The Johnny Damon talks haven’t just picked up, but now the White Sox front office is feeling like they may have “significantly” closed the gap between themselves and Detroit for the free agent’s services.
That was the word from several sources on Wednesday afternoon … If the Sox do land Damon the plan is to primarily use him as their DH, giving him some reps in the outfield.
UPDATE: The Detroit News: Tigers don’t like being used in Johnny Damon sweepstakes.
Heyman @ SI:
chisox owner jerry reinsdorf recently got involved in johnny damon talks. looks like AL central battle vs. tigers
and Henning @ The Detroit News
The Tigers and Johnny Damon appear to be moving, at less than full speed, toward a deal.
Meanwhile Gonzales writes about a possible thaw in the Sox-Boras relationship. Thanks to MLBTR for the links.
UPDATE: Gregor writes “the Braves are still in the mix, and they’re expected to offer a better deal.”
Damon played golf Monday with White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski and broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, according to major-league sources. Pierzynski lobbied Damon to sign with the White Sox, and Damon’s wife, Michelle, would prefer him to play in a more cosmopolitan city than Detroit, multiple sources say. …
… Some with the White Sox, however, are confident that a deal with Damon could happen, and believe it might even be close. Clearly, the White Sox are discussing Damon at length internally and remain in contact with the player’s agent, Scott Boras. …
Rosenthal had a couple dueling tweets earlier
Williams is still looking for another solid bullpen pitcher. Major League Baseball sources told me the White Sox have talked to the Toronto Blue Jays about the left-handed relief pitcher Scott Downs, who if acquired, would be an upgrade as the second left-hander in the Chicago Bullpen. The Sox have also asked about Padres closer Heath Bell. San Diego officials insist that Bell will not be traded at the beginning of the season, the likelihood is that by the time the trading deadline approaches july 31, that bell will be dealt. The same scenario exists for Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. …
Levine also hears that “the White Sox payroll is maxed out at $104 million for 2010.” Other stuff talked are the Johnny Damon rumors, Kenny’s #1 worry for 2010 being Carlos Quentin, and talking the marketing dept. (Brooks Boyer) before making a trade.
And here’s a link to the podcast of the interview with Kenny (12:29).
Stats: Downs, Bell.
Both Downs and Bell are on the last year of their contracts and are making $4 million. Bell would be too expensive to get, and Downs would be bad allocation of money. Bad? Yes, why not use that money to go after a DH?
Source: #White Sox “threw bone” at Damon, but not seriously involved. #MLB #Tigers #Braves.
The Tribune says the Sox are “out of running.”
UPDATE: Jon Heyman says that it’s a battle between the Tigers and Sox, with the Braves being out.
While Bruce Levine’s source’s telling him that “that the White Sox signing of Damon is still a long shot” and Joe Cowley’s source’s telling him that the Sox are doing their “due diligence,” Jon Heyman tweets that the Tigers and Sox are the 2 leading bidders.
Evan Brunell at THT says “It’s very unlikely the White Sox win any such negotiating process with Damon given Detroit owner Mike Ilitch’s sudden outlaying of money, but Chicago would be the best option for Damon personally.”
UPDATE: Scott Merkin thinks the Sox have about $4 million available.
The Johnny Damon Sweepstakes appeared to be nearing the finish line Thursday, as Damon tries to choose from several offers far less than the two-year, $19 million deal he and agent Scott Boras have been seeking.
… A source indicated the Chicago White Sox also have expressed late interest.
Rosenthal/Morosi: Mrs. Damon is said to prefer a bigger, more cosmopolitan city.
Tweets: Morosi, Bowden, Heyman, Olney.
When even Phil Rogers implores you to get a DH:
The guess here is he can make enough plays to make a difference in 2010. He [Johnny Damon] appears headed to the Tigers, but the White Sox ought to stage an intervention.
Imagine Damon in the Sox leadoff spot and Juan Pierre as the No. 2 hitter — or the other way around. Can a rotating DH including Mark Kotsay, Andruw Jones, Omar Vizquel and Jayson Nix outproduce Damon? And what would be the harm in having 23-year-old Jordan Danks spend time with Damon? They seem to be the same kind of player.
Dye’s continuing unemployment relates to an unflattering statistical analysis of his outfield skills and his reluctance to accept a role as a DH or extra outfielder (the Cubs pursued him before turning to Xavier Nady).
… Branyan, like Damon, could improve the White Sox’s DH spot. He strikes out a ton but delivers long balls — 43 in 563 at-bats the last two seasons — and the Sox haven’t added power after sliding to sixth in the AL in homers. He could fit on almost any team in a bench role but fits best in the AL, where he would be an instant upgrade for the Indians, Athletics and Rangers.
then you know,
The run projections I calculated with Dye as DH yielded 12-18 runs more than the ones with Kotsay/Jones.
Kenny wonders who’s Johnny Damon’s agent. Marc Teahen might wear #23. Bobby Jenks was offered a multi-year deal before he signed his arbitration contract. Kenny on Jordan Danks and Jared Michell: “this is 2010 and we have to win … They got to wait.” Ozzie blamed Kenny for the 2008 team. Jeff Cox: “There’s no ‘i’ in team, but there are 2 in ‘idiot.'” Steve Stone to Greg Walker: “Can you make a guy who can’t hit, hit?” “Um, no.” Rick Hahn: [Gordon] Beckham has changed perception about length of development time. Doug Laumann: [Dayan] Viciedo “a man among boys,” probably will end up @ 1B. Rick Hahn: We’re re-investing in Latin American scouting infrastructure.
Cafardo’s Winter Meetings overview:
The White Sox need a leadoff batter (Coco Crisp? Damon?), a backup catcher, and a lefthanded reliever. While they unloaded good pitching talent for Jake Peavy in August, they still could move pitching prospect Lucas Harrell. The White Sox will likely keep closer Bobby Jenks and hope he takes his conditioning seriously this winter. Utility player Brent Lillibridge and reliever Scott Linebrink could be had.
Moving Linebrink would be nice but I don’t think anybody wants him…
…along with Ervin Santana, Chone Figgins, Howie Kendrick and Gary Matthews Jr? OK, here are a couple thoughts from Nick Cafardo who is “liking the White Sox a lot next season”:
Casey Kotchman, 1B, Red Sox – He is arbitration-eligible and still a redundant player on a team that has too many first basemen and could add another if it trades for Adrian Gonzalez. Kotchman could always be a chip in such a deal, but he may have other value. The White Sox may bring Mark Kotsay back, but they are longtime admirers of Kotchman.
Johnny Damon, LF, Yankees – If the Yankees don’t bring him back, the White Sox look like a good fit. They need a leadoff hitter, and while they’d love to sign free agent Chone Figgins and move him to the outfield, he may get too pricy. While Damon has been a No. 2 hitter for the Yankees, he could easily go back to the top spot and give the White Sox some leadoff power.
Stats: Kotchman, Damon. Kotchman is OK. Maybe he can replace Paulie at 1B next year. Damon is too old and he’ll want a 2-3 year deal. Stay away Kenny.