As a result of yesterday's trade with the Braves, the Yankees are down one outfielder after dealing Melky Cabrera, Arodys Vizcaino and Mike Dunn to the Braves for Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan. Could the Yankees now go out and sign Johnny Damon to return to play left field? I think there is a good possibility, and it would be under their terms and not Scott Boras's.
Damon was after a 4 year deal and $13 million per year, but who is going to pay that kind of money, and for that long, to a 36 year old outfielder. Not even the Yankees. My how times have changed.
Damon is coming off one of his best slugging seasons of his career going 24-82-12-.282-.365-.489-.854. His OPS as his highest since 2004, and his 24 bombs matched a career high set in 2006 in his first year as a Yankee. Looking inside the numbers, we see that Damon increased his BB% from 10.3% in 2008 to 11.4% in 2009, but his K% also increased from 14.8% to 17.8%, and his ISO% of .207 was the highest of his career.
Damon's HR output was a result of a huge increase in his FB% from 34.2% in 2008 to 43.2% in 2009, and his HR/FB% also increased from 10.5% to 12.6%. Damon may be able to maintain his HR output but only if he continues playing in Yankee Stadium where his flyballs to right field will turn into HRs rather that FB outs in most other ballparks.
The Yankees deal with the Braves is the perfect set up for Damon's return, and I can see GM Brian Cashman pouncing on this opportunity before the new year.