April 18, 2014

Report: Indians to Sign OF Johnny Damon

What was just a rumor about one week ago has apparently become fact as multiple outlets are reporting that the “struggling” Cleveland Indians are set to acquire veteran outfielder Johnny Damon.

ESPN’s Jim Bowden reports that while talks are ongoing, the two parties are still in “early stages” of negotiations. Per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the free-agent contract under said negotiations would not only provide the player with a full no-trade clause, but will allow him to opt out upon the return of outfielder Grady Sizemore who is rehabilitating a back injury.

The Cleveland Indians have started the 2012 season with a 1-4 record while providing the worst batting average (.176) in Major League Baseball. They have scored 20 runs in five contests, most of which have come via the home run ball.

Damon, 38, reportedly sent a text to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman which stated that “Cleveland has always been great to [him] and [he's] looking forward to reuniting with teammates.”

Derek Lowe, the recently added starting pitcher, and Damon played together in Boston.

Damon, 38, is a left-handed hitter who will likely play left field for the Indians. They continue to be without a right-handed power bat, a long-time goal of the most recent off-season. Damon, with the Tampa Bay Rays last season, hit .261 with a .743 OPS, 16 home runs and 73 RBI. Had these numbers been produced with the 2011 Indians, they would have ranked him among the top four producers at each statistical category.

[Related: Arriba Santana! Carlos Gets Extended]

(Source: Ken Rosenthal)

  • 5KMD

    Funny that he wanted a no trade clause as it seems he would love to parlay a good first half with the Tribe into a trade to one of the big boys. Although now that I am writing this I guess they could trade him as long as he OK’s it, correct?

    It must frustrate the FO to no end that Laporta rakes in AAA but can’t touch the ball up here.

  • TSR3000

    Our….savior?

  • Scottebooth

    This is a good low risk high reward move, he will provide a bit of a spark a some leadership if he cares enough for the younger players, much better than the abreau idea

  • Boomhauertjs

    Can he play CF to replace Brantley? Otherwise, this move doesn’t make much sense. Duncan in LF and Hafner at DH aren’t the problem with the offense.

  • 216in614

    Throw everything at the wall you possibly can and see if it will stick. I see absolutely no risk in this move assuming hes ready to sit the bench. I don’t want to see Duncan lose playing time if he continues to hit  who knows how long it will last anyways.

  • 216in614

    Now I’m seeing multiple reports this is not a done deal….

  • Jay

    On a personal level this makes me happy, as Damon has long been one of my favorite ball players. As an Indians fan, I’m just scratching my head.

  • Garry_Owen

    Championship.

  • BenRM

    You sort of knew they were going to have to do something. Im not “holy crap panic mode,” but there are some holes that you knew were there coming into the season that don’t look like they’ll self-correct. 

  • BenRM

    It frustrates me!

  • http://www.cinpleweb.com/ stin4u

    Is this supposed to be some sort of upgrade? That isn’t rhetorical either…how is an aged noodle armed Damon an upgrade over Dunkers? Especially since you’re adding ANOTHER left handed bat. I get that he won’t cost much of anything but still…why make a move to just make a move?

  • Jason

    Don’t know that he automatically steal AB’s from Duncan. If I were a lead off man batting .059 with an OBP of .238, I’d be really nervous right about now. COUGH Mike Brantley! COUGH

  • Garry_Owen

    The FO does know that Johnny Damon didn’t play for the Indians in the ’90s, right?

  • mgbode

    i’ll bet it frustrates noone more than LaPorta.  Imagine being able to do that at AAA, knowing that if you could do that just one more level up you would be rich beyond your wildest dreams.   but, you just can’t figure that last step out (after teeball, little league, junior leagues, HS, college, and every step of the minors).  Ugh.

  • mgbode

    then, who plays CF?

  • mgbode

    that said, how can Acta not just say screw it and throw Brantley to the bottom of the order, swap Kotchman and Hannahan and see what happens?

  • Harv 21

    and once again Shelley is capriciously denied his FAIR CHANCE, 10 years and running. No matter, for bias, blindness, jealousy nor incompetence can keep the Love Machine from his destiny. This will just make the movie better.

    Also, is it me or are we last paycheck stop for more than our fair share of over the hill stars? Murray, Winfield, Hershiser, Morris, Martinez, Gonzalez, Lofton .. I know I’m missing a few.

  • Boomhauertjs

    Thome, oh wait, he left us for Phily (again).

  • Garry_Owen

    Some of those guys did pretty well for us in their swan songs.  Hershiser, Martinez, Lofton (stupid Skinner), Murray (I guess).  Let’s hope Damon falls into that category. 

    So, you’re really going to run with this Love Machine thing, huh?  Okay.  Count me in (as uncomfortable as it is - although, I will forever remember a game last year wherein Rick Manning declared that “the guys in the clubhouse are attracted to him,” so maybe there’s some merit to your proposed moniker).

    With that said, I agree with some others that Damon’s signing does not necessarily mean a dramatic reduction in at-bats for the Love Machine.  Brantley is more on notice, I think, than the Love Machine.  (I’m getting used to it.) 

  • EyesAbove

    Is there room on the LaPorta bandwagon mg? He’s been getting some time in left down in Columbus.

