December 21, 2005

Go Ahead, Bite The Big Apple

Updated below!

Johnny Damon is not someone you overpay for -- and I wasn't all that comfortable with the Red Sox offer of 4/40. So it'll be weird to see him clean-shaven and in pinstripes next summer, but I'm glad it's Steinbrenner and not Henry handing him an average of $13 million a season (!) until the end of 2009.

New York is paying for what Damon was, not what he will be. There can be no doubt that his four years in Boston will turn out to be far more productive than his four in the Bronx.

Damon's the original Idiot, the hirsute anti-Yankee who drilled the grand slam to ice Game 7. Yankee fans hate this guy. Now they have to pretend to like him, just like they're doing with Randy Johnson.

Anyone wanna guess how many times we'll see Jeter bunting Damon to second in the first inning? ... As far as outfield skills, if Torre's smart, he'll put Damon in left and Shemp in center.

What it perhaps most surprising -- though it really shouldn't be -- is the profound ignorance displayed by the national media. Read Olney, Rosenthal and the CHB to see how horrible confused and doomed the (newly) cursed the Red Sox are.

Their collective stupidity and inability to offer even a hint of actual analysis shouldn't surprise me, yet it does. It's like they are all 10 years old, thinking one team is better than another because it has more recognizable names on it. How do these guys have jobs?

Meanwhile, here in reality: Thanks for the memories, Johnny.

Now ... Jeremy Reed, come on down!

***

Damon is offering the usual bullshit:
My message to Red Sox fans is I tried. I tried everything in my power to try and come back, but unfortunately I know they're going to be upset, but I'm always going to have a strong feeling about them. I'm always going to remember the great times, the World Series, the three out of the four years we made the playoffs.
Upset? Well, not really. In 2009, seeing Damon in the Yankee outfield and not Boston's will be a pleasant sight, not an infuriating one. (I only wish we still had Doug Mirabelli on the team, so we could cackle when he went from first to third on Damon's noodle.) And replacing his production will not be that hard.

Damon:
Good leadoff men are tough to find and I think the Yankees found the best leadoff hitter in the game.
As Art Martone points out, Mark Loretta has a higher career on-base percentage (.365) than Damon (.353).

Damon, May 2005:
There's no way I can go play for the Yankees, but I know they're going to come after me hard. It's definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar, which the Yankees are going to offer me. It's not what I need.
Boston:   4 years -- $40,000,000
New York: 4 years -- $52,000,000
Damon, December 20, 2005:
Without a doubt [I'll cut my hair and shave my moustache]. Mr. Steinbrenner has a policy and I'm going to stick to it. Our policy with the Yankees is to go out there and win ...
Bostonian of the Year: David Ortiz. ... The Red Sox inked 37-year-old Rudy Seanez to a one-year deal with a club option for 2007. ... Tony Graffanino accepted salary arbitration. ... After nearly three months of rest and the use of a protective shoe, Pedro Martinez's right toe still hurts. "This worries me a little because generally by this time of the year I'm already throwing."

Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe:
No way around this one. Johnny Damon is a Yankee and it looks like the Red Sox don't know what they are doing. ... While New England slept last night, Damon got into bed with the enemy. Sox officials smugly believed there was no market for their marquee center fielder and the Yankees took advantage of Boston's big sleep. ...

So now your Boston Red Sox have no center fielder, no shortstop, and no first baseman to go along with no Theo Epstein and no clue. It's fair to say this is becoming a winter of discontent in Red Sox Nation. ... The Josh Beckett trade bought some goodwill and glad tidings, but losing Damon to the Yankees is a devastating blow to the foundation of the Nation.

The Sox won't recover from this one easily. In an already dismal offseason, they've now lost their center fielder and their leadoff hitter. They've also lost a local icon, a rare favorite of teenage girls and fanboy bloggers. ... [Damon's] production in pinstripes will be a personal affront to Red Sox fans around the world. ...

Bottom line: The Yankees just got better and more interesting, and the Red Sox just got worse and more boring.
While a columnist has more leeway than a repoter, it's amazing how factually wrong so much of CHB's work is. They assumed there was no market for Damon? They have no 1B? What???

Mike Lupica, New York Daily News:
The story here, in bold type, is that despite all the talk about saving money and getting younger, it was business as usual last night for the Yankees ...

