Results tagged ‘ Johnny Damon ’
Johnny Damon wants to be back in Yankees pinstripes this year. The Yankees? They’re not so gung-ho about the idea, apparently, tossing more attention in Raul Ibanez’s direction. Damon tells CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman that he can’t figure out why.
“I think it’s a perfect fit,” Damon said of the Yankees by phone. “But for some reason you have the year I had, especially with a team that has trouble scoring, and you can’t even get a call to continue playing.”
Damon has yet to receive an offer from any club. The Yankees do want a left-handed bat to help out in the DH role, but they’re thought to be waiting to see how A.J. Burnett’s situation will be resolved before further pursuing anything. They’ve also been reported to only be looking in the $1-2 million range for that vacancy.
As for the Burnett discussions, everything we’ve heard to this point is that there’s optimism a deal can be completed with the Pirates before the end of the weekend. That continues to be the case.
In a conference call with reporters discussing the Michael Pineda trade on Monday, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that he’d be more inclined to trade from his pitching depth to acquire a designated hitter than to sign one on the open free agent market.
When the Yankees officially announce the signing of right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, they’ll have seven starters vying for five spots. CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Pineda, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and Freddy Garcia are also in that mix.
“Maybe I use our excess pitching to find a bat,” Cashman said. “That’s a possibility. … We stretched the payroll to get [Kuroda] done, so I’m not sure what we have financially. I think we’ll look at the trade market first and foremost and see where that takes us.”
Among the DH options out there, the Yankees have reportedly heard from Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Vladimir Guerrero and Raul Ibanez, but are not thought to consider any of them an urgent priority.
“I think [the free agent market] would be secondary,” Cashman said. “Not that any of those players aren’t quality, but I do think it’s probably in our interest to first and foremost see what’s available in the trade market, because we have excess starter. There should be a demand and an interest at the various levels in our starting pitching that might prove beneficial.”
If the season started today, the Yankees would likely go with Andruw Jones as their DH, though they are curious about Minor League slugger Jorge Vazquez.
The Yankees didn’t need any reminders of what Johnny Damon was capable of with a bat in his hands, but they got one anyway on Monday when he took Sergio Mitre out to right field in the fifth inning.
Johnny Damon stepped into the batter’s box at George M. Steinbrenner Field this afternoon in the first inning, preparing to hit against Damaso Marte, and heard a warm round of cheers coming from the stands.
He then stepped out of the box and tipped his batting helmet to the crowd, earning a standing ovation. Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez also clapped for Damon, who then squirted a single past Robinson Cano’s dive and received another round of applause.
The Yankees started Marte instead of Andy Pettitte because of the very real threat of rain heading this way. Instead of Max Scherzer, the Tigers gave the ball to Minor Leaguer Jon Kibler.
Curtis Granderson got to exchange hugs and pleasantries with his old Tigers teammates yesterday, and Johnny Damon quipped about his old Yankees buddies secretly missing him as New York and Detroit met for the first time this spring.
It was all feel-good in the sunshine, except for Joba Chamberlain, who may be slipping a touch in the race to be the Yankees’ No. 5 starter. Perhaps Chamberlain is still battling the after-effects of a nasty case of the flu, which he spoke about after the game, but in any event the numbers didn’t look pretty in our writeup:
Chamberlain’s Spring Training ERA sits at 27.00 after he gave up six
runs on five hits and three walks over 2 1/3 innings on Wednesday, but Hughes stepped in and allowed a solo home run among three hits, striking out two and walking none over 2 2/3 innings.
Just for comparison, the New York Post declared that Joba will be facing the biggest Spring Training game of his young career when he faces the Astros on Tuesday.
The positive spin from the Yankees’ perspective is that there is still time for Chamberlain, Hughes and even the other competitors to make their ultimate impression. Girardi said early in camp that he wanted to have a fifth starter picked out by about March 25 or so, making this the official two-week warning for the races.
- Love this quote from Granderson -”On my iPhone, one of my bookmarks is still the Tigers’ Web site. There’s no reason for me to delete it.” I need to ask him if he’s reading Yankees.com too.
So much for that Johnny Damon vs. the Yankees matchup we were talking about. He’s going to sit today’s game out with a case of turf toe. But Curtis Granderson is still in the lineup for the Yankees today at Lakeland, and he’s looking forward to seeing his old Tigers mates:
“I’ve already seen a few of them,” Granderson said of the Tigers, “but
to get a chance to go over to Lakeland, where I trained since 2003, is
going to be exciting. I’m not sure how many people they’re going to
have there tomorrow, but that’s one of the days on the calendar that is
This from yesterday – how would you have liked to get this text message from Nick Johnson: “I was awful. I was embarrassing.” After going 0-for-2 with a walk in an exhibition game? Well, Kevin Long did.
