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Why Sign Damon?

Keith Langley

Don’t we already have enough past their prime veterans on the roster(Wagner, Jones, and Lowe). Various reports are out that the Braves have offered Johnny Damon a one year contract worth about 4 million dollars with about 2 million of it being deferred. Atlanta has also called upon Chipper Jones to campaign for the Braves with Damon, though Chipper has not confirmed or denied this. The only upside of signing Damon would be to get a more typical lead off man than McLouth.
If the Braves do sign Johnny Damon it will mean one of three scenarios will happen. Scenario one: The Braves will break camp without Jason Heyward on the 25 man roster. If Heyward and Damon were on the roster that would leave Brooks Conrad as the odd man out and Infante as the only infielder on the bench. Therefore the Braves decide to start the season with Heyward at AAA(possibly to avoid Super 2 status) and the final roster spot goes to Brooks Conrad, this is assuming the Braves carry 12 pitchers. This will leave an outfield of Damon in left, McLouth in center, and a Diaz-Cabrera platoon in right.
Two: The Braves leave Florida with Heyward and Damon. This leaves the club with a lack of options off the bench. We can all assume Chipper will not play 140 games this year and when he is out of the lineup there will be no infielders on the bench. This will also leave the Braves with six outfielders(although Hinske could occasionaly play the infield corners). This scenario will bad bad news for the Braves.
Three: The Braves trade either Cabrera or Diaz. This would leave the Braves with a deeper bench but would also put Heyward in the situation Jordan Schaefer was in last year. If they trade Diaz, they give up a career .300 plus hitter with the ability to hit 20 homeruns and drive in 80. Cabrera would post similar power numbers to Diaz but would have a slightly lower average. Say Cabrera gets dealt, then you have the questions about why Frank Wren would give up Vasquez for Cabrera and then trade him(dont forget Vizcaino, that was part of the deal, is already a top pitching prospect for the Braves).
Johnny Damon had a career year last year with the Yankees, thanks in part to a home run friendly new Yankee stadium. A recent report by accuweather states that 20 percent of the home runs in the new stadium last year would have been outs, and that's with a right field wall of 314 feet. Add that with Turner Field, which had the second lowest hr per 9 inning total in the National League and a 330 foot right field corner and Damon hits ten home runs at most. Jason Heyward at least doubles that in a full season. My advice to the Braves is to tell Damon thanks, but no thanks.

1 comment:

  1. Duh! We need a better lead-off alternative this year. The rest will play out. It looks like a moot issue now anyway.