Source says Braves made offer to Damon

As Spring Training nears, there’s more reason to wonder if Johnny Damon will eventually accept what the Braves are willing to offer.  But for now, insiders still feel like the veteran outfielder will end up signing elsewhere.

Early this afternoon a Major League source confirmed the Braves have made a one-year offer to Damon. 

UPDATED:  Financial terms still haven’t been learned.  But a Major League League source said that even with the deferred fund accounted for, the offer was for less than $4 million.

This is the primary reason the Tigers or late entry into the Damon sweepstakes still appear to be more likely suitors for the 36-year-old outfielder.

Chipper Jones didn’t confirm whether the club has asked him to serve in the recruiting role that he often takes when in pursuit of a top-flight free agent.  But he said that he could see the benefit of bringing the veteran outfielder to Atlanta to serve as a legit leadoff hitter.

“I think he’d be a good addition,” Chipper Jones said.  “He’s a guy with experience and he provides us depth at the outfield position.” 

The addition of Damon could facilitate a trade or minimize the impact that Jason Heyward could have during this upcoming season.But for now, it doesn’t appear the Braves are making a serious push for Damon.  

50 Comments

Can’t hurt to add him if he accepts $1-2 mil a year…. I don’t see much sense in offering him more than that. If he does sign (which I do not think will happen), I wonder what that means for the outfield makeup for the season.

I personally am looking at a side of it not based totally on his performance. Johhny Damon is a popular player that everyone knows about because of his tenures with the Red Sox and Yankees. And seeing as how everyone was sure he’d be on the Yankees, this story would draw lots of attention to the Braves and maybe help us out a bit marketing wise. What are your views on that Mark?

My view remains that Damon ends up signing elsewhere. But at the same time, I think we’re all surprised that we reached this point where the Braves have at least thrown an offer out there to see if they could get him to bite.

If I had to guess, Damon ends up with the Tigers or Rays. But I’m not sure if either club will provide him the two-year deal he is seeking.

Over the past month, I’ve been saying the Braves would be willing to offer $1-2. From what I can gather, they might be willing to go slightly north of that figure.

think again…DOB from ajc says that the offer is believed to be $5 MIL…..ouch! wren, we wanted him but not that bad!

I’m probably alone in this, but I’d rather have Damon at $5million than Cabrera at $3million.

Well, $5 mil for Johnny Damon is not exactly paying way too much, especially for a one year deal. Melky is making $3 for crying out loud. The main reason that I would like to see Damon in LF, is that it would push McClouth further down the lineup. I would also love to see Heyward start in RF, but since no one is position to play Miss Cleo and most likely erroneously predict what his output would be, I would definitely pay $5mil for potentially what Damon did last year. And yeah yeah his HR numbers will be lower, but he’ll just end up w more doubles.
Me supporting a Braves signing of Damon kind of goes against what I have said before, but I think especially concerning Heyward, that there are several “ifs” in the lineup. This would seemingly that away one of those.

I think that Cabrera is a good investment, but $3mil is a bit much for my taste. Cabrera is a switch hitter, and a good defensive OF. Plus, he is still a relatively young guy. He has playoff experience and is another spanish speaking player that could help with the maturation of Escobar. However, as i stated before, I’m not sure all of that is worth $3mil.
Damon was once a great player, and I feel that he can still contribute. However, I don’t think that his power numbers will hold up at the Ted. But his experience at leadoff will be a great addition to our lineup. If we can get him at the right price, I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a Braves uniform. I just hope we don’t overspend for his services. I am assuming if a Damon signing did occur we would see an outfield of Damon, McLouth, and Diaz. With Cabrera serving as a backup for all. This leaves Schafer and Heyward ready for mid or late season call up (or injury fill in) and another minor league season to get a little more seasoning. If nothing else, you throw 5-6 outfielders out there during spring training and the best 4 survive. Wouldn’t be a terrible situation. Again, as long as we don’t overspend, I already feel as though Melky is expensive, but getting Damon at a good price would be worth the money.

I’m really excited about this. Even if it doesn’t happen, it shows me the Braves really want to win this year. Lead-off hitter is worth as much or more than a top of rotation pitcher. Anyone who doesn’t think so isn’t understanding the dynamics and importance of the position. Damon has proven to be one of the best over the years. Not only that he will create excitement and put fans in the seats. 5 million is a reasonable offer. We will lose out only if Detroit makes a 2 year offer. But I kind of think Damon wants to play in Atlanta this year. He likes being the star/hero and it could set the stage for a big year for the Braves. I have my fingers crossed.

I’m still trying to confirm the figure. With deferred money, it could easily be worth $5 million. The Braves just have to decide whether it’s more important to have him or the financial flexibility they could still possess to account for needs that arise during the season.

There’s no doubt that you’d rather have Damon at $5 mil. than Cabrera at $3 mil. That’s a no-brainer that doesn’t need to be debated.

Nobody thought we’d reach this point where Damon might be able to be able to be acquired this cheaply. Now that we’re here, you have to at least wonder whether he’ll be a Brave. But I’m still thinking he gets a better offer elsewhere.

Well if this isn’t just another Frank Wren moment. Make a trade/FA signing just to show that your doing “something”. Does anyone realize that if we can afford to sign Damon at 5 M then we could have afforded to keep Javy who was undeniably the staff “ace” last year. I mean Javy’s trade only saved a net of 8 M(melky + Dunn= 3.5M). All that to get an aging star who can’t play defense, has lost his wheels and provides only serviceable avg and power. I give up. I’m sure Johnny is a great guy, who’s done it all, but he’s like Garret Anderson with no throwing arm.

So Mark, does this mean that we should quit blogging the “Braves still not actively pursuing Damon thread”? Just kidding.

Yeah, Bill I guess this moves them into the “active mode”. Like I said, I’m still trying to confirm the figures. But I would say at least $2 million of that $5 mil offer would account for the deferred funds.

I have only one question left. Would you rather be a player with Scott Boras as an agent or a fan with Frank Wren as your GM? I only think this news plays into Boras’s hands, he finally has something to waggle at other teams.
Ok, I lied I have another question, if the Braves offer is only for 1 year, does that even fit into the framework, that Boras/Damon have been claiming to demand(2 year min)?

This news certainly only benefits Boras. I’m quite sure the Braves didn’t want this information to become public.

For now this one-year offer stands as nothing more than bargaining power. Johnny has said he’s still looking at a number of offers, which basically translates into “I haven’t seen one that I like yet.”

So how is this going to work? Is our center fielder supposed to run over and back him up on any plays so he can quickly toss to that player who can “gun” it in for a play at the plate only slightly quicker than Damon would (thanks to the extra time of passing the ball on to another player with a stronger arm)? His speed is diminished, his average is not much better than our other candidates, and his arm plain sucks. Where’s the benefit?

I can understand being down on Damon if the Braves were going to have to break the bank to get him. I don’t want him if he’s going to cost a lot. But Damon for a few million, with a couple more deferred? Doesn’t sound that bad to me at all. If it weren’t to work out, you haven’t lost much. The guy hit 30-something doubles with 24 HR’s (probably 15 of those were legit outside of Yankee stadium). Not bad. My question is, if the Braves did sign Damon, who would be the trade fodder in the outfield?

Bravo I agree.. though I don’t think having Sandy Koufax in the rotation for the first half of last year would’ve given us 3-4 more wins with the offense we had.

Why even offer to shell out money for a guy who would be a defensive downgrade no matter where you put him? Especially with the lack of any kind of an arm.

Offensively, most of his HRs were yanked to RF in the infamous short porch of drafty Yankee Stadium. Some of them will be doubles in the Ted, but I’ll bet money that most of them will be long fly-outs. Same with Nats Park and even Citizens Bank Park. Citi Field? Sun Life/Dolphins/LandShark/Joe Robbie Stadium? Fuhgeddaboutit.

