X

Johnny Damon's Return To the New York Yankees Is a Must for 2010

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IDecember 11, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 02:  Johnny Damon #18 of the New York Yankees runs towards third base as he scores on a RBI double by Alex Rodriguez #13 in the top of the first 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

He's making a list.

Checking it twice.

Gonna find out who is terrible or nice.

Santa Cashman is coming to town, Santa Cashman is coming to town.

Yes, I am in the Christmas spirit, and the Yankees are too, because they have begun their holiday shopping.

Unlike us, who shop for December 25, Brian Cashman is shopping for next season and beyond.

Cashman had a proven center fielder with a decent contract on his list. A three-way trade for Curtis Granderson took care of that need.

Cashman also needed a reliable arm who is the most winning pitcher in postseason history. Andy Pettitte's $11.75 million dollar deal also took care of that need.

Now, Cashman does have other needs on the list. One of those is a left fielder.

Now it's time to get Johnny Damon re-signed and back with the Yankees for 2010.

So Damon will be 36 when the season starts and he will be a year older going into the outfield where his skills in left field diminished some.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

But in 2009, Damon proved that he can still hit the ball and in clutch situations was as valuable as every other Yankee was, especially in the playoffs.

He hit .282 with 24 home runs and 82 RBI and scored 107 runs batting in the number two spot for the Yankees in 2009.

In the playoffs, after a slow start against the Twins, he hit .300 against the Angels in the ALCS and .364 in the World Series against the Phillies.

His biggest play for the Yankees in that postseason may have been Game Four of the World Series in the ninth inning.

Facing Brad Lidge with two outs and the game tied 4-4, Damon fought off numerous pitches and finally was able to drive a pitch to left for a base hit. With Mark Teixeira up, Damon stole second base rather easily.

However, with the over-shift on for Teixeira, nobody was covering third, so Damon took off for third and made it safely. That heads up play allowed Alex Rodriguez to rip his go-ahead double to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead and eventually take Game Four 7-4 and go up 3-1 in the series.

Money can't buy that type of clutch ability on the market, it has to be earned by playing in big games. And no offense to Jason Bay or Matt Holliday, but they are nowhere near Damon's experience level when it comes to big games.

The biggest problem that might stand in the way of a deal is Damon's agent, Scott Boras. Boras is known for being a stickler to getting more money and years out of teams and at times, annoys them with his reputation.

Boras feels like he can get Damon a three-year contract with this year's market, but chances are, it would come from a bad team desperate for a bat. Does Damon really want to sacrifice winning for a contract?

He did just make $52 million dollar over the last four years with the Yankees, which is what he signed in December of 2005.

Many people are pretty certain that Damon wants to come back with the Yankees. And because the Yankees have started negotiating, it's pretty clear that the Yankees also want him back.

I doubt the Yankees are going to pursue Bay or Holliday and I'm sure they would like to leave Granderson in center, so the obvious choice for left is Damon.

The Yankees can not let Damon walk away because Damon still has plenty of offensive firepower left. If Damon really is looking to pursue history, he is currently at 2,425 career hits and if he plays long enough, could end up getting to 3,000. which is the magic number for the Hall of Fame.

Damon is a good enough hitter to get to that type of record, but that's a few years down the road. Right now, the Yankees and Damon should just worry about 2010.

The negotiations between the Yankees, Boras and Damon will continue on and for the Yankee fans, they should hope Damon comes back for a fifth season in pinstripes, because replacing someone as popular and as good as Damon is not easy to do.

The Yankees need Damon back. Bring him back to New York, Santa Cashman.

After all, if you check that list twice, you will see that Johnny has been very nice for the last four years.

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!