Johnny Damon Talks Free Agency, Yankees, Tigers

The 2012 regular season officially starts two weeks from today when the Mariners and Athletics meet in Tokyo, but Johnny Damon still doesn't have a job. He spoke to Casey Stern and Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio yesterday to discuss his current situation…

"I know I've proven a lot, and if the right opportunity comes up, I'll take it," said Damon. "I think the biggest thing holding me back right now, is what if I do take a backup job somewhere, what if somebody gets hurt somewhere else where I would probably prefer to be at? That's why I'm taking my time."

"It's difficult, because I feel like I had pretty good year last year," he added. "From a stat standpoint, better than more than half the players out there."

Damon was linked to the Orioles earlier this month, but GM Dan Duquette quickly shot that down. Another AL East team and one of the 38-year-old's former employers – the Yankees – were in the market for a DH-type earlier this offseason before settling on Raul Ibanez. As Damon said, he was willing to return to New York and money wasn't an obstacle…

"Obviously, at this point of my career, I want to have some say in who I can and can't play with," he said. "I just wanted to make sure [GM Brian Cashman] knew it wasn't about money. Pay me whatever, and I'll try to help you win a championship."

The Tigers also have some appeal to Damon, who played in Detroit in 2010. They don't have a clearly defined DH at the moment if they stick to the plan of playing Miguel Cabrera at third and Prince Fielder at first, so on the surface there appears to be a fit. That's not necessarily the case though.

"I think the biggest thing is just the number of bodies, and possibly their loyalty to Magglio Ordonez if they were going to bring in a DH," said Damon.

Damon hit .261/.326/.418 with 16 homers and 19 steals in 647 plate appearances for the Rays last year, though he's only played 352 1/3 innings in the outfield since leaving the Yankees after 2009. He's also 277 hits away from 3,000 for his career, which could be a factor in his decision to hold out for an everyday job rather than accept a platoon or bench role.

79 Responses to Johnny Damon Talks Free Agency, Yankees, Tigers Leave a Reply

  1. Joey E 3 years ago

    lol tigers
    cabrera is not lasting at 3rd. didnt work in 07, wont work now. he and prince are going to have to alternate DH

    as for damon, well who cares.

    • JacksTigers 3 years ago

      They will not DH either one. Players don’t perform as well as DHs. It won’t happen. There is a less than 10% chance that either DHs more than 30 games each. The Tigers won’t even put Young there full time. On top of that, Cabrera hasn’t been that bad at third this spring. He hasn’t been great, but he hasnt been awful either.

      • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

        What proof is their that players dont perform as well as DH’s?

        • JacksTigers 3 years ago

          You’ve never heard of that before? Google it. I think fangraphs had an article a while back.

          • Patrick Oliver 3 years ago

            Derek Jeter said he does not like being a DH. I believe his exact words included “I do not know how other guys do it.”

      • Matt Moore 3 years ago

        Did you watch Victor Martinez last year?

        • JacksTigers 3 years ago

          I have no idea what you mean.

        • verlander 3 years ago

          Victor still played catcher occasionally until he injured his knee. Leyland doesn’t like full-time DHs anyway.

        • PWNdroia 3 years ago

          Will you watch Victor Martinez this year?  Oh wait…

      • PWNdroia 3 years ago

        Either way, I doubt either lasts a full season at their designated positions.  Take one out of the lineup and the whole lineup is no longer a threat (barring that V-Mart is also out).

    • caseyo4 3 years ago

      Really, have you seen him play there?  He moved in 07 because believe it or not, Guillen had a worse time at first than Cabrera at third.   He’s lost a ton of weight and has looked comfortable in the games I’ve seen….

    • GOTIGERS24 3 years ago

      This is the problem, people (like you) that never watch the tigers, just listen to the media, the media is all over New York and LA and never has the chance to show Cabrera actually playing well at third, if you watched a game you would understand, Cabreras got a cannon, obviously he doesn’t have the range you would like but I would take a few more errors for a Cabrera Fielder duo. Next time why don’t you do your own research before saying one of the best players in the game will fail and not just listen to the media.