I like Damon as a ballplayer, always have ... but over the second half of [last] season he faded the way the Red Sox faded and couldn't throw the ball to second base. There were, in fact, days when he made Bernie Williams' arm look like some kind of rocket launcher in comparison. ...

The idea that this is some part of prudent financial plan because they wouldn't go to seven years for Damon is pretty funny. ...

I have felt for years that the Yankees missed a great chance with Damon four years ago when he was leaving Oakland as a free agent. ... He was 28 and available and would have moved Derek Jeter to No. 2 in the order right there.

The Yankees passed. Damon went to Boston instead. And when it came down to Game 7 in the American League Championship Series, it was Damon who hit one of the most famous postseason home runs ever hit against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, that grand slam off Javier Vazquez that really was the end of the biggest comeback in sports history. ...

In the winter when the Yankees overpaid for Hideki Matsui they now overpay for Johnny Damon. Only here is $52 million supposed to be viewed as some kind of bargain ...
Joel Sherman, New York Post:
The Yanks signed Damon for the same amount as Hideki Matsui. Which makes sense. ...

In the past 48 hours, the Yanks let Boras know that if Damon did not sign immediately, they were going to jump on a lower-level center fielder such as Corey Patterson or Luis Matos. It probably was a bluff, but not one Boras could risk. ... A key Idiot has jumped from the Red Sox to the Yankees, who suddenly look like winter winners. ...

For a few weeks, the Yanks have been calibrating how much greater their chances to win it all in 2006 and '07 are with Damon, and whether that was enough to motivate having Damon in 2008 and 2009, when he will be 34 and 35, and his already atrophying defense will have worsened further. ...

Damon instantly makes the Yanks the AL East favorites again, with all that the Blue Jays have done and all that the Red Sox might do.
George King, New York Post:
Damon is leaving Fenway Park for Yankee Stadium to carry on the legacy of Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Bernie Williams. ... Damon's decision caught the dysfunctional Red Sox brass by surprise. CEO Larry Lucchino said negotiations with Damon were ongoing almost an hour after the deal was sealed with the Yankees. ...

As for Yankee fans carrying a grudge against Damon for helping the Red Sox climb out of a 3-0 ditch in the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees, that will vanish shortly.

Why did Damon leave Boston for the blood rival Yankees? Damon was concerned about the upheaval in the Red Sox front office ... Also, Damon's wife has voiced a displeasure over the way she has been treated by the Boston media. ...
Tyler Kepner, New York Times:
[T]he Red Sox have fallen squarely into turmoil. ... The Yankees, meanwhile, have no major holes. Their off-season work is all but complete, and they have done it at the expense of their rivals.
The back pages of the rags are all pretty much the same:

Herald:

Daily News:

Post:

35 comments:

stankyfish said...

Redsock, I wish I could agree. The two-headed GM monster is an embarassment and the front office blew this one. I disagree that Johnny's best years are behind him. Do I think he'll be the same player at the back end of this contract? No. I do think, though, that he was the best possible option at that position.

Now, we have three spots to fill and they need to be filled by a front office that has shown little reason to be entrusted to the task so far this off season. They've done a great job letting people go -- let's see if they can bring players at LEAST as good as the ones they cut loose.

L-girl said...

I think it's great. If the Yankees are determined to have outfielders with noodle arms, they couldn't have picked a soggier noodle.

I've been a fan of Damon's since his KC days, but that Damon isn't in evidence anymore.

Although I do look forward to seeing him clean-shaven. :)

Kyle said...

I'm actually in support of the Sox not signing Damon. I think it was clear they weren't going to when the Reed and Coco Crisp rumors started. Sucks that he went to the Yankees but oh well.

Would like to see Reed in CF or maybe Griffey Jr. as stopgap until David Murphy or Jacoby Ellsbury are ready for Fenway.

Sean O said...

Redsock-
I'm pulling my hair out listening to XM radio today, I just want to scream at all the jackass red sox fans calling us cursed and ripping into the team.

How about this, for my own mental state at work, can people who think the front office is doing a good job and Damon was way overpriced just post a brief comment saying i'm not crazy?

Let all of the "experts" call us doomed and say how stupid we are, we'll see what happens when Damon's skipping throws into 2nd and hitting .270 next season. We. Are. Right.

