We've flipped the calendar to 2010 and Johnny Damon is one of baseball's most intriguing names that remains unsigned. Chuck Brownson at The Hardball Times pens an article today that asks why teams seem wary of signing the veteran outfielder. Brownson acknowledges Damon's oft-repeated shortcomings, including his below average arm and his questionable defense (-12.1 UZR/150 last season), but points out that the 36-year-old is still a dangerous offensive player and seems destined to be a bargain this winter.
The New York Yankees seemed like the logical fit for Damon heading into the offseason. After all, Damon was a significant part of the team's World Series run in 2009, and their park's short right field porch helped him match his career high in homers (24). The Yankees' search for a left fielder has them considering more affordable options than Damon though, and they've shown a reluctance so far this winter to deal out multi-year contracts (Damon is seeking at least two years).
So what are Damon's alternatives? The Rangers are looking to add a bat or two, but Damon may be a little too expensive for their liking. The Cardinals have the money and the outfield opening, though if they sign Matt Holliday they'll no longer be in the market for a left fielder. The Giants could sign another hitter and the Braves still have some leftover money from the Javier Vazquez trade, but would either National League team be comfortable paying Damon a sizable chunk of money to play in the outfield every day for the next two years? An American League team that could occasionally DH the 36-year-old might make more sense.
With Jason Bay having signed and Holliday potentially not far behind, the market for Damon could improve in the coming weeks. For now, it doesn't seem that many teams are interested, given his asking price. Where do you see Damon playing in 2010?