      • Leonard Washington 3 years ago

        One of them might be ok to play in the field but both is a clear downgrade on defense anyway you slice it or dice it. Neither have ever been good defensive players its not going to change now. 

      • PWNdroia 3 years ago

        But if you add more offense, and lower defense, doesn’t that equate to the same value (if both values raised and lowered the same amount)?

  2. Gumby65 3 years ago

    Could of had playing time with Oakland…  Guess it pays to have a 50 game suspension on the books coming up, and Johnny is lacking one of those.

  3. johnsilver 3 years ago

    If Detroit would stick him in the OF (even if they don’t) I am guessing the Tigers have the worst defensive club in the game next season. they just have too many liabilities.. Just with Cabrera, Fielder and Young on the diamond they have 3 gloves of lead.

    Jackson can’t cover everything hit near L/Center next season and Cabrera had no range at 3b, fielder was below average (at best) manning1st.. I just wonder if the nice staff the tigers have from 1-3 for certain will pitch “scared” so to speak and try and not put the ball in play?

    Shame Inge’s bat is so awful now, he could play 3b and shove Cabrera to DH, where he belongs and solve that problem, but really.. This team is going to have fielding issues.. Range at least, even if they do manage to catch what they get to in some of these player’s cases.

    • JacksTigers 3 years ago

      I think that they are a small move away from not being the worst. If they go and get Brendan Ryan and move Jhonny Peralta to second. I think that they are set. Anyone who has seen him play knows that Ryan may have the best range of any shortstop in the game. He can’t hit water if he fell out of a boat, but we don’t need offense. Cabrera has limited range at third. He is not nearly as bad as you make him sound, but you would have to see him. He has lost a lot of weight. Most people picture the fat guy that they saw last season. That simply isn’t the case. He is still far below average, but he isn’t awful. You can’t have him and Jhonny on the same side of the field though. Ryan would make it a lot more managable. I don’t think that DY plays more than 65 games in left. I think that he will play a lot of DH this season and then move Raburn to left. Raburn is actually a pretty good defender when you put him out there. Just keep him away from second. Jackson is capeable of covering 3/4 of the gaps. Boesch can cover 1/4 of right and Raburn could cover 1/4 of left. Jackson sures up the outfield defense greatly. If you map it out, it isn’t nearly as bad.

      Catcher- Alex Avila
      First Base- Prince Fielder
      Second Base- Jhonny Peralta
      Third Base- Miguel Cabrera
      Short Stop- Brendan Ryan
      Left Field- Ryan Raburn
      Center Field- Austin Jackson
      Right Fielde- Brennan Boesch
      Designated Hitter- Delmon Young

      I don’t think that Young returns in 2013, but when you replace that with Victor Martinez, you might have the best offensive lineup in baseball. That’s just my opinion, though.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

        “Cabrera has limited range at third”

        I gotta’ admit am basing Cabby on what saw of him mostly a few years back with the Fish at 3b. it was.. Well, not a pretty site and he hasn’t played it since. Maybe he can do a better job than the young kid he was if he has lost weight range wise.

        Martinez isn’t exactly an awful defender at 1b, or i didn’t think he was at least with Boston.. Wonder if leyland in 2013 will move him to 1b and DH Fielder? That move may not sit well with boras/Fielder, but you probably got a glimpse of vmart last year at 1b and he isn’t that bad. he has the hands and his range is about average.

        Agreed 100% with jackson.. man that guy gets reads on the ball.. he can scoot and cover those gaps, but just how much of young’s range, at least in 2012 will he be able to cover?

        it just takes a few weak spots in the defense to hurt the pitchers confidence may be a worry. 3b is important, as is 1b. LF not so much perhaps. At least they are fairly strong up the middle.

        • JacksTigers 3 years ago

          I’d prefer V-Mart at DH because of his legs. He can’t make the plays that he once could. He showed last season that he is one of the few players that can transfer to DH quite well. I am afraid that Prince’s ability will decline if he is a full time DH. He won’t turn 28 until May, so he seems a little young for that. I think that Cabrera is fine at third, but Brendan Ryan would help out a lot. When Martinez’s contract expires, Nick Castellanos should be coming up. It is then that I think that one of Fielder or Cabrera would move to DH and the other would play first.

