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Indians part ways with .222-hitting Johnny Damon

Aug 3, 2012, 3:40 PM EDT

Johnny Damon AP

Cleveland gave Johnny Damon three months to show he still had some gas left in the tank, but the 38-year-old hit just .222 with four homers and a .610 OPS in 64 games and today the Indians designated him for assignment.

Damon has actually been fairly decent since a brutal start, hitting .280 with a .711 OPS in 29 games since mid-June, but even during that stretch his .302 on-base percentage and .409 slugging percentage are hardly solid production for a poor defensive left fielder.

This may be the end of the line for Damon, who hasn’t cracked an .800 OPS since 2009 and no longer has the on-base skills or top-notch speed to really be an asset atop the lineup even when he’s hitting for a decent batting average.

Damon, who has 2,769 hits, 408 steals, and 235 homers during his 18-season career, earned $1.25 million in guaranteed money as a part of a contract signed in mid-April. Cleveland recalled Ezequiel Carrera from Triple-A to replace him.

  1. bigharold - Aug 3, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    If he had a hard time getting a spot this year then this might be it for Damon.

    He was a great personality for MLB. He played hard, was clutch in big moments and seemed to be liked by his teammates and opponents. Of course he threw like a girk but hey, .. he always gave it his best shot.

    If this is it, .. From a Yankee fan that hated you when you you played with the RS but loved you as a Yankee, … Hail and Fare Well!!

    • butchhuskey - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:15 PM

      When asked what A-Rod could have done that would have been worse than using steroids, Damon responded with,

      “Um… Murder someone.”

      And after injuring his hand as a Yankee, he said, “You don’t realize how much you use your hand”

      Johnny Damon, you had a very good playing career, but I will always remember you for those brilliant quotes

  2. henryd3rd - Aug 3, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    Looks like the end of great career. Father Time is still undefeated

  3. blantoncollier - Aug 3, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Johnny Damon, Derrek Lowe, Grady Sizemore,Travis Haffner, Aaron Cunningham, Shelley Duncan, Jack Hannahan—thank you Larry Dolan for providing Tribe fans with a quality team made up of injured players, those past their prime and AAAA quality. I cant wait to see the investment you make next year to stay within your budget.

    Larry–please find Randy Lerner’s phone number. Maybe he some of the guys that lost out on the Browns would be interested in buying the Tribe. Tribe fans deserve better.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 3, 2012 at 4:47 PM

      Have you watched the Browns in the last 10 years that Randy Lerner has owned them? Not exactly a model owner! Then he chooses Aston Villa in the Premier League over Arsenal, or even Fulham? Again, well done….

      • takemytalentstosoutheuclid - Aug 4, 2012 at 8:31 AM

        Ummm. Yes, we have. blantoncollier’s point is that Lerner sold the team and perhaps there were bidders for the Browns that might want a baseball team.

  4. Glenn - Aug 3, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Thanks for 2004, Johnny.

    • daisycutter1 - Aug 4, 2012 at 9:55 AM

      And 2009.

  5. willclarkgameface - Aug 3, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Ben Cherrington says, “Time to get the band back together. We’re bringing in Damon, Lowe, Varitek and Pedro out of retirement, and telling Millar to get that glove out of the closet.”

    Jesus, that would be a better team than what the Red Sox currently have.

    • bigharold - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      Yeah but is there that much Bengay in New England?

    • dan1111 - Aug 4, 2012 at 4:04 AM

      That would be far more entertaining than the current incarnation. Don’t forget Wakefield and–yes, that’s right–Mark Bellhorn. Mirabelli? Not at first, save him for another heroic, police-escorted return.

  6. sdelmonte - Aug 3, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Next stop, Hall of Very Good!

    • turdfurgerson68 - Aug 3, 2012 at 4:29 PM

      I agree, but for Damon its a short walk (231 hits) away from Cooperstown.

      Its like running a marathon and cramping up at mile 24…

      • willclarkgameface - Aug 3, 2012 at 4:32 PM

        not his fault if he can’t latch on with a team. besides, if he does get there, people will talk about him like Blyleven and Rice, saying they just amassed their numbers only because they were able to stick around.

