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 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.
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.
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 camp....in 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?