At first, it was thought that he was going to cash in big-time following his home run of a regular season and his World Series heroics. Then it appeared to many he was going to be shut out, the winter's biggest loser. Now it looks like he's going to do just fine, maybe even better than fine.
But who knows? The winter's most intriguing game isn't quite over yet.
The Yankees supposedly adored him, and wanted him back badly. Yet, they didn't even mention a dollar amount to him until Dec. 18, when they were already "down the road'' with
The Yankees, a team that's historically without a budget or limits and is richer than ever after winning the World Series their first year in a palace of a ballpark, took back the injury-plagued Johnson, whose big plus over Damon is that he's supposed to represent youth, in order to save a few bucks. Yes,
Damon was supposedly hankering for a multiyear deal. Yet, now that he is said to have offers for one and two years from the Tigers, he is thought to be considering taking a one-year offer from either them, the White Sox or Braves over the two-year offer. It can't possibly be because he doesn't love Detroit. He's been publicly cited as a lover of the Detroit Red Wings,
In a sometimes dead winter, Damon has been our saving grace. We can only hope that he can keep the mystery going for one more week, when pitchers and catchers report to spring training.
Damon always loved the limelight -- his greatest years came in New York and Boston while his only bad one came in Oakland -- and he certainly has star power (not to mention great 2009 numbers). It appears that may finally be enough to overcome being a free agent in a year where players 35 or over are being routinely ignored (how does
In order, the perceived favorites to sign Damon were the Yankees, then the Braves or Giants, then the Yankees again, the Tigers, the A's, the Tigers again, the Braves again, the Tigers, the White Sox, and now finally, possibly the Tigers again.
"He's going to be a Tiger,'' predicted one AL executive.
Predictions are a dangerous proposition in the great Damon game. His winter probably won't be as successful as he hoped but it won't be the bomb some start to whisper it would be, either. Everyone in baseball is watching to see whether baseball's most famous agent,
A case could be made that $6 million or $7 million for one year is the right price in light of the fact that other mid-30s offensive performers like
The latest word is that he is believed to have two different offers from the Tigers, who are said to be giving him the option of a one- or two-year deal, both thought to be worth about $7 million annually.
The Tigers were said at one point to be out of money. They were supposed to be the wallflower of the winter. They traded the much younger outfielder
But consider two things about the Tigers:
1. Their highly respected manager
2. Ilitch has worked with Boras before, agreeing to sign
Beyond that, Damon does appear to be a good on-field fit for the Tigers, who have a terrific middle of the lineup with Ordonez,
The wise White Sox, a team that's known for surprise, are the shocking late comers to the derby. But while everyone assumed they'd solved their leadoff issue by importing
The Braves are the one eminently logical interested team. They need offense, have done nothing to enhance their lineup this winter and are a perfect geographical fit or Damon, who lives in Orlando, not far from where Atlanta's Disney training facility is located. Yet, at the moment, they appear to be running third in this derby. Early reports suggested the Braves were offering $4 million, with $2 million of it deferred. But sources have indicated they might have $6 million or so to spend.
And now, even that may not be enough to make them a serious player here. The Braves appear to be running behind the two AL Central rivalries right now. Although, nothing appears to be as it seems in baseball's most intriguing winter soap opera.
• The Indians are considering Dye, and if they did take him, he'd likely play some first base for them. One competing executive said Dye is "decent'' at first base. But the biggest question now is: How did he get into this position? Dye has two big things going against him in this market: 1) he's over 35, 2) he has bad defensive metrics in the outfield at a time when defense has been re-evaluated upward.
• Speaking of Glavine, congratulations to the future Hall of Famer, who retired and joined the Braves front office. Glavine could succeed in anything he tries, whether it be as a baseball executive, broadcaster or union leader.
• It should be a big Hall class five years from now, with
• Delgado was said to be a hitting up a storm in Puerto Rico but unable to move well enough to play first base. At one point, the Mets were the only ones scouting him when they, of course, have no need for a designated hitter. Eventually, they decided to add the slightly younger