Damon could be good fit atop Braves’ order

A few thoughts while wondering if Johnny Damon would wear his hair Boston-era caveman style or Yankees-era short when he signs with the Braves — OK, if he signs with Braves — and trying to figure out how it’s colder in Atlanta this week than it was last week in Whistler, B.C., when we were there snowboarding.

Caveman BoSox-era Damon, aka Jesus

Caveman BoSox-era Damon, aka Jesus

Seriously, it’s colder here in North Georgia than it was in the mountains in the Great White North. Quite a bit colder, with wind-chill factor considered. But even the actual temperature is lower. And we have no snow — or sexy European skiers — to distract us from the bitter cold.

As for Damon, as I’ve said a few times the past couple of weeks, the Braves can afford to sign him if they could do a one- or two-year deal for well below $10 mill per, and perhaps closer to $7-8 mill per season if it’s a two-year deal.

I think Damon would/will seriously consider it for at least two reasons: He hasn’t received better offers yet, and he’s told some people he’d like to play for the Braves, who train near his Orlando home. He’s always respected Bobby Cox and the organization.

Sure, the Yankees can keep him by simply stepping in and offering more than the Braves or Giants or any other team offer. But there are indications out of New York that the Yankees don’t feel compelled to splurge to keep Damon and might not go beyond a one-year offer, if they make any offer.

Agent Scott Boras said earlier reports were erroneous, the ones that claimed Damon, 36, was seeking a four-year contract worth the same annual amount ($13 mill) he averaged in his just-completed four-year deal. (I might possibly have passed along on the ol’ blog one of those reports/rumors. Possibly.) They’re asking for a two-year deal, though Boras won’t say for how much.

Clean-cut Yankee-era Damon

Clean-cut Yankee-era Damon

The Braves have added 3B-turned-1B slugger Troy Glaus (presuming he passed physical, announcement expected in next day or two) and OF Melky Cabrera this winter, but subtracted Adam LaRoche. They are still, for obvious reasons, looking for a proven, productive bat to add in the top half of the order.

If they add Damon or another left fielder, perhaps Jermaine Dye or Xavier Nady (though Nady has more suitors and might be too pricey), they could use the switch-hitting Cabrera against righties as part of a RF platoon with Matt Diaz or top prospect Jason Heyward when Heyward arrives. Or Cabrera could play left against some lefties, and occasionally fill in for CF Nate McLouth.

Or they could trade Cabrera or possibly even Diaz, though Diaz seems less likely to be moved, as he is a Cox and team favorite who would fit well into a possible part-time role. Or bring back Andruw Jones (ha — just seeing if you all are wading through this. Thanks for hanging in there.) While Nady might seem a better fit, given his ability to play 1B in a pinch and given Glaus’ health issues, Nady is said to prefer a team that would plan to use him as a full-time outfielder.

Dye is another option and has said he’d be open to playing some 1B and to returning to Atlanta, where he spent his rookie season in 1996 before being traded to Kansas City.

Dye is another option for LF

Dye is another option for LF

Despite his dramatic slide at midseason 2009, the soon-to-be 36-year-old still finished with 27 homers and 81 RBI in 2009 for the White Sox, giving him 165 homers and 461 RBI in the past five seasons for Chicago.

But after hitting .295 with 18 homers and a .933 OPS in 70 games through June, Dye hit just .206 with nine homers and a .654 OPS in his remaining 71 games. Yikes.

Still, plenty of teams — possibly the Braves among them — still believe that’s a small sample, under unusual circumstances, and that he has enough left to help out. Dye and a load of other remaining free agents, including a crop of similar aging outfielders and/or designated hitters, could be part of the wave of signings expected to begin this week or next.

Damon doesn’t fall into that Dye/Vlad Guerrero mold, in that Damon is still mobile and athletic enough to play the outfield at more than a serviceable rate – despite his terrible arm — and  provide some speed on the basepaths, rather than clogging them.

He matched his career high with 24 home runs last season, and the short right-field porch undoubtedly had a lot to do with that. Teams know that and his value will probably be affected accordingly.  (Unless Boras decides to cast a spell and make a team believe that new Yankee Stadium is actually a pitchers’ park. He can do that. Boras can do anything. World leaders can only hope he eventually has time to fix the economy.)

But it’s not as if Damon stunk on the road, where he hit .284 (five points higher than his home average) with 18 doubles (same as his home total), all of his three triples, seven homers and a .795 OPS (compared to a .915 OPS in the Bronx; hey, no one’s saying there wasn’t a big difference).

His stolen bases dipped to 12 in 2009, after he averaged 27 over the previous three seasons with the Yanks. Some of that might’ve had to do with the big power hitters behind him in the order and not taking the bat out of their hands.  (Boras spell working on me. Damon,  good.)

