Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Lightning 2.21.2010

  • Damon go where Boras baaaaaaaaad!!

Johnny Damon finally agreed to join the Tigers on a 1-year, $8 million contract. One has to wonder if Damon still believes that he was best-served by his agent; whether or not he has the capability or wherewithal to look into the mirror and say to himself, "I screwed up; I should've told Scott where I wanted to be and taken the Yankees deal".

It's also a question as to how deeply Boras is going to wade into the muck----something to which he clearly has no aversion given his past and present behaviors----to try and convince the nauseated public and the player that it's actually a good thing that Damon rejected the Yankees offer of 2-years and around $14 million and wound up in Detroit for a year. The Tigers are not going to contend this year, so Damon won't be playing meaningful games in August and September. One thing he can cling to is chance for a big year and improved economic climate to make up for the money he left on the table this winter.

There's talk that he got a no-trade clause in the deal. Presumably, this was an attempt on the part of Boras to "win" something in the negotiations. Maybe it was either/or; either a 2-year deal without a no-trade; or a 1-year deal with a no-trade. The fact is that Damon's going to be begging for a trade at mid-season. He might even wind up back with the Yankees.

In the end, Boras did find his "one stupid owner" to, well, do something relatively stupid. Tigers owner Mike Ilich should've stuck to a 1-year, $5 million deal for Damon and said, "take it or leave it". He had nowhere else to go. The White Sox weren't going to get crazy with the money; the Rays and Braves don't have the money; and Damon wouldn't have had much choice but to go to Detroit.

Johnny Damon has been ridiculed relentlessly during this whole process, but it's not as if he was ever in control (or wanted to be in control) of his career. Always content to let things take care of themselves. In ballplayer parlance, that's "leave me alone; talk to my agent; I don't wanna think."

Damon left the Red Sox when he didn't want to leave the Red Sox; he left the Yankees when he didn't want to leave the Yankees. Now he's a Tiger and coming up with the crap that "Detroit is where he wanted to be".

Yah. Right.

In a lukewarm defense of Damon, though, Boras got him the extra money from the Yankees in 2005 that wasn't forthcoming from the Red Sox; and he somehow found a way to let the player save some semblance of face in 2010 by not winding up with something that, in the macho world of the professional athlete, would've been seen as scrounging for remaining scraps somewhere in the neighborhood of $2-4 million. Damon hasn't done anything different during this foray into free agency than he did before----he trusted his agent and didn't want to make any decisions on his own----the other times it worked out; this time, it didn't.

There's also been questioning of what the reaction of the Yankees faithful will be when Damon returns to Yankee Stadium in a Tigers uniform. The idea that he's going to get booed is ridiculous. That's not to say he won't, but why would he?

Did he say anything negative about the Yankees aside from the bitter comment about hoping they don't ask Derek Jeter to take a 20% paycut?

Did he up and leave when he was given a fair offer?

Did he play poorly?

We're not talking Carl Pavano here. Damon was a loyal Yankee; he played well; he behaved professionally; and his agent misread the market in, to be fair to Boras, an understandable fashion considering the history of the Yankees. How many times have they said one thing about the vault being closed and then mystically came up with the extra cash when zero-hour arrived?

Neither Boras nor Damon (if he thought about it at all) realized that Yankees GM Brian Cashman is truly in charge now and the days of preceived overpaying are over. It cost Damon because he's now a Tiger; but there's no reason to boo him; and just as there was no reason to credit him for any savvy when he got his money from the Yankees in 2005, there's no reason to blame him now. He did as he always has done; he listened to his agent. And this time, it was a mistake.

  • A good day for the Mets:

Let's spin the wheel and stare into the abyss.

Looking at an alternate history, if you will.

It's December. The Mets are desperate to make a move, any move. The Jason Bay negotiations are on hold; the fan base is still livid from the lack of movement and the 2009 catastrophe; season ticket sales are lagging; and a popular free agent coming off an injury is insisting he's healthy and ready to have a big year in 2010.

The Mets, panicky, worried about Bay returning to the Red Sox; about not getting any other help to bolster a needy lineup and assuage a battered fan base, sign Carlos Delgado to a contract for 2010 ignoring that he's going to be 38 at mid-season and is trying to return from hip labrum surgery; that his total immobility at first base was evident in winter ball. They decided to shut their eyes and do something; to make a deal for a recognizable name; and a player who performed well for them.

It's now February.

Pitchers and catchers have reported.

The Mets are putting a positive spin on their winter after getting Bay and having to endure the Carlos Beltran-surgery calamity.

And the news comes out that Delgado needed additional surgery on his hip labrum and also microfracture surgery on the hip socket. According to his agent, Delgado's going to be out for four months and "will be the Carlos Delgado of old in four months rather than an old Carlos Delgado".

