Digging out and thinking of spring
Thanks for that, Mother Nature. Just say it with me — six days until pitchers & catchers report. Some brief and somewhat Yankees-related news and notes out there in the baseball world, as the annual game of musical chairs comes to an end:
On Johnny Damon: Ready for a press conference yet? The still-unemployed Johnny Damon may be getting closer to finding a place to play for 2010. The Atlanta Braves have offered Damon a one-year deal, though the Tigers and Rays are also still in play. Damon’s fandom for the Detroit Red Wings not withstanding, it almost seems like Damon is weighing teams that train in close proximity to his Orlando, Fla. home.
He used to do the commute to Tampa every morning with the Yankees, and that’s not the most fun drive of all time. The Braves would be the easiest commute to Disney World, the Tigers not bad to Lakeland. But one would hope there are more serious matters to consider — like, does Damon really fit with a National League team at this point in his career?
I keep thinking about his painful chronic calf issues, like the ones that forced him out of Game 6 of the World Series. He had to limp to the pile at Yankee Stadium and disappeared during the clubhouse celebration, having his champagne on the trainer’s table.
Actually, I also keep thinking how silly it is that the Yankees wanted Damon, Damon wanted the Yankees, and they couldn’t figure out a way to make it happen. But life goes on. He doesn’t seem to be too worried about it – Damon is in Hawaii on vacation, and played in a charity golf tournament yesterday.
On Chien-Ming Wang: Sounds like the Wanger has decided on the Nationals, who have been aggressively pursuing him. Brian Bruney, for one, would like to have Wang as a teammate again.
I know there was talk that the Yankees would like the opportunity to match any final offer that Wang might receive, but even though he’s getting about $2 million from the Nationals, it doesn’t make too much sense for the Yankees to go after him given the state of their rotation. If you’re creating competition between Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre for the fifth starter’s spot, where exactly can Wang fit in?
Feel free to call me on that in May if Wang begins pitching in Major League games and the Yankees have a desperate need for pitching, but I don’t see the rotation shaping up like it did in 2007, when anyone with a live arm and a pair of spikes within driving range of Yankee Stadium was permitted to make a start.
On Derek Jeter: Stop the presses — Derek Jeter likes the team that the Yankees have! The captain is working out at the Himes Avenue complex in Tampa and briefly chatted with reporters yesterday, and typically stayed away from all of the touchy issues, like his contract status. He’s going to address that when the whole New York media crew gets down to Tampa, which for me will be on Saturday.
Personally, I’m not sure why it’s even an issue. The Yankees are going to take care of Jeter and he knows it. The only question is going to be the amount of years and dollars, but again, it’s not like the Yankees can watch Jeter get his 3,000th hit in some other uniform.
And finally: I love reading stories like this one from John Harper in the New York Daily News, who strapped on the catcher’s gear yesterday and went with Johan Santana against a virtual Phillies lineup in simulated action. Kind of blows my fantasy camp series away, no? Of course, I was a pretty awful left-handed catcher in Little League, so I have the option of begging out if CC Sabathia ever wants me to get behind the plate.