Yankees Sign Randy Winn; Damon out
The contract is worth in the neighborhood of $2 million.
The deal, in all likelihood, ends any chance that Johnny Damon will return to the Yankees. The Yankees now seem set with their outfield for the 2010 season.
Despite repeatedly referring to budget constraints, the Yankees’ projected payroll for 18 players with agreements likely to make the opening day roster is at $205 million following the deal with Winn.
The 35-year-old Winn hit .262 in 149 games last season for San Francisco. He was an All-Star in 2002, when he batted .298 with 14 home runs and 75 RBIs for the Tampa Bay Rays. Winn could put an end to a novel and unwanted distinction now that he’s signed with the Yankees: According to Baseball-reference.com, he has played 1,601 career games without a postseason appearance. That’s the longest drought by an active major league player. Free agent Mike Sweeney is second to Winn with 1,398 regular-season games and no postseason appearance. Michael Young is third with 1,351.
“The Yankees along all have said they had $2 million and that obviously removed them out of the marketplace of a lot of talented players. We really did not have a lot to talk about,” said Boras. “Johnny knew what their budget was, so there was never any expectancy. The Yankees could never make an offer because they knew Johnny’s performance value far exceeded what their budget was.”
Boras has been successful placing many of his clients in Detroit, and the addition of Damon in left field would allow the Tigers to give Carlos Guillen more at-bats at DH.
The Tigers traded leadoff hitter Granderson to the Yankees in December and lost No. 2 hitter Placido Polanco to the Phillies in free agency, so the top of their batting order is in a state of transition.
Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski issued a statement through a club spokesperson last Friday saying, “We have not expressed interest in Johnny Damon.”
Cincinnati’s outfield alignment currently consists of Jay Bruce in right field, Drew Stubbs in center field and Chris Dickerson in left. The Reds’ leadoff hitters also ranked last in the major leagues with a .650 OPS in 2009.
The catch is, the Reds and Tigers don’t appear to have much money left in the budget. Both clubs have been economizing this offseason, and that might be truer than ever now that Cincinnati has signed Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman and Detroit has added closer Jose Valverde. Both teams would probably have to get creative to make a run at Damon.