Free Agent Stock Watch: Johnny Damon

It seems like just a few weeks ago that Johnny Damon was still a free agent, mulling offers from the Tigers, White Sox and others. He is already halfway through the one-year $8MM deal he signed as Spring Training began, so let's take stock of Damon's value.

He's still getting on base (.362 OBP, 40 walks) and stealing occasionally (seven steals in eight attempts), but his power has dropped off noticeably. Damon cranked 24 homers last year, including 17 at Yankee Stadium, a park that seems perfect for his swing and appears to have boosted his homer total. Five of Damon's 17 Yankee Stadium round-trippers were classified as 'just enough' home runs by HitTrackerOnline (that means they didn't clear the wall by much). Comerica Park is considered a pitchers' park, though all six of Damon's 2010 home runs have come at home.

Damon has played in left and center field this year, but has spent most of his time DHing. He turns 37 this winter, so teams are probably wary of relying on him for too much defense at this point. The market for DHs has not been good in recent years, but Damon remains an above-average hitter. 

The Elias rankings currently place Damon in Type A territory, but just barely. The Tigers will probably not offer arbitration after the season, since $8-9MM would be a lot to pay Damon next year. 

That said, teams other than the Indians and Blue Jays don't have DHs locked up long-term and could look to Damon as a way of getting production on a one-year deal. His former teammates, Manny RamirezDavid Ortiz and Hideki Matsui could be among the players competing for DH jobs after the season, but Damon should still draw one-year offers.

Let's not forget that Damon will likely be about three seasons away from the 3,000 hit plateau after this year. That milestone could make it harder for Damon to pass up multi-million dollar offers to play in 2011, even if it means taking a paycut.


Full Story | 8 Comments | Categories: Johnny Damon

8 Responses to Free Agent Stock Watch: Johnny Damon Leave a Reply

  1. Rich_in_NJ 5 years ago

    I think Damon made a mistake by not taking a little less to play for the Yankees this season because the increased production that would have likely resulted from his ability to adapt his swing to NYS would have probably resulted in him getting a larger contract for 2011, which would have offset any reduction in his 2010 salary.

  2. j6takish 5 years ago

    I understand the dilemma in offering arbitration, but would a Boras client go to arbitration?

  3. Israel Piedra 5 years ago

    Damon doesn’t deserve 3000 hits

    • Raylan Givens' Stetson 5 years ago

      I’d love to hear the logic in your thinking.

  4. Damon was signed by the Tigers because, after not offering arbitration to Polanco and trading Granderson, there were huuuuge questions at the top of their lineup. He wasn’t signed because they needed an outfielder, or a DH. It doesn’t matter where he plays in the field, but there is nobody else in the organization that is remotely qualified to bat second in the order ahead of Ordonez and Cabrera. If Damon leaves, they’ll have the same problem.

    If DD does this right, he’ll fill that 2 slot in the order with a 3B or a SS, if he gets a bona fide two way player for one of those positions, for a change.

    Dombrowski is not one to offer arbitration to a player unless he’d be happy to have him accept. Damon probably gets a bit more by accepting arby than he would on a one year deal on the open market, but at least they’d keep it to one year. More likely, DD will leave two top draft picks on the table- again.

  5. 0bsessions 5 years ago

    So, you’re saying that hitting outside of NYS adversely affected his slugging?

    Who could have possibly seen that coming?!

    • LordD99 5 years ago

      Yankee Stadium helped Damon, but not to the degree that people think. Randomness and timing of hot streaks plays into home/road splits.

      With Damon, we have a 15-year career to rate his hitting, so we don’t have to look at one single season to make a determination. A couple years back he hit 17 HRs. 10 on the road and 7 at the Stadium. Last year was the third time he hit 20 or more HRs, and the last time he did it was 2006. He hit 13 at home and 11 on the road. Statistically meaningless. He was going to hit 20+ HRs that year.

      It’s not uncommon for a player to have a drastic a home-road split from one season to the next. Damon hits HR’s in streaks, and two of his hot streaks started right before he returned home. Out of the 17 HRs he hit at the Stadium, five were categorized as “just enough,” which means the other 12 had plenty of distance. It other words, Damon was going to hit 20 HRs last year no matter what.

      This year he has six HRs, all in Detroit, which was supposed to crush his power. Problem is he hasn’t hit a single HR on the road. Normal production means he’d be in double digits in HRs. At this point in his career he’s basically a guy who is going to hit 15-20 HRs in a season, depending on a number of factors. Yes, he’s a lefty hitter was can take advantage of the short porch at Yankee Stadium , but not as much as people believe.

    • LordD99 5 years ago

      Yankee Stadium helped Damon, but not to the degree that people think. Randomness and timing of hot streaks plays into home/road splits.

      With Damon, we have a 15-year career to rate his hitting, so we don’t have to look at one single season to make a determination. A couple years back he hit 17 HRs. 10 on the road and 7 at the Stadium. Last year was the third time he hit 20 or more HRs, and the last time he did it was 2006. He hit 13 at home and 11 on the road. Statistically meaningless. He was going to hit 20+ HRs that year.

      It’s not uncommon for a player to have a drastic a home-road split from one season to the next. Damon hits HR’s in streaks, and two of his hot streaks started right before he returned home. Out of the 17 HRs he hit at the Stadium, five were categorized as “just enough,” which means the other 12 had plenty of distance. It other words, Damon was going to hit 20 HRs last year no matter what.

      This year he has six HRs, all in Detroit, which was supposed to crush his power. Problem is he hasn’t hit a single HR on the road. Normal production means he’d be in double digits in HRs. At this point in his career he’s basically a guy who is going to hit 15-20 HRs in a season, depending on a number of factors. Yes, he’s a lefty hitter was can take advantage of the short porch at Yankee Stadium , but not as much as people believe.

Leave a Reply