Smart Guys Unite.

Kyle said...

I'm with you Sean O...you aren't crazy.

I think the front office is about 3 moves ahead of all of us.

CoCo Crisp is an option. He is 26 and could leadoff.

Jeremy Reed is an option and he is only 24!

Plus, Jacoby Ellsbury and David Murphy are both VERY good prospects in our system now.

Eric said...

God, I hope so. Can someone remind me again what's so hot about Jeremy Reed besides him being 24? He hasn't shown much in the way of living up to his potential as of yet.

Devine said...

Johnny was asking for too much money. I'd rather they spend the money elsewhere.

Good move.

Sean O said...

eric-
#1). his eye is about as good as Youk's, so he'll get on base and see a lot of pitches.
#2). Best defensive CF in the game, his range rating of 3.1 is well ahead of Damon, and Damon's in 2nd place.
#3). acceptable arm, from what I've heard
#4). he's moving from safeco to fenway, which will undoubtedly boost his numbers.
#5). he's young and cheap.

You should look up baseballprospectus' comments on Reed, I was against the signing until I read them. He has a tremendous upside.

Anonymous said...

it caracks me up hearing fans saying about a player being "overpaid' ...what's it matter to you are you paying for him no, it's irrelevant ...and face it red sox fans if a 2-3-4- headed GM model worked teams would have used it years ago, it doesn't the Red Sox in a couple years will be a middle of the pack team...their evolving into a team comprised of journeyman players now...no wonder Manny wants out .....

Brett said...

I hope you're right because if the Yankees get from Damon next year what the Red Sox got this year, I think we got some problems.

I would have loved to have Johnny back at 4/40.

Jack Marshall said...

I'm proud, proud, to be a visitor to this blog! Redsock is 100% right, and there is no way this is a blunder. The Sox had the oldest team in th majors last year, and if anyone has paid any attention to the recent history of the Detroit Tigers, to name just one example, that's the equivilent of a cancer diagnosis. The Sox set out to make the team younger while the oldsters still had value, and we will all be grateful for it. I wish Johnny had come back, but not at that price, and not for 4 guaranteed years.

Yes: it is not commforting for a contender to have to find both a shortstop and a centerfielder at this late date. I can't help but feel that the unwanted and unnecessary distractions inflicted on the team by Theo's navel-gazing and Manny's Mannyness have hurt, but that's water over the Wall.
Damon is a fool.

Sean O said...

Anonymous-
If you're going to be too pussy to post your name, your thoughts, which albeit are extremely stupid, mean nothing.

Grow a pair and come back to us, hon.

Jack Marshall said...

I love it: "if a 2-3-4- headed GM model worked teams would have used it years ago," That's the brain-dead excuse used to dismiss every new idea or unconventional technique since the invention of the wheel! 1960s: "If a ninth inning closer worked, teams would have used it years ago!" 1970s: "If a 5 man rotation worked..." And so on. What a crock.

Sean O said...

Well, I just called into Fantasy Focus on XM radio, if you heard the person frantically defending the damon situation. Never thought I would feel so passionately about a move to embarass myself on national radio, but there you go!

Anonymous said...

Dead on Bro. Johnny D is dead weight in 2 years.

mikeys said...

there is no love lost from me for johnny. did anyone hear johnny referring to himself as the best leadoff hitter in the game in his interview today? he arguably could be just that, but please have a liitle modesty, johnny. I also found it interesting that he refers to the yanks as "we" already. see ya, johnny, don't let the door hit ya.....

Jack Marshall said...

Fact: Damon's second half swoon from ijuries and fatigue cost the Sox an outright win on the East and didn't help in the play-offs. Fact: a player with any snese of loyalty or fairness would have given the Sox a chance to match the Yankee offer, or at least make a new offer. Fact: center is a defensive position first and foremost, and Johnny has declined to the point where he's no better than average and probably worse.
13 million a year is absurd. The Sox can use that money better.

mouse said...

I'm honestly a little stunned that this happened before the Jan. 8th deadline. I figured Boras would at least drag it out that long, but...well, I guess it's hard to refuse $52 million.

That is way, WAY too much money for a guy with a noodle arm an a propensity for running full-tilt into walls.

