• Did Cashman Allow His Anger At Boras To Bring Cause For Damon’s Exit?

    Posted by on January 28th, 2010 · Comments (27)

    Via John Harper

    First and foremost, it’s obvious that Johnny Damon screwed up a good thing here by allowing Scott Boras to antagonize the Yankee front office with his contract demands even after GM Brian Cashman’s warnings that he wasn’t playing games with the agent.

    Damon either let his own ego get in the way of a perfect situation with the Yankees or he paid a price for trusting Boras too much, but in any case he’ll miss his old team more than it will miss him.

    Still, that doesn’t mean the Yankees won this standoff. You can make a case that both sides lost, and, indeed, you have to ask whether Cashman allowed some ego to get involved here as well.

    Several baseball people say they believe Cashman became furious with Boras’ negotiating tactics, with one person close to the situation saying he once heard the GM screaming at Boras via his cell phone.

    In the end, Cashman had the hammer in this negotiation. Maybe by October we’ll know if he used it wisely.

    This ties back to what Chad Jennings shared this weekend:

    “How long it’s taking certain people to wake up and smell the coffee, that’s what surprises me,” Cashman said. “When you get on the phone with agents, they tell you one thing, and certain agents can’t honestly believe what they’re trying to convey. Do they think I’m stupid?”

    Sure sounds like Cashman allowed Boras to get under his skin. Was this a wise move? Like Harper suggests, we’ll see over the course of the 2010 season.

    Comments on Did Cashman Allow His Anger At Boras To Bring Cause For Damon’s Exit?

    1. MJ
      January 28th, 2010 | 11:42 am

      Bollocks. I don’t believe for one second that Brian Cashman would sacrifice team goals over personal disputes. Heated negotiations are part of the business and sometimes two sides just don’t see eye to eye.

      The Yanks decided that $2M was all they wanted to spend on an outfielder. While I personally think it’s a shame that Nick Johnson ended up being the difference between a Damon/Gardner/Granderson/Swisher outfield and a Gardner/Winn/Granderson/Swisher outfield, I don’t believe for a single second that anything personal got in the way.

    2. GDH
      January 28th, 2010 | 11:56 am

      I think Boras did get Cashman’s back up, and it did get in the way of a deal, if only in a small measure. It’s understandable, and although I’m disappointed in this particular result, I support the tactic. Look, Boras has a lot of top tier talent, which is where the Yanks do a lot of their free agent shopping. Cashman sticking to his guns here will likely have an effect on future negotiations. It may be more of a calculated move to change the dynamic that the Yanks always overpay. This would not surprise me coming from Hal Stein, seeing as he’s the one with the hard line on the budget. Cashman probably tried to communicate that to Boras, and he and Damon didn’t give a crap, so off he goes. Screw it – I put this squarely on Boras and Damon.

    3. MJ
      January 28th, 2010 | 12:13 pm

      @ GDH:
      Beacuse each player — and by extension, each negotiation — is different, I don’t believe you make a stand on a player in hopes that it will carry over and dictate the tone of future conversations about other players.

      If Cashman and Boras had a disagreement over the semantic definition of “offer” (or any other point, really), that’s a situation unique to this particular player negotiation. I just don’t believe there will be an effect down the road.

    4. Corey
      January 28th, 2010 | 12:21 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Bollocks. I don’t believe for one second that Brian Cashman would sacrifice team goals over personal disputes. Heated negotiations are part of the business and sometimes two sides just don’t see eye to eye.

      Lose the battle to win the war? I kinda like this.

    5. Corey
      January 28th, 2010 | 12:22 pm

      @ Corey:
      I should elaborate (I’m sick atm, so my thought process is a little fuzzy), but if Cashman makes a stand on say Damon, now, perhaps in the future that will give him better negotiating leverage with Boras clients.

    6. YankCrank
      January 28th, 2010 | 12:25 pm

      Like I said in an earlier thread, this is indeed a lose/lose situation.

      Yanks are better with Damon, and Damon is more valuable as part of the Yankee lineup and in Yankee Stadium.

      But MJ is right in saying that sometimes both sides don’t see eye-to-eye.

