Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Damon is Gone...Get Over It

I, for one, will not look sadly on the departure of Johnny Damon. The guy was great for the Sox, but he took the money and ran. Not only that, he went to the Yankees...If that doesn't show everyone in Red Sox Nation that baseball is purely a business I don't know what will...

With that said here are my guesses as to what we'll see in the next week or two (and I really do believe that there will be a quick move to fill this void...mostly because of PR.

So the possibilities?
Wells to San Diego for Roberts and prospects...
Arroyo and Youk to Minnesota for Torii Hunter...
Marte and Clement to Cleveland for Crisp...

I don't believe that the Sox will run at Preston Wilson or Juan Encarnacion...At least I hope not. And Terence Long is not the answer, either.

I also believe the Sox will take some of this money and sign Millwood, especially if they trade Clement or Arroyo AND Wells.

I look at that Yankees lineup and it is scary, but hasn't it been scary for a few years now? Adding Damon gives them a legit leadoff guy, but Jeter was pretty good there, too.

The Yankees still have not addressed their pitching. The Yankees and Sox scored a billion runs each last year...It didn't do either of them any good.


  1. Great gem from the NYT:

    "The Yankees, meanwhile, have no major holes. Their off-season work is all but complete, and they have done it at the expense of their rivals."

    Are you friggin' kidding me? And this is by Tyler Kepner, their (one) good writer. Man, something about working at that newspaper that just transforms people into hacks...

  2. ...the other option at CF of course is Reed. I say we go for it; he could be a stud in a couple years.

  3. I couldn't have said this any better myself.

    This is how I felt about the Tek signing last year (money-wise) and Damon this year...

    Damon is Williams but faster...Both good hitters with bad arms, but Williams didn't have the speed anymore.

  4. Yeah, I liked that article too. Best quote: "The idea that this is some part of prudent financial plan because they wouldn't go to seven years for Damon is pretty funny."

  5. Two more things:

    1) Sox get a 1st round draft pick (#28) from the Yanks as a result.
    2) Andruw Jones and Vernon Wells are free agents after the 2006 season...

  6. If the Yankees have no major holes, they will develop them starting in spring training. But their line up, top to bottom, with Damon leading off and Jeter in his more natural number 2 slot, is scary. It was last year. Don't crucify Damon. Our upper management forced this move, just as it did with Theo. And Manny isn't going anywhere. I heard this from a source inside the Red Sox organization, and wrote about it before the sun rose. But that all might change with the holes the Sox have in the field. Time will tell, but BOY, there's going to be a HELL of a trade sometime before february.-

  7. Right, but that doesn't help much this season...

    We have some pitching to trade (granted not CY Young winners, but not bad, either)...

    I wouldn't mind Roberts returning as the full time CF for a year and then moving him to the 4th outfielder following an acquisition...Wells wants to go, anyway.

    I would love Torii Hunter for his defense and occasional pop in the bat...

    As X said, Crisp looks good, too. Although Marte is probably our future 3b...

  8. Don't crucify Damon?

    No one has done that. I just don't think he's worth all that money...And I definitely think he won't be worth that money in 3-4 years...

    By the way, anyone see the Pedro toe thing?

  9. Peter -- how exactly did upper management "force this move"? By refusing to pay the guy far more than he's worth? He will be a mediocre player (at best) by the 2008 season, only halfway through his contract. There is only one rule with Boras clients: highest offer wins.

    Sorry, but it's not "crucifying" someone to mention that he took the highest contract offer. I'm really sick of that word being used to mean "grumbling about". And I'm not even religious.

    (Also, I was mistaken in my previous post -- Wells and Jones are FA's after 2007.)

  10. I agree about Torii. He'll be traded sometime this season, if not before.

  11. Two quick thoughts with more to follow up later:

    GR - where did you hear that Marte was part of any Crisp deal? I have not seen that anywhere?

    Upon hearing of the Damon signing (my wife waking me up at 2:30 AM), my first thought with it being "only" 4 years and $52MM was that Boras blinked. For all his reputation as the heavy hitter, he didn't get 7 years, he didn't get a lot of competition, and after the Furcal deal, Damon got his market value. Period. No more. No less.