I had hoped that Johnny would take the hometown discount--I thought the 4/40 contract was perfectly fair and reasonable--it matched Tek's contract, after all. The fact that he signed with the Yankees for the same number of years and not for say, five or six, proves that he did it just for the money. I know this is the world of professional sports in the modern era but jeez...would it kill some of these guys to have a little loyalty now and then? Money can't buy you happiness. Just ask Manny.

I'll miss Johnny's bat in our lineup. I will certainly not miss his terrible arm or his occasional posturing to the media (he sounds like a complete egomaniac in the press releases, and there were times he sounded like that during his tenure here). Three years from now we'll know for sure which team made the mistake. I'm 90% sure it'll be the Yankees who most regreat this deal.

The dust in the media will eventually settle, like it did when Pedro left. I'm sure that whenever Damon has a significant "true Yankee" moment next year that both press corps will be all over it, though. [Sigh] Baseball "analysts" are such morons...why do these people get paid to write this crap?

Message to Ben and Jed: I'm still behind you. Now for the love of God, get us Jeremy Reed and a SS! PLEASE!

suzy said...

michelle damon = the reason why johnny is going to new york.

boston isn't going to make her a big star. clearly.

Brett said...

It wouldn't be pleasant watching Johnny in the Yankees outfield in 2009 if he's wearing a couple new Championship rings and it sure wouldn't be pleasant watching him win them.

Rosenthal made a valid point about Jeremy Reed having the third-lowest OPS in the American League last season. Lorreta is 34 and coming off a serious hand injury which he has not shown a recovery from as of yet. Upgrade over Graffanino at second baseman but leadoff hitter remains to be seen. Also Damon's OBA in Boston was over .360

Not the end of the world but I can't pretend to be very happy about this turn of events. Looks to me like the Yankees just got better for 2006 at the Red Sox expense.

redsock said...

It wouldn't be pleasant watching Johnny in the Yankees outfield in 2009 if he's wearing a couple new Championship rings and it sure wouldn't be pleasant watching him win them.

That will not happen. No Way.

The only way it does is if Damon goes off to another team and gets his rings, then comes back to New York for 2009.

Fear not.

We'll be fine.

We are fine.

Anonymous said...

the Red Sox are turning into the Mariners of the east. The Mariners for years put together competitive enough teams, just enough to keep their fans intersted but banking millions of dolars. Those of you who think that Epstein resigned for different reasons will soon see why. It was a change in philosophy within the organization and the ownership group, time to start banking millions, make the odd signing to keep the fans interested, don't believe it just watch, it's already begun...kodus to Epstien for leaving, now Damon ..they know the Red Sox have no intention of being competitive...welcome to Mariner land....

redsock said...

i see nothing wrong with what the sox are doing.

the key is to remain competitive while getting younger.

boston is doing both of those things -- new york is doing only one.

i'm excited for 2006.

Kathy said...

Ouch, Suzy. If a guy had said what you said (about Michelle being the one who decided on going to NYC), he'd be criticized for being a chauvinist pig! On the other hand, it could be true. As Dan Shaughnessy said, "For all of his athletic gifts, we always knew Johnny had the depth of your average kiddie pool..". And I'm afraid that's right.

Sean O said...

anonymous-
You're retarded; go away and get some factual basis before running your mouth off here again.

Tell me, why should I be upset at having a young stable of arms, two of the best hitters in the league, the #1 prospect in the league, a highly-regarded 2b/ss prospect, and $130+ to spend every season?

Man, the Sox suck, I'm sure we're going to be mediocre for the next decade.

Jim M from Buffalo said...

Players come and players go. Do I like the fact that he bolted to a team that makes my stomach turn?....no. Am I concerned that a hole needs to be filled in CF...yes of course I am.
But I dont think its the end of the world for the Sox as most so called baseball analysts have predicted.
I'm sure the SS and CF holes will be filled with cheaper and younger players. 4 years for Damon at 13 million doesnt seem like money well spent for a team that will still needs to win games 10-9. Damon is going to be 33, He seemed spent at the end of last season and his defense has gotten worse with each passing season.
The Lineup will be fine. The pitching will be better with Beckett, Mota and Seanz. Hopefully the SS holes will be filled with younger players at a cheaper price and the Sox can go out and get that one more arm for the rotation or bullpen.
The sun will come up tommorow on Red Sox Nation.
I cheer for the Red Sox. I dont cheer for individual players no matter how flashy and popular they are.
As we have seen in this episode as we have seen a thousand times before.....its all about the money for them. Always has been always will be.
I'm just looking forward to game 7 of the 2006 ALCS when I watch Jeremy Reed or Andy Marte score from first with the winning run as Damons throw bounces feebly halfway between the third base line and the Yankees dugout.
Take your money and run Johnny. I know where my loyalties lie and its not with getting upset over the likes of you leaving.

