A source within Major League Baseball tells WNST.net that the Orioles and free agent outfielder/designated Johnny Damon could eventually agree on a 1-year contract if certain obligations are made to Damon with regard to plate appearances and/or games played.
Damon, who turned 37 on November 5, played in 145 games with the Detroit Tigers in 2010 and hit .271 with 8 HR and 51 RBI. He appeared in 97 games as the club’s designated hitter and started in left field in 31 other games. He owns a career .287 batting average and is best known for winning multiple World Series rings — one with the Red Sox in 2004 and the other with the Yankees in 2009.
“There’s definitely interest from both sides,” says the source. “Damon’s preference, if he can’t re-sign in Detroit, would be to return to the East Coast and he’s made it known his choices would be Baltimore, Tampa Bay or Atlanta.” Damon owns a home in Orlando, Florida.
“He’s not going back to the Yankees and he’s already ruled out the Red Sox,” the source explains. “And he’s hit well in Baltimore, which is always a plus when a guy is near the end of his career and he’s picking a new team based somewhat on what he’s done there in the past.” Indeed, Damon has been successful in Baltimore in recent years. In his 4 seasons in pinstripes, Damon averaged .339 at Camden Yards.
It’s growing more and more likely that Damon will not return to the Tigers, which then presents an interesting opportunity for the Orioles, who could use him in the same role as Corey Patterson occupied in 2010, except Damon would spell the left-fielder – expected to be Felix Pie – rather than Adam Jones.
“The Orioles have kicked the tires…they’re interested,” the source continues. “One of the issues for Johnny will most certainly be ‘how much are you going to use me?’ and that’s something the Orioles will have to answer as the talks heat up. One thing for sure, Johnny still wants to play and still feels like he can be a contributor and he’ll have to be completely comfortable with the situation.”
One issue that could help