Results tagged ‘ Johnny Damon ’

Rumor Mill: A Jeter deal for Damon?

damon world series.jpgScott Boras made the rounds in Chicago yesterday, giving the writers something to chew on with Johnny Damon. Whether you read it frokm Joel Sherman in the New York Post, Mark Feinsand in the Daily News or David Waldstein in the New York Times, here’s the bottom line — Boras is drawing comparisons between his client, Damon, and what the Yankees have done and will do with Derek Jeter.

Boras’ argument, according to Sherman, is that Damon and Jeter worked so well atop the lineup in 2009, they should be viewed as a tandem. He also notes that that Damon has historic durability and that past three seasons equate well for both Damon and Jeter, and so they should be paid similarly. And Boras, of course, does not want Damon to take a pay cut from his $13 million annual salary (no one pays Boras’ commission to take a pay cut).

Here’s the problem, as I see it. The Yankees are going to overpay Derek Jeter. There’s no question about it, they’re going to give him one of those sweetheart deals where they pay him a lot for the future as a thank you for being the captain and leader of past teams, because they don’t want to see him getting his 3,000th hit in another uniform.

That’s fine, we all accept it, and if there’s one guy you’re going to do that to, it’s Jeter. OK, maybe they did it a little to not see Mariano Rivera — and especially Jorge Posada — in other uniforms too.

Point is, Damon doesn’t have that same cache with the Yankees. He was a very good player, a very productive player, over those four years. But he’s no franchise talent. A one or two-year deal is probably all that the Yankees are going to bring to the table with Damon. If Boras is intent on getting more, Damon is likely to be playing elsewhere in 2010 and beyond.

– Sherman also notes the Yankees intend to either pick up Sergio Mitre’s $1.25 million option by next week’s deadline or offer him arbitration, keeping him around as rotation depth. As expected, the Yankees also plan on non-tendering Chien-Ming Wang and then considering offering him a smaller money deal to return.

– Cashman on Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, via Feinsand: “I look at them as starters that can relieve. We haven’t had our meetings, but I would anticipate going to spring training with as much starting depth as possible.”

Cashman also told reporters that he’s not actively shopping Ian Kennedy, but teams have called with interest.

Reggie chats with Damon, Pettitte

Received this press release in my inbox today from Sirius XM, where Reggie Jackson hosted a show that ran through last night. Some good stuff in here:

Last night (Nov. 10) on their weekly show, “October Nights,” on SIRIUS XM’s Mad Dog Radio, Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson and co-host Bill Pidto spoke with two members of the 2009 World Champion NY Yankees, free agent outfielder Johnny Damon and free agent pitcher Andy Pettitte.

Highlights from the interviews below:
 
Host, Reggie Jackson:
“You’re a free agent.  One of the things people don’t know much about is you’re close to 3000 hits.  You’re about three years away…”

Johnny Damon:
“Yeah, I believe I’m at 2,425 now so it’s going to have to be three very good years or four pretty decent years so I have to try to keep going strong.”

Jackson: “Are you telling us that you’d like to play another three or four years?”

Damon:
“Yeah, absolutely.  I feel like with my body type, the fact that I’ve been able to play in at least 140 games over the past 14 seasons, I feel like I can keep it going.  I’ll find a way to try to win at all costs.  So, that being said, I’m going to take a little break now because the offseason just got here but I’m going to start working out sooner this offseason.  It seems like when you start to mature in age a bit your workouts tend to start happening a lot sooner after the season.  So I’m going to give myself ’til probably December 1 and then I’m going to get going very hard.  And hopefully by then I’ll know what lies in store for me and hopefully it’s back in pinstripes.”

Host, Bill Pidto: “So all things being equal, Johnny, you’d like to come back to the Yanks?”

Damon: “Why not?  I mean, we just won a championship.  That new stadium is incredible.  The Steinbrenners have been the best owners in the game as long as I can remember.  They want to win and they proved it last offseason.  The Yankees, it’s amazing when you have the pinstripes on and you walk through the clubhouse and you see guys like Reggie Jackson walking around, you see Tino Martinez, you see Yogi Berra.  These guys are life-long Yankees and they’ve been accepted into the family because of what they did and how they played the game.  And they won in New York City.  So, that being said, I’ve loved playing for New York these past four years.  You know, if it works out that I do come back then that’d be great and if not, we’ll see where I restart my future at.”

***************

Host, Bill Pidto:
“When you look to the financial aspects of your future do you maybe say, ‘You know what?  I’ll play for a little bit less if I can stay with the Yanks?'”

