“My message to Red Sox fans is I tried, I tried everything in my power to come back, but unfortunately, I know they’re going to be upset,” he said. “I’m always going to have a strong feeling about them and I’m always going to remember the great times and the World Series and [how] three out [of my] four years there, we made the playoffs.
“I just want them to know that I appreciate them and I tried and that’s the least I can do. I know they’re going to continue to root for the Red Sox, which they should, and I’m going to win another World Series, so that’s going to have to be right now. It’s going to be tough to say bye to some of the greatest fans in the world. Unfortunately, they had to see this day and it’s time to move forward.”
Yeah, “I tried everything in my power” means “I couldn’t match Scott Boras’ will in pushing me towards the largest contract rather than sustain and build upon my legacy in Boston.”
That’s the sound of greed, kids. It’s only about the money.
- Fast forward to the Winter of 2009-10:
- Coming off another World Series win in which he was instrumental in contributing, including a forever moment, Damon begins the off-season with preposterous demands.
- The Yanks trade for Curtis Granderson.
- Damon, seemingly impervious to the cratering market for his services, holds firm to outsized contractual demands, both in terms of years AND dollars. Boras lauds Damon’s genetics: “If stem-cell research were around, you’d want to tap into that gene pool.”
- Yanks sign Nick Johnson, and the budgetary limits are in sight.
- Yanks make a reasonable offer for Damon: 2 years, $14 million. Damon and Boras chortle.
- Yanks (and us) are quite pleased with Granderson/Nick
- As time passes, other outfielders begin to sign and it appears that the market for Damon isn’t what he or his agent expected.
- Looking more and more unlikely that Damon won’t be back
- Damon and Boras continue to dance and most folks believe that Damon will eventually wind up on the Yanks. After all, what’s the difference between $200 million and $204 million? [If you're buying a Bentley, you're going to spring for the extras, aren't you? You're not going to say 'nah, I don't want the better stereo system' after you've already committed to spending.]
- Yanks’ GM Brian Cashman is clearly fed up with the Boras-isms.
- We’re getting restless but we still would like to have Damon back. Most, if not ALL Yanks fans are virtually begging Damon to take the Yanks offer. After all, he already made nearly $100 million in his career. And for someone who seems to be looking at boosting his HOF credentials, what better place than NY? Except to Damon.
- Yanks make last ditch effort: In the middle of last week, Damon called Yankees officials in New York, The Post has learned. Steinbrenner was on his honeymoon. However, a top Yankees executive told Damon that if he accepted a $6 million deal with $3 million deferred that Steinbrenner could, perhaps, be convinced to approve that; though many Yankees officials remain sure that the young Boss would never budge off of $2 million. [Clearly, Hal's running the team with firm reigns. While we Yanks fans are the greediest around, demanding that $200 million isn't quite enough, we have to respect the fact that this organization has a process, a strategy and the leadership to execute both.]
- Yanks use their remaining $2m in their FIRM $200 million budget and sign Randy Winn. Yawn.
- Cashman’s remorse: “We wanted Johnny back and we are sorry he is not back,” Cashman said. “But you can’t say publicly with a straight face that we didn’t make an offer because we were told not to make an offer because we were not in the same ballpark.”
- So at a cost of roughly $3 million to his total net worth, Johnny Damon proved for all time that he’s only about the money. That’s not an indictment or a criticism; it’s a fact.
We offer Johnny Damon our congratulations and best wishes, where ever he winds up. I hope that extra cash he might get this year is worth it.
Johnny Damon, our 2010 IIATMS Hall of Fame inductee.