His overall numbers were impressive in 2009: Damon hit .282 (six points off his career average) with a .365 OBP (10 points above his career mark), 36 doubles (his most since a career-high 42 in 2000) and 82 RBI (his most since a career-high 94 in 2004 with Boston).

Regardless, dude can still hit

Regardless of hair length, dude hits

He scored more than 100 runs (107) for the 10th time in 12 seasons and struck out fewer than 100 times to continue his streak of never reaching triple figures in whiffs in 15 seasons in the majors (though his 98 strikeouts were a career high). He also grounded into fewer than 10 double plays for the 10th consecutive season (though his nine GIDPs were his most since a career-high 13 in 1999).

Fact of the matter is, Damon is still a good hitter, and I say that while lucid and of my own free will. The Braves could certainly use another “professional hitter” in their lineup. They could bat him leadoff or keep Nate McLouth there and bat Damon second, the position where he hit last season for the Yankees, behind Derek Jeter.

In 2008, Damon hit almost exclusively from the leadoff position, batting .305 with 27 doubles, five triples, 17 homers, 70 RBI and a .376 OBP in 541 at-bats from the No. 1 position in the lineup.

How impactful a hitter is Damon at this point in his career, some of you ask? (And we’re glad you asked, since it helps with transitions.) Consider a couple of statistics from last season, compared to other younger Yankee sluggers:

With runners in scoring position, Damon hit .299 (46-for-154) with a .377 OBP and .468 slugging percentage (.845 OPS). In those situations, Alex Rodriguez hit .265 (40-for-151) with a .409 OBP and .450 slugging (.859 OPS); Mark Teixeira hit .264 (46-for-174) with a .401 OBP and .471 slugging (.871 OPS); and Derek Jeter hit .259 (35-for-135) with a .380 OBP and .356 slugging (.736 OPS).

(And for those curious, Nick Swisher hit .227 with a .741 OPS with RISP.)

In close-and-late situations, Damon hit .312 (24-for-77) with seven homers, a .424 OPB and .629 slugging percentage (1.073 OPS). In those situations, Jeter hit .366 (30-for-82) with two homers, a .435 OBP and .463 slugging (.898 OPS); A-Rod hit .310 (18-for-58) with eight homers, a .481 OBP and .741 slugging (1.222 OPS); and Teixeira hit .277 (23-for-83) with six homers, a .351 OBP and .590 slugging (.941 OPS).

(Damn, now that I type those numbers, I’m thinking this Yankee team must have been pretty solid. How’d they do in the postseason? That payroll must be unwieldy though, right? At least $120 mill? What’s that? Oh….)

Nady would be a good fit, but....

Nady would be a good fit, but....

My point is, if you’ve sifted through all those numbers, Damon can still hit and perform on the biggest stages. He hit .300 with two homers and five RBI in the ALCS in October, and hit .364 with a .440 OBP and three steals against Philly in the World Series.

His defense? Yes, the arm has gone from bad to badder. OK, baddest. Only Juan Pierre has an arm comparable to his among major league outfielders. Noodle, meet arm. Arm, noodle.

But regardless of what some zone ratings or other defensive stats might indicate, talk to scouts and those who played against or with Damon last season, and they’ll tell you he’s still a solid outfielder with good range and defensive routes.

Certainly he would be better in terms of overall defense than Garret Anderson provided for the Braves last season. Significantly better, except for the arm.

And in terms of clubhouse presence and reputation as a teammate and winner — intangibles that players, unlike some observers, insist matter plenty — Damon is highly regarded. He certainly knows what it takes, having played for enough championship teams in Boston and New York.

So if the Braves want him, and if they can work a deal with Boras, it’s hard to argue the Braves’ lineup, and team as a whole, wouldn’t be significantly upgraded by adding Damon.

They wouldn’t have to worry about playing someone out of position or shifting Martin Prado, as they would if they traded for Marlins 2B Dan Uggla. And wouldn’t have to worry about having a punchless left fielder, or about having no legitimate leadoff hitter other than Nate McLouth.

How does a lineup something like this sound to you all? 1. Damon LF, 2. McLouth CF, 3. Chipper Jones 3B, 4. Troy Glaus 1B, 5. Brian McCann C, 6. Yunel Escobar SS, 7. Martin Prado 2B or Jason Heyward RF, 8. Matt Diaz RF and/or Heyward.

I’d say, pencil that in and report to spring training in six weeks, boys. Because that’ll work.

But I’m not sure about the caveman hairstyle that Damon favored in his latter years with the BoSox. Don’t think “6″ (Cox) would go for that. The long hair, perhaps, but not the flowing beard that went with it.