Jack Marshall said...

Can someone tell me what Dan S.'s "boring" obsession is? He wrote the same crap when Mo Vaughn and Canseco left. I'm trying to remember when the Sox were boring...I can't. Even the awful Hobson teams were interesting. Tell me, Dan, how much is boring worth? Bill Mueller was boring...I'd take a whole team of guys like him. Varitek is boring. Timlin's boring.

And I just love the idea that Damon, that management whiz, was concerned about the Sox administrative moves. Right, Johnny: the Yankees are a model of front office harmony. IDIOT!!!

By the way, while we're "anonymous" bashing [but surely your name isn't REALLY "sean O"?], the Mariners collapsed because Boone, Edgar Martinez,and the rest all got old at once. This is what the Sox are trying to avoid, and the Yankees are risking big time. Wanna bet that a minimum of two out of Matsui, Damon, Posada, Giambi, Sheffield and Jeter see their numbers collapse in '06?

Anonymous said...

hey nobody is saying the Red Sox will suck the Mariners had a lot of competitive years at well but come on, every team has "prospects" but they are what they are "prospects"..look at Peter Gammons columns he has projected prospects for years in the Red Sox organization and he even admits if 25% of the prospects make it, it is successful...especially pitchers...I hope the Sox win World Series to their hearts content more then I do for the Yankees...but the Sox are a rich franchise who have lost their G.M., their shortstop, their center-fielder, back-up catcher on and on...don't tell me their's not a change of philosophy in that front office...it's not all or nothing you can re-tool, bring in prospects as well as maintaining a strong team ...don't accept the company line...Mariners lost Johnson, Griffey, Rodriquez then Gillick quit ...Sox have lost Pedro, Damon, Manny? and Epstein's quit...wake up before it's to late

Jack Marshall said...

What??? What kind of cockamamie analysis is that? No wonder you're anonymous. The Mariners set an AL record for wins after "losing" Johnson, Griffey and ARod. The Sox didn't "lose" their SS...they traded him, and a good thing too. The Sox didn't "lose" their back-up catcher (as if any back-up catcher in the history of the game was crucial to a team); they traded him for a player who will get triple his at bats. And who's tlking about bringing in "prospects" to play key positions? Last I looked, the only "prospect" in the mix was Marte, and nobody's projecting him as a regular in 2006.

This event is a good dunce test for the media, and they are falling right into line. Buster Olney is predictably hysterical. Gammons is simply saying that the Sox have some work to do. Someone write down who says what, and around June we can have a major expose.

Sean O said...

My last name is ridiculously complicated gaelic, and so Sean O is a handy shortening, since any name with 3 h's and 3 a's is kinda hard to type. I'm just sick of these people who give absolutely no identification information when they post. I mean, if (rather, when) I say something stupid, the next week when I post something else you can call me on it. Anonymous? not so much.

I'm so not worried about the Red Sox right now it's funny. I'm going to steal something I saw posted in the past two days, that the Red Sox didn't sign Damon since he would make them older, the Yankees signed Damon so they would be [i]younger[/i]. It's a tremendous point.

Plus, their star pitcher walked 6 red sox the last time he pitched against us, Chacon was probably a fluke, Small is the biggest fluke ever, and johnson / mussina are both old and busted. Why aren't people thinking about this? God, the Yankees' defense alone is hilarious.

mikeys said...

now lets take the boatload of mo0ney we saved on damon and go out and sign roger clemens. everyone knows that pitching wins championshipsand the sox are looking at a promising rotation this year. hopefully schill is back in form, foulke is back, papelbon should be a force, beckett, delcarmen, timlin, arroyo, the list goes on. i think the sox should make a one year offer of between 20-23 mill for clemens. he's coming off his best era of his career and what better storybook ending to his career than to finish it with the team he started it with?

