UPDATE: White Sox still in the hunt for Damon

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UPDATE, 9:28pm: A few interesting nuggets from Rosenthal:

Damon played golf Monday with White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski and broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson.

And Damon’s wife, Michelle, “would prefer him to play in a more cosmopolitan city than Detroit.”

Still, Damon is going to sign where he finds the most money and it remains to be seen if the White Sox will up their offer.

UPDATE, 8:49pm: Rosenthal now says that a new offer has not been made by the White Sox and their original proposal is not as lucrative as Detroit’s.  Well, that was fun while it lasted.

8:30pm: According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, a potential agreement between the White Sox and free agent outfielder Johnny Damon is “gaining momentum.”

It’s a bit of a surprise considering the Tigers’ deep involvement with Damon as recently as Monday, but the news also serves as a reminder that we should never count White Sox GM Kenny Williams out of the hunt for any available free agent or trade target.  Rosenthal is hearing that Williams and Co. have made a second offer, and it’s probably safe to assume that the new proposal is either equally or more lucrative than Detroit’s standing bid.

Damon, 36, batted .282/.365/.489 with 24 homers, 82 RBI, 12 stolen bases and 107 runs scored in 550 at-bats last season for the
Yankees and would likely serve as Chicago’s starting left fielder this year if an agreement is reached.  He has also been courted this winter by the Braves and Rays, though we haven’t heard much from either team in several weeks.  Damon is represented by super-agent Scott Boras.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.