You knew someone had to use that pun, so there. I used it. Now you don’t have to submit to the humiliation. It’s official. After a long and very bizarre courtship, Johnny Damon is now a Detroit Tiger. I know when this first cropped up, I was totally against it, but I think the Verlander signing softened me (even though those two events have nothing to do with one another). I still have concerns about his defense (particularly the weak arm; and in case you’re wondering, I don’t really have an opinion on Carlos Guillen’s outfield defense because I did not see that much of him in the outfield, so I can’t compare the two), but in the end, the Tigers need the left-handed bat. Damon has been a successful leadoff and #2 hitter, I won’t argue with that. Now you don’t have to worry about sticking two rookies at the top of the lineup. Either have Austin Jackson bat leadoff with Damon batting second, or have Damon lead off with Scott Sizemore behind him.
Eight million is a tad more than what I would have preferred, but overpaying by a little bit beats seeing him do damage to us in a White Sox uniform (and when that whole “cosmopolitan” story surfaced, I think a lot of Tigers fans forgot the ramifications of just letting him go to Chicago). And it’s just one year, which is the important part. If things don’t work out or if Damon’s age catches up with him, well, he’ll be gone at the end of the season. And if the Tigers are out of contention by the time July rolls around, they could trade him for a nice piece or two (I know he has a no-trade clause, but I’d imagine he’d waive so long as the Tigers were trying to trade him to a contending team). He seems to be winning friends and admirers down in Lakeland already, both with the players and with the fans.
So in short, the Tigers filled a need, and though Johnny Damon’s not perfect, I’m happier about it than I thought I’d be a month ago.