The Baseball Desert

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bye Bye Johnny

"There's no way I can go play for the Yankees, but I know they're going to come after me hard," [Damon] said on May 3. "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."
Good to see that there are still men of principle playing this game.

To be fair to Damon, he was still a member of the Red Sox on May 3rd, so any open indication that he might be interested in going over to the Dark Side Of The Pinstripe would have been a guarantee of boos and hostility at Fenway. I do however have a harder time with phrases like this:
"My message to Red Sox fans is I tried, I tried everything in my power to come back"
If that were really true then he would have signed the 4 / 40 deal that the Red Sox offered. It's always hard for me to get any kind of perspective on these deals, because the money is so ridiculous. Part of me thinks "if you really wanted to stay, then you could have signed the contract which guaranteed you $10, 000, 000 a year" (I can get a better idea of the amount with all the zeros in there), but everything is relative, and the only people who can really give any opinion are the players themselves. I know that if someone offered me a 30% pay rise to do exactly the same job in another city, I would probably signed on the dotted line, and if the Red Sox weren't prepared to match the Yankees offer - for whatever reason - then it's their loss.

I really can't figure out the thinking behind the Red Sox (non-)offer. Is $13m a year a fair price for a genuine leadoff hitter? Given that no team in baseball - not even the Yankees - was going to give Damon the 7 /84 deal his agent Scott Boras initially talked about, 4 / 52 seems like a pretty good trade-off.

Apart from the gaping hole this leaves in the leadoff spot and in center field, this deal makes it all the more essential that the Red Sox do everything in their power to keep Manny. Losing one star outfielder is careless; losing two would be wilful negligence.