Detroit Tigers’ outfield Johnny Damon was claimed off of waivers this afternoon. The identity of the team has not been identified, but speculation is running rampant that Damon’s former team, the Boston Red Sox, is the team that has claimed him.
As we are now past the July 31st trading deadline, the only way a player can be traded from one team to another is if the player either clears waivers (meaning no team claims him), or if a team that claims him works out a trade with his current team.
Damon signed a one year, $8 million deal with the Tigers during the offseason as he found the market for his services to be much softer than he and his agent Scott Boras had anticipated. Damon, a below average defensive player at this point in his career, has performed adequately for the Tigers, as he has hit .270 with 7 home runs this season. Clearly, Damon misses several aspects of playing for the Yankees. He was surrounded by arguably the best lineup in baseball last year and Yankee Stadium is ideal for his looping left handed stroke; he hit 24 home runs last year.
Even with diminished production, Damon figures to be a useful player for a contending team. He is a battle tested veteran who seems to have a knack for coming up with a big play in a big spot; his performance in last year’s World Series, in which he stole two bases on one play is testament to that.
The Tigers are effectively out of the pennant race. There is little reason to keep Damon on their roster as his contract is up in about five weeks anyway. If they can get even a mid-level prospect in return for Damon they will save a little bit of cash on his salary and perhaps get a useful part for a future team.
For their part, the Red Sox have been decimated by injuries this season and are thin in the outfield. While their playoff chances are not great (they are six games behind Wild Card leader Tampa for the American League Wildcard), they are still alive. Their pitching is strong enough that a late season surge is not out of the question. Also, even if the Red Sox do fall out of the race, the return of the former Red Sox hero Damon would keep the Red Sox at least somewhat relevant as summer fades to fall.
While we do not yet know if the Red Sox are indeed the team that claimed Johnny Damon off of waivers, they are certainly one of the most likely landing places for the former self proclaimed ‘idiot’.
Source: Staff, “Johnny Damon has been claimed by an unknown team”, cbssports.com+Johnny Damon has been claimed by an unknown team