Indians officially sign Johnny Damon
Today the Cleveland Indians announced that they have signed free agent outfielder Johnny Damon to a minor league contract for the 2012 season.
Damon, 38, owns a 17-year career Major League batting average of .286 with 1643 runs scored, 516 doubles, 107 triples, 231 home runs and 1120 RBI in 2,426 games with six teams since debuting with the Kansas City Royals in 1995. He has also stolen 404 bases in 507 attempts (80%) and has a career .353 on-base percentage. He currently ranks 3rd among active players in runs scored (1643), 5th in base hits (2723) and 6th in doubles (516). He is one of just eight players in baseball history with at least 1500 runs scored, 500 doubles and 400 stolen bases (Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Craig Biggio, Paul Molitor, Roberto Alomar, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker).
Last season Damon played with the Tampa Bay Rays where he batted .261 with 79 runs scored, 29 doubles, 7 triples, 16 home runs, 73 RBI and 19 steals in 150 games, his 16th consecutive season of at least 140 games played. Only four players in Major League history have accomplished this feat: Hank Aaron, Brooks Robinson, Pete Rose and Damon.
Damon is currently in Goodyear, Arizona working to get game ready. He is expected to play in a few extended spring training games and then move on to either Double-A Akron or Triple-A Columbus for a few games before being cleared to join the big league club.
Damon is only signed to a minor league contract at the moment so the Indians do not need to make a move on the 40-man roster while they await his arrival. Once he is cleared to play, he will be added to both the 40-man and 25-man roster and the Indians will need to clear a spot by trading or designating a player for assignment. The Indians have already agreed to pay him a one year $1.25 million salary this year, and it includes an additional $1.4 million in incentives.
There is no word on where Damon will play, but that is something that will likely sort itself out over the next two to three weeks with performance and injuries by other players factoring into the equation.
Follow Tony and the Indians Prospect Insider on Twitter @TonyIPI. Also, his new book the 2012 Cleveland Indians Prospect Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.
Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.