Monday, February 1, 2010

The Damon dilemma

First of all, you have no idea how painful it was for me to drop an image of Johnny Damon at the top of this post. I have a feeling a reprimand is coming my way when the Tao returns from vacation. Let's hope he's in good spirits.

Anyway, to the point of the post here - and FYI, I'm using Damon as an example since his name has been bandied about and the club is showing at least limited interest - is it worth it for the Jays to spend the dollars on a short term deal for an impact free agent in a "building" year?

So far, I've avoided wading into this debate throughout the blogosphere because....I don't really know how I feel about it, to be honest. So let's have a go:

The Good
The Jays have a hole at the top of the order, and Damon could slide right into the leadoff spot. He's only OPS'd below .800 once in the last 6 seasons. He'll make the team more fun to watch and the season more bearable in the darkest of days. He's a veteran guy accustomed to winning, and he could show the kids a thing or two about being a pro (intangibles!). If the Jays really are intent on making Adam Lind a full time DH, as seems to be the case (though I disagree), Damon could slide right into left field and at least take a more direct route to balls than Young Adam (God bless 'em) would. On the right contract, he'll make a nice trade chip at the deadline, or likely garner Type-A draft pick consideration should he play out his deal. And finally, Damon (or Boras) has overplayed his hand this winter and will come cheaper than he really should have, at this point.

The Bad
I'm just not sure how long it will take to wash the douchebaggery from his essence, having spent the last 8 seasons with the Yankees/Red Sox. As a left fielder, he'll make a fine DH. He's a left handed batter - this is something I've been a little concerned with lately - and do the Jays really need another left handed bat in the lineup with Lind, Snider, Overbay/Wallace already slated for the middle of the order? (Though the fact he'll bat leadoff mitigates my concern somewhat). And he may have overplayed his hand, but being represented by Scott Boras means he won't be desperate.

The Ugly
How The Manager would play this one out frightens me. Cito seems entrenched in the idea of Jose Bautista commanding everyday at-bats in right field, which means no room for Snider. Obviously, that's a major jump to a conclusion, but it would mean Snider breaks Vegas. But can we discuss this? Are we positive that's a bad thing? He has absolutely killed it in his time there (1.094 OPS - holy shit!)...but it was only 48 games. Maybe a full year in AAA hanging in against lefties wouldn't necessarily be the worst thing in the world? And let's not ignore the elephant in the room wearing a service clock around his neck.

I guess I'm still not fully convinced either way, but at the end of the day.....Johnny Damon would make for a more enjoyable 2010 season. That's hard to argue against. Snider in the minors would detract from some of that enjoyment - IF that's the way it were to play out - but you could even argue that decision might have some merit. So, yeah - I guess I'm on board. I just talked myself into it.

Other than the fact that he'll probably sign a short term deal with the Tigers by the time many of you read this - what do you think?


tercet said...

Johnny Damon would break Randy Ruiz heart if he became a Blue Jay.

Poor Randy..

Anonymous said...

I love Johnny.
But not to the tune of 13 million, which I think is what he wants.
I'll be surprised if it happens for that money. Half? Okay.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

A full year of Snider down in Vegas? No. I don't want that. I selfishly want Snider to be up, so I can watch him play.

Anonymous said...

We aren't winning this year, give his ABs to young players. Save the cash for a free agent down the line.

Anonymous said...

Stupid idea, much as I like Damon. They could get Carlos for half what you pay Damon. Also stupid, but a much better dumb idea.

Play the kids.

AdamE said...

You forgot to mention Damon's arm in the ugly column. It is the worst in the majors.

Anonymous said...

The biggest upside to bringing him in is as some kind of mentor, and Damon does have a hell of a lot of experience. I'm not exactly sure what kind of teammate Damon is but like you said he knows how to win.

Wouldn't Damon want to play for a contender though? It's been a long time since he's played for a team that wasn't a world series contender, let alone one that has no chance in hell at the division/wild card. Would he be a diva?

dave said...

Disagree. Damon makes for a less fun 2010. I'm fully looking forward to watching the young kids, struggles and all, play the majority of the year. While I don't think it would hurt Snider to start the year in Vegas I don't want him to.

