The scene takes place about a month ago...
(A phone rings and Jon Heyman picks up) "Hello, this is Jon Heyman speaking. How can I help you today?"
(Scott Boras' voice booms) "Jonny-boy, how the fuck are you?"
(Jon Heyman) "Oh Mr. Boras, I'm real good. I'm thinking about setting up a lemonade stand later today. I just walked my dog, Mr. Patches, and now I'm eating some tasty snack treats and watching 'The Wiggles.' What can I do for you?"
(Scott Boras) "Fantastic. Here's what you can do for me. Did you know Johnny Damon hasn't been signed yet? Amazing huh? I want you rectify that. I need you to write a column saying Johnny Damon is a diamond in the rough and teams are stupid for not signing him. Do that."
(Jon Heyman giggling)
(Scott Boras) "Are you listening to me?"
(Jon Heyman still giggling) "Sorry, Mr. Patch's tongue is so rough and he kissed me on the nose. Now my nose is all itchy and wet, but it feels really good."
(Scott Boras) "Cut the shit, write the article."
(Jon Heyman) "I have told you before if my mom hears you bossing me around she is going to yell at you. She has told me you are not my boss and I can do what I want. I don't want to write about Johnny Damon (throws his shoe against the wall) You are not the boss of me!"
(Scott Boras) "Fine, don't write about him...that's not a problem. Though........I do have two tickets to the circus for next weekend. I know how much you like seeing the tigers and I would like to take you, but I'm so busy trying to find Johnny Damon a job I'm not sure I could find the time to take you. (whispers to himself) I can't believe these tickets come with free popcorn AND cotton candy."
(Jon Heyman) "Cotton candy you say? Well gee, I'd love go to the circus and it's a real tragedy Mr. Damon doesn't have a job. I know you said it isn't a problem if I don't write about him, but I feel like if I wrote about Mr. Damon I could go to the circus to see the tigers, get free cotton candy and help a guy find a job. Is it okay with you if I write about Johnny Damon?"
(Scott Boras rubs his hands together excitedly) "If you have to. I feel bad though. You write about him every offseason. I'll pick you up at 5pm on Saturday for the circus and you can ride shotgun. How's that sound?"
(Jon Heyman) "Shotgun? You're the best Mr. Boras! I'm starting the column right now...or just as soon as Mr. Patches stops kissing my forehead with his super slimy tongue!"
And this is the result...
Johnny Damon doesn't get it, doesn't get why he's not getting offers after the year he had.
I personally don't understand why Johnny Damon isn't getting offers either, but this goes for Derrick Lee, J.D. Drew, Magglio Ordonez, and a few other players. Yet, the columnist who is well-known for trying to sell Scott Boras clients to MLB teams picks the Scott Boras client to pimp. This is not a coincidence.
It has gotten so bad, Jon Heyman is actually pimping Damon to teams that say they have no interest in signing Johnny Damon. Not too unusual for a team to say they have no interest in a player, right? Well Heyman doesn't accept that answer as a "no" and still insists on Damon signing with the Orioles, even though there isn't a hell of a lot of interest on the Orioles part.
"I think it's a perfect fit,'' Damon said of the Yankees by phone. "But for some reason you have the year I had, especially with a team that has trouble scoring, and you can't even get a call to continue playing."
Damon is talking about the Yankees. The Yankees don't have trouble scoring and they need a player who isn't terrible in the field. Raul Ibanez isn't exactly Willie Mays, but he is a better option defensively than Johnny Damon, and I'm betting he is cheaper as well. That's the one part this Johnny Damon sales pitch fails to mention. How much does Damon want to play for this year? He got paid $5.25 million and if he wants anywhere close to that, Ibanez is a better option.
It is hard to blame Damon for feeling left out. The whole thing does seem very odd, indeed.
It's no odder than other older free agents not being signed at this point. Damon is 37 years old and is an American League player at this point. His OBP and Slugging % have been on a steady dive since 2008. I don't find it odd teams would prefer not to sign Damon anymore than I find it strange no team has a need for some of the other older outfielders on the free agent market. If we factored Damon's asking price into the equation, it may become even less odd.
Damon said he never got an offer from the Rays even though he had a very nice year, hitting 16 home runs with 73 RBIs with 19 stolen bases and a .261 batting average while playing home games in the ballpark that was the best pitchers' park American League last year.
I'm not sure if Jon Heyman heard or not, but the Rays tend to be on a tight budget. Paying $3 million for an aging outfielder who can be replaced by a better player (Desmond Jennings) probably is not a smart move for them.
He also put together an improbable streak of five consecutive games with game-winning hits and became a leader with the young team that had a magical finish.
Damon is magical ya'll!
Meanwhile, different reasons have been heard why the Yankees favor Ibanez, one sillier than the next.
