Scott Boras is at it again. Wreaking of desperation, the super agent continues to posture for Johnny Damon, his last remaining unsigned client. According to Mark Bowman of mlb.com, the 36-year old is still considering the one-year, $4 million offer the Braves made two weeks ago. But what happened to the two-year, $14 million offer from Detroit that Damon was supposedly so close to signing just days ago? It’s becoming more and more apparent that the Tigers never extended anything beyond a one-year deal, believed to be around $7 million per.
So why not take that deal if you’re Damon? He says he’d prefer to play in Atlanta, and he and Boras seem to think Atlanta wants him too. The main reason cited for why Damon would make sense as a Brave, is the team’s supposed need for a leadoff hitter. A look at the stats will show that this link is flimsy at best, as Damon is no more equipped to top the Braves’ order than the man he would displace, current CF Nate McLouth.
Let’s look at the relevant numbers between Damon and McLouth the past two years, and tell me why anyone, other than Damon’s agent, would continue to suggest a need on Atlanta’s end:
Damon: 550 AB, 155 H, .282 AVG, 107 R, 24 HR, 82 RBI, 71 BB, 98 SO, 12 SB, .365 OBP, .854 OPS
McLouth: 507 AB, 130 H, .256 AVG, 86 R, 20 HR, 70 RBI, 68 BB, 99 SO, 19 SB, .352 OBP, .788 OPS
It’s hard to foresee Damon approaching those 2009 totals when you weigh the comparative ballpark factors, which list Turner Field near the bottom in every category, and take him out of the stacked Yankees lineup. Then consider that McLouth has corrected the vision problems that he says contributed to his disappointing second-half, and you can actually see McLouth’s numbers actually improving, while Damon’s will surely fall.
So, is it worth it to the Braves to bring in a guy who can’t throw, can’t play multiple positions, and won’t come anywhere near his ’09 production, based solely on the myth that he’d be the leadoff hitter the Braves desperately need? Only at the bargain-level price currently being offered by the club. As spring training kicks into full swing, Scott Boras continues to wait, leaking fake contract offers in an attempt to squeeze more dollars from the few remaining bidders. Frankly, it’s a little sad.