Another thing to consider about this “offer”, is that Damon will play close to his home in Florida. Also, Chipper is neither “confirming or denying” that he called Damon personally with a recruitment pitch. We all know what that really means. We might not have the best offer… but I think JD wants to play here. Just a gut feeling.
My guess is that this is also an attempt to slow down Heyward’s arbitration clock a year circa Tommy Hanson, 2009. I don’t see Heyward breaking camp in the bigs if Damon is on the roster.
There is value in having a proven leadoff hitter and a proven winner on your squad. If you can get him for cheap… why not? I have always hated McClouth leading off and I think both he and Escobar will thrive at the bottom of the lineup.
I am not thrilled about delaying Heywards arrival. I still think Hanson’s delay last year cost us at least 3-4 victories… which would have put us at the wild card!

I’m going to go with the fact that Johnny Damon is a professional hitter. He wrapped the ball around the foul pole in Yank-Me Stadium because he could, not because he always hits that way and just got lucky. At Turner Field he’ll be looking to shoot the gaps instead. Will he run more for Atlanta than he did last season? I hope so. Can he still play defense? Not really, and he could never throw, but he is a proven winner and a professional’s professional, so if the Braves REALLY want to go that route, there are some positives. I mean, putting a garbage can out in LF last season would have caught as many balls as GA got to, so Damon at least is an upgrade in that regard. Damon also compensates for his bad arm by charging balls where GA waited on them to roll up to him. Diaz again is the odd man out, but maybe a platoon of Damon and Diaz nets an overall number that is pretty stout in the end.

Position Players with Damon:
OF
Damon/Diaz
McLouth
Heyward/Cabrera

IF
Jones
Escobar
Prado/Infante
Glaus/Hinske

C
McCann/Ross

That is by far the best hitting bench the Braves have had in years. In late innings we may actually catch up once in a while after all the pinch hitting for a change. At least early, a 12 man pitching staff makes sense, provided Bobby has confidence in more of them this season. There wouldn’t be a lot of glaring weaknesses, and there would be a good mix of proven winners on the roster.

SP
Jurrjens
Lowe
Hanson
Hudson
Kawakami

RP
Wagner
Saito
Moylen
Dunn
O’Flaherty
Medlen
Chavez/Proctor

Let’s go glass half full Bravo. Heyward tears it up and is the consensus “Real Deal”. Then Melky gets moved for a Minor League pitcher or 3B in the end of March just before they break camp. Damon’s contract is paid for by the difference between Cabrera and Heyward, and they still have a little flexiblity for later in the summer.

Heyward is not as much of an arbitration issue because as soon as he hits he is going to get the “arbitration avoiding” first contract like McCann did. They don’t do that as much for pitchers because of the potential for arm issues.

My 2 cents. Now I’m broke again. Easy come, easy go….

rother, that’s a fair assessment. But I glanced at Damon’s stats for the previous year, and a propensity to have all his power to pull as well as a higher-than-ever K total still makes me wonder how well he’ll do in a more balanced park.

While I think it would be great to have Damon on the team, I’m concerned about two things, but mainly about Diaz’s place. I love Matt Diaz and the effort he has put into the team over the last two years to earn a starting spot. Each time he seems to get a break something happens and it all goes out the window. Point in case, he had a breakout year last year at the end of the season but then Wren goes out and gets Cabrera. So, now we have four potential starting outfielders (McLouth, Diaz, Hinske, and Cabrera), and that’s not counting Heyward or Schaefer. I’d assume that by May, after spring training and a month of baseball, the normal starting rotation would be Cabrera/McLouth/Heyward, which leaves Diaz, my boy, as the 4th string/platooning with Cabrera. So if we get Damon 1) what happens to Diaz and 2) why did we get rid of Vazquez? to have Cabrera warming the bench or Heyward stuck in the minors?

