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Sunday February 21, 2010 6:27 pm

Tigers get Damon, ending long offseason

DescriptionJohnny Damon’s offseason has likely come to an end. MLB.com is reporting that Damon will soon likely be announced as the new left fielder of the Detroit Tigers. They won’t make the announcement until Monday or Tuesday, but by then Damon will be the proud new owner of a Tigers cap and will be paid $8 million over the next year to wear it. Damon will also find himself nicely slotted into the leadoff or second spot in the lineup.

At 36 years of age, Damon will return to the division where his career started. He was signed by Kansas City in 1992 and played with them from 1995-2000. He went to Oakland for the 2001 season where he had a breakout year, finishing in the top 10 in a number of statistical categories. The Boston Red Sox took notice and signed Damon to a 4-year, $32 million contract, and he was an integral part of the Sox’ 2004 World Series victory. Afterwards, he performed the cardinal sin by jumping ship for the Yankees in 2006, where he again tasted success as a part of the 2009 World Series champion team.

Damon wanted to go to a competitive team. Rumors had the Braves and White Sox also in talks with Damon, but ultimately he chose to sign with Detroit where he’ll join Justin Verlander and Magglio Ordonez as the stars on the field. For the Tigers, one of their goals was to maintain flexibility with their payroll down the road. They’ve dumped a lot of salary lately in the hopes of picking up a closer and a free agent or two, but nothing to set them back long-term. Damon’s one-year contract more than meets that goal as Detroit will try to do some postseason damage in 2010.

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski may have picked up a steal here. Damon’s experience is something that a lot of the Tigers will have to learn from, and Damon himself is going to have to show that his still has something left to offer to baseball, as some might question his ability after New York decided that Damon wasn’t worth the money he wanted. This is a great move for Damon too, as he’s out of the media hotbed and in to a city that will love to have him, no matter how things go.



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