Jack Marshall said...

Sean O (just yanking your chain)...your points are right on. How do professional sportswriters look in the mirror? Edes' "they should have done something different" piece in the Globe has to be the all time low in Monday morning quarterbacking. A player acts against logic and self-interest because his manipulative agent is greedy and the Yankees are irresponsible, and its the Sox' fault? Then there are the stupid "murderer's row" pieces at ESPN. Damon walked a lousy 50+ times in 2004...subpar for a lead-off man. If he doesn't hit over .310, he has an inadequate OBA, and his power was vanishing last season.
Then there's the idiotic "Furcal's contract defined the value of a lead-off man" junk. Furcal's contract defined the value of a terrific, young, offensively and defensively gifted SHORTSTOP. It had nothing to do with Johnny Damon.
So much garbage analysis...it just drives me nuts.

I'm all for having Clemens end his career in Boston, but 23 million for him is absurd. HALF that is absurd. Pay for wins, not for resume: the odds say it's more likely that Roger will break down in 2006 than thrive. (They say the same about the Unit, Yankee fans...)

Anonymous said...

yeah let's see they are all idiotic..but even if they are anyone (even a idiot) can see the Red Sox are a mess..no starting shortstop, centerfielder, 3rd baseman, no first baseman, 4 general managers...no back-up catcher...and you brilliant minds want to sign Roger Clemens ...being a die-hard fan is one thing being blind and stupid's another...

mouse said...

no starting shortstop, centerfielder, 3rd baseman, no first baseman, 4 general managers...no back-up catcher

It'd be nice if people would get their facts straight before posting stuff like this.

We have a 3B--his name is Mike Lowell. We also have Andy Marte and, if need be, Kevin Youkilis. Right now, Youkilis is listed as our starting 1B, which frankly doesn't bother me. No way he could be any less productive than Millar was this year.

We have 3 potential backup catchers; Ken Huckaby, who was signed to a minor league deal weeks ago, prospect Kelly Shoppach and now Flaherty (ugh) whom we got just yesterday.

We have two GMs, named Ben and Jed.

If, by some strange, highly unlikely scenario, we are unable to find a new CF or SS, there are still in-house solutions who can fill the void until someone better becomes available. Or maybe they'll surprise us all and perform really well if given the chance. Worst case scenario, SS could be covered by Alex Cora, Dustin Pedroia, Alajandro (sp?) Mechado or even Tony Graffanino. CF could be covered by Adam Stern, the aforementioned Mechado or some other farmhand.

Again, that's a WORST CASE scenario, meaning the FO does nothing between now and ST, which is extremely unlikely. But really, even if we have to go that route, the Sox still have a fair amount of depth. It wouldn't be ideal, but it'd still be a better group than some other teams might field. Which is one reason why I'm not panicking.

Jim M from Buffalo said...

I just dont see where we are a mess.
I like a Youkilis/Petagine platoon at 1B. Youkilis has shown that he deserves more AB's than he was getting and he will provide at least as much production than we were getting from Millar.
I hated to see Muellar go but I think Lowell will fit in nice. He's the best corner glove in the game and Fenway will suit his stroke much better than Pro Player(or what ever they are calling that god awful mess of a stadium nowadays). He should keep the corner spot warm until Marte is ready to take over.
Lorretta for a back up catcher is the steal of the century. The guy is one of the premier second basemen in baseball and Red Sox fans are gonna love the way he plays the game. I think Graffanino will win the SS job over Cora because of his bat and the fact that hes a very underated fielder.
The only glaring hole right now is in CF but I think before January is out your gonna see Reed, Crisp or Patterson here.I'd prefer Crisp he's one of the rising young stars in the game with great wheels/good pop and a good glove however the tribe's asking price may be a bit too much. Dark horse- Gathright or maybe even a Rocco Baldelli if he's all the way back from his injury.
Id love to see Crisp leading off and Lorretta in the 2 hole followed by the big bashers Ortiz/Manny/Nixon/Varitek and Lowell....thats a damn good 1-7 with Youk and Grafinino as your 8-9's.....dont worry folks its not the end of the world.