My favorite all-time “Jon Heyman trying to get Johnny Damon a job” column came two years ago when Heyman noted Damon’s “matinee-idol looks and obvious love of the big stage,” and parroted previous Scott Boras comments about Damon’s love of Detroit while wondering why oh why Damon had not yet been signed by someone.
He’s got a new one out now, and it has the air of a conspiracy theory:
Johnny Damon doesn’t get it, doesn’t get why he’s not getting offers after the year he had. Damon didn’t get why he didn’t receive an offer from the incumbent Rays after he was a leader for them in the clubhouse and on the field, and now he doesn’t get why he seemingly is running second as a candidate to be the Yankees’ left-handed DH … It is hard to blame Damon for feeling left out. The whole thing does seem very odd, indeed.
Heyman goes on to note the Yankees’ seeming preference for Raul Ibanez, saying that each of the reasons why the Yankees apparently prefer Ibanez is “sillier than the next.” Judge for yourself, but they don’t sound that silly to me. Ibanez can play defense a little. Damon really can’t. I’d probably still prefer Damnon myself, but it’s not “silly” for someone to disagree on that.
But you know what is silly? That there isn’t one word in the column about what Damon’s contract demands are. Because if you want to compare Damon and Ibanez, or if you want to assess whether Damon not having any contract offers is odd or not, one might want to know whether Damon is offering his services at a reasonable rate.
I think the stuff people say about Heyman being a Scott Boras mouthpiece is over-played. Of course Boras is a source for Heyman, and if you were a reporter and had an awesome source like that you’d report what he gives you too.
But this column seems more like a sales pitch for Johnny Damon’s services than a piece of reportage.
Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.
Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.
Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.
Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.
Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.
As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.
You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.