Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Red Sox fans shouldn't despair

If you didn't know it already, Johnny Damon signed a 4 year, $52 million deal with the Yankees, landing a gut punch to the majority of Red Sox fans that considered him the heart and soul of the "idiot" gang. I'm here to tell those Red Sox fans that they can breathe a little easier.

The way I see it, the only reason this deal was done was to stick it to the Red Sox. And if the Red Sox fans can objectively sit back and look at it that way, it might make it easier to swallow.
Johnny Damon is not worth even close to $13 million a year next year, nevermind for 4 years--in fact, look for the Yanks to eat his salary in two years when they trade him elsewhere.
Here's the skinny on Damon. He's a great leader, plays a good center field, and is a very solid leadoff batter. You'd want him on your team and if you could get him for $6-7 million a year, you'd probably be quite happy. However, that's about it. If he wasn't so famous because of Boston and the hair and the "idiot" comments, and reversing the curse, etc. etc., he wouldn't be thought of in the same breath as any elite players.
Here's Damon's OPS last year: .805. That .805 is actually 20 points higher than his career average. Where does that .805 place him on the list of just outfielders that play every day? 29th, 5 points behind Coco Crisp and 1 point ahead of the Royals' David DeJesus and Emil Brown. Again, the fact that his batting average was .316 with some walks makes him a very nice leadoff hitter, but again, he's 32 and that was his 2nd highest average ever--he loses a few points off that a year and the team that signs him is in trouble in a couple of years.
So, if you are a Red Sox fan, I think you have to choose one of two ways to look at this (and try to avoid thinking about the possibility that the Red Sox management blew this one and he would have stayed for less):
1) George Steinbrenner has infinite money and the Red Sox were never going to get Damon. That is, it was irrelevant to Steinbrenner whether he spent $8 million or $13 million or $22 million per year. He just was going to stick it to the Red Sox. This gets Red Sox fans thinking the same way they (and other fans) have always thought--the existence of the Yankees is just unfair, they can buy whomever they want, and the fact that they don't win every year is mostly luck since they can create the best team on paper every year with infinite money.
2) The Yankees DON'T have infinite money and in fact took a loss last year (if you believe baseball accounting). If that is the case, you should be happy about this deal because it could potentially hurt the Yankees' ability to upgrade later. As stated previously, they overpaid for Damon by a ton and for almost all other teams and (the hope would be) maybe all teams, this is an awful and financially irresponsible signing. Plus, as SuperNova pointed out to me this morning, when you're the Yankees, this isn't $13 million per year. Luxury tax, people! It's $17M+ per year. Absolutely insane.
Anyway, that's my three cents.


At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so funny. All you sox fans embraced Damon like he was a god. Now all of a sudden because the Red Sox brain trust. (Now isn't that and oxy moron.)Decides not to step up and pay the very heart of their team. This suddenly equates that Damon is no good. Well I'll tell you what this does to RS nation. Can you say third in the AL East. Have a fun summer.


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