The Johnny Damon Contract

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?

0 thoughts on “The Johnny Damon Contract

  1. Ace II

    2 year deal with a club option for the second year if that is the best option in the offseason. Although, i am very afraid of a precipitous decline with johnny in the next two seasons. So, i would hope there is some younger suitable option to replace him.

    • Moshe Mandel

      Yeah, if he shows even a slight decline this coming season, I would not take the chance of a nosedive with him. If he puts up another 2008-like season, I would have no problem bringing him back.

  2. Trevor

    I doubt that either Damon or Matsui are back. Especially if Gardner proves he can hit in the majors this year.
    I see the Yankees going with Gardner/Nady bring him back and Austin Jackson and Swisher is under contract still next year. He will likely get the RF spot.
    If Gardner does well I wouldn’t mind going with:

    Gardner Jackson Swisher OR Nady Jackson Swisher OR Nady Gardner Swisher

    The latter scenario would be if Austin Jackson isn’t ML ready by next year.

    I could deal with either 3 of those outfield alignments. You don’t need an All*Star at every position.

  3. scott l

    I very much doubt Damon can match last year. He had a career year against right handed pitching.

    I do expect him to be platooned this year and if he wants to come back next year in a diminished role great. He can platoon with Austin Jackson.

  4. YankeeGrunt

    I agree about Damon, he’s been a decent addition though his girly arm keeps him out of center most of the time. An added consideration asks whether Damon’s arm would have forced a move away from center anyway, and with Manny in left and Papi as the DH where does he move to? I disagree about Lowe, however, as he was nothing special in Boston and went on to a degree of success in the NL, no doubt a mix of improvement and a lower caliber of hitter on a night-in night-out basis. Solid points, but Epstein’s decision making has won him another ring in the interim, so it’s tough to really fault him.

  5. I would let him go he is old and getting older Hopefully, he can have a great year but he is not the future for the Yankees like Austin Jackson.

  6. JOK

    The best time for Jeter to make the shift to LF would be next season when the spot opens up. It would also erase the gorilla in the room about the negotiation of position shift during his next contract sit down.

  7. If Brett can hold his own and A-Jax play with the big boys, there is no good reason to resign him.
    Johnny depends on his legs a lot…”News Flash”; Legs are the first thing to go!

  8. JD

    Moshe,

    Can you share your thoughts on Cabrera versus Gardner now. Melky is coming on strong.

    • Moshe Mandel

      Yeah, I noticed that. However, I think Brett should get the job. We already know what Melky brings. If Brett tanks, we can always give the job back to Melky.

  9. I think over the past three years Damon’s numbers have been just as good or better both offensively and defensively than in his last three as a Red Sox. He’s been a great signing. And if he does have a full healthy season in 2009 and he agrees to a 1 or 2 year deal then yes he could be back.

  10. After reading the article, I just feel that I really need more info. Can you share some more resources ?

  11. km3bYk comment4 ,

  12. Moses

    “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.”

    Ok….Really? How is that? Seeing the Red Sox have the strongest rotation in the AL at the moment I highly doubt Lowe and Pedro are being missed in bean town. Damon a lost? The Red Sox already proved they didn’t need him when they won another championship and might make another run at it again. Damon is past his prime….he will have his moments here and there but just like Giambi he is just a name from the past.

    I think your being a little too delusional in making this Damon contract look better than it is. It’s not.

    Yankees need to start rebuilding with young talented players….not big names. The formula isn’t working.

    • Moshe Mandel

      Huh? Damon provided more value than he was paid, the very definition of a good contract. Lowe and Damon left Boston and had success and value higher than what they were paid, and the Sox still have not replaced Damon. They replaced Lowe, but that doesn’t mean it was the right move to let him go.

      • Chris H.

        LOL, and Red Sox fans still believe that Jacoby Ellsbury is the best CF in the game.