A year ago, Bobby Abreu left the Yankees and ended up taking a paycut of nearly 70 percent from his new team (the Angels) after the free-agent market for him completely bottomed out. This year, with February getting ever closer, could Johnny Damon experience the same thing?
In a conversation with Chad last week, Brian Cashman indicated that the ship has sailed on Damon returning to the Yankees. That follows with what we’ve heard from Scott Boras, too, and obviously the two sides had different valuations on Damon earlier this offseason. But could a reunion still happen?
They key, it would seem, is what Damon is willing to accept in terms of a pay cut. He said this weekend that he understands he’s probably going to lose some salary in his next deal, but could he stomach going from the $13 million he made last year to the $6 million or so it seems that the Yankees believe he’s worth? Sure, most of us would look at it and say ‘it’s still $6 million!’ but how would you feel if you had to take a 50 percent pay cut? The Yankees might (understandably) have concerns about the emotional/mental impact on Damon if he comes back with any frustration about how the negotiations went down.
My gut is that someone will eventually offer a two-year deal to Damon and that he’ll take the extra security. If that doesn’t happen, though, and if there are only one-year offers out there, it’s absolutely possible that Damon ends up back in the Bronx. Likely? No. I still think Damon will end up elsewhere. But possible? Yes.
As much as anything, that says a lot about the financial situation in baseball (and this country). A few years ago, such a scenario would have seemed outlandish. In today’s economy, however, many of the old rules for salaries and free agency just don’t apply.