Damon claimed on waivers, must accept or decline move

A waiver claim has given Johnny Damon has a decision to make: Return to the Red Sox and join a potential playoff race in the city where he won his first World Series, or stay with the Tigers and finish out a season with an organization he has grown to love.

It’s a much more complex decision than one might think.

“It’s probably as tough of a decision for me to take right now as it was for me to leave Boston for New York,” Damon said Monday at Comerica Park, where he was in the Tigers’ starting lineup for Monday night’s game against Kansas City. “It’s something that fortunately we have some time to think about it.”

Damon confirmed the Red Sox had put in a claim for him off waivers Monday afternoon. Boston and Detroit have until Wednesday afternoon to work out some sort of deal, but the decision essentially hinges on Damon thanks to a no-trade clause negotiated in his contract when he signed with Detroit in February.

Damon’s contract requires his approval to be traded to any team except for eight on a list he submitted before the season began. The Yankees and Rays are on that list, but the Red Sox are not.

Thus, Damon has the right to accept or decline any move. If he accepts, he’ll return to the city where he became a star from 2002-05, including a World Series title in 2004 that broke the Curse of the Bambino. If he declines, the Tigers will have to pull him back off waivers and won’t be able to trade him for the rest of the season.

The Red Sox have an outside chance to get back to the postseason. They began Monday 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the American League East race and 5 1/2 games behind the Rays for the Wild Card.

“At this moment, I’m not sure I want to leave Detroit for that,” Damon said. “I enjoy playing here. I enjoy the kids I’m playing for, the coaching staff. But obviously [Red Sox manager] Terry Francona is amazing. But it’s something that I’m going to have think long and hard over.”

Damon’s issue with Boston appears to be the way things ended after the 2005 season. He signed with the Yankees as a free agent after that season, but his issue seems to date back before that decision was made.

“I had a great time playing there,” Damon said. “But I think once it was apparent that I wasn’t a necessity to re-sign there, it started to get ugly. And that’s why I’ve got to think long and hard. I have to think if they do have a strong chance to make the playoffs with the guys beat up there. I have to think long and hard if I’m going to once again be probably one of the nicest guys in baseball, but  be once again the most hated guy in baseball. That’s what it boils down. You guys see how I get booed in every ballpark already.”

Damon said he received the call from the Tigers around 3 p.m. Detroit has a 1 p.m. ET game against the Royals Wednesday afternoon, so he’ll most likely need to decide by then.

The 36-year-old Damon is batting .270 this season with 30 doubles, seven home runs and 40 RBIs. He has struggled in August, batting .219 (16-for-78) with no homers, four doubles, a triple, eight RBIs and 20 strikeouts.

The Tigers signed Damon to a one-year contract in February with the idea that he could be the offensive piece that could help them contend again. For a while, they did, leading the AL Central as recently as last month before a month-long slump out of the All-Star break knocked them double-digit games back of the division lead. Detroit recovered with a three-game series sweep of Cleveland this past weekend, but remains in third place, 11 games behind the Twins.

Damon said last week that he understands why the Tigers might look to deal him and try to save some money or get a prospect in return. He also said he would like to be back with the Tigers next year, whether or not he’s traded. He reiterated that on Tuesday.

“The only reason why I would be considering it is to help out this team in the future,” Damon said. “I love the Tigers organization and I love the fact that they’re up-front and honest. If somehow they can get a good prospect back, a player that can help this team in the future, it would be beneficial for them. I would like to remain a Tiger, so I think that’s why these next hours are pretty important.”

25 Comments

Well, Johnny’s been consistent from day one on wanting to be with Detroit, so I’ll take him at his word on that. For what it’s worth, I don’t really think Boston can catch the Rays. I didn’t realize he had 30 doubles. That’s not a bad number.
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–Rich

I really hope Johnny stays he has been solid not great this year but he is a help to the younger players and I think a real asset to the community especially with his wounded warrior project.

I’ll eat my Tiger’s cap if he ends up staying. I don’t think he will.

Does anyone know the rule on draft pick compensation if he is traded and re-signs here in the offseason? I think that the Sox would have to offer him arbitration for it to kick in, but does it apply when a player re-signs with a team he played for the previous season? I would assume it would.
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This means that the Tigers are a) not interested in bringing him back next year and losing the draft pick…b) interested in bringing him back and pretty certain Red Sox will not offer arbitration…or c) in line to get a prospect that would be as good as the guy they would take if Damon had draft pick compensation tagged to him as a FA this offseason.
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While I doubt the Red Sox would offer him arbitration, making this a moot point, there is the potential that dealing Damon now could effectively prevent him from coming back to Detroit next year even if both sides wanted it. Maybe Damon would negotiate a gentleman’s agreement with Boston that would agree to a trade in exchange for a promise not to offer him arbitration.
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I may be completely misunderstanding the arbitration/compensation rules…if so, someone help me out?

