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Phils Would Be Thankful To Have Damon

Posted by Corey Seidman, Thu, November 24, 2011 01:05 PM | Comments: 46
Analysis, Free Agency, News, Opinion, Posts

The Phillies are still in search of an outfield bat, according to Jim Salisbury, and they’d probably prefer a lefthanded hitter.

One of the players on Salisbury’s list of names to watch would be a perfect fit for this team in terms of production, personality and finances.

That player? Johnny David Damon.

Johnny Damon would cheaply and perfectly fill a need for the Phils.

Damon, 38, is coming off the worst season of his 17-year career, but even during a poor 2011 his on-base plus slugging percentage was 10 percent better than league-average. He hit 16 homers for the Tampa Bay Rays, which was more than all but three Phillies.

Damon only played 84 innings last year in the outfield, where he is a bit of a liability. His throwing arm is weak and he is worse defensively in left than a John Mayberry, but the Phils would get more defensively from Damon than they got from Raul Ibanez.

Damon would also bring some speed, which can’t be said of any of the other impact leftfielders on the Phils’ radar. Damon is the only one of the bunch who could be penciled into the two-hole just as well as the six-hole.

Last year, Damon made $5.25 million in Tampa Bay on a one-year deal. The Phillies, who will be right up against the luxury tax threshold of $178 million if they re-sign Jimmy Rollins and Brad Lidge, and keep Kyle Kendrick and Wilson Valdez, would likely be looking to spend no more than $4.5-5 million.

If Damon can be had on a one-year, $4.25-4.5 million deal, he’s pretty much a no-brainer. Signing Damon would give the Phils three solid depth bats – Damon, Ty Wigginton, Jim Thome – for less than the cost of one year of Michael Cuddyer.


Corey Seidman is co-editor of Phillies Nation, co-founder of Brotherly Glove and writes for CSNPhilly.com’s Phillies Talk.

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About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

 
 
  • Posts: 5189 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I’m not a fan of this move. There is no DL, how can you justify 4.5 million to a guy that plays 85- maybe 100 innings in the field. Let Dom Brown do that for one tenth of the price.

     
    • Posts: 5189 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      DOH! – meant DH not DL!

      And Happy Thanksgiving my friends! Best holiday of the year, no religious or patriotic connections- just family, food and football.

       
      • Posts: 0 brooks

        I think Corey has been in the punch bowl myself, the bowl marked “adults”
        Lefty Happy Thanksgiving to you as well – but there would be no Thanksgiving without the patriotic or religious back round my friend.

         
      • Posts: 0 loupossehl

        Signing Damon sure would fly in the face of our “youth movement.” Although if Damon goes elsewhere, he’ll probably end up with someone like the Cardinals or Giants and proceed to tear up the pea patch.

        Well said all around, and same to you.

         
    • Posts: 0 Chris

      I have to agree with lefty here. He’s not worth 4 -5 million considering how much the Phils need that money for other things. And as he pointed out we have Brown. cmon Rube give the kid a chance to prove himself in Spring Training.

       
  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Give Dom Brown his chance. Damon is a great player well past his prime. Aren’t we supposed to be getting younger?

     
    • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

      Avatar of Corey Seidman

      It’s fine to talk about playing Dom Brown, but the Phillies won’t be doing that in 2012, at least for several months. So while the topic of Brown contributing now is an interesting one, I personally prefer to discuss reality.

       
    • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

      Avatar of Corey Seidman

      “Getting younger” is a truly misunderstood concept. When a team tries to get younger, it tries to do so at key positions. Adding Johnny Damon on a one-year deal affects none of the Phillies’ future plans. It affects nothing but the meaningless “Average Age” team stat.

      Would you prefer a nothing, 4A type player like John Bowker on the bench? Or Johnny Damon, who has gap power, can hit homers, steal bases and has experience playing multiple roles? Do we care more about “getting younger” or “winning games?”

      On a one-year deal, Damon’s age means nothing. His years and years of productivity is what means something.

       
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        Bowker?! HA! I wouldn’t let Bowker carve my turkey.

        He’d probably swing and miss and stab my grandfather.

         
      • Posts: 5189 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        hmm. Can Bowker come to my house? My Mother in law is here.

         
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        haha

         
  • Posts: 0 JC

    What is the chance we are resigning Brad Lidge? 0.00001%? I can see Madson coming back before Lidge.

     
    • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

      Avatar of Corey Seidman

      Phils want Lidge back and Lidge wants to stay. The chances are more like 60/40 that he stays, since the only other strong suitor seems to be Colorado.

       
  • Posts: 0 George

    84 INNINGS in the outfield? Even if he’d played 84 games he’d be overpaid at $4.5million. He’s a sub at this point in his career, and you don’t pay subs that much money.

     
    • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

      Avatar of Corey Seidman

      He wouldn’t be a sub, he’d be the lefthanded part of a left field platoon. The Phils want to sign a true corner outfielder to free Mayberry up to play all over the place.

