While Scott Boras seems to signal that Johnny Damon’s pinstriped tenure is all but over, Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman indicates that there is still a chance the Yankees and the 36-year old free agent can come to an agreement. Brian Cashman, Heyman writes, “is said to only want to do a one-year deal at this point and believed to want to spend no more than $6 million.” This is inline with the figure I put forth yesterday as the number is small enough to be viewed as a big value buy for the Yankees. Heyman, however, acknowledges that the team might have to “stretch” that figure a bit in order to land the outfielder. Maybe a $6 million base with an extra $2-3 million in incentives could get the job done? Incentives are not included in the opening day payroll, so the Yankees, in an effort to adhere to their budget cutting principles, could still maintain that the signing has not put them over the $200 million mark by a large margin. Plus, they could always trade Chad Gaudin, who could possibly earn close to $3 million after arbitration, in order to free up payroll resources.
Basically, despite Cashman’s admission about Brett Gardner being the everyday left fielder, the Yankees are still in a very good position to land Johnny Damon at their price. The patient approach which they have employed this winter has worked wonders, as Damon’s demands have fallen dramatically. He may not be amenable to a one-year deal and an incentive-laden contract (which is my suggestion), however, at this point, it could end up being his best option.
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