MLB Rumors: New York Yankees Should Bring Johnny Damon Back for 2011

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IDecember 23, 2010

NEW YORK - AUGUST 18:  Johnny Damon #18 of the Detroit Tigers talks with Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees during a game at Yankee Stadium on August 18, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  The Yankees won 9 - 5. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

It's a few days before Christmas and so far, the Yankees have been relatively quiet in their off-season shopping.

So far, after missing out on Cliff Lee, the Yankees have brought in Russell Martin to be the starting catcher and Pedro Feliciano for the bullpen.

For the Yankees, that's an extremely quiet winter considering their deep pockets and myriad of resources.

Right now, though, it looks like the Yankees are attempting to bring back a familiar face to the lineup.

According to Ken Davidoff of Newsday, the Yankees have been talking to Johnny Damon for a potential reunion for the 2011 season.

Damon was with the Yankees from 2006-2009, and was a key member of the 2009 World Series Yankees team, but was not brought back for the 2010 season and signed with the Detroit Tigers.

Damon was originally slated to come back to New York, but Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman and Damon's agent Scott Boras couldn't come to an agreement last winter for a contract.

Primarily used as a DH last season, Damon's numbers went down playing in Comerica Park, hitting just .271 with eight home runs and 51 RBI, where Damon averaged about 20 home runs and 80 RBIs in Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees would like to use Damon as another DH and an occasional left fielder, although Damon, who will turn 37 next season, is looking for more guaranteed playing time.

At this point, though, Damon's options aren't looking that great.

Detroit has no major interest in bringing back Damon, the White Sox used a lot of their free money to bring in Adam Dunn and bring back Paul Konerko, and with the signing of Carl Crawford, the Red Sox outfield is pretty crowded.

The Yankees outfield does consist of Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher with Jorge Posada to be the main DH, but things can drastically change before and during the season.

Last year, Nick Johnson was supposed to be the everyday DH, but couldn't stay healthy for a month, leaving a hole in the Yankees lineup.

The Yankees tried to fill that hole with Lance Berkman's bat in the second half of the season, but his power seemed to drop off dramatically, and Berkman spent time on the disabled list.

Last year, everyone said the Yankees should have just moved on from Damon because of Brett Gardner being an everyday part of the lineup.

While Gardner did have a good 2010, his bat seemed to disappear in the playoffs for the Yankees.

Damon was always one of the more clutch players during the postseason and could have been used in October when it seemed like nobody was hitting for New York.

The Yankees were looking to add a right-handed bat for their outfield, but it seemed like they are getting limited on options, especially with Matt Diaz and Bill Hall signing with new teams.

The Yankees were tied to Hall and considered bringing him in, but the Astros snagged him off the free agent market this week; so , don't be surprised if the Yankees feel more of a need to bring in Damon's bat.

While the Yankees still need to focus on pitching for 2011, this is a move they should make for next season.

Damon might be a year older now, but his swing and style is still designed for Yankee Stadium and his power numbers could see a boost again if he did return.

Damon knows he can't demand what he tried last season, so he and the Yankees might be able to work out a similar deal, just like he did with the Tigers last winter, which was for one-year and $8 million.

Personally, the Yankees should have never let Damon go in the first place. I was 100 percent against Damon not being brought back, and now, I am 100 percent all for bringing him back.

Now, they have a chance to bring him back to possibly finish his career in a place he loves and where he is adored by the fans of Yankees Universe.

Hopefully this winter, Cashman and Boras can come to an agreement and get Damon back in pinstripes.


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