Cincinnati Reds Give Danny Dorn His Shot; Johnny Damon Rumors Out of Left Field

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Cincinnati Reds Give Danny Dorn His Shot; Johnny Damon Rumors Out of Left Field
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Before I started this blog last season, I was pretty upset that the Cincinnati Reds didn’t invite Danny Dorn to spring training. Last week, Dorn finally received the invitation to join the Reds big league camp.

While Dorn doesn’t carry a big name (if only his first name were Roger), he has succeeded at every level the Reds have placed him in the minors. He has flown under the radar since being selected in the 32nd round of the 2006 MLB Draft.

His stats aren’t gaudy, but they’re nice.

In Rookie Ball in Billings, Dorn’s line finished (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS) .354/.457/.573/1.030.

In 2007, Dorn played 92 games in Advanced A Sarasota before being called up for 26 games at AA Chattanooga. His slash between the two clubs read .287/.373/.500/.873. The drop off in statistics is due to at least two reasons: 1.) Rookie Ball season is much shorter than other seasons at the minor league level. 2.) As one advances through the levels of baseball, obviously, the competition grows stronger.

Dorn began 2008 in Sarasota, but after five games was promoted again to AA Chattanooga where he finished the season .275/.363/.537/.899 in 98 games.

Dorn spent the entire 2009 season at AAA Louisville. After getting off to a slow start, he finished at a .275/.337/.457/.793 clip in 112 games.

The Reds prospect will begin 2010 looking to add to his .291/.375/.509/.884 career slash line. Hopefully, the experience and mentoring he will gain in big league camp will help him do just that. I would love nothing more than to see Danny Dorn get a call-up come September. You always have to appreciate it when a 32nd round draft pick makes it to The Show.


Rumors out of Left Field
Rumors are beginning to swirl about the Reds search for a power bat in left field. Cincinnati has been named as a possible landing for 35-year-old free agent Johnny Damon

Apparently, Damon’s agent, the beloved Scott Boras, is shopping his client around after talks with the Yankees cooled off. Cincinnati and Detroit are the two clubs reported to be most interested in his services.

Damon made $13 million last season. Let me take a moment to say that there is no chance in God’s green earth the Reds (or anyone for that matter) are going to fork over anywhere close to that amount of jack to a 35-year-old outfielder. 

It’s not clear what Boras and Damon are seeking, but it’s rumored that the Yankees offered somewhere in the $6 million range. Even that price would probably have to come down in order for the Reds or the Tigers to make a move on him. 

If the price for Damon is right, I can’t say I would object to his coming to Cincinnati. But the price has to be right. 

Damon still has power; he hit 24 big flies last season for New York. With his power to right-right center field, Damon should find the dimensions of Great American Ball Park as inviting as the short porch at Yankee Stadium. 

Damon Spray Chart

Thanks to HitTrackerOnline.com for this image of Johnny Damon's home run spray chart.

 

Last season, Walt Jocketty passed on the likes of Bobby Abreu stating they were looking for a power bat, but wanted a right-hander. Many Reds fans pointed out the fact that Abreu can hit both righties and lefties with near equal aptitude.

After Abreu signed with the Angels for next to nothing (by his terms), Jocketty’s other excuse, that Abreu was too pricey, was shot down (Granted, the Reds would have probably had to pay Abreu more than the Angels due to market size and the fact that the Angels were more likely to compete for a Pennant. However, Abreu would have still come in way under asking price). The same could be said for Damon.

While he bats eight points higher against right-handers than southpaws, Damon’s numbers are still good and have been consistent. Besides, Damon will see more right-handed pitching anyway.

If Damon were acquired by the Reds, where would he fit in the batting order? That’s where the problems begin. Though Damon can hit both right-handed pitching and left-handed pitching well, you wouldn’t want the top of your order to have three lefties in a row (assuming Dickerson is in center and leading off or batting second).

Supposing Drew Stubbs wins the center field job out of Spring Training (making him manager Dusty Baker’s defacto leadoff man), Damon could bat between him and Votto. Though you would have two lefties back-to-back, I don’t see how that would pose a problem. I believe too much is made about breaking up the batting order.

Were Damon on the club, Dusty would probably have to give up one or the other of his pet peeves. Either bat Damon leadoff (I know he’s not your center fielder, Dusty), breaking up the order left-right, or else bat two lefties in a row.

With the Yankees, Damon has primarily been their leadoff man. In my opinion, if it’s good enough for the Yankees, it’s good enough for the Reds. 

The bottom line is that the likelihood of Damon sporting a Reds uniform this summer is slim to none, so there’s no point in getting too wound up over it. If Damon’s price were to drop somewhere near the Red’s comfort level, that would probably put him closer to what the Yankees or Tigers would be willing to pay. Given the option between the three, I’m sure Cincinnati would finish somewhere around third.

Sometimes it’s just fun to imagine “what if” or “would this be a good idea?” 

Oh well, 21 days until pitchers and catchers report! There’s always something to look forward to!

UPDATE: Not long after I submitted this post, news that the Yankees acquired Randy Winn for $2 million became apparent. While this deal is still pending a physical, it seems as though it may shut the door for a Johnny Damon return to the Yankees.

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