MLB Trade Rumors: Orioles Remain Interested in Johnny Damon

Eli GreenspanSenior Analyst IMarch 7, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG - OCTOBER 03:  Designated hitter Johnny Damon #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratuled after scoring against the Texas Rangers during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

Jon Heyman of reports that the Orioles have not ruled out signing outfielder and designated hitter Johnny Damon. The Orioles outfield is currently set, but the Orioles would easily benefit from added depth on their bench.

Wilson Betemit, a utility infielder, is pegged to DH unless Nick Johnson or Taylor Teagarden can emerge as quality options. Bringing in Damon gives them options and allows Betemit to provide depth for Brian Roberts and the infield, as well as not putting too much pressure on Johnson to stay healthy and productive.

Damon finished the 2011 season hitting .261 with 16 home runs and a .326 OBP—his lowest average since 2001. Damon, 38, would be playing for his fourth team in the AL East if he signed with Baltimore.

He's played nine of his last ten seasons in the AL East, the lone season being with the Tigers in 2010.

Damon is a career .313 hitter in 114 career games in Camden Yards, posting a .370 OBP and 21 home runs. At this point in the offseason (or preseason), Damon should come on the cheap and be guaranteed a spot right out of the gate.

The Orioles appear to be in the process of determining what kind of contract they will give to Damon, if they do in fact decide to pursue him.

The Orioles need added depth to support their younger players and Damon would be a nice stopgap that simply gives the Orioles an added buffer as they go through development processes.