Johnny is already growing a beard.

Johnny sure is covering all his bases in this interview. I hate to see him go, but it’s not my choice.

My guess is that he goes. He seems like a guy who likes the big stage, big market and all the attention that goes with it.

And then JL makes “dumb” when asked about the Damon situation. “I don’t know anything about that stuff.” That’s just so disrespectful to the fans. My God, and then people wonder why we complain about him so much.

I don’t think it would be appropriate for Jim to comment on this. As field manager, it’s not his place to do so. I’m sure Ozzie would comment a blue streak.
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I hate that this is coming down right now. It may be foolish thinking, but I’m not calling this season over until after the Twins series next week. While we may not think our club can do it, the circumstances dictate that there’s a possibility of getting back into the race.
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I’d just as soon keep Damon here for the remainder, then make any necessary moves in the offseason. Unless, that is, we’re getting someone of value in return from Boston, and I highly doubt that.
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–Rich

A younger or more sophisticated man would explain that he couldn’t comment on it instead of treating the public like we’re dummies.

I hope Johnnie makes me eat my hat.

JL has a chip on his shoulder. I don’t think he means to disrespect the fans as much as the media. Leyland, in my opinion, feels he is above “the law” so to speak, when it comes to dealing with criticism from the media (indirectly the media represents the interest and curiousity of the fan base).
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I hope Damon goes , and stays gone. I feel he is over-rated and under achieved. He seems to have fashioned himself a persona in baseball that he camoflauges as talent and skill. I think he has had some fun playing the game but it sure ain’t fun to watch him. A little too much self-importance for my liking.
Time to let Raburn, Boesch and hopefully Wells or Strieby have their day.
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I presume DD will make sure to get a decent prospect to justify this signing in the first place.
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It will be an interesting spring training. I’m not lobbying for Peralta and feel he is not the calibre of player we need at 3rd or short, but I think he has acquitted himself rather well at short. He is not supposed to have much range but he makes the plays and his arm has been true. The only error I recall was a result of Guillen bumping unto him. I think Worth will be given the shot at short–that is scary considering the Sizemore/Rhymes situation at 2nd. I supsect DD might hang on to Inge to offset the immaturity in the infield. I hope not as this is the one area where they can go out and find a game-changer and fence buster.
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Be neat to get another quality start tomorrow! To have the whole rotation do it would be very encouraging.

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Correct me if I am wrong please. But someone mentioned that he presumed that DD would get something for Damon. Well in my opinion you should presume that. Again correct me if I am wrong but didn’t DD let Polanco go without offering him arbitration and hence we didn’t get compensation picks?? So to presume that DD would get something in return right now is ridiculous. To me DD is the biggest problem with this team. He may of picked a few good pitchers, but he hasn’t done much else. I said it before and I will say it again. The Twin lose Morneau for the last month or so (maybe even longer) and they start rolling on at a high clip. They have the younger guys Repko and Valencia kicking in. Mauer and Kubel have also picked up there game. We lose Magglio and crash, Miggy can’t hit anymore, Boesch stops hitting and we find ourselve 11 games back. He has not done a great job with draft picks and to me that is his most important job and developing those guys. DD lacks big time in my opinion in that department.

Van Slyke’s book wasn’t that good. It was supposed to be about the Tigers 2008 run to the WS and when the season fell apart, Andy’s interest in the book waned. By all means add it to your Tigers book collection, but don’t expect much. I doubt that’s why he was let go.
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It’s my opinion that Boston was merely blocking NY and Tampa simply because they could. If Damon wasn’t a former player for the East Coast Darlings, Rosenthal wouldn’t have bothered with the story. In fact, this information shouldn’t even have come out. How many other waiver claim stories like this have you ever seen or read? This entire issue should have passed by quietly. Now we’ve dredged up the Boston-Damon bad blood and Johnny is coming across looking like a prima donna. I don’t think that’s the case.
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–Rich

I am going to change my mind…. I think the Tigers should keep Damon for the rest of the year. Part of the reason is I can’t stand the Red Sox. The second reason, I don’t think this season is over just yet. I know it is a long shot, but send the message to the young guys that we will not raise the white flag. Damon can help this year still. Minnesota has had a couple big injuries again, amybe they will slump and the White Sox with their crazy manager can fold as fast as anyone. There isn’t much cost savings and I doubt the Red Sox are offering anyone substantial. If our pitching keeps on going strong and Will Rhymes keeps getting on base… who knows.