    Boras must have been nervous that one (or both) of these teams were prepared to go in another direction. And soon. OR the Sox were serious that they did not want to move off their $40/4 offer. In which case the Yanks overpaid by 30%.

    Okay, I lied one more third thought. All I've been hearing now is that Jeter moves to his more natural number two spot - well Jeter had a higher OBP than Damon last year. I agree that Damon sees more pitches, etc but its not such a slam dunk.

    And PS - I'm glad the Cubs paid for Jacque Jones....

  12. Upper management blew this with a lack of communication at critical times. It's happened before, and until they get their shit together, it'll happen again. I'm Damoned out, but you can't let a player not know where the club stands on his return. I'm sure they'll try to fix it, just as sure that Damon 3 years from now will be3 years older. 3rd grade math.

  13. I'm not so sure we can say upper management blew this one. I was listening to XM this morning and there were a few callers that wanted to blame Lucchino - for this and Theo, but I think that is really unfair.

    The team - from Henry down through the gang of four, determined that they wanted to offer Damon $10MM (below market). They stuck to their guns and maybe they were fooled when Damon and Boras called their bluff. Or maybe they really did not want to pay that kind of money.

    And if you blame Lucchino for this and Theo, then you have to assume he gets ALL the credit and ALL the blame. You can't cherry pick the blame and give no credit. Which in my ledger would be:

    Nomar deal
    2004 WS
    Holding line on Pedro/Nomar contracts
    Resignin Varitek
    Not signing Derek Lowe
    Getting Mota with Beckett
    Oh and did I mention that this was the first WS win in 86 years!!!

    Renteria signing
    Holding line on Pedro/Nomar contracts
    Making an ass of himself and coming off as a blohard

    All things considered, not a bad body of work.

    Lets all hope Andrew is right and that this contract reaks in a year or two. Remember a lot of people were screaming about not resigning Pedro and it looked ever worse with him putting up a solid year last year, but what if his toe (and other injuries) limits him to 18 startst this year.

  14. Plus, from the news reports it's looking likely that Theo is still involved in the organization. My guess, given his emphasis on developing young talent and signing them early, is he was on the same page regarding Damon.

    And where does the "lack of communication" charge come from? I wasn't at the bargaining table; my guess is you weren't either. Damon and Boras have said nothing about a lack of communication; just that the Sox didn't give them the offer they thought they deserved. Just because they didn't communicate with us, the fans, doesn't mean they did something wrong.

  15. I agree...

    Frankly, if we'd matched that offer of $52MM then we'd be spending a boat load on Manny, Damon, and Varitek alone...not to mention the money we have to pay Lowell...

    I'd rather get a cheaper alternative and focus in on pitching. Suppose this freed up money allows us to go get a Millwood, or make a trade with cash considerations AND allows us a lot of payroll at the trading deadline to get a key piece or two...

    I really, really doubt that people would be this upset about Damon leaving if he went to the Padres or Dodgers or Cubs or whatever...Every year there is a "Oh My God! Look at what the Yankees did! We're dead..." Last year it was Pavano and Johnson...They had it with the A-Rod deal...With Kevin Brown...How has all of that worked out...So that have a great offense...Big deal...They always have a great offense...How's their pitching? You think Mussina is going to be any good this year? How about Pavano? Chacon? Small?

    They constantly talk about Marte in that deal for Crisp on the radio and sports shows here. I was sure I also read it in "The Buzz" on, but I can't find it now...

    What about taking some of that Damon money and getting Clemens???

    More possibilities now...Would Clemens on the mound with Dave Roberts or Hunter in CF be better than Clement or Arroyo and Damon?

  16. I'm glad that the Marte talk was from talk radio. I won't consider that as reliable as the print media. Of course, who knows, but I just don't trust the crap that comes out of EEI.

    One thing for certain is that they are not done dealing, so we will have more cannon fodder.

