In his latest, Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record quotes a Yankees insider who says that Johnny Damon “overplayed his hand,” which has led to his current predicament. Damon is, unsurprisingly, a man with no team, as the market for his services has been devoid of tangible suitors given his asking price (among other factors, such as age, defensive concerns, etc.). The Yankees aren’t willing to spend more than $2 million on him, the Giants utilized the last of their funds to resign the offensive powerhouse that is Bengie Molina, and, the Braves – the team Damon has been linked to the most this winter outside of the Yankees – according to Mark Bowman, are not all that interested unless the 36-year old outfielder is willing to don Atlanta’s jersey for next to nothing. So, where, then, will Damon end up?
Maybe in his Florida home, writes Klapisch, who ponders whether or not Damon could actually choose to retire before having to agree to a humbling contract with an ego-busting base salary. According to the Bergen Record reporter, “A friend of Damon’s recently said, ‘Johnny is completely in the family mode right now’ and has considered that option.” However, such an idea, as Klapisch himself notes, is “unthinkable” and thoroughly inconceivable, especially after an extremely successful 2009 campaign that ended with a World Series ring. In addition, Damon has stated that he wishes to continue playing, perhaps for another four years, and intends to reach certain career milestones during his extended tenure. Therefore, although pride is a salient and possibly obstructive issue here – such is the case, it seems, for most male athletes – I think it is more than safe to say that Damon would accept a lesser deal, maybe even with a lesser team – one that may not compete in 2010 – so as to continue his already impressive career.
As Damon himself said yesterday, regardless of his lackluster market, he will likely find a deal “somewhere.”
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