Ridiculous Demands Have Free Agent Outfielder Johnny Damon Striking Out This Offseason


February 2, 2010

Ridiculous Demands Have Free Agent Outfielder Johnny Damon Striking Out This Offseason Johnny Damon is once again on the open market looking for employment.

The outfielder spent four years with a highly competitive, historically revered franchise. He won over a fan base of millions. He helped them win a long-awaited championship. Then, in the end, he found those same fans turning against him.

Stop me if you've heard this story before.

Damon's four years in the Bronx, in which he piled up 77 home runs, 93 steals and the second World Series ring of his career, look a lot like his four in Boston. After an All-Star season with the Red Sox in 2005, Damon hit the free-agent market and had his agent, Scott Boras, get to work shilling baseball's GMs for a deal of too much money and too many years. His expectations weren't realistic and he ended up burning bridges with Boston, a team and city that he built a strong bond with over four years.

Now, with the 36-year-old Damon in the waning years of his career, Yankees' GM Brian Cashman seems intent on moving on with their lives sans-Damon. The team pulled off a three-way trade in early December to nab Curtis Granderson, giving them a perfect long-term solution to their center field problem. They continue to nurture Brett Gardner, who looks like the team's left fielder of the future. They signed Nick Johnson to be the team's DH, making Damon obsolete. And to top it all off, they worked out a short-term deal with Randy Winn, meaning that even their fourth outfielder role is all spoken for.

Despite these acquisitions, Damon's not ruling out a possibility of returning to the Yankees.

"I never say never anymore," Damon told the New York-based radio station WFAN on Friday. "Whenever it is, whether I start the season with them, or whether they trade for me at the deadline, or if they sign me next year, or whatnot — I love New York."

The outfielder recently turned down a one-year, $6 million deal from the Bronx Bombers, proving that he and Boras are standing firm on their earlier request of something in the range of two years, $26 million.

Such a deal just doesn't seem to be in the cards and the sooner Damon realizes this, the easier time he'll have moving on and finding a productive career with a team that wants him.

The Tigers are the strongest candidate, which is a natural choice since there's an opening in Detroit left by Granderson. The Mets seem to be always another possibility.

One of these scenarios will have to happen. It's February. Spring training is just around the corner, and Damon is running out of employment options. And when it does happen, Damon will eventually be just another former Yankee, coming back to the city that shunned him.

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