        • tiger313 3 years ago

          Not to base this off of one game, but if you watched the Tiger game on ESPN today, Cabby made some pretty nice plays there. A back handed grab a catch right from a hard hit liner. The only play he couldnt get to was a grounder right on the line. But if he can play like that I will have no worries.

          • Matt Moore 3 years ago

            Yea, he even got close to un-fieldable ball down the line. and if you have seen him play you know that his arm is as good as anyones.

          • Leonard Washington 3 years ago

            It would probably be best if they switched between 1B and DH.

    • Cabrera is better at 1b than Fielder. Fielder belong in DH

  4. William Wang 3 years ago

    Going into Hall of Fame as…..
    Red Sox?
    or (Snicker) Athletics?

    • MB923 3 years ago

      None. He isn’t and shouldn’t be a HOFer even if he got to 3000 hits.

      • 3000 hits and he deserves in.

        • MB923 3 years ago

          I asked this before and I’ll ask it again, what if he finished with 2999 hits, is he a HOFer to you?

          No? Well what if he finishes with 3000 hits exactly. Then he is? You’re going to judge a guy on whether he’s a HOFer or not based on 1 hit?

          • JacksTigers 3 years ago

            Do you think that he’d retire with 2,999 hits? He would obviously play one more year just to get to the milestone. He would likely retire with a number closer to 3,120 if he finished the season with 2,999.

          • MB923 3 years ago

            Where did I say anything about the word retire? Chances are it won’t happen but he can get a career ending injury. Also, a team has to sign him for him to play, thusfar not a single team has expressed much interest in him. And he is still 270+ away which is a lot for a guy who won’t get a full time starting role. This might even take 3 seasons for Johnny. Right now he can’t even get a 1 year deal.

          • JacksTigers 3 years ago

            He can’t get a deal because he wasn’t willing to take a low salary. He wanted a $5MM deal. If he would take a $1MM deal, then he’d find a taker. I also did not say that Damon belongs in HOF right now, I just said that if he makes it to 3,000 then he belongs. What are the chances that he makes it to 2,999 and then either retires or has a huge injury? Not likely in the slightest.

          • MB923 3 years ago

            Nobody wants to have him play full time, not even the teams such as the Yankees who talked to him who were pretty much going to use him against RHP, but they got Raul instead.

            As I said, chances are it won’t happen, but why should Damon get in the HOF if he reaches just over 3000 but not get in if he falls just short of it? If you would like me to, I can say 2950 and 3050 then.

          • JacksTigers 3 years ago

            No to 2,950 and yes to 3,050. If he gets in, it will be by the skin of his teeth.

          • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

            hitting an even number is really nothing special.

          • JacksTigers 3 years ago

            I think that it is an automatic tool for some players. There are some that wouldn’t need one, but I think Damon would.

          • JacksTigers 3 years ago

            I think that it is an automatic tool for some players. There are some that wouldn’t need one, but I think Damon would.

          • PWNdroia 3 years ago

            Johnny Damon > Raul Ibanez

          • MB923 3 years ago

            Maybe, but Ibanez for $2 mil is more worth it than Damon for $5+ mil.

      • JacksTigers 3 years ago

        I disagree. I think that there are certain milestones that make you a HOFer by default. Those would be:

        300 Wins
        500 HR
        3,000 Hits

        • MB923 3 years ago

          Read what I asked cards2WS and maybe you can answer that too.

          • JacksTigers 3 years ago


          • MB923 3 years ago

            And I answered your comment back.

          • JacksTigers 3 years ago

            I once again replied to you.

            I like the fileing system that we have working down here. We’re very profesional.

          • MB923 3 years ago

            lol that gets a like from me.

          • JacksTigers 3 years ago

            And LIKEwise from me as well.

          • JacksTigers 3 years ago


    • Jake White 3 years ago

      Should be as a Red Sox but probably as a Yankee.

    •  The yanks can have the turncoat. Maybe that’s why they signed Ibanez instead of Damon. They don’t want him to get his 3000 hits and enter the hall with a yankee cap.