      This wasn’t Cashman allowing his anger to win, it was that the Yankees had a certain amount of money they wanted to spend this offseason. While Damon and Boras were playing their usual game, the Yankees decided to not wait out the DH market and pick up Johnson, they went out and traded for a new CFer in Granderson and traded for a solid 4th starter in Vazquez. They also resigned some of the spare parts in Mitre and Gaudin that help provide depth. When it was all said and done, the Yanks had $2 million more to spend in their budget and because Boras waits everything out for the high deal, his client was standing on the outside looking in.

      It sucks, but I think we all saw this coming.

    7. butchie22
      January 28th, 2010 | 12:32 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Bollocks. I don’t believe for one second that Brian Cashman would sacrifice team goals over personal disputes. Heated negotiations are part of the business and sometimes two sides just don’t see eye to eye.
      The Yanks decided that $2M was all they wanted to spend on an outfielder. While I personally think it’s a shame that Nick Johnson ended up being the difference between a Damon/Gardner/Granderson/Swisher outfield and a Gardner/Winn/Granderson/Swisher outfield, I don’t believe for a single second that anything personal got in the way.

      Bollocks? MJ have you been hanging ’round my cousin Neville from Liverpool, UK?!!! Good to see some Anglicisms/Aussieisms anywhere quite honestly. Cash Man had only 2 million to spend AND after Vasquez was brought on board Damon was out. It seems as if Hal’s cap is 200 million. I believe that Randy Winnless/ Media Savvy Granderson/Chis Carlin Johnson don’t equal Godzilla and Damonic in trems of clutchness,hitting ability etc so on. Winnless is an OK player at the most, Granderson had a problem in the outfield last year and his OBP is quite frankly meek, and Chis Carlin Johnson seems to be more injured than Matsui ever was and NJ doesn’t have the requisite power to off set Matsui’s loss either and is slow on the basepaths.

      BTW, Shot Borass overplayed his hand considerably. I don’t think there is any personal animus in the end ‘tween Shot Borass and Cash Man. IF Brainless want sone of Borass’ clients ,trust me he’ll be smooching his behind NOT the other bloody way around.
      With bringing in The Second Half No Star, MR Junior Varsity back, Cash Man seems to be going with pitching as a strength somehow. I’m still not sold on that stiff. Everyone’s spitting out that fact that he’s a 4th starter. Fine, if Andy ” Mr HGH” P and AJ Burnout go down, who is number 2 Joba? No JV!?? and in obtaining JV’s services the Yanks had to forgo Damonic’s services. You don’t fix what’s not broken and that what Cash Man has done here………

    8. MJ
      January 28th, 2010 | 12:34 pm

      @ Corey:
      See my comment to GDH, up at [3]. I address that specifically.

    9. jrk
      January 28th, 2010 | 1:23 pm

      I read on Lohud that Tyler Kepner reports these quotes:

      From Scott Boras: “The Yankees never even made an offer to me regarding Johnny Damon during the entire process.”
      From Brian Cashman: “On Dec. 17, Scott’s exact words were that he would not take a penny less than $13 million a year for two years. We believed him.”

      Assuming these are true – Cashman is a complete moron. You would think a GM would know that in negotiating, a player’s agent (especially the most hard-nosed of agents) is going to shoot high to start the negotiations. What kind of idiot says “we believed him” and then doesn’t make an offer? What kind of idiot GM doesn’t even continue talks and try to work things out – especially after the outfielder market starts forming. No matter what Boras says, he can’t get every contract exactly how he wants it. I’m so much less angry right now that Damon is not back with the Yanks, than I am with reading those quotes and seeing what a fool Cashman is.

    10. GDH
      January 28th, 2010 | 1:33 pm

      @ jrk:
      Cashman’s not a fool. The most plausible explanation is that the Yankees were not willing to play the Boras waiting game, and it cost both Damon and the Yankees. If Damon really wanted to be with the Yankees, and that was his top priority, then he should have instructed Boras to get a deal done early – get it done. Then, it gets done! I don’t believe that was Damon’s MO at all. He wanted the Yankees at his price – no pay cut, and that’s what he told Boras to go get. That requires the waiting game, which the Yankees clearly would not go for. This is Damon’s screwup, not Cashman’s, and as much as I wanted him back, I’ll be hoping that the Yankees put Johnny in his idiot effing place this season.