Something between his conservative, Steinbrenner-mandated Yankee look and the Jesus look from Damon’s Boston heyday, that might fly with the Braves’ skipper, who also wouldn’t abide by James McMurtry’s appearance.

e1174343442

“GULF ROAD” by James McMurtry

Not a hot cup of coffee, nor a cold glass of tea

Ever crossed your lips in my company

Straight bourbon whiskey was all we’d abide

So let’s don’t hold back now we’ve got nothing to hide

So much we savored yet so much we missed

You know I never meant you to see me like this

Just a faint distant flicker from the last of the storm

You know a taste of that liquor could do me no harm

Light me a candle. Light me a fire.

We’ll sit by the window with the shades drawn

To the best of intentions and the worst of desires

We’ll leave by the Gulf Road in the grey dawn

Take a short-handled shovel

Take a long handled hoe

Cover my bones when the west wind blows

Smooth it off even, pack it down hard

I’ll no more be here but I’ll never be far

I’ll no more be here but I’ll never be far

Light me a candle. Light me a fire.

We’ll sit by the window with the shades drawn

To the best of intentions and the worst of desires

We’ll leave by the Gulf Road in the grey dawn

4,566 comments Add your comment

Mitchie-san

January 4th, 2010
5:19 pm

Goldenglove002

January 4th, 2010
5:20 pm

New Bloggage!!!

Mitchie-san

January 4th, 2010
5:20 pm

Maybe I am. Hmm.

LongtimeBravesfan

January 4th, 2010
5:22 pm

As always, thanks David

JoeC10

January 4th, 2010
5:24 pm

Im just sayin, the Caveman look is legit.

BravesFanChris25

January 4th, 2010
5:26 pm

Very interesting. Although defensively not a big fan, Damon has always been a professional hitter. He has some grit about him. I’d say go for it if you can get him on a reasonable deal.

TNScott

January 4th, 2010
5:26 pm

Which was longer the last blog or “War and Peace?”

Redstick19

January 4th, 2010
5:26 pm

nice info on Damon never having struck out in double-digits. I didn’t realize that. I’m slowly coming around to the idea of Damon. Perhaps by tomorrow I’ll even wish they get him.

Goldenglove002

January 4th, 2010
5:28 pm

DOB, I think I would probably move around your 2,6, and 7 spots. I really like Prado in the 2-hole, and then when you move McLouth back I think I would rather have escobar behind him rather than infront of him. But it seems pretty versatile in what could be done with the OF in platoons.

RC

January 4th, 2010
5:28 pm

Thanks for the new blog DOB! And I agree with JoeC that the Caveman look is the way to go, if only so I can spend an entire summer making Phil Hartman jokes.

I’m just a caveman. I don’t understand your modern concepts like “leadoff man” or “on-base percentage”. I just score runs, because that’s all my little caveman brain can comprehend!

FEAR

January 4th, 2010
5:29 pm

i’m kinda getting sick of the speculation….hahahaha

Bedell

January 4th, 2010
5:30 pm

Are the stars aligning for the Braves & Damon? Is there anything new producing this latest DOB, Bowman and Rosenthal info?

Joe

January 4th, 2010
5:30 pm

That’s an interesting take on Damon, DOB. My main concern is his age. I feel like the 2010 Braves will have too many “maybe” players like Glaus, Wagner, Chipper, etc. already. Is there any word on whether the Braves will go after Dan Uggla or another younger bat instead? Thanks!

RKCola

January 4th, 2010
5:30 pm

Just say “No” to Damon

RC

January 4th, 2010
5:31 pm

I’d likely switch Prado and McLouth in that lineup, just to give it a little more left/right balance, but it’s hard to go wrong either way.

TnBrian

January 4th, 2010
5:31 pm

DOB, I wouldn’t bat Damon and McLouth back to back because they’re both LH and Prado was so good hitting 2nd last year. Of course, two speedsters at the top is always a good thing for CJ/Glaus/Mac.

P-Town Brave from the last blog at 5:11, I assume you mean WWE tonight with Bret Hart, right? Well, I’m going to watch it and expect you to be here blogging with me about it. Really though, this is WWE in 2010, not WWF in 1997 so it could be a drag. Hart has a lot of history with HHH and Shawn Michaels, so some things might be said.

JoeC10

January 4th, 2010
5:32 pm

DOB, can you just tell FW that we give the go ahead on Damon? Make it happen so he can start workin on that beard!

Person V Person

January 4th, 2010
5:33 pm

RC – Nice Phil Hartman ref.

RC

January 4th, 2010
5:33 pm

That’s an interesting take on Damon, DOB. My main concern is his age. I feel like the 2010 Braves will have too many “maybe” players like Glaus, Wagner, Chipper, etc. already. Is there any word on whether the Braves will go after Dan Uggla or another younger bat instead? Thanks!

Despite his age, it’s hard to call Damon a “maybe” player. He’s been pretty consistent over his career, and hasn’t had the injury woes that have plagued Chipper and Glaus. On a one or two year deal, I’d say the risk is pretty minimal.

