OK Sox fans, the pursuit of Johnny Damon is officially over. Time to move on.
“It has become clear to us in our recent negotiations that the money that we were offering was not going to be good enough for Johnny at this time.”
—Kenny Williams to Bruce Levine of
ESPNChicago.com this afternoon
P.S.– Since Damon’s agent Scott Boras is still haggling with the Tigers, I guess “never say never,” but for now the prospect of the Sox getting Damon seems like a longshot.
My final weekly offseason musings on the White Sox and more. In just two days, four hours and 56 minutes, pitchers and catchers officially report and the 2010 season will be underway.
My Random Thoughts Heading into Spring Training:
* He’s coming, he’s not coming, he’s coming, he’s not coming, he’s…That’s basically what we’ve been through this week with Johnny Damon. I’m through guessing what will happen. We’ll just have to wait and see and deal with the decision when it comes down. And it very well could be determined before you read this. Who knows?
* As I look ahead to the 2010 Sox, I can’t help but think that the two keys to whether or not we make the playoffs will be Carlos Quentin and Alex Rios. While the personality of the team will change, putting a priority on pitching, speed, versatility and defense, there still needs to be some significant power now that Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome are no longer on the South Side. Quentin and Rios must rebound from last year whether or not the other factors listed above prove successful.
* Speaking of Jermaine, it’s painful to see he’s still on the outside, looking for a decent
deal. Despite his horrible second half in 2009, you have to think he can help someone. Here’s hoping the news of him signing is imminent. Dye, like the other 2005 guys, holds a special place for us. Even more special for Jermaine, considering he was the World Series MVP.
* I’m looking forward to seeing Jordan Danks and Jared Mitchell in spring training. It doesn’t seem like either outfielder will make the 25-man roster, but Danks is right on the cusp and actually could make the jump at some point this year. Mitchell is a couple of years away, but inviting him to major league camp is a smart idea–he’ll get a jump start on getting acclimated to major league life.
* I love this. Jerry Reinsdorf, Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen will be featured in The Club, an original reality series on the MLB Network The show will follow the Sox braintrust to provide “unprecedented behind-the-scenes access” to a major league front office. The Club premieres Sunday, July 4 at 8:00pm, ET.
* By the way, has Damon signed yet?
It’s been a long time since A.J. Pierzynski and Johnny Damon were teammates at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, FL. Since then each has had an All-Star career capped off by a World Series ring (in Damon’s case, two). They’ve never played together in the major leagues, but that could change very soon with A.J. having a key role in making it happen.
In an effort to convince free agent Damon to sign with the Sox, Pierzynski and broadcaster Hawk Harrelson hit the links on Tuesday with their target presumably to sell him on the fact that joining the Sox would give him the best shot at a third ring. Another intriguing development is that Damon and his wife are looking for a more cosmopolitan city than Detroit, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com.
Will the A.J./Hawk sales pitch work? There’s really no telling at this point. It has been reported that the Tigers have made offers of $7 million for one year, $14 million for two and the Sox are not budging from their original one-year $4 million offer. That’s only what’s been reported. We really can’t believe what agent Scott Boras says because leveraging is his middle name. And we know full well that Kenny Williams likes to work under the radar–with great success I might add.
With pitchers and catchers now reporting throughout Arizona and Florida, Damon will likely make a decision in the next few days. The only thing we know for sure is that the Sox are still in the running for what I believe would be a major piece in a championship puzzle.
My weekly offseason musings about the White Sox and more…
* Considering how much they contributed to the White Sox, I’m disappointed that Jermaine Dye and Joe Crede are still without homes. And I’m hoping the rumors aren’t true that Jermaine will wind up in Cleveland.
*Two B’s–budget and Boras (agent Scott)–have seemingly been major obstacles to the White Sox seriously considering the signing of Johnny Damon. And until today the Braves and Tigers appeared to be the teams most likely to acquire the two-time World Champion. However, multiple sources are now saying that the Sox are serious players in the Damon derby. Boy, would he look good in our lineup.
* Did any of you Sox fans identify with the Saints and their long-suffering fans as they finally won it all? I did.
* Seems like the Twins’ acquisition of Orlando Hudson has convinced the so-called
experts that the Twinkies are the odds-on favorite in the AL Central. I think folks are forgetting that they’ll be playing in a normal ballpark this year. Big difference.
* I’ve been to and enjoyed eight Olympics including three Winter Games–Sarajevo,
Calgary and Salt Lake City. But I have to admit I won’t watch very much of the Games
from Vancouver. I guess I’ve lost my Olympic spirit.
* I finally saw the movie, Couples Retreat. Part of the film, which stars Vince Vaughn
and Jon Favreau among others, is set in Chicago. I’m happy to say that the Sox logo was more prominent than that of the North Siders. Unfortunately, it’s usually the other way around.
* I’m engrossed in the new biography about the great Willie Mays. It reminds me that I’m on record (granted, I was about 11 when I said it) as saying that former White Sox star Jim Landis (pictured below) was a better centerfielder than Mays. No, I’m not nuts. Just a big Sox fan.
* Just a reminder, as I write this pitchers and catchers are 10 days, three hours and three days away.