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Should The Tigers Sign Johnny Damon?

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 04:  Johnny Damon #18 of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout after he struck out in the bottom of the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Six of the 2009 MLB World Series at Yankee Stadium on November 4, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees won 7-3 to win the series 4 games to 2. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Matt DavidCorrespondent IIFebruary 15, 2010

Point: Yes, I hope the Tigers bring Johnny Damon in. It makes perfect sense.

Counterpoint: The Tigers might as well turn over left field to Ryan Raburn.

P: Raburn? I like Raburn as a fifth outfielder. He won't put up what Damon will.

CP: Signing Damon would make the Tigers awfully crowded with outfielders. They have Raburn, Clete Thomas, Austin Jackson, Wilkin Ramirez, Magglio Ordonez, and possibly Carlos Guillen.

CP: Forget Ramirez and Thomas. Now you are down to four guys. Guillen could play a lot at third base considering Brandon Inge's injuries.

P: If they sign Damon, Guillen will mostly be a DH. Inge is ready to go.

CP: Ordonez will not play 162 games either. I'm thinking Guillen will play plenty of outfield.

P: I think the outfield will be Guillen, Damon, and Ordonez with Jackson and Raburn on the bench.

CP: Some combination of those would be the outfield. One of those guys will be your DH.

P: Likely it would look like this: Damon, Guillen, Raburn, and Thomas would share left field. Jackson and Thomas would share center field. Then Ordonez and Thomas would share right field. Is that doable?

CP: I guess. I'm still concerned about Guillen being unhappy with DH.

P: Guillen and his huge contract will be fine.

CP: Isn't Damon an injury risk?

P: Actually, no. Johnny Damon has 14 straight seasons where he has played in 140-plus games. Pretty good, eh?

CP: I did not know that.

P: Of course not, Mr. No Research.

CP: I guess you will tell me how many dingers Damon hit last year.

P: Oh yeah, he did hit 24.

CP: He won't hit 15 in Comerica. I'd be surprised if he hits 10.

P: Yankee Stadium helped Damon hit homers?

CP: He only hit seven home runs on the road. What does that tell you?

P: I know that Yankee Stadium proved to be a launching pad for lefties.

CP: Yes, and Damon is not getting younger. You are aware that players don't generally improve as they get over 35, right? How old is Damon again? 

P: He is only 36 but managed to score over 100 runs last year with a sweet OBP of .365.

CP: He was helped a little by a loaded lineup of All-Stars, no?

P: Maybe, but he had to get on base to score.

CP: Let's get to defense. The outfield you want would have limited range. I can just see all the balls dropping in for hits. Damon's popgun arm is pitiful.

P: Most people won't complain about his defensive skills when he puts up .280/.350/.450.

CP: Can he even hit the cutoff man from left?

P: Perhaps with the wind behind him.

CP: Exactly.

P: Damon is also a big name. I could see him getting the Tiger fanbase excited.

CP: The Tiger fans will be excited if they win.

P: Damon is a winner, having played in the postseason year after year.

CP: How much will it take to sign him? There aren't many teams interested.

P: The Tigers are said to have offered $7 million.

CP: That would be overpaying. Scott Boras is going to have them bidding against themselves. He is a master at that.

P: Maybe they can get him for $5 million.

CP: That would be more like it. I can't see him playing in the National League. The league switch would hurt him, and he can't DH.

P: The Reds are said to have some interest.

CP: The Reds have less money than the Tigers and haven't had a winning season this century. He wouldn't go there unless it was a last resort.

P: For $5 million, it makes too much sense. He could lead off and play center field if Jackson does not pan out. He may be able to be traded when July rolls around.

CP: I don't think anyone would be interested in July. Damon has an outside shot at the Hall of Fame and needs at-bats. Can the Tigers run him out there for 500 at-bats?

P: I think so.

CP: Maybe Damon would be a one-year stopgap.

P: No doubt. You know...the ladies seem to really take to Damon.

CP: Well, he has that going for him.

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