Damon has been mostly a DH for the Tigers this year, playing in the field for only 36 of 111 games. He has played left field only twice since July 28. His OBP is .358 (which would be 5th on the Sox) and his SLG is .410 (worse than every regular except Marco Scutaro). He has an 106 OPS+ and swung a hot bat in July: .325/.409/.571/.981 in 22 games.
Tigers beat writer Tom Gage tweeted a few Damon quotes:
Tougher decision now (to return to Boston) than leaving Boston. ... Had a great time playing for Boston. When it became apparent I was not a necessity to re-sign, it got ugly. ... Have to think if I'm going to be probably one of the nicest guys in baseball or once again the most hated guy in baseball. ... I have to think long and hard about this. I hadn't even thought about playing for that team again. Never crossed my mind. ... Somehow Boston is still staying in this race, which makes it intriguing. ... My heart tells me I'm a TIger. That's kind of where I'm leaning.SoSHer Eric Van posted that Peter Gammons offered some thoughts on the Red Sox pre-game show:
1) Started as a block, then became interestBuster Olney:
2) They won't give any extra money
3) Nor will they give a top prospect if the Tigers ask
4) Could well happen
The bet here is that Damon will accept the deal to Boston; friends are trying to convince him to go.Both David Ortiz and Jason Varitek said they would welcome Damon.
That's my boy, you know that. It would be great. Johnny is a fun person to be around and I'm pretty sure he'd be excited to be back, and for all those people that did him wrong, [they] can put that back together and make him forget about the Yankees thing.Varitek:
He's a special player. He's pushing Hall of Fame-type numbers. And you add that Johnny's great in the clubhouse, he's a gamer on the field and one hell of a teammate. ... I didn't really ever want to see him leave this uniform.Abraham reported that after the Tigers game, Damon
told reporters afterward that he was leaning toward staying with the Tigers ... Meanwhile, given Damon's comments, the abuse he received at Fenway the last few years may be playing a role in his decision.Damon:
What we had in Boston — I stress had, from 2002 to 2005 — we had a special bunch of guys. And after the 2004 season, guys started leaving, the Pedros and Derek Lowes. And in 2005, how Mark Bellhorn left, how Alan Embree left, how Kevin Millar was being treated there. That's something that sticks with you. ... Varitek knows what I brought to the table night in and night out. Ortiz does. And Wakefield. So obviously I know they want me. But I love it here in Detroit, and I love my teammates here. ... I'm kind of weighing all my options, seeing if I could help improve this team for next year.If he is thinking about 2011, then Boston is not for him. He would have no place on next year's team. Also, it's fascinating that he is still upset over being booed at Fenway. We know he's not all that bright, but how can he not understand -- he has had a 16-year career in the AL -- that a beloved Red Sox player who signs with the Yankees gets booed, and booed loudly. That's how it works.
I like to believe that we can still get back into this thing. Our schedule looks OK. We can definitely make a run.The Tigers are 10 GB in the Central and 15 GB in the Wild Card; the Red Sox are 5.5 GB in both the East and WC.
There are eight teams Damon can be traded to without his consent -- and Boston is not on that list. So if the teams can work out a trade by Wednesday afternoon (there is a 48-hour window after the claim), Damon would have to approve it.