I was really impressed by what Johnny did last November, and it would be awesome to see that kind of energy at the front of the lineup, but if he comes to the Braves they’ll need to do some shuffling. It’ll be ridiculous to have six potential starting outfielders, McLouth, Diaz, Hinske, Cabrera, Heyward, and Damon, and if you want to be picky, Schaefer. If Wren gets Damon, there needs to either be some trades for prospects or relievers, or a decision to keep Schaefer and Heyward in the minors for another season.

Random question, but if Heyward breaks camp with the team, or even he gets called up in June, where do you see him hitting in the lineup? Will he hit 8th and be forced to chase pitches due to the pitcher behind him, or does he hit higher in the lineup? Also, do you think Johnny Damon will grow out the hair and beard?

biffsniff, depends on the lineup. Aside from Chipper 3rd and the pitcher 9th, Bobby could bat anyone anywhere and get away with it. Well, almost. I’d say 7th or even 2nd.

Ok Rother,

Which side are you on? Slap Hitter or no slap hitter. Yesterday you were arguing that we really didn’t need a limited power lead off hitter. Now you jump on the Johnny Damon express. The guy has hit 207 HR’s in a 15 season career. He hits at a 16 HR avg in some of the friendliest hitters parks in baseball. I mean Rafael Furcal hits 11 Hr’s per 162g. Matt Diaz hits 12 HR per 162g and has about the same career OBP as Damon .358 to .355. Diaz is also on actually of the upswing with his career as opposed to Damon who is definitely in his twilight years.

What really bothers me is the schizophrenia of this move. We are willing to pick up other teams cast off legends but aren’t willing to pay minimum wage to our own HOF past. This is another Garret Anderson move at best. I remember how that was gonna be a great addition because he was a “professional hitter”. What is his nickname again, “loaf”?

I updated the top of this blog to account for a source that indicated that even with the deferred funds the offer totaled less than $4 million.

I certainly wouldn’t label this a pursuit. Instead, I’d call it bargain-basement shopping.

Heyman tweeted that the braves are now the frontrunners for JD

Billreef, I’m not in the list of people in favor of bringing in Damon, but if they do, it isn’t all bad. He has made a career of being around and a contributing part of winning teams. That will help because the current Braves roster has less and less of those type players. Chipper and Lowe are pretty much it from last season’s roster. Adding Hinske, Melky, and maybe Damon will change the September 2010 version of the clubhouse when the pressure of the pennant race is in full swing. Damon is still a liability in the OF, but GA was worse last season. Matt Diaz is a nice piece, but not an every day star, and Diaz and Damon in a platoon could be a pretty interesting output from LF.

SAG969 – I couldn’t agree with you more on Matt Diaz. The guy goes through this every year. Last February on this blog, a lot of people were leaving him as the odd man out of the entire opening day roster! All he has been his entire career is a .300+ hitter.
I did some digging in the archives and came up with a few posts I made last year in defense of Diaz. Here is a comment I made after the Garrett Anderson signing: “Does anyone feel for Matt Diaz at all? I mean what more does a guy have to do to prove worthy of any everyday role..? I am excited about the Anderson deal… but man, Diaz is a class guy. Very unselfish and very clutch. In his three previous seasons before his injury last year, he hit a combined .315. That’s factoring in his .280 season in his last year with the Royals. With the Braves he has hit a combined .332. … I guarantee you that a second basemen that put up those numbers would start everyday. He’s a tough out and puts the ball in play almost every time. In nearly 950 at bats, he has only struck out 168 times on his career. He plays hard all the time (see the replay of how he hurt his knee last season). I like a guy like him coming off the bench… but at the same time I think he has proven himself worthy of an every day role. …he’s got to be asking himself what more needs to be done to earn an everyday job. Anyone with me here?”
After season Diaz had last year… the question should be asked even louder!!! Now he is trade talk??? He loves the city of Atlanta and he loves the Braves. He is essential to the makeup of this team. It would be a mistake to trade him.
Another thing I noticed in the archives of the blog this time last year — Rother was WAY more active. C’mon Rother, you’re better than this! :)

Rother doesn’t have the time he had last season to keep up with everything as well. The job seems to think it is supposed to get that 8 to 5 portion of my day….all week long, go figure.