Johnny Damon: “Well, we have to go through the system and start negotiating if that’s what it’s going to take.  We just need to start talking.  We know New York has all the resources in the world but they also know I want to come back.  So I’m sure it wouldn’t be too much of a problem.  I’m sure there’s something we can work out.  And if it doesn’t work out I’ve enjoyed four years there but I really hope it works out.  I’m going to be back up there in a week and just savor the moment again because this was truly a wonderful year.”

***************

Host, Reggie Jackson:
“Johnny, if you had a wish list, besides coming back and playing for the Yankees again, do you see anything that you would wish for from [general manager] Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenner family to add to the ballclub?”

Johnny Damon: “Hmm.  Well, I always feel like you can’t stay stagnant.  I always feel like you have to move forward.  You can never have enough pitching.  I know there’s guys out there like John Lackey.  He’s been a workhorse for years.  I don’t have that list in front of me [of] who are free agents but there are quality players out there and the Yankees are always trying to get better.  I just hope when they try to get better my name is still involved with it and I’m still wearing pinstripes.”

**************************************
 
Host, Bill Pidto:
“In recent years you’ve thought about retiring, taken a long time to make up your mind.  I know it is really early, the season not even over a week, but what are you thinking about for 2010?”

Andy Pettitte: “You know, really I just need to kinda just get down here and get away.  If you immediately start thinking about it right now and you start counting the numbers and you’re looking at the calendar you’re saying, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s only 90 days to spring training.  Are you kidding me?’  Obviously, you can imagine what’s going through my head right now.  I’m down here by myself at my ranch so haven’t even been with my wife really yet as far as to go through things with her and stuff like that.  But I’m just going to try to take a little bit of time here and I want to do the right thing.  I want to do the right thing for my family more than anything.  And I don’t want to continue to play baseball trying to accomplish selfish goals because I’ve never done that before and I feel like that if you try to start doing that you’re not going to be able to be successful as a teammate as you need to be, as far as I feel like the time and the attention that I need to pay to my teammates when you start trying to worry about yourself too much.  So there’s a lot of things I need to factor in and think about.  I’m not trying to hold anybody up.  I don’t want to hold anybody up.  People can do what they want to do, you know?  But I just want to make the right decisions for my family.  I don’t want to leave my kids hanging and regret not seeing my kids do their stuff.  They’re not able to be in New York with me no more, you know?  I went the last month and a half, two months of the season not seeing my family at all except for the couple of times they flew up during the playoffs.”

Pidto:
“You talk about goals.  Does the Hall of Fame weigh into it at all?  18 wins now, you’re #1 all time in postseason wins.  You’re at 229 wins during the regular season.  Do you feel maybe you need to pad those regular season numbers a little bit or is it not something that you think about?”

Pettitte:
“That’s the other, and heck, I’m not going to lie to you.  Now towards the end of the season and that’s all your friends want to talk to you about and that’s coming up.  And to me that’s just like, it’s so off the wall because I’ve never thought about the Hall of Fame.  And so it’s not.  I don’t want to think about that.  If that’s something that happens in my future down the road that would be something I feel like the Lord just absolutely blessed me with and given me the honor to be able to be a part of something like that.  Like I said, I want to concentrate on if I come back to just figure out a way that I can continue to hopefully perform at a high level like I feel like I was able to do this year and then, more importantly, to feel like I can contribute to the team and make the guys around me hopefully better and be a positive influence in the clubhouse and hopefully continue to be a positive influence on people.”

“October Nights,” with Reggie Jackson and Bill Pidto, aired Tuesdays (7 – 9 pm ET) through November 10 exclusively on Mad Dog Radio, SIRIUS channel 123 and XM channel 144.

 

Breaking up the Yankees

One of the realities of that great parade down the Canyon of Heroes was that it was probably going to be the last time these 2009 Yankees were together as a group. That was confirmed yesterday when Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon, two of the biggest keys to the World Series title, officially filed for free agency.

Jose Molina, Xavier Nady and Eric Hinske also officially filed on Monday, one weekend of celebration after rolling down Broadway on a float.

Brian Cashman said
yesterday that he does not expect to lock up any of his seven free agents before they splash onto the open market, which means that none of those five are likely to get a quickie deal, along with Andy Pettitte and Jerry Hairston, Jr.

