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Damon designated...

Damon designated...
August 4, 2012
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The Cleveland Indians designated right-fielder Johnny Damon for assignment yesterday, ending his brief tenure with the Indians after only 64 games.

Damon was signed by the Indians in the middle of April to address their need for a right-handed bat in the outfield. Of course, as discussed here at IPI too many times to count, Damon had played a grand total of 42 games there over the previous two seasons with Detroit and Tampa Bay, but that didn't stop the Indians' management from signing him.

Damon never really panned out as an offensive player. Overall, he hit .222 on the year, with four homers and 19 RBI. He stole four bases without getting caught, hit six doubles and two triples, and scored 25 runs in his 64 games. Over the last week, Damon went 1-for-12 with an RBI during the Tribe freefall, really forcing the Indians' hand.

On a personal note, I wish the Damon signing would have worked out. If you've ever talked to the longtime major league veteran, you can see why he's always been considered a good guy to have in the clubhouse. He's extremely knowledgable and realistic about his play, and at this stage of his career, understands his role on any team. Unfortunately for the Indians and Damon, they needed a guy that could carry a team at times, and that's just not where Damon is at this point in his career.

Damon is a complimentary veteran, who on the right playoff contending team, could be an important piece. On the Indians, he was just another square trying to get rammed into a circular hole.

The finger-pointing isn't at Damon in the least, but at management who failed to acquire the right pieces for the Indians' outfield. Instead of taking a risk on a guy like Josh Willingham with that third year, the Indians chose to gamble on someone filtering through the offseason at an affordable price. When that didn't happen, they were left with the option of actually trading for Bobby Abreu, or Johnny Damon...two guys who, by all indications, were readying themselves for positions as the "young" stars for the old-timers games.

The Damon move turned into exactly what it was meant to be...another screw up by an organization who's management structure seems overwhelmed by their small-market-ness.

Good luck to you Johnny Damon, since your chances of making the playoffs at this point are no doubt better than the Indians.

Jim is currently the senior editor and Columnist, as well as  the host of IBI's weekly online radio shows, Smoke Signals and Cleveland Sports Insiders. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IBI, or contact him via e-mail at

User Comments

August 4, 2012 - 2:54 PM EDT
Nice stuff Rich. The brilliance of the second guessing is testimony to Chris Perez' perception of Cleveland fans.
August 4, 2012 - 1:24 PM EDT
I agree with you Shy. I really have to fault ownership and upper management with a lot of the poor moves made over the last couple years.Between the rotation and shortage of RH hitting, I can't believe they actually believed they could contend this year. Some of the moves were designed for depth. Unfortunately some of the starters would also be considered depth players. I feel bad in saying this, but until some of the prizes in the minors mature, at least 2-3 yrs. away, we will not win. Also, at that time, where will Cabrera, Brantley and Kipnis be ?
August 4, 2012 - 12:48 PM EDT
The Orlando Cabreras, Derek Lowe, Johnny Damon are guys that are old- past prime- can't perform as regulars anymore. They're character guys, clubhouse guys, guys who've been on winners, guys that a playoff contending team can use as sparks to add to already good roster for leadership. The Indians aren't a contending team- they are not really close. They played over their heads first half while the other teams in the division got off to slow starts. They are now showing what they were when Spring Training broke in April- the worst team in the division- one that is capable of losing 100 games. it speaks to the incompetence of the management to sign and play the old horses hoping they have one last race in them when there is no race-instead of finding, signing and developing young players. I really think Antonetti is incompetent in this area. I watched the A's last night. They have 4 rookie starters 3 of whom started in Double A this year- just like Steven Wright- and they all have ERA's lower than Lowe, Tomlin, Masterson, Jiminez. The kid last nite Dan Straily was lights out, played at Marshall w John Farrel's son Shane and wasn't drafted until the 24th round. How did we miss him? Honest to God you could tell how Lowe and Jiminez were going to be just by watching them in June on ESPN Baseball Tonite last year. Does Antonetti even watch Baseball Tonite?
August 4, 2012 - 12:34 PM EDT
Freddy Garcia and Ben Davis for Mike Morse, Miguel Olivo and Jeremy Reed.
August 4, 2012 - 12:23 PM EDT
Yeah but like Jim said, these moves should be complimentary, not to a potentially contending team like the Indians. Between Damon, Lowe, Sizemore and Slowey the Indians flushed down 12.75 million dollars.

The Indians still didnt fill a need with Damon, RH power bat.

The difference with Cabrera and Lopez is that we took them with a lower price tag and at least got something out of Orlando Cabrera.

I fault them completely, the mishandling of funds is astounding, Kearns was a minor league deal and lucked out he did well because the PTBNL for Kearns depended on his performance with the Yankees. And DeRosa we gave up 3 pitchers for him, one of which is Chris Archer who was Tampa's #1 prospect and made his MLB debut this year, he isnt great, but better than what we have now.

And as for Eduardo Perez and Broussard deal,
Everybody seems to forget that Mariners GM Bill Bavasi made horrific lopsided trades to many teams, just not Cleveland.

Mike Morse for Jeremy Reed
Carlos Guillen for Ramon Santiago
Rafael Soriano for Horacio Ramirez
Matt Thornton for Joe Borchard
Yorvit Torrealba for Marcos Carvajal

I give credit to Indians management for making those deals, but it doesn't make them geniuses, just opportunists.
August 4, 2012 - 12:04 PM EDT
If they brought Damon in to address a need for a right-handed outfiled bat, then they really should all be fired.
August 4, 2012 - 10:16 AM EDT
I think they were just trying to buy some time with Damon until Grady was ready to take over in left field, just like they were trying to buy some time with Lowe until Hernandez got back or somebody emerged from the farm system.

At least Lowe got off to a good start and gave them 8 wins before falling apart. Maybe if Damon had a spring training he might have performed a little better. Not that it would have made any difference.

The big question is whether the experiences with Damon, Lowe, and Lopez this year and Orlando Cabrera last year will change the Indians' thinking about signing players who are clearly over-the-hill in hopes they catch one last flash.

However, that strategy worked with Mark DeRosa and Austin Kearns. Both of them had strong first halves of the season and the Indians were able to "sell high" and got Chris Perez and McAlister. It also worked with Eduardo Perez a few years back. So I can't fault the Tribe too much. If Lowe had kept pitching well for one more month they might have got something decent for him.

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