I really like Matt Diaz, so don’t read in to it that I don’t want him out there because I do. I have seen him have a tendency in the past, when playing a number of games in a row against right handers, to start jumping at the ball and get himself into bad swing habits. When he is in a platoon situation he seems to keep a sweet swing and really rake. At least that’s how it looks to me. That said, there are only so many career .300 hitters, and I’m all for playing everyone we have as much as we can.

I don’t know if everyone should get all excited about Damon coming to Atlanta yet. He is a Boras guy, he’s going to get his money, period. The days of a player “wanting to play in Atlanta” are essentially over. People much rather would play for Franklin than Cox. I think that Tex is a perfect example of this.

I have to say wren has done a good job this winter. I know he takes alot of bashing, and i join in in a joking manner.

But, overall i am impressed with what he is done. Damon is probably worth about 3 million to us, and he has offered it. why not? might as well make an offer and see if he accepts it. Damon is not worth $5 million to us, absolutly NOT! I like our team this year, but unfortunatly it kind of depends if troy and chipper stay fit, which we all know is unlikely. When the heart of your order is probably only gonna play 200 games between them, and perhaps only play 100 of those games at full fitness then you are not going to compete with the phillies.

I think we will secure a play off place this year via the wild card though. We were ruined last year by cox’s abysmal management of the KJ and JF situation, where he continued to throw these automatic outs into the line up because he liked them as people. Now we have hansen all year, and dont have the two out machines in the line up then i can see us having a great season

Eh – Damon is on the down swing and has already won a couple of rings. He has nothing else to prove and wants to have a nice finish to his career and a nice place to play. You can’t compare it to Tex. Tex was approaching the prime of his career and had the opportunity to make the most of it with a monstrous contract opportunity and he has a ring to show for it. Completely different from where Damon is now. I do agree that none of us should expect Damon to sign, as he is a Boras client and Frank Wren isn’t really known as a “closer”. His ratio of offers made to offers signed isn’t really anything to brag about.

…I’ll believe it when I see it.

I say we save the bucks, sign Smoltz so he and Kenshy can make up a 6 man rotation. Get Shafer some at bats in Gwinnett and then pop him into CF. Platoon Melky, McLouth, Shafer, Diaz and Heyward(after june 19 call up). We would have a great clubhouse, strong pitching for Postseason, heal a few past wounds, develop a critical leadoff guy, keep our pitchers fresh and get the maximum bang for our buck out of the outfielders we have. 9 more days.

Besides if you can sit Smoltzie in that dugout next to Hanson for a year can you imagine what the long term benefit of that might be?

Too many “ifs” in that suggestion. I don’t think we will make the postseason relying on a former HGH user who couldn’t hit a major league fastball last year to be our lead off hitter. You said yourself how important a leadoff batter is to a team.
OK – the hgh comment is a little harsh, but at the same time – the only thing Schafer did to prove himself was have a good spring training against soft pitching. Everything else pre-HGH should be tossed out the window.
I also don’t think using KK and Smoltz in the back end of a 6 man rotation will get us to the playoffs. All that will do is take starts away from Hanson, JJ, and Huddy. Look at Smoltzies stats as a starter… not something you want taking starts away from a solid front end of a rotation.

above should read *”Look at Smoltzies stats as a starter LAST YEAR.”

I agree that having Smoltzie in the dugout would be great, but if Glavine accepts the offer from the Braves for a position (not sure what happened to that). He could always have a positive influence in the dugout as well. Either in the dugout or behind the scenes between games. He has always been a great student of the game, and I don’t know if i can justify signing a player just to give influence if we have a chance of bringing in a future HOF’er in that role. As for physically, if you are going to bring Smoltzie back the I think it would have to be a ‘pen role where we can emphasize his strengths and take away any weaknesses.

bravomania, I for one would have loved to see what Schafer could have done if he hadn’t injured his wrist. On Opening Day he was easily the fastest player on the team and could have caused problems for opposing teams in the same way that Rafael Furcal did while here. But take away a crucial body part, especially a joint like a wrist or elbow, and you have the issues that he had.
Even still, until someone’s traded or hurt, I bet he stays in Gwinnett.