       
      • Posts: 0 George

        If he’d actually played 84 GAMES he could be a platoon player, but he didn’t and probably no longer can, at least not very well. So, to me, he’s basically a sub.

         
  • Posts: 0 Ryan

    Madson isn’t coming back, I can guarantee you that. Lidge does have a better chance of coming back, since nobody is going to offer him closer money… teams would rather take a chance on Broxton than they would Lidge at this point.

     
  • Posts: 62 LCMRSalazar85

    Avatar of LCMRSalazar85

    This wouldn’t be a smart move. He’s nothing more than a emergency starter at best, and would be taking the place of Ross Gload on the bench. There’s a better player & deal out there. Happy Thanksgiving All!

     
    • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

      Avatar of Corey Seidman

      If you watch baseball, don’t really see how you believe any of that. It’s funny how people see “38 years old” and form an opinion without watching Damon or looking at his recent history. Without even playing the field for much of 2011 he racked up 1.5 WAR and was nearly league-average.

      Look at what Raul Ibanez did in 2011, or 2010. Damon was significantly better, and would add a dimension to the Phillies’ lineup. Really struggling to see the downside here, especially if signing Damon keeps the Phils under the luxury tax, which it would.

       
      • Posts: 62 LCMRSalazar85

        Avatar of LCMRSalazar85

        i see plenty wrong with this, starting with his age. There’s no guarantee that he’ll be able to transition over to the NL, and stay healthy. This team needs to get young again, now. We’ve already got a bench presence with Thome. Damon managed to fit a nitch down in TB. We don’t have that luxury here. I’d rather see one of the minor league guys take on the role than Damon, which would keep us under the luxury tax as well, and would be able to mold that guy. 84 innings? That’s barely more than 9 games. Say what you will about Raul, the numbers are what they are for him, BUT he was there for more than 9 games. Can’t say Damon would be able to perform the same way. There are a number of teams you can point fingers at where they brought in big names, but past their prime. We don’t need that, and don’t want to be the next version of the 1997 Orioles.

         
  • Posts: 0 Thomas

    Dom Brown sucks! Sucks! What the hell are you seeing in Brown !

     
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Interesting point of view. I hadn’t considered this possibility. You’ve made me rethink my entire outlook on the future Phil. Thanks!

       
  • Posts: 0 joes

    Time to give Mayberry a shot as a FT player. I thought Hairston would be a good pickup, but Wiggington takes that spot. If you can’t get a Kabul or Cuddyer for the right $$/years I’d look for a speedy contact hitter. Any leadoff types out there?

     
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Honestly, I think picking up a LH platoon player for LF will actually allow them to use Mayberry more by allowing him to play some CF (Vic’s contract is up after this season) and some 1B. If we can get a good look at him in those positions it goes a long way to addressing future needs at a cheap cost, which is something this team desperately needs — good, young, cost-controlled players. They need some depth at the corner OF position, and an old, cheap guy who can produce a little bit isn’t the worst thing in the world.

      If Mayberry’s able to be used in those other positions with some regularity, I think it gives the team a lot of flexibility going into 2013 when you may possibly see a very cheap outfield of Brown, Mayberry and ________ (Pence or other Free agent)

       
  • Posts: 0 Donovan

    Give Dom a chance? He got that last yr. Playing in a 3 man platoon is not gonna help him get better. He needs a yr of 500 at bats in the minors to get better.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    You have Jimmy and the contract.
    Why add?
    If they aernt happy you pay them more.
    They will accept it.

     
    • Posts: 0 brooks

      Eat some turkey and drink some wine Adrew – Happy Thanksgiving time

       
    • Posts: 980 betasigmadeltashag

      Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

      i thought you were turning in your fan card you are really just annoying now AFW

       
      • Posts: 0 Bob Myers

        Agreed, it’s not evident that AFW even roots for the Phils anymore. It seems like everyone and everything about the Phils just annoys him. You don’t have to be a “homer” to be a fan-commentator, but you can’t be antagonistic and still be fun to read.

         
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    We already have a bench player past his prime actually 2 Schneider and Thome dont see the need of a 3rd one.

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    If Raul is bought back that will make four guys past their prime. What happened to the youth thing? I see your explanation Corey but still if any of these guys should actually have to step in play long term because of an injury well……….IDK

     
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Eh, if they bring back Raul Damon’s not coming here, and if they bring in Damon Raul’s not coming back. No need to worry about that.

      I think a 38 YR old Damon is going to be better than the 2011 version of Raul that was trotted out there every night and barely posted a .700 OPS, and especially so if used in a platoon situation with a lot of rest.

       
      • Posts: 2990 Chuck A.

        Avatar of Chuck A.

        Yeah, true….but the fact remains that he’s a 38 year old player.. And isn’t everyone complaining that the Phillies aren’t doing enough to get younger?? This must just really signify that they’ve turned a big corner with Dom Brown.