TNScott

January 4th, 2010
5:34 pm

Braves Blog: So easy a beat writer could do it. Haha

RC

January 4th, 2010
5:37 pm

Random question: Does anyone else have a problem with MLBTraderumors.com crashing their web browser? I only have the problem when accessing it work, where we can only use Internet Explorer and no Chrome or Firefox. Wondering if I’m the only one, or if it’s a problem for others as well.

Redstick19

January 4th, 2010
5:38 pm

If we sign Damon, would GEICO become our main sponsor?

BravesFanChris25

January 4th, 2010
5:39 pm

WWE/TNA will go head to head tonight. Bret on RAW and Hogan and others on TNA. Going to be fun.

Random

January 4th, 2010
5:39 pm

unbelievable (January 4th, 2010 5:14 pm): “if Vasquez loves it enough here, we can always see next offseason if he really wants to come back to Atl. We would need to move Lowe or KK at that point”

Kawakami will not be traded.

(Aaahhhhh — familiar territory at last. Back to my roots.)

8-)

18 Wheels of Love

January 4th, 2010
5:39 pm

Would love to have Damon. That’s a lot of coverage in a DOB blog. I’m thinking he’s taking a physical tomorrow.

Southpaw

January 4th, 2010
5:40 pm

I believe the Braves will sign a second baseman. They will move Prado to RF (the position he plays all winter). If (when) an injury occurs, Prado will move to that position and they will bring up Hayward. Just like last year, they will not bring up the “rookie” until June.

VaBraveFan

January 4th, 2010
5:40 pm

I’m not a big fan of Damon either…. I think Diaz/Melky platoon until Heyward is ready or if he starts in bigs will be better than Damon. Also not a fan of paying him 7-8 million for 2 years. If we gonna pay him that we should have signed DeRo for 2 years 13 mil and outbid the Giants. Our outfield has plenty of depth McLouth, Diaz, Melky, Heyward, Schafer. Having Damon in 2011 makes no sense with what we have right now. Unlike having DeRo who can play just about anywhere on the field.

Smack

January 4th, 2010
5:40 pm

The Damon idea is growing on me, but I think I would rather give a Glaus type contract (low guarantee, bonuses for performance) to Nady or Dye. If Glaus and Nady/Dye work out, we meet the budget. If they get hurt or are not working out, it leaves enough money to get a helpful piece at the deadline.

Southpaw

January 4th, 2010
5:41 pm

sp Heyward (oops)

TnBrian

January 4th, 2010
5:41 pm

RC, I think you’re right about Damon. He isn’t a “maybe” in my book either. Safe to look for a .280/.290 avg, 12-15 HR’s and maybe drive you in 60-70 runs from the leadoff spot playing in Atlanta. There’s more and I think DOB brings up the best point and that is he’s played on winners and is a leader. Could we do better? Definitely. Nady or even Uggla’s power probably serves us better, but he might be there best coice given the money/contract situation. Plus, we could be watching our prospects tear our butts up in Fla. down the road if we trade for Uggla.

JoeC10

January 4th, 2010
5:41 pm

southpaw, don’t count on it.

JoeC10

January 4th, 2010
5:42 pm

Can’t wait to bring out my Johnny is My Homeboy shirt again!

Redstick19

January 4th, 2010
5:43 pm

Southpaw:
don’t agree with you much, but definitely agree on Heyward. I think Braves will save themselves some dough and bring him up later, ala Tommy Hanson. And I’m okay with that.

TnBrian

January 4th, 2010
5:43 pm

RC, I think it’s just your computer, I go there and have no problem.

RC

January 4th, 2010
5:44 pm

TnBrian,

I agree with you on everything other than the 60-70 RBI. He did that batting 1st for the Yankees, but in the National League with a pitcher batting 9th I’d say he’ll probably get closer to 40-50 RBI….still a solid total from a leadoff hitter.

brian

January 4th, 2010
5:45 pm

which lineup is stronger in your opinion DOB-

1. Damon 1.McLouth
2. Prado 2.Prado
3. Chipper 3.Chipper
4. Glaus 4.Uggla
5. McCann 5.McCann
6. Escobar 6.Glaus
7. McLouth 7.Escobar
8. Diaz/Heyward/Melky 8.Diaz/Heyward/Melky

both would be a significant upgrade from last year. If Chipper and BMac return to form them we will be in really good shape. They really missed big Tex in the lineup between them this year

Arkansas Transplant

January 4th, 2010
5:46 pm

DOB,
Have there been any discussions within the organization about possibly contacting the Jays about Adam Linds availability? I know that the Jays are in rebuilding mode and are steadily looking for prospects to build a foundation around, so I would think the Braves might be able to bring enough to the table to make it interesting. And with an addition of Linds it would definitely fill out a very potent lineup. I would think we could put a package together with the likes of Delgado, Cabrera/Mclouth, and/or possibly Lyman would at least give pause from Toronto. What would be your thoughts on sure a scenario?

dogsbrekky

January 4th, 2010
5:46 pm

hmmmmm C HIEF is that 2 McMurtry songs on the bloggage in the last 2 weeks or so ???

well, I like DAMON, a LOT……. the guy wins where-ever he goes

Arkansas Transplant

January 4th, 2010
5:47 pm

on such a scenario.. fingers going a little too fast.

