When news broke that Damon was placed on waivers by the Detroit Tigers, he was scooped up pretty quickly by the Boston Red Sox, in an attempt to claim rights over him before a rivals got the chance. When that news hit the media, Boston began buzzing. One of the beloved Idiots could be coming back. Everyone was eager to cowboy up and grow out the caveman beard, as it appeared to be time to hop on the Damon train.
Damon's old Red Sox teammates hopped on for a spin as well. Jason Varitek and Jonathan Papelbon were two of the many players who outwardly expressed how much they would love to have Damon back in the lineup. Both played with Damon during championship seasons, and respect the positive contributions Damon brings on and off the field.
The speedy veteran would have brought much-needed experience back to the Sox outfield. The 36-year-old has spent 16 years in the league and posts a career batting average of .288. This season, in 112 games played, Damon holds a .272 average to go with 41 RBIs and seven homers.
Coupled with his talents on the field, Damon also brings a bevy of knowledge to the clubhouse, and is a proven leader. The younger set of Sox outfielders (Daniel Nava, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Kalish) could have definitely benefited from having a veteran outfielder in the locker room. This has been one of the main reasons Damon has opted to stay in Detroit, however, to continue the leadership of their younger squad.
While some were excited about the possibility of return, there were others who thought the Red Sox didn't need to go down that road again in order to find success down the stretch. It's been proven throughout the year that the team has other sources of strength, and that they don’t necessarily need Damon to get back into the playoff race.
It's amazing how quickly the Damon spark ignited considering there was an approximate 12-hour span where his decision was up in the air. Think about it: the guy left the Red Sox to don the pinstripes — did we really expect him to come back?
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Tuesday, August 24: Can the Red Sox make a playoff push without Dustin Pedroia?