Giants a Suitor for Damon?

Zack DContributor INovember 15, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 02:  Johnny Damon #18 of the New York Yankees hits a broken bat ground out to drive in Eric Hinske in the top of the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Five of the 2009 MLB World Series at Citizens Bank Park on November 2, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Batting third for your San Francisco Giants...Johnny Damon?

Yes, I wish this was some practical joke, but according to SI's John Heyman, the Giants could possibly emerge as a suitor for the 36 year old left-handed hitting free agent.

Damon, in his mid-30's, is coming off one of the best years of his career: hitting .282, 24 homers, and driving in 82 runs—while playing in a wind tunnel.

As a Giants fan, the pursuit of Johnny Damon would properly sum up the power outage the Giants have had since Barry Bonds left the lineup after the 2007 season.  Granted replacing a guy who nearly drove in 2000 runs in his career, is the career home-run leader, and was generally on base as much as Kelly Leak, is not an easy thing to do.

But the quick fix solution of signing a declining veteran and hoping that he can become a force in the middle of your lineup has been something Brian Sabean has generally failed to do since the Giants were unable to advance in the 2003 playoffs.

Look at the hold-overs that the Giants had on the current roster and past rosters that have been busts.

2009 gave us the end to Rich Aurilia's great career as a Giant, and Dave Roberts' $6.5 million dollar contract that gave the Giants exactly zero AB's this year

2008 was even better.  The tail end of Ray Durham (who did have one great year with the Giants), Omar Vizquel, and sure enough Dave Roberts, and Rich Aurilia.

The pattern is littered with the Ryan Klesko's, Shea Hillenbrand's, and Steve Finley's. Some of this is almost tolerable, but every time I watch the Giants I can't help but think how great these lineups would have been in 1998.  These guys where supposed to be stop-gaps, guys that could protect the power hitters of the lineup, but outside of some flashes here and there, they were part of a string of bad personnel decisions by the Giants. 

Times have changed, though, no longer do the Giants have a feared hitter like Bonds or even Jeff Kent for that matter.  What they do have is a pure hitter in Pablo Sandoval, who looks like a young Vladimir Guerrero (with an extra 100 pounds). Talented young prospects Thomas Neal, Brandon Crawford, Roger Kieschnick, and of course, the savior Buster Posey are only a couple of years away with continued development, except for Posey who'll be in a Giants uniform next year.

But the problem still remains, how can they score? The 2009 Giants were the most frustrating offenses I have ever seen.  Other teams have been worse statistically, but if these guys were mediocre, the Giants could have easily made the playoffs, and then the crap shoot that is the postseason, would have unfolded with the Giants having Timmy, Cain, and Penny.  But instead the Giants left guys in scoring position and less than two outs seemingly every inning.

This off-season the Giants have been linked to Jermaine Dye (a Bay Area native), possible trade rumors for Dan Uggla, and another scenario that could land Mark De Rosa, and then the aforementioned Damon.  Sadly, Damon would be the exact type of player whom the Giants have a history of going after.

Now Johnny Damon might be able to help someone next year but looking at his home/away splits indicate that a move to SF would not give the Giants the power hitter they saw play at Yankee Stadium, but rather a player on the wrong side of 35 and diminishing power away from the short porch he had in the Bronx.

With an OPS of .915 at home and 17 home runs. Damon posted .795 and 7 home runs on the road.  The RBI totals were nearly identical, and so was the average, but the Giants need power and Damon will not provide that much needed power outside of Yankee Stadium which the Giants lineup needs.  Bottom line, the Giants are not "one bat away"; in reality, they are several.