What I keep telling people who ask is this: If you’d asked me at the All-Star Break who the Yankees would be more likely to keep, Damon or Matsui, I would have said Damon. But then Damon tailed off in the second half and Matsui was a monster, and now I really can’t be so sure.

The fact that the Yankees don’t see Matsui as anything but a DH hurts his chances, because the idea of a revolving-door DH between guys like A-Rod, Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira and company is appealing and makes sense.

As for Damon, he was a great Yankee, which I wasn’t sure he’d be when he was shaving off his Red Sox scruff. But the moment I truly believed the Yankees were going to win the World Series was his dash in Game 4. People don’t understand how incredibly smart of a play that was.

So Cashman vows he does not do things for sentimental reasons, and I believe him on that topic.  Just because a guy was the World Series MVP doesn’t mean you have to bring him back. Heck, the Yankees did it in ’96 with John Wetteland.

As for the other three guys in that group, Molina brings a lot to the clubhouse in  terms of relationships and wisdom. If the cost isn’t crazy, a return isn’t out of the question, and if not they can entrust the backup catcher job to Francisco Cervelli – who really did seem ready for it.

Hinske never really got as many at-bats as I thought Joe Girardi would give him down the stretch — it almost seemed at times that they forgot he was on the team — and Nady will be permitted to leave as a free agent, since it’s difficult to
count on a guy who is coming off his second serious surgery.

Should be a good Hot Stove. Who said baseball has an offseason?

A-Rod: Swing at strikes, Classic is a piece of cake

arodoctober.jpgNever mind the 0-for-8 showing and six strikeouts! Alex Rodriguez said that the October pressure has actually decreased from his torrid performance in the ALDS & ALCS.

“It works backwards for me,” Rodriguez said. “I thought the most
intense series was Minnesota, then Anaheim and this one. The most
pressure was Minnesota, because obviously, you don’t want to go home
after five games. For me again, it’s about swinging at strikes, and
it’s nothing different.”

Rodriguez held court very briefly with reporters after the Yankees’ workout on Friday and repeatedly used the phrase “swing at strikes,” peppering almost every comment with it as though he is trying to convince himself just as much as to get a point across.

Yet Johnny Damon isn’t so sure that A-Rod is going to get to see many pitches to hit. Here was his response when I asked him what he’s seen from Alex in the last two games:

“We definitely need to pick him up, but as you saw at the end of the
Angels series, he just wasn’t being pitched to at all,” Damon said. “If he gets in that zone where he can get
a strike, hopefully he can do damage with it. Teams are going into this
series and saying, ‘Let’s not let Alex stay hot. Let’s not let him beat
us.'”

Mariano Rivera: He’s human

mariano 91809.jpgThere are few things in sports today as automatic as seeing Mariano Rivera holding a baseball in the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs and nobody on base. Thanks for coming, arrive home safely. Right?

Wrong. Mike Sweeney launched a double that one-hopped the wall in right-center field, eluding the racing grasp of Brett Gardner, and Ichiro Suzuki slugged a Rivera cutter into the right field seats to celebrate his second walk-off hit in as many games. Rivera threw two pitches, both were hit very hard, and the Yankees lost.

“I wish I could bring it back and make my pitches, but it’s done,” Rivera said. “I just have to move forward.”

That was typical Mo cool, looking at it in the matter-of-fact viewpoint that can only be obtained by having been there and done it in the biggest spots baseball can present. But Rivera was very forthcoming when asked if this had been the best run of his life, a career-high string of 36 consecutive save opportunities converted until the Mariners celebrated last night.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Rivera said. “I know the numbers maybe show that,
but it would be impossible for me to say that. I’m throwing whatever
I’m throwing right now. Before, I used to throw harder. It’s totally
different. Am I more mature? Yes. But not strong like back then,
meaning velocity.”

Still, Rivera had allowed one run in his last 33 innings of work. That’s nothing to sniff at.

“That’s a pretty incredible feat,” Johnny Damon said. “Hopefully this means he’s not going to give up another run until March.”

Our buddy Steve Lombardi of WasWatching.com chips in with the following stat — Ichiro joins Marco Scutaro, Bill Mueller, and Bill Selby as the only batters to
hit a regular season, bottom of the 9th inning, walk-off homerun off
against Rivera.

Vernon Wells also hit a walk-off homer against Rivera – but it was
in the 11th inning of a tie game. Suzuki, Scutaro, Mueller and Selby
all did it in the ninth, with their team trailing. Suzuki, Scutaro, and Selby all did it after two-outs. Mueller did it after one out. Links to the games can be found here
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