         
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’d MUCH rather them use Brown as the guy for the LH LF platoon,and I think he’d actually do a pretty good job with the occasional fielding blunder. Unfortunately for you guys, however, I don’t get to run the team.

        I was just saying that I don’t think Damon would be awful per se, as he’d probably provide more than was gotten out of Ibanez this past season, and at one season that’s not really making the team older. Signing early to mid 30s guys for long-term contracts is getting older, but one year deals don’t really fall into that category, and can actually act as a stop-gap between to fill the position while the younger talent matures in the minors.

         
  • Posts: 2990 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    NOT in favor of this move.

     
  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    David De Jesus would be a better deal than Damon. He can field all outfield positions and is faster and younger. And cheaper at this point.

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    So if every year,for the next 5 years they keep signing players 37 and over how are they going to get younger?

     
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Look at it this way, if, for the next 5 years, the Phillies sign the best 38 year old free agent to a one year deal at LF, that signing never increases the average age of the team. While the rest of the guys under contract age, the average age of the LF position will stay exactly the same. “Getting younger” can be alternatively stated as “stop getting older” which can be done by signing older productive guys to one year deals.

      The complaint that this team is getting too old isn’t because you have one really old guy on the roster this season. It’s actually a simplified version of the concern that a number of players have long term deals that take them through the peak of their careers and are paying them premium money into what are very likely to be years of diminished production. So, paying a 38 year old guy market price for decent production for one year is preferred over giving a mid-35s player a 4 year deal for huge sums of money during which you’ll get a year or two of good production for a large price and another year or two of declining production for that same large price. It’s a much more efficient and prudent use of their money. And those single-season deals are useful in that it allows you to bring your younger talent into the fold slowly if needed.

      The downside, obviously, is that you can’t get premium players this way, because premium players in the prime of their career aren’t going to sign a one year deal — but when you have a roster that is chock full ‘o aging superstars with giant contracts this is a great way to address short-term needs without overpaying for a guy like Cuddyer who will be superfluous as soon as Dom Brown is ready this year or next (and if he never is, you have another year to find someone to produce in that position).

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    So now, you have Thome, Damon, Wiggington, Schneider, and Valdez/Martinez as your bench? What happens if we need a defensive replacement? Damon can’t play the field anymore.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 chuck s

    Keep the $$ that’s talked about for Damon, forget Ibanez and send Brown out for more seasoning. Mayberry/Wigginton LF, Vic CF, Pence RF, Polanco/Wigginton 3B, Resign JRol SS, Chase 2B, Thome/Mayberry 1B Ruiz C. Use the $$ saved from NOT signing Damon toward signing JRol & Hamels. You don’t need a LH in LF against RH pitchers the P’s can start 4 LHs Vic, Jrol, Chase & Thome and 4 RH hitters Mayberry, Pence, Ruiz & Polanco/Wigginton. Guess what a balanced lineup. Last couple of years the P”s hitting problems was because teams would bring in LH pitchers in late innings and hold down (in most cases) our lefties. In fact make some of them look like fools (Ryan).

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    thats what i said Dipsy if any of these old junk yard dog should have to sub for anyone

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    Could $4.5 million even be squeezed into the budget without going over the luxury tax?

    The Phils still have SS to worry about, and someone like Rollins will cost more than what’s left if they decide to pay Damon one third of it. They still also need a backup middle infielder, another bullpen piece, and could probably use a little more rotation depth.

    I like Damon, but don’t think signing him is a good idea unless they can get him for half-price.

     
  • Posts: 0 Keepit

    I’m not opposed to signing Damon, or Lidge – at the right price.
    This team needs offense, and more importantly they need timely offense, something that doesn’t always show up in the stats.
    Damon still has some pop and using him in clutch situations should pay off. I’d like him more than Brown…or Valdez…or Martinez, for sure.

     
  • Posts: 2069 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    Is this news to anyone else but me?

    http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20111123_Source__Phillies_expand_to_WIP-FM.html

    Phils will now simulcast on 1210 AM and 94.1 FM (WIP)

     
    • Posts: 436 Ian Riccaboni

      Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

      Wow. 97.5 struck first on FM but 94.1 will have all four major sports teams and probably the Union, too. 97.5 has the ESPN brand name and Missanelli pummeling his opponent at drive-time but this will definitely change the ratings on game days.

       
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    I think Kendrick will be back as far as starters concerned i think they ok with starting rotation. Cole, Roy H, Lee, Blanton, Vanimal and Kendrick. At one point one of these starters will be on the DL that’s when Kendrick can fill in. If Vanimal has the Sophomore Jinx he can also step in. Im sure RAJ will find one of them was never quite good for MLB starters and was dumped and stick him in AAA as a emergency starter if we go low on the starting rotation due to injury. He also will pick up another cheap bullpen piece. You know the famous has an upside type of stuff RAJ loves.

     
 
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