The Johnny Damon saga is over.
The free agent outfielder has signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Detroit Tigers pending a physical.
The Chicago White Sox appeared to making a run for Damon but yesterday Chisox GM Kenny Williams said they couldn't meet his salary demands. The same was true for the Atlanta Braves.
Damon had been making $13 million a season for the New York Yankees. He wanted to stay at that salary but he's pretty much a one dimensional player and isn't worth that kind of money. In year's past that might not have been an obstacle but even the Yankees have tightened their belts. Even $10 million a season was too rich for the Bronx Bombers who invested in Nick Johnson and Randy Winn with $2.5 million to spare.
I thought Damon might get the kind of deal Bobby Abreu got in Anaheim for $5 million. I'm sure that's what the Chisox and the Braves had in mind and for that matter the Tigers. But I guess the Tigers are really desperate for a leadoff hitter and were willing to shell out more. Yet Abreu can play both offense and defense whereas Damon is best used as a DH. He'll have to adapt his game. I don't think Damon hits 24 home runs in 2010. Not in Comerica Park. The right field line is deeper. I think he'll have to hit more doubles in Detroit.
But even if Damon enjoys a productive season I'm not sure the Tigers will be that good in 2010. They are weak up the middle. Justin Verlander hasn't demonstrated he can win from season to season and Rick Porcello has sophomore jinx written all over him. I also think they gave up on Edwin Jackson way too quickly. I do like Jose Valverde in the bullpen and Austin Jackson will be interesting to watch. Yet somehow I don't think the Tigers will be as good as the Twins or the White Sox this year.