The Braves appear to be moving aggressively to try to sign free agent outfielder Johnny Damon and are believed to be willing to make an offer comparable to the $6 million deal the Yankees floated to Damon, or perhaps even more than that, according to someone familiar with that team's situation. The Braves have made an offer for a one-year deal, but the exact amount of that initial bid isn't know.
One other person familiar with the Braves' situation said he believed they have as much as $7 million remaining in their budget after a mostly quiet winter. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and MLB.com reported Wednesday the Braves are in the bidding. It is believed the Braves' first offer includes some deferred money.
The Braves are viewed as having offensive needs, and the AJC reported that Braves icon Chipper Jones has tried to help recruit Damon, who scored 100 runs for the 10th time last season.
The Tigers are viewed as another possible destination for Damon, while the Rays, Reds, A's and Jays also reportedly have shown some level of interest in the ex-Yankee and Red Sox star whose free agency period has taken on soap operatic qualities.
The incumbent Yankees mentioned a possible $6 million offer to Damon in a conversation a few weeks ago, telling him they'd work hard to try to convince Yankees boss Hal Steinbrenner on a deal for $3 million paid over the 2010 season and $3 million more in deferred payments at no interest once Steinbrenner returned from his honeymoon.
Back on Dec. 18, Yankees GM Brian Cashman mentioned $14 million for two years but was said to be "down the road'' on a deal with Nick Johnson at the time, and Damon's recollection is that Johnson would have had to retract his acceptance or fail a physical for him to have a chance at getting that deal. Although, Cashman has said he recalled that the only contingency was that Damon would have to say yes before Johnson did. The Yankees signed Johnson that very day, and eventually added outfielders Randy Winn for $1.1 million and Marcus Thames for $900,000, completely closing the door on Damon.