There are a lot of differences between Johnny Damon and Jason Bay.
Damon is left-handed and Bay is right-handed. Damon has two World Series rings and Bay has zero. Damon’s game is based primarily on speed and Bay’s game is based primarily on power. Damon is flamboyant and likes to speak his mind, while Bay speaks softly and carries a big stick.
Despite their differences, Damon and Bay also have a lot of similarities.
Damon and Bay are both left fielders. They were both a part of Red Sox Nation. Damon and Bay both finished in the top-10 amongst American League outfielders in OPS in 2009.
Perhaps their biggest similarity is that they are both free agents this offseason and both negotiated their way off their former teams.
As I mentioned in posts before, both Damon and Bay tried to strong arm big market teams (the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees), who weren’t desperate to sign them. They both had very little negotiating power this offseason and both acted like they held all the cards.
That game of poker doesn’t work with a big market team.
The big market team, who is not desperate to sign that player will always find a replacement. The Red Sox signed Mike Cameron and the Yankees signed Nick Johnson.
Whether Damon and Bay really wanted to return to their respective clubs, we’ll never know. Damon seemed like he really wanted to return to the Yankees and Bay seemed indifferent.
Right now it doesn’t matter whether or not they wanted to return to their respective clubs because they won’t. Both players will have new homes in 2010. But with limited options, both might be forced to sign with a team out of necessity.
Bay’s options seem limited. Right now his options seem to be the New York Mets and the New York Mets. Perhaps the San Francisco Giants or the St. Louis Cardinals–if they don’t re-sign Matt Holliday–will get into the mix for Bay.
My guess is Bay is hoping another team gets into the fray because I believe he has very little interest in signing with the Mets.If he really wanted to sign with them, I believe he would have done so already.
If he does sign with the Mets, he is going to make them sweat it out like CC Sabathia did with the Yankees last winter. The longer Bay waits, perhaps the more desperate the Mets will get to sign him and maybe they will give him an extra year or more money per year.
Damon has a couple of more options than Bay primarily because he is a more cost effective option. Damon could end up with the Atlanta Braves, Cardinals, Giants, or maybe even the Seattle Mariners.
I have no idea what Damon’s financial situation is–hosting Monday Night Raw this Monday might be a sign things aren’t well–but if he is expecting three years and $39 million, he is sorely mistaken.
Rumor has it Damon went to the Yankees at the last minute and said he would sign for two years and around $20 million. The Yankees were already in the final stages in negotiating the Johnson contract and told Damon no thanks.
Two years and around $20 million is what Damon should realistically expect.
Where ever Damon and Bay sign this offseason one thing is for sure. They both have more similarities than you think.
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