We are almost upon the New Year of 2010. A new decade is about to dawn upon us.
But, when that decade comes, the Yankees will begin it as the reigning champions of baseball.
They will also be still in search of a left fielder for the 2010 season.
Just this week, two more options went off the board for the Yankees in the left field sweepstakes.
Mark DeRosa signed a two-year, $12 million dollar deal with the San Francisco Giants.
Jason Bay signed a four-year, $66 million dollar deal with the New York Mets.
These signings take two names out of the mix of players that the Yankees were linked to, and it still leaves them looking for a starting left fielder.
Now, the left fielder from 2009 for the Yankees is still on the free agent market in Johnny Damon.
He was potentially linked to drawing interest from the Mets and Giants, but DeRosa and Bay's signings took care of those rumors.
There was the Atlanta Braves, but with their addition of Melky Cabrera, the Braves likely can't add Damon to their outfield.
Damon is running out of options. He's also running out of teams interested.
He has said he wants to come back to the Yankees, and at one point, even dropped his asking price.
If Damon still wants to play in pinstripes in 2010, Damon may have to drop his asking price even more.
Hideki Matsui took less money to sign with the Angels. He went from a $13 million dollar contract with the Yankees in 2009 to a $6.5 million dollar deal in 2010 with Los Angeles. Matsui was the World Series MVP, and even he dropped his demands in half.
Nick Johnson, the Yankees' new designated hitter and backup first baseman, signed with the Yankees for $5.5 million for 2010. That's even less than half of what Damon was asking for.
If Damon were 30, this might be a different story, but Damon just turned 36 and is on the downside of his career. In a few years, he'll likely be a permanent DH, but for right now, he can still play the outfield.
Damon's bat is still very useful and clutch for the Yankees, and is very hard to pass up. We know Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman is putting his foot down on the asking price and demands, but something has to give between these two.
Aside from Matt Holliday, who most feel the Yankees have absolutely no interest in trying to bid for, Damon is the best option on the market.
My advice for Cashman is to talk to your owner and management and add a little more for the budget. You are the New York Yankees, and the defending champions of baseball. You don't win by being sticklers when it comes to the payroll. Hell, you aren't the New York Mets. You offered bad contracts to worse players in the past, and Damon is not one of them. Be a little more fair.
Now, on the other side, my advice for Damon is to get the hell away from the Boras-ish demands and come to the Yankees, like Alex Rodriguez did back in 2007, and work this out with them, if you seriously want to be a Yankee again. Deep down, if you come to them and say that you want to do whatever it takes to be a Yankee, they will work something out with you. You did help them win a championship in November, and you are still one of the more popular players on the team.
I am still the front-runner of the "Bringing Johnny Damon back to the Yankees" train, and I will continue to do so until something happens, because it's a smart move.
I know the price for Damon must come down, but Cashman has to meet Damon in the middle somewhere.
We all know the cheaper options out there aren't really what you want. I know Reed Johnson or Jonny Gomes or even Jermaine Dye isn't your top choice. We know the Yankees want Damon back because they've tried negotiating with him.
I have a feeling that once Holliday is off the board, it really makes Damon's options even bleaker. But it also makes the Yankees' options for another left fielder thinner.
Damon and the Yankees are the perfect match for 2010. All we need is a meeting with Damon and the Yankees to resolve this and get it done.
Time will soon be running out on the market. Damon doesn't have much of a choice left, and neither do the Yankees.
Make it happen.