    11. YankCrank
      January 28th, 2010 | 1:38 pm

      @ jrk:

      Careful who you call a fool. There are a ton of different accounts on how this entire negotiation went down, including this very detailed one from Joel Sherman: http://bit.ly/cZ0zKF

      We’ll never really know the exact details. Both sides have their stories and they’ll stick to them, the only thing we can know for sure is that Johnny Damon will not be a Yankee, and that’s too bad. Both parties fit so well together.

    12. jrk
      January 28th, 2010 | 1:44 pm

      @ GDH:
      I agree with you that Damon played a large role in this situation – he should have told Boras to lighten his demands if his initial hard-ball approach didn’t work. Or at least to lighten them after a period of time. And if Damon were smart – he would realize how tailor-made his game (swing) is to Yankee stadium and would have taken less money this year to hopefully perform better (than wherever else he will play) to get a better contract next year. But in the end, I still think Cashman screwed this up. Forget the waiting game – I am not saying Cashman shouldn’t have gone out and made moves. Even with Granderson and Johnson though, we wanted another outfielder, and the outfield market started to move, so it was time to get serious on the Damon talks – or at least TRY to – not just sit around, twiddle your thumbs, and then sign Randy Winn, without even picking up a phone and calling Boras. (Yes, I understand the $2 million limit, but I’m not buying that shit either – and I’ve already made my sentiments known on this site about the greater return we would get on spending another couple milllion)

    13. YankCrank
      January 28th, 2010 | 2:00 pm

      GDH wrote:

      If Damon really wanted to be with the Yankees, and that was his top priority, then he should have instructed Boras to get a deal done early – get it done.

      Exactly. Let’s not all be fooled here. We know Johnny Damon, and we know what he’s really all about.

      He had an opportunity to be the most legendary Red Sox to ever wear the uniform, but he left that chance and tarnished his Yankee-killing hero image for more money…with the Yankees. He has a chance to win multiple rings with the Yankees and be forever adored in New York, but he’s doing what he always does: Chasing every last dollar.

      He has that right, and nobody should be mad at him for wanting to earn every dollar he possible could. But like you said, he didn’t go into this offseason “wanting to be a Yankee” or wanting to be anything else. What Johnny wants is to be paid the most he possibly can, that’s all.

    14. GDH
      January 28th, 2010 | 2:20 pm

      @ YankCrank:
      You illustrate the point I was trying to make more effectively than I did. The only thing as consistent as his pathetic arm is the fact that he is a nice guy with a giant ego and the fact that he is a mercenary. His services go to the highest bidder.

      Since this is all about money, I’m only curious to know if in fact he was offered what the Yanks say they offered him (or discussed with him) that being 2/20M, then 2/14M. Damon/Boras could say no offer was made, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t “discussed.” If they really did hold firm early on, it makes the other roster moves, including Johnson, more understandable.

    15. MJ
      January 28th, 2010 | 2:43 pm

      YankCrank wrote:

      Exactly. Let’s not all be fooled here. We know Johnny Damon, and we know what he’s really all about.

      GDH wrote:

      a…guy with a giant ego and the fact that he is a mercenary. His services go to the highest bidder.

      I hate lines like these. What is Johnny Damon really all about? A player isn’t defined by the uniform he wears, nor by the financial success he enjoys.

      Johnny Damon is an entertainer and a businessman, as all these ballplayers are…even the saintly Derek Jeter. Johnny Damon didn’t “show us his true colors” or anything like that. He asked for a sum of money, the Yanks chose not to match it and that’s that. It wasn’t greed on his part any more than it was frugality on the part of the Yankees. Each side had a gameplan and, unfortunately, the two gameplans were destined to clash.

