Last week, super agent Scott Boras made the seemingly hopeful proclamation that his veteran left fielding/designated hitting free agent client Johnny Damon would be gainfully employed once again by the beginning of May. Given that the player’s usefulness on a Major League roster seemed more on the designated hitter side of his two possible positions, combined with the fact that he was coming off his worst season at the plate since 2001, the statement from Boras came across as especially ambitious.
Nonetheless, late last night, reports and text messages began surfacing that suggested Damon was on his way to Cleveland to play left field for the Indians. While no dollar figures have been announced, it’s expected that the agreement will be a one year deal that will include a special opt out clause, for when Grady Sizemore returns from back surgery in eight to twelve weeks.
damon texted: “cleveland has always been great to me. and i’m looking forward to reuniting w a few teammates” (me: d lowe)
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) April 12, 2012
With Travis Hafner firmly entrenched as the team’s designated hitter, Damon will most likely play left field for the Tribe, something he hasn’t done a lot of in the last couple of seasons, accumulating just over 300 innings out there since 2010.
While the Indians have gotten off to a disappointing start, Shelley Duncan, the team’s right handed hitting batter whom Damon is expected to replace, has actually played quite well. Duncan’s splits reveal that he’s an above average batter against left handed pitching, while Damon is pretty close to even against both southpaws and right handers.
If Cleveland had any reasonable platoon candidate to team with Duncan, signing Damon would be unnecessary. With all apologies to the Aaron Cunningham, they don’t, so assuming that once the deal is finalized, it’s for a reasonable amount of money, the Indians have probably made a smart move here considering the alternative of giving up assets or picking up too much salary to acquire Bobby Abreu from the Los Angeles Angels.
And The Rest
New York Yankees infielder Eduardo Nunez’s scorpion slide last night was the greatest thing he’s ever done at the Major League level. Also, Baltimore Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds is totally farting, isn’t he? [Getting Blanked]
The play reminded me of a Ben Revere triple from last season. [Getting Blanked]
Michael Weiner, the head of the major league baseball players’ union, thinks steroid use shouldn’t keep a player out of the Hall of Fame. [ESPN]
Stephen Strasburg threw more than 100 pitches for the first time at the Major League level as he outdueled an in form Johan Santana to lead the Washington Nationals to a 4-0 win over the New York Mets. [Federal Baseball]
Underage drinking at the Rogers Centre in Toronto? Underage drinking at the Rogers Centre in Toronto! [DJF]
Poor, poor Justin Verlander. [Bless You Boys]
Jason Collette has a great post examining some of the changes that Fernando Rodney has undergone since becoming a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, and if the early results are to be believed, an effective pitcher. [DRaysBay]
Who are the most unpredictable teams in baseball? [Beyond The Box Score]
Tim Lincecum’s early struggles. Lat night was rather painful. [FanGraphs]
Embarrassing Todd Helton was the only bright spot for the San Francisco Giants in their disastrous game against the Colorado Rockies last night. [Bay City Ball]
Speaking of disasters from last night, Kansas City Royals reliever Jonathan Broxton’s meltdown led to a rare walk off hit by pitch. Side note: Hey Royals blogs, get your game recaps up faster. [4029 News]
Meanwhile, at the same game in Oakland, Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur bought 20 pizzas for Athletics fans who were celebrating Bacon Tuesday. The previous year, he sent them a ball wrapped in a $100 bill with a note that said, “Beer or bacon dog on me.” It’s pretty hard to hate that guy. [Big League Stew]
Tampa Bay Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson got hit in the head with a baseball during batting practice. He was taken to hospital, but released shortly after with nothing more than a headache. [Rays Index]
This is the effect that playing for the Baltimore Orioles can have on a player. [Jockular]
Finally, one of my favourite blogs has been taken over by an unhealthy obsession for Nick Johnson. I think I’m on board. [Productive Outs]