Redstick19

January 4th, 2010
5:48 pm

soooo… if Damon does signs with Braves, then what becomes of Melky? Wouldn’t it be wise to trade Melky first, then sign Damon? Because if we sign Damon, everyone in the world will know they can have Melky for nothing. On the other hand- turning Vazquez into Damon, Vizcaino and another assumed prospect for Melky is not a bad haul.

Bravesguy101

January 4th, 2010
5:48 pm

DOB do you know if Glaus took his physical yet?

azbravesfan

January 4th, 2010
5:49 pm

DOB,

Nice new blog – interesting perspective on Damon. I really like the lineup you have listed, but just a couple things:

1) You have both Damon and Heyward/Diaz playing LF – may want to move someone to right.
2) What do we do with Melky if we get Damon and Heyward is ready?

RC

January 4th, 2010
5:50 pm

well, I like DAMON, a LOT……. the guy wins where-ever he goes

Boston and NY…yeah, he really has a knack of pulling bad teams out of the cellar :)

(Ignoring the KC years of course….)

BraveMan

January 4th, 2010
5:50 pm

hey DOB,

do you know something that we dont? you keep mentioning damon in your posts on the ole blog and now have dedicated nearly an entire blog on damon…. are you trying to hint at something? or is this purely speculative? thanks again for the hard work my friend!

Goldenglove002

January 4th, 2010
5:52 pm

Redstick19- Melky would still be the 4th OF until Heyward arrives. He still makes a good bench player as the 5th OF once he does

David O'Brien

January 4th, 2010
5:53 pm

Had to go back in and fix a couple of things in the blog. Not going to tell you what I fixed.

Arkansas Transplant

January 4th, 2010
5:53 pm

Mclouth
Prado
Chipper
Lind/Glaus
Glaus/Lind
McCann
Escobar
Heyward

This would be pretty stout.

htownbravesfan

January 4th, 2010
5:54 pm

Although I took my little boy to Wrestelemania 25 here last year, I haven’t really paid attention to pro wrestling in close to 10 years. Tonight may change that. Won’t miss it.

dogsbrekky

January 4th, 2010
5:55 pm

RC – I strongly believe in luck/karma

guys like Damon, Lowe, Maddux, Jeter etc are plain lucky… however we measure it

geico

January 4th, 2010
5:56 pm

Playing for the Braves. So easy, a caveman can do it.

JasonInFL

January 4th, 2010
5:56 pm

well, you added an Andruw reference for one! (:

David O'Brien

January 4th, 2010
5:57 pm

do you know something that we dont? — BraveMan

Only that my feet are cold and my house, built in 1953, has little if any insulation in the floor or walls.

Redstick19

January 4th, 2010
5:59 pm

Melky would still be the 4th OF until Heyward arrives. He still makes a good bench player as the 5th OF once he does Goldenglove002

Did I miss something? Have we traded or released Matt Diaz. In my opinion, Diaz should be the 4th OF on this team. He’s a better producer and fit for that spot. So again, I ask: when we trading Melky and to whom? (More interested in heariing what we could get for him, actually)

SoWeGa Fanatic

January 4th, 2010
5:59 pm

We already knew that, DOB.

azbravesfan

January 4th, 2010
6:02 pm

Redstick,

I think Golden meant Diaz would start until Heyward arrives, so Melky would be the 4th outfielder.

I agree with you on the concern of what we would do with Melky though. Cubs were the team with obvious CF need and they just got Byrd. I have heard Detroit mentioned but I would think they want Austin Jackson out there before too long.

THE BEAR Illegitimi non carborundum

January 4th, 2010
6:02 pm

You fixed that “double digit” thing didn’t ya?

Mitchie-san

January 4th, 2010
6:04 pm

(Damn, now that I type those numbers, I’m thinking this Yankee team must have been pretty solid. How’d they do in the postseason? That payroll must be unwieldy though, right? At least $120 mill? What’s that?…)—DOB

What’s that you added about $120mil payroll? You are gonna get everyone in a tizzy.

China Grove

January 4th, 2010
6:04 pm

Adam Lind is most definitely not available.

Eware

January 4th, 2010
6:06 pm

DOB, over Christmas my dad and I checked out the Stax Museum in Memphis. Gotta say, it was pretty cool. Very interesting how the studio and musicians were very much tied to the Civil Rights movement. Several of the people involved said Stax began to slowly collapse after MLK Jr. was killed.

Funny note, the lyrics for the Sam & Dave song “Hold On, I’m Coming” came about when Isaac Hayes wrote the jam and called for David Porter to get out of the bathroom. Hilarious.

