Should the Mets think long and hard about shelling out some clams for a few Johnny Rockets in 2010?
Now, I say yes.
Early in the offseason, the Mets had been linked, to some extent, to former Yankee left fielder Johnny Damon as a possible "alternative" to Jason Bay. The arguments made were that he has "above average power," while being a better defender, and faster runner, than Jason Bay.
These arguments were clearly ludicrous. Even more ludicrous was the 4-year/$52 million price tag Scott Boras was commanding on Damon's behalf.
Fast forward two months. Damon remains unsigned, and almost every team that he has been linked to has had a). lukewarm interest at best (Atlanta, Detroit), b). moved on to greener (or not) pastures (Yankees with Randy Winn), or c). a combination of both (Oakland). Damon has got to be dreaming if he commands a 1-year/$5 million contract.
At an earlier point, Damon seemed like a crazy option for the Mets.
But a lot's changed. He now looks to be dirt-cheap to sign for many reasons. Damon projects to be worth about 2.5 WAR (wins above replacement) next year, which equates to about $10 million. He can be had for half that, maybe even less. That's a great value.
You may say, "He plays terrible defense. His offense won't translate to Citi Field. He's way too old. We've got nowhere to put him."
The first qualm may be true. The second? Well, maybe he could pop some of those Yankee Stadium homers just 15 feet further—Citi has a pretty reasonable right field porch. Sure, Damon might hit only 15 in a full season at Citi, but hey, the Mets could do much worse.
The thinking may be "Damon as a fourth outfielder? Doesn't work." But frankly, the complacency with the current personnel on the team is what got the Mets into such trouble in the first place; not attempting to improve the rotation or add depth that wouldn't be "overexposed."
Damon is certainly better than Cory Sullivan or Jeremy Reed. Let's think proactively, and give him a shot.