… to end the game. The game of high stakes baseball negotiations.
With the signing of Randy Winn by the Yankees for a reported one year / $2 million contract, Johnny Damon’s stay in the Bronx has come to an end. And, in a lot of ways, Johnny has to take much of the blame for his sad New York departure. It seems he was the only one who believed his agent, Scott Boras’ sale pitch that the market for Damon would yield at least $13 million per year, for at least two years, and maybe even for as many as four years.
Of course, Scott Boras was surely sailing the boat in the talks to re-sign the Yankees left fielder. Tacking back and forth — first, Boras asked for two years at $13 million per year, while telling the Yankees that Damon would not accept any offer less than $13 million per year; Brian Cashman countered with an offer of $14 million for two years; then, Boras started to read the market a little more accurately by dropping Damon’s asking price to $20 million for two years, which led to a windless halting of Johnny Damon’s ship.
Cashman continued his active winter, which included: trading for Curtis Granderson; letting Hideki Matsui walk away from the Yanks; signing Nick Johnson; and, trading for Javier Vazquez. These moves resulted in a so-called “halt” of the money stream from the New York Yankees supposedly “ironclad” budget, except for a remaining $2 million that was earmarked for the 2010 Yankee left fielder, whoever that player may be. Of course, that player turned out to be Randy Winn.
Only Johnny Damon knows what his motivation was during these negotiations. Money, to be sure. But, it seems Johnny just got caught up in the middle of the crossfire of hardball talks between Cashman and Boras. If Damon really wanted to stay a Yankee, though, [which I do think he did], he should have taken full control of the negotiations, and taked directly to George, Hank, and Hal Steinbrenner. The “money” is certainly “always” available in the Yankees Universe.
It is fair to say, the real budget is “cloaked”; and, in my view, money is not the main reason that Johnny Damon was not re-signed by the Yanks. But, I guess, that reason will also remain cloaked.
The new Yankee Stadium was perfect for Johnny Damon’s swing; Johnny was always a clutch player for the Yanks; and, a fan favorite who was always available after games to be interviewed, win or lose. It will be interesting to see who will be hurt more by this decision [move] – the New York Yankees or Johnny Damon. In any case, Damon, as well as Matsui, will be missed.
But, the Yankees will be fine this year and into the future. Granderson, Johnson, Vazquez, and Winn are all great additions, and will be a major part of the 2010 Bronx Bombers as they defend their World Championship of last year.
I look forward to the Yankees playing hardball “on the field” this upcoming season, as this winter, once again, has provided way too much hardball “off the field” for my liking.
— Jimmy, “BY&L”