Steve Cropper is bad ace, by the way.

CB

January 4th, 2010
6:07 pm

RC,yes to the MLBTR question, using Firefox.

Bayou Brave

January 4th, 2010
6:08 pm

Double (triple) digit strikeouts?

SeaAtl

January 4th, 2010
6:09 pm

Thanks for the blog, DOB. With football nearly over, I am getting ready for this baseball season! I still worry about the upgrades made by Philly and the Mets, and wonder if Atlanta has done enough (even if Damon/Dye/Nady was added) to compete with those teams as opposed to fighting the Nationals for last in the Division. But as several have said on this blog multiple times, if all of the “ifs” line up (guys playing up to standards, etc.), this could be a really good Braves team.

Jaime

January 4th, 2010
6:09 pm

“I agree with you on everything other than the 60-70 RBI. He did that batting 1st for the Yankees, but in the National League with a pitcher batting 9th I’d say he’ll probably get closer to 40-50 RBI….still a solid total from a leadoff hitter.”

I can buy that projection. Also, keep in mind that McClouth hated batting lead-off and he thought batting there lowered his HR/RBI numbers, so any increases he has can be added to the lead-off spot “net total”.

Now that Damon has had a dose of reality in regards to his value, I wouldn’t mind that addition at, say, $6-7 ml per/ 2 year deal?

Braveheart

January 4th, 2010
6:09 pm

I’m not sure about the caveman hairstyle that Damon favored in his latter years with the BoSox. Don’t think “6″ (Cox) would go for that. The long hair, perhaps, but not the flowing beard that went with it. Something between his conservative, Steinbrenner-mandated Yankee look and the Jesus look from Damon’s Boston heyday, that might fly with the Braves’ skipper.

Probably true, but this is where you wish you had an owner who’d step in and say, “Uh, Bobby, uh, Johnny, we’re getting Johnny to be a good player, but Johnny also has the ability to build a cult following and sell tickets, and bring us attention. So whatever Johnny wants to do with his look is fine by us. He wants to be the clean cut matinee idol, cool. He wants to be the eccentric hippie, cool. He wants to mix up styles, maybe better. Whatever gets him talked about in the paper and on ESPN, and gets the girls and kids in the seats (so long as it ain’t criminal or too immoral).”

When Bobby objects, the owner needs to say, “Yeah, I know it’s been a really long time Bobby, but you remember all those punk kids with the mullets, rally caps, and tomahawk chops who were putting 48,000 butts in the seats back when this all began? Remember that? Back before we went all corporate? Yeah, we’d kind of would like to get back to that.”

Or something like that …… :)

Random

January 4th, 2010
6:10 pm

DOB: “If they add Damon or another left fielder, . . . they could use the switch-hitting Cabrera against lefties as part of a RF platoon with Matt Diaz”

Sit Diaz against lefties???

DOB: “But it’s not as if Damon stunk it up on the road, where he hit .284 (five points higher than his home average) with 18 doubles (same as his home total), all of his three triples, seven homers and a .795 OPS (compared to a .915 OPS on the road; hey, no one’s saying there wasn’t a big difference).”

That’s a .915 OPS at home, right?

wjones

January 4th, 2010
6:10 pm

Just think, a few years ago, your Kansas City Royals outfield:

Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran, and Jermaine Dye.

Talk about your bad GM’s. And bad teams to root for.

Goldenglove002

January 4th, 2010
6:10 pm

Redstick-
Under the assumption of signing Damon, the following is what i am saying would be the OF. Of course we still have Diaz, I’d never forget him.

Pre Heyward era would have an OF consisting of McLouth in CF, Diaz and Damon on the corners. Melky is the fourth OF. With Infante, he is the 5th OF at this point.

Once Heyward joins the team, you have some sort of rotation of McLouth, Heyward, Damon and Diaz. I guess we can call Diaz the 4th OF at this point, allthough I would expect all 4 to see pretty regular playing time. Melkey becomes the 5th OF, and a pretty decent bat off the bench.

Redstick19

January 4th, 2010
6:10 pm

azbravesfan & GoldGlove:
my bad, if you meant Diaz would be starter and Melky 4th OF until Heyward arrives. Melky being 4th OF until Heyard comes up and then is traded makes some sense. Guess I got a little turned around there for a minute.

OptimisticInTexas

January 4th, 2010
6:11 pm

DOB,
Say we can’t sign Damon or Nady or Dye… would you work out a deal with Boston, after they sign Beltre, for Mike Lowell? I’d bet he can still hit and play 1st and 3rd, in case someone gets injured. (we’ll if he is not injured) Weren’t the Red Sox giving him to Texas and like 6 mil? Just a thought.

dogsbrekky

January 4th, 2010
6:12 pm

Sweet 8lb, 6oz Baby Jesus, or as our friends south of the border say “Hey–soooooseeee”

“Shake and bake……….. if you aren’t first…you’re last ! :”

RC

January 4th, 2010
6:13 pm

Bobby let Frenchy grow a puberty beard, you’d think he wouldn’t have a problem with Damon’s

BravesAC

January 4th, 2010
6:13 pm

And you fixed the double mention of Damon’s road OPS in the comparisons.

DOB -
What did you think of the Springsteen tribute at the Kennedy Center? I thought it was pretty moving and a great testament to him. John stewart’s introduction speech was both hilarious and compelling.

CB

January 4th, 2010
6:13 pm

DOB,you didn’t have a chance. Random on the prowl! :-)

Raider Fan

January 4th, 2010
6:15 pm

I honestly didn’t think of Damon yet, but I really do think he’d be a perfect fit. Bat him or Nate leadoff and you’ve got a ballclub.

Random

January 4th, 2010
6:16 pm

DOB: “Had to go back in and fix a couple of things in the blog. Not going to tell you what I fixed.”

You missed a couple.

8-)

Larry

January 4th, 2010
6:16 pm

Dave,

Wrong! We need youth, speed and contact hitting on this typically boring Bobby Cox approach and Damon only represents 1/3 of this (contact). Stop finding very opportunity to clandestinely compliment Bobby Cox to maintain your clubhouse privileges!

You are the most vanilla sportswriter in Atlanta!

Salamander

January 4th, 2010
6:17 pm

Nady, Uggla, Damon, and Dye each have their pros and cons (covered extensively on the last blog). Out of these 4, Damon and Uggla are the guys I favor. Uggla’s price tag, assuming the Fish are not going to give a division rival a ’salary dump’ type of deal, is probably too steep.

Given the choice between Damon for 2 years (ideally, 2nd year is a team option) at ~$8-9 mill, and Uggla for ~$7-8 mill plus decent prospects and/or ML ready talent – I’d choose Damon. Not a great comparison given that Damon (1-2) and Uggla (4-5) slot into different parts of the lineup, but so it goes. If Uggla was a better defender (or if the Braves had a hole at 2B), then perhaps his higher total cost would make more sense to me than inking Damon.

RC

January 4th, 2010
6:17 pm

Dave,

Wrong! We need youth, speed and contact hitting on this typically boring Bobby Cox approach and Damon only represents 1/3 of this (contact). Stop finding very opportunity to clandestinely compliment Bobby Cox to maintain your clubhouse privileges!

You are the most vanilla sportswriter in Atlanta!

Actually, Damon represents 2/3 of this, and the third (youth) doesn’t really mean anything by itself.

Larry, you are and idiot.

VaBraveFan

January 4th, 2010
6:19 pm

I dont see how Damon would be better than Diaz everyday or Diaz/Melky platoon. also while Heyward is waiting and Still have Schafer.

FoxNoise.net

January 4th, 2010
6:19 pm

My turkey leftovers look better than any of the free agents the Braves are pursuing – if Troy isn’t tracking toward 30/100 numbers by August we’ll be sellers in the trade market.

RC

January 4th, 2010
6:21 pm

My turkey leftovers look better than any of the free agents the Braves are pursuing – if Troy isn’t tracking toward 30/100 numbers by August we’ll be sellers in the trade market.

Can someone explain this post to me? I’ll agree with the last part, but the entire reason for the signing is the chance that Troy COULD be tracking toward 30/100 by August (which is after the trade deadline). And unless they are frozen, it might be time to throw out those turkey leftovers….

dogsbrekky

January 4th, 2010
6:22 pm

Foxbollocks – we havent had an 100 rsbi…. or is that rbi…or rbis guy since 2007

MCFANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNnnnnnnnnYYYYYYYYYYYY was nos 1 with low 90s in 2009 !

2010Braves

January 4th, 2010
6:24 pm

Not really a big fan of Damon. But this is interesting. I’m starting to like Damon in the line up now. Nice stats.

JoeC10

January 4th, 2010
6:24 pm

Larry the Cable guy, Damon has above average speed and D, he is a great hitter, and he has the reliability of a youthful player….

jcfromut

January 4th, 2010
6:24 pm

If we were to get Damon (or any other true leadoff hitter) I think CJ would be a great 2 hole hitter with McLouth 3rd. Chipper has such a good cammand of the strike zone it could give damon the chance to steal 2nd and already be in scoring position for CJ. If not McLouth, Escobar would be good in the 3 spot and probably give CJ more protection.

drumzalicious

January 4th, 2010
6:24 pm

Would much prefer McLouth to bat lower in the lineup and keep Prado in that #2 hole. He is a doubles machine and if Damon is getting on base in front of him hopefully he can still score from 1st on a double.

Damon
Prado
Chip
Glaus
McCann/McLouth
Escobar
McCann/McLouth
Diaz/Heyward

zookey

January 4th, 2010
6:24 pm

Dogsbrekky

“tricks are for kids”……..

Braveheart

January 4th, 2010
6:25 pm

Speaking of Damon, anyone else see Posnanski’s excellent article over the weekend about the last decade of the Royals? Good stuff.

http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2010/01/02/the-royal-decade/

I especially liked his stuff about what kind of talent Earl Weaver looked for. In it, he had a good quote from Bill James about Earl Weaver:

Poz first quoted Bill James as saying: “What (Earl) Weaver NEVER used were the guy who didn’t do anything specific, but looked good in the uniform, the .260 hitters with 10 to 15 homers, a little speed and so-so defense.”

Poz then broke that down further with his own thoughts:

I put Bill James’ thought about Earl Weaver up there because Weaver always had a point to everything he did. That was his strength. That’s what made his teams great. Every move had a specific purpose. This guy played because he was sensational defensively, and this guy played because he got on base at a very high rate, and this guy played because he destroyed right handed pitching, and this guy played because he never walked anybody, and this guy played because he was magical on the double play, and this guy played because he stole bases at a very high percentage, and this guy played because he destroyed left-handed pitching. And so on. There was always purpose to the moves. Earl didn’t want guys who could “play baseball.” He wanted guys who could “do something.”

braves4ever

January 4th, 2010
6:25 pm

Cabrera/Mclouth /Diaz/Heyward/Damon/Schafer, My My what a full outfield package ,Who would start? I just don’t see it going down this way, 2 of them will not be on this spring team, and one I am betting on to surprise everyone is Heyward, he’s been invited to spring and the dude will impress.
good blog DOB , very interesting the numbers, and I’m thinking that Yankee team did win a few games.

2010Braves

January 4th, 2010
6:25 pm

Oh yea. One thing about Damon thought is that he is left handed bat. I want a right handed bat like Uggla or Nady.

RC

January 4th, 2010
6:25 pm

I dont see how Damon would be better than Diaz everyday or Diaz/Melky platoon. also while Heyward is waiting and Still have Schafer.

Because Diaz had 90K in 371 AB last year and Damon had a career high 98 in 550 AB. And because Diaz has 25 career SB while Damon averaged 27 from 2006-2008. And because Damon sees about 4 pitches per plate apperance while Diaz only sees around 3.4.

AdirondackDave

January 4th, 2010
6:25 pm

Damon is an asset but is he the asset the Braves need most? I lean toward somebody with serious power and if that isn’t possible, just sit tight for a while. Maybe something will develop and maybe it won’t but I have no problem with the team going into ST essentially as is. Giving up major pitching prospects or Freeman isn’t something I want to see this team do to give Bobby a good send-off. Patience I think will serve the Braves well.

RHR

January 4th, 2010
6:26 pm

Well…lets see if the DOB jinx holds true in 2010. :lol:

Norton2010

January 4th, 2010
6:26 pm

Can’t wait for the return of Bret the Hitman Hart tonight. And excited to see the Hulkster again brother.

David O'Brien

January 4th, 2010
6:27 pm

Random, you should get an editing job somewhere, my man. Fine work. Fixed now.

Random

January 4th, 2010
6:27 pm

FoxNoise.net (January 4th, 2010 6:19 pm): “My turkey leftovers look better than any of the free agents the Braves are pursuing – if Troy isn’t tracking toward 30/100 numbers by August we’ll be sellers in the trade market.”

Mmmmmmm — turkey.

David O'Brien

January 4th, 2010
6:30 pm

BravesAC: I didn’t get to see that Springsteen award and Stewart speech. Was in Canada at that time, I believe. I need to find it somewhere.

Redstick19

January 4th, 2010
6:30 pm

VaBraveFan
Schaffer seems to have become the forgotten man in all of this. With Braves seemingly after several OFers this offseason, I definitely get the impression that the Braves are no longer very high on Schafer. I think that’s a shame, because he seems to have such great potential. However he withheld info from MLB about drug use, then withhelf info from Braves when he didn’t tell them his wrist was hurt. Can’t say I blame Braves for not putting trust in him. Still, I hope he becomes a star with Braves, not somebody else.

David O'Brien

January 4th, 2010
6:31 pm

Redstick: I don’t think Schafer’s forgotten, but he does need to get a lot of at-bats and stay healthy. He’s only had about 400 at-bats over the past two seasons.

Tom O'Hawke

January 4th, 2010
6:32 pm

“Soph-
Totally agree on the cowboys…and I can’t pull for the Packers either (sorry Tom!) …”

cabravesfan, s’not a problem, we’re still good :)

“… but I would love to see Aaron Rogers crush his predecessor”
Is there anyone in pro sports that you dislike more than Favre?

Oh, by the way, I’m really sorry about your sweltering January weather. It must be tough being you. :roll: (Hi, Jim)

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