  • EyesAbove

    We could always put Duncan at first if Kotchman doesnt start hitting. And we’ll need someone to DH when Hafner goes to the DL. Shelley will still get his playing time. 

  • mgbode

    room?  the comfy seats in the back are completely empty.  i’ve been sprawled out and sleeping without a care in the world all spring :)

  • Harv 21

    don’t be uncomfortable, the nickname is intended to be ironically erotic, not vice versa. A name you bestow on the grinning doofus who always says exactly the wrong thing at too loud a volume to the girl at the bar as he spills his beer on her shoes. 

  • EyesAbove

    LaPorta may be our only hope, and Im not joking either. 

  • Garry_Owen

    Wait.  Is that why I always got those nicknames?

  • mgbode

    I blame our FOs drafting in 2005.  You know, the year we drafted OFers with our first 4 picks and have gotten exactly nothing out of:

    *Trevor Crowe – 1st rounder in ’05**John Drennan – Suppl. 1st rounder in ’05***Stephen Head – 2nd round in ’05****Nick Weglarz – 3rd round in ’05*pick14 – just missed Maybin(10), McCutcheon(11), Bruce(12)
    Ellsbury and Rasmus were the next OFs taken

    **only Travis Buck was an OF who did anything in this round

    ***no OFers in this round either (all were up top – Braun and Gordon also in top5).  plenty of other good MLBers though.

    ****passed up Brett Gardner and Jordan Schafer

    So, we apparently decided to go all in on OFers in a top-heavy OF class that we missed out on (plus whiffed on the 2 best guys we had a shot on).   Gaaaarrrrr!

  • mgbode

    yeah, I know. *shuddering*

  • mgbode

    you spill beer?

  • Harv 21

    if this weren’t a family friendly site I’d see your names and raise you mine.

  • Garry_Owen

    Not anymore! I brew it now. It is the most precious commodity on earth. When civilization collapses (in 3 years, 152 days, 8 hours and 42 seconds, by the way), we brewmasters will have all of the power! Bwahaha.

  • Steve

     At this point, he has no one to blame but himself. The difference between the majors and every level beneath is that there is advanced scouting. In the minors, pitchers are taught to develop their stuff, and pitch to their strengths, which are not necessarily your weaknesses. In the majors, thanks to advanced scouting, pitchers will know what you can’t hit by the time you step up to the plate. A hitter has to learn to make that adjustment, and LaPorta hasn’t.

  • mgbode

    beer replacing the gold standard; I like it

  • Steve

     This same exact post didn’t quite work out for you last time you posted it, so why not try it again? Duncan is going to get plenty of PAs this year, I expect him to top 400. Damon isn’t likely being brought in because Duncan isn’t hitting, he is – .294/400/.529. It’s that a lot of the other guys aren’t.

  • kjn

    I don’t understand this move. Not that I’m sold on Duncan or any of our other LF options, but I don’t see how a near-40 Damon who has recently played DH exclusive is going to help this team in any real way.

    He also seems to have quite the ego. He can’t get a job, yet he wants a contract that will let him leave once Grady gets back?

    I kind of assumed that some desperate, bottom of the barrel team would give Damon a job so he could try to pad his stats and get to 3000, but I didn’t think it’d be us. Very depressing.

  • AlexMathews

    Because outside of Santana, Dunc-a-Dunc, Hafner, Choo and Cabrera (sometimes)…no one on our team can hit. And even those guys are wildly inconsistent. We should keep looking and signing whomever until we find someone who can hit the ball consistently. That’s our biggest priority.

  • http://www.cinpleweb.com/ stin4u

    Believe me, I understand that. But where are you going to put him? Does this become a platoon with he and Dunkers in left? Do you go against the grain and DH him in the lead off position because Brantley is struggling so much right now? Do you just try and put him in center and hope he doesn’t blow games wide open with his minus defense?

    There aren’t many other options available but this feels way too much like square peg round hole.

  • AlexMathews

    What’s this thing about being able to opt-out once Sizemore returns? You can even structure a deal like that? Is this only supposed to be a band-aid for 2-3 months and then he has the option to release himself? 

  • Natedawg86

    Need to go all in on guys like LaPorta this year I think.  If he does not have it by now (or allstar break), he is never going to.

  • Natedawg86

    Shoot Gary, I brew beer too and was in the army a few years ago (field artillery).  we could probably get along.

  • Harv 21

    um, are you addressing me? If so, please drop the knives, dude. This is only about sports, not real life.

  • Garry_Owen

    Shot, over!

  • Garry_Owen

    Desperate times, and all that. 

  • kjn

    Our drafting post-CC to 2008 has killed this club. How can a small market, small payroll team be so bad at drafting?

  • mgbode

    I agree, but I still think he’s frustrated by it.

  • mgbode

    we didn’t realize the value in the amatuer draft apparently.  then, once we did, Bud Selig put a kibosh on it in the latest CBA. 

  • Steve

     What are you talking about? There’s no knives. Sorry that you don’t like when people disagree with you.

  • mgbode

    do you think Antonetti could manage to type that in there with a straight face?

    “In the event that Grady Sizemore is off the DL for more than 10 consecutive games…”

  • kjn

    It’s not like the talent disappeared from the draft.