Sklant — I couldn’t agree with you more! I think Dumbrowski is the big problem with this organization. He makes some of the most boneheaded moves (Dontrelle, letting Polly go with nothing in return, etc.) and tries to cover it up with his one good move (Cabby). He’s been riding that one for far too long and I think it’s time Mr. Ilitch lets him go if he wants a winner in Detroit.
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I’ve said before that I think DD is pulling the strings and making JL his fall-guy. What manager would say that they’re playing Guillen because they’re paying him a lot of money? Managers play the guy who will help their team win, not the guy that gets paid more. That’s a GM’s statement, in my opinion. I think DD is trying to play manager through JL when he should concentrate on being a better GM (because he’s not good at it).

Wow! So many opinions. After attempting to post again last night, the darn blog just wouldn’t cooperate.
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Casper looked liked he didn’t see one pitch in his at-bats and either did Brennan.

And , the last thing, I’m gonna mention on this thread today, unless Jason starts a new one is that I just found out Andy VanSlyke wrote and published a book about the 2008 season called Tigers Confidential: The untold story of the 2008 season.
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Now, we know why wasn’t invited back. I’m going to be sure and read this one.

Here we are again. Johnny Damon this; Johnny Damon that.
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This guy is just eating this stuff up and talking from both sides of his mouth while doing it.
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I guess the upside to keeping (“I am a great mentor”) is that he is due to hit another HR in September, if he is to keep to his pattern of alternating homerless months.
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Being a bit more objective about Johnny:

Last week he hit .208 with no XB hits.
He is hitting .223 with runners on.
.196 with RISP
.149 with RISP and 2 out
.100 with the bases loaded

Stats are Facts.
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And as a final critiicism that I can point at his manager:
Damon is hitting .371 when leading off an inning
and .317 with nobody on.
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Remember all our talk about leading him off?

I lied. I am going to post again. I’m sure Johnny would prefer to stay in Detroit. The media is making a big deal out of this because, as Rich mentioned, it’s an East Coast bias problem and Johnny is a star. He’s our star. I suppose if Dombrowski can get anything decent for him, he’ll probably leave and imo it would be another mistake.

Well, I like Damon, but I never expected him back for next year, so if he goes he goes. In my biased opinion I’ll miss looking at his smile and enjoy his attitude. I do think he has been a veteran leader and that can be an important intangible.

That said, I think he’ll go. We’ll see on Wednesday I suppose.

At least we can beat the teams we are supposed to beat. I love seeing a whupping like that one last night, I hope their pen is so depleted we do it again tonight, give the boys some spring in their step. Almost back to .500 then we clear the next hurdle of the Sox. Who knows, 2 weeks from now we could be sitting 5 games out and we know from last year that it is possible to overcome that in the last few weeks of the season. Not that I see the Twins folding, they just don’t in the regular season, but there is always a slim chance.

I thought it odd the other night, watching Armando pitching to Laird – just last week they were taking swings at each other and then he pitches a gem of a game to the guy.

I just read something interesting about some trade rumors… The White Sox say they plan to claim Manny. I wonder if the Tigers will try to block him from going to the Sox.

If we get Manny, that would at least provide some protection for Cabrera. I guess right now i don’t care if the tigers go to the playoffs, but i am rooting for Cabrera to get the triple crown. He needs consistent at bats to catch up in HR’s and avg and he just isn’t getting it lately since there is no protection behind him.

I personally think it is possible to win the division. We have 6 games against the twins, and 7 against the white sox. besides them we don’t have any really tough teams to play besides 2 games vs the rangers.

Dave

Better Manny than Damon. (And I can’t stand Manny!)
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At least if you are talking about being able to compete with the Sox and the Twins.

Ugh, not a Manny fan myself…

The word is that Damon is staying with Detroit.
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–Rich

We probably won’t know til tomorrow, but the way things are unfolding, it sounds like Johnny’s decision depends on how much playing time he’ll get. There is no way we can get past Toronto, Chicago, Twins and Orioles without a stable lineup. Sorry, I don’t believe Boesch or Wells is ready for prime time, but Jim does, so I guess we can kiss Johnny goodbye.

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