He sure did. With only nine days until pitchers and catchers report, Johnny Damon is still without team, and aside from the Tigers, there does not appear to be any suitors. It also appears as though Boras is scrambling to increase the market for Damon, who would be lucky to get a two-year deal at this point in the offseason. Says Boras:
“I still feel there is a quality market for Johnny Damon,” Boras said, “and I’m negotiating with a number of teams. There are three teams out there that if they don’t have Johnny Damon, they’re not winning the division. He’s the difference in these teams making the playoffs or not contending.”
Aside from a few teams, most major league rosters are essentially ready for spring training. Also, the market for corner outfielders and designated hitters is extremely thin. With the Yankees out of the running, Boras’ only legitimate bargaining tool is gone and the market for Damon is shrinking every day.
We’ve seen this happen a few times before. Back in 2007, Boras instructed Jeff Weaver to turn down a two-year deal from the Cardinals. Weaver, enjoying a revitalized career on the heels of a World Series win, was told to take a hike. He later signed a one-year deal with the Mariners, pitched poorly without the coaching of Dave Duncan and is now on a minor league contract with the Dodgers.
Don’t forget the Alex Rodriguez “opt out” debacle. In a tremendously class move, Boras announced during the World Series that his client would leave the Yankees. A few weeks later, Rodriguez negotiated a new deal with the Yankees, sans Boras. Things worked out for Alex Rodriguez in this situation, but I’m sure that big name clients thought twice about using Boras. There have been other instances of Boras mishandling negotiations. Remember Rick Porcello? He should have been a first-round pick, if it was not for the insane contract demands. Way to get your hooks in early, Scott.
So, file this one under “misplayed” and keep an eye out for how much money Damon gets. It sure won’t be as much as he was hoping to get back in December. If Damon would have accepted the reported two-year, $14 million deal with the Yankees, things probably would have worked out much better for him. At least one American League executive feels that way:
“Sometimes, we ask for too much,” said the source, requesting anonymity. “Then, the smoke clears and you ask, ‘Where am I?’ And now, I can’t believe anybody is going to offer Damon more than the $14 million and $6 million the Yankees did.
“If you turn them down for that, you deserve one year for $3 million or whatever he is going to get. In February, teams have got guys in place. My feeling is that now he is going to be lucky to get whatever he gets. It’s still supply and demand in this game. And Johnny’s arrow is in the middle or going down.”
Hopefully other players learn from Damon’s mistake.