Um. Okay.

What, pray tell, in this alternate universe, would be said about the Mets now if this had happened while Delgado was under contract for 2010? Even if it was for a low base salary of $1.5-2 million, would the Mets be given a similar pass for this occurrence as the emerging "genius" in Seattle Jack Zduriencik is getting for Cliff Lee requiring surgery on his foot?

You tell me.

Truth would have nothing to do with the reaction; and the Mets aren't going to get credit for refusing to buckle under the pressure of needing to do something; but they were smart. Beyond smart. More evidence that despite the laughter they sometimes invite (Prevention and Recovery?), things are about to turn around in Flushing. Believe it.

As for Delgado himself, this is a new trend with players and their agents that also occurred last season as Ben Sheets was insisting he was healthy, wanted a load of guaranteed money----and when said money wasn't forthcoming, he decided to have surgery as if he was doing the world a favor. Would any of the money have been returned to the club from Delgado and Sheets had they received said guaranteed contracts and been unable to play? For all the criticism levied against teams for shady negotiations, the players indulge in it as well. While it may not be overtly duplicitous, it's sleazy and it makes the player and his agent look terrible.

In addition that bit of brains (yeah, that's right; brains...from the Mets) they also filled their catching divot with the signing of veteran Rod Barajas to a 1-year contract.

The negatives about Barajas are going to be repeated over-and-over again. He doesn't get on base; he's slow; blah, blah, blah. But he hits the ball out of the park; he can throw well; the pitchers like working with him; and he's a veteran who knows his way around. The Mets got him at a lower rate (around $1 million base) and for fewer years (one) than Bengie Molina was demanding and, truth be told, they'll get similar work from him.

The Mets pitchers, especially Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez, are happier today than they were yesterday.

  • Viewer Mail 2.21.2010:

Joe at Statistician Magician writes RE Jose Reyes batting third:

If your opinion is that "the best overall hitter should hit third," then David Wright should be batting third. He is their best hitter.

Do you read what I write, Joe? Or do you sift through and nitpick (in a stat zombie fashion) to bolster your own argument?

Here's what I wrote yesterday:

The club's best overall hitter should always hit third. That doesn't necessarily mean the hitter who hits the most homers; has he highest average or on base percentage; but the hitter who can do the most "stuff". For the Mets, right now without Beltran, that's Jose Reyes.

Wright strikes out too much to bat third and they need his power (assuming it returns) in the cleanup spot to drive in Reyes and whoever is in front of Reyes. With Bay and Jeff Francoeur behind Wright, he'll get the protection he needs and be driven in when he walks; with Reyes on base in front of him, he'll see some fastballs because of the stolen base threat. There's a difference between being the statistically "best" overall hitter and being able to do the most "stuff" to determine who's the "best".

In my world----the only world that makes any sense despite the rampant chaos----the "best" hitter the Mets have is Beltran because he's a switch hitter and does the most "stuff"; after that, it's Reyes. He's the best fit to bat third.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Johnny Damon:

(Damon's) a great guy in the clubhouse even if he does talk with a speech impediment (could never manage to pronounce Teixeira properly). No matter what the situation, he always spoke to reporters when others slunk away. No Damon bashing from me.

I feel somewhat badly (as much as I can feel badly about anything) in making fun of Damon and I'm a Mets fan!!! Damon having been a Yankee or not is irrelevant to me on a personal level.

Obviously, he's not that bright or is too lazy to think for himself (the more likely scenario). There's no reason for any Yankee fan (or Red Sox fan for that matter) to bash Johnny Damon. That won't stop them, but it's not right. He plays hard; he plays hurt; he's a stand-up guy; and he does his job. What's there to bash?


Joe said...

Yes, I read what you wrote originally, and I just read it again. Wright is STILL the best hitter this lineup has. The most "stuff?" So what? Wright gets on base a heck of a lot more, hits for a higher average, and hits for more power. Seems like he does a lot of "stuff" that a hitter is supposed to do, and does it better than Reyes. If you want to bat him fourth, then so be it. But according to your logic, he should be batting third.

She-Fan said...

I agree about Damon. Nothing to bash. This Yankee fan will not boo him when he comes to town with the Tigers. Why would I?

theBrooklynTrolleyBlogger said...

A one year deal for $8Million. Damon and Boras somehow minimized (not by much) the egg on both their faces. Boris still cost his client a second year of security and $6Million. Dombrowski is the one with egg on his face...Grandy for Damon? C'Mon. At least it's only a one year deal. Jermaine Dye is still unemployed.

オテモヤン said...
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