Damon to the press: "Tell the Yankees I want to sign!"

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Johnny Damon, speaking to the press at a light switch-flipping event at the Empire State Building yesterday:

“I know what’s here in New York – you have the new Stadium, you have
the great coaches, you have the great players. You guys
just have to tell Cash to get things going with me. I’m up for it.”

I don’t mean to beat this theme to death, and to be sure, Damon was likely just joking around with the press a bit yesterday, but it makes absolutely no sense to me that Damon is sticking with Scott Boras this winter.

Damon wants to sign now. Boras likes to wait as long as possible. Damon obviously wants to sign with a certain team. Boras likes to play the field. Damon is a leftfielder. Boras’ top free agent this winter is a better leftfielder who would clearly like to have the Yankees bidding on him, either in earnest, or to simply jack his price up to other teams.

There may be dynamics in the Boras-Damon we know nothing about. Loyalty. A real game plan that is totally at odds with Damon’s current statements.  But as things presently stand,  there is nothing to suggest that Damon’s interests are best served by the usual Scott Boras
approach.

Red Sox beat Yankees 11-6 to clinch AL East for third consecutive season

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The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.

AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.

With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.