Well, Smoltz didn’t like Boston, that’s for sure. I can’t stand that city myself. Any city whose claim to fame is baked beans??? Need I say more. Smoltz was much more credible in St. Louis and personally I think he has something left in the tank. His ERA in St.louis was 4.26 which would rank him exactly in the middle of National league pitching(8 teams better, 8 teams worse). He sure would want to prove something coming back here, and I tend to like what I see when Smoltz has something to prove. He is ALWAYS better the 2nd season after surgery too, I think he was still recovering most of last year. And it’s like I said before, why not play our HOF’ers in the twilight years rather than hire someone else’s old guy rejects. It sure makes me feel better about our club as a whole. As a fan, I’ll still buy a ticket to watch Soltz pitch, Johnny Damon, I don’t think so. Look at who we are competing with for his services. Detroit and Tampa Bay??? You don’t see Boston swooping in and picking up Damon.

Well, Detroit and Tampa Bay both had pretty good records last year, with the former losing their division in a tiebreaker. Not exactly like the other 2 teams being KC and Pitt. I can see the positives in getting Damon, especially for that price, but I don’t think we necessarily need him. Just saying.

i like the idea of adding damon bc of his leadership he’ll bring but also what if he doesn’t sign why not make a run at willy taveras to play lf and place him at the leadoff spot. willy would be cheaper and not a far strectch to get him.

Viva, not to be argumentative but Detroit has NEVER won the National league Central and they got one wild card. Tampa Bay won their division once and has no wild cards. The Braves have won 11 NL east titles and 5 NL West titles. Please don’t compare my Braves to THOSE teams. I agree with you Damon might help but at what price, blocking talent, spending our last few precious dollars and just giving up on defense altogether?

Yeah I know what you mean. Those two teams historically aren’t worthy of cleaning the cleats of OUR Braves. But all I’m saying is that there are plus sides to getting Damon for $4mil. What if Heyward hits .250 or below w no power in ST? I honestly think no matter how Schafer does, he needs to be in Gwinnett at least until the All Star break. Take those two guys out of the picture and we have an outfield of Diaz/McLouth/Melky. I for one would much rather see Damon/McLouth/Diaz, though I would jump for joy to see Heyward start game 1.

instead of getting damon spend the money one someone younger like taveras freddy guzman ryan freel or joey gathright.

Well, I’m sure the Braves aren’t going to match the 2 year $14m offer from the Tigers, and would be pretty dumb to do so. So looks like this whole argument is done and done.

It’s really great to have an organization like Detroit to save us from ourselves. And Viva, point well taken, they are OUR Braves. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t put up with my verbosity unless they were YOUR Braves too. My only question is, who does detroit think they are bidding against. If Borat get 14M for 2 yrs out of the most depressed city on the planet, I want him to run for President.The US would be out of debt within two weeks of next ST.

haha, billreef, he would probably also get Iran and North Korea to take on deferred money to give us a surplus. . . . There’s no way I can validate signing Damon for $7mil a year. That’s ridiculous. Also, I don’t think that its fair to say “what ifs” about our players when considering adding Damon. Because what if Damon pulls a GA this season and we waste $3-4 mil on him…. not a good idea. We don’t need to add Damon just to add him because he has experience. We tried that last season with Anderson. The outfield appears to be a young man’s area this season. Cabrera should be a decent placeholder for Heyward until the young man is ready. Schafer needs a good couple of months in ST and the minors to get his stroke right and Diaz will probably do as he always does (no better, no worse). The big question mark this year will probably be the play of Nate McLouth.

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