Also, you forgot to make a comment about Damon's arm being worse than your grandmother's and then dropping that your grandma was dead.

Seriously though, worst arm in the league.

dave said...

Ooops, hey there AdamE. Good call.

Now I know how @sportsguy33 feels every day on twitter.

Peter DeMarco said...

Idealy, the Jays need a Johnny Damon that can play RF, if there are any good RF's to be had in the free agent pool that could potentially flipped for a good return at the trade deadline and/or might have Type A free agent status at the end of the year, that would be my first option. Jermaine Dye anyone???

That being said, if there are no RF chips willing to come to the Jays, I don't mind the Damon signing as a Plan B. Yes, I don't like the idea that Snider might be in RF or Lind would become the DH, however Damon is a very intelligent hitter, his approach at the plate doesn't nearly get enough recognition as this guy goes up to the plate with a plan and executes to near perfection. I've seen him routinely foul off pitch after pitch extending AB's and wearing out pitchers, only to finally get one he likes and either get on or make a productive out. He would be good for this team.

Twitchy said...

I'm not buying that Cito is in love with Bautista all of a sudden. Last year he had Bautista & Millar and who came up to bat everytime vs a LHP? It sure wasn't the guy with the 900+ OPS vs lefties.

Cito's an old school guy and I have to believe that 235 BA Bautista had last year will scare him away from using him fulltime, assuming the Jays pick someone else up who can play RF.

Realistically, it's not like Cito has anybody else to throw out in RF unless Snider is here. I'd be in love with Bautista too if my other options were Jeremy Reed and Joey Gathright.

The Ack said...

re: his arm, yeah, thought that was obvious & alluded to when I said "As a left fielder, he'll make a fine DH." He's Shannon Stewart out there, for sure.

...and would he play here? Bastian says via text that he's "willing to help make any team better", or something to that effect. Of course, that's likely just market-speak, but whatever.

Matt C said...

Anyone else get the Jays calendar (mailed to your address for buying a shit tonne of Jays tickets)?

If so, did any one else feel themselves die inside a little more today, when you turned the page for February? There is Doc in all his Jays uniform glory for all of February... I can't live with the pain.

Brian Tallet's Moustache said...

Not that they're likely to get much for him, but . . . if we pick up Damon why not trade/dump Bautista? Don't even give Cito the choice to play him.

KrazyKanuck said...

The Damon rumor got me thinking...

As unfortunate as what I am about to say is, it's the truth (at least IMHO). I honestly think either Snider or Lind are going to be dealt. If they wont let Snider play OF, where else is he going to play??? I mean, look at this team for next season... Wallace is already a lock at 1B, Hill at 2B, , EE at 3B, Wells in CF, Bautista in LF, Lind at DH. If Snider isn't in RF, and signing Damon would be a CLEAR indication that we have no faith in Snider's ability to play OF (as if Gathright and Reed weren't already warning signs). I understand that Snider is young and is probably going to rake once he figures out MLB pitching, but where does he fit in??? What about Ruiz? We ALL know he can rake, but where are his ABs going to come from? The biggest problem on this roster is the lack of position eligibility. (besides Wells' HORRIFIC contract). Rios had a terrible contract, but the nice thing about him was, he could play ALL THREE OF positions. It's just too bad he lost his potential (although I am pretty sure his career isn't iver yet). EE is a terrible 3B, but we have no one else that can play there unless we move Hill there, and promote Emaus to play 2B (or bring big O-Dawg!). We are so badly handcuffed to these one position players. This is what makes the Michael Taylor / Brett Wallace swap all the more frustrating. Our OF IS WEAK. So we go grab another 1B. Hate to wonder what we would have done with Dominic Brown!

The horrible fact of the matter is, Lind, Snider and Wallace cannot all play 1B/DH. Plus add Ruiz and Dopirak to the mix.

Now what do we do? Someone has to go. Maybe we can get a serviceable 3B?

I just don't see how this roster is going to afford all these kids the opportunities to play that they need to develop.

Peter DeMarco said...

