The answer: Red Sox management!
Johnny Damon is a Yankee and it looks like the Red Sox don't know what they are doing. ... So now your Boston Red Sox have no center fielder, no shortstop, and no first baseman to go along with no Theo Epstein and no clue. It's fair to say this is becoming a winter of discontent in Red Sox Nation. Ben and Jed and Craig and Larry and Tom and John and Crosby, Stills & Nash can spin this anyway they want, but Sox fans can't escape the conclusion that there's chaos at the top. The Josh Beckett trade bought some goodwill and glad tidings, but losing Damon to the Yankees is a devastating blow to the foundation of the Nation.
Pouring it on a little thick this morning, aren't we Sybil? Want to pick a few nits? OK, let's go!
"[N]o Theo and no clue." Here's what Dan wrote on Nov. 29: "Josh Beckett, Guillermo Mota, and an overpaid Mike Lowell for two Double A players and two Single A players? Back in the days when Charlie Finley was strip-mining the Oakland A's, commissioner Bowie Kuhn used to block these kinds of deals. Could the trade have been any sweeter if Theo were still on the job?" Not to mention that in his infamous Dirty Laundry column, Dan made the case that Lucchino, not Theo, has been the brains behind the operation all along.
"[L]osing Damon to the Yankees is a devastating blow." Was it just April 2, 2005, when Dan wrote: "Then there's Johnny Damon, who wants to be a movie star and gives a whole new meaning to the term 'idiot.' "
"Johnny Damon is a Yankee and it looks like the Red Sox don't know what they are doing." That's a switch. Less than two months ago, in his infamous Dirty Laundry column, Dan/Sybil wrote: "It was downright hilarious to read agent Scott Boras and Johnny Damon claiming the Sox weren't communicating with them because of Theo's own contract status. This from an agent who likes to make his deals on the eve of spring training. If there's silence from the Sox regarding Damon, maybe it's because the Sox are waiting for Johnny and Scott to get off their ridiculous five-year contract demand."
Indeed, if there's "chaos at the top," maybe it's because Lucchino, Steinberg et al are spending all their time looking for an intern.
Leave it to Dan to get hysterical. Cult of personality notwithstanding, the Damon of today is just another player, on the decline due to age and injuries. The Yankees are paying for past performance, and by the end of this contract will likely be getting little return for their investment. But in Dan/Sybil's world, every story has a villian. Some perspective, please.
2 p.m. edit: A great breakdown of the signing here by Joe Sheehan. Excerpts:
Despite all the attention paid to him, however, Damon is not a superstar, or arguably even a star. ...
As much as anything else, Damon looks like a lesser version of the center fielder the Yankees recently became so disenchanted with. ... Damon, like Nomar Garciaparra, got a big boost from Fenway Park, on the order of 50 points of batting average and OBP the last three seasons. The Yankees aren’t really getting a .310/.370/.450 guy so much as they’re getting a .285/.345/.425 guy. ...
Like many free-agent contracts, the problem with this one isn’t the immediate future. Damon is enough of an upgrade on the available options to help the Yankees in 2006. As he declines, however, he will present the dual problem of hurting the team in center while not hitting enough to be a viable option on an outfield corner. I don’t see where a 34-year-old Johnny Damon is going to return enough value to be worth $13 million, meaning he’ll be just another aging Yankee in decline at the back end of this deal.
The Red Sox could actually end up huge winners here. There’s a rumor making the rounds that they’re trying to deal Matt Clement to the Mariners for Jeremy Reed. If they can do that, they will have replaced Damon with, essentially, a Damon Starter Kit, complete with functional arm and 25-year-old legs, and saved $20 million a year in the process. ... If they get Reed, they’ll never miss Damon.