Unlike last year, the Rays do not have a lot of players that will be free agents at the end of the season. One of the guys is Johnny Damon, who will be 38 next season. And soon, the Rays will have to decide if Damon will be the Rays designated hitter again in 2012.

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com is reporting that Damon wants to be back with the Rays next year, and that the Rays may be leaning towards granting that wish…

More and more, it sounds as if the Rays would be amenable to bringing back Johnny Damon for another year of DH fun. And Damon would love to stick around. But remember, Damon wanted to go back to Boston, New York and Detroit, too — and his trusty agent, Scott Boras, sometimes has different ideas about what Damon is worth than his former employers. As Damon himself said last year, after finding himself in Detroit: “I usually stay out of this stuff. I leave it in Scott’s hands — and I always end up changing teams.”

The question is “why?”

Here is a look at how Rays designated hitters have performed this season compared to the rest of the American League. Of course, most of these at bats belong to Damon…

Hey Johnny Biceps is a fun guy. It seems like his teammates love him. And there is something to be said about having a veteran like Damon around. But he is also not very good.

Of course, if he is willing to accept a part-time roll and will come back at a LOT less than his 2011 salary of $5.25 million, then maybe. But we don’t see either of those happening.

 
 

18 Comments

  1. Hal says:

    Didn’t he sign a 2-year deal when he came here?

  2. Tone says:

    Only way I would support Damon returning is if he helps lead an improbable charge into the post season. That is very unlikely, so I am all for looking at other options; Damon’s options will be very limited. The Rays need power desperately and Damon is not providing it. Damon needs to learn how to take a few pitches; last night he did what I have seen him do all too often, not take a walk that was clearly being given to him. A younger Damon could get away with that due to his ability to hit for a better average; lingering around .260-.255 with a bad OBP is not fun to watch when the power is “meh”. He is better than Burrell though.

  3. Rob says:

    I would rather they use the money to pay BJ’s arbitration. Damon says all the right things and seems like a genuine leader, but he doesn’t provide any power, and the Rays need that more than anything right now.

  4. Rob says:

    Also, is it me or has he been almost absent the last month of the season? Seems like I rarely see him anymore.

  5. Neal says:

    Yeah, a month ago I would have said for sure but he has dropped off quite a bit lately. The clutch Johnny Drama is fun but we need better everyday numbers.
    I’d love to see him back in the clubhouse and I’d love to see him retire here, but not for 5 mil a year.

  6. Hal says:

    He was clutch early, but hasn’t shown recently. The sad thing is that he is probably our best DH ever by a wide margin (Well, I guess Aubrey DH’s some, but he mostly played the field). Theres no way that we pay what he wants and I’m all for it if it means we keep Shields. BJ goes, Damon goes, we keep Shields, move Niemann to the pen, go with the young outfield, payroll actually goes down, and we’ll be right about where we are this year.

    I agree we need more pop, but it better come from within, because we’re not paying for it.

  7. Billy says:

    I would welcome him back. He is golden in the clubhouse and that has to be worth something–including extra wins.

    While Boras has always gotten Damon to change teams–he has never played just down the road (or just down the I-4) from his hometown. I have a feeling that Johnny will tell his agent that he would like to reach some more milestones with family and friends in attendance–at the Trop.

    Somewhere, there is a salary–with incentives, that Damon can earn something north of $2 million and south of $5 million–that makes everybody happy.

  8. Matt says:

    Uhh, do we have anyone better to replace him? Because I don’t think it’s even close…

  9. Sarah says:

    Johnny may be great in the clubhouse and still have a few hits in him, but the Rays can’t afford millions for DH with little power just because he’s a nice guy. And actually, I think Johnny hasn’t been clutch at all this season — we think he has been because there were a few games where he knocked in important runs. But all season long his BA with RISP has been lower than his overall batting average, which to me is the opposite of clutch.

  10. MarkE says:

    I seem to remember reading where Damon say (this year) that if he was ever lucky enough to make the HOF, he’d like to go in as a Royal. He also said he wouldn’t mind finishing his career there. So let’s hope KC doesn’t go after him, that may be a sentimental move for him.

    Boras will undoubtedly be looking for a raise. 6 mill.

    His value to the clubhouse is huge, but on a team where a couple of bats is so desperately needed, the Rays can’t afford to be paying for “gravy”, just meat and potatos (< tribute to Dan Quayle).

    • KillaTapes says:

      “Boras will undoubtedly be looking for a raise. 6 mill”

      Good luck getting that kind of contract being that his skills are on the decline. I can see him signing for 2-3mil + incentives like an above poster said, which I’d be fine with; seems like when we’ve tried to hire a 6-7million type of DH it never ends well.

  11. Morgan says:

    One reason that I go to the Trop is to see Damon. I think he sells tickets – I’d like to see him return. He’s go to bring down his asking price, though.

  12. Andy says:

    He might be pricey, but I’d rather we keep a guy who’s already proven he can hit in the DH role, at least somewhat, rather than hope to convert a field guy into a DH!! That hasn’t worked out well, not only here (Burrell), but other places as well (Dunn). Our history w/this position has been bleak at best, so I’m doubtful we’d do any better w/someone unproven.

  13. CRRaysHead90 says:

    This team would not be this close in this race without him, resign him.

  14. paul says:

    We need to sign a SS to a one year deal, move Rodriguez back to 2nd, Zobrist to OF and let Upton go. Guyer may not be exactly ready now but he’s real close.

  15. clinton says:

    bring him back we need him

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