Johnny Come Lately: Damon Joins Austin Jackson in Detroit
Earlier this offseason, Austin Jackson was traded to Detroit in a three-team deal that also sent pitcher Ian Kennedy to Arizona and outfielder Curtis Granderson to the Bronx.
Jackson, a highly-touted prospect, hit .300 with four homers, 65 RBIs, and 24 steals in 132 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year.
Damon, meanwhile, helped lead the Yanks to a World Series title while batting .282 with 24 home runs and 82 RBIs.
Both are now gone.
After New York inked Granderson from Detroit, Damon and his agent, Scott Boras, reportedly dropped their asking price from $13 million to $10 million, but the Yanks countered with $7 million per season for a two-year deal.
Following the acquisitions of Nick Johnson and Javier Vazquez, New York then indicated that it only had about $2 million to spend on an outfielder, which it doled out to Randy Winn.
It's hard to believe the Yankees couldn't have afforded to shell out $6 million more to get a better hitter. Maybe general manager Brian Cashman was sick of haggling with Boras or maybe Damon would not have accepted a one-year deal had New York not already signed Winn. Who knows?
What we do know is that Damon and Jackson will have a chance to exact some revenge when the two teams meet from May 10-14.
But the Tigers aren't the only American League club with multiple outfielders who used to play for the Bombers. Hideki Matsui, who will mostly play DH again this season, signed with the Angels this winter after the Yankees failed to bring the free agent back.
Godzilla hit .274 with 28 homers and 90 runs batted in before capturing the World Series MVP in '09.
He suffered a similar fate to Angels right fielder Bobby Abreu, who New York didn't re-sign after his .296/20/100 season in '08. Abreu went on to hit .293/15/103 in '09, but the Bombers went on to win the World Series.
Then there's Los Angeles left fielder Juan Rivera, who played for the Yankees from 2001-03. He spent '04 in Montreal before developing into a solid hitter with the Angels.
Detroit and Los Angeles both have good shots at winning their respective divisions this season—thanks in part to the Yankees—so don't be surprised if New York runs into some familiar faces this October.
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Jordan Schwartz is Bleacher Report's New York Yankees Community Leader. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.
Jordan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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