InDrabewetrust, Snider and Lind are going to split time at DH/LF, Overbay will play 1st base and Wallace is going to play 3B for Las Vegas to start the season.

If the Jays sign Damon, then Lind and Damon will split time at DH/LF and Snider will move to RF.

Does this help?

KrazyKanuck said...

I understand that, but what happens next year? Wallace comes up and replaces Overpaid (because he cant play defence from what I hear), Lind DH and Snider plays RF? Where does that leave Ruiz?

I can't see Damon coming here and splitting time with anyone, especially for what we'd have to pay him... no?

Stedron said...

2 words: Naked. Chin-ups.
2 more words: Hellfuckingno. Idon'twantJohnnyDamon!!!!

The Ack said...

I don't think you should hang your hat on Ruiz being a big part of the team going forward, to be honest. He'll need a few breaks to get an opportunity to play even semi-regularly.

Gil Fisher said...

Wallace is going to play 3B for Las Vegas to start the season

AA's been saying 1B, where'd you here 3B?

The Ack said...

Alluding to my semi-point in the post, Drabek might be onto something.

Lind, Snider, and Wallace are all seen as middle of the order hitters. You can't go back to back to back left handed bats, can you? Something has to give - whether it's a right handed masher to slot in there (with Hill)....or one of those LH bats are turned into a RH bat via trade.

Am I overstating the left handed bat dilemma?

Mylegacy said...

My head is hurting.

1st) JohnnyD's arm is NOT as bad as many speculate. Recently I saw him having a coffee (without wearing a bib) and he got the cup to his mouth without his arm shaking and only dribbled a little. Not so worse.

2nd) In a reasonable universe - Snider starts the year in AA - where most special OF prospects who are 22 should be. Since that ain't gonna happen - I say the kid starts, and spends all of 2010, in RF. Travis is not a slug, he can play either corner. We will be a surprise defensively - offensively he has to learn his craft at the big league level and he'll have to take his knocks - be patient. As a fan I have to keep remembering that he is JUST BARELY 22 to start this season (he turns 22 on Feb 2nd).

3rd) To me the question is do I want Snider in LF with Batista in RF or Snider in RF with Damon in LF. I want Damon's lead off OPB in LF. End of case.

4th) The ONLY way Ruiz actually gets at bats is if Lind is in LF, Snider in RF and Ruiz is the DH. Personally - I prefer this to any other, I'd really like to see Ruiz get - at least - an honest shot in the bigs. But then I rarely get what I want.

5th) There is no "fifth" - I just got carried away with this numbering stuff.

6th) get the idea....

Peter DeMarco said...

Good news for everyone, Kevin Millar is expected to sign with the Cubs.

As for the comment that AA has been saying Wallace will play 1B, I've heard him say both, he has said that the organization projects Wallace to be a 1b, but I've also heard him say that they are not going to rule out Wallace playing 3B and until he proves he can't play 3B, he will get an opportunity.

All that being said, I guess it depends on if the Las Vegas manager wants to keep Dopirak at 1B or move him elsewhere?

KrazyKanuck said...

Ack, dont forget, Overpaid is a lefty as well. (granted, his days in t.o. are numbered).

I am sure SOME GM in baseball will take a flyer on Ruiz who is RAKING in summer ball.

I'd rather see Snider in the minors (where he belongs), for at least this season. Why are we rushing this kid to the majors??? I mean really, why not give Overrated the door and let Wallace play too? And then call up Drabek and Jackson and have them be our ace and closer. Maybe we could bring up JP Arencibia and set a ML record for strikeouts by a team in one season. (granted, we still DO need a second catcher on the roster). Deal Overstayed and open
1B for Ruiz, move Lind to RF, and get Damon to play LF. Or we could Jayson Werth back... another player we rushed through the system and let go off before his prime (ala, Jason Kent, Cris Carpenter, etc., etc., etc.)

KrazyKanuck said...

Is it that obvious I hate overbay?

Mattt said...

I've no idea if Damon is as lazy and not so bright as he looks, but he's not the guy I would choose to show the young kids how to be a pro. I'd rather save the money and wait until we need a guy like this. Just not this guy.

