Hot Stove Update – February 22
Scott Boras finally found a taker for Johnny Damon at a much lower price than anticipated. After three months of free agency Damon finally agreed with the Detroit Tigers on a one year contract for $8 million.
Damon earned $13 million in 2009 with the Yankees so Boras did a lousy job of finding him a good deal.
Last year Boras took the negotiations for Manny Ramirez into spring training and this year Johnny Damon was the player he couldn’t unload till spring training.
White Sox Withdrew Offer
The White Sox who seemed to be in the running till late last week when they withdrew their offer would rather have signed Damon to keep him from signing with the AL Central rival Tigers.
However they really didn’t need Damon since their lineup for 2010 is already set and if they had signed Damon it could have caused team chemistry problems.
Damon has played at least 141 games in every full season he has played so does not have injury problems.
He needs 575 hits to reach the 3,000 hit plateau. If he plays another three seasons after 2010 he should receive serious consideration for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Hot Stove News
The New York Yankees have agreed with Chan Ho Park on a one year contract for $1.2 million. Park is an upgrade over Sergio Mitre who is now expendable….The Mets have reached an agreement with Rod Barajas for a guaranteed $1 million.
Washington Nationals manager Jim Riggleman has stated that it is very unlikely that Stephen Strasburg will start the season in the majors and that he needs to get used to pitching every fifth day in the minors.
Khalil Greene is still experiencing social anxiety issues and won’t join the team in spring training when the position players for the Rangers report tomorrow.
He hit 27 homers and drove in 97 runs in 2007 but since then has hit 10 homers with 35 RBI’s in 2008 and 6 homers with 24 RBI’s in 2009. Unless he can conquer his social anxiety disorder problems his career could be over at the age of 30.
Top Remaining Free Agents
Jermaine Dye is still without a team with not a lot of demand for his services this offseason. He may help an AL team as a DH but his poor defense makes him a one dimensional player.
Russell Branyan had a great first half in the 2009 season for the Mariners but teams have been reluctant to sign him because of injury concerns. The Indians finally signed him to a $2 million contract for the 2010 season.
Carlos Delgado is back off the market after finding out that he will be having hip surgery that will keep him from playing the next four months. Delgado who needs only 27 homers to reach 500 homers hit 38 homers and drove in 115 runs two seasons ago will be 38 in June.
He still may enter the Hall of Fame someday but missing most of last season and most of the first half of this season have lessened his chances anytime soon since there will be a flood of very good players eligible for the first time in 2014.
Only three free agent catchers remain unsigned with Michael Barrett, Paul Bako and Javier Valentin still available.
Hank Blalock, Felipe Lopez and Joe Crede are still unsigned among infielders.
The pickings are slim among unsigned free agent outfielders with the most notable players available being Garret Anderson, Jermaine Dye and Jonny Gomes.
Braden Looper is still available among starting pitchers despite his 14-7 record with the Brewers in 2009. His 5.22 ERA and 1.49 WHIP have not helped his chances of being signed.
His resume also shows that he led the NL in earned runs allowed with 119 and in home runs allowed with 39 so his 14 wins don’t look as impressive after looking at his other stats.
It has been surprising that John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez haven’t been signed with pitchers in spring training for almost a week. Pitchers their age need their work and they may both be starting their Hall of Fame eligibility countdown sooner than they wished.