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?
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