Johnny Damon has finally compromised from what his demands were at the being of the off season to accept a contract with the Detroit Tigers. Once pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training it puts momentum into deals which are on the fence. Teams decide to offer better contracts and players decide to take lower offers and they seem to meet in the middle.
Throughout last season it was assumed that Damon would resign with the Yankees and would be in pinstripes again this year and beyond. Then once the World Series came around and Hideki Matsui performedquite amazingly it seemed to put a little pressure on a possible return for him, although the Yankees wanted more versatility in their Designated Hitter and decided to not offer Matsui a contract.
After the World Series the Yankees took a little time to negotiate with their free agents and all in baseball knew that Scott Boras would be expecting a lot for Damon, probably more than he was worth as a 35 year old outfielder with a very weak arm. So once it was decided that he wasn’t returning to the Yankees the possibilities were endless for Damon.
Damon would be a nice fit for the Rangers at a reasonable price, being able to play left field and fill in at the D.H. spot in the lineup occasionally, although the Rangers pursued more of a power threat in Vladimir Guerrero and signed him for 5.5 million for the year which was considerable less than what Boras was pursuing for the Damon.
The Rangers have made some pretty good off season moves without spending a lot of money, so it is possible it could pay off greatly by providing a trip to the playoffs. In Major League Baseball you are always going to have the powerhouses such as the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs and Angels which are going to run extremely high payrolls. The Tampa Bay Rays had a payroll of just over 43 million in 2008 and they made it all the way to the playoffs before being beat by the Phillies. The Florida Marlins had a payroll of just over 36 million last year and they won 87 games.
If a team has a high payroll that is wonderful, but it really takes a good core of players which will work together in pursuit of one goal. If a team with talent can come together they can go far in Baseball.