Will Johnny Damon Be Claimed?

Tigers left fielder and designated hitter Johnny Damon was placed on waivers on Thursday, so the window to make a claim closes Monday.  Damon explained the situation to MLB.com's Jason Beck on Friday:

"I know they would probably like to keep me, but if this is a way they can possibly save a little bit of money this year and get a prospect, then that's something they have to do."

Damon's open attitude implies that he might not block a trade, even though he hopes to re-sign with the Tigers.  Of his $8MM salary, about $1.8MM remains.  Damon, 36, predictably saw his power slip with the switch from Yankee Stadium to Comerica Park.  He's hitting .270/.355/.409 on the season and has logged only 268 innings in the outfield.

Damon hasn't been great, but we've seen varying returns in August moves.  Jim Edmonds and Derrek Lee brought useful players back, while Cody Ross and Jose Guillen did not.  Damon profiles as a Type B free agent, but I can't envision the Tigers offering arbitration.  The Tigers could dump Damon's contract on a claiming club, or eat some money and try to get a useful player back.

Six American League contenders remain: the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Twins, White Sox, and Rangers.  Lance Berkman's ankle injury frees up the Yankees' DH spot; would they bring Damon back given the offseason drama?  The Rays and Red Sox could block the Yanks, and both clubs could use him.  Damon back in the AL East would be an intriguing storyline.  The Rangers, with Nelson Cruz out, could consider Damon.  The White Sox might be content to use Mark Kotsay and Mark Teahen at DH, while the Twins don't look like a fit.

In the National League I think we can safely cross off the Giants as a Damon possibility, leaving the Braves, Phillies, Reds, Cardinals, and Padres as remaining contenders.  Would the Braves want Damon in the left field picture?  The Reds probably wouldn't add Damon after getting Edmonds.  The Cardinals sent Ryan Ludwick to the Padres, though the Friars could still find room after losing Tony Gwynn.  The Phillies don't seem to have a need for Damon.

The American League certainly seems a better fit for Damon.  Hopefully we'll find out today whether any teams risked claims.

47 Responses to Will Johnny Damon Be Claimed? Leave a Reply

  1. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    If I were Kenny Williams, I’d claim him. I think the Sox are certainly not out of it, but you have to think that even if the White Sox were the only team to place a claim, or the team in first with the claim, I’m not sure Dave Dombrowski (spelled that right) wants to trade Johnny Damon to a division rival. I think it might be nice to see a team like the A’s claim Damon…Not they are about to win the division or anything, but it would bring more fans to the ballpark, AND block Texas, a team who should definetly put a claim in on Damon.

    • I agree with most of what you said, but you think Johnny Damon brings people to the ballpark? I don’t think so.

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        The Colliseum is almost less than half full all of the time. Someone like Johnny Damon, a former A and one of the gentlemen of the game might be an attraction.

    • moonraker45 5 years ago

      Why wouldn’t he trade him to a divisional rival? Not like the Tigers are going anywhere this season. and why would the A’s block Texas? Damon would be used for whichever team is awarded him for the remainder of the year, both A’s and Tigers if he goes in the division. Besides in the offseason he can go to texas and sox regardless.

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        I’m just saying, the A’s might want to block Texas regardless of where Damon goes in the off-season.

      • I think that some games were being played when Johnny was signed by the Tigers last winter. Moreso by Boras than by Kenny Williams, but KW was happy enough to let Boras use them to mess with the Tigers. He’s not going to Chicago for nothing, if at all. They’re the first team in the pecking order that might be interested.

  2. caseyo4 5 years ago

    Keep in mind the trade clause in his contract blocks him from all but 8 teams, so that would be another hurdle in completing a deal. I think if the Tigers let Carlos Guillen go in the off-season they would be open to another year with Damon…

    • THe same thing happened with Rios, if he we’re traded, but he is/was claimed so he has no say in the matter.

    • coachofall 5 years ago

      I think they are stuck with Guillen and his contract for another year.

  3. I think the Braves would much rather have Manny in the LF picture than Damon. Of course it’ll never happen because Cox is a blithering, old, traditional crybaby who can’t have any sort of “negativity” in the clubhouse in his last season, even if it’s coming from one of the most prodigious RH hitters of the past decade.Never mind the fact that all the “negativity” stems not from the “problem” players themselves, but that anybody who doesn’t play Cox’ style of baseball is outcast and shunned by the manager and all the other good ol’ boys on the team and thus gets the “cancer” label slapped on and they get shipped out for awful returns (Gonzalez sure is helping the team with all that power that was on display in Toronto.. anybody with eyes saw this coming, and I have no doubt that Bobby was behind it).

    Manny certainly doesn’t play Cox’ style of baseball, so there’s no way he would make it in the Braves clubhouse.

    • bbxxj 5 years ago

      Oh yes, the problem is Cox and not Manny? Something isn’t right here.

      • bbxxj 5 years ago

        Abbott, I was saying that its crazy to say players like Manny are’t problems and Cox is the problem. I wasn’t agreeing with you.

      • Yeah. Cox still living in his delusional, backwards, “traditional” baseball world is what’s not right here. Manny would be a great pickup for the Braves, a team that has amazing pitching both in the rotation and out of the pen but that struggles on occasion for offense (especially recently), but it will never happen just because he doesn’t fit into Bobby’s archaic view of how a team “should” act.

  4. joeytime 5 years ago

    Yankees release Thames and pick up Damon….

