Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown reported on Twitter:
Johnny Damon and the Tigers are near agreement, according to sources. Tigers and Damon contract is for one year, according to source. Damon-Tigers contract apparently has no second-year option. Guarantee is for more than $7 million.
The deal is for about $8 million, Brown addends.
SI's Jon Heyman reports there is a no-trade clause.
My reaction after the jump
Wow. I thought it would take $6 or $7 million to sign Damon, but it actually takes up to $8 million. Credit the White Sox and Braves (and Scott Boras) for getting Damon a lot better offer than anyone expected about two weeks ago.
The money really doesn't matter at this point. It fits into the Tigers' strategy of spending whatever they feel like and not particularly caring. Typically, I like to see a team spend money wisely -- well, pretty much always -- during the earlier periods of the offseason. You like to see teams being efficient. Basically, we're talking about opportunity cost for the economists out there. If you spend $10 million stupidly, you don't have $10 million to spend on better options. So in January, I did not like the Jose Valverde signing because the opportunity cost was not spending $7 million elsewhere. Well, the Tigers were not so concerned over petty issues like $7 million dollars.
So we move on to Damon. The deal is reported to be $8 million dollars and one year. So there is no future opportunity costs to be worried about either. (Actually, as some have brought up, this could lead to savings next year if it helps limit Magglio Ordonez's plate appearances, keeping the $15 million option from kicking in next season). What else were the Tigers going to spend that kinda money on at this point in the year?
So money isn't an issue. (And it's still less than the projected $10-14 million Damon is worth).
What it means for the team
Damon will be no worse in the field than named starter Carlos Guillen. He will provide a solid left-handed bat and probably slide into the No. 2 spot in the batting order. That could move Guillen down to fifth as designated hitter and balance the lineup a bit. I'll explore that issue more in the future, but it's my first thought. The Tigers are definitely a better team with Damon than without him. And it pays double the dividends of keeping him out of Chicago.
He could give the Tigers some flexibility as the season goes on, too. If things do not turn out well, he can be flipped at the trade deadline. He probably would not pull in any blue chip prospects, but he will have some value at the deadline. Reports are there is a no-trade clause. I assume Damon would waive it to go to a contender.
Rippling effects? My first thought is that this is not good for Donnie Kelly's chances at the lineup. Actually, my pre-first thought was it could bump Clete Thomas out of the 25-man roster. But now the importance of a defensive replacement outfielder grows. Thomas is better than Kelly or Ryan Raburn in the outfield. Both Kelly and Thomas bat left handed. Of course, Kelly can also play third base better than Raburn. So I don't think it is outrageous to consider the possibility the Tigers look to trade Raburn.
Just thinking out loud -- this is a blog after all. I haven't taken the step-by-step-by-step look at what makes the best roster.
In summation: I don't got a clue who this is bad news for.
Thoughts on the deal in three words?
I like it.