“That’s the type of guy Nick is. He’s hard on himself,” Long said.
“He’s got a little Larry Bowa to him. That’s part of that family, which
I like. He’s going to expect a lot. I think the great ones do that.
That part of him, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
- Also, this note to pass along: YES Network broadcaster and former Yankee John Flaherty will be honored at a March 15 luncheon at Gallagher’s Steak House in New York to benefit Fordham University. Tickets are priced at $75, and include a three course luncheon menu and a donation. For information and tickets call Cirillo World at 212-972-5337 or email email@example.com.
Unfortunately, Mr. Hoch picked a frigid (read: mid-50s) Tampa day to take an off day. Not really beach weather. He’ll have to do better next time.
In the meantime, this is Anthony DiComo filling in to report on all things Alex. You can follow my MLB coverage on Twitter @anthonydicomo.
Just after 2 p.m. Thursday at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Rodriguez walked into the same white party tent where 373 days earlier, he had admitted his use of performance-enhancing substances. This press conference was much quicker (just over 18 minutes) and noticeably more upbeat. In it, Rodriguez reflected upon his year, from the steroids admission to his hip surgery to his first World Series title. Among the highlights:
On winning his first World Series: “Now that you taste it, you just want to keep doing it again. There’s no question for me that it wasn’t a monkey, it was a humongous gorilla that came off my back. And I felt that.”
On sitting in the same tent: “It’s definitely a much different day. That’s clear to me. Last year, obviously, was a very embarrassing day, and something that I wouldn’t want to go back and do. But looking back, I certainly thought it was a very important day. I’ve done a lot of growing up and realized a lot of things, and I’d like to think that I put a lot of those things into play in 2009.”
On his postseason performance: “There might be a postseason or two where I don’t hit four or five or six home runs. And I know the way it goes. I’m going to get crushed, and that’s just part of it. But the one thing that no one can take away is what happened in 2009 with our team, with the way we came together like a family, everyone checking their egos at the door and winning a world championship. The feeling of satisfaction that I got from that will forever be mine.”
On his teammates and fans: “I was at the very bottom. And I think a lot of people tried to give me a hand and encourage me. I just felt a love and a lot of support everywhere we went, not only with the Yankee fans but across baseball. I think there was an appreciation for me coming out and doing what I did last year.”
On Johnny Damon: “Johnny and I are very good friends, and we’ve always had a lot of dialogue, both in the offseason and the season. I was just trying to share some of my experiences with him. I was crossing my fingers hoping that he would come back. Johnny’s a great player. He was an integral part of our world championship team, and we’re going to miss him dearly. He’s also a great human being, and he’s always out there doing a lot of charity work.”
On the captain: “Derek Jeter was born to be a Yankee, and he was born to wear pinstripes. He’s our captain and we need him here, and I envision he’ll finish his career here. When you think of Derek, I can’t envision him wearing any other uniform.”
I’m playing catch-up on this, but Yankees general manager Brian Cashman spoke on Thursday at the University of New Haven in Connecticut and addressed several hot-button topics that fans have been curious about.
Via the Register Citizen’s Joe Morelli, with a hat tip to the iYankees blog for linking it first:
On not negotiating new contracts with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera right now, and some more context about Johnny Damon —
“The industry the last two free agent markets seems to be going
downward and the player’s ages are going upward,” Cashman said. “It
makes more sense to be patient. My attitude is if this is the place you
want to be, you will make it happen. Johnny Damon professed his love
for the Yankees, wanted to be here and was given every chance to be
here. He’s not here anymore and I don’t feel that is the Yankees’
fault. They have to reconcile why they are not here, not me.
people want to be here and be a part of something, then find a way to
work it out. Of course we want (Jeter, Rivera and Girardi) back, but we
choose to delay that until the end of the year.”
On the Yankees’ two-year, $14 million offer to Damon –
“I told (Damon and Boras), ‘I don’t know if Hal (Steinbrenner, the
team’s part owner) would approve it, but I’m not going to fight for it
unless we know you will do it,’” Cashman said. “Scott Boras said,
‘Bobby Abreu’s (new) contract is $9 million a year right now on the
table so why would we do that? So I expect to see a Bobby Abreu
contract.’ … I hope he does not sign for something less than our
offer. That means he should have been a Yankee and that’s not our
On how the Yankees’ budget looks for 2010 —
“If you ask everyone in the room if they would rather not have Curtis
Granderson because he costs X amount of dollars and Andy Pettitte
because he costs X amount, that gives you more money to sign the left
fielder who is dear to your heart in Johnny Damon,” Cashman said. “If
you ask most people right now, what would you rather have moving
forward, I think they would say they need Andy Pettitte for the
rotation and Curtis Granderson because he’s an all-star center fielder
who hit 30 homers at Comerica Park last year, who steals bases and is
(7) years younger. You can’t have everything.”
