The saga of Johnny Damon has come to an end, so says Jason Beck via twitter. Damon informed the Tigers media this afternoon that he will not be waiving his no-trade clause to return to the Boston Red Sox, who had claimed in on waivers yesterday.
The Tigers have no choice but to pull Damon back from waivers and keep him for the rest of they year. In deciding to stay, Damon has put his comfort level with the Tigers ahead of a better playoff chance in Boston.
He must have heard what he wanted to hear from Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland when he spoke with them earlier in the day. Damon had said that he would consider the move if he thought the Tigers could benefit from a trade and if the Tigers were planning to rest him down the stretch, giving his at bats to a younger player.
Leyland has always been staunchly behind his veteran players, so it didn’t seem likely that Damon would lose playing time with the Tigers were he to stay. With Damon’s announcement this afternoon, those suspicions were confirmed.
Damon was listed in the Tigers starting lineup when it was released to the media about an hour before Damon made his comments, but he had until Wednesday afternoon to make up his mind. It didn’t take nearly that long.
Not only does Damon staying with the Tigers solidify his place in the lineup for the rest of the season, it will make the path to retaining him beyond this year much easier. Damon is a free agent after the season, but could wind up as a Type-A free agent. If he were to have been traded, the Red Sox could have elected to offer arbitration, meaning that the Tigers (or anyone else) would have to surrender a first round pick to sign him.
I seriously doubt this decision will have a huge bearing on the rest of this year. Detroit is too far back to catch the Twins, but a second-place finish is not out of the question. One thing is for sure, winning games, even meaningless games, is always better than losing games. The Tigers have a better chance of winning with Damon on the club.
Here’s a couple of quotes that have just come across Twitter. From Damon, of course.
"I’m not going to jump ship on these guys. That’s the easy way out.Going to Boston could have helped out my free agency for next year, but so be it."
I like this guy.