        Damon isn’t a HoFer. He’s really good, but NOT WORTHY.

      • dan1111 - Aug 4, 2012 at 4:25 AM

        I like Damon, and he’s had a really good career. I don’t think he is hall-worthy, but it’s worth noting how great of an accomplishment his 2769 hits are. Here are all the people ahead of him in the hits list who are not already in the Hall of Fame:

        Locks for the Hall: Derek Jeter, Ken Griffey Jr.

        Excluded due to gambling: Pete Rose

        Hall-worthy stats, steroids questions: Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez

        Probable HOFers: Craig Biggio, Ivan Rodriguez

        Hall of Very Good: Harold Baines, Omar Vizquel

        So, only two men who got more hits than Damon did not have Hall of Fame quality careers, and even they have their supporters.

      • turdfurgerson68 - Aug 4, 2012 at 8:27 AM

        Sure, but your entire argument is moot if he reaches 3,000 hits; doesn’t matter if he was just ‘very good’.

        3000 hits or more for Damon = HOF

        2999 hits or less for Damon = No HOF

        Its as simple as that

  7. turdfurgerson68 - Aug 3, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    I agree, Damon probably isn’t a HOF player.

    But if he had made it to 3,000 he’s in 100%…as is every other player who has 3,000 hits not named Pete Rose.

    300 wins…3,000 hits…500 (non steroid) Home Runs = Welcome to Cooperstown!

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 3, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      He shouldn’t even sniff the HoF. The best attribute of Damon’s was his longevity, as he played in 140+ games every year after his rookie year. He was never the best player on his team, never had a peak, let alone a great peak that HoFers should have. He’s the epitome of a compiler.

      • turdfurgerson68 - Aug 3, 2012 at 8:08 PM

        Lotta guys fit the description you mention..Rizzuto, Murray, etc.

        Bottom line is that Damon is very close to 3,000 hits

        3,000 hits = HOF

        If he can somehow get 231 more hits he’s a HOF…end of story.

      • dan1111 - Aug 4, 2012 at 4:47 AM

        Rizzuto is a classic example of an undeserving Hall selection. He mainly got in because he played on great Yankees teams.

        Murray, on the other hand, was so much better than Damon that there is no comparison. Not only did he amass 3255 hits, he also broke the 500 home run barrier. And he was not just a player who stuck around; he had a dominant peak as well. Damon’s best OPS+ ever was 118 (in a few different seasons). Murray averaged a 140 OPS+ over the first 14 seasons of his career.

        It’s true that every player so far with 3000 hits has been elected. But that’s because everyone who has been able to get that many hits has been a truly outstanding player. If Damon reach that milestone, he would be the first good-but-not-great player to do so. It’s not clear how the voters would treat that situation.

  8. mybrunoblog - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Some give Damon the phone number of the Sugarland Skeeters.
    All good things Johnny…..

  9. brewcrewfan54 - Aug 3, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Great career, not a Hall of Fame career.

    • turdfurgerson68 - Aug 3, 2012 at 8:04 PM

      its a fine line between a great career vs a HOF career…

      In Damon’s case that fine line is 231 hits.

  10. eldannyboy1 - Aug 3, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Can u say dodgers

  11. nomoreseasontix - Aug 3, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    The guy throws like a girl, for Gods sake.
    How’d he get in the show in the first place?

  12. fuddpucker - Aug 4, 2012 at 6:57 AM

    If I was Damon I’d get the best fitness coach around and start working out TOMORROW. I’d work my butt off for the next 5-6 months in an effort to get on another MLB team for 2013 and 2014.

    If he can somehow manage to get those 231 hits he can get in that very, very exclusive club. He’s “only” 38 and has nothing to lose.

    After all is said and done he can say he gave it his mean, all.

  13. latchbeam - Aug 4, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    They should have signed him before spring training… he would have been fine. He started playing a lot better after 30 days. Took him too long to shake the rust off. I hope he catches on somewhere else soon. He is a class act!

  14. bravo116 - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Goodbye Johnny. I’ll never forget the Grand Slam in game 7 of 2004 and the awesome at bat against Lidge in 2009 right before the 2 base steal.

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