When the Yankees grabbed Johnny Damon from the Red Sox after the 2005 season, the general consensus among fans and insiders was that it was a good move in the short term, but that Damon would not be worth the 52 million he was getting by the end of the deal. It seemed like another instance of the Yankees buying a big name, while the Red Sox smartly avoided sentiment and made the prudent business decision.
However, standing here before the last season of the deal, RLYW takes a look at the contract and finds that only an awful season will keep the deal from having been worth it. Being that meeting even his worst projections would make him about worth his paycheck this season, it is likely that the Yankees will have gained positive value from Johnny Damon. Meanwhile, CF in Boston has been a revolving door, with neither Jacoby Ellsbury nor Coco Crisp filling the void left by JD. Theo let Lowe, Damon, and Pedro leave over a span of two offseasons, and it is starting to look like only one of those moves was the right decision.
This begs the question, of course, of whether the Yankees would resign Damon to a fresh contract should he have another year like 2008. If Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, and Manny Ramirez each have exorbitant demands, the Yankees may be inclined to bring back Xavier Nady or Damon on a two year deal. In the current market for outfielders, Damon would probably command 8-9 million annually, a sum definite to be lower than that of the other free agent left fielders. I would definitely consider bringing him back if he shows absolutely no decline from 2008 to 2009. His defense in LF is very strong, and I have a feeling that he will thrive as the #2 hitter. What would you do?