      Damon went into this off-season wanting to be a Yankee, it’s just that being a Yankee doesn’t mean that he should sacrifice all of his other goals to satisfy that one aspect of his life. Mark Teixeira didn’t “want” to be a Yankee until the Yankees went the extra mile for his services last year. Do we forget that he “wanted” to be in Boston until his agent got him a better deal? I’m not knocking Teixeira…just that “being a ____” is something fans talk about much more than players.

      I wish the Yanks could’ve kept Damon and I will always wonder why the Yanks couldn’t show the same kind of flexibility for Damon that they’ve shown for other players in the past but let’s not start send Damon packing with all these “fan-isms” about true character and the greed found in his soul.

      Red Sox fans are famous for trashing their players on the way out. Let’s not do that here. Damon was an awesome Yankee and we should all remember him fondly for everything he did here. I’m pretty sure we’ll miss him as we watch Gardner and Winn turn rallies into automatic outs…but that’s a different story.

    16. YankCrank
      January 28th, 2010 | 3:15 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Red Sox fans are famous for trashing their players on the way out. Let’s not do that here.

      In no way am I trashing Damon. I think i’ve said it multiple times on this site that I love Johnny.

      What I am saying is merely a product of what we’ve seen with him. He chases the last dollar, as most top-tier players do when they have the chance to do so. It’s why he employs Scott Boras, it’s why he left Boston and it’s why he’ll be leaving New York. We all knew it would happen.

      It’s well within their right to do so and if I were a top-tier player I may do the same, but that doesn’t mean we can’t call it out when we see it. Johnny’s top goal of the ’09 offseason wasn’t to stay a Yankee, it was to earn a salary that he felt lived up to his skills as a ballplayer.

      We’ll see if he even gets that now.

    17. MJ
      January 28th, 2010 | 3:25 pm

      YankCrank wrote:

      It’s well within their right to do so and if I were a top-tier player I may do the same, but that doesn’t mean we can’t call it out when we see it. Johnny’s top goal of the ‘09 offseason wasn’t to stay a Yankee, it was to earn a salary that he felt lived up to his skills as a ballplayer.

      Call what out? I just don’t get this line of thinking. I’m working at my fourth place of business since leaving college. In two of the three previous resignations, I did so for financial reasons. Would you call me out too?

      The notion of loyalty in sports is so fan-centric, I just can’t stand it. There is nothing disloyal about a negotiation breaking down when Team X and Player Y don’t agree on a fair price for future services. There’s nothing greedy about it and you can’t prove that his goal wasn’t to stay a Yankee just beacuse he isn’t going to be one. Being a Yankee and earning the best salary he could earn aren’t mutually exclusive realities, after all. It was perfectly reasonable for him to expect that he would stay with New York — even with a paycut — without having to give up the flexibility to move on if it didn’t work out.

      Anyway, I’m not talking about this anymore. Your defintion of “greed” and mine are very different. No harm, no foul.

    18. Corey
      January 28th, 2010 | 3:31 pm

      MJ wrote:

      I just don’t get this line of thinking. I’m working at my fourth place of business since leaving college. In two of the three previous resignations, I did so for financial reasons. Would you call me out too?

      Not the same thing.

    19. MJ
      January 28th, 2010 | 3:42 pm

      Corey wrote:

      Not the same thing.

      Of course it is.

    20. Corey
      January 28th, 2010 | 3:47 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Corey wrote:
      Not the same thing.
      Of course it is.

      I disagree, sorry I didn’t have time to elaborate my thought (real busy at work lately), but Johnny Damon is set for life. If you were set for life, perhaps you don’t leave 1 of the jobs you left.

      I know with me, for sure, if you take money out of the equation, I.E. I was set for life, I may never look for another job again as I love my job. But, since I’m not set for life, eventually I’m going to outgrow this job, and I’m going to have to look for another job that gives me greater financial flexibility.

    21. MJ
      January 28th, 2010 | 3:55 pm

      @ Corey:
      Financial security is irrelevant. By that logic, every free agent is disloyal since all these guys are in the top 1% of earners in the United States.