Darren Priest said...

What about Gary Sheffield? Can he still play RF?

Anonymous said...

You should have posted a pic of Damon as a Royal or as an A. That would definitely ease the pain. Change it now before it is forever on this blog!

Fangarello said...

Somebody please tell me, in a year such as this, WHY we don't put Lind & Snider in the OF with Welles & use Ruiz at DH? We have to give Ruiz a chance, no?

Drew said...

Because the young pitching staff needs help making outs, not an outfield making them work even harder.

Re: Wallace's defense. Everything I've read said he has excellent hands and a strong arm but no range. That doesn't make him a bad defender, just one with limited range.

Anyone who insists Snider should be in the minors seems to completely discount the notion of "nothing left to prove." He's crushed every level in every scenario, leaving him down there is a waste of his time and the team's.

P.S. IDWT. Every time I read "Overpaid" or "Overstayed" I immediately discount whatever you're saying or already said. It wasn't even funny the first time. If you can't see the value present by Lyle Overbay, I really feel sorry for you.

KrazyKanuck said...

@ Drew

You're absolutely horrible of me to expect better then the .260 avg, .360obp, 15hr and 60-70 rbi yearly averages he's put up in Toronto while he makes his 7-8 mil a season... I guaruntee you Wells has put up better numbers then that by a mile in the last 4 years since Lyle got here, and people SCREAM about him. Overbay is nothing more that a doubles hitter. Yeah, yeah, he hit 22hr and drove in 92 in '06 while hitting .312, but that was his best season here. I expect a first baseman making that kind of money to have a LOT more POP in his bat, drive in runs and protect the young hitters in the lineup. Look around major league baseball and find me a first baseman with mediocre numbers like that who starts and makes $8M. I bet there aren't many (if any). His production does not equal his paycheck. Correct me if I am missing something here?

I said all along that Overbay was NOT what we needed at 1B. We needed a slugger, and we had one in Carlos Delgado, who management let walk. Quite an upgrade there...

There's the stats. Now, I beg you to convince me to the contrary.

It's going to be a tough sell.

Gil Fisher said...

I think this is it.

I think I that this moment right here, is the slowest, dullest moment of the offseason. We are at the nadir of the offseason.

I hope the trough is short lived and that things pick up soon.

Tony Viner said...


The buffoon above clearly has no grasp of reality. He is a lightweight in regards to his intellect. Overbay will be traded at the deadline after he has a spectacular first half. Wallace will be ready to replace him by then.

I have had my minions whipping Randy Ruiz into shape (forcefully), and he will be ready to play LF/DH/1B.

Travis Snider will play LF, with Bautista getting every opportunity to prove he has the eye to become this year's Marco Scutaro. On my orders, Nick Leyva has been working with him in secret over the winter, as he did with Scutaro last season. If Bautista fails, he will be sent to a Rogers-operated Dominican labour camp to finish up his contract.

All of this is basic business strategy to me, really. But these simpletons cannot grasp the intricacies of MLB roster and franchise management, like I do. For me, this baseball business is like taking candy (small to medium sized contracts) from babies (local/regional media start-ups).

There is a reason that I currently run one of the world's most contemptible,disingenuous, double-dealing, duplicitous, furtive, malicious, and basically corrupt media/communications monopolies: I am very smart, and ridiculously handsome. I eat baseball business for breakfast, along side my $50 Pacific Northwest Eggs Benedict with wild Alaskan smoked salmon.

There is no need for Johnny Damon and his $10MM demands here, as the players I have signed and developed for next to nothing will shock the world with their plus defence and dominating batting.

This will be the year of Travis Snider, Randy Ruiz, Brett Wallace, and yes, Jose Bautista. Trust me.


Handsome Tony Viner

Anonymous said...

handsome tony is the king.

Senior Felix said...

Thanks for the reassurance HTV. I always feel better after reading your posts.

The Ack said...

....and so it is written.

Aaron Hill said...

fuck yes it is written! tony is baaaack!


Gil Fisher said...

Things are looking up!

KrazyKanuck said...