      • HerbertAnchovy 3 years ago

        That is certainly a ludicrous theory.

        More likely is that they realized that Ibanez offers power from the left side… and Damon doesn’t.

      • MB923 3 years ago

        What you just said is one of the most…… (chances are my comment will get removed if I finish the rest, but I’m sure you know the rest)

      • MB923 3 years ago

        What you just said is one of the most…… (chances are my comment will get removed if I finish the rest, but I’m sure you know the rest)

      • JacksTigers 3 years ago

        That’s your theory? That’s what you have come up with? Are you serious?

    • Red sox i think.. those were his best years

      •  Johnny had it made in Boston, but he did the one thing he should not have done. He ruined it for himself in Boston, and only made it worse 2 years ago when they made a trade offer to Detroit to bring him back and he blocked the trade from going through.

      • MB923 3 years ago


        WAR with Red Sox 12.1
        WAR with Yankees 15.5

        His highest career WAR with 1 team is the Royals but that was for 6 years. His WAR was 16.2

  5. Jake White 3 years ago

    Yankees should have taken him over Ibanez… Raul is awful.

    • johnsilver 3 years ago

      Ibanez can play some semblance of defense and still gives the NYY power from the LH side. Damon has maybe the worst throwing arm around, his defense has gotten worse with the vertigo supposedly playing a part and his increased age as well and his bat s not that much better over Ibanez’s.

      Cashman also didn’t have to waste any time with boras and his back ‘n forth, smoke and mirrors game with negotiating and teams that never existed.. Ibanez was more than willing to sign on the dotted line.. Damon and Boras were still playing games last month.. One of those classic ‘you snooze and you lose” scenarios with Damon to compound the issue.

      Now *could* he have been a NYY, had he instructed boras to actually look out for his well being and properly read the market for DH’s? Sure thing, but once again.. he played it all wrong for has beens..


      • Mike1L 3 years ago

        I agree.  Damon still has something to offer, but his agent always has to play the game to try to maximize the return.  What both of them should have been focused on was finding him playing time.  While I don’t necessarily think he should waltz in to the Hall of Fame if he gets to 3000 hits, he’d certainly have an argument that now he’s unlikely to be able to make.  Damon has earned over $110MM playing baseball-was it really worth playing hard to get for a few extra bucks?  It’s too bad-I like Damon-but at this stage of his career he’s a replaceable talent talking about how much better he is than other, replaceable talents.

  6. I’m a little surprised he is having trouble finding a job. He was pretty good for the rays last year. Glad my Red Sox don’t have room for him though. He isn’t welcomed here. 

  7. DK_hits_20 3 years ago

    LOL! I’m pretty sure the Tigers won’t sign Damon, and I can give you 4 better reasons than our loyalty to Magglio. 1. He WILL require more than $1 mil. 2. He’s 38 years old. 3. Dirks is capable of putting up the numbers than Damon put up in Detroit. 4. We don’t need a DH.

  8. The numbers say he still plays a servicable, average left field, as his speed is still better than average. He never had an arm. His bat is also servicable at the plate as he collected 2.5 WAR on offense last year. I would think the Indians, Tigers, Twins etc. could use him if he comes cheap like it seams he will. He still can play if last year was any indication. This poo about him being less selective at the plate is garbage too. Pitchers are going after him now. No surprise.

    • pennypincher 3 years ago

      “It has always been my dream to play along side guys like Mauer and Morneau, to play in a place as nice as here.”  Totally Damon.

      • I wish Damon would come to Minnesota. It’s too bad Terry Ryan is stuck on the idea of having a $100MM payroll. I’m sure he isn’t asking for more than 4MM at this point in time.

      • I wish Damon would come to Minnesota. It’s too bad Terry Ryan is stuck on the idea of having a $100MM payroll. I’m sure he isn’t asking for more than 4MM at this point in time.

      • JacksTigers 3 years ago

        Could not agree more. When he came to Detroit, he said that he wanted to come here in 2006, but the Tigers had said to him that they had Granderson and were giving him a chance. He went on to say that he had wanted to be here his entire career. In 2011, he said that he’d always wanted to be in Tampa. Maybe he should say that he’d prefer to play for a team and/or be Octavio Dotel.

