An interesting note from Buster Olney regarding Johnny Damon’s negotiations with the Yankees.
“Part of the concern in some corners of the Yankees’ organization,” Olney wrote, “was that in light of Damon’s initial insistence on not taking a pay cut, he might have gone into the 2010 season very unhappy if he had surrendered to a deal on the Yankees’ terms.”
Indications are that Damon asked for two years, $26 million. The Yankees offered two years, $14 million. Then Damon came back with two-years, $20 million (or $22 million, depending on the version of the story). By then, the Nick Johnson deal was done.
It’s interesting that Olney notes concern about Damon’s happiness about a pay cut, because it’s something Brian Cashman has talked about in the past. Cashman has said he doesn’t believe Bobby Abreu would have come back to the Yankees for the same contract that eventually brought him to the Angels last winter. There is hesitance, Cashman said, for a player to accept a pay cut under any circumstances, and that hesitances grows when it involves coming back to his old team. It’s simply hard for the player to believe that his team believes his value has dipped. It might be especially true when that team has the highest payroll in baseball.
Assumption seems to be that Hideki Matsui would have come back to the Yankees for the same deal he signed with the Angels — count me in that group — but maybe that’s not the case. And maybe Damon’s offer of a diminished contract was made grudgingly. Not sure there’s any way to quantify those sort of personality intangibles, but it’s worth considering.