Someone suggested in the comments not so long ago that the LoHud Yankees Blog declare a one-day ban on all Johnny Damon discussion. I love the idea, except that the outfield remains the most fluid part of the Yankees roster, and Damon remains the most interesting former Yankee on the free agent market.
Damon’s list of suitors might have diminished this afternoon when the Giants re-signed Bengie Molina. For those of you still holding out hope that he’ll return to Yankee Stadium, this seems to be good news. Damon himself has stopped short of ruling it out.
Ultimately, though, it seems that Brian Cashman has once again accurately gauged the outfield market. Similar to Bobby Abreu a year ago, it’s hard to imagine Damon receiving the kind of contract he was said to be looking for at the beginning of the winter. The $13 million he earned last season seems way too high, and anything close to a four-year deal seems virtually impossible.
It’s not only Damon. The entire outfield market — beyond Matt Holliday and Jason Bay — has been slow to develop. It doesn’t seem to be helping anyone (other than every team in the market for an outfielder) that there is such a long list of options. Damon might be the headliner, but Rick Ankiel, Garrett Anderson, Rocco Baldelli, Jermaine Dye, Jonny Gomes, Reed Johnson, Xavier Nady, Gary Sheffield, Marcus Thames and Randy Winn are also out there. So are guys like Fernando Tatis, Endy Chavez, Chris Duncan and Robb Quinlan. So are a few infielders, like Felipe Lopez, who can play the outfield.
There seems to be no rush for any team — the Yankees or anyone else — to sign any of these guys. That’s why Damon remains a hot topic of discussion among Yankees fans and in the national baseball media.