    • notsureifsrs 3 years ago

      which numbers say he’s average in left field?

  9. tomymogo 3 years ago

    Damon if you could just have some defensive value, Braves should sign you and you’ play around 80-100 games off the bench. By defensive value I mean he can fill in CF occasionally, and get a lot of playing time in LF for when Prado moves to 3B to give Chipper a day or if Prado needs a day off, maybe even Jason Heyward + a lot of pinch hit opportunities. Any long term injury to Chipper or Uggla and Damon can platoon with Matt Diaz.

    But I even prefer Eric Hinske’s defense to Johnny Damon.

  10. JoeSeadog 3 years ago

    There is no way JD would ever put his own stat desires ahead of TEAM. He wouldn’t shirk a walk in hopes of getting a hit. The money factor is a load of BS though, at least if you deal with his agent. If he had dropped Boros as soon as the season ended he would have had a job by Christmas. If at any point before the Yankees signed Ibanez he went to Cash with a 700K + incentives offer he would have a job. I believe his agent was seeking 2 years in excess of 5 mil. GM’s are tired of dealing with Boros and his ilk. Marathon negotiations over the Damons of the world take your eye off the ball to possibly miss the deal of the day elsewhere, and when Johnny already had his team picked out, he wanted to play for the Yanks again, there should have been no negotiations. He’s made 110 mil in his career and he wanted another ring and a shot at his 3000. He had no hammer to swing, but his agent didn’t see it that way.
    Had the Tigers not had the devastating injury to Victor Martinez would Prince have a job yet? Until that situation arose I always pictured a one year deal back in Milwaukee, then suddenly the hammer got put into Boros hands.

    To think that anyone who doesn’t throw a ball or swing a bat can have so much effect on the game itself, whose name isn’t Marvin Miller, just isn’t right.

  11. Every day that clicks off the calendar has to be like a slap in the face. The longer he’s unemployed, the more he’ll be forgotten as an option. He is obviously saying “I don’t want to be a backup….how will I ever get my 3,000 like that?” Selfish! No mention of helping a team win a title or helping a young team out with his experience.

  12. Marinersforever71 3 years ago

    Johnny Damon or Magglio Ordonez can help Seattle Mariners as backup outfielder/DH as Franklyn Gutierrez is out with an injury for a while. The Mariners can be a contender in the Wild Card race if wither of the two can stay healthy and the team can start hitting consistently throughout the season. Hope the team will sign one of those two guys before Spring Training is almost over so he can prove to the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, and rest of MLB teams that he still have quite a bit of baseball talent left in him.

  13. Marinersforever71 3 years ago

    Johnny Damon or Magglio Ordonez can help Seattle Mariners as backup outfielder/DH as Franklyn Gutierrez is out with an injury for a while. The Mariners can be a contender in the Wild Card race if wither of the two can stay healthy and the team can start hitting consistently throughout the season. Hope the team will sign one of those two guys before Spring Training is almost over so he can prove to the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, and rest of MLB teams that he still have quite a bit of baseball talent left in him.

  14. Patrick Oliver 3 years ago

    The Yankees should have signed Damon. Chiefly since Pettitte is back, we could have had the 2009 Yankees, only without Posada. He could play designated hitter, left field, and pinch hit or pinch run. He could have gotten 3,000 with the Yankees.

  15. Yankeesgirl 3 years ago

    I miss Johnny Damon. The Yankees would have been better with him. When I turned on the T.V last season and see Damon play on Tampa, I felt like “NO! That’s not your team! Come back to The Yankees!”

  16. It’s his exact point that it’s not about money which is why he doesn’t want to be stuck in a dump like Baltimore.

  17. notsureifsrs 3 years ago

    “raking” meant a .322 wOBA in 450 PA last year

  18. notsureifsrs 3 years ago

    right. unless he isn’t

  19. BarrelMan 3 years ago

    Why not

  20. PWNdroia 3 years ago

    I think Damon’s made it clear that he wants to play for a winning team.  Unfortunately for him, it’s not likely that will happen or he won’t play at all.

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