February 24, 2010

The Yin and Yang of Johnny Damon

BallBatGrass.jpgYahoo! Sports’ Steve Henson says Scott Boras — bagman for Johnny Damon — saved the Tigers’ season. Them’s fighting words.

[Tigers owner Mike Ilitch] whipped out his checkbook and, just like that, Damon became the Tigers’ left fielder for 2010.

Luckily for Dombrowski. And for manager Jim Leyland. Both are consummate pros with solid track records, but without Damon they were headed pell-mell for disaster.

Were the Tigers headed for disaster without Damon? No way; they’d have made some other move to steady the offense, but probably not as nifty a move as Damon.

On the other hand, this wire report appearing in the Miami Herald says “not so fast” in anointing Damon as the Tigers’ 2010 elixir:

As far as the Tigers go, I am not quite sure how he makes them better. People are sadly mistaken if they think he will come anywhere near the 24 home runs he hit last season.

The only real advantage I see is that he is an instant upgrade at the top of the lineup, where the Tigers were going into the season with rookies Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore at the top of the order.

But let’s face it, he is not Torii Hunter in the outfield. He may be an upgrade defensively over Carlos Guillen, but that is really not a compliment.

Not to mention, he is 36 years old

Of course, if Ryan Raburn could hit like Damon, this wouldn’t be an issue. But he can’t. So here we are.

And closer to home, Lynn Henning tells us there’s much to look forward to this season — due to and not in spite of the rookies and newcomers.

During decades of covering spring training, rarely, if ever, has one player so energized a ballclub already at camp as Johnny Damon’s signing this week lifted the Tigers.

– snip –

Damon has changed that outlook sufficiently to make the Tigers a better bet to at least break even in 2010. They have the pitching to be a solid club, and now they’re closer to having just enough offense to surprise some of the fans (and media) who aren’t expecting much in 2010.

I agree with one point in particular that Henning makes in this column: the vast majority of Tigers fans hasn’t seen Jackson, Sizemore, Max Scherzer or Daniel Schlereth perform. Ever.

So why all the angst?

Fans in Detroit have groaned for the better part of a decade about the Twins’ uncanny ability to develop their own talent and, you know, win. The Tigers embark on a similar, though smaller-scale, path and it’s doomsday.

I’m not buying it.

P.S. Happy 51st Birthday, Bryan Kelly.

3 Comment(s)

  1. librarymonkey27 | Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    This is what I believe as well…

    so many people acted as if the Tigers were headed to a 2003 record without Damon — not true

  2. Jim Craddock | Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Yeah, I was really getting sick of the very people who bitched about the big contracts to Ordonez, Guillen and Bonderman, turning around and complaining that we didn’t do the same for Polanco and Jackson. Just because a guy is a rookie doesn’t mena he can’t play…unless that rookie was drafted by Randy Smith.

  3. will | Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    so why do you not think Ryan Raburn can hit as well as Johnny Damon? Raburn he hit .291/.359/.533 when they finally let him play everyday last season. He might not have the track record Damon has but he’s gonna be this teams MVP this year by being able to replace any injuries without a loss at the plate

Post a Comment