Johnny Damon was on MLB Network yesterday and was asked about the Hall of Fame. It’s kind of a lose-lose topic for a guy like Damon who, if he ducks or deflects questions about it, he’s not being particularly nice to his host, but if he answers it, he gets people saying stuff like “what, you think you’re going into the Hall of Fame, you delusional so-and-so?”
But answer the questions he did, particularly one about which cap he’d wear if he was, indeed, elected one day (transcript of his answer via Royals Review):
Well, it’s a tough decision… four years in Boston… four years in New York… five and a half years in Kansas City. And if you go by the numbers, that’s where my best years were. So if they’d have me…
Damon’s case for the Hall of Fame on the merits is interesting enough. I don’t think he’s worthy and if he were to retire today I don’t think he makes it. But if he gets to 3,000 hits, it will be time for a very interesting discussion. Let’s save that discussion for another time.
Merits aside, the cap topic is pretty darn interesting too. He was probably — purely on the numbers — a better player in Kansas City than anywhere else, but that’s not what the Hall of Fame looks at. If it was, then Reggie Jackson would be wearing an Athletics’ cap. It’s more about history and public fascination and all of that, and I bet that if you put 100 casual fans in a room, a tremendously large number of them wouldn’t be able to identify the team on which Damon broke into the bigs.
Joe Longo, the agent of Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, said his client’s relationship with the Marlins is “irretrievably broken,” ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. He believes in the best interest of both Yelich and the Marlins to work out a trade before the start of spring training.
They have a plan. I respect that plan, but that plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career. He’s in the middle of the best years of his career, and having him be part of a 100-loss season is not really where [we] want to see him going.
The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.
He loves the city of Miami. He loves the fans. He’s had nothing but a good experience in South Florida, and he feels sorry where they ended up. But I think having him report [to spring training] and attempting to include him moving forward is going to be uncomfortable for both sides. I don’t see how it’s going to work.
This certainly comes as no surprise considering the offseason the Marlins have had after installing new ownership, going from Jeffrey Loria to Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The club traded All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 home runs last season, as well as Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. As Crasnick notes, Yelich isn’t the only player to express disappointment with the Marlins’ current direction — J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro have as well.
Yelich, 26, signed a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension with the Marlins in March of 2015. Given his career performance, that’s a bargain of a contract, which is why more than a handful of teams have inquired with the Marlins about him this offseason. Yelich finished the past season with a .282/.369/.439 triple-slash line along with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances.