There are several reasons to believe the Braves have interest in Johnny Damon, not the least of which is the fact that they have yet to declare publicly, “We have no interest in Johnny Damon.” And given that the player is represented by agent Scott Boras, they would have all the motivation in the world to shoot this rumor down.
I know. We’ve been down this road before. David O’Brien has discussed it on his blog, and I wrote nearly three weeks ago that the Braves needed to take a run at Damon to fill their need for a leadoff hitter. Most of you agreed. I just checked poll results and of 2,750 readers who voted, 78 percent supported the Damon idea.
This is what has happened since: Nothing.
That’s good news if you support Damon’s signing. The market has dried up and there’s reason to believe Boras’s asking price is coming down. Whether it comes down to the Braves’ liking remains to be seen. But there is a report on FoxSports.com that the Braves and Detroit both remain interested.
I sent an email to Wren asking if there was any truth to the report. Still waiting for a response. As a general rule, I can tell you that general managers like to shoot down rumors that aren’t true because they would rather not have the distraction hanging around the team.
(UPDATE: Wren responded with this email: “I’m not going to comment on speculative reports.” Hope you weren’t expecting some clarity.)
Here’s what I believe is going on: Wren understands the team could have an issue at the top of the batting order. He believes, like most, Damon could be a good short-term (one year) fix. But there isn’t much money left in the budget and he is waiting to see just how desperate Damon/Boras get.
I’ll say this one more time: If this is about winning and putting the best possible team on the field, signing Damon is a slam dunk. It sends the right message to Braves players and fans going into spring training. Going, say, $3 million (or just over 3 percent) over a team’s budgeted payroll should not stop this from happening.