseballisboring - Feb 23, 2012 at 12:41 AM

        No, I’d never say UZR is the be-all end-all. But keep in mind…the Tigers and Rays have a DH. The Phillies don’t.

  3. randygnyc - Feb 19, 2012 at 3:39 AM

    Disappointing. Perhaps the Yankees should trade for kemp, and keep swisher as the left handed DH. I’m sure kemp would be happy in right in the Bronx.

    • jwbiii - Feb 19, 2012 at 3:56 AM

      What do you suggest would be a reasonable price to pay?

      • cogitobaseballergosum - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:16 AM

        I think he means Steve Kemp. Or Jack Kemp?

    • Jason @ IIATMS - Feb 19, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      better chance of getting Shawn Kemp

  4. rob0527 - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:20 AM

    Go Johnny go. Does it count if u get 3000 hits and none sees it?

  5. whatthehellisansky - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:31 AM

    Still think Johnny > Ibanez….

  6. buffalomafia - Feb 19, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    I heard there will be lots of trades during spring training!

  7. Craptastics9 - Feb 19, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    The High Deck (Hideki Matsui) is a better situational hitter than both of these Gilligans. Yeah, he’ll hit .250, but he’ll be more productive with the other 75% than the other two. Anyone who has actually watched a game that Matsui has played in understands this. He’s an expert at hitting right to move a guy from 2nd to 3rd.
    But I have to go back to the fact that the Yankees should have signed Cuddyer, who is semi-versatile (an almost acceptable player at many positions) and a better hitter than the three mentioned.
    At the end of the day, they have offense galore…screw Ibanez, sign a young and versatile player…no more 33+ yr olds! Who is still out there that has actual potential?

    • Kevin S. - Feb 19, 2012 at 10:48 AM

      Cuddyer also signed a $30 million contract, taking him past the Yankees’ zero barrier for getting under the tax line. Was. Not. Happening.

  8. chaseutley - Feb 19, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Say what you will about Ibanez’ age and quality of play, but the guy’s a gamer. He’s been one (if not the most) durable of the Phillies’ position players over the last 3 years.

    Argue that the grind of a 162-game season affects the quality of his play. Argue that, at his age, he’s bound to hit a tipping point physically sooner or later. Argue that he was never that good to begin with.

    The fact remains that the guy knows how to keep his body ready to take the field.

    While getting older is bound to make that harder and harder, DHing a couple of times a week should do the guy a world of good.

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