      I don’t believe it’s a zero-sum game of loyalty/disloyalty based on your net worth. Like I said, it was perfectly reasonable for Damon to expect that he would stay with New York — even with a paycut — without having to give up the flexibility to move on if it didn’t work out. That doesn’t make him disloyal and it doesn’t make him greedy. It makes him a free agent that couldn’t agree to a contract with his previous employer. He is no more disloyal than his previous employer. In business, these things happen and there isn’t a bad guy. In sports, there’s always a bad guy because fans are emotional.

    22. Corey
      January 28th, 2010 | 4:06 pm

      MJ wrote:

      Financial security is irrelevant. By that logic, every free agent is disloyal since all these guys are in the top 1% of earners in the United States.

      Right, thus the argument that they are greedy is valid. They all are.

    23. MJ
      January 28th, 2010 | 4:34 pm

      Corey wrote:

      MJ wrote:
      Financial security is irrelevant. By that logic, every free agent is disloyal since all these guys are in the top 1% of earners in the United States.
      Right, thus the argument that they are greedy is valid. They all are.

      Not at all. I’m saying the opposite.

      Anyway, not really in the mood to debate this. I get why fans think this way, I just don’t agree with it.

    24. GDH
      January 28th, 2010 | 4:36 pm

      @ MJ:
      Let me say this – I love Johnny Damon as a Yankee. The thing that pisses me off is not that he went for the money – I’m on post about this being his MO long before this point in time. Lot’s of players go for the top money. Point is, he could have been a Yankee AND gotten the highest possible salary – in this market – if he and Boras were serious about him wanting to be with the team again.

      Instead, what they were serious about was getting the most money. I think everyone would agree that the Yanks were the best mutual fit for this player in this market. It’s a no-brainer. But their tactics were even more brainless, thus nullifying the no-brainer aspect. Boras had his head in Holiday’s lap while all this was going down and neither he or Johnny got down to seriously gauging the market or the Yankees. Pisses me off, that’s all.

    25. BOHAN
      January 29th, 2010 | 12:47 am

      i hate boras althought i respect cause hes good at what he does and gets his player his money for the most part. i feel hes ruined the game by making it all about the money and not about playing for the team you want and the team thats going to get you the ring. this whole damon/yankees thing is completely damon’s fault. he forgot that boras works for him and not the other way around. he shoulda realized that when he signed his 13 mil contract 4 yrs ago he was 4 yrs younger and playing a prime position in cf. now hes a lf/dh and is 4 yrs older. lf is not the prime position that cf is and he doesnt move as well as he did 4 yrs ago although he still moves better then the avg player. boras was dreaming if he really thought he was going to get damon 13 mil for 4 yrs like he originally thought.

    26. egghead71
      January 29th, 2010 | 9:40 am

      I think what everyone is missing here, IMO, is that Cashman wasn’t interested in Damon as an outfielder, period. We have also seen noodle-arm out there, and no one can make even a reasonable case that he is a decent OF anymore. We should have seen the writing on the wall when he traded for Granderson. Granderson essentially replaced Damon, offensively, and is a defensive upgrade. (Say what you want about Granderson’s defense, but it is clearly better than Damon’s.)

      Now, it can be said, he has the same outfield as last year, with Granderson replacing Damon and Gardner replacing Melky. (Sorry Melky fans, if Gardner is a step down from Melky, it’s not by much.) By signing Johnson instead of Damon at DH, Cashman took a risk because of injury history, but saved at least a couple million there, and did not have to make a commitment at DH for 2011, leaving the DH spot open for a catcher that can’t catch, be it Posada or Montero.

      The Winn signing was just hedging these bets. Out of all of this, Cashman saved a few bucks, got more flexibility going into a better free agency year and got a #4 starter who no reasonable person can argue is not an upgrade over the 4/5 spot last year, again, without making a commitment for 2011.

      Now we’ll win the division by 7 games instead of 9.

    27. egghead71
      January 29th, 2010 | 9:44 am

      And in the interest of full disclosure… I lived here in Boston when Damon was playing for them, and I hated him probably more than most Yankees fans. but… I came to love him with the Yankees as much as I had hated him in Boston. Sorry to see him go, but he was not the ticket to the WS.

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