Damon, Damon, Damon. Johnny Damon used to be a name Red Sox fans loved and were excited about. His long hair and unwieldy beard made him a legend in Boston from ’02-’05. Damon brought speed to a historically slow and lethargic Red Sox club and acted as a spark plug in the lead-off spot, setting the table for the big guns (Ortiz and Ramirez). Damon helped bring a championship to the city of Boston, but, in one swift moment, became the enemy.
After chasing the dollars to New York, Damon found his niche in the #2 spot in the lineup. His numbers were impressive with the Yankees, but now he finds himself out of a job. After a strong 2009 campaign in which he took advantage of the new Yankee Stadium’s dimensions to the tune of 24 HR’s, the once lovable, crazy center fielder can’t find a team willing to pay his inflated salary.
His terrible arm strength and accuracy was overlooked for years because he was producing at the plate, but given these tough economic times, and the new found emphasis on defense, Damon is the odd man out. He would be a solid DH in the American League, but not for his high asking price. Once the Yankees decided to move in a different direction, Damon was left sitting and reminiscing about the good ole’ Cowboy-up days.
Then today, Bob Klapisch of The Bergen Record reported that Johnny Damon is considering retirement. The 36 year old hitter, who clearly showed in 2009 that he can still hit, in the right situation, may be forced into retirement. No one will come even close to his 2009 salary of $13 million and knowing the type of person Damon is, he has little interest in signing a small salary to sit on the bench.
So what’s next for the Jesus look-a-like? Damon will try and find a home somewhere for at least one more season, his 15th, at a reduced rate. With so much young, cheap talent everywhere now, the era of paying big money for ‘veteran’ leadership alone is ending. Defense is the future in the MLB, and unfortunately for Johnny Damon, that is his glaring weakness.