So Scott Boras was telling the truth all along: There really was a stealth team involved in the Johnny Damon sweepstakes. And that team was none other than the New York Yankees.
Earlier tonight, Johnny Damon, long the lead Idiot on the Boston Red Sox, and the Yankees came to an agreement on a four-year, $52-million contract for the 32-year-old center fielder. Damon fills in a gaping hole in the Yankees outfield and will assume the leadoff position in an offensively packed lineup.
With this signing, it’s hard to argue with the Yankees lineup. With Damon leading off, Jeter to follow, and then A-Rod, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui, Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada, and Bernie Williams, this team packs a punch one through eight.
Five of the top six guys in the lineup scored more than 100 runs last year while four of them topped 190 hits. This is a team of hitters who will always be on base, who will be aggressive on the baseball paths with the top of the lineup, and who will bludgeon opponents to death by scoring runs. Whether the pitching can support the offense is another matter entirely.
But numbers and dreams of runs scored aside, I find myself incredibly torn over this signing. On one hand, I see it as a good move. The Yanks knew they had a hole in centerfield, and they filled it with the best option out there. Granted, Damon won’t be the strong-armed fielder the Yankees would have liked to see. But he’ll cover the ground in centerfield just as well as he did in Fenway’s vast outfield. You can bet that the days of Bubba Crosby-Gary Sheffield collisions are long gone.
On the other hand, the Yankees are giving a 32-year-old who could be starting the decline phase of his career a contract worth $13 million a year for four years. Damon will be 35 in the final year of this contract. Hopefully, he’ll age a little more gracefully than did the incumbent Yankees center fielder Bernabe Williams. I’m not too keen on seeing another $13 million go to waste as it did in 2005 on Williams.
On the other other hand (the third hand?), it’s freakin’ JOHNNY DAMON. My emotional response kicks in. This guy is an IDIOT. This guy ruined the hopes of Yankee fans everywhere when he effectively ended Javier Vazquez’s brief pinstripe career with an ill-timed Grand Slam in game 7 of that obscene 2004 American League Championship Series. This is dirty Johnny Damon who needs a freakin’ haircut.
I couldn’t stand this guy for years while he was on the Red Sox. I couldn’t stand the way he throws or the annoying amounts of attention paid to his hair. I couldn’t stand the fact that he beat the Yankees. That doesn’t happen. The Red Sox don’t beat the Yankees!
To make matters worse, he’s replacing one of my all-time favorite Yankees. I’ve grown up with Bernie Williams. He was in the first Yankee yearbooks I have as somebody “down on the Farm.” He’s started on every Yankee playoff and World Series team in my lifetime. I can’t remember the days when he wasn’t patrolling center field. I even have his jersey. Bernie’s been on the Yankees since I was eight. I’m 22 now. That’s nearly two-thirds of my life. I know it was time for Bernie to vacate centerfield, but now I have to root for the enemy! This Johnny Damon fellow? No thanks.
As the Yankees contemplate another run for the American League East title with a team that features Johnny Damon, the loveable and cuddly Randy Johnson, and everyone’s favorite Alex Rodriguez, I’ll go to bed tonight dreaming of the championship era of Andy Pettitte, Scott Brosius, Paul O’Neill, and yes, Bernie Williams.