Now that the door has finally closed on all speculation of Johnny Damon’s return to the Yankees, it appears that GM Brian Cashman has completed the majority of the workload of the offseason, with only minor tweaking heading into the spring.
Randy Winn turned out to be the right-handed outfield bat that Cashman had been talking about, though he’s actually a switch-hitter. While Winn is coming off one of the most disappointing seasons of his career and was actually horrid against left-handed pitching (.158), he provides the Yankees with a good defensive option to complement Brett Gardner in the outfield as well as a veteran option and sharp baserunning instincts.
He could share time with Gardner in left field or center field, depending on where the Yankees decide to play him, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think that Winn might beat out Gardner for a job outright (be it left field or center field).
The Yankees haven’t officially announced the Winn move – he took his physical on Thursday in New York – but it’s only a matter of time. Even Joe Girardi acknowledged the transaction in an interview on Thursday with WFAN.
Cashman popped on with the Yankees Hot Stove crew Thursday night and went over a variety of issues in a 10-minute interview, noting that the book closed on Damon “a long time ago,” though the he-said, he-said drama between Cashman and agent Scott Boras continues to percolate.
Though no one can really be sure of everything that transpired, I have to imagine that Damon was genuine in his desire to return to the Yankees, based upon all of his conversations with the media. Certainly, the Yankees’ players were hoping he’d work something out, and on some level Cashman would have liked him back as well – but at his price, which they never really got close to.
“We had a strong desire to have Johnny back, but not at all costs,” Cashman said on YES.
The latest rumors have the Blue Jays and Rays among the clubs that could provide soft landing spots for Damon, and while I’m sure Damon would absolutely love playing for the Rays and commuting from his Orlando, Fla. home (as he did during Spring Training), 81 games on artificial turf at either stadium probably isn’t the ideal setting for a player who has been hampered by painful calf issues.
Remember, Damon even had to leave the clinching game of the World Series because of the calf problems, limping to the pile after Mark Teixeira caught the final out to end the Fall Classic.
Here’s a few other links from around the Yankees blogosphere that might be of interest:
- Baseball Prospectus has picked the Yankees to finish third in the American League East at 93-69, behind the Rays (96-66) and Red Sox (95-67). While I have some debate with that prediction, if the top three teams in the division are separated by three wins when the season comes to an end, buckle up for one heck of a pennant race.
- Cliff Corcoran compares Randy Winn to Melky Cabrera – just a decade older and on the wrong side of the production curve.
- Joel Sherman notes that the Yankees are still in play on Jonny Gomes, as well as considering Rocco Baldelli and Marcus Thames. If they do really go after Gomes, it’s a good thing Shelley Duncan has moved on to a new home.
- This isn’t Yankees-related, but former Bomber Tim Redding is calling out Mike Bacsik for – he believes – intentionally giving up Barry Bonds’ 756th home run. I covered Bacsik a little bit with the Mets (including his first big league win) and he was one of the nicest guys in that clubhouse, but it certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility that he could have missed his location with a meaty fastball to Bonds.
Now a member of the San Diego Padres, Jerry Hairston, Jr. appeared last night on SiriusXM’s MLB Home Plate channel and mentioned that the Yankees never made him an offer to stay in New York. He also shared the opinion that the Yankees are still interested in signing Johnny Damon.
“The Yankees didn’t officially make an offer,” Hairston told hosts Jim Bowden and Joe Castellano. “We’d been talking with them for about a month or two months and, they were kind of, I guess, waiting for a certain left fielder’s price to come down. That’s what I was gathering. I know Brian [Cashman]‘s going to really love me for saying that.
“But that’s the sense I had, and more power to them. You know, obviously Brian has a job to do and Johnny Damon’s an incredible ballplayer. But obviously at that time I said, ‘You know what? I need to do what’s best for me.’ And the best fit for me was in San Diego.
“That’s a young team, but they’re looking for players with some speed, athleticism that can play in that ballpark and I was looking to sign there anyway and then, icing on the cake, having [brother] Scott get traded over there it definitely makes it that much sweeter.”
Newsday’s Ken Davidoff got to Cashman first on the subject and posted on Twitter that it was “right” the Yankees never made an offer to Hairston, but “not right” that they are waiting for Damon’s asking price to drop.
On an unrelated topic, this nugget was passed along from MLB: On this date in 1960, Stan Musial insisted he take a $20,000 pay cut. ‘Stan the Man’ believed he was overpaid in 1957 and 1958 and his salary should be based on his play last season. Can you imagine someone trying to convince Scott Boras of that today?