The reasons are silly to you. Your opinion doesn't necessarily reflect reality. There are other candidates on the free agent market who can be bought at a lower price than Damon who may have a higher ceiling, as well as can play the field better than Damon.
One reason heard is that Ibanez hit better against right-handed pitchers last year, and if you count .256 as better than .255, then yes, that is the case. But it seems like that would be far from a driving force in a decision.
I'm sure there were other driving forces, like salary requirements and whether the Yankees like Ibanez more than Damon. Which player would I choose? Damon, but the price the Yankees got Ibanez for makes his signing an almost non-risk. So based on price, I may not choose Damon.
Damon didn't play much defense last year when the Rays had better defensive alternatives such as Brandon Jennings, B.J. Upton and Sam Fuld.
That's a slap in the face. The Rays thought the point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks was a better option than Johnny Damon? Hard to come back from that.
"When you have Jennings and Upton, of course I'm going to DH," Damon said. "When I played out there, I held my own."
Damon thinks he held his own. I'm not sure the most unbiased opinion to be found on Damon's defensive abilities is the opinion of Johnny Damon.
But even if Ibanez is slightly better with the glove now, having played it regularly in Philly, defense seems like a funny way to pick a DH.
Not if that DH is going to be playing either right or left field on occasion.
Yet another reason heard recently is that Damon's .326 on-base percentage last year is a sign he's thinking too much about 3,000 hits and not getting on like before. This is the winner for sheer ridiculousness of course, as Ibanez's 2011 on-base percentage of .289 (with 33 walks all year) would be the statistic of concern, not Damon's .326.
You don't often hear a national columnist questioning a team's signing of a player over another specific player, complete with statistical evidence. I guess that's what happens when Master Boras tells Jon Heyman he won't send him scoops on "mystery teams" and other information if Heyman doesn't pimp out Boras clients from time-to-time.
Damon is more than a fine teammate, he's been a key man on two World Series winners,
Raul Ibanez? He's a royal asshole. In fact, he drowned Brett Gardner's bunny in a bathtub just a few days ago.
This doesn't sound like a typical "why isn't free agent X signed yet" column, does it? It feels like Heyman is not a national columnist, but a local beat writer who has taken a liking to a certain player.
the historic 2004 Boston Red Sox and the 2009 Yankees.
Damon is magical AND historic.
Damon is a winner, always has been.
Damon wasn't such a winner when he played for those Kansas City Royal teams early in his career. It's amazing what playing for the Yankees, Rays, early 2000 A's and Red Sox will do for a guy's reputation as a winner.
Ibanez is by all accounts a very nice fellow, but Damon is a big clubhouse presence who always has been the one to stand up and answer the tough questions when things aren't going well.
So all MLB teams, when preparing for failure this year be sure to sign Johnny Damon so he can answer all the tough questions about the team's failures.
Damon, who at 38 is also a year younger than Ibanez, may not be the defender he once was, but the job is for a DH, and Damon has all the experience at that. Damon also has a superb history in the American League East, having thrived for all three of the big teams in that division.
Yet again, the "x-factor" that hasn't been acknowledged at this point is how much money Damon wants. Everything sounds good until you read at one point Damon wanted about $5 million for a one year deal. Considering Ibanez is $4 million cheaper, that could be the reason the Yankees preferred him. Heyman conveniently leaves price out of this discussion.
It can't be about the money, either, because Damon hasn't gotten an offer.
Perhaps he hasn't had an offer because the money he is reported to be requesting has been too expensive. So the reason very well can be money if Scott Boras has informed any team contacting Boras as Damon's agent that Damon wants $5 million per year. If this price is too high, then an offer may never occur. So it very well could be the money. If a house for sale is listed at a price way too high above how much you are willing to pay for it, would you put an offer in on the house? Probably not, unless you think the price can be lowered. I'm assuming since Boras is Damon's agent teams are not expecting Damon's price to be lowered very soon.
he said he didn't get one from Tampa, which gave Luke Scott a $5 million deal off an injury year,
Luke Scott is also 33 years old and put up three straight seasons of 20+ homeruns and a OBP of at least .336 before his "injury year" in 2011. He is perhaps worth $5 million to the Rays.
So Tampa took Scott off a year of injuries, and Damon sees that Ibanez may get the job he wants after Ibanez's season of outs.
Not that Heyman sounds bitter about this at all. No, he's being a completely neutral observer of this situation and is not at all angry Boras' client isn't getting more attention.
Damon is in Hawaii enjoying a planned vacation. But he has one eye on the phone.
"Hopefully it rings soon," he said, "and whether it rings in a few minutes or a few weeks, I'll be ready with the bat."
But he may not bring a glove and perhaps won't receive $5 million for a one year contract.
Well done Jon Heyman. You have served your Master Boras well yet again. Come sit down on Master Boras' lap and have a chocolate chip cookie.