What were we saying about intellect?

Apparently no one on this board is allowed to have an opinion.

Grow up dude.

KrazyKanuck said...

AND for the record, and for those of you mature enough to listen to someone else's opinion without resorting to cussing or degrading someone for it, answer this simple question.

If Travis Snider is such a big part of the Blue Jays plans, which I certainly hope he is, then why is he being forced to "EARN" a spot on this roster this upcoming season? I would hardly consider that a "ringing endorsement" that he is considered a major cog in this machine going forward. Granted, EVERY player should be trying to "earn" a roster spot, (except those making $15M apparently), but to call out players who are supposedly your center pieces for the future seems assanine to me. It doesn't bother me one iota that Bautista has to earn a spot, or Reed, or Gathright... but Snider? Come on.

I actually LIKE Travis Snider, but listening to AA's comment "He (Snider) will only be with the club if he plays everyday" - this could be taken two ways. Either A) He starts the season with the club as stated, and plays everyday, or B) he either goes to the minors or C) he gets TRADED.

Just because AA said he will only be on the roster if he's playing everyday doesn't mean he'll be sent to the minors. If he has "nothing to prove" as previously commented, then where does he go? I would rather he go to the minors so he CAN play everyday and continue to develop, then get shipped out of town. Wouldn't you???

My point is, it's ridiculous that he has to earn a spot on this team. Surely he is better then some of the other players we've invited to Spring Training (ex. Gathright, Reed). Unless AA is just trying to light a fire under him for the season, which I won't speculate, because I don't pretend to know what AA is thinking.

Admit it, it HAS to make you wonder...

John Buck said...

if you want to be treated with respect, don't use disrespectful, childish language yourself like "ovepaid" etc. especially when you are completely off base with your criticisms. Aaron was clearly defending his team mate.

this is the opposite of a site where "no one ... is allowed to have an opinion." go spew that gargage over a DJF and see how you are treated. assclown.

Drew said...

Look Drabek, without putting too fine a point on it, your use of batting average (not to mention referring to the Tao & Ack's well-thought-out posts as "a board") betrays your lack of familiarity with modern evaluative stats and the like.

$7 or $8 million dollars is nothing in terms of return on investment. On the open market you would sign a player not much above league average (2/3 WAR) for that amount. Overbay is worth 2 Wins in his sleep. His league-average defense, ability to get on base and crush right handed pitching are all excellent, excellent traits.

He can't hit lefties? Regrettable, but as I wrote long ago, it's the teams fault if they keep running him out there, hoping he'll suddenly learn how to do it. He hits for power though he doesn't put up gaudy counting stats. He's fine. He was fine in 2006 and he's fine now. Your lazy/cheesy denigration of him is misguided. True, his production pales to others at his position, but so does his salary that you hold against him. Would you rather pay Overbay 7 mil for 2 Wins or Justin Morneau 14 mil for 3?

QJays said...

Drabek - i agree that nobody needs to be rude, but debating is fun and we should do it.
On the pro-Overbay side, it's probably worth noting that over the past 4 years, Wells and Overbay have swapped in terms of who led in offensive production at the plate (OPS) - and Wells is the only one with an inflated contract of the two (and the only one to be below average for his position twice in that time). 2006 is seen as Overbay's "great" year (and it was) but his OBP is identical to 2009 (.372) with just a .40 drop in SLG. He may seem a lot worse, but 2006 and 2009 Overbay were not that different.
And while it would be great to have a Cabrera or Teixiera, Overbay still had 500 plate appearances in 2009 with an OPS+ only a few points behind Morneau, Pena, and - yes, Delgado's last full season (in 2008 when he finished 9th in MVP voting). So, if Cito had kept Overbay on the bench a bit more for lefties but given him all the pinch hitting opportunities he should have versus righties, the OPS+ would probably be identical to each of these players. Maybe not an All-Star, but definitely worth the money.

Anonymous said...

don't forget he had a platoon advantage in 2009 and not in 2006 though, assclown.

Anonymous said...

don't forget he had a platoon advantage in 2009 and not in 2006 though, assclown.