Damon doesn’t sound ready to settle for a 2-year deal
Yesterday, atop the Empire State Building, Ken Davidoff caught up with Johnny Damon and coaxed quite a few interesting quotes out of the free agent left fielder. Damon discussed what he hopes to achieve during free agency and made it clear that he would like to receive a lengthy multiyear deal this winter (from the Yankees or someone else).
“Hopefully, something can work out with New York,” Damon said. “But obviously, when you’re a free agent, you want to have as many years as you can. I would like to have as many years as I can, too, so I can get closer to some magic numbers: Three-thousand hits [Damon has 2,425], close to 2,000 runs [Damon has 1,483]. Five-hundred-fifty doubles, 600 doubles [Damon has 451]. That’s the kind of stuff we have to look at.
“I believe in my ability. As Scott said, I believe in my genetics to keep me being a very good player.”
Based on Damon’s comments about milestones and “magic numbers,” he appears to be seeking a 3-4 year deal (minimum), which is a contractual want that he actually discussed, explicitly, about 2 weeks ago. It’s evident that years matter here—the more the merrier—and the Yankees don’t seem willing to go beyond a 2-year deal for the 36-year old free agent. Damon’s wife, Michelle, who was by his side for the brief interview, claimed that “at least 3 other teams” had already indicated a serious interest in signing her base stealing husband, so perhaps he can find the long-term deal he desires from another organization, as he won’t receive such an offer from Brian Cashman and the Yankees.
That thought—that the Yankees won’t provide him with the contract he craves—also seemed to agitate Damon, as he expressed some frustration when probed further about his offseason interactions with interested clubs, thus far.
“I know how things are slow this time of year. But the crazy thing is, when you start seeing all these other teams have interest in you, you think, ‘OK, hopefully, New York will start talking soon.’ “
The Yankees may not have contacted Damon yet, but I’m sure they’ll do so shortly after their organizational meeting next Thursday, when Brian Cashman and co. will sit down in Tampa in order to construct a comprehensive offseason plan. At that point, the Yankees will touch base with their “former” left fielder, although I’m not so sure that Damon and his agent, Scott Boras, will be too pleased with what the team has to say regarding an acceptable multiyear deal.
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