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.
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(Source: Ken Rosenthal)