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No blame in Damon/Yankees split

Everyone was quick to lament and assign blame for the fact the Johnny Damon and the New York Yankees are parting ways -- now that the Yankees have signed Randy Winn to plug the hole Damon would have otherwise filled. It's either Damon's fault (or agent Scott Boras's fault) for not accepting a paycut to return to the Bronx, or the Yankees' fault for not stretching their budget to retain him. Or both.

But in a more realistic view, there is no fault here. It's simply another example of the cold, hard facts of the business of baseball, in which there is no loyalty except to yourself.

The Yankees made a solid, unsentimental decision this winter to prioritize the acquisitions of a young, athletic center fielder and a workhorse starting pitcher over the retention of two popular and essential -- but aging -- members of their 2009 World Series championship squad. Hideki Matsui took the hint and quickly signed elsewhere. Damon, on the other hand, gambled that the Yankees would come back around to him.

We forget sometimes that players are human beings. Damon, at age 35, had arguably the finest season of his career in 2009 (his OPS+ of 126 was a career-best). Now 36, he probably understands enough about baseball economics to know he would never get another contract like the four-year $52 million deal with the Yankees that expired after the season. But being human, he also may not have been prepared for the Yankees to make an initial offer to him (two years, $14 million) that represented a paycut of nearly 50 percent.

What would you have done?

By Dave Sheinin  |  January 28, 2010; 11:05 AM ET
 
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Comments

Since when did Damon become a homerun hitter? Hope his supplier uses FedEx.

Posted by: dclifer97 | January 28, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Call me crazy. But at 36, I would have taken the $7 million a year to play baseball. Pay cut or no pay cut. I know it's all relative, but, it's $7 million a year to play baseball on a competetive team with a very good shot at winning another World Championship. Take the money and appreciate the opportunity.

Posted by: feasors | January 28, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Damon's a good leadoff hitter, but he has a pathetic arm. He should have taken the paycut; but now he'll end up at some mid-level team and never see the world series again.

Posted by: hacksaw | January 28, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

66 Million for 6 years of play - and he said no....Greed or Ego got the better of him, and Baseball will hopefully be the better for it. Back here on planet reality, it would take me 942 years to make that same paycheck. Good bye Johnny!

Posted by: paul_postie | January 28, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I never would have shaved my beard to play in NYC in the first place!

Posted by: kenlaw2 | January 28, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes these "smart" agents cost their clients big time. It was never revealed how much A-Rod's opting out of his old contract cost him when the huge offers never came. Damon will never see anything close to a 2-year $14 million offer again because he's lost his leverage. Abreu got $5 million from the Angels coming off a $16 million contract w/the Yankees. I expect Damon will now get less than that.

Posted by: ajlerner1 | January 28, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

I feel bad for Damon, but worse for the Yankees, who are the big losers in the deal.

Posted by: Rotfrau | January 28, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't everyone have learned this lesson when Damon left Boston for the Bronx?

-----

But in a more realistic view, there is no fault here. It's simply another example of the cold, hard facts of the business of baseball, in which there is no loyalty except to yourself.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 29, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"Sometimes these "smart" agents cost their clients big time. It was never revealed how much A-Rod's opting out of his old contract cost him when the huge offers never came. "
---------------
He came out way ahead. financially, a great move for A-Rod and Boras.

He opted out of 3 years, $27m per (2008-2010). He resigned for 10 years, $275m.

Cots:

"10 years/$275M (2008-17)
re-signed by Yankees as a free agent 12/13/07
$10M signing bonus ($2M paid upon approval, $1M paid each Jan. 15, 2009-2013, $3M paid Jan. 15, 2014)
08:$27M, 09:$32M, 10:$32M, 11:$31M, 12:$29M, 13:$28M, 14:$25M, 15:$21M, 16:$20M, 17:$20M
$30M marketing agreement based on home run milestones ($6M each for reaching 660, 714, 755 and tying and breaking major league HR record)
no-trade protection
perks: may purchase 4 best available season tickets for 2008, 4 Legends Suite or comparable season tickets for 2009-17

Texas obligated to fund $9M as part of deferred compensation provision in previous contract (to be paid with interest in $3M increments in 2008, 2009 & 2010)"

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 1, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

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