    • .300 .386 .431 yea, i’d drop thames too…

      • joeytime 5 years ago

        We have Austin Kearns now. Damon would be our lefty off the bench if and when berkman dh’s… Thames only goes up against lefties, and cannot play the field, he’s even worse than Damon in the field… So I win!

        • unbiasedhomer 5 years ago

          Our? We?

          Hey Tim or whomever’s sending out the MLBTR-related posts, we have Yankee personnel posting here!

          • joeytime 5 years ago

            like im the 1st one to ever say that you lamer, go troll somewhere else

          • unbiasedhomer 5 years ago

            You’re also not the first one to post a sentence without capitalization or punctuation.

            Seriously, unless you play for the team or work for them, it’s not “we”, it’s “they”. I know you feel connected to them, but you’re not officially connected.

          • Brad426 5 years ago

            That’s such an annoying thing to “call” people on.

          • stl_cards16 5 years ago

            Who cares? I put alot of money into the teams I root for and support. I say “we” all the time. They are my team and I have put enough time and money into the teams to say “we” if I choose. “they” is what you say when you team is no good.

  5. BLB25 5 years ago

    I don’t like Jose Guillen much, but he’s been fairly useful for the Giants since they acquired him and he’s having just as good a year at the plate as Derek Lee. He’s not as good defensively but the Giants didn’t have to give up anything to get him while the Braves gave up 3 prospects to get Lee. Cody Ross isn’t a great player but he’s a solid 4th/5th outfielder and righty bat off the bench. That seemed like a pretty unfair analysis of the August deals and an unnecessary shot at the Giants’ deals.

    • Just because the Giants have 6 outfielders doesn’t mean Cody Ross is just a 4th/5th type.

    • I hate to break it to you, but Jose Guillen is probably the worst defender in the majors.

      He had blood clots in his legs last year, and is about as mobile as a birdbath.

  6. hawkny1 5 years ago

    Damon’s best years are way behind him… I think most front office GM’s are aware of this by now…. if he doesn’t retire this year…he will play in 2011 for far less than $8M he gets now…maybe $2M..

    • Johnny still posts an OBP in the .360 range, pretty consistent with where he’s been in recent years. He doesn’t have the same power stats outside of the house that Jeter built, and he’s mainly a DH these days, so $ 8 mil is a bit steep, but he’s too good of a hitter to leave out there for a club that has $ 5 mil or so to spend.

      • hawkny1 5 years ago

        I dunno about that.  Johnny can’t throw, steals very few bases, shows little power any more, doesn’t hit for average and he will be 37 in two months…..   $5,000,000 ? Who besides the Red Sox and Yankees can pay that kind of dough for a 4th or 5th OF/DH…..???  They both have let him go…
        I think he will be hard pressed to find a job next year un less he pulls a Jason Veritek and agrees to work for 25-30% of his 2010 salary with maybe some incentives based upon AB’s, RBI’s, etc..

  7. Rays and White Sox seem like the best fit for him, no?

  8. Philip Marlowe 5 years ago

    Would be nice to see him go to the Padres. Outfield of Damon, Venable/Denorfia, and Ludwick, and a solid middle of the order:

    2: Damon
    3: Gonzalez
    4: Ludwick
    5: Tejada
    6: Headley

    • SoxFan99 5 years ago

      Damon is not a number 2 hitter anymore, he hits for power

  9. Giants might have interest seeing how they are stocking up on over the hill outfielders.

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      They should trade Cody Ross and Jose Guillen for Johnny Damon.

      • Krukow talked about Cody Ross this morning on his brief radio appearance. Not surprisingly, he pumped him up pretty good and says that he see Ross going into the Giants future. …so out of those three, Damon, Guillen and Ross, I only see Ross as having a upside.

  10. geolink2349 5 years ago

    Please let it be the Yankees!

  11. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Maybe it was the Cardinals…Something like Eduardo Sanchez for Johnny Damon?

    • Hell, they can claim Damon and Inge and send over Freese + Sanchez (or preferably Allen Craig who is a hometown kid – Royal Oak, MI).

  12. 55saveslives 5 years ago

    C’mon Giants! We need a NINTH OF!!!!

  13. padreshobo 5 years ago

    Giants need more OF.

  14. Tigerfan93 5 years ago

    Since it’s a Ken Rosenthal report, the only two teams it could logically be are the White Sox or Yankees.

  15. stl_cards16 5 years ago

    I wouldn’t mind adding Damon, I think he could be a good veteran outfielder for the playoff run. But that said I imagine some AL team claimed him so we will never get a shot. I would guess he didn’t get past the White Sox

  16. ToledoFan 5 years ago

    “SI’s Jon Heyman tweets that he believes the Tigers would be willing to dump Damon for salary relief if a deal cannot be reached.”

    LOL, the Tigers have over 60 MILLION (that’s with Verlander’s pay raise) coming off the books next year and they are looking to upgrade their farm system in anyway possible. They aren’t going to let him go for nothing. Plus with Damon wanting to come back next year he would probably have rejected arbitration in hopes of seeking a multi-year deal anyways. He will get whoever has him a Type B pick at the least.

    No Heyman. The Tigers aren’t going to let him go for nothing just to get salary relief.

  17. Giants might as will claim him, they need a ninth outfielder

  18. Damon claimed by Boston. I guess we move the conversation up there ^.

    He made it past Chicago if Boston has the priority claim.

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