    It definitely is more of a shock to have him go to NY, but frankly it also is more of a blow. Both teams were dead even last year, but if you take Damon's WORP3, which is wins over replacement player, of 3.1 and add that to NY (replacing Bernie who was 0.8) and then subtract from Boston - even if the Sox get Hunter (2.2, I think), then the Sox are down about 5 wins. Of course there are other pieces - hopefully Youk/Lowell/Loretta are upgrades over Millar/Bellhorn/Meuller and more importantly Foulk, Schilling, Nixon are healthy.

  17. I can't imagine Youk will have a worse offensive year than Millar the worst that is a wash...I read also that the Sox are pursuing Travis Lee for platooning...That's nice...

    Lowell and Mueller...A tiny upgrade in the field (maybe)...Mueller was very good. Hopefully, Lowell can hit...otherwise this is a drop off...

    Loretta over Bellhorn by a lot...

    Also, I was taking a look...Loretta has played quite a bit at short in his career. His range factor is just as good as Gonzalez...His fielding percentage is also very good. It may be that our infield looks like this...

    Youk at first
    Graf at second
    Loretta at short
    Lowell at third
    Cora as utility

    That's not bad...And Loretta over Edgar in hitting and last year's fielding...Graf over Bellhorn...

    Again, we could score 100 less runs and still have a top 5 or so offense...Another starter, a serviceable CF and the Sox aren't looking too bad...

    Yes, Manny is big now...A trade would have to be monumental for him to go...Jhonny Peralta at SS would be nice with Crisp in CF...But I don't see the Indians doing that (except that they don't have that marquis guy right now)...

  18. no a big name (country-wide fame)...

  19. Lee would be nice, but I don't see it happening. Now that Lee accepted arbitration we would have to trade with TB. From everything I have been reading the D-Rays (even with a new administration) are virtually impossible to deal with.

    I guess Lee did not get any offers he thought were acceptable.

    I think it all started with them getting Kazmir for Zambrano 1-1/2 years ago. Now they want every team's top prospect. Rumor had it that we didn't get Lugo because in the original 3 way, they wanted Marte from ATL and a top prospect from us. And last year, it was laughable that they had some great chips (Lee, Hall, Baez) and moved none of them at the deadline.

    I wouldn't count on Loretta playing short. Its been a long time since he played there.

  20. One other note - Lowell is a +++ defender - those gold gloves he has are no fluke. He is far superior to Mueller. I love Bill Mueller, but his defense has been slightly better than league average the last two year, while Lowell has been the best in baseball.

  21. Either Wells or Jones would look great in Boston red and white. Both are exceptionally good defenisve players with above average offense for the position; Wells is a bit younger, but also a bit worse. But I'd have exactly zero problem locking either up with 4 years, 40 mil - maybe 44 or 48 for Jones.

  22. Peter,

    Help me understand how on Tuesday AM you write on Andrew's blog:

    " In some ways I want Johnny back for 4 years, but not a second more is needed in the terms of the contract. You have to admit, the way he careens into one wall or another, he will end up sore at times. But I think the next 2 years, with good health, will be great for him, and the dropoff without serious injury will be a slow and smooth one. Or not. Such is life- you never know. But barring a catastrophic injury you have a great (not excellent) centerfielder with a lousy arm who will catch MOST catchable balls and be a more than capable lead off hitter."

    Which sounds like (at best) a non commital stance on the merits of the Sox retaining the services one Johnny Damon.

    However, less than 24 hours later, not signing Damon is an idictment of Sox management and all things they have doen wrong - to the point of "leaving people they are dealing with twisting and turning like a spare rib on a spit while trying to figure out what their next move, if any, will be. Finally, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and Eff the Red Sox" on Jere's blog?

    And I'm not even sure I agree they left him hangin. They made an offer. They apparently did not want to go higher. So they should not be pummeled any more than Damon should be for saying in May that he could never play for the MFY.

  23. I'd have no problem locking either up at 4 years and $52 million. It would be nice to see the Sox pay the Pedro/Johnny money to players that might actual be healthy and prodcutive for that time instead of appeasing the fans that they can not win with - had they signed either of those guys CHB would have gone bannanas about how they overpaid, are turning into the Yankees, etc.

  24. And I assume you we are talking about :

    Wells - Vernon, not David and
    Jones - Andruw, not Jacque

  25. Kip and Todd, actually.

  26. The other thing about which many people are forgetting is that only a few weeks ago Johnny Damon was practically begging the Yankees to come calling.

