It’s early to be speculating about the offseason, but the Yankees have been cruising along pretty well and we still have awhile before the playoffs start, so why not.
Coming into the season, I, like most people, assumed this would be Johnny Damon’s last in pinstripes. However, Damon is having a great season and the Yankees will need to sign at least one outfielder.
But is it really worth it for the Yankees to sign an aging outfielder to a big money deal? Probably, if it’s only a 1-2 year commitment. Since Scott Boras is Damon’s agent, we know he’ll follow the money, but if Boras is smart, he’ll do everything possible to keep Damon a Yankee.
Damon has significantly better numbers at home; the New Yankee Stadium is perfect for him. The Yankees won’t let themselves get into a bidding war over Damon, but they will certainly give him a respectable amount of money. Most importantly, playing another year or two in New York will be the best way for Damon to post great and get exposure and continue being able to get big money deals.
So yeah, the Yankees could use Johnny Damon, but Damon also would benefit by staying with the Yankees.
Buster Olney suggested the Yankees should offer Damon and Matsui the same contract and sign whoever takes it first; with Matsui unable to play in the OF, such an offer doesn’t really make sense – the two players occupy different roles. Damon is more versatile and therefore signing him should be a higher priority.