You can curse Scott Boras all you want and blame him (and his ilk) for baseball salaries spiraling out of control. But we just found out again why he’s the best agent in baseball.
According to FoxSports.com, Boras has coaxed a two-year, $14 million offer out of the Detroit Tigers for free agent outfielder Johnny Damon. If the report is accurate, you can forget about the Braves landing Damon for left field and, more important, the leadoff spot in their batting order.
The Braves’ offer reportedly was for one year for somewhere between $4 million and $5 million, including deferred payments, according to our David O’Brien.
After not extending an offer the entire offseason, general manager Frank Wren clearly was eager for Damon to sign, even having Chipper Jones make a recruiting phone call to the player in hopes of luring him to Atlanta.
But it’s doubtful the Braves would add a second year to their offer, especially with Damon being 36 years old. Part of the Braves’ pitch was that their spring training home in Orlando is near Damon’s offseason home, but the Tigers also train in nearby Lakeland.
FoxSports reported that Tigers owner Mike Ilitch authorized the two-year, $14 million offer, doubling Detroit’s previous offer of one year for $7 million. Damon has spent his entire career in the American League (Kansas City, Oakland, Boston New York).
Bottom line: It was a nice effort, even if belated, by Wren to improve the lineup. But he can’t be faulted if the Braves don’t match Detroit’s offer.
UPDATE: There’s no comment yet from the Tigers on their reported offer to Damon. But here’s a link to an interesting story from a long-time pal of mine, John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press. It seems when Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski was asked four weeks ago if he was interested in Damon, the answer was no. Things apparently changed only after owner Mike Ilitch got involved. That would jibe with the Fox report that Boras, “seemingly has succeeded in reaching out to Ilitch, who previously signed several of the agent’s other high-profile clients, including catcher Ivan Rodriguez, right fielder Magglio Ordonez and pitcher Kenny Rogers.”