    Paraphrasing: "I'd cut my hair in a second. Mr. Steinbrenner has that rule and I respect him."

    "Us being angry about A-Rod, that was just jealousy at him going somewhere else." Really? Varitek seemed pretty angry when he punched him in the face.

    "It'd be an honor to play for such a great franchise."

    But, was management's fault. You really want to pay a leadoff with little power and a bad arm $ my guest. We can go out and get a top tier player at $13MM...That's as much or more than Schilling...

    Plus, Damon allegedly turned down a 5 year $65MM offer to play elsewhere, and chose to play for the Yankees. He wanted to go there. The writing is on the wall. He wants to be an A-Rod marketing type...Hmmmmm, where would he get that idea? Boras maybe?

    I don't hate Damon. I liked him when he was here. But you can't be blinded by that stuff. The guy wanted to go to NY despite all that he was saying...

  27. Well, I'm not so sure he wanted to go to NY. I think he wanted the most money. Period. And I think if the Sox had been close, he may have chosen the Sox. But the offers weren't even close. As for marketing, he likely had more value staying in Boston. In Boston, he was the alpha dog or damn close to it. In NY, he will have to prove himself. And even then it will be hard for him to pass Jeter.

    I think management just decided that they did not want to offer market value for a player who is likely to decline. And they got fooled by the Yanks. And that was the market value.

    Frankly, I don't care who they pay what money to. As long as the totality of the team comes together.

    I heard an interview with Torii Hunter this AM on XM. He talked about winning and was pretty voacl about MN getting rid of players. Said he wanted to go out ave a monster season and then go play for a winner. He was saying how he'd be bummed to play in Boston because they don't have a traditional fence for him to take away HRs. Of course players always say one thing and then when the $$$ talks they do something else. Take for example, Johnny Damon.

  28. thanks for visiting my new blog. "farting" as a personal interest? farting is necessary, but i do find it somewhat less than interesting. i'm a direct tv, mlb package geek who watches about 130 games a year. damon was a great hitter who wore pitchers out; however, his arm was pathetic, one of your beloved farts has more strength than damon's arm. i'd like to see the beltran for manny stright up deal resurrected

  29. But Damon turned down a longer, more money offer...didn't go to highest bidder...went to A higher bidder...

    I was in Harvard Square today and saw Robert Parrish...Nothing to do with this, but I thought that was cool....

    Back to Damon...
    The Sox probably would have been forced in to 4 at 48-50MM...No way...Don't overpay...I am ok with that...

    Apparently the heir apparent to CF is in the Sox organization, but won't be ready until 2007...As this isn't too far away, I'd expect them to not make CF a huge priority and just get someone who can play center and not hurt the Sox. Heck the Sox went to the playoffs with a Lewis/Buford CF platoon...Then they'll probably go for someone bigger at short and/or first...

    I still say that Damon was very interested in NY immediately...He made all those references weeks ago (and yet they aren't being mentioned anymore)...Why? Because it is more of a story to wonder about the negotiations (and to play the blame game)...Yet, Boras's story of the negotiation process doesn't match the Sox OR the Yankees side...It's all spin...

  30. No one has confirmed the "other higher bidder." Both the Boston and NY papers today have denials from the Orioles that they were in for 5 years $65. And Damon and Boras was quoted as saying the Yanks made a 5 year offer but that they picked the 4 years one because it had a higher AAV - and this was refuted in two NY papers.

    Which leads me to conclude that Damon and Boras' asserstions that Damon did not take the highest bid are fiction. exactly as you had pointed out they are spinnig. Until someone comes out and says - yeah we offered him 5 yeaes, I won't believe Damon did NOT go to the highest bidder (not that I blame him).

    Jacob Ellsbury is the guy you are talking about - they actually say he projects to a Damon-like player. He was their first round pick this year (actually the pick we got from ANA for them signing O-cab). He was in Lowell this year and hit over 300, walked a bit and has some power (plus stole 23 bases).

    The chief is a giant. I imagine he sticks out in a crwod....