What’s Next: Johnny Damon, Adam Dunn and More


With the MLB playoff getting underway today, here’s a quick look ahead to some potential free agents to whet your hot stove appetite. Remember, the off-season dates of great significance has all been moved up, so this year teams will have only five days after the end of the World Series to exclusively negotiate with their free agents. In years past, they had 15 days to get a deal done.

One player who won’t have to wait on the edge of his chair for an offer from his club is Johnny Damon. The Tigers informed Damon, along with teammates Gerald Laird and Jeremy Bonderman, that they will not be pursuing him this off-season. Damon signed a one-year deal with the Tigers back in March and provided a steady, if not spectacular, veteran bat. Speaking with reporters prior to last Sunday’s season finale, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski confirmed that he had conversations with each of those three players and stated that the team would be seeking a middle-of-the-order type hitter to fill the DH spot next year. They would prefer that hitter to be left handed. Hmm… I wonder who they might be targeting? You know what, we’ll get back to that.

Damon chose to stay with the Tigers in August after he was claimed by the RedSox. Boston was one of a handful of teams protected by Damon’s no-trade clause and instead of returning to the site of perhaps his biggest achievements as a player, Damon chose to stay with the Tigers in hopes of staying in Detroit beyond this season. With the Tigers choosing to go in a different direction, Damon will have to peddle his services on the open market once more. Instead of coming off a career year as he was a year ago, this time Damon hits the market as a .270 hitter with little power and almost no defensive value. It will be difficult for his agent, Scott Boras, to match the $8 million payday he received from the Tigers. ESPN’s Buster Olney thinks the Royals and A’s, two of Damon’s former employers, could have interest in adding him as a fourth outfielder and part-time DH. That doesn’t sound like a big payday to me.

Dunn Could Be Less Costly for New Club

The man Dombrowski sure seemed to be hinting about as a possible replacement for Damon in the Tigers lineup is Adam Dunn. The Washington slugger is a free agent this winter and the Tigers will be among his biggest pursuers. Detroit won’t be alone is trying to woo the first baseman, and a list of teams that was already significant will likely grow even larger once the Elias ranking become official.

It had been widely presumed that Dunn would be classified as a Type-A free-agent and that any team signing him would have to forfeit a draft pick to the Nationals. That was the driving force behind Nats GM Mike Rizzo’s decision not to trade Dunn when he had several opportunities to do so during the season. Rizzo felt that none of the offers that were made represented a greater value than the first round and supplemental draft choices he would get back if Dunn were to walk.

MLBTradeRumors notes that according to calculations by Eddie Bajek, Dunn will fall short of Type-A stats, thereby netting the Nationals only a supplemental pick and not costing the signing team anything in terms of compensation. If these projections pan out as expected, it becomes possible that Rizzo will push to re-sign Dunn, but more likely it means only that Dunn will have a greater list of team interested in his services, even more so if he softens his stance on becoming a full-time DH.

Brewers to Hire Brenly

The hottest rumor circulating the open managerial positions is that the Milwaukee Brewers are on the verge of hiring former Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly for their vacant position. The Brewers declined to pick up the option on former skipper Ken Macha on Monday. Brenly, who guided Arizona to a World Series title in 2001, has been serving as a color analyst on Cubs television broadcasts. I don’t know if Brenly and the Brewers are a great fit. He seems just as laid back as Macha was, and Ned Yost before him. That’s not to say I don’t think he’s a fine manager; I’ve been waiting for someone to hire this guy for the last few years. You don’t just win a World Series by accident, it’s obvious he knows a little something about how to run a team as well.